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Egypt

Interview with a Queen

For our project, we have decided to do an interview with the ancient Egyptian Queen Ahmose Nefertari. We crown her woman of the year 1543 BCE and she steps into the studio to provide her thoughts on issues that affect women in her society, focusing heavily on religious issues. She is able to provide an inside scoop on the entire situation as she is both part of the royal family and holds an esteemed position in Amun's Temple. Despite the gender gap during her time, Queen Nefertari managed to come to power and accomplished many feats during her reign. Now Queens hold a position of incredible power and affluence, potentially setting the stage for all women to increase their status as well. While we might not face the exact same issues, there are parallels we can draw between ancient Egypt and modern society. Enjoy! 

For more information, please check out the links below!

Content Sources:

Ahmose-Nefertari (c. 1570–1535 BCE). (2007). In Anne Commire & Deborah Klezmer (Eds.), Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages (Vol. 1, p. 24). Detroit: Yorkin Publications.

Breasted, James Henry., & Library of Robert Duncan (State University of New York at Buffalo). (1959). Development of religion and thought in ancient Egypt. New York: Harper.

Cooney, Kara. (2014). The Woman Who Would Be King (First ed.). New York: Crown Publishers

Graves-Brown, Carolyn. (2010). Dancing for Hathor. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 

Isis: Mythic goddess of egypt. (1991, Jun 30). Women in Action, , 27. 

J. Paul Getty Museum., & Getty Conservation Institute. (1992). In the tomb of Nefertari: Conservation of the wall paintings. Malibu, Calif.: J. Paul Getty Museum.

Khalil, Radwa., Moustafa, A. Ahmed., Moftah, Marie. Z., & Karim, A. Ahmed. (2017). How Knowledge of Ancient Egyptian Women Can Influence Today's Gender Role: Does History Matter in Gender Psychology? Frontiers in Psychology

Roberts, Alison. (. M. (1997). Hathor rising: The power of the goddess in ancient Egypt. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions International.

Teeter, Emily. (2011). Religion and ritual in ancient Egypt. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wilkinson, H.Richard. (2003). The complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. New York: Thames & Hudson.

 

Media Sources:

Ausschnittbearbeitung NebMaatRe, Ahmes Nefertari Grab 10, 2009, public domain

K. Faulmann, Amenhotep I, 1881, public domain

Karl Richard Lepsius, Lepsi ah nef, 1849-1859, 

Keith Schengili-Roberts, OsirisStela-AmenhotepIAndAhmoseNofretari BrooklynMuseum, 2007, CC-BY-SA-2.5

Marcus Cyron, EgyptMuseumBerlin2007066 a2, 2011, CC BY-SA 1.0

Robert James Hay, Fragment of painting from the tomb of Kynebu Thebes, Egypt, 20th Dynasty, 1868, via The British Museum

Unknown author, Head of Nefertari-aahmes, Queen of King Aahmes, Conqueror of the Hiesos, 1884, CC BY-SA 2.5

Unknown Artist, Egypte louvre 086 stele, 2004, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

 

 

That Strange Annoying Tooth and the Virtue You Wish You Had: Wisdom

That Strange Annoying Tooth and the Virtue You Wish You Had: Wisdom

Wisdom is something we are constantly looking for to organise ourselves and to learn 'how to live'. As we look back on Egypt's succession of Wisdom, we can potentially learn to do so.

Egyptian Wisdom Literature is known as Sebayit and are instructions passed from one monarch to another to ensure the proper conduct and prosperity of subsequent generations. By looking at Sebayits, we learn the Egyptians' value systems and beliefs and understand how it contributes to social order as well as formation of gender roles. 

The Maat is Strong with This One

“The maat is strong with this one” is basically how you would describe a king in ancient Egypt. Much like a Jedi in Star Wars who is given the powers of the force to maintain peace and justice in the Galactic Republic, Kings in ancient Egypt were given the powers as a deity and were expected to uphold maat - truth, justice and cosmic order.

Ra has placed the king on the earth of the living for ever and eternity to judge between men to make the gods content, to make what is Right happen, to annihilate what is Wrong, to offer divine offerings to the gods and voice offerings to the blessed dead.
— University College London

Like how there are many different kind of Jedi’s, ranging from Anakin Skywalker(or more commonly known as Darth Vader) who used the force to attack people and make them submit to his will to Yoda who believes in using the force for good and not for violence, there are also many different kinds of kings who had ascended the throne in ancient Egypt. While the role of the king remained the same, every king chose to act out their reign differently. We can even see the vast differences between the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, who were mother and son who co-ruled at one point(well actually, he was her step-son which is important to note as this would have meant that they didn't spend a lot of time together before the death of Thutmose III!). While their reigns were incredibly different, they were both considered very successful rulers in their own right. 

Before we dive into the differences of their reign, let's start with a brief history of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and after the death of her siblings, ended up being his only child. Without a son to inherit the throne, Thutmose I decided to name one of his stepsons, Thutmose II, the heir and married Hatshepsut to him. However, being a sickly man, Thutmose II only ruled for a few years before dying. This led to Thutmose III, probably about two or three years old at the time, ascending the throne. Due to his age, he was more of a figurehead than anything, causing Hatshepsut to become regent and rule Egypt in his place. A regent is someone who rules in the place of the king while he is unable to rule. Essentially what this means is that Hatshepsut had the power of the King, just not the title. She eventually managed to make herself co-king, an impressive feat at the time due to the fact that she was the only female to have ever taken the throne while their was a legitimate heir. After 22 years of rule, Hatshepsut died and Thutmose III took on the entire role and power of king.

Wow, so many names and so many Thutmose's, sometimes it's hard to keep track of the situation. Don't worry, we've got you guys covered. To help visualise the whole situation, here's a family tree!

Created by Ning Cheong, 03 March 2017

Created by Ning Cheong, 03 March 2017

How They Ruled

Much like Anakin and Luke, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III differed in their political ideologies and thus, the greatest achievements made during their reigns are a great testament to each of their political agendas.

Hatshepsut was more like Luke, whose aim was to restore the empire to the ideals of the old republic, free of conflict. She was a King who ruled peacefully, choosing to prioritise the forming of alliances, ensuring economic prosperity while building and restoring architecture through Egypt. Thus, this made her rule of Egypt one of the most successful to date.

Hatshepsut’s crowning moment was her expedition to Punt. While Punt had already been trading with Egypt during the time, expeditions there were very costly and put a huge strain on resources. In spite of this, Hatshepsut was able to launch her own expedition to Punt, one that was so large and extravagant, showing exactly how well the economy was doing during her reign. The ships returned with an abundance of wealth and resources, eventually being immortalised on the walls of the temple Djeser-djeseru(a special mortuary temple dedicated to Hatshepsut). Unlike many other rulers, Hatshepsut’s expedition was not militaristic in nature, rather trade oriented and indicated the kind of priorities Hatshepsut had for the Kingdom.

Σταύρος,  Relief of Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt , 11 September 2008, CC BY 2.0

Σταύρος, Relief of Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt, 11 September 2008, CC BY 2.0

The loading of the ships very heavily with marvels of the country of Punt; … Never was brought the like of this for any king who has been since the beginning.
— Ancient Records of Egypt Volume II

Thutmose III on the other hand was more like Anakin, who initiated many galactic wars and was on the hunt for power, just minus the very villainous nature. He was known as a 'warrior king', choosing to implement expansionist policies and eventually creating the largest Egyptian dynasty of the time. He was a brilliant general who always won and excelled even in areas like administration and being a statesman. His crowning moment was his military campaigns. During his reign he managed to launch 16 military campaigns, conquering land in Palestine, Syria, Nubia and Mesopotamia. He eventually captured more than 300 cities, restoring Egypts power and making himself a hero amongst the Egyptians. His military successes were found on records that were transcribed onto the walls of the temple of Amun at Karnak. Thutmose III was regarded as a one of the greatest military kings of Egypt due to his transformation of Egypt into an international military superpower by expanding the land from Southern Syria to Nubia. With the spoils of war, Thutmose III funded the building of many beautiful temples around Egypt. The most significant was the expansion he added to the Karnak, the seventh Pylon, for which his first military campaign is recorded on the walls. 

How They Were Remembered

Their vastly different ruling styles eventually caused Hatshepsut and Thutmose III to be remembered and memorialised differently. 

 

Hatshepsut memorials were largely compromised during the reign of Thutmose III. After her death, Thutmose III demanded that any and all evidence of Hatshepsut’s rule be removed. One likely reason for this was that he did not want people to remember that they had a female rule while there was a viable male heir.In contrast, other sources has mentioned that Thutmose III could have destroyed Hatsheput's monuments so as to curse her to permanent death and impede her afterlife. However, what was left of Hatshepsut tended to depict her very masculinely, often with a beard and dressed in traditional male garb. This was likely due to the fact that they lacked the symbols to depict a female king and the masculine images could more easily be re-inscribed with the cartouches of Thutmose II or III. Her memorial temple, the Djeser-Djeseru (which translates to Splendour of Splendours), is located on the west bank of the Nile and known for its beauty and elegance. The walls which originally had her name and image were removed after her death and what was left was only very masculine inscriptions of her. One of the main features of the temple is known as the Punt colonnade, that depicts one of Hatshepsut greatest achievements. While she was arguably one of the most formidable women in Egyptian history, she was only discovered later on in history and there is much less information on her compared to other Kings. 

Thutmose III ,on the other hand, was very deeply embedded in the history of Egypt. He was memorialised and remembered as a national hero, revered for many years even after his death. His incredible successful military and administrative policies contained to live on centuries after his rule, being inscribed on detailed scarabs. Thutmose III had a perfect military track record and it came with an incredible wealth that caused a golden age that was never surpassed by any of his successors. Thus his accomplishments were memorialised on the walls of over 50 temples, the most important being the Karnak that was covered with the scenes of his war successes, from enemies he defeated to the spoils he obtained from the wars. He also commissioned royal artist to depict his extensive collection of flora and fauna from the Botanical Gardens on the walls. Thutmose III also designed a unique obelisk known as the Lateran obelisk, which ended up being the largest obelisk built at the Karnak. This obelisk contains vertical inscriptions as well as portraits of the many achievements of Thutmose III. 

Conclusion

While they might not have wielded light sabers, there are many parallels between the ideologies of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III with Star Wars. Undoubtedly, both rulers  used different methods to try to make the lives of their people better. Nonetheless, how do we exactly determine who was more successful?


Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.
— Obi-Wan Kenobi

The concept of Kingship is something that changes over time, no two kings will rule in the same way and the quality of their rule is subject to perspective and what each individual considers important qualities of a leader. 


Reference List:

Catherine, H. R. (2005). Hatshepsut From Queen To Pharaoh. The Metropolitian Museum of Art.

Dr Joyce Tyldesley. Hatshepsut and Thutmosis: A Royal Feud? From BBC(2017). Accessed 25 Febuary 2017 

Elizabeth B. WilsonThe Queen Who Would Be King. From Smithsonian.com September 2006. Accessed 25 Febuary 2017

Hayes, W. C. (1962). Egypt: internal affairs from Tuthmosis I to the death of Amenophis III (Vol. 10). CUP Archive.

Hilliard, K., & Wurtzel, K. (2009). Power and Gender in Ancient Egypt: The Case of Hatshepsut. Art Education, 62(3), 25-31. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20694765

Manuelian, P., & Loeben, C. (1993). New Light on the Recarved Sarcophagus of Hatshepsut and Thutmose i in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 79, 121-155. doi:10.2307/3822161

O'Connor, & Eric. H. (2009). Thutmose III: A New Biography. United States of America: The University Of Michigan Press .

Panagiotopoulos, D. (2006). Foreigners in Egypt in the Time of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.

Simpson, W., & Simpson, W. (1963). Studies in the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty: I-II. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 2, 53-63.

Teeter, E. (2006). Museum Review: Hatshepsut and Her WorldAmerican Journal of Archaeology,110(4), 649-653. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40025062

The Pharaoah: Thutmosis III. Accessed 25 Febuary 2017

 

What do ya sphinx of Egyptian Love Poetry?

What do ya sphinx of Egyptian Love Poetry?

Egyptian love poetry offers historians an intimate glimpse into the many facets of Egyptian culture and day-to-day lives, such as their practices, gender status and roles, and relationships. This blog post seeks to explain the emergence of Egyptian love poetry and how it developed over time. To make more sense of Egyptian love poetry, we then compare two renowned literary works of ancient Egyptians. Lastly, we seek to learn more about how the ancient Egyptians lived, their thought processes, and how they viewed love on a personal level, and in doing so answer the underlying question of “Why is this topic important to history”.

Slaves Unite!

In ancient Egypt, slavery was prevalent. However, theory and practice of slavery in Egypt was considered different from those of Greece, Rome, or the southern states of America in the ancient days. Slaves in Egypt were either prisoners of war or traded by slave merchants (debt slaves), however, both types of slaves were allowed to be free after serving for a certain period of time. Some of the slaves who came originally from Egypt were often children from poor families who were sold into slavery. While the rest of the slaves were people from Meroe and Kush, south of Egypt and Libya.

As we learnt in our Egyptian lecture, it was presumed that thousands of slaves toiled under hard conditions to build the pyramids. However, it was later realised that the builders of the pyramids were free Egyptians who committed themselves to the building project. So then, what were slaves for in Ancient Egypt? Slaves in Egypt were mainly fieldworkers. However, there were also other types of slaves such as house cleaners, nannies, wet nurses, cooks, skilled dancers, musicians and accountants. A master might employ a slave for domestic uses such as guardians of their children, brewers and maids or for other outdoor uses such as gardeners. Slaves might also be required for trading aids whereby the slave would have to learn how to excel in trading. Educated slaves could also become managers of their master’s estate.

So, as part of our third blog post, we decided to “stalk” a private Facebook group of the ancient Egyptian slaves. Do visit the link below to get an insight of the daily lives of some of the slaves mentioned above. The history of slaves dates back to the Old Kingdom in the Third Dynasty around 2670 BC all the way to the New Kingdom in 1544 BC, with a surge of Hebrews becoming slaves, coming in during the Middle Kingdom due to the drought in Europe. They had been enslaved for about 400 years. The historians however, have been unable to pinpoint exactly how different slaves are treated between each of these time periods. Thus for easy understanding, this Facebook group will be set in about 14th century BC.

Please click on the link below to view the Facebook Group!

http://www.classtools.net/FB/1843-nNk8ty

Reflection:

Through this post, we learnt that the slaves in Ancient Egypt did not all have the same plight due to some historical underpinnings. For example, the Hebrews. Different types of slaves led different types of lives. Some of them were slaves voluntarily while others were forced. The diversity in the lives they led was a result of the different personal issues that they faced. We chose the Facebook portal to convey this content on Ancient Egyptian slaves as we imagined how they would have expressed their sentiments through informal  anecdotal reflections with other slaves in their  community.

References:

http://www.bl.uk/learning/cult/inside/goldhaggadahstories/enslave/enslavement.html

http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/timelines/topics/food.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/dec/21/egyptian-pharaoh-tutankhamuns-wet-nurse-might-have-been-his-sister

http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2012/2012.12/ancient_egyptians_sold_themselves_into_temple_slavery/

http://histclo.com/act/work/slave/anc/sa-egypt.html

Image references:

http://www.not-of-this-earth.com/Ancient_Egyptian_Culture_5.html

http://www.bl.uk/learning/cult/inside/goldhaggadahstories/enslave/enslavement.html  

http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat56/sub365/item1943.html

http://creation.com/egypt-chronology

http://www.bible-history.com/sketches/egypt/made-slaves.html

http://www.hermajestytheking.com/cookies-and-cakes.htm

http://www.historyforkids.net/egyptian-slaves.html

Breads of History

IMG_5812.jpg

History of Bread Bread is one of the most common staple around the world and it has since the age when humankind were still hunters and gatherers. It is typically made from cooked, grinned grain and water. The interesting thing about bread is that it is so easy to make that without deliberate trade of bread and with a lack of communication between major empires in history, every empire eventually managed to discover how to make leavened bread (bread fermented with yeast) , Egypt being the earliest. Another fascinating fact is that every country or empire has their own interpretation of this cooked dough and it varies according to environment and culture. In this post, we will bring you through the history of three powerful empires in the form of their individually unique bread.

Egypt (Baladi bread)

Egyptian bread resulted from the grinding of grains and mixing it with water to create a porridge like substance.  Over time, yeast that is present in the air would come into contact with the mixture, causing the liquid to rise. Leaving this mixture out in the sun essentially bakes it, causing it to develop bread like crust. This is the earliest form of leavened bread known to mankind. Ancient Egyptians would later try to isolate yeast and would purposefully introduce it to the batter as a more effective way to make it rise.

Egyptian breads are often placed on top of a fire, or stuck to the oven walls instead of being baked inside it. Sometimes the bread can also be cooked on top of hot sand. The dough is also often rolled flat instead of the round fluffy bread shape that we often see. The process of milling the grains and cooking bread are often left for the women to do and is considered an essential life skill. This skill would later be taught to the Romans, where they would develop their own techniques of baking bread.

Rome (Miche bread)

Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located on Italy’s west coast, is well-known for its eruption in 79 CE. That historical eruption covered the entire Pompeii in volcanic ash. Below this layer of ash lies an almost fully intact Pompeii, where later in history, archeologists discovered loaves of bread.

In the very beginning, bread was baked by the housewives of Siligo. By 172 BC, these housewives were relieved the responsibility of baking breads and skilled bakers took over in bakery shops where breads were sold. In 168 BC, the Roman Baker’s Guild, called Collegium Pistorum, was formed. The Greeks first adopted the technology of bread baking from the Egyptians. Eventually, the practices were spread across the rest of Europe. As discovered from the ruins of Pompeii, mills were the main technology used for the baking of bread in Rome. Bread was a form of staple food for both the rich and poor, and even more so for the soldiers who were in war. Additionally, bread held greater importance than meat in Rome and hence, bakers of the Guild were highly respected for their skilled craft of baking.

China (Mantou)

Lastly, The very popular Mantou is a staple in China and the most common form of bread among the Chinese. It was invented way even before the start of the Chinese dynasties. During the warring states period before Emperor Qin Shi Huang conquered the different states and formed the first Chinese dynasty, the Qin dynasty.

Another well-known story of the Mantou originated from the story of Romance of the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 CE) where Chancellor Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han state went to battle to defeat the Southern barbarians. In an attempt to capture one of the barbarian warlords, Meng Huo, he was told he needed to pray to the Gods for help so as to counter the witchcraft that the barbarians were practicing. In order to gain the favour of the Gods, Zhuge Liang had to make a sacrifice of human heads. However being a witty and great leader, he used meat such as mutton and pork as fillings in buns instead to substitute as human heads and sacrificed it to the River God.

The process of making Mantou is a simple one, after allowing the dough to rise with the yeast, the dough have to be knead back and forth so as to release the gas released by the yeast. The dough is then split into smaller balls and put into the steamer. Within a short 15 to 20 minutes, the Mantou will be ready. The Mantou is made to have a simple taste of the wheat flour. The more you chew, the more you will taste the sweet taste of the fermented dough. This gives a slightly alcoholic flavour which everyone loves and is like no other bread around the world. The Book of Han states that “the greatest flavour is a simple one” and the Mantou is the perfect illustration of this idea.

All in all, it is astonishing to us that in the absence of the global village phenomenon, countries and empires were still able to create a similar form of staple food. Started from just yeast, grain and water, countries adopted their very own methods of bread baking and eventually, bread made its way into stomachs all over the world. Today, bread is made from a myriad of ingredients and it has definitely made its name in the history, all thanks to the Egyptians. KUDOS EGYPTIANS!

 

Here's a short how-to video to show you how each of these delicious breads are made. Give it a try if you are daring enough!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z947-jvSJE&w=560&h=315]

Check out our Instagram page for more interactive material on the history of bread!

 

Link Love: Egypt and Rome

For those of you suffering UGC withdrawal (ha), here's a couple of links to sustain you:

  1. "Radar Scans in ing Tut's Tomb Suggest Hidden Chambers" (National Geographic): There might be more to King Tut's tomb (maybe the tomb of Nefertiti is hidden just behind a wall?)
  2. "From Gladiator Duels to Caesar's Last Words: The Myths of Ancient Rome" (NPR): Fresh Air interviews historian Mary Beard about her newest book, SPQR, and all of the things she loves (and doesn't) about popular portrayals of emperors, gladiators, and Roman women.

Determining Pregnancy & Fertility in Ancient Times

Everyone knows how to test for pregnancy or fertility in modern times. An appointment with your doctor can determine your fertility. A trip to the pharmacy store, pay some money and you get a test kit, pee on it and magic happens! That’s about the easiest, fastest and most accurate method you can rely on to determine pregnancy and if you are fertile enough to conceive or not. Pregnancy Test Kit. (Image from Google)

 

But, how about women in the ancient times – Egypt & Greece? How are they supposed to know if they are pregnant or not? How will they ever know if they are fertile?

 

On behalf of the ancient Egyptians & Greeks, this post will be answering these 3 questions:

  1. How do women in ancient times determine or confirm their pregnancy?
  2. How to determine fertility in women in ancient times?
  3. Are the methods/tests for pregnancy & fertility scientifically reliable?

 

 

Egypt

One of the earliest written forms of records from the Berlin Medical Papyrus in 1350 BCE suggests that Egyptians women should do a urine-based pregnancy test. It is stated that a woman who suspected herself to be pregnant should pee on wheat or barley seeds for several days. If both seeds did not grow it means that the woman is not pregnant. However, if the barley seeds grew, it means that the woman is expecting a male child. If the wheat grew, it means the woman is expecting a female child.

 

Barley & Wheat. (Image from Google)

Sounds absurd? Maybe not! Scientists and researches did a testing in 1963 and found that the pregnant women urinating on barley and wheat had indeed promoted growth and it had 70% accuracy in determining pregnancy. That is oddly high. Scientist thought that the elevated growth of the barley and wheat had something to do with one of the components found in pregnant women urine. However, it is not proven that the barley or wheat can determine the gender of the child so that part of the pee test is untrue!

 

There were 2 other methods named in the same papyrus to determine pregnancy. One of the methods was drinking the breast milk of a mother who had a son and if the woman vomited, she is pregnant. Another method was to get the woman to sit on a pile of mashed dates and beer and if she vomited, she is pregnant.

 

Is this scientific? NO! Maybe all those vomiting may detect early signs of pregnancy – morning sickness. But then again, the tests are all pretty gross that even men could vomit from them!

 

Greece

The Greeks had a less gross test for pregnancy! It is the Honey Test. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician (460-370 BC) believed that beverages made with honey could determine whether a woman is pregnant. Women were asked to drink a beverage made with honey before sleeping. If she had a bloated stomach or cramps at night, she is definitely pregnant.

 

Honey. (Image from Google)

So how scientifically sound is the honey test? Not sound at all. Some people just have a bad stomach or weak digestive system. Men can go to bed feeling bloated or cramped after a honey drink too, this shows that the honey test is inaccurate in determining pregnancy!

 

This brings us to the final question of how the ancient Egyptians and Greeks determined whether a woman is fertile enough to be pregnant?

 

Both the Egyptians and Greeks believed in the same fertility test. The fertility test involved inserting a clove of garlic or an onion into a woman’s vagina.

Wait...What? (meme image from google)

If the woman’s breath reeked of garlic/onion then she must be fertile! The Egyptians and Greeks logic behind this test is simple. They assumed that every part of the human body is linked, so if the breath smells, it means that there is no blockage at the womb, which allows the smell to travel from the vagina all the way up to the woman’s mouth.

 

Garlic & Onion

So, how accurate is the garlic/onion fertility test? No scientific basis, every person’s breath differs and the smell of garlic/onion breath could be acquired through food. This means that a man or a woman that is not pregnant can have garlic/onion inserted into the anus (for men) or vagina (for women) can also have garlic/onion breath from the food they ate last night. It does not mean that men could conceive or women wombs were unblocked or blocked. IT DOES NOT DETERMINE ANYTHING ABOUT FERTILITY CASE CLOSED.

 

Conclusion 

To conclude, I thank technology for its advancement that I do not have to wait several days to determine my pregnancy unlike the Egyptians (Need to wait for the Barley/Wheat to grow out) or go through horrid and disgusting tests to determine my fertility. (Nobody wants to have an onion/garlic inserted into their body other than the mouth.)

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.invitra.com/top-10-historical-pregnancy-tests/

http://io9.com/5878715/the-bizarre-history-of-pregnancy-tests

http://www.early-pregnancy-tests.com/history.html

http://mentalfloss.com/article/48655/9-historical-methods-detecting-pregnancy

http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/conception/trying-to-conceive/the-weird-and-wonderful-history-of-the-pregnancy-test-20130929-2umte.html

http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/pregnancy%20and%20childbirth.htm

http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/did-ancient-greeks-use-venus-calendar-track-pregnancy-00811

 

Mummification

Hey guys. So this post might seem a little late, considering we have learnt about mummification wayy back in the past. Regardless, we have observed that most of what we know about Mummification comes from Herodotus. While he was pretty accurate with his observations, he was not as invested as the Egyptians on the topic of mummification. To Herodotus, it was more about the process than the meaning to it. In reality, this is a HUGE part in Egyptian culture.  So, we have decided to use Pharaoh Tutankhamen as our fictional spirit guide into his own mummification. King Tut, as if you may please?  

King_tut_63865

 

Greetings peasants, I am King Tutankhamen, son of Akhenaten, Ruler of both the Upper and Lower Egypt. During my reign I have freed my people from the cursed religious reforms of my father, Pharaoh Akhenaten. It is most unfortunate that the gods have cursed me for my father's sins, inflicting upon me a curse onto my left foot. Though I was in excruciating pain most of the time, I stand by the gods for my people. Alas, my life was to come at an end at the age of 19. 19!

That's a pretty crappy life I lead, isn't it?

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As a boy king, I had a lot of responsibility placed on my shoulders you know. I had to lead my people, rule my country, I was the chosen one, the one closest to god! Believe me, maintaining Ma’at all the time was a lot harder than it looked.

Err ... what is Ma'at? You're joking right?

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You would think they would teach this in class these days ... I mean, look at you, sitting behind your magical steel tablets of light and sound, ignorant of what is to come. Come, before the sun sets, let me tell you more about the afterlife and the burial practices of my people.

 

Ma'at is our concept of truth. Our concept of law, Our concept of both morality and justice. You see, my people believe that the afterlife is a continuation of your previous mortal existence. Your soul consists of five parts: the Ren, Ba, Ka, Sheut and Ib.Your body and your soul must be maintained if you were to enjoy the afterlife.

 

Oh The Field of Reeds is an amazing place. It is a place where the pure of heart live on for an eternity. Over here you have no illnesses, no death, no sadness, there is only beauty and eternal peace. It is a world just like yours! You walk amongst the lands of which you once loved, in a place you once knew, just a lot more happy and a lot less, well, starvation, slavery and monument building. I’m sure you know what I mean, but I digress.

Barring the fact that the woman is a pale abomination, you get the idea.

 

So there I was, watching my own servants carry my already limp body towards a tent we called the ‘ibu’. It was known as the place of purification, it was where we purified the dead. My body was about to be preserved, mummified, made ready, for the journey into the afterlife.

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It was strange, watching the embalmers rinse my body with palm wine and water from the Nile. I always wondered how I looked from the eyes of another, and I must admit, I didn’t give myself enough credit from when I was alive.

 

One of the guys then made an incision on the left side of my body and began to pull out intestines, guts, basically most of my internal organs. My liver, lungs and stomach were then washed and packed in Natron, a salt found along our riverbeds. This Natron(natrum) dries up and preserves the organs before they are to be placed in canopic jars. Then my heart was placed along my throat, in situ, so that it is protected, and I don’t die a second time.

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I watched the embalmers stuff the empty shell of my body with more Natron before my brain was hooked out through my nose and disposed of.

Not that I'm going to use it anytime soon.

 

After 40 long days, my body was then washed again with water from the Nile. I watched them stuff my body with sawdust, leaves and more linen in an effort to try to restore my body to its former glory. My head and neck were then wrapped in linen and they gradually worked down my body, placing amulets in between layers of wrapping to better protect my new self.

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As the priest chanted the last of the protection prayers, he placed a Papyrus scroll between my already wrapped hands, in it contained spells and incantations that would best guide me through the afterlife.

The Isis Knot Amulet that protects the body

The Plummet Amulet that balances the body in the next life

 

 

 

Several layers of linen wrapping later, a ritual known as the ‘opening of the mouth’ was performed so as to free my soul, ‘Ba’, from the confines of my mortal body.

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Just as I was watching the priests and servants gingerly place my sarcophagus in my offering-packed tomb, I suddenly found myself in the magnificent court of the Two Ma’ats.

The seemingly endless walls in the great court were adorned with gold that glistened brighter than a thousand suns. Bejeweled scarabs peppered the shimmering golden walls as I was led to kneel before God Anubis and the full tribunal of forty-two divine deities. Upon reciting my negative confession, declaring myself to be pure and free of offense, my Ib, or my heart, was then place on a scale. On the other end of the scale, lay a feather, from the Goddess of Ma’at.

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This was it! it was either eternal life or instant damnation, complete elimination of your existence and your soul. I watched in silence as the scales gradually tipped in my favor, my Ib was deemed to be lighter than the feather. Thank goodness I did more good than bad in my short time as King. All the effort put into the mummification of my body would have gone to waste had my soul been deemed evil and devoured instantly by the fiendish crocodile-head demon Ammut. shudder

Have your smelly Bestiary entry, you achievement driven mongrels.

I began to I feel my entire being fill up with an ever-familiar warmth which I later discovered to be my ‘Ka’, my life force. The moment I was judged to be pure of heart, my ‘Ba’ and my ‘Ka’ reunited with one another and I became an Akh, a citizen of the afterlife, a spirit. I returned to my body a brand new and complete entity.

 

The afterlife is an amazing place, my friends! Each night, after the sun sets in your realm, it descends into the underworld, Duat. While in Duat, the sun would meet with the mummified Osiris and the presence of one another is enough to fuel them with the energy needed, to rise again the next day. The afterlife is modeled after this relationship. Every night, the ‘Ba’ enters the burial tomb just like the sun and reunites with the body. Every morning, it leaves the body to reunite with the ‘Ka’.

 

The Afterlife: The Burger you see in advertisements. Not the deflated, horrendous mockery they serve you. Which kind of describes this life we live in exceedingly well.

 

And there you have it! A glimpse into what awaits you at the end of your mortal existence! My time on this dimensional plane is coming to an end once again. Farewell young ones! I hope that I’ll be seeing your faces amongst the Field of Reeds!

A Happy Pharell Geddit? Geddit? (I need a life)

Done by: Yong Quan, Mariam and Terry

A kingdom of worship.

Once upon a time in the fictional land of Hogwarnia (Hogwarts+Narnia, sorry), there lived a king. He was wise and respected the values and took into consideration the opinions of his subjects. He was fair in his decisions and punishments and was therefore considered a good king. One fine day, a strange man was noticed passing through the city. The citizens of the city looked over and were surprised to see this old man walking alone with the aid of a stick. From his almost bald head, a single strand of hair appeared, almost like his brain was sprouting out a little sapling of black hair. With a long white cloth that left his waist and met his feet with every step he took, he looked like a fairly simple man. He was none other than the sage Setheros. As he looked very wise, the guards immediately took him to meet the king.

Once inside, he was presented before the king. "O Holy one, what has brought you here today?," he questioned. The sage looked around, and not taking his eyes off the king said, "Dear majesty, I have seen a great deal of your just rulership today. However, why does your city not have any temples." The king realised that amongst all the chaos of setting up a just and equal system, the thought of spirituality completely crossed his mind. He then asked, "O holy one please instruct us. How do we do this."

The sage said, "Since you'll are the closest to Egypt, why not follow their sphere of influence. I will instruct you as to how to go about building this temple. First, like the Egyptians, we must find sacred or holy land wherein the temple must be built. For example, be the mythical birthplace or burial place of a god. The Great Temple of Abu Simbel, for instance, is aligned so that twice a year the rising sun illuminates the statues of the gods in its innermost room. 

An elaborate series of foundation rituals precede the construction. A further set of rituals follow the temple's completion, dedicating it to its patron god. This is where you play a role O great King. These are conducted, at least in theory, by the king as part of his religious duties; indeed, in Egyptian belief all temple construction is symbolically his work.

Egyptian temple designs emphasise order, symmetry, and monumentality and combine geometric shapes with stylised organic motifs.

The layout of the temple is quite complex and includes courts, halls and chambers with the sanctuary deep inside the temple. The roof is a flat stone roof and has columns closely packed to support the roof. The facade has all the columns concealed inside the external walls. The section has raised flooring and lowered roofs deeper inside the temple, with the sanctuary having the highest ground level and the lowest roof.

Basic Layout of the temple

The decorations are the carvings on the walls of the temples. The walls from the scene on the outer walls of the temple, and the walls of the outer courtyard, show the battle of the forces of light, represented by the Pharaoh, subduing the forces of darkness, represented by the foreign enemies. The scenes in sanctuaries and hypostyle halls show sacred offerings to gods.

Temples are the homes of the gods. Every temple in Egypt is dedicated to a god or goddess and he or she is worshipped there by the temple priests thereby even increasing employment in your kingdom. However, as in Egyptian cultures, ordinary people have no access to the inner regions of the temples which could only be entered after elaborate purification rituals. Temple buildings in the New Kingdom are made of stone and their walls are covered with coloured scenes carved onto the stone, showing the Pharaoh fighting in battles and performing rituals with the gods. Such will be the case with your temples too. The most essential component for any temple is the innermost shrine, where the statue of the god was kept. The activities of the temple revolve around the worship and celebration of the god's cult, and religious festivals. Around many Temples are sacred lakes or sacred pools. These pools allowed both the priests and followers to attend and perform their religious rites in a state of purity.

Section of a temple.

As you can see from the diagram I have drawn in sand using a stick, there are five important components to the temple.

Pylon are the large gates of the temple and consist of two tapering towers. The entrance is generally half the height of the two towers. Pylons are often carved and painted with scenes of the Pharaoh and gods with scenes emphasising a king's authority since it was the public face of a cult building.

The Inner courtyard is a large open Hall, with decorated walls showing scenes of the Pharaoh and the gods. It had a transitional purpose, serving as an interface between the outside world and the sanctified regions deeper within the temple. People were only allowed to enter the Outer Courtyard on festival days.

The Hypostyle hall is a large colonnaded hall depicting scenes of religious rituals which are carved into the walls. The capital of the massive column often in the shape of the papyrus Flower. This was considered the reception area of the god and accessible only to the priests and the Pharaohs were allowed to enter the hypostyle hall, which was used for religious rituals. Sanctuary is the most special and important part of the temple. It was a very dark and relatively small room. Only the High Priest and the Pharaoh can enter the sanctuary. In the middle of the sanctuary stands the Naos with the statue of the god. In close connection to the sanctuary there were other rooms for storage of the god's belongings, jewellery etc. As a result you must build a temple based on these beliefs."

"At once, we shall get to work," the king said and thus came the era of temple building and worship to the kingdom of Hogwarsnia.