Tag Archives: Ancient Egypt

The Obelisks of Ancient Egypt

The Obelisks of Ancient Egypt


One of the oldest and most iconic structures of ancient Egypt is the obelisk. A rising tower of stone, it was designed to astound mortals with its height and impress the immortals with praise. A colossal investment in labor, resources, and engineering was required to build them. Their forms projected potent religious and political symbolism, and their surfaces were covered with writings. So impressive were these stone structures that other civilizations took them back to their lands to show their people the splendor that was ancient Egypt.

Hawara mummies

Hawara mummies

Hawara mummies created a sensation when they were discovered, and in 1997 visitors to the British Museum found the first major exhibition of the mummy portraits from the Fayum very disquieting. Some burst into tears, some had to leave, unable to bear the clear bright gaze of the living dead.

Egyptomania

Egyptomania

The fashion for “Egyptian” design that swept Europe after Bonaparte’s expedition was actually a revival of sorts. Europeans had drawn inspiration from the Nile at least since the fifth century B.C., when the Greek historian Herodotus wrote his famous account of the land that even then was seen as the fountainhead of ancient wisdom. 

The family in Ancient Egypt

The family in Ancient Egypt

While there was a considerable difference in the housing of the upper and lower middle classes, this did not apply to the family. Monogamy was the rule in Ancient Egypt. Only the pharaoh had one or more harems (in later centuries this was also the case with princes and those in the positions of power) but this did not in the least undermine the husband – wife relationship.

Akhenaten: A Different Pharaon

Akhenaten: A Different Pharaon

At some point around 1375 BC (Egyptian chronology is not yet an exact science) a flotilla made its way along the Nile. It contained the migrating royal court, or at least the royal family, and the purpose of the journey was to found a new capital. This sort of thing was not unknown in the ancient Near East, but the sequel to this particular voyage was unprecedented. A series of boundary stelae marks the spot to this day, a semi-circular bay in the cliffs of the eastern desert, some 200 miles south of modern Cairo.