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Karnak, Campaign From Sile to Pa-Canaan, Year 1 (2.4A)

(1,857 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary To celebrate his northern wars, about 1294/85 bce, Sethos I placed three registers of scenes on either side of the north doorway into the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak temple in Thebes. On the east side, the registers read from bottom to top (normal in the New Kingdom), but the top register is lost. On the west side opinions differ as to whether one should read als…

The Tomb Biography of Ahmose of Nekheb (2.1)

(2,678 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Ahmose, the son of Baba and Abena, was a highly decorated naval officer from ancient Nekheb. In his tomb biography, he offers one of the most important historical witnesses to the rise of the 18th Dynasty. His distinguished career lasted from the reign of King Ahmose (1550–1525 bce) into that of Thutmose I (1504–1492 bce). Most significantly, his references to the battles against Avaris remain the only surviving…

Karnak, Campaign Against the Hittites (undated) (2.4E)

(1,318 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Originally, two whole registers on the west half of this wall dealt with northern wars of Sethos I: the bottom one, a clash with the Hittites, and the top one the king’s attack on Qadesh and Amurru. It is significant that the two are separated by a middle register that focuses on a wholly different locale — a war in the west with the Libyans. This suggests th…

Thutmose III (2.2)

(40 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The Annals of Thutmose III The Gebel Barkal Stela of Thutmose III The Armant Stela of Thutmose III Thutmose III (2.2)

The Gebel Barkal Stela of Thutmose III (2.2B)

(3,999 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Found in the temple built by Thutmose III at Gebel Barkal in the Fourth Cataract region, this stela offers an overview of Pharaoh’s military accomplishments and hunting heroics. While much of what is reported on the stela is recorded in the Annals, it does, nevertheless, provide important supplemental information. For instance, the duration of the siege of Me…

Book of the Dead 109 (2.11)

(548 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; The Book of the Dead Commentary The New Kingdom vignette depicts the deceased standing behind the spotted Khurer-calf, with his arms raised in daily adoration of a seated Re-Harakhty. The spell is a counterpart to Coffin Text 160 ( COS COSB.1.21) and Book of the Dead 108 for “Knowing the Souls of the Westerners.” For discussion, see Sethe 1924:1–20; and the bibliography in Hornung 1979:482. As in the earlier Coffin Texts, the remarkable size of the underwor…

Karnak, Campaign to Yenoam and Lebanon (year 1 or Later) (2.4C)

(967 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary In this register, two successive war-scenes have Sethos I conquering Yenoam and [X-1], then Qdr in a land Hnm and [X-2] in [Leban]on. Lebanese chiefs fell timber for him. The mention of Yenoam may link the scenes with Year 1 (cf. Yenoam on the Year 1 stela, just above), but there is no guarantee that Yenoam did not feature in a later campaign. Qdr and Hnm are…

The Memphis and Karnak Stelae of Amenhotep II (2.3)

(3,336 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Amenhotep II (1427–1400 bce) succeeded his father, Thutmose III, and continued his father’s military policy in Syria-Palestine. In so doing, Amenhotep assured that the empire he received would be successfully maintained by his successors. He conducted at least two military campaigns into the Levant which are reported on two nearly identical stelae, the one disco…

The Armant Stela of Thutmose III (2.2C)

(1,253 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The Armant Stela of Thutmose III was discovered in the temple of Montu at Armant, near ancient Thebes. The inscription can be classified as a summary or collection (sḥwy) of the king’s athletic prowess, and it recalls the heroic events of the first campaign. “Summaries” are well attested as a scribal reporting device.1 As with the Annals and the Gebel Barkal Stela, reference is specifically made to the narro…

Contrasting Harper Songs From the Tomb of Neferhotep (2.13)

(1,317 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Harper Songs Commentary Offering a traditional and a skeptical response to the fate of the dead, these banquet songs are part of a trio carved on the walls of Theban Tomb 50, dating to the reign of Horemheb (ca. 1319–1292 BCE). The first song to be read by the tomb visitor (conventionally termed the second Neferhotep song) forms a reaction to these contrasting approaches (see  COS COSB.1.31). Adjacent to this is the song extolling the rewards…

Book of the Dead 125 (2.12)

(3,461 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; The Book of the Dead Commentary The most famous of all Book of the Dead chapters, Spell 125 contains the celebrated protestation of innocence by the deceased before an underworld tribunal of forty-two gods, corresponding to the like-numbered nomes, or provinces, of Egypt. The duality of the “Two Truths” also reflects geographical, not ethical, considerations, as the goddesses correspond to the dual n…

Hymn From the Tomb of Ay (2.14)

(1,409 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Grave Inscriptions Commentary This hymn of the God’s Father, and later Pharaoh, Ay derives from the east wall thickness of his private tomb at Amarna. Reflecting the official theology of the contemporary Atenist cult, the prayer stresses the universality of Aten, the visible solar disk, and the prophetic role of his son, Akhenaten. The hymnist’s figurative expressions of abundance in terms of huma…

The (Israel) Stela of Merneptah (2.6)

(1,073 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Discovered in 1896 by Sir Flinders Petrie in western Thebes, the Merneptah Stela instantly became one of the most important documents from the ancient Near East, thanks to the appearance on it of the name “Israel” (Petrie 1897, pl. 13–14). Now over a century later, this reference remains the earliest occurrence of Israel outside of the Bible. In recent years,…

The Battle of Qadesh — the Poem, or Literary Record (2.5A)

(4,444 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary In this epic clash of arms between Muwatallis II of Hatti and Ramesses II of Egypt in the latter’s Year 5 (1275 BC), it is now clear that Ramesses won the battle on the day, but Egypt lost politically by its results: Qadesh was not taken, Amurru returned to Hatti, and the Egyptian province of Upe (around Damascus) fell into Hittite control temporarily. Howeve…

The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text (2.5B)

(1,648 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The so-called “Bulletin” is a compact text that gives details supplementary to the main account in the “Poem.” By its position in the first great tableau-scene, it functions as a label-text to that part of the scene (the king interrogating two Hittite spies). But its length and cohesion also ranks it as almost an independent text within the overall composition. The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text (2.5B) Subject: Josh 9; Nu…

Karnak, Campaign Against the Libyans (undated) (2.4F)

(1,193 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary As with all three registers on this western side, an initial scene is now hidden away around the corner, under later (22nd Dynasty) stonework that was part of the masonry for the great forecourt built by Shoshenq I, ca. 925 bce. The visible scenes are limited to a victorious battle, the king killing a Libyan leader, and the triumphal return to Egypt. Karnak, Campaign Against the Libyans (undated) (2.4F) Subject: Exod 3:19–20; 6:1…

The Victory Stela of King Piye (Piankhy) (2.7)

(8,004 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Late Inscriptions Commentary The great “Victory Stela of King Piye,”1 on which the king narrates his conquest of all of Egypt, is the foremost historical inscription of the Late Period. It equals the New Kingdom Annals of Thutmosis III in factualness and surpasses them in vividness. It also paints the portrait of a Nubian king who was forceful, shrewd, and generous. He meant to rule Egypt but he preferred…

Coffin Text 261 (2.9)

(506 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Coffin Texts Commentary This spell provides the longest Egyptian theological discussion of Heka, eldest son of the creator and embodiment of the deity’s ineluctable generative and destructive power (heka), conventionally termed “magic.” By direct identification with Heka, the deceased controls the underlying force of the universe and gains command over the gods themselves. Coffin Text 261 (2.9) TO BECOME THE GOD HEKA. O noble ones who are before the Lord …

Ramesses II (2.5)

(40 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The Battle of Qadesh — the Poem, or Literary Record The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text Ramesses II (2.5)

Karnak, Campaign Against Qadesh and Amurru (undated) (2.4G)

(667 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Here, except for an inaccessible scene round the corner (walled-over in the 22nd Dynasty), only one scene remains, of the king in battle, the scenes of his return to Egypt and presentation to the gods being now lost. But the remaining scene has him vanquishing Amurru, a kingdom in the Lebanon mountains that bears the name of the Amorites, and Qadesh, focus of an epic battle in his son’s reign ( COS COSB.2.5 below). Karnak, Campaig…
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