The Amarna Letters: Diplomacy in the Ancient World

These clay tablets (letters) were found in the ruins of Akhenaten’s capital, Tell el-Amarna, Egypt. They were inscribed with Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions, not hieroglyphs. The letters represent the diplomatic correspondence sent by various vassal princes of the Egyptian Empire to the pharaoh Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, and Tutankhamun. They document a turbulent period when Egypt’s preoccupation with domestic policy led to insurrection and instability throughout[…]

Hammurabi and the Babylonian Empire

Hammurabi (standing), depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash. Hammurabi holds his hands over his mouth as a sign of prayer (relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi’s code of laws). / Photo by MBZT, Louvre Museum, Paris, Wikimedia Commons According to his own inscriptions, letters and administrative documents from his reign, he sought[…]

Ancient Egyptian Law: Seeking Peace with Oneself, One’s Community, and the Gods

Polychrome relief of Kagemni in his own mastaba, Saqqara, Egypt. Kagemni was a vizier of pharaohs Djedkare Isesi and Unas (5th dynasty), and Teti (6th dynasty), 24th century BCE. / Photo by Sémhur, Wikimedia Commons Ancient Egyptian culture flourished through adherence to tradition and their legal system By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 10.02.2017 Professor of Philosophy Marist College[…]

Pyramids and Sculpture of Old Kingdom Egypt

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.25.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief The Pyramids of the Old Kingdom The Old Kingdom of Egypt existed from the third through the sixth Dynasties (2686 BC–2182 BC). A period of political stability and economic prosperity, it is characterized by revolutionary advancements in royal funerary architecture. Both Egyptian society and the[…]

‘Photographing Tutankhamun’ Reveals Historical Context behind Pioneering Images

Iconic photography taken during the decade-long excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb has gone on display at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). 06.14.2018 The exhibition Photographing Tutankhamun has been curated by University of East Anglia (UEA) Egyptologist Dr Christina Riggs and gives a different view on the ‘golden age’ of archaeology and photography in the[…]

A Cast Fit for an Egyptian King

Video by Kai-Jae Wang/Harvard Staff Guided by Semitic Museum curator, students create ‘Dream Stela’ replica. By Jill Radsken / 06.08.2018 Between the paws of the six-story Great Sphinx in Giza, a slab of hieroglyphs tells the story of how King Thutmose IV dreamed his destiny. The eight-foot Dream Stela was erected in 1401 B.C., 1,000[…]

Ramesses and Nefertiti: The Abu Simbel Temple Complex

Great Temple of Ramesses II (left) and Small Temple of Nefertari (right) / Photo by Holger Weinandt, Wikimedia Commons Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second cataract of the Nile River. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 08.09.2018 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex,[…]

The Art and Architecture of Early Dynastic Egypt, c.3100-2686 BCE

The funerary temple complex of Djoser / Photo by Lansbricae, Wikimedia Commons The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic Period. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.03.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Art in the Early Dynastic Period The Early Dynastic Period of Egypt immediately followed the[…]

Rome’s Flaminian Obelisk: An Epic Journey from Divine Egyptian Symbol to Tourist Attraction

Piazza del Popolo. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-ND From the Temple of Heliopolis to the centre of Rome, the massive stone column has boosted the egos of several powerful men. By Dr. Nicky Nielsen / 05.03.2018 Lecturer in Egyptology University of Manchester It’s a great place to sit in the shade and enjoy a gelato. The base of the Flaminian Obelisk[…]

From Stonehenge to Nefertiti: How High-Tech Archaeology is Transforming Our View of History

EPA It takes more than a quick scan for high-tech archaeology to reveal history’s secrets. By Dr. Kristian Strutt / 03.23.2016 Experimental Officer and Geophysical Researcher University of Southampton A recent discovery could radically change our views of one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, Tutankhamun’s tomb. Scans of the complex in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings revealed[…]

The U.S. and Egypt in the 1950s

Presidents Eisenhower and Nasser meeting in New York, 1960 / Public Domain By Dr. John Buescher Historian Introduction The goals of U.S. foreign policy toward Egypt during the 1950s were to protect American and western European access to oil in the Middle East, to end British colonial rule throughout the area in line with the[…]

Tutankhamun’s Dagger Made from a Meteorite

Fallen star sword. Daniella Comelli/University of Pisa Research has confirmed a knife found in the ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb was made with metal from the heavens. By Dr. Diane Johnson / 06.03.2016 Post-Doctoral Research Associate Department of Physical Sciences The Open University Scientists have long speculated that the ancient Egyptians used metal from meteorites to make iron objects. Now an analysis of[…]

Was Cairo’s Grand Opera House a Tool of Cultural Imperialism?

Verdi’s Aida premiered at the Khedivial Opera House, Cairo, to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Adam Mestyan / 04.25.2018 Assistant Professor of History Duke University The new Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman and the brand new Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi revive vital questions. Are these new institutions instruments[…]

Ancients, Medievals, and Motion in the Heavens

Celestial map from 1670, by the Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Michael Fowler / 07.23.2015 Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia Introduction The purpose of this lecture is just to review the various motions observed in the heavens in the simplest,[…]

Alexandria, Egypt: The Legacy of Its Great Founder

By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 03.07.2018 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Alexandria is a port city located on the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt founded in 331 BCE by Alexander the Great. It is most famous in antiquity as the site of the Pharos, the great lighthouse, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, for the Temple of Serapis, the Serapion,[…]

Processing the Material Record of the Tomb of Nefertari Project

Conservators working in the tomb of Nefertari. Photo: Guillermo Aldana Newly catalogued archives document years of conservation work at this Egyptian heritage site. By Lorain Wang and Cameron Trowbridge / 03.22.2018 The Tomb of Nefertari project archive is a record of the conservation of one of the most important surviving examples of pharaonic art and a view[…]

Beyond Hieroglyphs: The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt

1 – Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Art 1.1 – Overview Ancient Egyptian art includes the painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts produced by the civilization in the lower Nile Valley from 5000 BCE to 300 CE. Ancient Egyptian art reached considerable sophistication in painting and sculpture, and was both highly stylized and symbolic. Much of[…]

A History of ‘Kemet’ – Ancient Egypt

Image via Wikimedia Commons Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.16.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Introduction to Ancient Egypt 1.1 – The Rise of Egyptian Civilization In prehistoric times (pre-3200 BCE), many different cultures lived in Egypt along the Nile River, and became progressively more sedentary and reliant on agriculture. By the time of[…]

Archaeologists May Be Close to Finding the Tomb of Ankhesenamun, King Tut’s Wife

Ankhesenamun hands Tut an arrow / Creative Commons By Jason Daley / 01.19.2018 King Tut became a household name because the teenage pharaoh’s tomb escaped the notice of looters for millennia until Egyptologist Howard Carter popped it open in 1922, revealing incredible treasures, including his golden funerary mask—imagery that has become synonymous with ancient Egypt. Now, archaeologists are[…]

Athanasius Kircher and the Hieroglyphic Sphinx

Frontispiece to Volume 1 of Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652), showing Kircher as the Egyptian Oedipus before the hieroglyphic sphinx – Google Books More than 170 years before Jean-François Champollion had the first real success in translating Egyptian hieroglyphs, the 17th century Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher was convinced he had cracked it. He was very wrong. Daniel Stolzenberg looks at[…]

Hunefer’s Book of the Dead and Judgment in the Presence of Osiris

A detail from the Book of the Dead of Aaneru from Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, XXI Dynasty, 1070-946 BCE. (Egyptian Museum, Turin) By the British Museum / 03.01.2017 Hunefer: An ancient Egyptian official Hunefer and his wife Nasha lived during the Nineteenth Dynasty, in around 1310 B.C.E.. He was a “Royal Scribe” and “Scribe of Divine Offerings.” He was also[…]

Ancient Egyptian Mummy Portraits

Mummy portrait of bearded man, encaustic on wood / Royal Museum of Scotland By the British Museum / 03.01.2017 A portrait shows what an individual would have looked like. Ancient Egyptians did not make much use of portraits; inscriptions containing the name and titles of an individual were used for identification purposes instead. Portraits were, however, important[…]

Tutankhamun’s Tomb (Innermost Coffin and Death Mask)

Harry Burton, Howard Carter with Innermost Coffin of Tutankhamun, 1922 (Tutankhamun Archive, Griffith Institute, University of Oxford) By Dr. Elizabeth Cummins / 08.08.2015 Adjunct Professor of Art History Upper Iowa University Nearly lost to history Tutankhamun was only the age of nine when he became king of Egypt during the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom (c.[…]

King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and Queen

King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and queen, 2490–2472 B.C.E., greywacke, 142.2 x 57.1 x 55.2 cm (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), photo: tutincommon (CC BY-NC 2.0) By Dr. Amy Calvert / 08.08.2015 Egyptologist Founder, The Art of Counting Serene ethereal beauty, raw royal power, and evidence of artistic virtuosity have rarely been simultaneously captured as well as in this breathtaking,[…]