- Ancient Egyptian Architecture in Fifteen Monuments
Ancient Egyptian Architecture in Fifteen Monuments
by Felix Arnold
An authoritatively written overview of ancient Egyptian architecture from the point of view of an archaeologist and architectural historian
The monuments of ancient Egypt have held scholars and tourists in their thrall for centuries. The sheer mass of the pyramids of Giza, the interaction of the temples at Deir al-Bahari with the natural environment, and the use of light in the hypostyle hall of Karnak all make these buildings world-class masterpieces of architecture, rivaling those of Greece and Rome.
Ancient Egyptian Architecture in Fifteen Monuments presents an authoritative overview of Egyptian architecture from the point of view of an archaeologist and architectural historian with decades of fieldwork experience in Egypt and elsewhere. It focuses on fifteen selected masterpieces, from well-known structures such as the Bent Pyramid in Dahshur and the temple of Horus at Edfu to lesser-known monuments in Hierakonpolis, Abydos, Hawara, and Bubastis, each building representing an important stage in the development of Egyptian architecture and a different vision of what architecture should aspire to achieve.
Using sixty reconstruction drawings and black-and-white photographs, Felix Arnold presents new insights into form, meaning, and the organization of space, providing a fresh perspective on ancient Egyptian culture and society.
Timeline of Egyptian History and the Buildings Discussed in this Book
Part I. Subduing the Forces of Nature and the Founding of a State
1. The per-wer: Harnessing Animal-Power
2. The Shunet al-Zebib: Power by Separation
3. The Djoser-Complex: Model Architecture
4. The Bent Pyramid: Bodies in Light
5. The Temple of Sahure: Imitating Nature
Part II. Moral Responsibility and the Construction of Society
6. The hut-ka-Chapel at Bubastis: Simple Construction
7. The Temple of Mentuhotep II: Opening Space
8. The White Chapel: Striving for Perfection
9. The Labyrinth: Cultivating Choice
10. Hatshepsut’s Thebes: Creating Landscapes
Part III. Erected Demarcations and the Emergence of Religious Communities
11. The Great Aten-Temple: The Sky is the Limit
12. The Great Hypostyle Hall: Projected Power
13. The Temple at Tanis: Segregation by Purity
14. The Naos of Mendes: Space Compacted
15. The Edfu Temple: Space Assembled
Ancient Egyptian Architecture: A Summary
Felix Arnold is scientific director of the Madrid branch of the German Archaeological Institute, and an architect and archaeologist specialized in the history of Egyptian architecture of both the pharaonic and Islamic periods. The son of two Egyptologists, he grew up in Egypt, and since receiving his PhD from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, he has conducted fieldwork in Spain, Syria, Ukraine, and Egypt, where he has directed excavations at Dahshur, Elephantine, and many other sites.
"Felix Arnold has given us great insight into the mystery of ancient Egypt's built environment through fifteen examples spanning three millennia."—Zahi Hawass
“This authoritatively written overview of Egyptian architecture from the point of view of an archaeologist and architectural historian elucidates the social meanings of built space through insightful analyses that reflect a broad understanding of trends and a deep knowledge of the specialist literature. Arnold presents some fascinating insights that will be new to most readers, providing in some instances completely new theories and a fresh perspective.”—Stephen Harvey, Director, Ahmose and Tetisheri Project, Abydos
“No medium is better suited than architecture to express the spirit of a culture—its ideas about the divine, the dead, the other world, political organization—in the transformations of its multi-millennial development. Felix Arnold succeeds, in this brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated analysis, in disclosing the spirit of ancient Egypt and its development through fifteen selected monuments of great architecture.”—Jan Assmann, Heidelberg University
“With clean lines, Felix Arnold distills the essence of fifteen masterpieces of ancient Egyptian architecture from the inherent complexities of their archaeological settings. In succinct prose, as elegant as his drawings, he also conveys something of the people behind these monuments, their history, and countryside. As the book reveals an interplay between symbol and setting over an evolution of design, from the prehistoric Per Wer hut to the Karnak Hypostyle and beyond, it gets us to the point of each masterpiece, showing how each contributed to that evolution, and how each was unique. Student and professor alike will gain from Arnold’s insightful, interpretive introduction.”—Mark Lehner, Ancient Egypt Research Associates