The ancient Egyptians were firmly convinced of the importance of magic, which was both a source of supernatural wisdom and a means of affecting one’s own fate. The gods themselves used it for creating the world, granting mankind magical powers as an aid to the struggle for existence. Magic formed a link between human beings, gods, and the dead. Magicians were the indispensable guardians of the god-given cosmic order, learned scholars who were always searching for the Magic Book of Thoth, which could explain the wonders of nature. Egyptian Magic, illustrated with wonderful and mysterious objects from European museum collections, describes how Egyptian sorcerers used their craft to protect the weakest members of society, to support the gods in their fight against evil, and to imbue the dead with immortality, and explores the arcane systems and traditions of the occult that governed this well-organized universe of ancient Egypt.
During the half-millennium from the eleventh through the sixth century bc, the power and the glory of the imperial pharaohs of the New Kingdom crumbled in the face of internal crises and external pressures, ultimately reversed by invaders from Nubia and consolidated by natives of the Nile Delta following a series of Assyrian invasions.
Much of this era remains obscure, with little consensus among Egyptologists. Against this background, Aidan Dodson reconsiders the evidence and proposes a number of new solutions to the problems of the period. He also considers the era’s art, architecture, and archaeology, including the royal tombs of Tanis, one of which yielded the intact burials of no fewer than five pharaohs. Afterglow of Empire is extensively illustrated with images of this material, much of which is little known to non-specialists.
By the author of the bestselling Amarna Sunset and Poisoned Legacy.
Transporting the Luxor obelisk from Egypt to Paris was one of the great engineering triumphs of the early nineteenth century. No obelisk this size (two hundred and fifty tons) had left Egypt in nearly two thousand years, and the task of bringing it fell to a young engineer, Apollinaire Lebas, a man of extraordinary resolve and ability. His is a tale of adventure, excitement, and drama, but one hardly known to the English-speaking world.
Lebas’ team was struck by the plague; they ran out of wood; they had to wait four months for the Nile to rise to free their beached ship. But in the end, The Luxor, with its precious cargo on board, sailed down the Nile. On October 25, 1836 before two hundred thousand cheering Parisians, Lebas raised his obelisk. He was rewarded handsomely by his king, a medal with his name on it was struck, and his body lies in the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris along with French luminaries. Now this first-ever translation of Lebas’ account, including digitally enhanced copies of his beautiful drawings, makes his remarkable story available to a wide audience.
Egypt has a particular longue durée, a continuity of preservation in deep time, not seen in other parts of the world. Over the centuries, ancient buildings have been adopted for purposes that differed from the original. Temple sites have been transformed into places of worship for new deities or turned into houses and tombs. Tombs, in turn, have been adapted to function as human dwellings already in the Late Antique Period.
The Afterlives of Egyptian History expands on the traditional academic approach of studying the original function and sociopolitical circumstances of ancient Egyptian objects, texts, and sites to examine their secondary lives by exploring their reuse, modification, and reinterpretation.
Written in honor of the Egyptologist, Edward Bleiberg, this volume brings together a group of luminous scholars from a wide range of fields, including Egyptian archaeology, philology, conservation, and art, to explore the historical circumstances, as well as political and economic situations, of people who have come into contact with ancient Egypt, both in antiquity and in more recent times.