Category Archives: Egyptian

The Bearded Pharaonic Lady; also, Weird Popular Depictions

Statue of hepshepsut

This post spiraled off from my last post, as frequently happens. You know you’re looking at a pharaoh in ancient Egyptian artwork by looking at his hat.  There’s several different hats, but all of them are only worn by pharaohs.  Moreover, there’s a square beard also only worn by pharaohs.  That means when you see the above image, it’s got to be a pharaoh because only pharaohs have that headdress and beard. Even if that statue is a woman, which

What’s in a Hat? Odd Postures in Egyptian Art

Superheoes posed as if in ancient Egyptian artwork

Today’s post started with a joke. The first few amuse me.  By the end it doesn’t even make sense: just putting hieroglyphs around Ghostbusters doesn’t exactly give the impression of ancient Egyptian Ghostbusters.  I do, however, get a giggle from the Vulture posing as Isis. We’re going to stick with the first panel, which I find works best at what it’s attempting to do and there’s some pretty specific history with the pose. The pose is quite distinct.  The aggressor

Golden Egyptian Arches; or, General Silliness with Art History

Cartouche Bearing What Looks Like an M.

I greatly enjoyed my trip to Egypt in 2010 just before the Arab Spring. However, our tour guide had the annoying habit of attributing just about everything in Western history to the ancient Egyptians via half-truths, over-generalizations, and periodic nonsense. Several of us responded by creating our own list of things that the Egyptians “clearly” invented, such as McDonalds, as is clearly shown by this golden arch within a cartouche, marking it a name of great importance. Don’t believe me?

Ramesses’s Temple at Abu Simbel; or, Progress vs. History

Outside of Abu Simbel Temple

Ramesses’s temples at Abu Simbel are awesome for two reasons.  The first is the incredible novelty of their construction: it’s dug into the rock face rather than built as temples commonly were.  The second, however, is what happened to them in the 1960s. Ramesses II Ramesses never did anything small or half-assed.  Ever.  I’d suggest he was compensating for something, but his 100+ children might contradict that theory.  Some call him “Ramesses the Great,” but I’ve come to think of

Myth of King Tut’s Untouched Tomb; or, Psusennes I Was (Not) Robbed

If I asked random people on the street to name a pharaoh, most would say King Tut. (More than a few would probably also look at me oddly.) They wouldn’t even call him a pharaoh (much less by his full name, Tutankhamen), because we’re so used to the phrase “King Tut.” Why My Students Think Tut Is So Damn Famous Every semester, I ask my students why Tut is so gosh darn famous. A few mention he was the boy-king,

Being a Cheap Bastard in Ancient Egypt

Giza Pyramids

Egyptian history is divided into three main periods, the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Everyone knows about the Old Kingdom. That’s the time of the Great Sphinx and the pyramids, with the most known pyramids being some of the earliest. If you’ve heard of specific pharaohs (famous for something other than pyramid building), they are probably from the New Kingdom: Tutankamun (Tut), Ramesses, Akenaten, Hepshepsut. The Middle Kingdom gets comparatively little attention. Even the textbook I teach from gives only