2013/06/28

Ancient Egyptian Ra

Ancient Egyptian God Ra

The ancient Egyptians are believed to have had as many as two thousand Gods and Goddesses. Some images of Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses show them with a human body and the head of a bird or an animal. Ra was the primary God in ancient Egypt. He was usually shown in human form with a falcon head, crowned with the sun disc encircled by the sacred cobra. He was often considered to be the King of the Gods and thus the patron of the pharaoh and one of the central gods of the Egyptian pantheon.

Ancient Egyptian Ra


 The identity of the Sun God Ra was often confused with other gods as the different regional religions of Egypt were merged in an attempt to unite the country. The first references to Ra date from the second Dynasty. Ra became very powerful by fifth dynasty, the dynasty which is very much related to the pharaohs. The pharaoh was then named as the son of Ra.

The ancient Egyptian God Ra has been associated with the sun, heaven, light, power, kingship and the creation of universe. He is considered the father of Gods, and was the most important and worshipped king of Gods. He sailed across the heavens in a boat called the 'Barque of Millions of Years'. The sailing was not smooth. He had to fight a snake called Apep (his chief enemy) during the day. He was thought by the people to die at the end of the day. And at night time he travelled through underworld.

And he sent the moon to keep the world away from darkness at night. In the underworld, Ra appeared as a man with the head of a ram and reborn every morning. Ra is a young boy called Khepri at sunrise, he becomes the falcon-headed man during mid-day and at sunset he becomes an elder called Atum. Ra embodies the Egyptian beliefs of order and truth. In Egyptian mythology, he signifies the cycle of birth, life and death. That's why he is known as the father of creation.

 The early Egyptian priests evolved a creation myth, or Cosmogony, to explain how some of the Gods and Goddesses came into being.  The early Egyptian priests then evolved a Family tree, the relatives of the main Egyptian Gods, like Sun God Ra, to explain how some of the Gods and Goddesses were related. The eye of Ra is an ancient Egyptian of protection. It is also known as the eye of Horus. It is a powerful force that is linked with the fierce heat of the sun and was passed on to each Pharaoh.


2013/06/25

Gold Inlaid Pectoral of Queen Ahhotep

Gold Inlaid Pectoral of Queen Ahhotep


Gold Inlaid Pectoral of Queen Ahhotep


This inlaid pectoral is in the shape of a shrine. Its base is decorated with wavy lines in reference to the primeval water. It is protected by two falcons.

In the center of a boat, King Ahmose the First is shown with the gods Re and Amun. The two gods are pouring water on the king in the purification process during the coronation ceremony.

The Marine Biology Museum in Hurghada

 The Marine Biology Museum in Hurghada

The Marine Biology Museum in Hurghada



There is a Marine Museum a few miles north of Hurghada which is open from 8 am until 8 pm. It is a marine biology station and also contains a small aquarium.


The Marine Biology Museum in Hurghada


Inlaid Gold Armlet of Queen Ahhotep with Two Sphinxes

This cuff is half a small ring adorned with a braided design and the other half inlaid with lapis lazuli, carnelian and feldspar in a band of alternating signs and Djed Tyet.

These signs are symbols that are associated with Osiris and Isis.

The center is occupied by a thick cartridge bearing the name of King Ahmose.

Two small sphinx symbolize the king side of the cartridge.

The small bar encrusted, projecting on the opposite side, was brought to the inside of the arm, probably to prevent the cuff from turning.




Inlaid Gold Armlet of Queen Ahhotep with Two Sphinxes



Atef crown

Crown worn by various gods, but particularly Osiris, and by kings in all periods. The crown consists of a high, conical head-covering with a feather on either side, on top of a pair of ram's horns and, in more ancient times, a pair of bull's horns as well. Representations from the New Kingdom often also show a sun disk and uraeus snakes wound around the horns.

 Atef crown



Atef crown


Atef crown


2013/06/21

Agriculture Museum in Cairo


Agriculture has played a major role in Egyptian history, and always affected the lives of the Egyptians from the days of the Pharaohs to modern times. There are a lot of truth in the famous saying: "Egypt is the gift of the Nile." This is because the Nile is the main source of water used in agriculture in Egypt. Therefore, because of the importance of agriculture in ancient and continuing Egyptian life during the 1930s the government decided to build a museum of Egyptian agriculture. The museum was built during the period of King Farouk to work mainly for two purposes.  

This is to provide knowledge of the agricultural and economic information, and recording the history of agriculture over a long period extending to prehistoric form of the modern era. Has been chosen Palace Princess Fatima daughter of Khedive Ismail, to house the museum in November 1930. The Ministry of Agriculture a lot of changes in the palace to make it suitable as a museum. Museum was opened in January 16, 1938 and was the first museum of this kind in the world.

 Agriculture Museum in Cairo

 Agriculture Museum in Cairo


The facade of the old palace was adorned with engravings and other decorative designs of plants and animals, and additional buildings, all designed in the style of the original palace, were constructed to serve various functions. The grounds of the museum are huge, covering about 125 thousand square meters. The actual buildings occupy 20 thousand square meters. More than 15% of this space is occupied with gardens that contain a lot of different flowers and plants, including trees, bushes, rare plants, green areas and greenhouses, in addition to two pharaonic gardens. It also has a cinema hall, a lecture hall, a library, laboratories for reparation, maintenance, embalming, preserving and storing. The museum is located in the well known area of Dokki in Cairo. One can spend an hour walking around its walls. When the entrance is finally unearthed, one will be stunned to find that the ticket cost only 10 piasters (the price of a small match box), but one will have to pay the enormous sum of another 20 piaster to carry a camera inside.

The museum contains ten halls or what might be considered subsidiary museums. Some of them are open for visitors, while others are closed for maintenance, and still others are under construction or not ready to be opened yet. One of the most interesting halls is the New Museum of Ancient Egyptian Agriculture and the Museum of Acquisitions. Unfortunately these halls are not opened yet.


Another of the most fascinating halls is the museum of bread. It includes information about bread in Egypt since ancient times. It contains old, interesting pictures of different agriculture aspects such as pictures of peasants, waterfalls, and agriculture tools. All kinds of bread that Egyptians eat from different regions are displayed in the main hall of the museum. The most popular Egyptian pastry (the Meshaltet patty) is also displayed there. Maps and statistics that show the development of bread are also on display.

The second hall of this museum contains a display of different gadgets used in the baking of bread. A cleaning machine, used to filters the wheat and wash it before baking it is on display. Then, there is a display of various kinds of baking ovens both old and more modern. There are small models of workers baking bread as well, and all kinds of Egyptian wheat are displayed in this museum . Obviously, bread has played an important role in Egyptian life from the most ancient of times until the present.

The Museum of Plant Wealth contains all kinds of field and orchard items. It consists of two sections. The first one is field crops, which includes samples of grain crops, oil-producing crops, leguminous crops, sugar crops and fiber crops with an emphasis on the most up-to-date scientific methods of increasing productivity.

The second, orchard section includes samples of all kinds of fruit and vegetable, medicinal and aromatic plants and some types of wooden trees. Information for each fruit and vegetable is written under it to inform the viewer. The hall also includes ways of enhancing the seeds and protection against insects and pests. And like all the other halls of the museum, different pictures of the Egyptian agriculture life are included on the walls.

The Arab Hall is a specialized section for rural and Bedouin agriculture and trades. It was opened Sunday 30 of July 1961 during the rule of Gamal Abel Nasser. It also shows the customs and traditions in Syria, as well as Egypt. When completed, the museum will include displays on numerous other Arab countries. The most remarkable thing is the statues shown all around the hall. They are actual human size and they seem so real that one feels they would suddenly begin speaking. The Scientific Collection Hall includes scientific collections sorted according to scientific classification and partly sorted according to the history of agricultural elements and development. The area is in two floors.

The ground floor is mainly associated with the farmer’s life. Inside this hall, one will feel almost like one is inside the Egyptian country side. Statues are all over this hall displaying most of the Egyptian farm jobs like pottery and glass making. The farm market is also represented with all its aspects. In addition, there is information on prevalent diseases in the Egyptian countryside and means of dealing with them. Various land topics, such as formation, projects of land reclamation and improving and protecting it against deterioration. Various methods of irrigation are also displayed.


The upper floor includes displays of animal wealth, animal and poultry products and means of manufacturing them. Collections of embalmed local and migratory wild birds in their natural habitats are displayed as well as a collection of insects and rare luminous bugs (terflies). Another new museum, which may in fact not yet be completely opened, focuses on cotton. It traces the history of Egyptian cotton since its introduction by Mohammed Ali. The museum includes rare manuscripts and decrees concerning cotton, rare, embroidered cotton textiles from ancient times, illustrations, information and samples of old extinct types of cotton as well as the most recent species.


  Agriculture Museum in Cairo

 


 


Also included are exhibits displaying models that illustrate growing methods and the various processes of spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing. It should be noted that cotton has played a most important part in modern Egyptian history. The museum has a wonderful garden area all about the complex itself, which seems to be a relaxing place to stroll about. And while the museum is indeed interesting, it is unfortunate that some of the most important halls are currently not open. Doubtlessly, when the other halls are open, and especially the New Museum of Ancient Egyptian Agriculture, the museum should become a much more visited site by Tourists.


The New Museum of Ancient Egyptian Agriculture, soon to be opened, will trace the history of Egyptian agriculture from prehistoric times to the end of the pharaonic period. Its design will. It will use the latest scientific museum methods for lighting the and exhibiting the various displays. It includes laboratories for repairing, storing and maintenance as well as the latest system of recording, documenting and saving information using modern computer technology. This new part of the overall Agriculture Museum will have two stories.

The first story will be devoted to implements for hunting and agriculture field and orchard crops, including some that date back seven thousand years. The second floor will have displays of animal wealth including exhibits of fossilized animals and birds that ancient Egyptians once caught, including ducks, geese, cranes and the ibis. There will also be a display of Apis bulls.




2013/06/16

Ancient Egyptian Osiris


Osiris is among the most important Egyptian gods, having a cult following that grew beyond Egypt's borders. Modern-day Egypt still celebrates festivals dedicated to him. Osiris is usually depicted as a mummy wearing the Atef crown with a crook and flail in his hands. Osiris was usually depicted in human form wrapped up as a mummy, holding a crook and flail. He was often depicted with green skin, alluding to his role as a god of vegetation. He wore a crown known as the 'atef', composed of the tall conical white crown of Upper Egypt with red plumes on each side.

Osiris, is also known as the Lord of the dead among the ancient Egyptian gods, was responsible for overseeing the underworld. He was the husband of Isis and the father of Horus, and according to the myth he was murdered by his own brother, the god Seth. Osiris was not only ruler of the dead but also the power that granted all life from the underworld, from sprouting vegetation to the annual flood of the Nile River. From about 2000 BCE onward it was believed that every man, not just the deceased kings, became associated with Osiris at death.

Ancient Egyptian Osiris


This identification with Osiris, however, did not imply resurrection, for even Osiris did not rise from the dead. Instead, it signified the renewal of life both in the next world and through one's descendants on Earth. In this universalized form Osiris's cult spread throughout Egypt, often joining with the cults of local fertility and underworld deities. Several festivals during the year were held in Egypt, in celebration of Osiris. One, held in November, celebrated his beauty. Another, called the "Fall of the Nile" was a time of mourning.

As the Nile receded, the Egyptians went to the shore to give gifts and show their grief over his death. When the Nile began to flood again, another festival honouring Osiris was held whereby small shrines were cast into the river and the priests poured sweet water in the Nile, declaring that the god was found again. Some versions of the history of Osiris state that when he descended into the underworld he took over several important roles and duties as Egyptian god of the underworld from Anubis, who was believed to have been his son.

Other tales contend that he rightfully obtained the important role as Egyptian god of the underworld because he was the first god to have died. However he obtained the role, it became Osiris' responsibility to judge the souls of the dead. Osiris remained as one of the most popular of all the ancient Egyptian gods.

2013/06/06

Ancient Egyptian Navy

Predynastic through Middle Kingdom

The use of river vessels and ships in Egyptian warfare is as old as conflict in Egypt itself, though probably at first there was little capability for sea travel. The Nile was always the principal means of transport in Egypt, and the sailing and construction of boats can be traced back to the papyrus rafts of the Predynastic Period. Boats (see also Bargues, Barges and Byblos Boats) were commonly depicted in red paint on the buff colored pottery of the Naqada II Period.

Ancient Egyptian Navy

Ancient Egyptian Navy





 


 Ancient Egyptian Navy

 
The very earliest naval battle is depicted on the carved relief decoration of a Naqada II ivory knife handle that was found at Gebel al-Arak. It shows boats with high, straight prows and sterns, usually interpreted as foreign vessels. The early Nile boats used for military purposes seem to have been primarily used for the transportation of troops up and down the Nile, and indeed, Egypt's early conflicts were mostly internal control issues.

We do find reliefs in the 5th Dynasty mortuary temple of King Sahure at Abusir depicting a sea-borne fleet that is said to have transported his army to Syria, and in the 6th Dynasty, the official Weni is said to have taken troops to Palestine in vessels described as nmiw (traveling ships).

Keelless seagoing vessels like those during the time of King Sahure (2500 BCE) traded with the Phoenician cities, importing cedar wood, Asiatic slaves and other merchandise. They were also sent as the first Egyptian trade expedition to the Land of Punt.  The bipedal mast carried a vertical sail, and the bow was decorated with an eye.  The bow was decorated with an eye.

However, most Egyptian vessels were not suitable for sailing in the Mediterranean or the Red Sea. The idea of sea going ships was probably imported from the Levantine seaboard, and most likely from the region of Byblos. There was certainly a strong connection in the Egyptian minds between Byblos and naval activity, since the most common word for an Egyptian sea vessel was kbnt, literally meaning "Byblos-boat".

Sea going boats used by both the Egyptians and their neighbors were relatively simple, consisting of a rectangular sail and usually one or two rudder oars. However, the Palermo Stone records the construction of a ship fifty two meters in length during the reign of king Sneferu of the 3rd Dynasty, and in the 5th Dynasty tomb of Ti at Saqqara, boat builders are depicted at work on another very large vessel.

The New Kingdom

In the New Kingdom, we see a much reorganized Egyptian Army, becoming more professional, whereas before, it was often not a standing army, but rather an army mostly made up of conscripts. Prior to the New Kingdom, Egypt's navy was probably made up mostly of ships and boats that served a dual purpose, operating as commercial vessels when not utilized for war. We know most about the navy during the New Kingdom, when there was considerable activity, including actual sea battles. Yet even then, the "navy" was not seen as a separate service of the Egyptian military, and it was mostly used for amphibious operations.

During this period, Egypt's navy was extensive. Despite the fact that Egypt had a long history of building boats, including large sea going vessels during the New Kingdom, we find, for example in the Amarna Letters, a request from to the King of Alashiya (Cyprus) to built ships for the Egyptian navy. Bigger ships of seventy to eighty tons suited to long voyages became quite common (In size they might be compared to Columbus's Santa Maria with a displacement of 100 tons or his smaller ships with about fifty). Egyptian squadrons composed of speedy keftiu, kebentiu from Byblos and Egyptian transports patrolled the eastern Mediterranean.

The very earliest New Kingdom pharaohs, specifically Kamose and Ahmose, conducted naval operations in their war against the Hyksos, and later Tuthmosis III had a large fleet built at the royal dockyard at Perunefer, near Memphis. Those ships were used to transport elements of the army along the coast to ports in the Lebanon on a number of occasions in support of his operations against the city states of southern Syria and Mitanni. Many of those ships were actually converted cargo vessels. Unlike the later Greeks who developed special naval techniques (used also by Late Period Egypt), maritime battles by New Kingdom Egyptians and their opponents, often the Sea People, were fought by seaborne land troops, who were trained in marine operations.

The Egyptian deployment of archers and the fact that Egyptian ships could both be sailed and rowed, gave them a decisive advantage, despite the inferiority of the vessels themselves, which were at times quite sizable and carried up to two hundred and fifty soldiers. However, most Egyptian ships carried a crew of about fifty marines. Though essentially all fighting men, about 20 members of the crew would be delegated to row the vessel while the remainder formed the combat troops for a seagoing battle. These battles would be fought at a very close range, as the marines would attempt to rake the enemy vessel with arrows and sling shots. Other elements would throw grappling hooks into the riggings of the opponent ships with the object of either capsizing or boarding the enemy ships.

When boarding the enemy ship, the Egyptians would then use spears for close order thrusting while under cover of archery from their own ship. Models of the ships used to defeat the sea people show Egyptian vessels with high bulwarks that could protect sailors and soldiers from enemy projectiles. In these examples, eighteen oars gave the ships the maneuverability which was a decisive factor in the Egyptian victory.  Like all Egyptian ships of this period, it was not laid on a keel, but got its structural strength from a gangway connecting stern to bow. It had a single mast with a horizontal sail. The bow was decorated with a lion's head crushing a human skull.  It was a transport system that pharaohs such as Tuthmosis III employed with great success.


The Late Period

However, Egypt lost its role of maritime superpower after the end of the New Kingdom. Continental powers like the Persians used these sea-faring nations to impose their control on the seas.  King Necho II (609-594 BCE) invested huge sums in the development of an Egyptian war fleet. According to Herodotus he had triremes built in both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Some scholars think that the ships he built were biremes and the development of the trireme took place in the next century and was part of the Egyptian war effort against Persia.

It was unsuccessful and thereafter its fleet was at the behest of the foreign power controlling the country. Dozens of Egyptian ships were incorporated into the Persian fleet fighting the Greeks. The last of the Ptolemies, Queen Cleopatra VII joined forces with the Roman Marc Antony, in an attempt to preserve Egypt's independence. But her fleet was defeated at Actium, which spell the end of pharaonic Egypt.



Tutankhamun's vulture necklace


When the kingdom of Upper Egypt conquered predynastic Lower Egyptian kingdom and the two crowns were united, it was natural that the principal deities of the conquerors should accompany and expand their kingdoms accordingly. One of these deities Nekhbet was the vulture-goddess, whose shrine was Nekheb (Elkhab) on the eastern bank of the Nile, opposite Nekhen (Hierakonpolis), the capital of the Kings in Upper Egypt, whose patron god was Horus.


 Most likely, it was the proximity to the capital of Nekheb the first that it is desirable that local leaders to recognize the goddess in return for recognition, they received his protection. In his capacity as protector royal, she could not fail to gain kudos from the successful conquest of his protege, Menes. His position as patron goddess of the kings of United Egypt was firmly established in the early Dynastic period and was unchanged by political and religious changes, except in the Amarna period, throughout history Egyptian.

The flexible gold necklace, which represents the vulture Nekhbet, the goddess was placed on the chest of the mummy of King so it covered the whole of the chest and extended upwards on the shoulders. The long wings, set in a circular, are divided into districts, which are composed of 250 segments, with feathers on the back engraved and inlaid on the front with colored glass in imitation of turquoise, jasper and lapis lazuli. The segments were held together by son who passed through small golden eyes protruding from their upper and lower edges.  

On one side of each segment, except in the district known as blankets least - at the top of the wing near the body - there is a border of gold beads that divides minute feathers of those of its neighbor . The bird's body is embedded in the same way as the coverts, while the tail feathers resemble the primary and secondary districts wings. Both the beak and the eye in the head are made of delicately carved obsidian. In each of the bird's talons grasps the hieroglyphic sign shen, reading and inlaid blue glass. A counterweight shaped flowers mankhet, which was attached by the son of Gold eyelets at the rear wings, attached to the back of the mummy.

Necklaces and collars were placed on Egyptian mummies, not as ornaments, but to provide magical protection. They were also represented on the cartonnage covers of mummies and on the lids of anthropoid coffins. Among the many charms collar painted on the walls of rectangular wooden coffins dating from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000 BC) are four gold and encrusted on the outer surface shaped to represent a hawk, vulture, cobra wings, combined and the vulture and the cobra.  


Tutankhamun's mummy, which was more than half a millennium later in the date of these coffins, was equipped with all these necklaces inlaid with the exception of the neck of the cobra, in addition to all the four leaf necklaces gold without inlay. They were purely funeral of character and very different from that of pearl necklaces or gold worn in life.

2013/06/03

Luxor Museum

The Luxor Museum is surprisingly entertaining. Displays of pottery, jewelry, furniture, statues and stelae were created by the Brooklyn Museum of New York. They include a carefully selected assortment of items from the Theban temples and necropolis.  In 1975, the Egyptians opened a new museum on the corniche in Luxor . 

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum

Luxor Museum



Luxor Museum


With its modern display techniques, the museum highlights a selection of exquisite items from the area, including some from the tomb of Tutankhamun. One of the significant displays is part of a wall reassembled from blocks from Akhenaten's dismantled temple at Karnak.

There are a number of exhibits from Tutankhamun, including a cow-goddess head from his tomb on the first floor and his funerary boats on the second floor. However, some of the real attractions include a statue of Tuthmosis III (circa 1436 BC) on the first floor, and 283 sandstone blocks arranged as a wall from the ninth pylon of the Karnak Temple

Luxor Museums celebrates "World Museums " open their doors to visitors for free

Sana Ahmed Omar said Director General of Museums of Upper Egypt province of Luxor that participate in the celebrations on "Museums the world" on Friday, where they are open all the museums and all the governorates of Egypt to receive visitors for free.She said that Dr. Osama Abdul Waris Nubia fund manager, had made a proposal to open museums of Luxor to visitors for free by participating in the International Day of Museums, and has been approved to be implemented for the first time this year in all the museums of Egypt.




 
She added that the museums will open their doors to the public for free on Friday at the level of sub-level is the Museum "mummification" in Luxor, and the Museum of "Nubia" and "crocodile" in Aswan, and the Museum "New Valley" New Valley, noting that museums-for-profit and has a role enlightening, and educational, and cultural.


The initiative celebrating this day every year the Day of museums the world launched the International Council of Museums, "AC or M" in 1977, where is the day for visitors to museums in all countries of the world is a special moment to take up the cause of the issues that concerned sector, cultural, and a means of means of cultural exchange between peoples, in addition to the definition ever before, and the restoration of memory by the exhibits, collectibles being displayed in museums to reflect life, and human behavior at the stage and given time, and this is the celebrations global work on service culture to connect people in the understanding of history.


Beshtak Palace

The Beshtak Palace
The Beshtak Palace


The Beshtak Palace is a notable stop for tourists because of its museum which documents the history of the city of Cairo, and its beautiful Qaa (chamber).





The Beshtak Palace





On the outside, this palace built by Emir Beshtak in 1334, has unusual windows screened with mashrabiya. But the second floor chamber, with its pointed arches, stained-glass windows and gilt and painted wood paneling distinguish it as one of the most beautiful private chambers of the period.


 The Beshtak Palace



 The Beshtak Palace

2013/06/02

Sennedjem Pectoral

Pectoral of Sennedjem with Heart Scarab


Sennedjem Pectoral

This pylon-shaped, or gateway-shaped, pectoral rests on a solar bark, or boat. The pectoral has a heart scarab attached. Two goddesses, Isis and Nephthys, are depicted to the left and the right of the scarab.

On the underside of the scarab are 11 lines of inscriptions from Spell 30b of the Book of the Dead. Djed signs are to the right and left of the scarab. The upper part of the pectoral was pierced by three holes on each side so that strings could be attached. Then, the pectoral could be hung on the body.

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