Discover Ancient Egypt

Egyptian Temple Ruins

Egyptian Temple Ruins

 

 

This last Saturday the Montrose Museum in Scotland began a touring exhibition entitled Discover Ancient Egypt. The exhibition runs until 7th September and is likely to do exactly what it says on the tin, by bringing together objects from the collections of the National museums of Scotland.

 

Here at Fox & Chave we have an association with those National museums north of the border and an interest in the culture of the ancient Egyptians, so here are a few basic nuts and bolts elements from the North Easternmost corner of the African continent for those who might have been living under a rock for the last 7,000 years.

 

 

 Egyptian Pure Silk Tie

Egyptian Pure Silk Tie

 

 

The First Pharaoh

The word Egypt is a derivative from an ancient Greek word Aígyptos, latinised by the Romans as Aegytpus, who made the area a colony of their empire in 30BC.

3,000 years prior to this, the unification of what are now termed Upper and Lower Egypt, occurred and the region was instead referred to by its ancient people as km.t, often styled today as Kemet meaning ‘the black land’.

 

What is now referred to as the First Dynasty of Pharaohs began around the time of this unification. Like much in ancient history there is debate over who exactly should be considered the first in this lineage, but many site the King Narmer.

 

The symbolism and identity of Narmer is complex. Depictions of him exist in both European and sub-Saharan African phenotypes. He also goes by the name Menes, a title seemingly conferred after his conquest and unification of the region. His name in hieroglyphics is depicted with the use of a fish. He is sometimes referred to as ‘the first man’, although alike to George Washington being named the ‘First President of the Congressional United Sates’, in reality both had predecessors.

 

 

The Pyramid complex at Giza

 The Pyramid complex at Giza

 

 

Pyramids

Pyramid complexes have now been discovered all over the world, with some claiming their existence buried beneath the snow and ice of Antarctica.

 

The most well reputed single example is the eight sided structure at the Giza plateau known as the Great Pyramid, also sometimes referred to as Khufu’s Pyramid after the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh. This claim is based upon the discovery of his name scrawled into an area of one of the upper chambers within the construction, although its validity as a method of authentication, as well as those that the construction was intended as a tomb for the King, are much disputed.

 

With time, greater understanding and a broader set of expertise brought to bear than that of archaeologists and historians alone, a possible technological function of these ancient megaliths has been brought into question.

 

The perfection of their geometry, their geographical placements not just regionally but across continents, their use of sandstone, a substance known to have electro-magnetic properties, the precision with which such massive structures were not only constructed but their constituent stones quarried, manoeuvred and positioned.

 

Is it possible that the pyramids form part of an ancient power system whose ability to draw and channel electricity from the atmosphere preceded Nikola Tesla’s demonstration of how to do the same by thousands of years?

 

 

 

Egyptian Falcon Crêpe de Chine Scarf

Egyptian Falcon Crêpe de Chine Scarf

 

 

 

Cosmology

At the beginning, according to the Heliopolitan cosmology, there was Nun, the primordial ocean in which germs of all things floated.

 

Nun was a formless mass or lake of chaos and darkness. By an effort of his will, Atum "stood up out of Nun and rose above the water; thereupon the Sun came into being, the Light was, and Atum, duplicated and made external to the primordial Water, took the name of Ra"

 

The sun god Ra, then, became visible after being invisible. Although the sun emerged from the chaos, its origin was not known. It came into being out of itself. "The unique deity was not the visible sun which has always existed. It was omnipresent, and the entire earth lived, rejoiced and flourished in its light "

 

As a representative of order, Ra conquered chaos through the creation of the universe. After the creation was completed, all chaotic factors and negative forces retreated to the marginal borders of that ordered universe.

 

Ra, having no female companion then self-divided into Shu (Air), Lord of Dryness and Tefnet (Water), Goddess of humidity and moisture. From their union, indicating an association of divinity with incest that later earthly rulers would emulate, a further divine couple were created, Geb (Earth) and Nut (Sky).

 

It is from this union of Earth & Sky that the sociological generation of the Great Ennead comes, in the form of Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.

 

 

 The Weighing of the Heart Ceremony

 The Weighing of the Heart Ceremony

 

 

The Gods

Osirian mythology indicates the changing relations from the natural cosmology into the social or human, perhaps more specifically cosmology of the ‘man-made’.

 

The anthropomorphic story of the ritual slaying of Osiris by his brother Seth, his body dismembered and cast into the sea to be gathered and resurrected by his sister-wife-goddess Isis to become the ruler of the after world and judge of the dead, serves to define ongoing social elements in a union of opposites such as love/hate, war/peace, honesty/deceit, prosperity/poverty, immortality/mortality, light/darkness.

 

Sometimes also included in the Great Ennead is the warrior god Horus, born of the union of the slain Osiris and his sister-wife Isis whilst she strangely took the form of a bird rather than a human woman. Such themes of bestiality within a spiritual narrative are always rather peculiarly accepted as some quirky nonsense and remain devoid of intelligent explanation.

 

A whole pantheon of lesser gods were then formed to include Sekhmet, Anubis, Thoth, and Hathor being some of the more prominent. All take association with celestial aspects as well as their earthly counterparts.

 

 

Eye of Horus Cuff Links

Eye of Horus Cuff Links

 

Legacy

Egypt became a Hellenistic kingdom under Ptolemy I in 304/5 BC with its capital Alexandria becoming the centre of all Greek culture until the death of Cleopatra when the region fell under Roman rule.

 

However, to this day can be found all manner of legacy from Hellenistic culture, through styles of sculpture, the use of gymnasia, the Olympic Games, theatrical productions, and higher seats of learning, to include the entirety of the Greek fraternal system.

 

This order of allegiance to brother and sisterhood permeates the North American Universities and others and via its alumni the very fabric of the Western World and beyond in all spheres of influence. The Greco-Egyptian aspect is evident in what are termed ‘Black Greeks’, including among others the Alpha Phi Alpha and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

 

The former whose colours are old gold and black produce a publication called The Sphinx, while the latter is the oldest fraternal order of its kind and has a sphinx as the major component of its emblem.

 

 The Mask of Tutankhamun

 The Mask of Tutankhamun

 

 

Physical remains

The physical remnants of the ancient Egyptians are the literal and archetypal treasure trove for the archaeologist. From the unparalleled discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun and his now instantly recognisable gold mask, the ruins of cities along the Nile, such as Thebes, Memphis and Heliopolis, with the Obelisks, statues and temples therein to the technology not just used for construction but for agriculture, astronomy, textiles, writing, medicine, food preparation & storage, hygiene, and beauty.

 

Walk like an Egyptian? We do near everything like an Egyptian!

 

 

Egyptian Scarab Pendant

Egyptian Scarab Pendant

 

 

 

 


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