Nephthys or Nebthet or Nebet-Het is a goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. A member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis in Egyptian mythology, she was a daughter of Geb. Nephthys was paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Set. Nephthys is the Greek form of an epithet; the origin of the goddess Nephthys is unclear but the literal translation of her name is given as "Lady of the House", which has caused some to mistakenly identify her with the notion of a "housewife", or as the primary lady who ruled a domestic household. This is a pervasive error repeated in many commentaries concerning this deity, her name means quite "Lady of the Enclosure" which associates her with the role of priestess. This title, which may be more of an epithet describing her function than a given name indicates the association of Nephthys with one particular temple or some specific aspect of the Egyptian temple ritual. Along with her sister Isis, Nephthys represented the temple pylon or trapezoidal tower gateway entrance to the temple which displayed the flagstaff.
This entrance way symbolised the akhet. At the time of the Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts, Nephthys appears as a goddess of the Heliopolitan Ennead, she is companion of the war-like deity, Set. As sister of Isis and Osiris, Nephthys is a protective goddess who symbolizes the death experience, just as Isis represented the birth experience. Nephthys was known in some ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the "Useful Goddess" or the "Excellent Goddess"; these late Ancient Egyptian temple texts describe a goddess who represented divine assistance and protective guardianship. Nephthys is regarded as the mother of the funerary-deity Anubis in some myths. Alternatively Anubis appears as the son of Isis; as the primary "nursing mother" of the incarnate Pharaonic-god, Nephthys was considered to be the nurse of the reigning Pharaoh himself. Though other goddesses could assume this role, Nephthys was most portrayed in this function. In contrast Nephthys is sometimes featured as a rather ferocious and dangerous divinity, capable of incinerating the enemies of the Pharaoh with her fiery breath.
New Kingdom Ramesside Pharaohs, in particular, were enamored of Mother Nephthys, as is attested in various stelae and a wealth of inscriptions at Karnak and Luxor, where Nephthys was a member of that great city's Ennead and her altars were present in the massive complex. Nephthys was paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Set. Less well understood than her sister Isis, Nephthys was no less important in Egyptian Religion as confirmed by the work of E. Hornung, along with the work of several noted scholars. "Ascend and descend. Ascend and descend. Pyramid Text Utterance 222 line 210. In the funerary role, Nephthys was depicted as a kite, or as a woman with falcon wings outstretched as a symbol of protection. Nephthys's association with the kite or the Egyptian hawk evidently reminded the ancients of the lamentations offered for the dead by wailing women. In this capacity, it is easy to see how Nephthys could be associated with death and putrefaction in the Pyramid Texts.
She was without fail, depicted as crowned by the hieroglyphics signifying her name, which were a combination of signs for the sacred temple enclosure, along with the sign for neb, or mistress, on top of the enclosure sign. Nephthys was viewed as a morbid-but-crucial force of heavenly transition, i.e. the Pharaoh becomes strong for his journey to the afterlife through the intervention of Isis and Nephthys. The same divine power could be applied to all of the dead, who were advised to consider Nephthys a necessary companion. According to the Pyramid Texts, along with Isis, was a force before whom demons trembled in fear, whose magical spells were necessary for navigating the various levels of Duat, as the region of the afterlife was termed. Though it has been assumed that Nephthys was married to Set and they have a son Anubis, recent Egyptological research has called this into question. Levai notes that while Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride mentions the deity's marriage, there is little linking Nephthys and Set in the original early Egyptian sources.
She argues that the evidence suggests that: while Nephthys's marriage to Set was a part of Egyptian mythology, it was not a part of the myth of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. She was not paired with Set the villain, but with Set's other aspect, the benevolent figure, the killer of Apophis; this was the aspect of Set worshiped in the western oases during the Roman period, where he is depicted with Nephthys as co-ruler. It is Nephthys who assists Isis in gathering and mourning the dismembered portions of the body of Osiris, after his murder by the envious Set. Nephthys serves as the nursemaid and watchful guardian of the infant Horus; the Pyramid Texts refer to Isis as the "birth-mother" and to Nephthys as the "nursing-mother" of Horus. Nephthys was attested as one of the four "Great Chiefs" ruling in the Osirian cult-center of Busiris, in the Delta and she appears to have occupied an honorary position at the holy city of Abydos. No cult is attested for her there, though she figured as a goddess of great importance in the annual rites conducted, wher
Set or Seth is a god of chaos, the desert, disorder and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion. In Ancient Greek, the god's name is given as Sēth. Set had a positive role where he accompanies Ra on his solar boat to repel Apep, the serpent of Chaos. Set had a vital role as a reconciled combatant, he was lord of the red land. In the Osiris myth, the most important Egyptian myth, Set is portrayed as the usurper who killed and mutilated his own brother Osiris. Osiris's wife Isis reassembled his corpse and resurrected her dead husband long enough to conceive his son and heir Horus. Horus sought revenge upon Set, the myths describe their conflicts. Set is the son of the Earth and Nut, the Sky, he fathered Anubis. The meaning of the name Set is unknown but it is thought to have been pronounced *sūtiẖ based on spellings of his name in Egyptian hieroglyphs as stẖ and swtẖ; the Late Egyptian spelling stš reflects the palatalization of ẖ while the eventual loss of the final consonant is recorded in spellings like swtj.
The Coptic form of the name, ⲥⲏⲧ Sēt, is the basis for the English vocalization. In art, Set is depicted as an enigmatic creature referred to by Egyptologists as the Set animal, a beast resembling no known creature, although it could be seen as a composite of an aardvark, a donkey, a jackal, or a fennec fox; the animal has a curved snout, long rectangular ears, a thin forked tail and canine body, with sprouted fur tufts in an inverted arrow shape. Some early Egyptologists proposed that it was a stylised representation of the giraffe, owing to the large flat-topped "horns" which correspond to a giraffe's ossicones; the Egyptians themselves, made a distinction between the giraffe and the Set animal. During the Late Period, Set is depicted as a donkey or as having a donkey's head; the earliest representations of what might be the Set animal comes from a tomb dating to the Amratian culture of prehistoric Egypt, though this identification is uncertain. If these are ruled out the earliest Set animal appears on a ceremonial macehead of Scorpion II, a ruler of the Naqada III phase.
The head and the forked tail of the Set animal are present. A major element of Set's mythology was his conflict with his brother or nephew, for the throne of Egypt; the contest between them is violent but is described as a legal judgment before the Ennead, an assembled group of Egyptian deities, to decide who should inherit the kingship. The judge in this trial may be Geb, who, as the father of Osiris and Set, held the throne before they did, or it may be the creator gods Ra or Atum, the originators of kingship. Other deities take important roles: Thoth acts as a conciliator in the dispute or as an assistant to the divine judge, in "Contendings", Isis uses her cunning and magical power to aid her son; the rivalry of Horus and Set is portrayed in two contrasting ways. Both perspectives appear as early as the earliest source of the myth. In some spells from these texts, Horus is the son of Osiris and nephew of Set, the murder of Osiris is the major impetus for the conflict; the other tradition depicts Set as brothers.
This incongruity persists in many of the subsequent sources, where the two gods may be called brothers or uncle and nephew at different points in the same text. The divine struggle involves many episodes. "Contendings" describes the two gods appealing to various other deities to arbitrate the dispute and competing in different types of contests, such as racing in boats or fighting each other in the form of hippopotami, to determine a victor. In this account, Horus defeats Set and is supported by most of the other deities, yet the dispute drags on for eighty years because the judge, the creator god, favors Set. In late ritual texts, the conflict is characterized as a great battle involving the two deities' assembled followers; the strife in the divine realm extends beyond the two combatants. At one point Isis attempts to harpoon Set as he is locked in combat with her son, but she strikes Horus instead, who cuts off her head in a fit of rage. Thoth replaces Isis's head with that of a cow. In a key episode in the conflict, Set sexually abuses Horus.
Set's violation is meant to degrade his rival, but it involves homosexual desire, in keeping with one of Set's major characteristics, his forceful and indiscriminate sexuality. In the earliest account of this episode, in a fragmentary Middle Kingdom papyrus, the sexual encounter begins when Set asks to have sex with Horus, who agrees on the condition that Set will give Horus some of his strength; the encounter puts Horus in danger, because in Egyptian tradition semen is a potent and dangerous substance, akin to poison. According to some texts, Set's semen enters Horus's body and makes him ill, but in "Contendings", Horus thwarts Set by catching Set's semen in his hands. Isis retaliates by putting Horus's semen on lettuce-leaves. Set's defeat becomes apparent, he has been impregnated as a result "gives birth" to the disk. In "Contendings", Thoth places it on his own head. Another important epis
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt following a period of political division known as the First Intermediate Period. The Middle Kingdom lasted from around 2050 BC to around 1710 BC, stretching from the reunification of Egypt under the reign of Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Twelfth Dynasty; the Eleventh Dynasty ruled from Thebes and the Twelfth Dynasty ruled from el-Lisht. Some scholars include the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt wholly into this period as well, in which case the Middle Kingdom would finish around 1650, while others only include it until Merneferre Ay around 1700 BC, last king of this dynasty to be attested in both Upper and Lower Egypt. During the Middle Kingdom period, Osiris became the most important deity in popular religion; the Middle Kingdom was followed by the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt, another period of division that involved foreign invasions of the country by the Hyksos of West Asia. After the collapse of the Old Kingdom, Egypt entered a period of weak Pharaonic power and decentralization called the First Intermediate Period.
Towards the end of this period, two rival dynasties, known in Egyptology as the Tenth and Eleventh, fought for power over the entire country. The Theban Eleventh Dynasty only ruled southern Egypt from the first cataract to the Tenth Nome of Upper Egypt. To the north, Lower Egypt was ruled by the rival Tenth Dynasty from Herakleopolis; the struggle was to be concluded by Mentuhotep II, who ascended the Theban throne in 2055 BC. During Mentuhotep II's fourteenth regnal year, he took advantage of a revolt in the Thinite Nome to launch an attack on Herakleopolis, which met little resistance. After toppling the last rulers of the Tenth Dynasty, Mentuhotep began consolidating his power over all Egypt, a process which he finished by his 39th regnal year. For this reason, Mentuhotep II is regarded as the founder of the Middle Kingdom. Mentuhotep II commanded petty campaigns south as far as the Second Cataract in Nubia, which had gained its independence during the First Intermediate Period, he restored Egyptian hegemony over the Sinai region, lost to Egypt since the end of the Old Kingdom.
To consolidate his authority, he restored the cult of the ruler, depicting himself as a god in his own lifetime, wearing the headdresses of Amun and Min. He died after a reign of 51 years, passed the throne to his son, Mentuhotep III. Mentuhotep III reigned for only twelve years, during which he continued consolidating Theban rule over the whole of Egypt, building a series of forts in the eastern Delta region to secure Egypt against threats from Asia, he sent the first expedition to Punt during the Middle Kingdom, by means of ships constructed at the end of Wadi Hammamat, on the Red Sea. Mentuhotep III was succeeded by Mentuhotep IV, whose name is omitted from all ancient Egyptian king lists; the Turin Papyrus claims that after Mentuhotep III came "seven kingless years". Despite this absence, his reign is attested from a few inscriptions in Wadi Hammamat that record expeditions to the Red Sea coast and to quarry stone for the royal monuments; the leader of this expedition was his vizier Amenemhat, assumed to be the future pharaoh Amenemhet I, the first king of the Twelfth Dynasty.
Mentuhotep IV's absence from the king lists has prompted the theory that Amenemhet I usurped his throne. While there are no contemporary accounts of this struggle, certain circumstantial evidence may point to the existence of a civil war at the end of the 11th dynasty. Inscriptions left by one Nehry, the Haty-a of Hermopolis, suggest that he was attacked at a place called Shedyet-sha by the forces of the reigning king, but his forces prevailed. Khnumhotep I, an official under Amenemhet I, claims to have participated in a flotilla of 20 ships to pacify Upper Egypt. Donald Redford has suggested these events should be interpreted as evidence of open war between two dynastic claimants. What is certain is that, however he came to power, Amenemhet I was not of royal birth. From the Twelfth Dynasty onwards, pharaohs kept well-trained standing armies, which included Nubian contingents; these formed the basis of larger forces which were raised for defence against invasion, or for expeditions up the Nile or across the Sinai.
However, the Middle Kingdom was defensive in its military strategy, with fortifications built at the First Cataract of the Nile, in the Delta and across the Sinai Isthmus. Early in his reign, Amenemhet I was compelled to campaign in the Delta region, which had not received as much attention as upper Egypt during the 11th Dynasty. In addition, he strengthened defenses between Egypt and Asia, building the Walls of the Ruler in the East Delta region. In response to this perpetual unrest, Amenemhat I built a new capital for Egypt in the north, known as Amenemhet Itj Tawy, or Amenemhet, Seizer of the Two Lands; the location of this capital is unknown, but is near the city's necropolis, the present-day el-Lisht. Like Mentuhotep II, Amenemhet bolstered his claim to authority with propaganda. In particular, the Prophecy of Neferty dates to about this time, which purports to be an oracle of an Old Kingdom priest, who predicts a king, Amenemhet I, arising from the far south of Egypt to restore the kingdom after centuries of chaos.
Propaganda notwithstanding, Amenemhet never held the absolute power commanded in theory by the Old Kingdom pharaohs. During the First Intermediate Period, the governors of the nomes of Egypt, gained considerable power, their posts had become hereditary, some nomarchs entered into marriage alliances with the nomarchs of neighboring nomes. To strengthen his position, Amenemhet required registration of land, modified nome borders, appointed
In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet ( or Sachmis spelled Sakhmet, Sekhet, or Sakhet, among other spellings, is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She is depicted as the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians, it was said. She was led them in warfare. Sekhmet is a solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of Ra and associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bastet, she bears the Uraeus, which associates her with Wadjet and royalty, the solar disk. Sekhmet's name comes from the Ancient Egyptian word sekhem, which means "power or might". Sekhmet's name is thus translated as "the powerful or mighty", she was given titles such as the " Before Whom Evil Trembles", "Mistress of Dread", "Lady of Slaughter" and "She Who Mauls". In order to placate Sekhmet's wrath, her priestesses performed a ritual before a different statue of the goddess on each day of the year; this practice resulted in many images of the goddess being preserved. Most of her statuettes were rigidly crafted and do not exhibit any expression of movements or dynamism.
It is estimated that more than seven hundred statues of Sekhmet once stood in one funerary temple alone, that of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile. She was envisioned as a fierce lioness, in art, was depicted as such, or as a woman with the head of a lioness, dressed in red, the color of blood. Sometimes the dress she wears exhibits a rosetta pattern over each breast, an ancient leonine motif, which can be traced to observation of the shoulder-knot hairs on lions. Sekhmet was portrayed in her statuettes and engravings with minimal clothing or naked. Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet at Leontopolis. To pacify Sekhmet, festivals were celebrated at the end of battle, so that the destruction would come to an end. During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of wine ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess—when she destroyed humanity.
This may relate to averting excessive flooding during the inundation at the beginning of each year as well, when the Nile ran blood-red with the silt from up-stream and Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save humankind. In 2006, Betsy Bryan, an archaeologist with Johns Hopkins University excavating at the temple of Mut presented her findings about the festival that included illustrations of the priestesses being served to excess and its adverse effects being ministered to by temple attendants. Participation in the festival was great, including the population. Historical records of tens of thousands attending the festival exist; these findings were made in the temple of Mut because when Thebes rose to greater prominence, Mut absorbed some characteristics of Sekhmet. These temple excavations at Luxor discovered a "porch of drunkenness" built onto the temple by the Pharaoh Hatshepsut, during the height of her twenty-year reign. In a myth about the end of Ra's rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathor as Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him.
In the myth, Sekhmet's blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or hematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra; the same myth was described in the prognosis texts of the Calendar of Lucky and Unlucky Days of papyrus Cairo 86637, where the actions of Sekhmet, Horus, Ra and Wadjet were connected to the eclipsing binary Algol. Sekhmet was considered to be the mother of Maahes, a deity who appeared during the New Kingdom period, he was seen as the son of the goddess. The late origin of Maahes in the Egyptian pantheon may be the incorporation of a Nubian deity of ancient origin in that culture, arriving during trade and warfare or during a period of domination by Nubia. During the Greek dominance in Egypt, note was made of a temple for Maahes, an auxiliary facility to a large temple to Sekhmet at Taremu in the delta region, a city which the Greeks called Leontopolis, where by that time, an enclosure was provided to house lions.
Germond, Philippe. Sekhmet et la protection du monde. Editions de Belles-Lettres. Hoenes, Sigrid-Eike. Untersuchungen zu Wesen und Kult der Göttin Sachmet. R. Habelt Verlag. von Känel, Frédérique. Les prêtres-ouâb de Sekhmet et les conjurateurs de Serket. Presses Universitaires de France. Ancient Egypt: the Mythology - Sekhmet "Egyptian Temple Yields 17 Statues of Lion-Headed Goddess" Archaeologists working in Luxor, have unearthed 17 statues of an ancient Egyptian goddess with the head of a lion and the body of a woman. March 14, 2006 "Archaeologists discover 66 statues of Sekhmet buried to ward off evil from the temple of Amenhotep III" March 8, 2017
The Pyramid Texts are the oldest known corpus of ancient Egyptian religious texts dating to the Old Kingdom. Written in Old Egyptian, the pyramid texts were carved onto the subterranean walls and sarcophagi of pyramids at Saqqara from the end of the Fifth Dynasty, throughout the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, into the Eighth Dynasty of the First Intermediate Period; the oldest of the texts have been dated to c. 2400–2300 BC. Unlike the Coffin Texts and Book of the Dead, the pyramid texts were reserved only for the pharaoh and were not illustrated. Following the earlier Palermo Stone, the pyramid texts mark the next-oldest known mention of Osiris, who would become the most important deity associated with afterlife in the Ancient Egyptian religion; the use and occurrence of pyramid texts changed between the Old and New Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt. During the Old Kingdom, pyramid texts could be found in the pyramids of kings as well as three queens named Wedjebten and Iput. During the Middle Kingdom, pyramid texts were not written in the pyramids of the pharaohs, but the traditions of the pyramid spells continued to be practiced.
In the New Kingdom, pyramid texts could now be found on tombs of officials. French archaeologist and Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, director of the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, arrived in Egypt in 1880, he chose a site in South Saqqara, a hill, mapped by the Prussian Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius in the prior decades, for his first archaeological dig. There, Maspero found the ruins of a large structure, which he concluded must be the pyramid of Pepi I of the Sixth Dynasty. During the excavations he was able to gain access to the subterranean rooms, discovered that the walls of the structure were covered in hieroglyphic text. Maspero contacted the then'director of the excavations' in Egypt, Auguste Mariette, to inform him of the discovery, though Mariette concluded that the structure must be a mastaba as no writing had been discovered in a pyramid. Maspero continued his excavations at a second structure, around a kilometre south-west of the first, in search of more evidence.
This second structure was determined to be the pyramid of Pepi I's successor. In it, Maspero discovered the same hieroglyphic text on the walls he'd found in Pepi I's pyramid, the mummy of a man in the sarcophagus of the burial chamber; this time, he visited Mariette though he rejected the findings, stating on his deathbed that "n thirty years of Egyptian excavations I have never seen a pyramid whose underground rooms had hieroglyphs written on their walls." Throughout 1881, Maspero continued to direct investigations of other sites in Saqqara, more texts were found in each of the pyramids of Unas and Pepi II. Maspero began publishing his findings in the Recuils des Travaux from 1882, continued to be involved in the excavations of the pyramid in which the texts had been found until 1886. Maspero published the first corpora of the text in 1894 in French under the title Les inscriptions des pyramides de Saqqarah. Translations were made by German Egyptologist Kurt Heinrich Sethe to German in 1908–1910 in Die altägyptischen Pyramidentexte.
The concordance that Sethe published is considered to be the standard version of the texts. Samuel A. B. Mercer published a translation into English of Sethe's work in 1952. British Egyptologist Raymond O. Faulkner presented the texts in English in 1969 in The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts; the first systematic investigations of Pepi II and his wives' – Neith, Iput II, Wedjebetni – pyramids was conducted by Gustave Jéquier between 1926 and 1932. Jéquier conducted the excavations of Qakare Ibi's pyramid, he published the complete corpus of texts found in these five pyramids. Since 1958, expeditions under the directions of Jean-Philippe Lauer, Jean Sainte-Fare Garnot, Jean Leclant have undertaken a major restoration project of the pyramids belonging to Teti, Pepi I, Merenre I, as well as the pyramid of Unas. By 1999, the pyramid of Pepi had been opened to the public, the debris cleared away from the pyramid while research continued under the direction of Audran Labrousse; the corpus of pyramid texts in Pepi I's pyramid were published in 2001.
In 2010, the texts were discovered in Behenu's tomb. To date, the Pyramid Texts have been discovered in the pyramids of pharaohs: Unas: Teti: Pepi I: Merenre I: Pepi II: Qakare Ibi: and in the pyramids of queens: Akhesenpepi II, wife of Pepi I Neith, wife of Pepi II Iput II, wife of Pepi II Wedjebetni, wife of Pepi II Behenu, probable wife of Pepi II The spells, or utterances, of the Pyramid Texts were concerned with enabling the transformation of the deceased into an Akh; the spells of the Pyramid Texts are divided into two broad categories: Sacerdotal texts and Personal texts. The sacerdotal texts are ritual in nature, were conducted by the lector priest addressing the deceased in the second person, they consist of offering spells, short spells recited in the presentation of an offering, recitations which are predominantly instructional. These texts appear in the Offering and Insignia Rituals, the Resurrection Ritual, in the four pyramids containing the Morning Ritual; the writing in these texts indicates that they originated around the time of the Second and Third Dynasties.
The remaining texts are personal, are broadly concerned with guiding the spirit out of the tomb, into new life. They consist of provisioning and apotropaic –
Ptolemy III Euergetes
Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt from 246 to 222 BC. Euergetes was the eldest son of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his first wife, Arsinoe I, came to power in 246 BC upon the death of his father, he married Berenice of Cyrene in the year corresponding to 244/243 BC. 246/245 BC. She married her brother Ptolemy IV. Ptolemy IV Philopator, born c. 244 BC. Lysimachus; the name of the son is not known, but he is said to have been born in c. 243 BC. Alexander, born in c. 242 BC. Magas, born in c. 241 BC. Scalded to death in his bath by Theogos or Theodotus, at the orders of Ptolemy IV. Berenice born in c. 239 BC and died a year later. Ptolemy III Euergetes was responsible for the first known example of a series of decrees published as bilingual inscriptions on massive stone blocks in three writing systems, his stone stela is the Canopus Stone of 238 BC. Other well-known examples are the Memphis Stele, bearing the Decree of Memphis, about 218 BC, passed by his son, Ptolemy IV, as well as the famous Rosetta Stone erected by Ptolemy Epiphanes, his grandson, in 196 BC.
Ptolemy III's stone contains decrees about priestly orders, is a memorial for his daughter Berenice. But two of its 26 lines of hieroglyphs decree the use of a leap day added to the Egyptian calendar of 365 days, the associated changes in festivals, he is credited with the foundation of the Serapeum, as well as the temple of Horus at Edfu, which he commissioned in about 237 BC, although the main temple would not be finished until the reign of his son, Ptolemy IV, in 231 BC, it would not be opened until 142 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy VIII. The reliefs on the great pylon were only completed in the reign of Ptolemy XII. He, like many Pharaohs before him added to the Temple of Karnak, he maintained his father's foreign policy of subduing Macedonia by supporting its enemies. Ptolemy backed the Achaean League, a collaboration of Greek city-states, enemies of Macedonia, but switched his support to Sparta when it came into conflict with the Achaean League and proved itself more apt to fighting the Macedonians.
He was more liberal towards Egyptian religion than his predecessors. He supported and contributed towards various cults those of the Apis and Mnevis Bulls, as is stated in the Canopus Decree of 238 BC, in which the Egyptian priesthood praise him and his wife as "Benefactor Gods" for this religious support, as well as for maintaining peace by strong national security, for good governance, including when he imported, at his own expense, a vast amount of grain to compensate for a weak inundation; the Ptolemaic kingdom reached the height of its power during this reign. He continued his predecessor's work on Alexandria in the Great Library, he had every book unloaded in the Alexandria docks seized, had copies made of each one, gave the copies to the previous owners while the original copies were kept in the Library. It is said that he borrowed works of Aeschylus and Euripides from Athens, but decided to forfeit the considerable deposit he paid for them, keeping them for the Library rather than returning them.
Due to a falling out at the Seleucid court, Ptolemy's eldest sister Berenice Phernophorus was murdered along with her infant son. In response Ptolemy III invaded the Seleucid Empire, today known as Iraq, among other nations at the time. During this war, the Third Syrian War, he occupied Antioch and reached Babylon. In exchange for a peace in 241 BC, Ptolemy was awarded new territories on the northern coast of Syria, including Seleucia Pieria, the port of Antioch. From this capture he received fifteen hundred talents of silver a tenth of his annual income. During his involvement in the Third Syrian War, he managed to regain many Egyptian works of art, stolen when the Persians conquered Egypt. While he was away fighting, he left his wife Berenice II in charge of the country, but swiftly returned when trouble erupted there. New insights of Ptolemy III's sudden return include papyri describing how the Nile river didn't flood for several years, resulting in famine, a 20-year revolt against Greek rule in Thebes, climate proxy studies which suggest changes of the monsoon pattern at the time, all linked to a volcanic eruption which took place in 247 BC.
Ptolemy III's reign was marked by trade with other contemporaneous polities. In the 1930s, excavations by Mattingly at a fortress close to Port Dunford in present-day southern Somalia yielded a number of Ptolemaic coins. Among these pieces were 17 copper mints from the reigns of Ptolemy III to Ptolemy V, as well as late Imperial Rome and Mamluk Sultanate coins. History of Ptolemaic Egypt Ptolemais - towns and cities named after members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Decree of Canopus Clayton, Peter A.. Chronicles of the Pharaohs: the reign-by-reign record of the rulers and dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28628-0. Ptolemy Euergetes I at LacusCurtius — Ptolemy III — Ptolemy III Euergetes entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith Bust of Ptolemy III from Herculaneum - now in the Museo Nazionale, Naples
Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphs combined logographic and alphabetic elements, with a total of some 1,000 distinct characters. Cursive hieroglyphs were used for religious literature on papyrus and wood; the hieratic and demotic Egyptian scripts were derived from hieroglyphic writing, as was the Proto-Siniatic script that evolved into the Phoenician alphabet. Through the Phoenician alphabet's major child systems, the Greek and Aramaic scripts, the Egyptian hieroglyphic script is ancestral to the majority of scripts in modern use, most prominently the Latin and Cyrillic scripts and the Arabic script and Brahmic family of scripts; the use of hieroglyphic writing arose from proto-literate symbol systems in the Early Bronze Age, around the 32nd century BC, with the first decipherable sentence written in the Egyptian language dating to the Second Dynasty. Egyptian hieroglyphs developed into a mature writing system used for monumental inscription in the classical language of the Middle Kingdom period.
The use of this writing system continued through the New Kingdom and Late Period, on into the Persian and Ptolemaic periods. Late survivals of hieroglyphic use are found well into the Roman period, extending into the 4th century AD. With the final closing of pagan temples in the 5th century, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was lost. Although attempts were made, the script remained undeciphered throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern period; the decipherment of hieroglyphic writing would only be accomplished in the 1820s by Jean-François Champollion, with the help of the Rosetta Stone. The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek adjective ἱερογλυφικός, a compound of ἱερός and γλύφω; the glyphs themselves since the Ptolemaic period were called τὰ ἱερογλυφικὰ "the sacred engraved letters", the Greek counterpart to the Egyptian expression of mdw.w-nṯr "god's words". Greek ἱερογλυφός meant "a carver of hieroglyphs". In English, hieroglyph as a noun is recorded from 1590 short for nominalised hieroglyphic, from adjectival use.
Hieroglyphs may have emerged from the preliterate artistic traditions of Egypt. For example, symbols on Gerzean pottery from c. 4000 BC have been argued to resemble hieroglyphic writing. Proto-hieroglyphic symbol systems develop in the second half of the 4th millennium BC, such as the clay labels of a Predynastic ruler called "Scorpion I" recovered at Abydos in 1998 or the Narmer Palette; the first full sentence written in mature hieroglyphs so far discovered was found on a seal impression found in the tomb of Seth-Peribsen at Umm el-Qa'ab, which dates from the Second Dynasty. There are around 800 hieroglyphs dating back to the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Eras. By the Greco-Roman period, there are more than 5,000. Geoffrey Sampson stated that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script, invented under the influence of the latter", that it is "probable that the general idea of expressing words of a language in writing was brought to Egypt from Sumerian Mesopotamia".
There are many instances of early Egypt-Mesopotamia relations, but given the lack of direct evidence for the transfer of writing, "no definitive determination has been made as to the origin of hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt". Instead, it is pointed out and held that "the evidence for such direct influence remains flimsy” and that “a credible argument can be made for the independent development of writing in Egypt..." Since the 1990s, the discoveries of glyphs at Abydos, dated to between 3400 and 3200 BCE, may challenge the classical notion according to which the Mesopotamian symbol system predates the Egyptian one, although Egyptian writing does make a sudden apparition at that time, while on the contrary Mesopotamia has an evolutionnary history of sign usage in tokens dating back to circa 8000 BCE. Hieroglyphs consist of three kinds of glyphs: phonetic glyphs, including single-consonant characters that function like an alphabet; as writing developed and became more widespread among the Egyptian people, simplified glyph forms developed, resulting in the hieratic and demotic scripts.
These variants were more suited than hieroglyphs for use on papyrus. Hieroglyphic writing was not, eclipsed, but existed alongside the other forms in monumental and other formal writing; the Rosetta Stone contains three parallel scripts – hieroglyphic and Greek. Hieroglyphs continued to be used under Persian rule, after Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt, during the ensuing Ptolemaic and Roman periods, it appears that the misleading quality of comments from Greek and Roman writers about hieroglyphs came about, at least in part, as a response to the changed political situation. Some believed that hieroglyphs may have functioned as a way to distinguish'true Egyptians' from some of the foreign conquerors. Another reason may be the refusal to tackle a foreign culture on its own terms, which characterized Greco-Roman approaches to Egyptian culture generally. Having learned that hieroglyphs were sacred writing, Greco-Roman authors imagined the complex but rational system as an allegorical magical, system transmitting secre