Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt
The Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt is the third and last dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom period, lasting from 1189 BC to 1077 BC. The 19th and 20th Dynasties furthermore together constitute an era known as the Ramesside period. Upon the death of the last pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, Queen Twosret, Egypt descended into a period of civil war, as attested by the Elephantine stela built by Setnakhte; the circumstances of Twosret's demise are uncertain, as she may have died peacefully during her reign or been overthrown by Setnakhte, already middle aged at the time. A consistent theme of this dynasty was the loss of pharaonic power to the High Priests of Amun. Horemheb, a pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, had restored the traditional Ancient Egyptian religion and the priesthood of Amun after their abandonment by Akhenaten. With the High Priests now acting as intermediaries between the gods and the people, rather than the pharaoh, the position of pharaoh no longer commanded the same kind of power as it had in the past.
Setnakhte stabilized the situation in Egypt, may have driven off an attempted invasion by the Sea Peoples. He ruled for about 4 years before being succeeded by his son Ramesses III. In Year 5 of his reign, Ramesses defeated a Libyan invasion of Egypt by the Libu and Seped people through Marmarica, who had unsuccessfully invaded during the reign of Merneptah. Ramesses III is most famous for decisively defeating a confederacy of the Sea Peoples, including the Denyen, Peleset and Weshesh in the Battle of the Delta and the Battle of Djahy during Year 8 of his reign. Within the Papyrus Harris I, which attests these events in detail, Ramesses is said to have settled the defeated Sea Peoples in "strongholds", most located in Canaan, as his subjects. In Year 11 of Ramesses' reign, another coalition of Libyan invaders was defeated in Egypt. Between regnal Year 12 and Year 29, a systematic program of reorganization of the varied cults of the Ancient Egyptian religion was undertaken, by creating and funding new cults and restoring temples.
In Year 29 of Ramesses' reign, the first recorded labor strike in human history took place, after food rations for the favored and elite royal tomb builders and artisans in the village of Set Maat, could not be provisioned. The reign of Ramesses III is known for a harem conspiracy in which Queen Tiye, one of his lesser wives, was implicated in an assassination attempt against the king, with the goal of putting her son Pentawer on the throne; the coup was unsuccessful, as while the king died from the attempt on his life, his legitimate heir and son Ramesses IV succeeded him to the throne and putting 30 conspirators to death. At the start of his reign Ramesses IV started an enormous building program on the scale of Ramesses the Great's own projects, he doubled the number of work gangs at Set Maat to a total of 120 men and dispatched numerous expeditions to the stone quarries of Wadi Hammamat and the turquoise mines of the Sinai. One of the largest expeditions included 8,368 men. Ramesses expanded his father's Temple of Khonsu at Karnak and began his own mortuary temple at a site near the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Another smaller temple is associated with Ramesses north of Medinet Habu. Ramesses IV saw issues with the provision of food rations to his workmen, similar to the situation under his father. Ramessesnakht, the High Priest of Amun at the time, began to accompany state officials as they went to pay the workmen their rations, suggesting that, at least in part, it was the Temple of Amun and not the Egyptian state, responsible for their wages, he produced the Papyrus Harris I, the longest known papyrus from Ancient Egypt, measuring in at 41 meters long with 1,500 lines of text to celebrate the achievements of his father. Ramesses V reigned for no more than 4 years, dying of smallpox in 1143 BC; the only monument attested to him is a stela near Gebel el-Silsila. The Turin Papyrus Cat. 2044 attests that during his reign the workmen of Set Maat were forced to periodically stop working on Ramesses' KV9 tomb out of "fear of the enemy", suggesting increasing instability in Egypt and an inability to defend the country from what are presumed to be Libyan raiding parties.
The Wilbour Papyrus is thought to date from Ramesses V's reign. The document reveals that most of the land in Egypt by that point was controlled by the Temple of Amun, that the Temple had complete control over Egypt's finances. Ramesses VI is best known for his tomb which, when built, inadvertently buried the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun underneath, keeping it safe from grave robbing until its discovery by Howard Carter in 1922. Ramesses VII's only monument is his tomb, KV1. Nothing is known about Ramesses VIII's reign, which lasted for a single year, he is only attested through a few plaques. The only monument from his reign is his modest tomb, used for Mentuherkhepeshef, son of Ramesses IX, rather than Ramesses VIII himself. During Year 16 and Year 17 of Ramesses IX's reign famous tomb robbery trials took place, as attested by the Abbott Papyrus. A careful examination by a vizierial commission was undertaken of ten royal tombs, four tombs of the Chantresses of the Estate of the Divine Adoratrix, the tombs of the citizens of Thebes.
Many of these were found to have been broken into, like the tomb of Pharaoh Sobekemsaf II, whose mummy had been stolen. Ramesses IX's cartouche has been found at Gezer in Canaan, suggesting that Egypt at this time still had some degree of influence in the region. Most of the building projects during Ramesses IX's reign were at Heliopolis. Ramessex X's reign is poorly d
Tomb KV3, located in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, was intended for the burial of an unidentified son of Pharaoh Ramesses III during the early part of the Twentieth Dynasty. It is similar in design to the "straight axis" tombs typical of this dynasty, an ostracon written in hieratic script from the time of Ramesses III mentions the founding of a tomb for a royal prince this tomb; the unfinished state of a couple of rooms in the tomb along with scant archeological evidence suggests that the tomb was never used. Some have suggested that it was intended for use by the prince regent who would succeed as Ramesses IV, who started building his own tomb soon after he came to the throne. In terms of its design it follows that used for tombs in the Valley of the Queens, its size reflects the effort that would have gone into burying a member of the royal family. Past the entrance to the tomb KV3 descends any further, a particular feature for other tombs built for other sons of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Queens.
There are two corridors which lead from the opening to the tomb, with the second passage flanked near the end by two chambers. Of these two chambers, only the one facing south was finished, the other one being only just begun when work on the tomb was abandoned. Past the second corridor is a larger room containing four pillars, flanked by two smaller rooms; the tomb is located on the main path, close to the entrance to the Valley. Only the side chamber to the north was finished, with work on the second one only just begun when work stopped. Past this room and running along the same axis as the corridor are three further rooms, the first two of which have vaulted ceilings. One of these two final vaulted chambers was intended as a burial chamber; the tomb is located on the main path, close to the entrance to the Valley. What tomb decoration that survives can be found only along the length and flanking gates on either end of corridor B; these show Rameses III attended by various gods and goddesses.
It is thought that more decoration once existed, since Karl Lepsius noted traces of paint on the vaulted chambers and mentions cartouches and images of Ramesses III in the first corridor when he visited the tomb in the 1840s. There is evidence. Though open since Ancient times, the tomb was only properly excavated in 1912 by archeologist Harry Burton, funded by the wealthy American lawyer Theodore M. Davis, it was one of the last excavations funded by Davis, no report of this excavation work was published. Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo Theban Mapping Project: KV3 - Includes description and plan of the tomb
Tomb KV5 is a subterranean, rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It belonged to the sons of Ramesses II. Though KV5 was excavated as early as 1825, its true extent was discovered in 1995 by Kent R. Weeks and his exploration team; the tomb is now known to be the largest in the Valley of the Kings. Weeks' discovery is considered the most dramatic in the valley since the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. Standing near the entrance to the Valley, KV5 was robbed in antiquity. In addition, over the centuries, it suffered the fate of other low-lying tombs, to be filled with rubble washed down in the flash floods that accompany thunderstorms over the Valley; the tomb was examined several times once exploration of the Valley in modern times started, first in 1825, in 1902. However, they were not able to penetrate past the first few rooms, thus saw nothing unusual about the tomb, it was not until the Theban Mapping Project, under Kent R. Weeks, decided to clear the tomb that the stage was set for the discovery of its true extent and nature.
Although the works had begun in 1987, the first substantial finding came in 1995, after extensive clearing in the outer chambers of the tomb: 70 rooms, lined along long corridors, running back into the hillside. The number of the rooms corresponds to the number of sons the Pharaoh sired; this discovery caused reignited popular interest in Egyptology. Findings so far include thousands of potshards, faience beads, hieratic ostraca, glass vials, inlays and a large statue of Osiris, the god of the afterlife. Further excavations have revealed that the tomb is larger than was first thought, as it contains more corridors, with more rooms, running off from other parts of the tomb. At least 130 rooms or chambers have been discovered as of 2006, work is still continuing on clearing the rest of the tomb. In the proximity to the tomb of Ramesses II, this tomb contained most of his children, both male and female, including those who died in his lifetime in particular; the skull fragments of Amun-her-khepeshef, among others, were reconstituted.
Kent R. Weeks, The Lost Tomb. New York: William Morrow, 1998. Includes a description of the discovery and excavation of KV5. ISBN 0-688-17224-5 Kent R. Weeks, KV 5: A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of the Tomb of the Sons of Ramesses II in the Valley of the Kings. Cairo: American University Press, 2000 ISBN 977-424-574-1 Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo, Dr M. Swales, Theban Mapping Project – Plan of the tomb and other details. KV5 Progress Reports – Considerable detail of the work performed each year
Usermaatre Ramesses III was the second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. He is thought to have reigned from 1186 to 1155 BC and is considered to be the last great monarch of the New Kingdom to wield any substantial authority over Egypt, his long reign saw the decline of Egyptian political and economic power, linked to a series of invasions and internal economic problems that plagued pharaohs before him. He has been described as "warrior Pharaoh" due to his strong military strategies, he has lead the way by defeating the invaders known as "the Sea People" who have caused destruction in other civilizations and empires. He was able to save Egypt from collapsing at the time when many other Empires fell during the Late Bronze Age, however the damage of the invasions took a toll on Egypt. Ramesses III was the son of Queen Tiy-Merenese, he was assassinated in the Harem conspiracy led by one of his secondary wives, her son Pentawer, a group of high officials. Ramesses' two main names transliterate as wsr-mꜢʿt-rʿ–mry-ỉmn rʿ-ms-s–ḥḳꜢ-ỉwnw.
They are realised as Usermaatre-Meryamun Rameses-Heqaiunu, meaning "The Ma'at of Ra is strong, Beloved of Amun, Born of Ra, Ruler of Heliopolis". Ramesses III is believed to have reigned from March 1186 to April 1155 BC; this is based on his known accession date of I Shemu day 26 and his death on Year 32 III Shemu day 15, for a reign of 31 years, 1 month and 19 days. Alternative dates for his reign are 1187–1156 BC. In a description of his coronation from Medinet Habu, four doves were said to be "dispatched to the four corners of the horizon to confirm that the living Horus, Ramses III, is in possession of his throne, that the order of Maat prevails in the cosmos and society". During his long tenure in the midst of the surrounding political chaos of the Greek Dark Ages, Egypt was beset by foreign invaders and experienced the beginnings of increasing economic difficulties and internal strife which would lead to the collapse of the Twentieth Dynasty. In Year 8 of his reign, the Sea Peoples, including Peleset, Shardana, Meshwesh of the sea, Tjekker, invaded Egypt by land and sea.
Ramesses III defeated them in two great sea battles. Although the Egyptians had a reputation as poor seamen, they fought tenaciously. Rameses lined the shores with ranks of archers who kept up a continuous volley of arrows into the enemy ships when they attempted to land on the banks of the Nile; the Egyptian navy attacked using grappling hooks to haul in the enemy ships. In the brutal hand-to-hand fighting which ensued, the Sea People were utterly defeated; the Harris Papyrus states: As for those who reached my frontier, their seed is not, their heart and their soul are finished forever and ever. As for those who came forward together on the seas, the full flame was in front of them at the Nile mouths, while a stockade of lances surrounded them on the shore, prostrated on the beach and made into heaps from head to tail. Ramesses III settled them in Southern Canaan, their presence in Canaan may have contributed to the formation of new states in this region such as Philistia after the collapse of the Egyptian Empire in Asia.
Ramesses III was compelled to fight invading Libyan tribesmen in two major campaigns in Egypt's Western Delta in his Year 5 and Year 11 respectively. The heavy cost of these battles exhausted Egypt's treasury and contributed to the gradual decline of the Egyptian Empire in Asia; the severity of these difficulties is stressed by the fact that the first known labour strike in recorded history occurred during Year 29 of Ramesses III's reign, when the food rations for the favoured and elite royal tomb-builders and artisans in the village of Set Maat her imenty Waset, could not be provisioned. Something in the air prevented much sunlight from reaching the ground and arrested global tree growth for two full decades until 1140 BC; the result in Egypt was a substantial increase in grain prices under the reigns of Ramesses VI–VII, whereas the prices for fowl and slaves remained constant. Thus the cooldown affected Ramesses III's final years and impaired his ability to provide a constant supply of grain rations to the workmen of the Deir el-Medina community.
These difficult realities are ignored in Ramesses' official monuments, many of which seek to emulate those of his famous predecessor, Ramesses II, which present an image of continuity and stability. He built important additions to the temples at Luxor and Karnak, his funerary temple and administrative complex at Medinet-Habu is amongst the largest and best-preserved in Egypt. No temple in the heart of Egypt prior to Ramesses' reign had needed to be protected in such a manner. Thanks to the discovery of papyrus trial transcripts, it is now known that there was a plot against his life as a result of a royal harem conspiracy during a celebration at Medinet Habu; the conspiracy was instigated by Tiye, one of his three known wives, over whose son would inherit the throne. Tyti's son, Ramesses Amenherkhepshef, was the eldest and the successor chosen by Ramesses III in preference to Tiye's son Pentaweret; the trial documents show. Chief among them were Queen Tiye and her son Pentaweret, Ramesses' chief of the chamber, seven royal butlers, two Treasury overseers
Book of the Earth
The Book of the Earth is an Ancient Egyptian funerary text, called many names such as The Creation of the Sun Disk and the Book of Aker. The Book appears on the tombs of Merneptah, Ramesses III, Ramesses VI, Ramesses VII and serves as a counterpart to the Book of Caverns; the central figures in the story are Osiris, Ra and Ba, while the overarching plot is the journey the sun takes through the earth god, Aker. The scenes were found on all of the walls of the tombs of Ramesses VI and Ramesses VII. There were a few additional scenes found on the walls of other royal tombs extending from the New Kingdom to the Late Period, but since many scene from the Book were scattered around, the ordering of the illustrations is convoluted. Jean-François Champollion was the first one to publish the scenes and texts from the tomb of Ramesses VI in his Monuments de l'Egypte where he deciphered the hieroglyphs depicted in the tombs. Alexandre Piankoff was the first one to study the composition of the images and hieroglyphics and looked for a meaning behind the illustrations.
Bruno H. Stricker provided an explanation of the Book as a divine embryology in 1963. Although it is uncertain, it is believed that the surviving panels of the original composition were each divided into three registers, thus making it unclear about whether or not scenes from other tombs are part of the story of the Book of the Earth or if they are separate. Scholars believe; the Book of the Earth uses the sun disc as a reoccurring theme. The scenes are oriented so that they are facing to the right, the illustrations can be read from right to left, like in the tomb of Ramesses VI; this is the opposite of the typical configuration according to Alexandre Piankoff. The Book is divided into five main components; these components make up the theme of the creation of the solar disc and the theme of the sun god, Re's journey in the underworld and making it out into the light. Most of the content takes place within Part D and Part A. In this part, there are six gods shown praying to a sun disc at burial mounds.
This is smallest portion of the Book, known, Part E is most not the beginning of the Book of the Earth. Part D is the beginning of the composition, where most of the setting is introduced. A majority of the content of the Book of the Earth is located within this section; the realm of the dead is depicted with Osiris, as the primary figure, located within a tomb, guarded by serpents. Beneath Osiris are the gods Anubis and another god who have their arms stretched out to provide protection over his corpse; this scene depicts renewal. In the scenes of punishment, the gods of punishment are holding cauldrons. Next, the mummy of the sun god stands upon a large sun disc, enclosed by two pairs of arms rising from the depths of Nun. Surrounding this scene is a wreath of twelve stars and twelve small disks that indicate the course of the hours; the hands of two goddesses hold the ends of this illustration. The final scene in this section shows Aker, representing the barque of the sun god, as a double sphinx.
The barque is supported by two uraei, inside the barque are Khepri and Thoth who are praying to the sun god. Underneath the barque are two royal figures with Isis and Nephthys who are holding a winged scarab beetle and a sun disc; the middle register begins with Horus rising up out of a divine figure called the "Western One." Next, there are seven mounds. In the next scene, the propagation of Horus is repeated in which Horus is now falcon-headed, rises from the body of Osiris, being protected by the corpses of Isis and Nephthys. In the next scene, Nun's arms are holding the solar disc, other arms and two uraei hold another sun disc. A serpent is located on the top of this sun disc. Like many Ancient Egyptian texts, the bottom register shows the punishment of enemies in the Place of Annihilation since it is below the gods. Since gods are more important figures, they are depicted above others; the sun god is shown above with four enemies below. We find a corpse lying in a large sarcophagus located in the Place of Annihilation, which Re calls the "corpse of Shetit."
This is the realm of the dead where gods and goddesses above the scene hold their hands out in prayer. In the last scene, we find the Apophis serpent being seized by ram headed gods. Part C comprises three registers that might be connected to Part D, but the exact sequence is unclear; the upper and middle registers both start off with images of the sun god in his ram-headed form. Two ba-birds are praying to him. Behind the unknown god are two additional gods, one being ram-headed and the other being serpent-headed; these gods have their hands stretched out in front of them, towards the sun disc, in a protective gesture. Out of this gesture, the falcon shaped head of "Horus of the netherworld" is projected; the registers of this section are less obvious, many parts might be considered to belong to Part A. The first scenes in this section consist of four oval shapes with mummies inside, which are able to breathe from the rays of the sun god. There are four burial mounds that have been turned over and are being protected by serpents.
The main part of this section depicts a mummy, standing, called "corpse of the god,", the sun disc itself. In front of him, a serpent rises out of a pair of arms and holds a god and goddess in the act of praise. Behind the mummy is
Supreme Council of Antiquities
The Supreme Council of Antiquities was a department within the Egyptian Ministry of Culture from 1994 until January 2011, when it became an independent ministry, the Ministry of State for Antiquities. It was the government body responsible for the conservation and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt; the SCA's origins go back to 1859. In 1971, it was renamed the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation, it was renamed the Supreme Council of Antiquities by Presidential Decree No. 82 of Hosni Mubarak in 1994. The SCA was responsible for defining the boundaries around archaeological sites and was the only agent permitted to restore or preserve Egyptian monuments. Foreign archaeologists working in Egypt were required to report all discoveries and finds to the SCA before publication, a somewhat controversial rule that led to the expulsion of some archaeologists from Egypt; this requirement although controversial has reduced theft of archaeological finds and allows authorities to plan security around new finds that would not be possible any other way.
The SCA oversaw the recovery of antiquities either stolen or illegally exported from Egypt, between 2002 and 2008 retrieved 3,000 artifacts. It is embroiled in a dispute with the Egyptian Museum of Berlin over the bust of Nefertiti, which it claims was removed from the country by deceit, it has asked for the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum and the Dendara Zodiac from the Louvre. The SCA was governed by an Administrative Council, headed by the Minister of Culture, a Secretary General; those who serve to preserve antiquities are in charge of the conservation and preservation of antiquities, as well as research and give interviews and report on discoveries and work being done. In the 21st century they face the difficult task of keeping monuments safe from a fringe of Islamist radicals who want the destruction of pharanoic monuments, their official titles, depending on the years they served, have ranged from Director, to Director-General, to Chairman to Minister. The position may entail as was done by Zahi Hawass for many years, to stimulate tourism to Egypt, with charm and charisma.
In its early history "Gaston Maspero served as Director General of the Excavations and Antiquities of Egypt and his big achievement was his examination of the mummy of Ramses II, found in 1884, in the presence of the khédive and other high dignitaries. The mummy of this great conqueror was well preserved, revealing a giant frame and a face expressive of sovereign majesty, indomitable will, the pride of the Egyptian king of kings, he unbandaged the mummy of Nofritari, wife of King Ahmosis I. of the eighteenth dynasty, beside which, in the same sarcophagus, had been discovered the mummy of Ramses III. The physiognomy of this monarch is more refined and intellectual than that of his warlike predecessor; the height of the body was less, the shoulders not so wide. In the same season Maspero discovered an ancient Egyptian romance inscribed on limestone near the tomb of Sinûhît at Thebes. A fragment on papyrus had been preserved at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, but the whole romance was now decipherable.""Professor Maspero resigned his office of directorship on June 5, 1886, was succeeded in the superintendency of excavations and Egyptian archeology by M. Eugene Grébault.
In the same month Grébault started upon the work of unbandaging the mummy of the Theban King Sekenenra Ta-aken, of the eighteenth dynasty. It was under this monarch that a revolt against the Hyksôs, or Shepherd Kings, had originated, in the course of which the Asiatics were expelled from Egypt; the history of this king has always been considered legendary, but from the signs of wounds present in the mummy, it is certain that he had died in battle. In the same season the mummy of Seti I. was unbandaged, that of an anonymous prince.""The next season the work of clearing away the sand from around the Great Sphinx was vigorously prosecuted by Grébault. In the beginning of the year 1887, the chest, the paws, the altar, plateau were all made visible. Flights of steps were unearthed, accurate measurements were taken of the great figures; the height from the lowest of the steps was found to be one hundred feet, the space between the paws was found to be thirty-five feet long and ten feet wide. Here there was an altar.
Among those who directed it when its official name was Supreme Council of Antiquities are Zahi Hawass, Mohamed Abdel Fattah and Moustapha Amine. Under its new official name, Ministry of State for Antiquities, Abdel Fattah al-Banna was nominated but he withdrew his nomination. In 2011, Zahi Hawass resigned. At the end of 2011, Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Aly was named antiquities minister and he promised to give new life to the body, by bringing in young archeologists and restarting projects, put on hold. Auguste Mariette Gaston Maspero Eugène Grébaut Jacques de Morgan Victor Loret Gaston Maspero Pierre Lacau Étienne Drioton Mostafa Amer Abbas Bayoumi Moharram Kamal Abd el-Fattah Hilmy Mohammed Anwar Shoukry Mohammed Mahdi (19