The Amarna Period was an era of Egyptian history during the half of the Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten in what is now Amarna. It was marked by the reign of Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten in order to reflect the dramatic change of Egypt's polytheistic religion into one where the sun disc Aten was worshipped over all other gods. Aten was not worshipped, but the other gods were worshipped to a lesser degree; the Egyptian pantheon of the equality of all gods and goddesses was restored under Akhenaten's successor, Tutankhamun. Akhenaten instigated the earliest verified expression of a form of monotheism, although the origins of a pure monotheism are the subject of continuing debate within the academic community; some state that Akhenaten restored monotheism while others point out that he suppressed a dominant solar cult by the assertion of another, while never abandoning several other traditional deities. Scholars believe that Akhenaten's devotion to his deity, offended many in power below him, which contributed to the end of this dynasty.
Although modern students of Egyptology consider the monotheism of Akhenaten the most important event of this period, the Egyptians considered the so-called Amarna period an unfortunate aberration. The period saw many innovations in the service of religion. Egyptians of the time viewed science as one and the same; the presence of many gods explained the natural phenomena, but during the Amarna period there was a rise in monotheism. With people beginning to think of the origins of the universe, Amun-Re was seen as the sole creator and Sun-god; the view of this god is seen through the poem entitled "Hymn to the Aten": "When your movements disappear and you go to rest in the Akhet, the land is in darkness, in the manner of death... darkness a blanket, the land in stillness, with the one who makes them at rest in his Akhet. The land grows bright once you have appeared in the Akhet; when you dispel darkness and give your rays, the Two Lands are in a festival of light." From the poem, one can see that the nature of the god's daily activity revolves around recreating the earth on a daily basis.
It focuses on the present life rather than on eternity. After the Amarna reign, these religious beliefs fell out of favor, it has been argued that this was in part because only the king and his family were allowed to worship Amun-Re directly, while others were permitted only to worship the king and his family. The royal women of Amarna have more surviving text about them than any other women from ancient Egypt, it is clear that they played a large role in religious functions. These women were portrayed as powerful in their own right. Queen Nefertiti was said to be the force behind the new monotheist religion. Nefertiti, whose name means "the beautiful one is here," bore six of Amenhotep's daughters. Many of Amenhotep's daughters were as influential as, or more so than, his wives. There is a debate whether the relationship between his daughters was sexual. Although there is much controversy over this topic, there is no evidence that any of them bore his children. During Akhenaten's reign, royal portraiture underwent dramatic change.
Sculptures of Akhenaten deviate from conventional portrayal of royalty. Akhenaten is depicted in an androgynous and stylized manner, with large thighs, a slim torso, drooping belly, full lips, a long neck and nose; some believe that the break with convention was due to "the presence at Amarna of new people or groups of artists whose background and training were different from those of the Karnak sculptors."The events following Akhenaten's death are unclear and the identity and policies of his co-regent and immediate successor are the matter of ongoing scholarly debate. Tutankhamun, among the last of his dynasty and the Amarna kings, died before he was twenty years old, the dynasty's final years were shaky; the royal line of the dynasty died out with Tutankhamun. Two fetuses found buried in his tomb may have been his twin daughters who would have continued the royal lineage, according to a 2008 investigation. An unidentified Egyptian queen Dakhamunzu, widow of "King Nibhururiya", is known from Hittite annals.
She is identified as Ankhesenamun, royal wife of Tutankhamun, although Nefertiti and Meritaten have been suggested as possible candidates. This queen wrote to Suppiluliuma I, king of the Hittites, asking him to send one of his sons to become her husband and king of Egypt. In her letters she expressed a reluctance to take as husband one of her servants. Suppiluliumas sent an ambassador to investigate, after further negotiations agreed to send one of his sons to Egypt; this prince, named Zannanza, however, murdered en route to Egypt. Suppiluliumas accused the Egyptians, he retaliated by going to war against Egypt's vassal states in Syria and Northern Canaan and captured the city of Amki. Egyptian prisoners of war from Amki carried a plague which would ravage the Hittite Empire and kill both Suppiluliumas I and his direct successor; the last two members of the eighteenth dynasty – Ay and Horemheb – became rulers from the ranks of officials in the royal court, although Ay may have married the widow of Tutankhamun in order to obtain power and she did not live long afterward.
Ay's reign was short. His successor was Horemheb, a general in the Egyptian army, a diplomat in the administ
The Sed festival was an ancient Egyptian ceremony that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh. The name is taken from the name of an Egyptian wolf god, one of whose names was Sed; the less-formal feast name, the Feast of the Tail, is derived from the name of the animal's tail, attached to the back of the pharaoh's garment in the early periods of Egyptian history. This tail might have been the vestige of a previous ceremonial robe made out of a complete animal skin. Despite the antiquity of the Sed Festival and the hundreds of references to it throughout the history of ancient Egypt, the most detailed records of the ceremonies—apart from the reign of Amenhotep III—come from "relief cycles of the Fifth Dynasty king Neuserra... in his sun temple at Abu Ghurab, of Akhenaten at East Karnak, the relief cycles of the Twenty-second Dynasty king Osorkon II... at Bubastis."The ancient festival might have been instituted to replace a ritual of murdering a pharaoh, unable to continue to rule because of age or condition.
Sed festivals were jubilees celebrated after a ruler had held the throne for thirty years and every three to four years after that. They were held to rejuvenate the pharaoh's strength and stamina while still sitting on the throne, celebrating the continued success of the pharaoh. There is clear evidence for early pharaohs celebrating the Heb Sed, such as the First Dynasty pharaoh Den and the Third Dynasty pharaoh Djoser. In the Pyramid of Djoser, there are two boundary stones in his Heb Sed court, within his pyramid complex, he is shown performing the Heb Sed in a false doorway inside his pyramid. Sed festivals implied elaborate temple rituals and included processions and such acts of religious devotion as the ceremonial raising of a djed, the base or sacrum of a bovine spine, a phallic symbol representing the strength, "potency and duration of the pharaoh's rule". One of the earliest Sed festivals for which there is substantial evidence is that of the Sixth Dynasty pharaoh Pepi I Meryre in the South Saqqara Stone Annal document.
The most lavish, judging by surviving inscriptions, were those of Ramesses II and Amenhotep III. Sed festivals still were celebrated by the Libyan-era kings such as Shoshenq III, Shoshenq V, Osorkon I, who had his second Heb Sed in his 33rd year, Osorkon II, who constructed a massive temple at Bubastis complete with a red granite gateway decorated with scenes of this jubilee to commemorate his own Heb Sed. Pharaohs who followed the typical tradition, but did not reign so long as 30 years had to be content with promises of "millions of jubilees" in the afterlife. Several pharaohs seem to have deviated from the traditional 30-year tradition, notably two pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty and Akhenaten, rulers in a dynasty, recovering from occupation by foreigners, reestablishing itself, redefining many traditions. Hatshepsut, an successful pharaoh, celebrated her Sed jubilee at Thebes—in what some Victorian-era historians insist was only her sixteenth regnal year—but she did this by counting the time she was the strong consort of her weak husband, some recent research indicates that she did exercise authority reserved for pharaohs during his reign, thereby acting as a co-ruler rather than as his Great Royal Wife, the duties of which were assigned to their royal daughter.
Upon her husband's death, the only eligible male in the royal family was a stepson and nephew of hers, a child. He was made a consort and, shortly thereafter, she was crowned pharaoh; some Egyptologists, such as Jürgen von Beckerath in his book Chronology of the Egyptian Pharaohs, speculate that Hatshepsut may have celebrated her first Sed jubilee to mark the passing of 30 years from the death of her father, Thutmose I, from whom she derived all of her legitimacy to rule Egypt. He had appointed his daughter to the highest administrative office in his government, giving her a co-regent's experience at ruling many aspects of his bureaucracy; this reflects an oracular assertion supported by the priests of Amun-Re that her father named her as heir to the throne. Akhenaten made many changes to religious practices in order to remove the stranglehold on the country by the priests of Amun-Re, whom he saw as corrupt, his religious reformation may have begun with his decision to celebrate his first Sed festival in his third regnal year.
His purpose may have been to gain an advantage against the powerful temple, since a Sed-festival was a royal jubilee intended to reinforce the pharaoh's divine powers and religious leadership. At the same time he moved his capital away from the city that these priests controlled. Hornung, Erik. Neue Studien Zum Sedfest. Schwabe. ISBN 978-3-7965-2287-1. Media related to Sed festival at Wikimedia Commons
A triple deity is three deities that are worshipped as one. Such deities are common throughout world mythology. Carl Jung considered the arrangement of deities into triplets an archetype in the history of religion. In classical religious iconography or mythological art, three separate beings may represent either a triad who always appear as a group or a single deity known from literary sources as having three aspects. Georges Dumézil's trifunctional hypothesis proposed that ancient Indo-European society conceived itself as structured around three activities: worship and toil. In times, when slave labor became common, the three functions came to be seen as separate "classes", represented each by its own god. Dumézil understood this mythology as reflecting and validating social structures in its content: such a tripartite class system is found in ancient Indian, Iranian and Celtic texts. In 1970 Dumézil proposed that some goddesses represented these three qualities as different aspects or epithets and identified examples in his interpretation of various deities including the Iranian Anāhitā, the Vedic Sarasvatī and the Roman Juno.
Vesna Petreska posits that myths including trinities of female mythical beings from Central and Eastern European cultures may be evidence for an Indo-European belief in trimutive female "spinners" of destiny. But according to the linguist M. L. West, various female deities and mythological figures in Europe show the influence of pre-Indo-European goddess-worship, triple female fate divinities "spinners" of destiny, are attested all over Europe and in Bronze Age Anatolia. Qudshu-Astarte-Anat is a representation of a single goddess, a combination of three goddesses: Qetesh and Anat, it was a common practice for Canaanites and Egyptians to merge different deities through a process of syncretization, turning them into one single entity. This "Triple Goddess Stone", once owned by Winchester College, shows the goddess Qetesh with the inscription "Qudshu-Astarte-Anat", showing their association as being one goddess, Qetesh in place of Athirat. Religious scholar Saul M. Olyan, calls the representation on the Qudshu-Astarte-Anat plaque "a triple-fusion hypostasis", considers Qudshu to be an epithet of Athirat by a process of elimination, for Astarte and Anat appear after Qudshu in the inscription.
The Roman goddess Diana was venerated from the late sixth century BCE as diva triformis, "three-form goddess", early on was conflated with the similarly-depicted Greek goddess Hekate. Andreas Alföldi interpreted a late Republican numismatic image as Diana "conceived as a threefold unity of the divine huntress, the Moon goddess and the goddess of the nether world, Hekate"; this coin shows that the triple goddess cult image still stood in the lucus of Nemi in 43 BCE. The Lake of Nemi was Triviae lacus for Virgil, while Horace called Diana montium custos nemoremque virgo and diva triformis. In his commentary on Virgil, Maurus Servius Honoratus said that the same goddess was called Luna in heaven, Diana on earth, Proserpina in hell. Spells and hymns in Greek magical papyri refer to the goddess as "triple-sounding, triple-headed, triple-voiced... triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked". In one hymn, for instance, the "Three-faced Selene" is identified as the three Charites, the three Moirai, the three Erinyes.
Translation editor Hans Dieter Betz notes: "The goddess Hekate, identical with Persephone, Selene and the old Babylonian goddess Ereschigal, is one of the deities most invoked in the papyri."E. Cobham Brewer's 1894 Dictionary of Phrase & Fable contained the entry, "Hecate: A triple deity, called Phoebe or the Moon in heaven, Diana on the earth, Hecate or Proserpine in hell," and noted that "Chinese have the triple goddess Pussa"; the Roman poet Ovid, through the character of the Greek woman Medea, refers to Hecate as "the triple Goddess". Hecate was depicted variously as a single womanly form; the Olympian demiurgic triad in platonic philosophy, made up of Zeus and Pluto/Hades, all considered in the end to be a monad and the same Zeus, the Titanic demiurgic triad of Helios and Dionysus The Matres or Matronae are represented as a group of three but sometimes with as many as 27 inscriptions. They were associated with fertility. Inscriptions to these deities have been found in Gaul, Italy, the Rhineland and Britain, as their worship was carried by Roman soldiery dating from the mid 1st century to the 3rd century AD. Miranda Green observes that "triplism" reflects a way of "expressing the d
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, an aspect of the god Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who took the name Akhenaten in worship and recognition of Aten. In his poem "Great Hymn to the Aten", Akhenaten praises Aten as the creator, giver of life, nurturing spirit of the world. Aten is mentioned in the Book of the Dead; the worship of Aten was eradicated by Horemheb. The first known reference to Aten the sun-disk as a deity is in The Story of Sinuhe from the 12th dynasty, in which the deceased king is described as rising as a god to the heavens and uniting with the sun-disk, the divine body merging with its maker. By analogy, the term "silver aten" was sometimes used to refer to the moon; the solar Aten was extensively worshipped as a god in the reign of Amenhotep III when it was depicted as a falcon-headed man much like Ra. In the reign of Amenhotep III's successor, Amenhotep IV, the Aten became the central god of the Egyptian state religion, Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten to reflect his close link with the new supreme deity.
The full title of Akhenaten's god was "Ra-Horakhty who rejoices in the horizon, in his Name as the Light, in the sun disc." This lengthy name was shortened to Ra-Horus-Aten or just Aten in many texts, but the god of Akhenaten raised to supremacy is considered a synthesis of ancient gods viewed in a new and different way. The god is considered to be both masculine and feminine simultaneously. All creation was thought to exist within the god. In particular, the god was not depicted in anthropomorphic form, but as rays of light extending from the sun's disk. Furthermore, the god's name came to be written within a cartouche, along with the titles given to a Pharaoh, another break with ancient tradition. Ra-Horus, more referred to as Ra-Horakhty, is a synthesis of two other gods, both of which are attested from early on. During the Amarna period, this synthesis was seen as the invisible source of energy of the sun god, of which the visible manifestation was the Aten, the solar disk, thus Ra-Horus-Aten was a development of old ideas.
The real change, as some see it, was the apparent abandonment of all other gods Amun-Ra, prohibition of idolatry, the debatable introduction of quasi-monotheism by Akhenaten. The syncretism is apparent in the Great Hymn to the Aten in which Re-Herakhty and Aten are merged into the creator god. Others see Akhenaten as a practitioner of an Aten monolatry, as he did not deny the existence of other gods. Other scholars call the religion henotheistic. In the Old Kingdom Egypt, the word "Aten" is a noun meaning "disc" which referred to anything flat and circular. Only in Middle Kingdom Egypt, did it come to be the name of a god during Akhenaten's rule. Aten's name is displayed in two cartouches, carrying royal implications in the framework around the name; some have interpreted this to mean that Akhenaten was the embodiment of Aten, the worship of Aten is directly worship of Akhenaten. Principles of Aten's religion were recorded on the rock tomb walls of Akhetaten. In the religion of Aten, night is a time to fear.
Work is done best when Aten, is present. Aten cares for every creature, created a Nile river in the sky for the Syrians. Aten created all people; the rays of the sun disk only holds out life to the royal family. There is only one known instance of the Aten talking, "said by the'Living Aten': my rays illuminate..."When a good person dies, they continue to live in the City of Light for the dead in Akhetaten. The conditions are the same after death; the explanation as to why Aten could not be represented was that Aten was beyond creation. Thus the scenes of gods carved in stone depicted animals and human forms, now showed Aten as an orb above with life-giving rays stretching toward the royal figure; the king was depicted singularly in relation to divine power. This power transcended animal form. Akhenaten represented himself not as a god, but as a son of Aten, shifting the previous methods of pharaohs claiming to be the embodiment of Horus; this contributes to the belief that Atenism should be considered a monotheistic religion where "the living Aten beside whom there is no other.
The cult centre of Aten was at the new city Akhetaten. The principles of Aten's cult were recorded on the rock walls of tombs of Tall al-Amarnah. Different from other ancient Egyptian temples, temples of Aten were colorful and open-roofed to allow the rays of the sun. Doorways had raised thresholds. No statues of Aten were allowed. However, these were replaced by functionally equivalent representations of Akhenaten and his family venerating the Aten and receiving the ankh from him. Priests had less to do since offerings were limited, oracles were not needed. Temples of Aten did not collect tax. Elite women were
In ancient Egyptian religion, Apis or Hapis, alternatively spelled Hapi-ankh, was a sacred bull worshiped in the Memphis region, identified as the son of Hathor, a primary deity in the pantheon of Ancient Egypt. He was assigned a significant role in her worship, being sacrificed and reborn. Apis served as an intermediary between humans and other powerful deities; the Apis bull was an important sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians. As with the other sacred beasts Apis' importance increased over the centuries. During colonization of the conquered Egypt and Roman authors had much to say about Apis, the markings by which the black calf was recognized, the manner of his conception by a ray from heaven, his house at Memphis, the mode of prognostication from his actions, his death, the mourning at his death, his costly burial, the rejoicings throughout the country when a new Apis was found. Auguste Mariette's excavation of the Serapeum of Saqqara revealed the tombs of more than sixty animals, ranging from the time of Amenhotep III to that of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Each animal was buried in a separate tomb with a chapel built above it. Worship of an Apis bull, experienced by ancient Egyptians as holy, has been known since the First Dynasty in Memphis, while worship of the Apis as a proper god, at least according to Manetho's Aegyptiaca, seems to be a adoption, purportedly started during the reign of king Kaiechos of the Second Dynasty. Apis is named on early monuments, but little is known of the divine animal before the New Kingdom. Ceremonial burials of bulls indicate that ritual sacrifice was part of the worship of the early cow deities and Bat, a bull might represent her offspring, a king who became a deity after death, he was entitled "the renewal of the life" of the Memphite deity Ptah: but after death he became Osorapis, i.e. the Osiris Apis, just as dead humans were assimilated to Osiris, the ruler of the underworld. This Osorapis was identified with Serapis of the late Hellenistic period and may well be identical with him. Creating parallels to their own religious beliefs, ancient Greek writers identified Apis as an incarnation of Osiris, ignoring the connection with Ptah.
Apis was the most popular of three great bull cults of ancient Egypt, the others being the cults of Mnevis and Buchis. All are related to the worship of Hathor or Bat, similar primary goddesses separated by region until unification that merged as Hathor; the worship of Apis was continued by the Greeks and after them by the Romans, lasted until 400 CE. This animal was chosen because it symbolized the courageous heart, great strength, fighting spirit of the king. Apis came to being considered a manifestation of the king, as bulls were symbols of strength and fertility, qualities that are linked with kingship. "strong bull of his mother Hathor" was a common title for Egyptian gods and male kings, being unused for women serving as king, such as Hatshepsut. As early as the time of the Narmer Palette, the king is depicted with a bovine tail on one side, a bull is seen knocking down the walls of a city on the other. Apis was pictured with the sun-disk symbol of his mother, between his horns, being one of few deities associated with her symbol.
When the disk was depicted on his head with his horns below and the triangular marking on his forehead, an ankh was suggested. That symbol always was associated with Hathor. Early on, Apis was the herald of the chief deity in the area around Memphis; as a manifestation of Ptah, Apis was considered to be a symbol of the king, embodying the qualities of kingship. In the region where Ptah was worshiped, cattle exhibited white patterning on their black bodies, so a belief grew up that the Apis calf had to have a certain set of markings suitable to its role, it was required to have a white triangular marking upon its forehead, a white Egyptian vulture wing outline on its back, a scarab mark under its tongue, a white crescent moon shape on its right flank, double hairs on his tail. The calf that matched these markings was selected from the herds, brought to a temple, given a harem of cows, worshiped as an aspect of Ptah; the cow, his mother was believed to have conceived him by a flash of lightning from the heavens, or from moonbeams.
She was treated specially, given a special burial. At the temple, Apis was used as his movements being interpreted as prophecies, his breath was believed to cure his presence to bless those around with strength. A window was created in the temple through which he could be viewed and, on certain holidays, he was led through the streets of the city, bedecked with jewelry and flowers. Details of the mummification ritual of the sacred bull are written within the Apis papyrus. Sometimes the body of the bull was mummified and fixed in a standing position on a foundation made of wooden planks. By the New Kingdom period, the remains of the sacred bulls were interred at the cemetery of Saqqara; the earliest known burial in Saqqara was performed in the reign of Amenhotep III by his son Thutmose. Ramesses II initiated Apis burials in what now is known as the Serapeum, an underground complex of burial chambers at Saqqara for the sacred bulls, a site used throughout the rest of Ancient Egyptian history into the reign of Cleopatra.
Khaemweset, the priestly son of Ramesses II, excavated a great gallery to be lined with the tomb chambers.
The djed is one of the more ancient and found symbols in ancient Egyptian religion. It is a pillar-like symbol in Egyptian hieroglyphs representing stability, it is associated with the creator god Ptah and Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, the underworld, the dead. It is understood to represent his spine. In the Osiris myth, Osiris was killed by Set by being tricked into a coffin made to fit Osiris exactly. Set had the coffin with the now deceased Osiris flung into the Nile; the coffin was carried by the Nile on to the city of Byblos in Lebanon. It ran aground and a sacred tree took root and grew around the coffin, enclosing the coffin within its trunk; the king of the land, intrigued by the tree's quick growth, ordered the tree cut down and installed as a pillar in his palace, unaware that the tree contained Osiris's body. Meanwhile, Isis searched for Osiris aided by Anubis, came to know of Osiris's location in Byblos. Isis was granted a boon, she asked for the pillar in the palace hall, upon being granted it, extracted the coffin from the pillar.
She consecrated the pillar, anointing it with myrrh and wrapping it in linen. This pillar came to be known as the pillar of djed; the djed may have been a fertility cult related pillar made from reeds or sheaves or a totem from which sheaves of grain were suspended or grain was piled around. Erich Neumann remarks that the djed pillar is a tree fetish, significant considering that Egypt was treeless, he indicates that the myth may represent the importance of the importation of trees by Egypt from Syria. The djed came to be associated with Seker, the falcon god of the Memphite Necropolis with Ptah, the Memphite patron god of craftsmen. Ptah was referred to as "the noble djed", carried a scepter, a combination of the djed symbol and the ankh, the symbol of life. Ptah came to be assimilated into Osiris. By the time of the New Kingdom, the djed was associated with Osiris. In their 2004 book The Quick and the Dead: Biomedical Theory in Ancient Egypt, Andrew Hunt Gordon and Calvin W. Schwabe speculated that the ankh and was symbols have a biological basis derived from ancient cattle culture, thus: the ankh, symbol of life, thoracic vertebra of a bull the djed, symbol of stability, base on sacrum of a bull's spine the was-sceptre, symbol of power and dominion, a staff featuring the head and tail of the god Set, "great of strength" The djed hieroglyph was a pillar-like symbol that represented stability.
It was sometimes used to represent Osiris himself combined "with a pair of eyes between the crossbars and holding the crook and flail." The djed hieroglyph is found together with the tyet hieroglyph, translated as life or welfare. The djed and the tiet used together may depict the duality of life; the tyet hieroglyph may have become associated with Isis because of its frequent pairing with the djed. The djed was an important part of the ceremony called "raising the djed", a part of the celebrations of the Sed festival, the Egyptian jubilee celebration; the act of raising the djed has been explained as representing Osiris's triumph over Set. Ceremonies in Memphis are described where the pharaoh, with the help of the priests, raised a wooden djed column using ropes; the ceremony took place during the period when fields were sown and the year's agricultural season would begin corresponding to the month of Koiak, the fourth month of the Season of the Inundation. This ceremony was a part of one of the more popular holidays and celebrations of the time, a larger festival dedicated to Osiris conducted from the 13th to 30th day of the Koiak.
Celebrated as it was at that time of the year when the soil and climate were most suitable for agriculture, the festival and its ceremonies can be seen as an appeal to Osiris, the God of vegetation, to favor the growth of the seeds sown, paralleling his own resurrection and renewal after his murder by Seth. Further celebrations surrounding the raising of the djed are described in a relief in Amenhotep III's Luxor Temple. In the tomb in the temple, the scene shows the raising of the djed pillar taking place in the morning of Amenhotep III's third Sed festival, which took place in his thirty-seventh regnal year; the scene is described by Sigrid Hodel-Hoenes: The anthropomorphized pillar stands at the middle left, in a shrine. It has taken the shape of a human body with the djed-pillar as its head; the hands hold the usual insignia of Osiris, the god of the dead. On its head is the tall feather crown with the solar disk; the pillar is on a high base reminiscent of the platforms visible today in many temples, on which the cult barks once stood.
In front of and behind it are papyrus blossoms. Beneath the large slab of the base are two tall offering stands – one bears a libation vessel, while flowers have been laid on the other. To the right is the king himself, presenting a generously laid table. Fowl, blossoms and heads and ribs of beef are all lying on the upper mat, while a cow and an antelope can be seen on the lower one. Beneath these mats are four tall vessels containing unguents and oil, with bundles of lettuce sticking out among them; the vulture goddess, the Mistress of the Per-nu shrine, has spread her protective wings above the sovereign, with the blue crown on his head. There is a scene depicted in the tomb to the right of the above scene which has not been well preserved. Hodel-Hoenes explains
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