Volume 5 (2022)

Cover of issue 5 of JHIE.

Papers presented at the third international conference of the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology

Front Matter

Editorial, Prologues, etc.

Maravelia, Alicia; Bontozoglou, Nikolaos; Grigoraki, Argyro; Lazaris, Panagiotis; Pantazis, Ioannis; Kyriazi, Stavroula; Couvaris, Constantinos:

Why an Egyptian Priestess of the Higher Panopolitan Class deserved such Poor a Mummification?

In the context of the Athens Mummy Project, jointly performed by the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the Athens Medical Centre, we re-examine the intriguing mummy of Ta-kherd-Min (NAM AIG 3348), a dancing priestess of Min, as well as the inscriptions on her coffin. The fact that she was the daughter of a father belonging to the higher clergy of Min, offspring of a noble family of high stratus in the Panopolitan society of the Ptolemaic Period, and that she herself was a ritual dancer of the city-god, would be per se implying an excellent embalming result for her mummy. However, CT-scanning has uncovered several unexpected and intriguing facts: putrefaction of her body had started long time before mummification begun; her bones were disordered; her cranium was held in place with a palm stick through the foramen magnum; there was a failed excerebration attempt; there were prosthetic additions for the nose and her eyes; &c. We explained these finds, assuming that —following Herodotos [II, 89: 1-2]— her body was given to the embalmers several days after her death, in order to avoid a possible necrophilia mistreatment, as well as by the fact that such post mortem confection and support of the mummified body was common during both the Ptolemaic and the Roman Period. In this paper, we re-discuss the whole matter, re-examining the hieroglyphic inscriptions on her coffin and proposing some new research methods, as well as her face reconstruction that will be performed in the immediate future.

Cichon, Joan M.:

The Centrality of Women in Bronze Age Crete: A Perspective from Archaeomythology

Since the time of Sir Arthur Evans, scholars have recognized the important role played by women in Bronze Age Cretan society. Most scholars, however, minimize this role, as did Evans, and still conclude that the throne at Knossos was meant for a priest-king. Using the methodology of Archaeomythology, a discipline founded by Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, this paper will look at the role of women in all aspects of Bronze Age Cretan society, and demonstrate that —based on archaeological artefacts— history, and mythology, a plausible and highly probable case can be made for a woman-centered Bronze Age Crete.

Dallas, Themis G.:

Celestial Aspects of Aphaia

The Temple of Aphaia in Aegina is one of the best–preserved Doric temples of the Classical Era. Erroneously connected with Athena, Aphaia was originally and foremost a local deity of Aegina. In ancient literature she is described as of Cretan origin and Phoenician descent. Following Aphaia's travels through space and time and her relation with other deities, we shall investigate if the myth and the temple itself may hold a celestial significance. We conclude that there is a possible connection of the goddess with Planet Venus, and we note the similarities of her story with the Canaanite deity Asherah, as well as Santa Marina.

Ezzat, Azza:

The Symbolism of Drinking from Tree–Goddesses in Connection with Pools: Selected Examples from the NK Theban Tombs

Drinking from the tree-goddess was a religious ritual that many tomb owners tried to show. Egyptian trees took a strong part in the tree cult, and the sycamore was one of the most important of all. It is not surprising that the Egyptians believed that a goddess lived in a leafy tree with a well of water at its foot, and the syamore took a main position in Egyptian mythology. Only three sky goddesses played a major role in the tree cult, namely, Nut, Hathor, and Isis. It will be of some interest to see how they played a crucial role in the tree cult. This paper aims to explore the symbolism of drinking from the tree?goddess in the Theban Necro?polis during the New Kingdom. It will discuss the feminine role represented in the tree-goddess figure, in connection with pools and sycamores. It will also demonstrate the importance of the feminine aspect in Egyptian religion linked to the pools through symbolism, mythology and the presence of the goddesses Hathor, Nut and Isis. The presence of the sycamore goddess, who pours libation from the waters to the T-shaped pool, seen in Theban Tomb paintings, is referenced in relation to funerary practice.

Guilhou, Nadine:

Demiurge au Feminin: Le Feminin dans la Creation

Egyptian cosmogonical stories always stage a male creator, except for Esna, where the goddess Neith is presented as a female creator. However, it is well known that the creation myths dwell on both the male and female nature of the creator. According to the Heliopolitan Cosmogony, the hand —a female word in Egyptian, as in French language— is an essential implement in the process of creation, appearing as a form of Hathor through the twin Heliopolitan figures of Iusacas and Hathor–Nebethetepet. Other documents refer more or less implicitly to the bisexuality of the creator. Finally, scarce androgynous figures appearing in the Egyptian documentation can be added to this topic.

Lavrentyeva, Nika V.:

"You look Lovely, Darling, in any Garments!": Women Coffins as Self–Presentation

The styling of cloth and the fine appearance were the points of great interest and significance for women of all times and nations. On the numerous paintings, wall reliefs, sculptures and papyrus vignettes one can only admire the beauty and richness of women's garments. Every epoch of course had its peculiarities, but the New Kingdom and the Late Period were the times of the most prominent dresses, hairstyles and jewellery. The pieces of art of that period reflect these outstanding garments. Even when a woman is depicted naked (cosmetic spoon, PSMFA Inv. No. I.1a 3627), she is clothed with her natural or artificial beauty with tattoo and jewellery. The typical narrow pencil case dress was the example of classic style used to depict goddesses and women-priests (statue of Ran-nay, PSMFA Inv. No. I.1a 2099). Moreover, the anthropoid coffins also could be perceived as beautiful garments in which a woman shall meet the Great God, and are covered with amulets as jewellery; her breast is shown, she wears a huge wig, pendants, earrings and rings (coffin of Ius-ᶜankh, PSMFA Inv. No. I.1a 6800). The coffin as a body-shell was decorated not only with religious scenes to help her to overcome all the difficulties of the paths of the Netherworld, but it was a self-presentation of richness and beauty of the woman. The depiction of Hathor on the bottom of the coffin of the 21st Dynasty was not only a sign of her coming to the necropolis under protection of the goddess, but it shows the endless beauty, which was the desired dream of any woman: thin figure, rounded shapes, rich garments and young timeless beauty. It demonstrates the ideal for eternal life in the great beyond. The beauty and fine smell made the deceased woman goddess-like in her endless going forth by day.

Maravelia, Alicia:

Une Relecture Égyptologique de l'Hymne Orphique à la Lune

In this paper we focus on an egyptological re–reading of the Orphic Hymn to the Moon (Selēnē) [QUANDT 41973: 9], presenting its principal astronomical and cosmographic nuances, comparing it to some references to the Moon in the ancient Egyptian funerary texts (mainly PT, CT, BD, some other epigraphic references also included) and offering various interesting conclusions. As the dating of the ideas contained in the corpus of the Orphic Hymns coincides with the NK and the astronomical knowledge of the Orphics was significantly im-portant, many cosmovisional allegories are met, describing the lunar traits, brightness and movements. The affirmations related to the objective archaeoastronomical data have neither the purpose nor the result to contradict the philological and literary data or the historical accounts presented in several modern scholarly studies; our scope is only to suggest that the long tradition, upon which the astronomical (and cosmographic) ideas and the content of the Orphic Hymns was based, shaped and formed, has a very ancient past, as is actually the case for similar ideas met in the corpus of the PT. On the other hand, in the most ancient funerary texts of the ancient Egyptians, cosmic metaphors are used to delineate the lunar epiphanies and describe cha-racteristically the peculiar behaviour of the Moon on the Ecliptic and the periodicity of its phases, connected to the monthly lunar feasts and the concomitant food offerings to the deceased and the deities of the hereafter.

Niwiński, Andrzej:

Women in and on the Egyptian 21st Dynasty Coffins

Coffins of the 21st Dynasty consist of a much valuable source of the information concerning women of that period. From the inscriptions containing the titles and names of women one can get some knowledge about the persons who were buried in the coffins, about their position in the Theban society of the 21st Dynasty, sometimes about family relationships, especially with the high priest of Amun. Similar information can be furnished by the gilding of some parts of the coffin lid, or a damage done to the gilded surfaces by the robbers. The very rich iconography of the painted coffin decoration is another source of information concerning wo?men: first of all about their dress and their ritual activities. However, the shape of a woman was often given to some religious ideas, especially personifications that traditionally —although not correctly— are given the designations "goddesses". Also some symbolic ideas like cardinal points or some words of feminine gender were presented on the coffins in the female form. Finally, the divinized Queens like Iᶜah–mes–Nefertiry were sometimes painted on coffins.

Norris, Pauline:

Women and Plants in Ancient Egypt

Many tomb paintings, particularly of the Middle and New Kingdoms, depict the frequent and close interaction of women with plants and flowers of many species. This research first examines some lesser–known examples of women utilising plants other than for cloth making and food preparation and then suggests a contribution that women may have made to plant selection and breeding very early in the context of the ancient Egyptian civilisation.

Sadek el-Gendi, Sherin:

La Maternité et l'Enfance dans l'Art Copte

Starting from birth to the crib, and the first steps in the family apartment, the mother takes care of her children and supervises their progress. Since Antiquity, a particular care that attained veneration has been ap¬propriated in ancient Egypt to the woman and especially to the mother. Papyri discovered in the ancient Egyptian tombs are the proof. In this paper, I try to put in focus the theme of motherhood and childhood in Coptic art which was, and is today, the current theme in the world, notably, in the oriental societies and mainly in Egypt. Indeed, the Coptic decoration of many artistic collections dating to the primitive Christian eras in Egypt, contains many decorative scenes borrowed from the Bible, particularly the Mariological and the Christological Cycles, which are in relation with motherhood and childhood. The iconography of several Coptic religious women and martyrs is also in relation with this social and artistic topic. How are mothers and children depicted in Coptic art? Are mothers shown alone? Are there scenes and figures showing children alone without their parents? What are the steps of childhood recorded by the Coptic artist? Are there other decorative elements, which appear in the scenes of motherhood and childhood in Coptic art like the floral and geometric motives, the Christian symbols and the Hellenic, Coptic, Armenian, Syriac and Arab inscriptions? To all these questions, we shall answer in details, in order to offer a complete idea to the readers, researchers and specialists in Coptology through analytic and comparative studies.

Santini, Valentina:

Enquiry on Meritaten: The Many Aspects of an Exceptional Amarna Woman

Meritaten was the eldest daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. According to evidence, during the Amarna Age, her position at court became increasingly pivotal: starting as king's daughter, in fact, she possibly even became pharaoh. Meritaten was mentioned in various Amarna Letters; in different depictions she took the place of Kiya, secondary wife of Akhenaten; she became Great Royal Wife of king Smenkhkareᶜ, and, according to some scholars, she was also the female pharaoh ᶜAnkhetkheperūrēᶜ Neferneferūaten. Her important presence at Amarna is clearly exemplified by her depictions on the walls of the so-called Tombs of the Nobles built in the new capital wanted by Akhenaten, where Meritaten is represented both as a young princess and a proper Great Royal Wife. Analysing the emerged evidence belonging to these burial places, this paper aims to delineate the most significant scenes where Meritaten is depicted and, consequently, the profile of one of the most central women of the Amarna Period.

Tarasenko, Mykola:

The Burial Assemblage of Nesimūt (Bāb ᾿el-Gusūs, Set A.48): Usurpation or Adaptation?

The funerary assemblage of Nesimūt, an Egyptian priestess of the 21st Dynasty is discussed in this paper. The burial of Nesimūt was discovered in 1891 in the so–called «Second Cache» at Deir ᾽el-Bahri, also known as Bāb ᾽el-Gusūs (Set A.48, after G. DARESSY). The analysis of the funerary goods shows that accordingly, there were two Nesimūts, whose objects were discovered in Bāb ᾽el-Gusūs. The burial of Nesimūt II corresponds to the Set of A.48 by Daressy and is linked to a coffin case from the Odesa Archaeological Museum of the NAS in Ukraine (OAM: Inv. No. 71695). Separate objects from Nesimūt I’s grave goods were adapted for later buri¬als: the lid of her inner coffin was used for the Odesa coffin of Nesimūt II (OAM 71695), and the lid of the outer co-ffin might have been adapted for an anonymous burial from Bāb ᾽el-Gusūs Set A.54 (Swiss Lot IX, Neuchâtel, Musée d’Ethnographie: Inv. № EG. 184), on which the name «Nesimūt» was preserved in one segment of the lid. The burial of Nesimūt was also equipped with two different types of shabtis. It is possible that, like the lid of the coffin, part of the shabtis was «usurped» by Nesimūt II but previously belonged to the burial of her namesake and probably relative, Nesimūt I. It is quite possible, that they were reused and adopted for the burial of a new owner, together with the shabti‒box, since both of them were found in the Set A.48. This may prove that during the 21st Dynasty, not only large objects, but also small items of grave goods could be reused.

Maravelia, Alicia:

Book Review: Weathering the Psalms: A Meteorotheological Study

Book Review: Wiggins, Steve A.: Weathering the Psalms: A Meteorotheological Study, Eugene OR (Cascade Books) 12014, (190 + xiv pages), ISBN 978-1-62564-777?1.

Günther, Sven:

Book Review: Female Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome

Book Review: Boehringer, Sandra: Female Homosexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, Oxfordshire–New York (Routledge – Taylor & Francis Group) 2021, Translated from the French by Anna Preger, 424 + xliv pages, ISBN 978-0-3677-4476-2.

David, Arlette:

Book Review: Environment and Religion in Ancient and Coptic Egypt: Sensing the Cosmos through the Eyes of the Divine

Book Review: Alicia Maravelia & Nadine Guilhou (Eds): Environment and Religion in Ancient and Coptic Egypt: Sensing the Cosmos through the Eyes of the Divine, Oxford (Archaeopress / Archaeopress Egyptology 30) 538 + xliv pages, ISBN 978-1-78969-639-4.

Santini, Valentina:

Book Review: Women in Ancient Egypt

Book Review: Watterson, Barbara: Women in Ancient Egypt, New York (St. Martin's Press) 11991, 234 + xiv pages, ISBN 0-86299-978-2.

Zachariou, Faneroula:

Book Review: Women in Ancient Egypt

Book Review: Robins, Gay: Women in Ancient Egypt, London (British Museum Press) 11993, 206 pages, ISBN 0-7141-0956-8.

Grigoraki, Argyro:

Book Review: The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor: Introduction, Commentary and Translation from the Original of the most Ancient and Beautiful Ancient Egyptian Tale

Book Review: Μαραβελια, Αλίκη / Maravelia, Alicia: Ιστορία του Ναυαγού: Εισαγωγή, Σχολιασμός και Μετάφραση εκ του Πρωτοτύπου του αρχαιοτέρου και ωραιοτέρου Αιγυπτιακού Διηγήματος / The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor: Introduction, Commentary and Translation from the Original of the most Ancient and Beautiful Ancient Egyptian Tale, Αθήναι / Athens (Σέραπις / Serapis) 2021, pp. 240, ISBN 978–618–85516–0–2.

Maravelia, Alicia:

Obituary: Nadine Guilhou-Ambroise

Obituary: Nadine Guilhou-Ambroise (1951-2022) Proscynème Céleste, avec ḫt nbt nfrt wᶜbt, à une Sœur Inoubliable

Loprieno, Antonio:

Obituary: Prof. Dr Erik Hornung

Obituary for Prof. Dr Erik Hornung (1933-2022)