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tower of light

April 2017

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tower of light


From John Ray's "Reflections of Osiris: Lives from Ancient Egypt."

Pharaoh could assume all sorts of characters, and our sources either make this clear, or hint at the nature of the ruler's personality. He could be athletic, like Amenophis II, a ruler who suffered from following a highly successful conqueror who was also his father, or the Nubian Pharaoh Taharqa, who must have been gifted as a runner, since he was able, according to one text, to pace his crack regiment while exercising in the desert. Amasis of the 26th Dynasty was a drinker of Stakhanovite capacity, who made a point of being represented as one of the lads in order to maintain his popularity, since he had usurped the throne in a military coup. Pepi II of the 6th Dynasty is represented in later traditions as walking through the streets of Memphis at night on his way to an assignation with his favourite general. Such behaviour was not approved, bu it made no difference to the fact that he was Pharaoh. Contemporary sources do not mention Pepi II's sexual habits, but we have one of his letters, an excited missive about a dancing dwarf which he wrote, at about the age of seven, to an explorer of Africa who had discovered this wonder.

The heretic Pharaoh, as [Akhenaten] is known, has a habit of unbalancing books on Egyptology, and he needs a study of his own, although there are more than enough works about him in circulation already. However he is handled, there is no way that Akhenaten can fail to dominate a narrative. ... The same is true of Tutankhamun, who does not need the publicity, and about whose life surprisingly little is known.

Akhenaten, who came to the throne as Amenophis IV but changed his name along with his religious views, was a genius, but the combination of religious enthusiasm and near-absolute power is something that can unbalance any personality. His portrait-statues, which are unmistakable, show the face of a visionary and an artist of great imagination, but it is a face which one would not quickly choose to contradict.

Ramesses II is the most famous of the Pharaohs, and there is no doubt that he intended this to be so. ... The traditional capitals, Memphis and Thebes, are not good enough for this Pharaoh, and he plans a new one in the Delta, modestly named Piramesse, which can be rendered as Ramessopolis. Not even Akhenaten had dared to name his city after himself. It must be admitted that the man thinks large, and this extends to his family, since he assures us that he is the father of more than 100 sons. With daughters he was not so successful, since he only mentions 60 of these, but it is possible that he had ceased to count them.

Previous Pharaohs had adhered to the rule that, in temple design, incised relief was used on the exterior walls, since it casts strong shadows. Inside the temples, however, bas-relief was employed, since it does not produce such contrasts and creates a sensuous effect in the semi-dark. Unfortunately, bas-relief takes time, since the background needs to be cut away from around the figures. From now on, Ramesses decides to double the standard rate of temple-building, by seeing to it that most of the work is done in instant, inexpensive, incised relief. Akhenaten had tried the same trick, but he was in a genuine hurry, since he had abandoned traditional cities and needed a new one for his god. Ramesses II does not have this excuse. He is, when all is said, on the side of the cheap and nasty.

The prototype of Ozymandias was the grandson of Ramesses I, a respected figure but known mainly as the man in the equivalent of the grey suit next to Horemheb. If Ramesses II took a look at recent history, he would have seen the anarchy of the Amarna period, an episode which was being rapidly purged from the record. Beyond this, however, lay the family of the Tuthmosides, a dynasty which was associated with prosperity, elegance, the growth of empire, and success. Another figure which loomed over the king was his father, Seti I, whose reign was one of the high points of Egyptian art, since it was marked by balance and restraint. These were the hard acts which it was Ramesses' duty to follow, and one way of doing this would be to bypass Seti, and to upstage the Tuthmosides by shouting louder than they had, so that they would no longer be heard. Ramesses II was temperamentally suited to this kind of role, and the gods gave him a reign of 67 years in which to perfect it.

图坦卡蒙他爹Akhenaten被我和dissociateYY过多久啊……对于一个爱把自己雕塑成阴阳人的法老而言,不YY简直是一种浪费。Ray教授以一种英国文人的文雅把这种爱好形容成depicted with a distorted body,但这根本不能形容老子在开罗博物馆的Amarna房间看到那张熟悉的脸配上一个半女人的身体时内心的神兽咆哮之万一。纵使是身材盲如我(Raing同学可以作证)也看得出来那分明就是怀!孕!了!好!吗!

不过老实说,我还是蛮喜欢Akhenaten的。以我极其有限的古埃及知识都还能让我认出他的脸的一个法老,怎么会让我不喜欢。因为和其他的法老不同的是,他的表情很人性化,而且他那个短命的Amarna时代的艺术风格也和当时传统的埃及艺术风截然不同。至于他那传说中的Smenkhkare beloved of Akhenaten……老子什么都不知道……

而图坦卡蒙,那是让我和Iris彻底崩溃了的一本家谱,两个人歪着脑袋看了半天也没能完全看个明白。Akhenaten和Nefertiti(就是那个完美外星人大脑曲线的Nefertiti)有几个女儿,但图坦卡蒙不是Nefertiti生的儿子,生母不明。在Nefertiti死后,Akhenaten娶了自己女儿当续弦。 Akhenaten在位十七年后一挂,图坦卡蒙继承了王位和王后。图坦卡蒙在位十年,死时年方十八,没有孩子(废话)。王后不愿下嫁给大臣,于是引发了赫梯帝国王子和亲凶杀案(参见《天是红河岸》中某人的便当记)。然后,然后最雷的就来了……最后继承了法老王位的是Akhenaten的舅舅,某个叫做Ay的老头子。而王后也就嫁了……|||||| 如果还加上中间那个短命而神秘的Smenkhkare,那么算下来,她搞不好嫁给了四个法老,包括她爹,她弟弟,她爹的情人/她的另一个兄弟,最后是她爷爷。这是传国玉玺吗……?







Me too, darling. Me too....