Violence and Power in Ancient Egypt: Image and Ideology before the New Kingdom

Violence and Power in Ancient Egypt: Image and Ideology before the New Kingdom

by Laurel Bestock

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Violence and Power in Ancient Egypt examines the use of Egyptian pictures of violence prior to the New Kingdom. Starting with the assertion that making and displaying such images served as a tactic of power, related to but separate from the actual practice of violence, the book explores the development and deployment of this imagery across different contexts. By comparatively utilizing violent images from a variety of other times and cultures, the book asks that we consider not only how Egyptian imagery was related to Egyptian violence, but also why people create pictures of violence and place them where they do, and how such images communicate what to whom. By cataloging and querying Egyptian imagery of violence from different periods and different contexts—royal tombs, divine temples, the landscape, portable objects, and private tombs—Violence and Power highlights the nuances of the relationship between aspects of royal ideology, art, and its audiences in the first half of pharaonic Egyptian history.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781134856268
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 10/25/2017
Series: Routledge Studies in Egyptology
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 314
File size: 11 MB
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About the Author

Laurel Bestock is an Associate Professor of Archaeology and Egyptology at Brown University (USA). She received her PhD in Egyptian Archaeology and Art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (USA). She directs excavations in Egypt at the site of Abydos, where she investigates early kingship. In the Sudan, she co-directs excavations at the Egyptian fortress of Uronarti, seeking to understand lifestyles and cultural interactions in a colonial outpost from nearly 4000 years ago. For her next project, she hopes to work on a book focused on food and culture at Uronarti, both anciently and in the context of a modern excavation team camping in tents along the Nile.

Table of Contents

List of figures


Chronological chart

Chapter 1

Picturing violence

The Structure of this Book


Chapter 2

The Origins of Violent Imagery

The Earliest Images of Violence in Egypt

The Evidence from Early Egypt: Naqada I

The Evidence from Early Egypt: Naqada II

Order and Chaos

Chapter 3

The Violence Inherent in the System: Imagery and Royal Ideology in the Period of State Formation

Violence in Egyptian Art in the Period of State Formation

Violence in Early Dynastic Imagery

Continuity and Discontinuity

Chapter 4

To Live Forever: The Decoration of Royal Mortuary Complexes

The Old Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom

Interpreting Imagery of Violence from Royal Tombs

Chapter 5

Uniter of the Two Lands: Images of Violence in Divine Temples

Egyptian Temples as a Context for Imagery

Chapter 6

The Preservation of Order: Images in the Landscape

The Early Dynastic Period

The Old Kingdom

Reading Rock Carvings of Smiting

Chapter 7

Out and About: Images of Violence on Portable Objects

Images of Triumph on Portable Objects

Images of Captivity on Portable Objects

Movement and Meaning

Chapter 8

Who is Who? Private Monumental Images of War

The Old Kingdom

The First Intermediate Period

The Middle Kingdom

Inscriptions and Images in Private Tombs

Interpreting Private Images of War

Chapter 9

Violence, Power, Ideology



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