Favorable and Unfavorable Kings

One of the most interesting things that I learned about this week was the presence of written records regarding Ancient Egyptian royalty and the kings lists detailing the past rulers of Ancient Egypt.

The king lists that Ethan mentioned today give us more information than who was king and how long his or her reign lasted. By omitting certain kings or groups of rulers, it gives us more insight into the political ideologies of Ancient Egypt during the time that the king list was made. However, this idea also makes me wonder about the kings that were not omitted. Why were they on the list? Were kings of the past divided into favorable and unfavorable and the latter were simply left off of the king list?

Thinking along these lines, the king list that was the most interesting to me was the wall featuring Seti I and Ramses II offering gifts to previous kings at Abydos. I couldn’t help but notice that every single king looked identical. None of the kings stuck out as more celebrated than any of the others. While wondering this, this idea of how Ancient Egyptian royalty viewed their ancestors caused me to wonder how Seti I and Ramses II viewed the kings of the past. Did Ancient Egyptians ever celebrate a previous king as more successful, or was it up to the king during his or her reign to build enough architecture in order to be remembered throughout history.

Thus, if a king was omitted from a king list, then the king in question was probably now remembered favorably at that time. However, ironically, by omitting those kings, eventually they became more remembered because they weren’t on the list, and thus, that anomaly would stick out to future archaeologists, Egyptologists, and researchers studying these lists of kings.

I think this would be an interesting thing to look for in comprehensive Egyptian history – were kings remembered for their accomplishments, or their failures?