One thing that continues to hold my attention when it comes to Ancient Egypt, is how heavily influenced they were by their belief system. Their elaborate myths, stories, and legends continue to intrigue me, as it does with many others, and I would like to explore more into their ideological practices. Specifically, I would like to examine the direct effect that those religious ideological practices played on Ancient Egyptian society.
Throughout the course of the semester, I have come across several instances where the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, played a direct role in societal development. One of the most well known circumstances from class is how the dead were buried.
With this assignment, I will explore how burial practices of Ancient Egypt differed from other ancient civilizations. I will explore the items that were buried with the dead, the architectural structures of those buried in actual structured graves and if there is any indication that the structures are linked to ideological beliefs, and as mentioned: ritual practices and its religious and/or spiritual importance to the ancient Egyptian people when dealing with death and the afterlife; examining places such as Abydos and the Duat.
In addition to burial practices, I will explore, in depth, the ceremonial practices that took place, mainly to examine the direct role mythologies had on societal structure. To further explain, in one of my blog posts, I read about a festival dedicated to the god of Osiris, and the surrounding remains of where the festival would occur, revealed that only the wealthy were able to attend, and those who were poor had to watch the festival from afar. This difference in social rank, is evident by the surrounding makeshift houses outlying the city’s parameters.
By looking at ceremonial practices dedicated to the gods, I would also be examining the architecture of significant monuments – tombs of pharaohs and other necropolis areas – briefly explaining the significance of its locations in relation to their mythology etc.
Finally, I will also be examining the “pop culture” aspect of Ancient Egypt – looking at art, fashion, ceramic/pottery pieces that serve as offerings to the gods or were inspired by the gods and goddesses; perhaps even musical instruments that were created as well, if informational data permits.
Sources I hope will be of help, include a book by W. Stevenson Smith, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt: Revised Edition. I will be looking at the Early Dynastic, Old Kingdom, and New Kingdom, hoping to compare the results of the art found in various sites, noting the differences that occur throughout time. Another book I found highlights Ancient Egypt traditions, primarily their religious beliefs, in Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch. Another source I intend to use focuses on the temples of Ancient Egypt and its religious role within the Egyptian society – Temples of Ancient Egypt by Dieter Arnold and Byron Esely Shafer. This book looks at the temples, priests, mortuary practices, and other rituals pertaining to the afterlife.