In the famous projects of ancient Egyptian architecture, sunlight had always a special role. An expert use of light and shadows helped in creating halls filled with sacredness in many temples; but most of all the Sun was the visible face of Ra, the Sun God. As a consequence, religious and funerary architectural projects were connected with the sun rays on special days of the year through astronomical alignments. The chapter focuses on a few key examples—the Akhet hierophanies at Giza and Amarna, and the winter solstice alignment at Karnak—showing the potentialities of modern archaeoastronomy in understanding key aspects of ancient Egyptian monuments and religion.
Donald M. Bailey
This article looks at the evidence for classical architecture in stone in the urban centres of Middle Egypt, including one new Greek city and three metropoleis. These are Antinoopolis, the city of the deified Bithynian youth Antinoos, which is known mainly from the illustrations and descriptions compiled by Edmé Jomard and the Napoleonic expedition, the Description de l'Égypte; Hermopolis Magna, the great city of the god Hermes (Egyptian Thoth), known from surviving structures and the evidence of the Napoleonic expedition; Oxyrhynchus, the city of the sacred mormyrus fish, which is known from sketches by Vivant Denon, leader of the Napoleonic expedition, from Jomard's description, and from a few extant buildings or photographs of ruins; and Herakleopolis Magna, the great city of the Greek god Herakles, which is known from two surviving groups of buildings, Jomard's notes, and some modern plans.
This article focuses on architecture, decoration, and certain questions of cult topography. In a rather smooth transition from the Ptolemaic to the Roman period, Egyptian temples continued to be built and decorated well into the second century
This article surveys Roman art known as 'nilotica' — artistic representations of Egypt and its residents. Though the word is ancient, the underlying concept is best understood as a scholarly construct, used to describe material in a range of media (coins, sculptures, mosaics, and frescos) that portray the Nile or people living near it. Romans imported Egyptian antiquities — including scarabs, canopic jars, sculptures, and obelisks — but the majority of nilotic material was made for display in Roman homes, gardens, baths, and tombs. For this reason, these artworks reveal as much or more about what their producers and consumers in Italy thought about Egypt as they do about the social realities of Egypt. Of particular interest are two themes: what this material tells us about the cult of Isis in Italy, and what it tells us about how Roman attitudes to Egypt (and Egyptians) evolved after Egypt became a Roman province. The discussion is structured around two examples from Italy, each a locus classicus of the genre: the Nile Mosaic of Palestrina and the Vatican Nile. These artworks represent the most commonly employed media — two-dimensional landscapes in painting or mosaic, and three-dimensional personifications sculpted in the round. As the Nile Mosaic pre-dates Roman conquest and the Vatican Nile post-dates it, these examples also illustrate the changing nature of the Roman conception of Egypt from foreign territory to imperial possession.
Barbara E. Borg
This article considers changes in Egyptian use of portraiture, which occurred around the same time as the establishment of Roman dominion. The most obvious change is a sudden increase in numbers of naturalistic portraits as well as in media, and the use of such portraiture not just by the ruling families and the highest levels of administrative and religious dignitaries but also by local elites. The article discusses imperial portraits, private portraits, and mummy decoration.
Social status, religious affiliations and beliefs, wealth, power, aspirations, and desires were all expressed through ancient Egyptian iconography, but children and the process of growing up are rarely the main focus of artistic compositions. While the selectiveness of ancient sources may mean that we cannot reconstruct an accurate or comprehensive picture of the experience of childhood in ancient Egypt, figured ostraca and other imagery at least provide insights into the contribution children made to the economy and to family life in antiquity. This chapter explores the contexts in which children were depicted, to show that the lived reality of youth is accessible at least insofar as it was relevant to the medium, intended audience, or the context in which images were displayed.