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Mycerinus

(111 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Mn-kw-R; Hdt. 2,129: Μυκερῖνος/ Mykerînos; Diod. Sic. 1,64 as a variant: Μεγχερῖνος/ Mencherînos; Manetho: Μενχέρης/ Menchérēs). Sixth king of the Egyptian 4th dynasty. Son and second successor of Chefren; ruled for 18 years (between 2500 and 2450 BC). M. built the third and smallest pyramid in Giza. Evidence from the Saitic and Persian periods (7th-5th cents. BC) indicates the restoration of his tomb and the resumption of his cult. Herodotus' extensive account (Hdt. 2,129-134), which…

Ushebti

(187 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian wšb.ty, 'answerer', secondarily from šb.ty, of uncertain meaning). Term for a small magical figure in the Egyptian cult of the dead (Dead, cult of the). Ushebtis are made of wood, stone or faience, usually representing the dead person in the form of a mummy, sometimes laid out in a coffin. Based on the associated magic spell, which was often written on the figure (spell 472 of the Coffin Texts, spell 6 of the Book of the Dead, cf. [2]), they were supposed to answer on behalf of the dead person if he was called to do work in the Afterlife, and do it in his place. The earliest u…

Gizeh

(192 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Egyptian necropolis for the residence of the Old Kingdom (2700-2190 BC) on a plateau in the Libyan desert west of Cairo that juts out prominently. The pyramid complexes of the Kings  Cheops,  Chefren and  Mycerinus from the 4th dynasty ( c. 2600-2400 BC) characterize the place; they are surrounded by the  mastabas and cliff tombs of the members of the royal family and high officials. After the 4th dynasty the cemetery was, by the end of the Old Kingdom, intensively occupied further by private tombs, particularly by the …

Sphinx

(1,195 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Johannsen, Nina (Kiel) | Bäbler, Balbina (Göttingen)
(Σφίγξ/ Sphínx, also ἀνδροσφίγξ/ androsphínx: Hdt. 2,175; Boeotian: φίξ/ phíx; pl. Σφίγγες/ Sphínges). [German version] I. Egypt Depiction of the Egyptian king with the body of a lion and a human head Greek designation for the depictions which were originally only of the Egyptian king with the body of a lion and a human head; there is no known Egyptian designation for this type of image. Three-dimensional sculptural representations of recumbent sphinxes have been documented since the 4th Dynasty. (Djedefre, 2570-2450 BC). The great sphinx of Gizeh, worshipped…

Senis

(142 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Σῆνις; Sênis; Demotic Snj). Greek form of the Egyptian toponym Snm.t, which is documented under various names, particularly Τμουσάνις/ Tmousánis ('the island of Snj'). Snm.t denoted the island of Bīǧa (possibly also an originally larger group of islands) in the First Cataract of the Nile on the border between Egypt and Nubia to the west of Philae. Bīǧa is primarily known through rock inscriptions from the Middle Kingdom; there is also written evidence of a border fortification. Remains of a temple date …

Apotropaic texts

(342 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] In Egyptian magic for warding off enemies, a figure made of clay, wax, wood or stone that resembled the fettered enemy was inscribed with the name of the person against whom the  spell was meant to work. Spell 37 from the coffin texts describes this process and instructs the person casting the spell to bury the figure in a graveyard after reciting a magic spell. These so-called apotropaic figures, whose inscriptions were aimed against individual persons (sometimes grouped with fam…

Chous

(328 words)

Author(s): Mlasowsky, Alexander (Hannover) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
(χοῦς, χοεύς; choûs, choeús). [German version] [1] Jug or decanter Jug or decanter (height a little over 20 cm); used on the second day of the  Anthesteria during the wine-drinking competition. Probably used as a measure of volume for the prescribed quantity of wine. On Choes Day the three-year-old children receive a small choes decanter (H 6-8 cm) as a symbol of their entry into life. [2, 50f.; 1, 96ff.]. As a measure of volume for liquids the chous is divided into 12 kotylai and 72 kyathoi and amounts to 1/12 of the metretes. Depending on the region, the chous contained 4.56 l (Laconia), 3.…

Heliopolis, Heliupolis

(219 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] [1] City on the edge of the Nile delta This item can be found on the following maps: Aegean Koine Egyptian Jwnw, Hebrew ʾôn, modern Matarije. City on the eastern edge of the southern tip of the Nile delta axis (today a suburb of Cairo), metropolis of the 13th Lower Egyptian district and from the Old Kingdom the most important cult centre of the sun god in his forms  Aton and Re-Harachte ( Re). H. was of central theological significance in a myth of creation which in the generational model of the ‘Ennead…

Harmachis

(225 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Ameling, Walter (Jena)
(Egyptian Ḥrw-m-ḫ.t, ‘Horus in the horizon’). [German version] [1] Name of the great Sphinx Name under which the great  Sphinx of  Gizeh was venerated as the embodiment of the sun god since the beginning of the New Kingdom ( c. 1500 BC). Many votive steles document the popularity of the cult amongst private people as well as kings. Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography J. Assmann, s.v. H., LÄ2, 992-996. [German version] [2] Priest of Ptah of Memphis, about 200 BC Son of Anemhor, father of Nesysti III; high priest of Ptah of Memphis ( c. 260 ─ after 194-193 BC); sometimes i…

Abū Simbel

(252 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] A location on the west bank of the Nile valley in Nubia, c. 250 km south of Aswān, where Ramses II had two temples hewn out of rock cliffs [1]. The great temple in the south is dedicated to the holy triad of Amun, Ptah and Re-Harakhte, and to the Pharaoh himself. Its pylon-shaped stone facade is dominated by four 20-metre statues of the throned Pharaoh. Inside, two halls with massive square pillars and a transverse hall lead to the inner sanctuary; the temple axis is oriented in such a way th…

Mendes

(122 words)

Author(s): Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian np.t or ( Pr-b-nb) -Ḏd.t; modern Tall al-Rub). Town in the north eastern Nile delta, metropolis of the 16th nome of Lower Egypt and cultic centre of the ram god B-nb-Ḏd.t (‘Ram, Lord of M.’). Recent excavations have unearthed extensive findings from as early as the Old Kingdom, including a cemetery for public officials from the 6th Dynasty (2290-2157 BC) and the 1st Intermediate Period (2154-2040). Other remains provide evidence of a temple of the New Kingdom. M. flourished particularly in the Lat…

Temple

(5,554 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The Sumerian term é and the Akkadian term bītu, meaning 'temple' or 'house (of the deity)', were not restricted to 'dwellings' of deities of a particular size or importance. They applied to sanctuaries from small neighbourhood shrines in residential areas to large, freestanding, tall buildings, from one-room cult sites to temple complexes with extensive auxiliary buildings, and they could be used for temples where one or many deities were worshipped. Prehistoric structures are often classified as temples only because apparently they nei…
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