How old is the Sphinx

One of the most sensationalized debates in Egyptology revolves around the Sphinx. Who actually built the Sphinx? How old is it? Was the Sphinx really built by the pharaoh Kafre, or another pharaoh? Could it be 12,500 years old? We’ll get into the evidence and arguments on this episode of Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

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Horus and Seth

Two gods battling for total control of ancient Egypt–who will win? In this episode we’ll unpack the sometimes meandering myth of Horus and Seth while also talking about the role of myths in ancient Egypt. There are battles, betrayals, and, of course, sex (although probably not the way you are thinking about). It’s all about control this week, on Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

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They’re Eating Their Children–Cannibalism in Ancient Egypt

Did the ancient Egyptians practice cannibalism? Did Egyptians eat their enemies for power, and their children out of necessity? That’s the issue we’ll be delving into this week, on Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

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Where did the name Egypt come from?

Where did the word Egypt come from? What does it mean? Is that what the ancient Egyptians called Egypt? What do modern day Egyptians call Egypt? We’ll get into the ancient names for Egypt, what they mean, and how we got to the name ‘Egypt’ on this episode of Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

Pyramids of Giza on a clear day
Pyramids of Giza on a clear day

Akhenaten the Monster

As our examination of Akhenaten and the Amarna period concludes, we turn our attention to Akhenaten’s family. Did Akhenaten, in an attempt to secure a pure bloodline succession, marry and impregnate his own daughters? Was he really king Tutankhamun’s father? It’s incest, intrigue, and the end of the Amarna era on this episode of Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

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What’s Inside the Great Pyramid?

Has the Great Pyramid, the only one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world to survive into the modern era, given up all of its secrets? Apparently not! Thermal scans released on November 9th seem to indicate the possibility of an undiscovered passage way and hidden chamber on the eastern side of the pyramid. We’ll break down the science, and it’s implications, in this episode of Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

Akhenaten–The Avant-Garde Artist

As our examination of Akhenaten continues, we turn our attention to Akhenaten’s artistic side. In addition to the political and religious changes he initiated, Akhenaten completely revolutionized established artistic convention. For a conservative society built on decorum and maintaining the status quo, what would cause a new king to adopt a new, grotesque, alienesque form of portraiture for himself and the royal family? Was he a sick pharaoh suffering from a disease, or was he attempting to communicate something else? That’s what we’ll get into on this episode of Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt.

Amarna Art

Fragment and sculptors study of faces of mouth and nose, NK, 1351-1334, Amarna, Sandstone and Gips (AM 21207 and AM 21234)

Beautiful examples of the realism and detail characteristic of later Amarna art.

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Here you can see Akhenaten’s elongated face and chin. Also notice the large ears.

Nefertiti

An example of early Amarna art from before the move to Akhetaten. Notice how this piece has of a caricature feel that two previous pieces. This radical style softened over time.

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Notice the body here on Akhenaten, the lead figure. He is show with wide hips and what appear to be breasts. Also note the spindly legs and arms. Notice how his physical features are almost the exact same as Nefertiti, who is standing behind him.

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In this colossal statue you can really see the prominent chin and elongated face. These images were very shocking to the Egyptologists who first found them. They are simultaneously familiar and alien.

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A piece from earlier in the Amarna period. The features are sharper here than in many of the examples above. Also note the ear plugs, one of the new additions to the Amarna art style that adds a realism and daily life feel to the style, while the strange image also indicates something different and alien.

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I just had to include the stern visage of Queen Tiye. This is a wonderful piece from later in the period that really communicates personality. Note how dark her skin is. Traditional depictions of women depicted them with yellow skin. This is another innovation of the period.

Akhenaten from the Met

Another early example of Amarna art form Karnak. The radical break with previous styles seems to indicate, at least to me, that Akhenaten had a new and distinct artistic vision.

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The beautiful bust of Nefertiti. Not just a high point of the Amarna style, but one of the most beautiful piece from all of the ancient Near East.

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An unfinished statue of Akhenaten. The three dimensional statue really highlights the feminine nature of his body.

Portrait heads of Nefertiti and Akhenaten, NK, Amarna, Gipsstuck, (AM 21349 and AM 21348) 2

Two portrait busts found at Amarna. These have much more realism than traditional Egyptian art.

Why the did Ancient Egyptians build Pyramids?

With one of the United State’s presidential frontrunners suggesting that it was the biblical Joseph who built the Great Pyramids as grain silos, I have been getting a lot of questions about why the Egyptians built the pyramids. In this episode, our first ever fan suggestion, I’ll go into the functional and religious aspects of pyramids and give a brief synopsis of tomb evolution in ancient Egypt.

Welcome to Eric’s Guide to Ancient Egypt

Welcome to the show! In this brief episode I give a quick personal biography, as well as my goals for this podcast. If you are looking for some great shows on Egypt and want to dive right in to material, feel free to skip this episode. But if you wanted to find out a little bit more about the man behind the microphone–give it a listen!

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