Ancient Egyptian Scribes A Cultural Exploration

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-05-04
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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The modern view of the ancient Egyptian world is through the lens of a scribe: the trained, schooled, literate individual who was present at many levels of Egyptian society, from a local accountant to the highest echelons of society. And yet, despite the wealth of information the scribes left us, we know relatively little about what underpinned their world, about their mentality and about their everyday life.

In Ancient Egyptian Scribes, ten figures are examined, all of whom claimed the title of 'scribe' at some point during their career. These are the Egyptians who ran the state and formed the meritocratic system of local administration and government. Case studies look at accountants, hieroglyphic draughtsmen, scribes with military and dynastic roles, the authors of graffiti and the scribes who interacted in different ways with Pharaohs and other leaders. Assuming no previous knowledge of ancient Egypt, the various roles and identities of scribes are presented in a concise and accessible way, offering structured information on their cultural identity and self-presentation, and providing readers with insight into the making of Egyptian written culture.

Tracing ten key biographies, Ancient Egyptian Scribes examines how these figures kept both the administrative life and cultural memory of Egypt running. Together, they present a rich portrait of what it was to be a scribe in the New Kingdom Egypt.

Author Biography

Niv Allon is Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Yale University, USA.

Hana Navratilova is a member of the Egyptian Expededition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, US and author of Egyptian Revival in Bohemia (2003), The Visitors' Graffiti of Dynasties XVIII and XIX in Abusir and Northern Saqqara (2007) and Sex and the Golden Goddess: Ancient Egyptian Love Songs in Context (2011).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Prologue: Writing Tools and Hands
Introduction: Questioning the Scribe Exploring an Egyptian Microcosm?

1. Counting Grain (Paheri)
2. Life at Court (Senenmut)
3. Accompanying Your King (Tjanuni)
4. Memory Maker and his Workmen (Dedia)
5. An Elusive Copyist (Inena)
6. Rising through the Ranks (Haremhab)
7. Tutankhamun's Palettes: No King is a Scribe (Tutankhamun)
8. Anger in Memphis (Amenemhat)
9. Good Scribe Bad Scribe (Hori)
10. Nerve-Wracking Times (Djehutimose)

Epilogue: Scribe and Embodied Memory


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