Ancient Egyptian religion, videos


This video series is part of the present exhibition on the gods of ancient Egypt in the museum in Leiden, the Netherlands. Subtitles in most of the videos are first in English, then in Dutch. The above video is about an Egyptian creation myth.

This video is about the heavens.

This video is about earth.

This video is about eternal life.

This video is about the underworld. Subtitles first in Dutch, then in English.

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Gods of Egypt, exhibition


This November 2018 video is about the exhibition Gods of Egypt in the antiquities museum in Leiden, the Netherlands.

I saw that exhibition today.

The museum site says about it:

Gods of Egypt: until 31 March 2019

This winter, the mystical world of the ancient Egyptian gods comes to life in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities). The large exhibition Gods of Egypt is entirely devoted to the ancient Egyptian pantheon and brings numerous treasures to the Netherlands. More than five hundred imposing sculptures of gods and goddesses, magical papyri, gold jewels and richly painted mummy cases, from museums in the Netherlands and abroad, demonstrate the enormous influence of the gods on the lives of the Ancient Egyptians.

Partnership with European museums

For Gods of Egypt, the National Museum of Antiquities is working together with the Egyptian Museum in Torino, which has the second largest Egypt collection in the world. In addition, remarkable statues of gods, reliefs, stelae, and mythological papyri are on loan from the British Museum (London), Musée du Louvre (Paris), Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum (Hildesheim), the August Kestner Museum (Hannover) and the Allard Pierson Museum (Amsterdam).

Religion and magic in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is saturated in religion and magic. Stories about gods and the creation determined how the people saw the world. In this exhibition you will learn to recognise fascinating symbols and gods and gain a better understanding of the Egyptian world view. Themes include the role that temples played in the country, the countless rituals for the gods and the journey to the underworld; the realm of Osiris, where every Egyptian hoped to reside after death. A crucial element was the position of the pharaoh, who was seen as the reincarnation on earth of the god Horus. Gods of Egypt concludes with the role played by the Egyptian gods in modern art, films and lifestyles, illustrated by objects from a unique private collection.

The exhibition says there were hundreds of gods in ancient Egypt. That was because the Nile valley was originally various small city states, each with their own religion. After Egypt became a unified monarchy about 5,000 years ago, many of these local gods got positions in a complex national pantheon.

Still later, when first Greek Alexander the Great, later the Romans, conquered Egypt, worship of Egyptian deities like Isis spread all over the Roman empire. Also, lines between gods became blurred, some deities acquiring characteristics of various different gods, leading sometimes to gods, both native and foreign, fusing. Eg, the god Serapis was a fusion of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Apis and the Greek gods Hades, Demeter and Dionysus.

The exhibition claims that this lessening in individualities of the gods helped pave the way for monotheism. In 389 CE, a Christian mob led by Pope Theophilus of Alexandria destroyed the Serapeum of Alexandria. Egypt then became a mostly Christian country.

Ancient Egyptian high priest’s tomb discovered


This 15 December 2018 video says about itself:

Archaeologists in Egypt have made an exciting tomb discovery – the final resting place of a high priest, untouched for 4,400 years.

From the BBC today, with photos there:

Egypt tomb: Saqqara ‘one of a kind’ discovery revealed

Archaeologists in Egypt have made an exciting tomb discovery – the final resting place of a high priest, untouched for 4,400 years.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the find as “one of a kind in the last decades”.

The tomb, found in the Saqqara pyramid complex near Cairo, is filled with colourful hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs. Decorative scenes show the owner, a royal priest named Wahtye, with his mother, wife and other relatives.

Archaeologists will start excavating the tomb on 16 December, and expect more discoveries to follow – including the owner’s sarcophagus.

Ancient Egyptian cat, dung beetle mummies discovered


This 10 November 2018 video says about itself:

Egypt: Mummified cats, scarab beetles discovered in ancient tombs near Cairo

Seven ancient Egyptian tombs containing mummified cats and scarabs, have been discovered in the Saqqara necropolis, 30 km (19 miles) south of Cairo, according to an announcement by Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany on Saturday.

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Mostafa Waziri, said he believes this is the first time the preserved insects have ever been found, saying “we asked museums in many countries if they have mummified scarabs, but no one have mummified scarabs till today.”

Three of the tombs, which date back to the New Kingdom period and are between 3500 and 3000 years old, appear to have been used for feline burial as dozens of mummified moggies were discovered within, as well as wooden cat statutes and representations of the cat goddess Bast.

The other four tombs are believed to date from the Old Kingdom period and are thus at least 4000 years old.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Tombs with mummies of cats and dung beetles discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists have discovered seven tombs in Egypt from the time of the pharaohs. More than 200 cat mummies and mummies of scarabs were found in the tombs. They also appeared to contain wooden images of other animals, such as a lion, a cow and a falcon.

Three graves date from the time of the New Kingdom, from 1550 to 1069 BC, the other four from the Old Kingdom, which ran from 2686 to 2181 before the beginning of our era. The archaeologists discovered the tombs in the pyramid complex of the necropolis Saqqara, south of Cairo.

Experts call the discovery of the mummified dung beetles, which were revered by the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of rebirth [in the hereafter], unique. Cats were also honoured during the time of the pharaohs. Bastet, the goddess of fertility, was depicted by the Egyptians as a cat. A bronze statue of her was found in one of the graves.

To the surprise of the archaeologists they discovered the door of another tomb, when they were preparing for an exhibition of the found objects in the area. The discovery of this tomb from the fifth dynasty of the Old Kingdom is special because the door and the façade are still intact and not, like many other graves, destroyed by grave robbers. .

This may indicate that the contents of the tomb are still untouched. Experts want to open this tomb somewhere in the coming weeks.

Animals in ancient Egypt


This 12 October 2018 video says about itself:

A 6,000-year-old ancient Egyptian cemetery is uncovered, filled with the remains of wild animals such as ostriches, crocodiles and leopards. Was it a kind of zoo or could there be another explanation?

This 16 October 2018 video says about itself:

Archaeologists have a theory why ancient Egyptians maintained zoos filled with wild animals: it was an attempt to harness the power of these beasts, to combat the forces of nature – such as floods.

From the Series: Secrets: Beasts of the Pharaohs.

Egyptian Pharaoh Psamtik I, new information


This video says about itself:

Was This Egyptian Pharaoh More Important Than We Thought?

Psamtik I was believed to be a minor Egyptian pharaoh. But in 2017, an exquisite statue of him was uncovered, suggesting his status and importance in history may need to be revisited.

Egyptian sacred ibis mummies, Cuvier, Lamarck and evolution


This video says about itself:

Sarcophagus for the mummy of a sacred ibis. Egypt, Ptolemaic Period

3rd century BC – Polychrome wood – Height: 23 cm. Length: 44 cm. The piece is inscribed with a Demotic text.

From PLOS:

How Sacred Ibis mummies provided the first test of evolution

A charismatic personality set back the acceptance of evolution 50 years before Darwin

A debate over mummified birds brought to France after Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt played a central role in delaying acceptance of evolutionary theory; an episode in the history of biology revealed in an Essay published September 27 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Caitlin Curtis of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, as well as Craig Millar, David Lambert. The debate between the naturalists Georges Cuvier and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck took place five decades before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species.

Cuvier had developed a theory of bodily form and function called the “correlation of parts“, in which every part was integral to the function of the whole. In this model, evolution would be disastrous, and thus Cuvier argued for “the fixity of species“, accepting extinction but not gradual adaptation to new environmental conditions. Lamarck, meanwhile, proposed a gradual transformation of species over time in response to environmental changes. While today Lamarck is most famous for incorrectly arguing for the “inheritance of acquired characteristics” as a mechanism of evolutionary change, Curtis, Millar, and Lambert note that he was an important theorist and champion of evolution fifty years before Darwin.

In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt, and scientists accompanying the army brought back to France hundreds of mummified animals, including many Sacred Ibises, revered by ancient Egyptians. Cuvier examined these birds, and correctly linked them to recently collected, unclassified birds in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, making him the first scientist to test the idea of evolution. The similarity between the ancient and recent specimens indicated to Cuvier that the bird had not changed form in two thousand years, and thus supported his idea of the fixity of species. Lamarck disagreed, arguing that much more time would be needed to accumulate observable change in a species.

In 1802 the two scientists (and another colleague from the Museum) noted the similarity of a collection [of] Egyptian animal mummies to contemporary specimens, and presented this information to the French Academy of Sciences. Cuvier and Lamarck subsequently disagreed about the significance of these findings, however, and continued the argument for more than two decades. Curtis and colleagues argue that Cuvier’s greater public prominence and dramatic presentation style tipped the scales in favor of his incorrect theory, which was not effectively refuted until after Lamarck’s death in 1829, and continued to influence scientific opinion until the publication of Darwin’s theory reshaped evolutionary thought in 1852.

“The case of the Sacred Ibis highlights the disproportionate influence that a charismatic and dominant personality like Cuvier can have”, according to Curtis and her colleagues. “His unwillingness to consider the potential for the accumulation of small differences over long periods of time set back the acceptance of evolution for the next five decades.”

“In the late 18th/early 19th century, debates such as these often took place in public spaces like the halls of the Paris Museum.” Curtis said. “These days, public debates may have shifted to social media and news outlets, but debates about important scientific issues are still taking place and have a big influence on policy and society. The story of Cuvier highlights that although 200 years have passed we are still grappling with the issue of dominant personalities in science having disproportionate influence on its direction.”