Tutankhamun: his lunar pectorals

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,019
Italy, Lago Maggiore
As second spin-off of the never-ending thread about the Amarna Period, I think it's interesting to focus the attention on the objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamen [in Egyptology, as for I see, they prefer this spelling] Here I'd like to discuss the nature of some pectorals.

To introduce the matter, I start from the cartouches of the young Monarch.
Tut sedge.JPG

The cartouche on the left is the "Sa Ra" Name[1], Tutankhamen, with final epithet in the bottom part. The Sedge and Bee name means "Lord of the Manifestation of Ra" [or something like that, we need to keep in mind that the hieroglyphic writing system was sybmolic]. So that, in his tomb, we would expect to find jewels reproducing that composition. And actually we've got some pectorals. From Carter Archive[2] Griffith Institute: Carter Archives - p1129

But we find also something different.
hebkheperuiah.JPG

"Hebkheperuiah" ... The Manifestation of Iah in jubilation

Here we've got a particularity which deserves to be underlined: Ra was the son, but Iah was the moon. A part that heb [hb] and neb [nb], according to some Egyptologists were interchangeable, so that it could be also Nebkheperuiah ... we cannot avoid to think that such a composition looks like a "Sa Iah" Name. A Son of Iah Name. About this, as for I know, there are no evidences that Tut carried also such a lunar name [a part the similarity with the transliteration of the name of the dead pharaoh in the Hittite tale about the letter from an Egyptian widow Great Royal Wife looking for a new husband among Hittite Princes]

Note:
[1] Literally it means "Son of Ra", this name usually contained the indication of the deity of reference of the Soveraign. Here we see, in the upper part "Amen". Tut actually got the throne as Tutankhaten changing his Sa Ra name after a while, when he decided to go back to the traditional cults [moving also the court out of Akhetaten].
[2] All the content of Carter Archive is copyrighted. You can post links to it, but you cannot copy images or texts.
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
This is more to keep this ticking over than a substantive post about the main subject matter.

At the moment I'm trying to get my head around why in ancient Egypt the Moon has no feminine aspects, nor do any of the lunar gods, none of which has a female counterpart, for instance while we have Ra and Raet, and Amun and Amunet, there is no "Thothet" or "Khonsuet". Two of the lunar gods, Thoth and Osiris, have wives, but neither have lunar aspects, and Isis is most certainly a solar goddess. The 18th Dynasty produced four kings, and it would have been five, named after Thoth, and only in that dynasty, a dynasty that also produced two "solar" queens, Hatshepsut and Nefertiti, and a number of "solar" GRW, for instance Tiye as Hathor. The Moon of course is present all through ancient Egypt, and the 18th Dynasty is not unique in paying attention to the Moon, but something a little unusual seems to be going on in where the Moon and the Sun become, in their different ways, more preeminent, and if it were not for Akhenaten we could say culminating in Amunhotep III becoming Khonsu, along with Ra-Horakhty, and Tiye as Hathor, but then it became more complicated and the Moon disappeared, or did it? hence this thread.
 
Nov 2016
1,014
Germany
why in ancient Egypt the Moon has no feminine aspects, nor do any of the lunar gods, none of which has a female counterpart,
The female aspect of the moon has not been completely lost among the Egyptians. First, the Left Eye of Ra, traditionally associated with the Moon, represents a female aspect, as opposed to the Sun associated male Right Eye. The goddesses associated with the Left Eye are Hathor and Isis, Hathor's patriarchally adapted clone. Secondly, the disk between the horns of the Hathor cow can be interpreted as a moon disk instead of a sun disk. In this way the horns stand for the crescent moon and the disk for the full moon.

I recommend to study this subject the excellent work by Barbara Richter on ´The Theology of Hathor of Dendera´:

Barbara Richter | University of California, Berkeley - Academia.edu

With the corresponding keywords you can find the relevant places in the text very quickly via the search function. But you know that yourself.

1570219073997.png
 
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Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
All that downloads is the abstract. But, while not being able to read this paper, yet, I'll say that I don't see the horns of Hathor as representing the Moon, and are in fact simply horns. Does she specifically state which eye the eye goddesses are associated with? The left eye is that of Horus and is of course the Moon, while it is the power of the Sun in the form of the eye of Ra that the eye goddesses use by channeling the power through the uraeus.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,019
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I come back to this.

Astronomically the Moon is well different, for a terrestrial observer, from not only the Sun, but also Sirius and the other important objects in the sky: the Moon changes following a cycle. The sun is always a disk, the Moon can even disappear ...

Ancient Egyptians, from a "theological" [it's out of context to use this adjective about Kmt, but it's useful to explain a concept here] perspective, had troubles to understand the Moon. It was something peculiar in the universe of Ma'at.

But ...

There was a genuine Egyptian contextual explanation for the lunar behavior: the seasons. The Moon wasn't that different from the River Nile ... it presented [and it presents] abundant and drought, but it's anyway always there.

To go back to the Moon after the "dictatorship" of the solar disk could mean the Ancient Egyptians wanted a divine reference more similar to natural reality. Nature is made of cycles and those cycles are well far from being eternal.
 
Jul 2019
47
Ghana
Perhaps not entirely relevant to Ancient Egypt, but maybe you'd be interested in the Kushite goddess Amesemi. She's the consort of the lion-god, Apedemak, and is sometimes depicted with a crescent crown topped by a falcon.

In this 1st century BC sandstone stela from the Meroitic Period Amun temple at Naqa, we see Queen Amanishakheto (right), and Amesemi with the crescent crown (left):
Stela of Queen Amanishakheto and the goddess Amesemi carved from Sandstone Amun temple Naqa.jpg

Indeed, Apedemak himself is sometimes depicted with a crescent like that:
v0_large.jpgFrom the lion temple at musawwarat es sufra.jpg
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
Perhaps not entirely relevant to Ancient Egypt, but maybe you'd be interested in the Kushite goddess Amesemi. She's the consort of the lion-god, Apedemak, and is sometimes depicted with a crescent crown topped by a falcon.

In this 1st century BC sandstone stela from the Meroitic Period Amun temple at Naqa, we see Queen Amanishakheto (right), and Amesemi with the crescent crown (left):

Indeed, Apedemak himself is sometimes depicted with a crescent like that:
It's not my area, but I'll stick my neck out and suggest, simply by what I see and not on any specific knowledge, that as she is consort to a war god, then what we see is a reference to Khonsu, though for a female and a little jumbled up. For instance Khonsu started in the OK as a war god before becoming a lunar god of healing, among other things, and he can be portrayed as a falcon with a crescent and lunar disk above his head, though here he has a disk but with the crescent under him.

At this late period things were getting jumbled up in Egypt itself with all manner of syncretisms, including Isis having lunar aspects that she never had in earlier times, so it can be difficult to look at that period to extrapolate from earlier times.
 
Jul 2019
47
Ghana
At this late period things were getting jumbled up in Egypt itself with all manner of syncretisms, including Isis having lunar aspects that she never had in earlier times, so it can be difficult to look at that period to extrapolate from earlier times.
Yeah, during the Meroitic period things get a little wild in terms of remixing and reinventing meanings and interpretations of ancient themes, including religious ones... Khonsu was actually worshipped by them as well. Temple 500 in Naqa, built by Queen Shanakdakhete c. 135 BC, was apparently dedicated to the Theban Triad including Khonsu, as well as Apedemak. I Don't know much about it though, but it's interesting...
 
Aug 2018
564
london
As second spin-off of the never-ending thread about the Amarna Period, I think it's interesting to focus the attention on the objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamen [in Egyptology, as for I see, they prefer this spelling] Here I'd like to discuss the nature of some pectorals.

To introduce the matter, I start from the cartouches of the young Monarch.
View attachment 23013

The cartouche on the left is the "Sa Ra" Name[1], Tutankhamen, with final epithet in the bottom part. The Sedge and Bee name means "Lord of the Manifestation of Ra" [or something like that, we need to keep in mind that the hieroglyphic writing system was sybmolic]. So that, in his tomb, we would expect to find jewels reproducing that composition. And actually we've got some pectorals. From Carter Archive[2] Griffith Institute: Carter Archives - p1129

But we find also something different.
View attachment 23014

"Hebkheperuiah" ... The Manifestation of Iah in jubilation

Here we've got a particularity which deserves to be underlined: Ra was the son, but Iah was the moon. A part that heb [hb] and neb [nb], according to some Egyptologists were interchangeable, so that it could be also Nebkheperuiah ... we cannot avoid to think that such a composition looks like a "Sa Iah" Name. A Son of Iah Name. About this, as for I know, there are no evidences that Tut carried also such a lunar name [a part the similarity with the transliteration of the name of the dead pharaoh in the Hittite tale about the letter from an Egyptian widow Great Royal Wife looking for a new husband among Hittite Princes]

Note:
[1] Literally it means "Son of Ra", this name usually contained the indication of the deity of reference of the Soveraign. Here we see, in the upper part "Amen". Tut actually got the throne as Tutankhaten changing his Sa Ra name after a while, when he decided to go back to the traditional cults [moving also the court out of Akhetaten].
[2] All the content of Carter Archive is copyrighted. You can post links to it, but you cannot copy images or texts.
Do you know anything about the history of Egyptian gold collars? i.e. the earliest examples, their origin and development, etc?