chapter  5
18 Pages

Uniter of the two lands

Images of violence in divine temples
WithLaurel Bestock

Changes in the ways divine temples functioned as parts of royal Egyptian ideology and even economy can best be indicated by looking at trends in the total building program of kings across time. Nothing better illustrates the need to see Egyptian material culture and ideology as dynamic and audience-dependent than an attempt to discuss violent imagery in divine temples in Egypt. The architectural decorations are all problematic or atypical in one way or another, and both the architectural examples and the objects are limited to two widely separate reigns: Khasekhem of the Second Dynasty and Nebhepetra Mentuhotep of the Eleventh Dynasty. In neither the Second nor the Eleventh Dynasty was violence against Egyptians a taboo topic within divine spaces. This tends to emphasize the closeness of the king to the gods, rather than to paint him as the first among Egyptians.