Crowned By Gods; A Glorious Of The Momentum!

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In one of my posts lately, in which the pharaoh Amenhotep II is standing between Horus and Thoth, purifying by deity water, could be a reference to a baptismal ceremony associated with his accession, is described as ‘the third at his accession. And now we have here another deity act, this time by Horus and Seth, crowning Ramses III. It should show the duality between Upper and Lower Egypt Gods.

Naydler explains:
“In a possible reference to a baptismal ceremony associated with his accession, the king is described as ‘the third at his accession.’ As a third, he would be between Horus and Seth (or Horus and Thoth), standing on either side of him and pouring baptismal water over him. The position of the king between the dual gods, receiving blessings from both, symbolizes his union of their opposing natures within himself.”(pages 305-306)

And Wilkinson means: Giving examples of when ‘two’ actually represents ‘four’, “in a classic study of the royal purification ritual, Sir Alan Gardiner showed that the two gods usually depicted performing the act of lustration – Horus and Thoth (ill. 124) – actually represented the four gods of the cardinal points Horus, Seth, Thoth, and Anti who transferred to the king a portion of their power as the divinities of the four quarters of the world. Private representations of funerary purifications (which were symbolically parallel) actually show four priests performing the rite. Still, the royal depictions of this ritual almost always depict only two of the deities, perhaps for purposes of symmetry and representational balance. Whatever the reason, once again, we see two representing four and thereby carrying the connotation of the extended number, though the use of the two deities Horus and Thoth (paralleling the common use of Horus and Seth) may also have connoted the dualism of Upper and Lower Egypt.” (from _Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art_, by Richard H. Wilkinson, page 139) Joanlansberry.com

Image from Dreemtime.com

Anyway, it remains (as usual) an unsolved riddle from this magic land. Though, we still have our brilliant Marie Grillot to read the description of all these fascinating discoveries.

via égyptophile

Horus and Seth crown Ramses III with the white crown

Statuary group representing Ramses III between Horus and Seth – red granite – 20th Dynasty
discovered in the lacunar state by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 at Medinet Habou
Egyptian Museum in Cairo – JE 31628 – CG 629 – museum photo

The founder of the XXth Dynasty, Pharaoh Sethnakht, died in 1184 BC. J.-C. – after a short reign (two to four years, according to the sources)… To succeed him, he designated his son: aged about forty, who will reign under the name of Ramses III. If he is in charge of state affairs upon his father’s death, his actual coronation will not occur until 200 days later…

Indeed, he must first observe the time necessary for the mummification of the deceased king, organize his grandiose funeral in the royal necropolis (KV 14) and finally respect a precise calendar ritual… Thus, it is “the day after the great feast of Sokar which marked, by the death and the symbolic resurrection of the god, the renewal of nature “that the sovereign came” to Karnak, near Amon, to seek this investiture… He was purified in the court which separated the VIIth and the VIIIth pylon: four priests playing the roles of the gods Horus, Thoth, Seth and Dounânouy, wielding ewers of precious metal, came to sprinkle his body with lustral water, pronouncing consecrated formulas” specifies Pierre Grandet in the work he devotes to the monarch.

Statuary group representing Ramses III between Horus and Seth – red granite – 20th Dynasty
discovered in the lacunar state by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 at Medinet Habou
Egyptian Museum in Cairo – JE 31628 – CG 629 – museum photo

The long protocol connects a series of rituals, of which the coronation is probably the climax: it is one of the phases of this ceremony that this red granite statuary group reproduces.

1.69 cm high – therefore almost “life-size” – it was discovered by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 in the magnificent temple of millions of years that the king had built at Medinet Habou on the West Bank of Thebes.

On a rectangular base bearing the pharaoh’s cartouche on the left, the composition reserved for the three standing “characters” displays a perfect balance. Horus on the left and Seth on the right are in profile, while Ramses III, in the centre, is represented from the front. He is in the conventional attitude of walking, left leg forward. His body is that of a mature man. He is dressed in a pleated shendyt loincloth held at the waist by a beautifully crafted hanging belt. His arms are hanging along the body; his right hand squeezes the sign of life-ankh while the left firmly holds the “mekes” scroll (papyrus containing the “testament of the gods” or “testament of Geb”, text confiding Egypt to the king).

Ramses III in the statuary group representing him between Horus and Seth – red granite
20th dynasty – discovered in the lacunary state by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 at Medinet Habou
Egyptian Museum in Cairo – JE 31628 – CG 629

His face, perfectly symmetrical, is imbued with serenity. Finely arched fingertips surmount his almond-shaped eyes, his nose is well-proportioned, and his lips are delicately hemmed. His chin is adorned with a horizontally streaked false beard, and a large pectoral hangs from his neck. He majestically wears the white “hedjet” crown of Upper Egypt with the royal cobra coiled in the middle of the forehead, which has just been affixed to him.

“The statues of the gods, Horus and Seth, are in the same posture with the left leg forward; they each hold the sign of life-ankh and wear the Egyptian pectoral and the loincloth-shendyt. Each god has placed a hand on the crown of the king, performing the coronation of Ramses III,” specifies the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Horus in the statuary group representing him with Seth surrounding Ramses III – red granite – 20th dynasty
discovered in the lacunar state by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 at Medinet Habou
Egyptian Museum in Cairo – JE 31628 – CG 629

This solemn act was repeated for the various crowns whose wearing had to be legitimized by the gods. Thus, Pierre Grandet specifies: “The king appeared several times at the door of the naos, wearing, in turn, the various crowns that we usually see him wearing on the reliefs of the monuments”.

For Abeer El-Shahawy (The Egyptian Museum in Cairo): “Seth, to the right of the king, and Horus, to the left, were the mythological representations of the two powers of the country who had settled their differences. Now reunited and reconciled, they crown the Seen together; they were believed to unite the two lands of Upper and Lower Egypt, thus enabling the king to rule over an orderly and peaceful land. In crowning the king, they symbolically gave him the two halves of their world”…

It should be noted, however, that when it was discovered, the statuary group was incomplete. Thus, in the catalogue he devotes to “Statuen und Statuetten von Königen und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo”, Ludwig Borchardt presents it under n° 629 as “Remains of a group standing between two gods who crown it”. It indicates that: “The king stood in the middle on an elongated rectangular platform, on which only a few toes of the right foot remain and the beginning of a narrow dorsal pillar. To his right is Horus, with his head of a falcon, facing the king”… He also adds that “The statue of the king was later found in the store” (the place where the mission stored the discoveries). According to the photo published then, we note that the lower part of his face had suffered a lot (nose, right cheek, mouth, chin and beard)…

Statuary group representing Ramses III between Horus and Seth – red granite – 20th Dynasty
discovered in the lacunar state by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 at Medinet Habou – Egyptian Museum in Cairo – JE 31628 – CG 629
published here in the “General Catalog of Egyptian Antiquities of the Cairo Museum
Statuen und Statuetten von Königen und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo, Nr. 1-1294″ by Ludwig Borchardt

There is no mention of the god Seth… This fact does not fail to challenge Edwin C. Brock (“The Valley of the Kings”, Gründ): “This group from Medinet Habou presents an unusual composition where Horus and Seth crown the pharaoh. Preserved in the Cairo Museum, the statue has been restored. The presence of Seth is unusual, whereas Thoth, present in the coronation scenes, could logically have replaced him”.

Seth in the statuary group representing him with Horus surrounding Ramses III – red granite – 20th Dynasty
discovered in the lacunar state by Georges Daressy in 1895-1896 at Medinet Habou
Egyptian Museum in Cairo – JE 31628 – CG 629

Unless fragments of fingers have survived on the crown, the position of the hands of the deities (one is missing and the arms of the other are absent), and therefore the gesture they performed, cannot seem perhaps not clearly defined before the restoration… Thus in his “Visitor’s Guide to the Cairo Museum, 1902”, Gaston Maspero rather saw there a scene of purification by water: “King Ramses III standing between Horus and Typhon, received the effusion of life-giving water which they poured on him; Typhon disappeared, but Horus remained almost intact as well as the king”.

This recomposed “triad” is exhibited on the Tahrir Museum’s ground floor, registered in the Entry Journal JE 31628 and the General Catalog CG 629.

Marie Grillot

Sources:

Statue of Ramses III between Horus and Seth https://www.egyptianmuseumcairo.com/egyptian-museum-cairo/artefacts/statue-of-ramses-iii-between-horus-and-seth/ http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/detail.aspx?id=14750

Pierre Grandet, Ramses III. History of a reign, 1993 (Pygmalion editions) https://responsable-unige.ch/assets/files/Lettre%2039/grandet-vanoyeke.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1ZSLlYJWTnP4cW2vRQZBVGJteDhYd2dUoX_FtvCpOuRGIElsljQR21aOc

Abeer El-Shahawy, The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Matḥaf al-Miṣrī

Kent Weeks, “The Valley of the Kings”, Gründ, 2001

General Catalog of Egyptian Antiquities in the Cairo Museum – Statuen und Statuetten von Königen und Privatleuten im Museum von Kairo, Nr. 1-1294, Borchardt Ludwig, Berlin Reichsdruckerei, 1925 http://www.gizapyramids.org/pdf_library/borchardt_statuen_2.pdf

Gaston Maspero, Visitor’s Guide to the Cairo Museum, 1902, French Institute (Cairo) https://archive.org/details/guidemuseecaire00masp/page/n6/mode/2up

Daressy Georges. The latest excavations in Egypt. In: Sphinx: critical review embracing the entire field of Egyptology, vol. 1, 1897. pp. 81-86; doi; https://doi.org/10.3406/sphin.1897.1915 https://www.persee.fr/doc/sphin_2003-170x_1897_num_1_1_1915

Florence Maurejol, Pharaons, the ABCdaires, IMA, Flammarion, 2004,

One thought on “Crowned By Gods; A Glorious Of The Momentum!

  1. elainemansfield

    I love Egyptian mythology and art. Thanks for sharing this, Aladin. I’m grateful for the fine Egyptian collections in New York City and learned so much by spending time with these collections, but I have no idea how much of the sacred beauty was stolen. Fortunately, the stories are ours to share. Also, the small Egyptian temple in a glass room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was given to the museum to save the temple before the Nile was flooded by a dam.

    Liked by 3 people

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