Tag Archives: Obelisk

The Impermanence of Obelisks.

On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.

ABOVE ARE SOME PICTURES I took of the black siltstone obelisk of Nectanebo II, originally placed in the doorway at the Temple of Thoth at Hermopolis and now located in the Great Court of the British Museum. For the ancient Egyptians, obelisks were very heavy versions of the modern day political poster, their symbolism operating as a proclamation of the glory, power, and dedication of the pharaoh (truth be told, it didn’t really matter which pharaoh, because very few Egyptians knew how to read hieroglyphs); many obelisks contained inscriptions declaring that their permanence would ensure the might of their ruler. Continue reading

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