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Sun Oct 6, 2019, 12:03 AM

Any comments on a history book, I am rewriting?

(Ancient images, referred to in several sections of copy, would not copy and paste from the Microsoft Word Document. Many of the images will be posted later in this thread.)

Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution, which began around 10,000 BC; but an area, which eventually became Iraq, was not settled until 5500 BCE. Inhabitants of the region are credited with the most important developments in human history, including invention of the wheel, cursive script, mathematics, agriculture and astronomy. Also, evidence indicates belief in a son of God deity, Adad, with a heavenly, supreme, father-god, Anu began in Mesopotamia. By 9th century BCE, Chaldeans introduced weather god, Adad, to the Mesopotamian pantheon.

Nomadic people of West Asia established Sumerian culture and then settled the fertile crescent region, before creating cuneiform writing, around 3000 BCE. The most important archaeological discoveries from Sumer are a massive quantity of clay tablets, written in cuneiform script. Sumerian writing represents a milestone in the development of human ability to create historical archives, laws, literature and astronomical records. Although graphic images, similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics, were used initially, cuneiform and then ideograms (where symbols represented ideas) soon followed. The earliest clay tablet, bearing cuneiform, come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr and date to about 3300 BCE.

Sumerians believed in an anthropomorphic polytheism, or a belief in many gods, in human form. There was no common set of deities. Each city-state had its own patrons, temples, and priest-kings, which were not exclusive. The goddesses and gods of one city were often acknowledged in other city-states. Sumerians were among the earliest people to record concise beliefs in writing, Triangular or wedge-shaped reeds were used to write on moist clay. Hundreds of thousands of texts, in the Sumerian language, have survived; and they influenced Mesopotamian literature, religion, and astrology.

Enuma Anu Enlil Tablets, named for the Supreme God, Anu, who personified the sky and Enlil, the ancient Sumerian God of wind, air, earth and storms, are a massive series of predictions and omens, used for regular astrological reports sent to Neo-Assyrian kings by an entourage of scholars. Dubious by standards of modern science, the development of an astrology-based cosmology, in ancient Babylon, signified an attempt to rely on fixed and objective phenomenon as determining forces in human affairs. Prior to development of ancient astrology, predicting future events was entrusted to widely varying dreams and cryptic visions. The Enuma Anu Enlil Tablets were probably compiled, in a canonical form, during the Kassite period, beginning in 1595 BCE; but there was likely a prototype tablet, current in the Old Babylonian period, from 1950 to 1595 BCE, which continued to be used well into the 1st millennium.

Archaeological evidence shows interest in predicting astronomy predates written, records. Artifacts, from around 32,000 BCE, verify a human awareness of lunar cycles. Beginning in 1964 CE, Alexander Marshack published research, documenting astronomical knowledge of Late Upper Paleolithic cultures, in Europe. Marshack deciphered marks carved in animal bones, and occasionally on the walls of caves, as records of the lunar cycles. The marks are sets of progressive crescents. Artisans carefully controlled line thickness, so its correlation with lunar phases would be easy to perceive. Sets of marks were often laid out in a serpentine pattern, which suggests either a snake deity or streams and rivers.

Most of the lunar calendars were made on small pieces of stone, bone or antler, which allowed them to be easily carried on extended journeys, especially long hunting trips, during seasonal migrations of heard animals. Hunting large animals was demanding and often required hunters to follow herds of horses, bison, mammoth and ibex for many weeks. Other big animals such as an extinct species of large cattle called auroch, cave bear and cave lion were well known but rarely hunted, because they held special status in the spiritual realm.

While this hunting tool, used to predict seasonal migrations of herd-animals, indicates that Upper Paleolithic humans of Europe were interested in astronomical occurrences, it does not show any knowledge of the kind of advanced astrology practiced first by ancient Sumerian and Egyptian cultures and later perfected by Greek civilizations. Beginning with Sumerian culture, Mesopotamia obviously influenced Ancient Greece. With both civilizations originating around the Mediterranean, mutually beneficial trade, led to cultural similarities, including astrology.

Unlike Greek Hellenistic astrology, where constellations, which occur in a path the sun appears to take across the sky became significant, Mesopotamia found other constellations important. The appearance a certain constellation was not limited to spiritual endeavors; but astrology held spiritual significance. After all, Anu, their Supreme God, personified the sky. In a more practical application, planting and harvesting of important crops could be planned when certain stars or constellations rose on the horizon. Modern astrology is based on a merger of star-clocklike, Decanic astrology of Egypt, Babylonian astrology and Hellenistic astrology. After learning to irrigate crops, Sumerians and later Akkadians were able to thrive, as agrarian civilizations, after they discovered a reliable means of predicting seasonal, weather fluctuations.

Mesopotamia was an early trade partner of Egypt. By the time of the First Dynasty of Egypt, from 3150 until 2890 BCE, trade was already long established with Mesopotamia. Sumerian influence on the development of Egyptian art, religion, and culture has been noted, contested, and debated by many different scholars over the last century, which leads to Atum and Re, who ancient Egyptians merged, as gods, associated with the rising and setting sun. However, long before early Egyptian cultures established trade with Sumerian civilization, a Neolithic concept of a "solar barge” permeated Egyptian theology, as the sun riding in a boat. A solar barge reappears later, in ancient Egypt funerary relics.

Due to an unusual shape of the head on this prehistoric statue, dated between 3500 and 3400 BCE, this artifact is sometimes called a “bird-woman.” Nonetheless not only reptilian shape of its head, but also unnatural shape and position, of arms and hands, of the ancient statue, on display in the Brooklyn Museum, resembles the hood of a cobra, instead of bird-wings. Also, the 11.5-inch-tall, Egyptian statue lacks distinct legs or feet, which contributes to a conclusion that this predynastic relic is a representation of Wadjet, the cobra goddess.

Anyone, who navigates the Nile, or its tributaries eventually encounters an Egyptian Cobra (Naja haje) which feeds on a wide variety of prey but prefers toads and birds that need water to survive. Some portrayals of Wadjet (pronounced wajit) show a cobra coiled around a papyrus stalk; and the plant grows in marshes. Historic sources agree that the asp, which Cleopatra used to commit suicide was – in fact – an Egyptian Cobra.

Many of the first deities associated with the sun, in predynastic Egypt, were goddesses; and Wadjet was one of them. Like most Egyptian deities, likenesses of Wadjet combine human and animal features. Wadjet was often portrayed as a woman with the head of a cobra or the body of a snake adorned with the head of a woman. Funerary masks and crowns of most pharaohs were bejeweled with a cobra, to express a primary role of Wadjet, which was protecting the pharaoh. Another icon of divinity, closely associated with pharaoh, commonly called the Eye of Horus, was originally the Eye of Wadjet, which she used to find children of sun-god Atum. By the Predynastic period, a local goddess, Wadjet, had grown to personify all Lower Egypt. The Pyramid Texts link her with Papyrus, a plant used to create paper-like sheets to record ancient, Egyptian chronicles.

When pharaoh wore a rearing cobra as a crown, it was called a uraeus. Along with the Eye of Horus, it was one of the most important symbols in ancient Egypt. Like others, Tutankhamun’s uraeus also displayed the head of a vulture. The Pyramid Texts refers to “evil eyes.” It was believed the sun and moon were eyes of Horus. It was written “when Horus opens his eyes he fills the universe with light and when he shuts them darkness appears.” Some sources claim that the name “Osiris” means “place of the eye” Several proposals have been made for etymology of the original name Horus; but as Egyptologist Mark J. Smith notes, none are fully convincing. Coffins of Egyptians and sarcophagi, reserved for royalty, were adorned with the Eye of Horus, which presumably allowed the deceased to find a path into the afterlife.

Perhaps the Eye of Horus had mathematical properties. Parts of the Eye resemble hieroglyphics for specific fractions. Previously, the Rhind Papyrus claimed that Egyptians would have been able to sum the complete series to 63/64. Studies, beginning 1970 CE, in Egyptian mathematics, clearly show this theory was fallacious. Hieroglyphics, similar to Eye-parts, are now considered distinct.

Apparently, the head of this cobra, which epitomizes Wadjet, resembles the Eye of Horus. In ancient, Egyptian religion, Set (Seth) the god of desert storms, disorder and violence, ripped an eye from the sky-god, Horus. The eye was restored to him and became a symbol of protection for Egyptian kings and pharaohs. After this battle, Horus ruled the world of the living. Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was the 'living Horus'. Ancient Egyptians held various beliefs about Horus, especially involving his lost eye. They considered the sun and moon eyes of Horus.

One of the most common opinions was that Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris. After Osiris was slain, by his brother Seth, Horus fought with him for the throne of Egypt. In ancient Egyptian tradition, Horus became God of the Living, while Osiris represented God of the Dead. Like depictions of Wadjet, with the head of a cobra, on the body of a woman, portrayals of Horus often present him as a falcon or man, wearing the crown of pharaoh. Osiris also wears the crown, while another god of the dead, Anubis has a jackals’ head Cobras protect stores of grain from rats and mice, by eating the rodents; and jackals feed on human corpse. While sources link Horus to a hawk, eye-markings and royal interest in falconry imply true symbolism.

Re (Ra) is another important falcon-god, linked to the sun. Uncharacteristic of representations of Horus, who wears the actual crown of pharaoh, images of Ra feature a solar disc, encircled by a cobra, atop a falcon-head on a man. Perhaps one of the earliest deities of ancient Egypt – the God of Creation – Atum was also a sun-god. In the ancient center of religion, Heliopolis, pharaohs and priests merged Ra with Atum, as gods of the rising and setting sun. In later Egyptian dynastic periods, Ra merged with the major state-god Horus, into Ra-Horakhty, which means “Ra, who is Horus of Two Horizons." Ancient representations of this combined deity portray him, also wearing a solar-disc, encircled by a cobra, on a man, with a falcon’s head. A teardrop shape, which is not present on Egyptian hawks (1/64th, in a previous image) resembles eye-markings on likely the oldest hierofalcon (sacred falcon). Clearly, the Eye of Horus is a stylized version of Lanner Falcon eye-markings. Also, falconry (hunting with trained raptors) is the subject of ancient, Egyptian artwork.

In ancient Egypt, the setting sun signifies its decent into the underworld: The rising sun represents restoration, just as Isis and her sister Nephthys used magical spells, from Egyptian, funerary texts, to resurrect her husband, Osiris, after he was slain by Seth, during a fight for the thrown of Egypt. In some accounts, her son, Horus, cut off her head, for failing to use similar magic to avenge the death of his father, God of the Underworld, Osiris. Isis promptly grew the head of a cow onto her neck and forgave her irate son. While Wadjet, with a cobra-head, embodies a dangerous protective deity, Isis, epitomized a nurturing influence. Ancient Egyptian cattle were so important that they became identified with several Egyptian gods, especially Isis: Egyptians used them for food, milk, leather and sacrifice. Isis and Wadjet had a unique relationship, in the theology of ancient Egypt: When Horus was too young to fulfill a destiny of avenging, Osiris, Wadjet, with the help of his mother, Isis, hid the young god, in swamps of the Nile delta. During the Old Kingdom, from 2686 until 2181 BCE, Isis, Osiris and Horus became increasingly prominent.

Because the Nile flows to the north, Upper-Egypt is south of Lower-Egypt. Nekhbet (pronounced Nekbet) inspired Egypt’s oldest shrine, in Necropolis (city of the dead). During the Predynastic Period and later, portrayals of Nekhbet resemble a bird linked with the dead – a White Vulture. After unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, she joined Wadjet, to protect Pharaoh.

An amulet, from Tutankhamun’s tomb, resembles this image of Wadjet, wearing the crown Lower Egypt and Nekhbet, wearing a crown of Upper Egypt. Depicted inside pyramids, this image is an important part of the earliest maps to an afterlife, called the Pyramid Texts.

After unification, Pharaohs wore crowns that combined both predynastic crowns, to show they ruled the entire domain.

During the Early Dynastic period, from 3100 to 2686 BC, Anubis was portrayed in full animal form. A jackal-god, probably Anubis, is depicted in stone, from the reign of pharaohs of the First Dynasty. Since Predynastic Egypt, when dead bodies were buried in shallow graves, jackals were associated with cemeteries, because they dug up freshly buried bodies to eat the flesh.

In this image, from the interior of one of the Pyramids in Giza, Anubis sits behind his mother, Nephthys, a wife of Set and sister of Isis. As he appears in most portrayals, Anubis holds the ankh, a symbol of life, in one hand and a was, which is topped by the head of his father, Seth, as a symbol of his power over chaos, in the other.
Like most Egyptian deities, Anubis assumed various roles in different contexts. Depicted as a protector of graves, in the First Dynasty from 3100 to 2890 BCE, Anubis was a divine embalmer. By the Middle Kingdom from 2055 until 1650 BCE, he was replaced by Osiris in his role as lord of the underworld. In every context he continued to maintain his most prominent activity, as a god ushering souls into the afterlife, often appearing as an embalmer of Pharaoh.

In ancient, Egyptian theological teachings, Nephthys was instrumental in combining her magic with mystical ability of Isis to resurrect Osiris. In representations, which can be confused with Nekhbet, Nephthys also has wings.

Set (Seth) is typically portrayed as a mysterious creature, Egyptologists refer to as the Seth animal, which is a beast that resembles no known creature; but it could be a composite of an aardvark and either a jackal or fennec fox. Seth animals have curved snouts, long rectangular ears, and long tails, on human bodies, in graphic depictions, or a forked tail, on a canine body, in hieroglyphic representations, which are confusing, due to the changing roles and attitudes, associated with the deity.

Initially, Seth had a positive persona and allied with Ra, on his solar boat, to repel Apep, the serpent of Chaos. Seth maintained his vital role as a counterbalance. He was lord of the red desert and acted as a balance to Horus, the ruler of black soil.

In the Second Intermediate Period, from 1650 to 1550 BCE, Asiatic foreign chiefs known as Hyksos (literally, "rulers of foreign lands" gained control of the Nile Delta and ruled it from Avaris. The invaders chose Seth, as a main deity of Egypt, because of similarities between Seth and their chief deity, Baal, another god of disorder, especially storms.
After he became god of foreigners, a demonizing of Seth took place, after the conquest of Egypt by several foreign nations, during the Third Intermediate and Late Periods. As the god of foreigners, Seth became associated with foreign oppressors, including the Persian and Grecian empires. During these times, Seth was particularly vilified; and his defeat by Horus became more widely celebrated by ancient people - native to Egypt.

Still, by representing Chaos, caused by natural phenomenon, including storms, flooding, pestilence and drought, Seth, continued to counterbalance Horus, who became Ra-Horakhty, a deity linked to pharaoh and the orderly occurrences of sunset and sunrise. Egyptians conceived of the cosmos, including the gods and world, which centered on Egypt, as being surrounded by the realm of disorder, where order had arisen and would finally revert. Like the desert encroaching on the Nile, disorder had to be scrutinized. A task of pharaoh was retaining benevolence of the gods, to maintain order.

While early artists might have displayed the Eye of Horus on coffins to allow the departed to see a path to the afterlife, The Coffin Texts created between 2130 and 2040 BCE, were incantations and maps, inscribed on coffins, to help the deceased navigate to the afterlife. They included the Book of Two Ways which is the earliest example of cosmography from ancient Egypt. It provided maps of the afterlife and ways to avoid dangers on the route. The Book of Two Ways was not a separate work, nor even a book, but a detailed map, corresponding to the text painted inside the coffin.

Coffin Texts, partially derived from the earlier Pyramid Texts, from 2400 to 2300 BCE and inspired subsequent work on The Egyptian Book of the Dead, created between 1550 and 1070 BCE. Primarily written during the First Intermediate Period of Egypt, from 2181 to 2040 BCE, some evidence suggests the texts began being composed near the end of the Old Kingdom, which began in 2613 and ended in 2181 BCE. Work on the Coffin Texts continued throughout the early Middle Kingdom from 2040 until 1782 BCE. During the New Kingdom, from 1570 until 1069 BCE, they were replaced by scribed versions of the Book of the Dead, which were sometimes included among other grave-goods.

The changes in religious beliefs also resulted in a democratization of goods and services. Previously, only the pharaoh could afford certain luxuries: Now, they were available to lesser nobility, court officials, bureaucrats, and even ordinary people. Mass production of goods such as statuary and ceramics began; and those who could not have afforded the luxury of a fine tomb, with inscriptions, during the Old Kingdom, became entitled to a potential afterlife. Just as ancient pharaohs had tombs adorned with the Pyramid Texts, now anyone could have the same promise of an afterlife, through purchase of personal coffins, made of papyrus and wood, along with various versions of the Coffin Texts.

Scribes would carefully paint images coffins with copies of the text. Like ornate depictions of the walls of pyramids, illustrations on coffins relayed information about lives of the deceased. A primary function of the Pyramid Text was to remind the pharaoh who he had been while alive and what he had achieved. When the dead pharaoh awoke in the tomb, images and the accompanying text were an intentional reminder; this same model applied to the Coffin Texts.

The democratization of the afterlife was due largely to the popularity of the myth of Osiris. Osiris was the first-born god, after the act of creation. With his sister and wife, Isis, he was the first king of Egypt, until being murdered by his jealous brother Set. Isis was able to bring Osiris back to life, but he was incomplete and so descended to rule in the underworld as Lord and Judge of the Dead, who used a set of scales to weigh a heart and determine the fate of the deceased.

Although specific religious practices of early Isis Cults, dating to around 2,200 BCE does not exist, ancient artifacts often portray her mourning her slain husband Osiris. Isis is usually depicted as a woman, wearing the solar symbol, as a crown. Many ancient versions of her image show her sitting on a throne, alone and holding her child Horus or kneeling before a coffin. Non-human depictions of Isis feature the goddess, with the head of a cow, attached to a female, human body. More common, human depictions, in ancient Egyptian artwork, resemble The Waite/ Smith High Priestess, which presents a female icon, wearing a solar disc between two horns, as a headpiece.

Isis cults proliferated throughout the ancient world because they represented an early major theological canon, which features an afterlife. Through Divine intervention, Isis brought Egyptian God of the Underworld Osiris, back to life and her followers sought a similar miracle, not unlike the Christian beliefs, which featured an afterlife, over two-thousand years later: But Zoroastrianism, instead of Egyptian beliefs, has more in common with Christianity. Isis worship spread into Greco-Roman culture. Some Isis temples were converted into Catholic Churches and then named after Virgin Mary.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Saint Mary above Minerva) is a church in Rome, Italy, run by the Dominicans. After ancient Romans converted a shrine, devoted to Isis worship, into temple dedicated to the Roman Goddess of Wisdom, Minerva, a Christian church was built over the original foundation of ancient ruins. The ancient temple likely lasted until the reign of Pope Zachary, from 741 until 752 CE. This saint zealously restored Catholic churches of Rome and Christianized pagan, religious sites. In 1665 CE, an Egyptian obelisk was discovered, buried in the garden of the Dominican cloister, adjacent to the church. Over the centuries, other small, ancient obelisks were found, near the church.

Various sources claim that monotheism – the basis of Christianity – arose in Egypt, during the reign of Amenhotep IV, which began before 1367 BCE. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of Persia before 600 BCE; but linguistic evidence indicates it was practiced in 1500 BCE and permitted by Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire, in the 6th century BCE. Zoroastrianism was the first scripture-based, monotheistic belief in judgment after death, Heaven and Hell. While rabbinical sources claim Moses freed Jewish slaves in Egypt, records in the Cyrus Cylinder, of 539 BCE, indicate that the religious tolerance Cyrus the Great allowed repatriation of deported peoples, which might have included Jews.

Commonalities with Christianity emerge from a Divine trinity of Isis, Osiris and Horus. While there are similarities in the theosophies, glaring differences also exist. Virgin Mary and Isis are mothers of a resurrected god. Horus, like Christ, embodied the qualities of the Father-God. Just as Jesus became King of the Jews, Horus developed into the ruler of the first unified Egypt. Both dogma promise loyal followers resurrection after death and feature a trilogy. Still the Christian Trinity differs from the Egyptian trilogy of deities. Also, Virgin Mary, in Christian theology, represents an unattainable yet subservient feminine role. Isis, characterizes an eternal goddess with mystical powers, ruling the natural world and fate.

Narmer was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period. He was probably successor to Protodynastic King Ka, or possibly King Scorpion. Egyptologists consider Narmer founder of the First Dynasty and the first pharaoh of unified Egypt. The identity of Narmer is a subject of ongoing debate, although dominant opinion among Egyptologists identifies Narmer with the pharaoh Menes, renowned in the ancient Egyptian written records as unifier of Ancient Egypt. The issue is confusing because "Narmer" is a throne-name, while "Menes" is a personal, birth-name. While a multitude of men and even boys ruled dynastic Egypt, only a few women attained the status of primary regent.

The historical record shows that about 2970 BCE, during the First Dynasty, MerNeith was a queen consort and regent, but she might have ruled in her own right for a period of time. Her tomb closely resembles those of Egyptian kings from the 1st dynasty and reflects many of the honors afforded to them, including a large underground chamber, graves for servants, sacrificial offerings and a solar boat. Her name is also included in a list of early pharaohs found on a seal in her son's tomb. However, alongside her name on this seal, is the title "King's Mother." If she truly ruled in her own right, MerNeith would be the first female pharaoh and queen regnant in recorded history.

The second women to become pharaoh was Hatshepsut, who ruled from 1478 to 1458 BCE, during the 18th dynasty. Hatshepsut was a popular leader, who built temples to the deities, as well as other public buildings. Egyptian custom considered a pharaoh Divine. In ancient Egypt, priests insisted that living deities must not marry mortals. As a result, she became queen of Egypt upon marrying her half-brother Thutmose II and then regent after her infant stepson Thutmose III died. Obviously, inbreeding – over countless generations – led to severe genetic abnormalities.

Reigning from 1191 to 1189 BCE, Twosret was the last known pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. She was the second wife of Seti II and regent to his heir Siptah. When Siptah died, Twosret assumed control of the throne and officially declared herself pharaoh. It is unsure whether her reign ended in civil war or the conflict began because of her death.

Nefertiti was another female, Egyptian ruler. Artistic portrayals of Nefertiti support accounts, which honor her legendary beauty. She married her half-brother Amenhotep IV, who advocated monotheism, which is the belief in only one deity. Oddly, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) was not awarded power, as custom dictated, at the Temple in Karnak, but at Hermonthis, where his uncle Inen was High Priest (Ptahmose) of Amen-Re, the Sun God. Not long after his coronation, the new Pharaoh began construction of a roofless temple to Aten (not Atum), who was an aspect of Re, signified by the sun-disc. He soon forbade the worship of other gods, especially of the state god Amen of Thebes. Replacing accepted Egyptian deities made Amenhotep IV unpopular. His short reign was from 1367 BCE to 1350 BCE. or from 1344 BCE, to 1328 BCE, depending on online sources. Because he modified Egyptian religion, subsequent rulers attempted to purge Amenhotep IV from the historic record. Probably, due to his sacrilege, feminine portrayals of Amenhotep IV were preserved, while masculine depictions were destroyed; and Akhenaten perhaps ordered feminine depictions of himself.

His likenesses surpass female traits in Atum, the god of creation. Portrayals of Amenhotep IV present a hermaphrodite, with feminine hips. Inbreeding could produce this abnormality; but the fact that Akhenaten (his acquired name) had children argues against these suggestions. Many scholars have speculated about possible explanations for his physical appearance. In his book The Murder of Tutankhamen, Bob Brier claims Akhenaten suffered from Marfan's Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes long thin facial features and fingers and sunken chests, along with heart problems, from an enlarged aorta. His slit-eyed appearance indicates shortsightedness, another symptom of the disorder. Brier speculates that this could explain Amenhotep’s appearance, and emphasis on the sun. Marfan's sufferers feel cold more intensely, than healthy humans; but this does not explain feminine hips on Akhenaten portrayals.

During his reign, Egyptians were required to worship Aten, who replaced Re (Ra) as the main sun god. First references to Ra date to 2494 BCE. Ra arose in Lower Egypt and eventually eclipsed the more ancient creator god Atum. Initially, Akhenaten presented Aten as a variant of the familiar supreme deity Ra-Harakhty (which resulted from fusion of deities, Ra and Horus) to present his beliefs in a familiar Egyptian religious context. However, by the ninth year of his reign, Akhenaten declared Aten was not merely the supreme deity, but the only god; and he (Akhenaten) was the only divine intermediary between Aten and his people. He also ordered the defacing of Amun temples, throughout Egypt.

Departing from traditional claims of divinity, Akhenaten was a high priest and his chief wife, Nefertiti, was high priestess. Before Akhenaten, the Egyptian public perceived Pharaoh as the son of Ra and Horus personified. Originally, Horus was the tutelary deity (a guardian of kings) of Nekhen in Upper Egypt. Later, Pharaohs merged Ra into the composite deity Ra-Horakhty ("Ra is Horus of the Horizon." By the 5th Dynasty, Ra was directly linked to Atum, the creator god, as Atum-Ra. Before and after Akhenaten, throne-names, like his son’s, Tutankhamen, did not incorporate Aten.

Unlike Akhenaten, Nefertiti appears highly popular, which accounts for her renowned beauty, in artistic depictions of this co-ruler. Styles of art, which flourished during her short reign, are markedly different from other Egyptian art, expressing an innovative freedom, probably initiated by the religious upheaval, during her life.

Born about 1367 BCE, Nefertiti held massive authority, perhaps surpassing her husband’s. This is suggested by the fact that depictions of her surpass Akhenaten, in Amarna period artwork. One relief, which displays a victor in battle, shows her adopting a pose of Pharaoh. Towards the end of the period, however, she almost vanishes from the artistic record. In artwork, her status is evident and indicates she held more influence than her husband. It has even been suggested that after his death she ruled Egypt – in her own right. When Nefertiti fades from historical records, Neferneferuaten, a female Pharaoh, replaces her. In depictions, Nefertiti wears crowns, usually worn by only male rulers. Other debate surrounds the identity and desecration, in antiquity, of her mummified body.

The life of the last Queen of Egypt is a story of love, greed and adultery. While she lived long after Narmer had faded into obscurity, many Egyptian people worshipped Cleopatra as a goddess: She was considered a reincarnation of Isis. Cleopatra is the most famous leader of ancient Egypt. She was ambitious and, unlike her rivalrous brother, spoke several languages. Though her son ruled briefly after she died, Cleopatra is considered the last Ptolemaic Dynasty ruler.

Cleopatra VII Philopator (Cleopatra Philopator) was born 69 BCE and died August 12, 30 BCE. Although Cleopatra is considered the last active ruler of dynastic Egypt, she was briefly survived, as pharaoh, by her son Caesarion. After her reign, Egypt became a province of the recently established Roman Empire. She ascended the throne to become Queen of Egypt, not long after her eighteenth birthday. Cleopatra constantly battled jealous, ambitious people who attempted to kill her to occupy the throne. After being banished from Egypt, by her ruthless brother, she obtained military support of Julius Caesar, through an illicit romance, because he was married. For strategic reasons, Caesar reinstated her as the co-ruler of Egypt.

After the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar's legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus). With Antony, she bore the twins Cleopatra Selene II and a son, Alexander Helios. Antony committed suicide after losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian's forces, and Cleopatra followed suit. According to popular belief, she killed herself on the fangs of a venomous asp snake. After Cleopatra died Caesarion became pharaoh; but he was soon killed on Octavian's orders. Egypt was then declared the Roman province of Aegyptus. Cleopatra claimed they embodied Isis and Horus; and Caesarion’s throne-names, especially King of Kings, loosely link him to Jesus; but that throne-name was also associated with previous pharaohs.

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Reply Any comments on a history book, I am rewriting? (Original post)
real Cannabis calm Oct 2019 OP
Karadeniz Oct 2019 #1
real Cannabis calm Nov 2019 #2

Response to real Cannabis calm (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 04:25 PM

1. Very informative, which says something since the Egyptian theoarchy is very difficult.

There is an author you might enjoy, Ralph Ellis. He's not a strict historian, but a theorist. I think the book I found most interesting is Tempest & Exodus...he points out so many things we just overlook. Anyway, keep up the good work!

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 7, 2019, 05:29 PM

2. Thanks for the reply...

I'm glad you enjoyed this history of religion.

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