Dr. Vanessa Davies (Visiting Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley) will address the topic “Foreign relations, funerary art, and pharaoh: Visual play in ancient Egypt.” The lecture is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America.
This talk addresses the question of why Ramses II concluded a peace treaty with the Hittite king Hattušili III 16 years after a major battle between Egyptian and Hittite forces (c. 1275 BCE). To answer this question, we will explore the meaning of the “peace,” or hetep, that the treaty established.
Our study of this word will take us on an artistic adventure, as we look at images of “offering” (also hetep) found in temples and tombs and consider the symbolism of those images. Focusing on the visual play between the word hetep (“offerings”) and the image of offering, this talk will show that the purpose of the offering ritual and the symbolic meaning of the offering scene was to provide the recipient not with physical items, but with recognition by and interaction with the living.
This interpretation then informs our understanding of why Ramses established hetep (“peace”) in the absence of war and why the hieroglyphic version of the peace treaty contains a preamble not found in the Hittites’ version of the treaty.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
-Baines, John. Visual and Written Culture in Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
-Hartwig, Melinda (ed.). A Companion to Ancient Egyptian Art. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
-Hodel-Hoenes, Sigrid. Life and Death in Ancient Egypt: Scenes from private tombs in New Kingdom Thebes. David Warburton (trans.). Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000.
-Raaflaub, Kurt A. (ed.) War and Peace in the Ancient World. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
-Robins, Gay. The Art of Ancient Egypt. Revised edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.
-Snape, Stephen. Ancient Egyptian Tombs: The Culture of Life and Death. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
-Spalinger, Anthony J. War in Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
-Strudwick, Nigel and Helen Strudwick. Thebes in Egypt: A guide to the tombs and temples of ancient Luxor. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.
-Teeter, Emily. Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
-van Walsem, René. Iconography of Old Kingdom Elite Tombs: Analysis and interpretation, theoretical and methodological aspects. Dudley: Peeters, 2005.