Archaeology, University of Birmingham
Depictions of the ancient Egyptian king being breastfed by a goddess appear from the Old Kingdom through the Graeco-Roman period in temples and temples all over Egypt. In general, these scenes are understood to represent a rebirth for the king in which he receives the divine attributes needed to rule as Egypt’s king. Often tied to coronation, these scenes reflect the idea that a king changed up ascending the throne. However, these scenes appear in a range of contexts and spaces. Ancinet Egyptian reliefs in temples and tombs were rarely meant to be understood as independent and isolated imagery. They were part of larger decorative programs which interacted with each other, the space in which they were located, accompanying statuary, and the rituals which took place which the space.
My thesis research seeks to explore the various aspects of the context in which these scenes appear. This includes looking at the time period, location within the temple or tomb, relationship to the overall decorative program, and in relation to the other scenes with which they appear. By these means, we can gain a greater understanding of the purpose behind these images of the king being nursed and the role played by goddesses in ritual and Egyptian ideas of kingship. In addition, by considering change over time, we can better understand how this motif developed over the long history of ancient Egypt and what this can tell us about the changing ideas of ancient Egyptian kingship and the king’s relationship with the divine.