Actor and Event : Military Activity in Ancient Egyptian Narrative Texts from Tuthmosis II to Merenptah
Abstract: This study treats the function of the military writings of ancient Egypt, from Tuthmosis II to Merenptah (c. 1492–1203 B.C.). They are described and defined using the terms Actor and Event. Chapter 1 deals with present state of research, aims and method, and sources. Chapters 2 to 5 discuss the texts, presented in four categories, defined and distinguished by their function. Chapter 6 concludes this study with a summary and a conclusion. Chapter 2 treats The Dominion Records, consisting of texts in which the focus is on the disruption of the king's control, expressed in terms of a rebellion. The monuments on which these texts are inscribed are found in two contexts, either in areas that define the borders of Egypt, or in temples, emphasizing the king's dominion as part of the reciprocal relationship between the king and the god.The king's participation in the royal campaign is the most important feature of the Expedition Records, treated in Chapter 3. The Expedition records focus on the king's performance on one or several military campaign(s). Chapter 4 discusses the Achievement Records. These describe a variety of royal achievements, non-military as well as military, presented as separate episodes. The texts credit the king's ability to act to the god, which motivates the placement of the Achievement Reports in a temple context. The Reciprocity Records (Chapter 5) presents a different perspective on the reciprocal interchange between the king and the god. While the other categories focus on the ability and achievements of the king, the Reciprocity Reports describe the gifts given by the king in exchange for that ability and those accomplishments. The perspective taken by this category of texts is that military success is a gift of the god, and the king, in return, compensates the god for his success through reciprocal gifts. Military events were used, during the period covered by this study, as integrated components in narratives that belong to several categories, entailing a varied use of the documentation of historical occasions. The use of the same occurrence in different textual categories results in there being considerable distinction, and even partial disagreement, between different versions of the same event.
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