Title

Ancient Egyptian “Condemnation of Memory,” Iconoclasm or Damnatio memoriae

Description/Abstract

This paper focuses on the reasons and contemporary consequences of ancient Egyptian “condemnation of memory,” better known as iconoclasm and, in some cases, damnatio memoriae. Most scholarship focuses on ancient Egyptian iconoclasm as an act of political or social erasure. For example, Tuthmosis III’s attempted erasure of Hatshepsut, as a way to make it seem as though he never had a regent and as trying to take credit for all of her accomplishments. The ancient Egyptians were a highly religious people, with religion woven into every aspect of their lives. It is an oversight not to remember such religiosity when examining their iconoclastic habits. This paper argues that iconoclasm, when seen in Egyptian contexts, was a spiritual act. The primary goal of Egyptian iconoclasts was suffering in, or removal from, the afterlife. All other politico-historical benefits came second. By examining the acts of iconoclasm following the reign of Akhenaten and the Amarna period and the epigraphy from the mortuary complex of Hatshepsut and the erasure of the female King’s name we find that iconoclasts targeted names and faces, as though ritually attacking their personal identity as an effort to deprive them of eternity.

Presenting Author Name/s

Madeline Keller

Faculty Advisor

Jared Benton

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology

Session Title

College of Arts & Letters 3

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

Start Date

2-8-2020 10:15 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 11:00 AM

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Feb 8th, 10:15 AM Feb 8th, 11:00 AM

Ancient Egyptian “Condemnation of Memory,” Iconoclasm or Damnatio memoriae

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

This paper focuses on the reasons and contemporary consequences of ancient Egyptian “condemnation of memory,” better known as iconoclasm and, in some cases, damnatio memoriae. Most scholarship focuses on ancient Egyptian iconoclasm as an act of political or social erasure. For example, Tuthmosis III’s attempted erasure of Hatshepsut, as a way to make it seem as though he never had a regent and as trying to take credit for all of her accomplishments. The ancient Egyptians were a highly religious people, with religion woven into every aspect of their lives. It is an oversight not to remember such religiosity when examining their iconoclastic habits. This paper argues that iconoclasm, when seen in Egyptian contexts, was a spiritual act. The primary goal of Egyptian iconoclasts was suffering in, or removal from, the afterlife. All other politico-historical benefits came second. By examining the acts of iconoclasm following the reign of Akhenaten and the Amarna period and the epigraphy from the mortuary complex of Hatshepsut and the erasure of the female King’s name we find that iconoclasts targeted names and faces, as though ritually attacking their personal identity as an effort to deprive them of eternity.