Chapters (Layout Features)

The Pharaoh and Pharaonic Office

Morris, Ellen F.

As in many sacred monarchies, the central paradox of Egyptian kingship was that the body politic was unequivocally divine but was by necessity filled by a body natural, subject to the laws of nature and to all too human foibles (Kantorowitz 1957). In emic terms, the king when fully immersed in his hallowed role as the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt was the nsw, while his physical, individual self was referred to as the hm--or "incarnation" (Goedicke 1960: 17-37, 51-79; Blumenthal 1970: 23). Those few points in Egyptian history where the humanity of a particular Pharaoh may be glimpsed are precious on account of their rarity. For the most part, Pharaohs were portrayed as the living image of the most esteemed god, the distillation of all that was perfect in heaven and earth. This chapter focuses on the manner in which this Pharaonic ideal of kingship was promoted, enacted, and assiduously protected from any tarnish that an imperfect mortal occupant might introduce.

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Also Published In

A Companion to Ancient Egypt, vol. I

More About This Work

Academic Units
Classics and Ancient Studies (Barnard College)
Published Here
June 14, 2018