Creating space: Temple biographies from Thebes
Elizabeth Frood [+]
University of Oxford
In this book Elizabeth Frood offers a new approach to Egyptian biographical texts and other forms of self-presentation, including whole monuments. She examines archaeological and architectural contexts as well as related ephemeral practices, such as performances surrounding their creation and dedication. The texts give accounts of the careers, actions, and character of elite individuals in the 19th and 20th Dynasties (ca. 1290–1075 BCE). All were carved on the walls of tombs, or on statues, stelae, and walls in temples, contributing to and transforming the meanings of these spaces. Case-studies of different contexts point to how and why individuals and groups asserted their presence and prestige and how the strategies they chose developed. These questions are vital for a period when core components of high culture changed significantly after the religious revolution of the Amarna episode. Responses included restoration of pre-Amarna traditions, elaboration of new forms, and fusions of the two approaches. In this dynamic context individuals negotiated their social, political, and religious roles through many styles of monumental display. It is possible to suggest how their strategies of self-fashioning may have mediated their identity and social relations during their lifetimes.