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AKHENATEN

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Author Topic: AKHENATEN  (Read 1044 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2007, 06:45:32 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE ROYAL "SED" - FESTIVAL



There seems to have been a "sed"-festival for as long as there was a pharaoh.

Representations of the king running the festival's course or sitting enthroned in its
chapel occur on sealings from the beginning of the pharaonic period, c. 3000BC.
These were two of the festival's most important rites, and they would be depicted
again and again in later times.

The object of the festival was a renewal of the reigning monarch, whose power
had become depleted over time, thus endangering the continued existence of the
state.

Instead of killing him and replacing him with a new ruler, it was considered sufficient
to effect a symbolic burial of the 'old' king in the form of a statue and accord him the
opportunity to repeat his coronation and continue to reign as a 'new' king.

The ritual course he ran before all the deities of the land also symbolized the conti-
nued strength that qualified him for the renewal of his rulership.





                             Amenophis III's Sed Festival Temple



In the Middle and New Kingdoms, this festival of renewal was celebrated before the
end of the thirtieth year of rule and then repeated at briefer intervals of three or four
years; in the case of Ramesses II, with his extremely long reign of over 66 years, we
know of a dozen repetitions.

In Egypt, 30 years was a round number signifying a generation, though our sources do
not as yet permit a confirmation of this criterion for the Old Kingdom and the Late Period.
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