Impacts of instability: Military representations from the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


Although the military served an important role in ancient Egyptian society, very few military representations are known from private tombs. Schulman has identified eight provincial examples of military wall scenes from the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom, while Kroenke has identified six provenanced military funerary models from the same periods. The theme remains rare among both media and should be considered a supplementary addition for the ruling elite who desired to highlight their personal military success. The fact that the military is even included among the repertoire of funerary models is quite surprising. The sculptures were interred in the burial chamber where every effort was made to protect the body of the tomb owner. Animate beings were largely excluded from scenes on the walls of substructures in order to protect the deceased from any threat they might pose. Including representations of armed soldiers had the potential to cause harm. This paper will examine the known examples of military funerary models and will compare them with the wall scenes. Focusing primarily on the representations from Middle Egypt, it will identify the differences between the two media and propose why the theme would be included among the repertoires of funerary models and wall scenes. This will highlight the historical importance of the artistic representations and will provide new insight into how a period of political instability affected funerary customs of the provincial elite.
PeriodMay 2022
Event titleAnnual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt
Event typeConference
LocationUnited StatesShow on map