Howard Carter and Tutankhamen


From the BBC, the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb

Today is the birthday of Howard Carter (1874-1939), an English archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen.

From “The Metaphor of Kingship” section of the lecture series, “Symbolism in the Bible”:

The society that went furthest in identifying the entire society with and as the king was ancient Egypt. If you look at, say, the Tutankhamen collection, you would say to yourself that it would be absolutely incredible that all that labour and expense went into the constructing of the tomb for a pharaoh. We’d never believe it without direct evidence. And yet, when we understand how pervasive royal metaphors are in Egypt — that Pharaoh is not only a king, he is an incarnate god, identical with the god Horus before his death and with the god Osiris after it, and that he was called “the shepherd of his people” — it becomes more conceivable. And unlike the Hebrew practice, he was high priest as well as king. So it is possible that the ordinary Egyptian found an identity for himself within the mystical body of Pharaoh which was of a kind that our mental processes simply cannot recapture. (CW 13, 490)


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