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Opet Festival
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:48 am 
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In Bob Brier's book, Murder of King Tutankhamen, he discusses a bit about the Opet festival. He says "During the feast of Opet, a cow's horns were topped with carved hands; between them was a tiny Nubian head. When the animal lowered its head, Nubia symbolically paid homage to Egypt."
Now on to my questions....
1) I know there are scenes showing the festival, but were there actually scenes showing this part of it, or is it another of his speculations?
2)If there is proof that this part of the festival DID happen, was it only to symbolize Nubians, or would they also have used statues of say, Lybian and Syrian heads?
3) Not exactly on the exact same subject, but I am also having a hard time figuring out what is speculation, his own theories, etc and what the truth is. Origionally when I started reading this book, I found myself running to the computer or to books to check facts every few pages. Is it worth doing that or should I take most of what he says with a grain of salt and jot down any serious questions I have and research them later?
Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:55 am 
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OK.. maybe this is one of those questions that no knows for sure.... I KNOW that some have you have read the book because I have seen it discussed in other threads.. so any answers to #3?


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Can I be of any help? Probably not but I'll give it a go!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 11:42 am 
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Hello Mary, I feel a bit sorry that no one answered your question, and although I doubt I can be of much help I may as well give it a go.

The Temple of Luxor (Thebes) was the home of the Opet festival. Opet means literally 'secret house' because as you probably already know the temples in Egypt comprised of concentric chambers that got ever darker until you reached the inner sanctuary.
The sanctuary contained the statue of the god, in this case Amun. The sanctuary at Luxor (according to their creation myth) rested upon the original mound of creation that rose out of nun, the primeval waters of chaos.
During the Ceremony a statue of Amun was carried about a mile and a half upstream from Karnak to Luxor. Either by priests or by boat. Along the way people cheered the procession onwards and towards the Pharaoh at Luxor.

Most of the information that we have about the opet festival comes from the inscriptions on the walls leading to the inner sanctum of the temple at Luxor (I have seen them with my own eyes). There are Nubian musicians, acrobats, and dancers awaiting the arrival of Amun's barque; decorated with djed-pillars and ankhs.

Many boats accompany the barque (some being frantically rowed against the current, others being towed from the river bank), and several royal chariots are alongside the Pharaoh; in this case Tutankhamun and his wife Akhesenamun. Finally at the very end Tut himself is shown offering two ceremonial gourds to the gods, who then depart on the next wall, as the procession returns to Karnak. Most of the other nearby inscriptions deal with the repairs that Ramesses II made to the temple later on, and there is not much more (to my knowledge) on the Opet-festival.


I can find no proof that the part of the festival that you described ever took place. These carved hands? If they form the Ka symbol then this was a common. I expect you know all about it. If the cow's horns have the solar disk in the centre (see picture) then it may refer to Hathor, but this seems largely irrelevant. Other gods who have headresses with horns on include Re, Tatenen, Isis, Ipy (also worshiped at Thebes), Mandulis (a Nubian god) and sometimes Khnum. Whether this is relevant I really don't know.

Also, I don't really understand what you mean by Nubia paid homage to Egypt- Nubia was part of the Egytian empire, it was controlled by the rulers of Egypt, although in the 8th and 7th centuries an independent kingdom arose that conquered Egypt and ruled as the XXV Dynasty, I think? (712-663).

In answer to 3# I would say that everything on the walls at Luxor is at least symbolically true. I agree with you though- you cannot trust everyone! I congratulate you for not being satisfied with what you find in a book, and instead discovering for yourself what the Ancient Egyptians were really like.
Remeber though, ideas about the Egyptians do change frequently and it is not incredible to suggest that the info in your book is dated or needs revision.

If you are still unsatisfied then I am happy to answer another question, even though my answers may be a little hazy. Otherwise you could try e-mailing a head of Egyptology or someone who really knows what they are talking about. I have e-mailed Aidon Dodson of Bristol several times, and he has proved invaluable, and his knowledge far exceeds most of the people who write here. His e-mail is 'Aidan.Dodson@bristol.ac.uk'

I have just realised how much I have written- I started typing and only just realised that I have written an entire essay on the subject!

Anyway, I am not sure that I have really answered your questions, but I gave it a go. Perhaps you could give me a bit more info, or talk to Aidan. Try to keep this thread going. Perhaps you could ask a whole new question! I hope I have been of help


- Psusennes I

Image
Picture of the Ka glyph


Image
Mandulis, sun god of Nubia


Last edited by Psusennes I on Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Opet Festival
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:30 am 
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mary500 wrote:
Not exactly on the exact same subject, but I am also having a hard time figuring out what is speculation, his own theories, etc and what the truth is. Origionally when I started reading this book, I found myself running to the computer or to books to check facts every few pages. Is it worth doing that or should I take most of what he says with a grain of salt and jot down any serious questions I have and research them later?
Thanks in advance!


Well did most of the facts that you're checking out turn out to be accurate? There ARE a lot of theories in that book, but it really is quite an interesting read.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 12:40 pm 
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sorry I didn't get back to you sooner! I finished the book and really enjoyed it. a lot of the facts DID check out, but a number of them I found were defintly theories. It was a library book and had to go back, but I think I am going to buy a copy, reread it and jot notes in the margin, that way I can make sure and recheck everything, not only online or in my own books, but in other library books as well. I am now reading Channeling Cleopatra by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, it is ok but at least I KNOW it is all fiction, so an easier read :lol:
PS Apparently someone else had the same thoughts and feelings about the book as I did because they HAD jotted down notes in the book (which ticks me off because it is a library book after all!)
Thanks again for answering my question.


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