Secret Egypt – objects in detail

Now that Secret Egypt has been open for a few weeks I am taking the opportunity to look at some of its fascinating objects in more detail. If you would like to find out more about some of the objects come along to one of our Revealing Objects gallery talks.
The next one is by Chris on Wednesday 4th May 1-1.30pm.

Cartouche of Ramesses III © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

Cartouche of Ramesses III © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

Wooden plaque with cartouche

Sometimes photographs can be misleading, so although this wooden object may look large here, if you are looking for it in the gallery it is only about 11cm high. You might already recognise the knotted rope around the hieroglyphs as a cartouche, but what does it all mean?

From about 2900 BC all Egyptian rulers had five names. The two easiest to recognise are written with a cartouche ring around them. Egyptologists call these names the praenomen and the nomen. In Egyptian writing the praenomen comes first and is the king’s coronation name. The nomen is written second and is the king’s birth name. This is the one we use today.

This cartouche contains Ramesses III’s birth name and it has two parts to it. The first five symbols are read Ramesses, which means Re [the sun god] bore him.

The last two symbols read Hekaiunu – ruler of Heliopolis. Heliopolis, the Greek version of the ancient Egyptian city Iunu, was located in the Nile Delta area. Heliopolis was the main centre for the worship for the sun god Re.

In his name Ramesses III is not only being linked to the sun god, but also to a very famous and well respected king – Ramesses the Great. You can find out more about Ramesses the Great, or Ramesses II, in Secret Egypt.

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Posted on 22/04/2011, in Exhibitions, Secret Egypt and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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