Title page for ETD etd-11192008-155225


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Rogers, Jill Stafford
Email thejillyroger@gmail.com
URN etd-11192008-155225
Document Title Reciprocity and syncretism in Ptolemaic Egypt : the Denderah temple as a case study
Degree Master of Arts
Department Ancient Languages
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof G T M Prinsloo Supervisor
Keywords
  • Egypt
  • assimilation
  • Ptolemy
  • astrology
  • astronomy
  • Denderah zodiac
  • Hathor temple
  • syncretism
  • honour
  • reciprocity
Date 2008-09-05
Availability restricted
Abstract

The Egyptian religion existed at least 3000 years before Christ, and the best preserved temples were built during the latter part of the Ptolemaic period. The Ptolemies were Greek conquerors and started ruling Egypt, but over time, the Greeks and the Egyptians accommodated each othersí beliefs and cultures.

This study explores the roles of honour, reciprocity and syncretism between the Greeks and the Egyptians. It demonstrates how this relationship was both syncretic and reciprocal through the archaeological evidence left behind. It compares and contrasts the autocratic Akhenaten with the more sensitive Alexander the Great and shows how the Greeks were able to find commonalities between their gods and those of the Egyptians. It shows how the use of Koine, the Greek language of that time, found its way into everyday Egyptian life and was a major contributing factor to the increasing similar ways of life of the Greeks and the Egyptians. The archaeological evidence in funerary artefacts and the Hathor temple, in particular, show examples where Hellenisation did and did not take place. More importantly, the Denderah zodiac at the temple of Hathor, goddess of the fertility and the heavens, is shown to be a construction in honour of the goddess Nut, another sky-goddess, and is not intended to be representative of any particular moment in time of the heavens. The Denderah zodiac demonstrates how syncretism and reciprocity is tangibly evident between the Greeks and the Egyptians.

©University of Pretoria 2007

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