ISBN : 9780198841623
Writing, Violence, and the Military takes representations of reading and writing in Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt (ca. 1550-1295 BCE) as its point of departure, asking how patrons of art conceptualized literacy and how in turn they positioned themselves with respect to it. Exploring statuary and tomb art through the prism of self-representation and group formation, it makes three claims. Firstly, that the elite of this period held a variety of notions regarding literacy, among which violence and memory are most prominent. Secondly, that among the Eighteenth Dynasty elite, literacy found its strongest advocates among men whose careers brought them to engage with the military, either as military officials or as civil administrators who accompanied the army beyond the borders of Egypt. Finally, that Haremhab - the General in Chief who later ascended the throne - voiced unique views regarding literacy that arose from his career as an elite military official, and thus from his social world. Consequently, images of reading and writing allow us to study literacy with regard to those who commissioned them, and to consider these patrons' roles in changing conceptualizations. Throughout their different formulations, these representations call for a discussion on literacy in relation to self-representation and to art's role in society. They also invite us to reconsider our own approach to literacy and its significance in ancient times.
1 Writing, Memory, and Violence in the Tomb
2 Prestige and Disdain: Literacy and Self-Representation in the Tomb
3 The Likeness of an Author: The Scribal Statues of Haremhab
4 Palette and Crown: Constructing Haremhab's Royal Literacy
Epilogue: Objects, Patrons, and Perceptions