sabato 12 ottobre 2013

Pharaoh piercing oxhide ingots with arrows

by Atropa B. and Romina S.

Figure 1: left, relief of Amehotep II (1427-1401 BC) at Karnak (1); right, serpentine cylinder from Beth Shean (Palestine), depicting Ramesses II  (1301-1213 BC) "shooting at a target" pierced by three arrows (2). The seal was found at the Ramesses III (1186-1155 BC) temple of Beth Shean, home of an egyptian garrison between the XIV and XII century BC

In the relief of Amehotep II, [..]the king, riding in a chariot, has just pierced a copper ingot [..] with five arrows. The accompanying text leaves no doubt as to the material of the target: "The king, great in strength, who displayed his dexterity before his army, the mighty bowman who shoots at a plate of copper, cleaves it as one does a clump of papyrus. He disdained all wood, as befits his strength. <<This is the great plate of mined copper which His Majesty shot, three fingers in thickness>>. The hero pierced it with many shafts, three hand breadths of them standing out at the back of the plate"[..] (1)

In the Beth Shean cyclinder seal [..]a Pharoah stands shooting at a target. He wears a long kilt, the blue crown with uraeus attached and from his shoulders hang two tassles. Above there is a cartouche which reads "Ra-Wesr-Maat"(Ramesses II). Behind the pharoah is a lotus and a protecting vulture. Tied to the back of the shaft of the target are two bearded captives in Syrian dress. The target appears to rest on a fork-like base, it is pierced by three arrows. Above the target are three half circles, the outer rims of which are adorned by rays. The captives are surrounded by four clumps of conventionalized plants. This takes place before a god who holds the choposh and an ankh in his lowered hand. The god wears a false beard, short tunic and the white crown with attached streamers, and gazelle-like horns.[..].(2)

By comparing with the relief of Amenhotep II, there is no doubt about the target in the seal of Beth Shean. See also ref. 3 and references therein (3).

(1) David O' Connor, Model ingots in Egyptian foundation deposits, Appendix 8  InGeorge F. Bass, Peter Throckmorton, Joan Du Plat Taylor, J. B. Hennessy, Alan R.Shulman, Hans-Gunter  Buchholz, Cape Gelidonya: A Bronze Age Shipwreck, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Vol. 57,  (1967), pp. 172-174. 
(2) Mussell, Mary-Louise, "The Cylinder Seals of Late Bronze Age Palestine as Indicators of Hurrian Influence" (1983). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). Paper 1598. 
(3) A. Belladonna,, Lingotti oxhide in depositi di fondazione: Egitto e Sardegna. un'esclusiva? 05.09.2013;