Free Kemetic Resources Roundup – Feb 2018

After a long hiatus, the Free Kemetic Resources Roundup, originally on my Tumblr, is back with lots more educational/academic resources for people to enjoy for free.

First off, some goodies for all the audio-learners out there.

The History of Egypt Podcast by Dominic Perry, a Kiwi law student with an MA in Ancient History, deals with, you guessed it, the history of Egypt in chronological order. He’s gotten to the Pre-Amarna New Kingdom, and interspersed between the main episodes, there are mini-episodes about festivities and the religious calendar. Each episode comes with its map, pictures of relevant artefacts and handy bibliography.

Not strictly AE, but if anyone cross-worships ANE deities or is interested in ANE culture, SOAS has a very enticing list of recordings of ANE poems in the original language.

From BBC4 – In Our Time program, there are podcasts of a few AE-relevant episodes featuring pre-emiment British scholars from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, to name a few. Hatschepsut, true-of-voice, has her own episode, and there is another one on the Book of the Dead. If you like ANE and/or to suffer, you might want to check out the one on the Phoenicians (with my fave Prof Cyprian Broodbank) or about the destruction of Carthage with, among others, Prof Mary Beard.

Also from BBC, you might like this article about the role of women in AE, and in particular the career choices that were open to them (i.e. a lot more than basically anywhere else until fairly recently).

Moving on, I have recently realised that Reddit might not be a bad place to get some information about AE/ANE matters. I know Reddit gets a bad reputation for meninists, sexism and all sorts of nasty behaviour, but as far as I could tell from a brief perusal, the communities listed below seemed to be quite free from that sort of problem. The AE community seems to have a spam problem in the shape of poorly annotated random pictures of AE monuments and links to videos about “ancient aliens” and other such pseudoscience. It might take a bit to sift the gold from the crap.

The ANE community seems to be a bit more informative, and well curated. There are also other affiliated communities, but some like r/Phoenicia, unfortunately seem a no-go area of randomness and Knight Templar conspiracy theories.

Moving on to blogs, here are a couple of interesting finds.

Nilescribes is a bi-weekly blog about Egyptology written by egyptologists that covers topics such as: book releases, new/top discoveries, lecture summaries, interviews with Egyptologists and egyptomania, with some extra attention devoted to Egyptology in Canada.

The Dead Speak, instead, seems to be a more generalist blog (and youtube channel, apparently). Over the Christian holidays they run two pieces about egyptian-themed gifts and AE-style New Year resolutions, the latter with generous quoting from the Wisdom Texts. There are a bunch of posts on the decipherment of the hieroglyphs, with extensive biblography and book recommendations, which makes me think this is the work of aome student/scholar who wants to reach out to the general public. And did I mention that all posts are also videos?

That’s it for this round. I will transfer the links to the main page as soon as humanly possible.


New Book (and Movie) on Jewish Partisanas in 2020!

Following up from my post about the book “Partisanas” by Ingrid Strobl, I have just read that a new book on the topic (and the movie-from-the-book, by none other than Steven Spielberg) are going to be out in 2020.

Written by Judy Batallion, herself a descendent of Holocaust survivors, the book, “Daughters of the Resistance” is based upon Yiddish accounts of female Jewish resistance fighters found in the British Library (for more info see here).

I am really looking forwards to more tales of badass women kicking Nazi-fascist ass.

As usual if you folks know of more books about women in the Resistance, just let me know in the comments.

Bookstore Finds

Two days ago I was at the National Lobby Day for Trade Democracy organised by Global Justice Now UK and War on Want in London.

After a long, frustrating afternoon trying to talk to my very Conservative MP in the tenuous hope that I could make him see reason or at least make him look stupid in front of a crowd, I hid in Foyles with some friends, trying to get my book fix.

This is what I found (but not bought, unfortunately):

This is a re-print of a book from the 70’s which deals with the cult and theology of the goddess Isis throughout the Ancient World, from Dynastic Egypt to the international spread of her cult in the Hellenistic Period. Apparently this book is a classic on Isis and essentially still accurate (thanks to Edward P. Butler of Henadology for pointing it out) and by leafing through it, it seemed like a good primer.

Brand new monography on Ishtar, Her cult and Her legacy in a bright and attractive hot pink cover, written by Dr Louise Pryke of Macquarie University. Sadly, I didn’t have time to do much more than leaf through it, but given this article by the author herself on The Conversation, it seems like good stuff.

Book Review – No Is Not Enough

No Is Not Enough – Resisting The New Shock Politics And Winning The World We Need, by Naomi Klein.

CW: This book talks about systemic racism, misogyny, the trampling of indigenous rights and other assorted horrors of the Trump administration and of globalised, extractive capitalism. It talks about it to show how this can be overcome, but it does, so be warned.

While I was looking for books on the Phoenician/Punic presence in Portugal (a hard mission if there is one) in the Ler Devagar bookstore in Lisbon, my father settled immediately on this book and with good reason.

With equally good reason I immediately borrowed it from him and read it while riding the bus to and from the beach.

Having read all her previous books except “This Changes Everything”, I have to admit that this book does not cover atstonishingly new ground, but it brings all her previous arguments, research and experiences toegether in a coherent, cogent whole, set against the background of the race against time to forestall the worst of climate change.

The book starts from an analysis of the ascent of Trump as a super-brand fueled by the global capitalism and the neoliberalist dogma, pointing out all the systemic causes from racism, to the myth of the “rich benefactor” to the lack of a concrete, ambitious, intersectional, left-wing alternative after the defeat of Bernie Sanders at the Democratic convention.

From the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to the 2008 crisis and the response to the austerity wave in Southern Europe, from Occupy Wall Street, to the argentinian Deficit Crisis, and finally to Standing Rock, she charts past traumas and experiences to imagine what is the worst that could happen and how the world could overcome it.

The message in its essence is quite simple: the problems that the world faces today from racism to austerity, from rape culture to environmental disaster are not isolated issues, but ate all symptoms of the diseased neoliberal system (which in turn is the result of centuries of capitalism and colonialism).

Centrism and the neoliberal-friendly centre-left can only offer palliatives to the systemic collapse, and the lack of political response from the left creates a void, in which the lies of right-wing populists are seen as a viable alternative by those willing to throw other people under the bus to save their own arses.

Thus, the response to Trump and all his clones worldwide needs to be intersectional and united to defeat the “divide et impera” playbook of the right. Progressive forces need to gang up and fight defensively against detrimental and unacceptable new laws (or the abolition of old, better laws), but that will not be enough to subvert this rigged game.

We need to plug the void left by neoliberalism in politics by filling it with a radical new project for the future, one that centers the fight of indigenous people for their lands, the transformation of the economy towards carbon neutrality or carbon negativity, prioritising underprivileged communities, care work, education, and the democratic partecipation of all citizens. We need to swap exctractive capitalism, a system that takes and discards, with a system that cares for democracy, for people, for the environment.

The Canadian experiment, built by a coalition of activists in occasion of the latest Canadian elections, is called the Leap Manifesto. I encourage everybody to have a look at it to see what radical, intersectional politics could look like.

Of course, to many this book would sound a bit like “preaching to the choir” to most experienced activists, and it did to me. I am old enough to remember the NoGlobal movement from before 9/11, when I was still a baby activist, and these ideas have been floating around in some shape or another ever since.

However, after the continuous mess of this last couple of years, the activist community probably needed an injection of hope, a call to arms, and the younger kids or  the people who for one reason or another have just “popped their activism cherry” needed a jump-start on the right track.

I hope this spreads like wildfire. We can still fix all the shit, if we come together and Leap.

Pros: Very necessary, very timely, an injection of hope and determination for the coming year.

Cons: nope.

Final score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐👍 GO AND READ IT!

Happy Winter Solstice 2017!

Winter Solstice Sun over Stonehenge, from Scunthorpe Telegraph

Happy Winter Solstice to all folks in the Northern Hemisphere.

I am not sure all Kemetics celebrate this holiday, but today for me is the day in which Ra in Their form of Atum, the Eldery Winter Sun, is at the nadir of Their Power and needs the most help against Their enemies.

Today is also the day in which Seth, the Cahmpion of Ra, is called to do the toughest job of the year, smiting such enemies with His mighty weapons and His lightning.

From the website of Joan Lansberry –

Dua Ra in your form of Atum! May You be reborn stronger on the morrow and shine even stronger upon us, lighting the way of Ma’at.

Dua Seth, Champion of Ra! May Your strength never falter, may Your arm be as strong as the pillars of the sky! Great of Strength, teach us to be as valiant and unyielding as You are in the face of isfet.


Bodleian Finds #3

A bit belated recap, sorry.

Last Friday I managed to invest my last half-day of leave before the witer holidays to sneak in the Sackler Library one last time for 2017 and, as promised, I managed to finish my reading list for the year.

So, as for “Antisocial Gods“, my considerations from the last post remain the same. The second part of the article considers the misdeeds of Horus and Osiris against Isis and Horit, respectively, but in my opinion, at least in the case of Horus, it fails to take into account the fact that the texts use and weave different mythological traditions, in some of which Isis is not Heru-Wer’s mother (or related to him in any way) and in some of which Isis is the canonical spouse of Horus-Min, so it was a bit frustrating.
All CWs still remain too (rape, sexual assault, incest)

As for the other book, here comes the review.

“The Reign of Seth: Egyptian Perspectives from the First Millennium B.C.E.” by Mark Smith in “Egypt in Transition – Social and Religious Development of Egypt in the First Millennium B.C.E”, ed. L Bares, F. Coppens and K. Smolarikova, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Arts, 2010, pp. 396-430
CW: violence, assault, abuse.

As anticipated, this paper deals with the issue of the reign of Seth and of the role and perception of this deity through a selection of Late Period material. It evidences that the myth can be related through two different traditions, one of which is exemplified by the Shabaka Stele of the 25th Dynasty and by the Contendings, and the other of which is exemplified by the Edfu Temple Texts and related material.
While in the former the situation is resolved by a trial and does not deal excessively with the misdeeds of Seth (these texts are more interested in the legitimisation of the proper rules of succession and incorporate some pre-Osirian aspects), the latter depict a lawless situation in which Seth is free to abuse his power and mistreat almost everybody, accumulating a very impressive rap sheet. These texts result in the elimination/expulsion and execration of the malfeisant. This type of texts is an innovation of the Late Period and can be related to the trauma of foreign invasions (Asyyrian, Persian, etc…).
While in the texts from Tradition 1 the fact that Seth reigned over Egypt is openly admitted, in Tradition 2 it is only alluded upon.

I actually enjoyed reading this paper a lot as it was very informative and well-written, so I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Late Period myths and theology.