Spartak ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DENOTATIONS OF OBELISKS
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DENOTATIONS OF OBELISKS
A. A. Spartak
PhD (History) Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, 17, Rabkorovskaya Str., Minsk, 220008, Belarus firstname.lastname@example.org
The article is devoted to the study of the ancient Egyptian denotations of obelisks. In Egyptian language, obelisks were denoted by the word txn. The etymology of this word is unknown. Apparently, the Egyptian word txn was associated with the physical characteristic of the named object (in the categories of the worldview of modern people) – with its luminosity (in the categories of the worldview of the ancient Egyptians). In different historical periods of the development of the ancient Egyptian state and depending on the stage of development of the Egyptian language, the obelisks had different designations. In the Amarna period, the ancient Egyptians used to denotation the obelisk the word bnbn. In all probability, it was associated with the religious reform of Akhenaten and an attempt to limit the influence of the Theban priesthood, distance from the Theban cult of Amun. Since obelisks were an ancient attribute of the institution of royal power, confirmation of the direct origin of the king from the sun god, Akhenaten had to use them in his ritual service. However, it was unacceptable to emphasize the connection of the obelisk with Amun, and the ancient Egyptians used the word bnbn to designate it. Since the ancient Egyptian perceived these objects as identical – as symbols of light and creation, the connection between them was obvious. Since the New Kingdom period, the hieroglyph “obelisk” has been used as a consonant component (m + n) of the words mnw (“monument”), Imn (“Amun”), jmn (“hide”). Here, according to the author, it is more correct to resort to the interpretation of such an innovation through the changed worldview categories of the Egyptians of the New Kingdom, and, accordingly, the linguistic categories. The semantic field of the word “obelisk” in this period contained the words mnw – “monument” and Imn – “Amun”, in both concepts the same hieroglyph mn was used which is a consonant component. The words formed from this hieroglyph expressed the idea of something both divine and firmly established, founded, fortified: for example, the verbal form mn – “to be strong, firm, strong, stay, be established”. The obelisk had similar properties. Therefore, the characterization of mn should be understood as a characteristic of both the monuments themselves, and those periods of the history of Ancient Egypt when the obelisks were erected – periods of the firmly established world order of Maat, prosperity, stability.
Keywords: Ancient Egypt, obelisk, institution of royal power, Egyptian language
Preislamic Near East 2021, (2):139-146
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