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W. M. Flinders Petrie. Scarabs and cylinders with names: illustrated by the Egyptian collection in University College, London (London, 1917)

View Scarabs and Cylinders PDF Online


52. The early XVIIIth dynasty

53. Hotshepsut and Tehutmes III

54. Amenhetep II and Tehutmes IV

55. Amenhetep III

56. The Aten episode

57. Sety I and Ramessu II

58. The close of the XIXth dynasty

59. The XXth dynasty

60. Heart scarabs

61. The XXIst dynasty

62. The XXIInd dynasty User-maot-ra kings


52. The early XVIIIth dynasty

The xviiith dynasty opens with a rough style of scarab, none of Aohmes or Nefertari showing good work. The best cutting is that of 18 -1-8, rather like that of the middle of the xiith dynasty; another echo of that age is the ball bead with titles of the queen, 18-1-25. The coarsely painted blue glazed menats begin in this reign (27, 28).

Pl. xxiv. Rather better work appears under Amenhetep I, though many of his scarabs are of barbarous style. The gold ring 18-2-1 was brought down to Cairo by a dealer from Thebes, a few days after the tomb of that king had been identified, by vases being found in the clearing of it. Probably therefore this was found in the course of opening the tomb. The style is quite consistent with that age; the double feather was already used by Kames, and the ka with the hands turned outward appears in the next reign, see 18-3-13. The form of the name is peculiar, with zesert for zeser. Light blue glass imitation of turquoise begins to appear in this reign for amulets, as in 18-2-15. The best work is on square plaques, 41 being fairly well cut.

A fresh interest begins now with the habit of making scarabs of the royal family. These were probably to be worn by officials of the households of the princes and princesses, as shown by 18-2-50, which has the name of Sat amen on one side, and that of the "keeper of the palace, Ao-ne-bau" on the other side.

Pl. xxv.  Under the xiith dynasty the subnames of the kings were sometimes placed upon scarabs; this custom was resumed by Tehutmes I and his successors, and the Horus name, Hor-nubti, and Nebti names are often found in this dynasty. On the scarab 18-3-1 is the Nebti name; and a scarab in the British Museum of similar work has a variant of this, peh oa (Cat. 301).

On 18-3-2 is a name of Tehutmes I which does not appear on other monuments. The scarab type is dropped, in 18-3-4, for a kneeling figure, which probably represents a Syrian with tribute in each hand; unfortunately the detail is worn away. A type which has not been explained yet is shown in 15 and 16. It belongs to the Thothmes age, between I and IV, by its style; yet no such name as Neferkara is known then. The explanation seems to be that the oa and nefer signs are often made much alike (see 18-3-20), and have here been confounded. Thus these would read Ra-oa ka-kheper, mer-oa-amen, "Tehutmes, greatly beloved of Amen." No. 21, with both names of the king, is very unusual in this reign.

The objects with private names are classed along with the period to which they probably belong. Nos. 22-25 appear to date early in this dynasty.

The scarabs of Tehutmes II are unusual. 18-4-1 is of the most brilliant light blue paste, only equalled by one of Hotshepsut. This has the falcon name, and No. 2 the Hor-nubti name.

53. Hotshepsut and Tehutmes III

With Hotshepsut the great diversity of the scarab begins, which characterized Tehutmes III. The falcon name on No. 1, the Nebti name on Nos. 2 and 3, and the Hor-nubti name on No. 4, are all found as at Deir el Bahri. Historical allusions begin to appear, as " setting up monuments " on No. 7. The uzat eye in place of the scarab, as on 13 and 34, begins a type often found later.

Pl. xxvi. No. 37 is certainly of this reign, by the close similarity to No. 39, of Nefrura. The formula of 45 is very unusual, maot kheru kher Asar, "justified from Osiris," or "with" or "under Osiris."

With Tehutmes III came the greatest age of the scarab, when it was most common and most varied. It has often been supposed that the name of Men-kheper-ra was engraved in later times merely as a favourite amulet. On looking over the series here of 150 selected examples, it does not seem, however, that any large number can be assigned to the styles of later times. The great majority are clearly contemporary. As we know, for certain, at least three kings named Men-kheper-ra after Tehutmes III (the priest-king, Khmeny, and Nekau I), the small proportion with this name which are after the xviiith dynasty are probably contemporary scarabs of these (or perhaps other) later kings. A few here, 130-148, are left as later scarabs, as there is nothing to prove to which of the subsequent kings they belong; but all of these may be contemporary with later kings of this name.

The sub-names continued in favour. No. 1 has a new falcon name, kho em aakhut, "rising in the horizon," parallel to kho em maot and kho em nasi of this king. A pretty variant has the child Horus in place of the hawk, see BMC Scarabs 666; compare 1016. The Nebti-name, nah nesuty, is on No. 2. An abundance of interesting types now begins; the youthful king shooting (4), the king adoring an obelisk (12), the birth of the king at Thebes (13), the man of Qedesh making obeisance to the royal name (14), the Syrian girl lying crouched in place of the scarab, with the record of the "smiting of Qedesh" (15), the invention of hunting on horseback to capture animals (16), the setting up monuments and obelisks in the temple of Amen (17-20).  Pl. xxvii.  Note the titles "king of princes" (22), hon of princes (23), the divine son (34), the prisms, 57, 58, with joint names of the king and Nefru-ra, which seem to prove their marriage, and the figure of Set (65).  On pl. xxvii, see the bull's head as a protector (74), the revival of scroll borders (87-93, 125), and their degradation as circles (94, 95).  Pl. xxix. The queen Hotshepset Merytra appears here with the spelling Hotshepsi (150). Among the private names the cylinder of Senmut, with his titles, is of most interest (18-6-A.

54. Amenhetep II and Tehutmes IV

Pl. xxx. Amenhetep II abandoned using sub-names on scarabs, but otherwise continued the style of his father, with the inscription "born at Memphis" (18-7-1), and many references to the gods. The design of four uraei which begins under Tehutmes III (18-6-46, 86) was usual in this reign, as on 26, also two uraei on 14, and 21; and continued under Tehutmes IV, see 18 -8 -9 and 10. The uzat eye continued in place of the scarab, as 18-7-10, 37, and 18 -8 -12. Oval plaques for rings, inscribed on each side, came into favor as a substitute for the clumsy cartouche plaques of Hotshepsut (18-5-1, 5, 6, 22). Tehutmes III began the use of an oval plaque, as 18-6-10, 27, 46, 47, 49, 56, 115; and it was prevalent under Amenhetep II, 18-7-11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 32, 39. Under Tehutmes IV it was more usually square, as 18-8-3, 4, 5; later under Amenhetep III these fashions almost vanish, and cowroids, uzats, and rings come into use. The scroll pattern was well made under Amenhetep II, as on 30; along with it was the degradation of rows of circles, which we can date to this reign by the upper name on 31, where it accompanies the Neferui-kheper-ka form of Senusert I, and so dates the curious later scarabs of this style, 12-2-19, 20. Nos. 18-8-13 is important as giving the name of a queen Nefertarti who is otherwise unknown.

55. Amenhetep III

Pl. xxxi. As the scarabs of Tehutmes III show the greatest variety and number, so those of Amenhetep III are of unparalleled size. Not only are there the big scarabs with long historical inscriptions, but also an extensive class of scarabs of usual types, but of two or three times the usual size. Examples are here of the lion-hunt and marriage scarabs and part of a tank scarab. The marriage scarabs are of better work than the hunting type, and have double or triple lines between the elytra, in place of single lines.

Pls. xxxii-xxxiii.  The scarabs of less monstrous size 18-9-10 to 52 scarcely ever contain any historical statements, but almost all refer to the gods. Nos. 10-13 bear falcon names; 14 has the Nebti name. 16 shows that the king was born at Thebes, 17 refers to seizing Singara in Mesopotamia; otherwise they are to us mere matters of ostentation.

Pl. xxxiv. On the small scarabs there is nothing of note. The references to the gods are much fewer, and the subject of the scarab is reduced to the mere names, as in the beginning of this dynasty.

Pl. xxxv. Of queen Taiy there are many scarabs, cowroids, and rings, the fashionable shapes of the reign. There is nothing beyond the baldest titles with the name.

56. The Aten episode

Pl. xxxvi. The revolution of Akhenaten left a great mark on the portable objects. At the beginning of his reign, scarabs of the orthodox form were usual, see 18-10-3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and the plaque was retained, No. 2. Even large scarabs were made down to the beginning of the Aten worship. On No. 1 the king is kneeling upholding the names of the Aten, while he has the cartouche name Amenhetep, which was subsequently ground out. After his conversion there is not a single scarab, except—strangely—the most personal of all, his own heart scarab 18-10-33. Rings of gold, bronze, and glazed pottery entirely superseded the scarab in private use. Pendants and rings with the queen's name are usual. The cartouches of the Aten were only worn on plaques with little rings attached, in order to stitch them on the white muslin dresses, as represented on the royal statues.

Pl. xxxvii. The use of rings continued during the Aten worship, under Smenkh-ka-aten-kheperu, and the earher period of Tut-onkh-aten. But on Ills abandonment of the Aten, he ordered the worship of "his gods" (18 -12 -21), and scarabs re-appear (20). Ra, Amen, and Ptah were all reverenced, and the royal name was changed to Tut-onkh-amen. In the next reign, of Ay, scarabs are as common as rings.

Pl. xxxviii. Under Heremheb the taste and skill, which had atoned for the previous poverty of idea in the scarab, have gone, and clumsy signs and bad spacing mark the beginning of decline. Scarabs and rings are about equally usual.

57. Sety I and Ramessu I

The xixth dynasty brought the scarab back to full use, and rings were henceforth uncommon, and became rare after Saptah. Of the brief reign of Ramessu I scarabs are not unusual.

Pl. xxxix. The cylinder, which had almost ceased to be made since the Middle Kingdom, reappears in a large form, with rather misproportioned signs (19-2-1). The large ovoid No. 2 has a rough unglazed back, as if for inlaying; it may have been inserted in a wall, like the cartouches of Sety II. The back of the plaque 17 is curious, inscribed "a thing of the king." The colour and work of this looks most like that of the xxvth dynasty. Ramenkheper was often associated with the name of Sety, and from the style it does not seem that these scarabs were issued by any of the later Men-kheper-ra kings, see 35-40. No. 43 seems of late work, about the xxvth dynasty.

Pls. xl-xlii.  Sety I was often commemorated by Ramessu II, probably at the beginning of his reign. Sometimes the cartouches are side by side (19-2-45), but usually conjoined Ra-user-menmaot. Ramessu also commemorated Tehutmes III (19-2-54).

Ramessu II was rather scarce to find, in scarabs, thirty years ago, but has of late years become nearly as common as Amenhetep III. The reign is a turning-point in this, as in all artistic work, having occasionally good work at the beginning, and drifting to barbarous roughness half a century later. There are no historical types, and the only interest is in the arrogant vanity of the king. He is figured walking hand in hand with Set and Amen (No. 3), while on the Turin scarab his chair of state is carried by Set and Ra. The harvest goddess Rennut appears (15, 16, 17), though never figvured in other reigns. A scroll border, and its degraded copies in circles, yet survive (45-51, 102), and then vanish finally after this reign. Rarely a dehcate piece of work appears, as in 90, 91, 99, 100, which are better than almost all of the previous dynasty. The scarabs of queen Nefertari are distinguished from those of Aohmes Nefertari by the thinness and poverty of the style.

Pl. xliii. The private seals and amulets are the redeeming feature of this time. The variety of titles, and the personal interest of these seals, gives them precedence over the bald names of the kings. Some plaques are of very fine work, and were doubtless the personal seals of the high officers, as 152, 154. Others are roughly moulded in blueglazed pottery; these must have had an original block engraved, and it seems therefore that such moulded copies were given to the sub-officials of a great officer to seal documents in his name, see 151, 153, 156.

58. The close of the XIXth dynasty

Pl. xliv. There appears to have been some revival of work under Merneptah, as in 19-4-4; but most of his scarabs are of rough moulded pottery. He revived the name of Tehutmes III, associating it with his own, Nos. 9-14. According to the latest evidence found, it appears that Saptah and Tausert preceded Sety II, who was followed by Ramessu Saptah; this order is here adopted. Of Saptah I, scarabs were very rare until I found the deposits of his temple with pottery scarabs and rings. The same is true of Tausert; her scarabs, however, had been overlooked, owing to the factitious arrangement of her cartouche to resemble that of Ramessu II.

Sety II is fairly common on scarabs and plaques, but these are destitute of any additions to the bald name, except devotion to Amen and Ptah on the larger plaques (19-23). These glazed plaques are peculiar to this reign, and the purpose of them is suggested by a row of holes of similar size, running all round the walls of the court at the temple of Luqsor, four or five feet from the ground. The holes contain plaster at the back, and have evidently contained objects. Probably these plaques, or similar ones, were inserted in the holes, forming a kind of dado line of colour.

Saptah II was formerly known as Ramessu IX, Sekhoner and was supposed to come in the xxth dynasty. The discovery of a papyrus of accounts in which he follows on at the close of the reign of Sety II, proves that the xixth dynasty is his place. As it would be confusing to change all the numbers of the xxth dynasty, by inserting the name Ramessu III here, it is best to call him by what was probably his current name, Saptah. Strange to say, immediately after the papyrus was published, the excellent scarab (19-9-2) with the double name, turned up in Cairo.

59. The XXth dynasty

Of Ramessu III all that can be said is that degradation progressed; nearly all his scarabs are worse than those of Ramessu II. Ramessu IV shows some more care in work, as in 20-2-1 and 10, but of a very poor style.

Pl. xlvi. Ramessu V may be said to patronise this collection, as the seventeen examples here comprise most of those known of his work. Ramessu VI is also fairly usual. The scarab here attributed to Ramessu VII has, meses, neter heq an, and a; the latter abbreviation is only found in this king's name. Ramessu VIII is very rare. Ramessu IX is yet unknown, as the king formerly here is transferred to the xixth dynasty, as Saptah II.  The number may however well be left open for a king Ramessu Meryatmu, whose name was seen by Brugsch at Heliopolis. Ramessu X, Neterkara, is well represented here on scarabs and other objects. Ramessu XI is fairly identified by the peculiar name Kheper-maot-ra, and Ramessu XII seems indicated by the name Ra-men-neit, as well as Ra-men-miot. The kheper on 20-10-3 seems as if it were an error for the vertical neit sign on No. 2. The four following scarabs, 20-10-A, B, C, D, seem to be Ramesside, but cannot yet be identified. This is the most complete series of the xxth-dynasty scarabs, and contains most of those that are known of Ramessu V-XII.

60. Heart scarabs

Pls. xlvii, xlviii. The class of heart scarabs is here put together, though they probably extend through the xviiith to xxiiird dynasties. They are arranged as nearly as may be in order of date, judging from the names and the work. The backs are drawn on pl. lxxiii. How soon the work became formal is shown by the coarse cutting of one of the age of Akhenaten found at Riqqeh (Riqqeh, xvi). The most notable scarab is No. 6, of the Aten period, showng how the old system was adapted to the new Aten worship; the soul was to be guarded by Aten and to feed from the endowments of the temple of Aten; thus the theory of temple endowments became changed to a sustentation fund for the deceased. The scarab 20, of hard green stone, has been mineralogically proved to be true jade by all tests, especially specific gravity. This is the first determination of jade from Egypt, and carries with it many similar specimens, including one on the Kennard board of amulets. The type of names, Zed-ptah-auf-onkh, etc., shows that the series descends to the xxist dynasty or later. A fixed point is given by No. 28, for Petpetur; his father was of the household of Setnekht, and this dates it to about the close of the xxth dynasty.

61. The XXIst dynasty

Pl. xlix.  Of the divided xxist dynasty there are very few small objects, either of the Tanite or Theban line. The scarab of Nesi-ba-neb zedu, whose cartouche was copied a century later by Sheshenq I, is fixed to the earlier king by the bright green colour and the work, which resembles that of Painezem I. The scarab reading Thentamen-neb-apt must be of about this period, being too delicate for the next three dynasties, and it may probably belong to the queen Thent-amen. The foundation plaques of Pasebkhonut came from Mariette's work at Tanis, and I obtained them in exchange for rarer things of mine kept at the Cairo Museum. They are curious for having had the cracks in the glaze filled up with blue paste. Of Sa-amen the scarabs are fairly common, usually with the two figures of Amen or Atmu seated facing: the throne-name scarabs (21-5-1, 2, 3) are perhaps more certainly of this king. The copper plaque from Tanis also comes from Mariette's work. The scarabs of Sa-amen with Men-kheper-ra (21-5-9, 11) doubtless refer to the contemporary priest king at Thebes, as do some in the British Museum (BMC Scarabs 2394, 2395)

The Theban line has left scarcely any small remains. Of Painezem I there is the ivory knob of a staff (21-1-1) and three scarabs (2, 3, 4) which by their style cannot be placed to Senusert II. The interesting scarab in Cairo, drawn here, names Men-kheper-ra and his daughter queen Ast-em-kheb; it has nothing to do with Piankhy, to whom it is placed in the Catalogue.

62. The XXIInd dynasty User-maot-ra kings

The xxiind dynasty considerably revived the use of the scarab; those of Sheshenq I are as common as those of Ramessu III or Heremheb. The Hor-nubti name reappears; but the work is poor, the signs are disjointed and out of proportion. and the style is worse than anything since the late Hyksos.

Pl. l.  In this dynasty we meet with one of the most difficult groups of scarabs, those of the User-maot-ra kings. In order to disentangle these, it is needful to keep closely to what we have from other monumental sources. We do not get any help from other collections, for at Cairo there is but one of this class, and that assigned to Ramessu II, and at the British Museum they are not classified quite in accord with the details of the cartouches on dated monuments, and no system is stated that will help in historical discrimination. The twenty-two User-maot-ra scarabs here, of late date, must therefore be studied apart ; those of Ramessu II and III being of styles sufficiently distinct to separate them from the later ones, which range from Takerat I to Rudamen, 901-670 B.C.

The variant forms actually found on monuments are as shown on preceding page. From these variants we may learn a few criteria,

(1) Takerat I is the only king who placed a and the feather maot in parallelism.

(2) Sheshenq III and Uapeth are the only kings to place a and the goddess maot parallel on either side of user.

(3) Pamay is the only king who dropped the a of Amen, and put only men.

(4) The feather maot is not used after Pamay.

So far as style goes we can only separate three periods:

(A) Takerat I and Usarkon II, 900-854 B.C.

(B) Sheshenq III and Pamay, 832-781 B.C.

(C) Piankhy, Uapeth and Rudamen, 748-720 ? B.C. (See Ancient Egypt, 1914, p. 40.)

Referring now to the scarabs there is first a group, 22-3-1-7, which by the parallelism of a and maot is to be placed to Takerat I. The backs of these are of the types F 63, 69, 74, 76, 97, T 54. Of these F 63 is like Sheshenq I E 16; F 69, 74, 76 are like F 69, and F 97 like F 96 of Usarken II. Further the V marks on the elytra are made as loops U on F 63, 76, and this peculiarity is found earlier, on Ramessu XI E 17 and XII F 76, but not on scarabs of Sheshenq III or later kings.

The next group, of three (22-4-1-3), has the figure of Maot; the a of Amen is large, and sunk down halfway to the level of setep. This agrees with the style of Usarken II, as at Bubastis. The backs are of E 37, F 97 and G 22; of these E 37 compares with E 72 of Usarken II; F 97 is the same as in the previous reign; G 22 is the same as in Usarken I; hence all these are against any later dating.

The next group of four (22-7-1-4) has a minute a, while men continues full size; this approaches the abolition of a found under Pamay, and hence is probably of his predecessor and co-regent Sheshenq III. The backs are of G 48, 76, and one broken. These are almost the same as those of Pamay, next following, G 60, 68, 76.

Next are three (22-8-1-3) without any a of Amen, a peculiarity of Pamay, which fixes these to his reign. Another very rude one, R 26, may be compared with J 69 of Menkara, a vassal of Shabaka, which would place it as late as is possible for its type. Another has the sickle ma and setep ne ra, a combination only found under Pamay.

Of the square plaques (22-7-5, 6) two with the goddess maot and setep ne ra can only be paralleled under Sheshenq III. No. 7 with the feather and a dwarfed a for Amen seems by the last detail to be of the same reign. The green glazed plaque, No. 8, may be put to this reign, as the other three come here. The king Men-neh-ra must come here by the similar style of his plaque.

It does not appear, therefore, that any of these can be placed to the Pankhy group. The piece of a statuette, 25-1, might be of Takerat I, Usarken II, or Pankhy, by the plain form of the name. The style is more like that of the later time, and the writing with the arm before the cubit sign is peculiar to Pankhy, so that it should probably be attributed to him.

It should be noted that the series of scarabs reading hez her ma pa are not of Pamay, as shown by the variants, which will be pubhshed with the nameless scarabs.

Pl. li. The two kings with Ra-oa-kheper name, Sheshenq IV and Usarken III, have objects differing from any of the xviiith-dynasty kings by their rude work. The reign of Usarken at Thebes is entirely included in that of Sheshenq IV at Bubastis (see Anc. Eg. 1914, 40); hence the difference, if any, in their work must be that of place and not of time. One scarab is distinctive; Usarken placed uraei pendant to the ra in his name, and such are used here on 23-2-3. This has only Ra-kheper, and hence we may assign to this king the scarabs on which oa is dropped. A stamp, 23-2-1, belongs also to this king, as he is called setep ne amen, an epithet never assumed by Sheshenq IV.

Three pieces seem to be connected, with a name Kheper-neb-ra, reading: A) Maot-neb, Ra-oa-kheper-neb; B) Ra-kheper-nub, mery maot; C) Ra-kheper-neb, mery maot.  The smooth back of the last is like J 4 Usarken III, and J 49 Painezera; the square plaque was used by Sheshenq III; the ra with uraei belongs to Usarken III; hence these are of about the close of the xxiind dynasty. It may be that only the Ra-kheper is the name, and the other signs are titular; if so these are all of Usarken III.

The Sheshenq Ra-uas-neter must be called Sheshenq V; he appears to be the later ruler of Busiris, named as a vassal of Pankhy. Other vassals here are Pema of Mendes, Onkh-her of Hermopohs, and probably Ptah-nefer, perhaps short for Ptah-nefer-her. The priest of Amen Her, named on the plaque H, had a sister Ast-urt, who married Her-sa-ast, the founder of the xxiiird dynasty at Thebes (see Raviesseum, 16, 18, pl. xvi). The plaque is finely cut in green moss quartz. The electrum pectoral of Uasa-ka-uasa is a very unusual object. The high priest Au-uar-uath, who was his father, was son of Usarken (III?), see Karnak quay (Z.A.S. xxxiv, 113); hence Uasa-ka-uasa probably lived about 680 B.C.

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