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Egyptian Death Rituals
The death of Pharaoh
On a balmy November day in 1922 one of the greatest archeological finds ever would be made. It all started with the discovery of a single rough cut stone step, the first in a staircase that would lead to the most celebrated tomb of modern times. Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen would capture popular attention like no other discover before or after it. With each item brought from the tomb the public wanted to know more and more about the boy-king of Egypt. Probably the most intriguing and perplexing question surrounding the tomb is the mystery surrounding the death of the young Pharaoh.
It has been over three thousand and three hundred years since the interment of Tutankhamen. Even with the discovery of the relatively intact tomb, or knowledge of teh king is sketchy, based upon a fragment here and a fragment there. Howard Carter remarked after the discovery of the tob that, We are getting to know to the last detail what he had, but of what he was and what he did we are still sadly to seek(Carter 11). Even so, the evidence left to us down through three centuries paints a picture of intrigue and strife leading to a murder committed by a trusted courtier.
To understand the circumstances surrounding this murder, we must start our investigation with the reign of Amenophis III, the ninth king of the Eighteenth Dynasty and most probably the father of Tutankhamen (see note 1). The one seed event of our tragic tale is Amenophis III's encouragement of the worship of the Aten, or the sun disk. As a sign of his reverence for the Aten, he built a temple to the Aten and named his own private pleasure barge Splendour of Aten (Desroches-Noblecourt 114-115). Egyptian pharaohs had ther idiosyncrasies like all people, and were tolerated in the religious structure of Egypt as long as the structure itself remained. The culture of Egypt centered upon its polytheistic religion. Everything in the empire had its patron god, and all were ruled over by Amen-Re. Every moment of their lives and on into their graves, the Egyptian lived knowing that their godes were responsible for everything in the world around them. Amenophis III would pass on his reverence of the Aten to his son Amenophis IV, and in so doing would mark the beginning of the end of the Eighteenth dynasty.
When he ascended the throne, Amenophis IV was already firmly planted in the worship of the Aten. Within two years he had banned the worship of all other gods, plunging the country into panic and disarray when the people were denied the worship of their tr aditional gods. At the heart of Egyptian culture was its religion. The polytheistic religion of the Egyptians permeated every aspect of life and death along the fertile Nile river. No other Pharaoh had ever dared upset the gods with such actions. When Akhenaten, as Amenophis IV was now calling himself, made the worship of the Aten the only official religion, he set forth a cultural shock wave that would profoundly affect his realm.
To simplify a theology inaccessible to the masses; to reconcile people and god by showing the latter as the orb shining impartially upon all; to proclaim what the priests had known ever since the time of the gods: that men were born equal and that only their wickedness differentiated them; to unite mankind by bringing it close to all other life, and reminding it of the intimate relationship between all mineral, vegetable, animal and human elements; and to suppress the practice of magic which could only paralyze moral progress-- such were th eleading ideas of Amenophis IV's great design (Desroches-Noblecourt 126-127).
Akhenaten's reforms were met with strong oppositions by the priesthoods. With Akhenaten's banning of their gods, they had lost much of their power. The new priests of the Aten took the tributes form the other temples and chased all the clergy who would not embrace the Aten into hiding. Akhenaten sent workers throughout the empire, removing the names of the other gods from monuments and temples. He moved the center of his empire from the traditional ... more
Find essay on Dared Question
Asian American Literature
Asian Americans seem to be fighting an unwinnable battle when it comes to the content of their writing. Writers are criticized by whites for speaking out against discrimination, and by their fellow Asian Americans for contributing to the stereotypes through their silence. I believe that Asian Americans should include politics in their writing as they so choose, but should not feel obligated to do so, as Frank Chin suggests.
For those Asian Americans who make known their discontent with the injustice and discrimination that they feel, in the white culture, this translates to attacking American superiority and initiating insecurities. For Mura, a writer who dared to question why an Asian American was not allowed to audition for an Asian American role, his punishment was the ostracism and demonization that ensued. In essence, he was shunned (Hongo 4) by the white people who could not believe that he would attack their superior American ways. According to writers such as Frank Chin and the rest of the Aiiieeeee! group, the Americans have dictated Asian culture and created a perception as nice and quiet (Chin 1972, 18), mamas boys and crybabies without a man in all [the] males. (Chin 1972, 24). This has become the belief of the proceeding generations of Asian Americans and therefore manifested these stereotypes.
Those authors who contest these American made stereotypes are said to betray the American culture and white power around them, and to be rocking the boat in a seemingly decent living situation. It is as though Asian Americans are succombing to the thought that America is the only place to be and that they should be grateful to live here.
On the other hand, keeping silent due to pressures from the white population means being shunned by the members of the Asian American population. I disagree with Chins ascertation that years of apparent silence have made us accomplices to the makers of stereotypes (Chin 1991, xxxix). I agree with Hongos argument that Chin viewpoint limits artistic freedom (Hongo 4). Declaring that those writers who do not argue stereotypes of the good, loyal, and feminine Chinese man or the submissive female, are in any way contributing to or disagreeing with them is ridiculous. Chins opinion that politics should be included in some aspect of every Asian American piece eliminates choice from writing topics for other writers. Authors are the voices of the people (whichever people they choose to represent) and should not be criticized for choosing to discuss issues other than those that Chin deems necessary.
It seems as though no matter which topic an Asian American chooses to write about or discuss, there will be someone who finds a reason to criticize in order to justify their own opinion. However, writers do not publish material that they do not believe in. It is not their duty to please critics on both sides of a controversial issue, and should therefore express their opinions without feeling obligated to include politics in their work.
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