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The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the by Jan Assmann

By Jan Assmann

The brain of Egypt offers an account of the mainsprings of Egyptian civilization - the beliefs, values, mentalities, trust platforms and aspirations that formed the 1st territorial kingdom in human background. Drawing on a number of literary, iconographic and archaeological assets, Jan Assmann reconstructs an international of remarkable complexity, a tradition that, lengthy ahead of others, possessed a unprecedented measure of information and self-reflection.

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There was a time, so this story goes, when all people spoke the same language. " The plan for this great tower was thus an attempt at unification as one single people (to "make a name for ourselves") and at one single place (as opposed to being "sc,~ttered over the face of the. Earth"). Th~ means to this "ethnogenetic end was to be the collectIve constructIOn of a aigantic structure-an enterprise that would be possible only if all :poke the same language, thus ensuring communication and coo~­ dination.

Sacred Space and Chronotope With its orientation to the heavens, sacred space in Egyptian archit~cture also represents a chronotope, a dimension where heavenly tune reigns. To build a sacred space was to establish not only a spatial but also a temporal link with the heavens; it was a realization of eternity. And for that reason, the construction of sacred precincts in Egypt is closely bound up with kingship. During the ritual of the foundation of the temple, the gods say to the king: As truly as your monument stands on its foundations like heaven on its pillars your work will endure with its lord like the earth with the Ennead.

Akhet is the threshold region between the sky, the earth, and the underworld; in particular, akhet is the place where the sun rises. The etymological root of the word has the meaning of "blaze, be radiant"; likewise, the hieroglyph for akhet has nothing in common with the pyramid, but is a pictogram of the sun rising or setting between two mountains. The pyramid does not represent such an akhet, but symbolizes it in an aniconic way. " As the sun god ascends from the underworld to the akhet and appears in the sky, so the king interred in the pyramid ascends to heaven by way of his akhet, his threshold of light.

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