Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt

Hardcover | November 27, 2013

byColleen Manassa

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Five hundred years before Homer immortalized the Trojan Horse, the ancient Egyptians had already composed a tale of soldiers hiding Ali Baba-like in baskets to capture a besieged city. Shortly after the rise to power of the warrior pharaoh Ramesses II ("the Great"), Egyptian authors began towrite stories about battles and conquest. However, these stories were not set in the present, but in the past - they were the world's first works of historical fiction. These literary recreations of past events, which preserve fascinating mixtures of fact and fiction, provide unparalleledinformation about topics as diverse as ancient Egyptian historiography, religion, and notions of humor and wit. Imagining the Past is the first volume to provide complete translations and commentary for the historical fiction composed during Egypt's New Kingdom. The four tales included here represent a multifaceted approach to history and its actors. The Quarrel of Apepi and Seqenenere, set at the end of the Second Intermediate Period, preserves details of political history and taxation that are attested in contemporaneous sources. In The Capture of Joppa,a historically-attested general Djehuty from the reign of Thutmose III successfully defeats the ruler of Joppa through one of the first attested stratagems in world military history. Royalty takes center stage with Thutmose III in Asia, whose fragmentary narrative may be a fictional presentation ofthe Battle of Megiddo.The Libyan Battle Story, composed only a generation after the Battle of Perire, contains abundant historical details attested in hieroglyphic and hieratic sources and borders on fictionalized history. A concluding analysis summarizes the audience and function of historical fiction as well as theology and historiography within the tales. An appendix of the hieroglyphic texts, all transliterated with philological commentary, make these texts accessible to a wide audience, while representing thefirst critical scholarly edition of them available. Colleen Manassa's thorough research into the literary, political, and social context of each tale will further stimulate current discussions of genres and the transmission of texts in Egyptolology and comparative literature studies.

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From the Publisher

Five hundred years before Homer immortalized the Trojan Horse, the ancient Egyptians had already composed a tale of soldiers hiding Ali Baba-like in baskets to capture a besieged city. Shortly after the rise to power of the warrior pharaoh Ramesses II ("the Great"), Egyptian authors began towrite stories about battles and conquest. How...

Colleen Manassa is William K. and Marilyn M. Simpson Associate Professor of Egyptology at Yale University.

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Hardcover|Aug 3 2007

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 27, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199982228

ISBN - 13:9780199982226

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of Figures and PlatesList of AbbreviationsNote to the TranslationsChronology1. Intimations of an Earlier Age: History and Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt2. The Quarrel of Apepi and Seqenenre3. The Capture of Joppa4. Thutmose III in Asia5. The Libyan Battle Story6. A Thematic Survey of New Kingdom Historical FictionAppendix 1: P. Sallier I (BM EA 10185)Appendix 2: P. Harris 500 (BM EA 10060)Appendix 3: P. Turin 1940+1941Appendix 4: P. Louvre N3136NotesBibliographyIndexPlates