Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Ancient Egyptian History

Committee Chair

Peter J. Brand

Committee Member

Suzanne Onstine

Committee Member

Shaul Bar

Committee Member

Mariam Ayad


New Kingdom pharaohs were quick to display their dominance over foreign captives in a variety of contexts--reliefs on temple walls, statuary, various artifiacts, texts, etc.--using brutal and degrading imagery. Indeed, depictions of foreign captives in humiliating or torturous poses are ubiquitous in Egyptian iconography and reflect the celebratory nature of royal ideology. Three central questions emerge from even a cursory glance at this data. What, ultimately, was the fate of such captives? How do these scenes fit into the broader view of foreigners held by the Egyptians? Lastly, why have Egyptologists been so reluctant to study this material? Due to the simple fact that such depictions are found most often in religious contexts and make frequent use of ideology, they are often dismissed as lacking historical value. However, the ideological significance of artistic and literary presentations of foreign prisoners must given its due attention as part of the larger picture of Egyptian views towards foreigners. In many cases, historical specifics emerge even though much of the evidence is rhetorical. The following study is an analysis of bound foreigners in Egyptian iconographic and literary sources, demonstrating that depictions of bound enemies played a vital role in Egyptian ideology and that the assimilation of enemy prisoerns into New Kingdom society was essential to the empire economy. Some captives, particularly enemy leaders, were publicly executed as important components of Egyptian ritual or state ceremonies and celebrations. Furthermore, this material reveals that the Egyptians had much in common with other ancient societies in their treatment of captured enemies. It is hoped that this work spark further research and allow Egyptologists to approach these scenes and texts from a different perspective.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.