Egyptian Poetry

What is an epithet?
A descriptive name, adjective, phrase or title that is repeatedly used to describe a characteristic or detail of a person, place, or thing.

What is an example of an epithet?
America the beautiful or Paris, the city of lights.

How are epithets used in the Great Hymn to Aten?
To honor and show respect for the attributes of the Egyptian sun god, Aten.

What is the longest of several new kingdom praise poems to the sun god Aten?
The great hymn to Aten

How is the great hymn of Aten composed?
As a hymn or sacred song.

Where was the hymn to Aten found?
On the wall of a tomb built for a royal scribe named Ay and his wife.

It was intended to ensure their safety in the afterlife.

Who declared that Aten was the one true God during the Amarna period of the New Kingdom?
Akhenaten (he who serves Aten).

What is monotheism?
The belief in one God

What did Akhenaten do?
Broke tradition and said Aten was the only God instead of the 80 they had been used to worshipping. As soon as he died, the Egyptians went back to polytheism.

What is the speaker?
The voice that addresses us.

What is another name for speaker?

What does the speaker express?
Emotions of ideas that may or may not be those of the poet.

Are the poet and speaker the same person?
Usually not. They could be a different age, gender, or race.

Who wrote the two new kingdom love lyrics?
Wealthy mean who were members of the Pharaoh’s court but the speaker is young girls.

When did love lyrics become popular?
During the new kingdom. Lyric poetry was already being written in the Middle Kingdom but the idea of love become abundant in the new kingdom

Where are the two poems held now?
The British museum

What’s special about these poems?
It’s one of the four known manuscripts containing Egyptian love lyrics.

Where were these lyrics probably sung?
Musical accompaniment at dinner parties and other festive occasions. They could also be acted out or accompanied with dance.

How are most of the love lyrics written?
In the form of interior monologues in which the speaker is addressing himself or herself. When it is addressing others, it’s usually a girl speaking to a boy she loves.

What are some of the most common motifs or themes in Egyptian love lyrics?
Longing, hopes for the future, and the pain of love.