III. H. Jebel Barkal and Luxor Temple
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The existence at Thebes of a Luxor Temple and an Opet-festival at once raises several questions.  Why would the Egyptians have identified the site of Luxor as the place of Creation, the source of the royal ka, and the place of royal birth and renewal when it seems to have had no (confirmed) cultic importance prior to the Eighteenth Dynasty?  Why would they have imagined that the procreative aspect of the god Amun of Karnak required his own temple at Thebes, situated far to the south of Karnak?  What would have prompted the development of the Opet-festival and bark procession in the first place, and why was it celebrated at the time of the high Nile?  Why, of all Amun temples in Egypt, was Luxor built parallel to the Nile, with a north-south axis and with its sanctuary directed upstream, when all others have an east-west axis to acknolwedge Amun’s solar nature?  The implications would seem to be that Luxor Temple was built as a response to some new religious awareness, first recognized in early Dynasty 18, and, given the temple's orientation, one would have to assume that this new awareness came from the south and was in some way connected with the Nile and with the season of the inundation.   Since Luxor Temple, its god, and its apparent religious meaning seem to be in every respect identical to Jebel Barkal, its god and its religious meaning, as I have documented them in the previous sections, one is forced to ask whether the Amun of Luxor was not the same as the Amun of Jebel Barkal and whether the true destination of the Opet bark procession, symbolized by its arrival at Luxor, was not actually the “Pure Mountain” of Kush.

In 1992, Peter Pamminger published an important paper pointing out the many similarities between the gods and cults of Luxor and Jebel Barkal and proposed that Luxor had been built as a kind of “Theban Napata” to honor the newly discovered procreative aspect of Amun of Karnak, who dwelt at Jebel Barkal.   Other scholars working with Nubian data, such as Leclant, Zibelius-Chen, and Török, voiced similar suspicions (Török 1997, 303-305; 2002: 12), but those working primarily in Egypt with Egyptian data, such as Bell and his colleagues, and now Waitkus, have continued to view Luxor only as a self-contained Theban cult without reference to Nubia (Bell 1997, 178; Wilkinson 2000, 166-171; Waitkus 2008; Epigraphic Survey 2009, xxxi-iii).  At this point we must review the arguments for and against a wider meaning of Luxor.  I will then introduce some new data, which I believe will allow us to conclude with a high degree of certainty that Luxor and Jebel Barkal were indeed manifestations of each other, but with slightly different, if closely related, ritual roles.

The arguments favoring the view that Luxor and Jebel Barkal were cultic duplicates are compelling.  Both were sites of Creation; both housed aspects of the procreative Amun-Kamutef; both, consequently, were important sources of kingship and the royal ka; and both were major coronation sites.  If, as Bell proposes, the royal ka was renewed for the king in annual coronation ceremonies at Luxor, we should recognize that royal cult temples ("temples to the royal ka ")– Soleb, Sesebi, Kawa, Faras, Gerf Hussein, Wadi es-Sebua, ed-Derr, and Abu Simbel - are all located in Nubia (Bell 1985, 261-262).  The reason for this would seem to be that from Dynasty 18 an important residence of Kamutef was recognized to exist in remote Upper Nubia – which was probably also recognized as the source of the crown with ram horns presented to the king by the god at Luxor.  In BD Spell 163, which seems to be describing the many forms of the god of Jebel Barkal, we are told that one was not only named "Ka," but that one of its Eyes/Uraei was the "creator of the ka."  Furthermore, as evidenced by the form and placement of Taharqo’s tomb at Nuri (See Part III, F), by the content of the Osiris hymn found in B 700 (Priese 2005), and by BD Spells 162-165 (See Part III, G), the district of Napata, like Luxor during the Opet festival, was recognized as a place of universal creation and of solar/royal birth, rebirth, and renewal.  Furthermore, Napata, as the town in the Egyptian imperium that lay farthest upstream, was also the town nearest the perceived sources of the Nile and the waters of Creation.  For these reasons, it seems irresistable to recognize the gods of Luxor and Jebel Barkal as identical beings, even as they were both identified by the Egyptians as aspects of Amun of Karnak.

The gods of Luxor and Jebel Barkal also share a similar iconography.  Pamminger (1992, 99-105) published four objects picturing a god identified as “Amun of Ipet-resyt," showing the god with a ram-head, crowned with twin plumes and a sun disk, looking in every respect like the Amun of Jebel Barkal (figs. 80a, b, c, d).  These are remarkable because nowhere inside Luxor Temple is Amun represented with a ram head.  (In every case within the temple he appears either anthropomorphic, like Amun of Karnak, or ithyphallic, like Kamutef (fig. 83).)  Three of the ram-headed images had a western Theban provenance, the earliest picturing Amenhotep I and Thutmose III, but probably Ramesside in date (M. Ullmann, pers. communication).  From Jebel Barkal the earliest preserved image showing Amun in this same guise dates to the reign of Thutmose III (fig. 81), and, as previously noted, it is this same ram-headed god who appears twice at Kurgus/Hagar el-Merwa (the farthest point up the Nile known to have been reached by the Egyptians) in adjacent images made by Thutmose I and III (fig. 82) (Davies 2001, figs. 3-5).  That of Thutmose I is the earliest known depiction of Amun with a ram head - an image thought by many to indicate that, soon after the king’s arrival in the Kushite heartland, the Egyptians merged their state god Amun with a dominant local deity associated with the ram (Kormysheva 2004; Rocheleau 2005, 14-36; Montagner 2008-09, 13-33) (although it should be pointed out that rams were associated with Amun in Egypt from at least the time of Mentuhotep II (Ali Radwan 2005, 213).

In both Kurgus images of the ram-headed Amun there are duplicate subscripts, which add the name “Amun(-Re) Kamutef,” although it is not clear if these actually named the pictured god.  The fact, however, that in one of the western chambers at Medinet Habu there is an image of Kamutef transforming into a ram-headed god (fig. 95) suggests that the subscripts did apply to the ram-headed figure and that here, at the “limits of the earth,” the Egyptians recongized the presence of a unique creator god of primeval times, merged with Kamutef, who was at once progenitor of their king and kingship, the source of the royal ka, and the sponsor of life via the Nile’s inundation.


Fig. 80a: Detail from a door lintel from western Thebes, showing Amenhotep I before “Amun of Southern Ipet” (=Luxor Temple), in a form identical to Amun of Jebel Barkal.  British Museum (BM 369 [159]).  (Pamminger 1992, 100)
Fig. 80b:  Statuette from the Ramesseum, representing a ram bust of Amun, with the God’s Wife of Amun Karomama I (ca. 870-840 BCE) making offerings before an enthroned ram-headed “Amun of Southern Ipet,” identical to the Amun of Jebel Barkal.  Berlin Museum 2278. (Pamminger 1992, 102)



Fig. 80c: Bronze statuette of the ram-headed Amun of Luxor, Late period. Louvre (E 3748). (Pamminger 1992, 104)

Fig. 80d: Relief fragment depicting the ram-headed “Amun of Southern Ipet” from Deir el-Medineh. The drawing clearly illustrates the spelling of the word Ipet/Opet, which is always followed by the strange determinative (Gardiner sign list O45), which here takes the shape of a horizontal knife blade or upside down wing. (Pamminger 1992, 103)

 


Fig. 81:Amun of Jebel Barkal represented on a crude stela of a Thutmose III, found at Jebel Barkal.  It is the earliest surviving representation of the god from the site, and his appearance is identical to the Amun of Luxor, as represented in figs. 80a-d.  (Dunham 1970, pl. 47 H).
Fig. 82: Identical images of Amun inscribed on the great quartz outcrop at Hagar el-Merwa by Thutmose I and III.  Texts below the figures (at left) seem also to suggest the god's identity as “Kamutef.”  (Davies 2001, 48, fig. 3)


Fig. 83: Amun of Luxor as typically represented inside Luxor Temple:  a mummiform, ithyphallic man supporting a flail with his upraised arm.  The god is named “A[mu]n [Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, who is] in front of his Ipet, Chief of the Ennead.”  (Brunner 1977, pl. 134.).

 

 

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