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Orestes_3113

Early Egyptian Astronomy

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Orestes_3113

During the First Intermediate Period the ancient Egyptians looked at the stars, that is clear, yet nothing is known about Egyptian astronomy before these times. Evidence is scarce and proto-writing can be subjected to wide interpretation. In order to make sense of early cosmology it is necessary to understand later systems of thought, suppose that the core has been consistent throughout history and then retrace.

The decanate system focuses primarily on the path of the Sun called the ecliptic, the ecliptic is a narrow band in a dome shaped sky. The heliacal rising as a focal point prevents the observer from drifting and getting lost amidst the many constellations. It also presents a cut-off point for Egyptologists as it demonstrates that this is how Egyptian astronomy started, but is this true?

| Heliacal rising presents a cut-off point for Egyptologists as it demonstrates that this is how Egyptian astronomy started, but is this true?

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Figure 1 Heliacal rising

During the creation of the Sphinx[2] and the construction of the Great Pyramid[3] certain alignments allowed for great precision, precision that has scientists baffled even to this day. Instead of merely pointing to a single star the ancient Egyptians must have integrated the concept of constellations in order to make use of those alignments. If the ancient Egyptians used celestial alignments then they would have understood precession of the earth’s axial rotation.

Djedkare Isesi[4] was the eighth and penultimate ruler of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt in the late 25th century to mid-24th century, during the Old Kingdom. In his time Leo’s main star Regulus would align to satisfy the conditions necessary for the Sphinx’s construction. Djedkare Isesi did not build a temple to the sun god Ra, a tradition followed by his predecessors at the start of the Fifth Dynasty. He reorganized the funerary cults and reformed the corresponding priesthood. These acts surrounding the Sphinx hint at a scientific breakthrough or a revolution in religious practices.

First Dynasty pharaoh Den (c. 2970 BCE)[5] is the best archeologically-attested ruler of his period. Below is an image of the MacGregor-Label found in his tomb in Abydos:

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Figure 2 MacGregor-Label from Den’s tomb in Abydos.

Originally attached to a pair of royal sandals. The depiction is that of a pharaoh striking down an Asiatic tribesman along with the inscription “The first occasion of smiting the East”.

This smiting scene can be found all over Egypt in various ways in every period of Egypt’s history from the predynastic age until the Roman period. Although over the different time periods the stylistic features will vary, it is consistent over a timespan of more than 3000 years. It is obvious that this scene holds great significance in Egypt. Below are a few examples:

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Figure 3 Several instances of the “Smiting of the Enemy” stance

As the Nile’s overflow recedes in October the start of the sowing season begins, laboring the fields now becomes mandatory. The October sky is of particular interest, its representation can be seen below:

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Figure 4 Start of the sowing season during pharaoh Den’s reign

Notice the similarities in the way the ancient Egyptians drew the Macgregor-Label and the constellations at this particular time. Here is a side by side comparison:

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Figure 5 MacGregor-Label a star map?

The following elements seem to have been included by reason of artistic similarity:

To the south

1. Orion — pharaoh Den in smiting pose

To the east

2. Taurus — the victim, or the subjected

5. Camelopardalis — small arc

6. Cassiopeia — wavelike figure

12. Celestial equator — Den’s staff

To the west

3. Gemini — two connected hands, communal sowing?

4. Cancer — a fish, perhaps due to fishing season[6]

The the north

7. Lynx — slug-like figure

8. Ursa Minor — knife or sword

9. Ursa Major — raster?

10. North pole point — Sun / Ra

11. Polar axis — King’s Anubis standard

The first occasion of smiting the East might have been a conceptional revelation, an awareness of the equinoctial points. The point where the ecliptic meets the celestial equator.

The nemesis of Taurus is Scorpio, the start of the harvest season. In Egypt the harvest season comes before the inundation of the Nile river during the summer months. Summer starts in February, the harvest season lasts from March until May[7]. Consider the comparison between March’s midnight sky and the MacGregor-Label:

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Figure 6 MacGregor-Label depicts a Scorpion King

 

The pharaoh is fashioned in contrast to its victim, his regalia includes:

1. Serpens Caput — uraeus cobra

2. Scorpio — scorpion macehead

3. Scorpio — cow’s tail

Side note: If the sky in its entirety is imagined as a bull and Taurus is its head then perhaps the constellation Scorpio, at its rear end, can be imagined as the bull’s tail, a depiction often used by pharaohs[8].

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Figure 7 Scorpion King macehead

In protodynastic times, during Naqada III, a pharaoh ruled named Scorpio I who had conquered “Bull’s Head” and in doing so unified Upper and Lower Egypt. In a search of his tomb, archaeologists discovered dozens of imported ceramic jars containing a yellow residue consistent with wine, dated to about 3150 BC. Chemical residues of herbs, tree resins, and other natural substances were found in the jars. Grape seeds, skins and dried pulp were also found in the tomb[9].

The fabled Scorpion King victorious over Bull’s Head, a veneration very similar to that of Mithra in Mithraism. Mithra also happens to slay the celestial bull using similar emblems.

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Figure 8 Tauroctony

It is possible that an individual adopted the sign of a scorpion and ruled by them, it could also be an honorary title that evolved since time immemorial. Perhaps it is merely a concept, a system of thought by which the ancient Egyptians were able to plan the seasons using celestial observations. Who knows…

If the MacGregor-Label is actually a star map then this object could function as a pivot and open up new angles to investigate earlier artefacts. Objects that until now have been ascribed to mundane rulers could actually reveal more about the evolution of early Egyptian cosmology. The concept of the Scorpion King as a season based myth deserves further research.

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Piney
37 minutes ago, Orestes_3113 said:

precision that has scientists baffled even to this day.

Nope.

Man's powers of observation is duly acknowledged by scientists. 

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Sir Wearer of Hats

Why in the smiting picture, does the big cross follow only one arm? Surely it would make more sense to base it off the pattern of both arms, not just one. Unless you’re looking for something to fit your desired pattern.

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Piney
13 minutes ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Why in the smiting picture, does the big cross follow only one arm? Surely it would make more sense to base it off the pattern of both arms, not just one. Unless you’re looking for something to fit your desired pattern.

Being autistic I have really good pattern recognition skills, but this isn't working for me.

I just see mass comparison twisted to fit. 

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Windowpane

Orestes wrote:

 

Quote

 

The depiction is that of a pharaoh striking down an Asiatic tribesman along with the inscription “The first occasion of smiting the East”.

This smiting scene can be found all over Egypt in various ways in every period of Egypt’s history from the predynastic age until the Roman period. Although over the different time periods the stylistic features will vary, it is consistent over a timespan of more than 3000 years. It is obvious that this scene holds great significance in Egypt.

 

As I understand it, it could on occasion function as a kind of warning boundary marker - as at Wadi Maghara, where there were problems with Bedouins encroaching on what the AE regarded as their copper mining territory (copper was needed for the tools that built the Great Pyramid).  At one point, Khufu did in fact carry out a massacre of the Bedouin.

 

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Hanslune
4 hours ago, Piney said:

Nope.

Man's powers of observation is duly acknowledged by scientists. 

Yeah I was going to comment on the term 'baffle' also you see a lot of journalists use it in headlines like:

Dead people found in the ground - scientists baffled

Ruins made of nice rocks archaeologist baffled over how this could be done.

etc.

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Harte

Always baffled, never astonished. Alas.

Harte

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Hanslune
25 minutes ago, Harte said:

Always baffled, never astonished. Alas.

Harte

Yes we had a 400 level class on how to suppress 'bafflement terrors', we learned all manner of useful techniques to counter this deadly archaeological affliction: Some different schools of thought - to experience extreme bafflement to avoid being sensitive or the second idea to dull its influence. in the first case reading French poetry, Icelandic recipes and listening to Japanese No plays causes extreme bafflement but I found it better to dull the bafflement. So, there was alcohol, very unripe mangoes, laundry, executing the class dullard in the Aztec manner, making forays against the new incoming class of freshmen using stone tools recently made, sponge yoga and kinky archaeological foreplay involving sarcophagi, survey poles, over extended test pits and an immature use of skeletons from the physical anthropology lab.

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Sir Wearer of Hats

Pfft..., typical academic. 
Utterly unwilling to entertain the idea that everything they know is wrong because some bloke on the Internet has a theory.
Shame. 
Shame. 
Shame. 
:whistle:

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Piney
7 hours ago, Hanslune said:

Yeah I was going to comment on the term 'baffle' also you see a lot of journalists use it in headlines like:

 

Surprised, yes. Baffled no. :yes:

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Orestes_3113
12 hours ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Why in the smiting picture, does the big cross follow only one arm? Surely it would make more sense to base it off the pattern of both arms, not just one. Unless you’re looking for something to fit your desired pattern.

Of course it is about fitting to a pattern. Can only know if the shoe fits when you try them on.

3 hours ago, Kenemet said:

Challenge 1:  List any modern Egyptologists who are "baffled" by this precision, with links to papers/journal letters where they say this.  I realize this sounds rude, but I would bet that you got this "info" from sites about Egypt that were not written by anyone who has a degree in Egyptology (in other words, spent decades getting the behind-the-scenes info and learning to read the language).

 

What changes in architecture, writing, artifacts, and titles indicate that he reorganized the funerary cults and priesthood?

 

The "smiting scene" is actually an executioner's pose; holding the head upright by the hair and a sword aimed at the neck.

Second... you apparently have not studied hieroglyphs and you don't seem to recognize that some of the things you've labeled are words and letters.  Writing by this time was well established -- see the Pyramid Texts for an example of what they were able to write.

The "Gemini" (3), for example is the letter "ka" and represents upraised arms as shown in a zillion other examples and writing.  The "wavy line"(6) is the letter "n" (again, shown in millions of examples)  The "slug"(7) is the horned viper, and represents the sound "f".

11 is Wepwauwet, opener of the ways.  Not Anubis. This standard is given to all pharaohs.  And "King Anubis" is a character from "My Little Pony" (https://mlp-gameloft.fandom.com/wiki/King_Anubis) not from ancient Egypt.

4 (cancer) - the sign of Cancer is a crab, not a fish.  And that particular fish is the tilapia and represents the letter combination "jn" (as shown in millions of written examples.)

...etcetera.

So you're trying to equate letters that make up words with some sort of other notion that doesn't match what actually exists.

Finally, the stars/constellations aren't even in the same position as the label image.

Except that it isn't.

The positions of the stars aren't the same, the positions of the constellations aren't the same, and you've completely ignored the context (found on a pair of shoes -- and we know from Tut's artifacts that images of smiting enemies were sometimes drawn/painted on the king's sandals so he could constantly trample them underfoot) - and finally you've ignored the writing and used your own interpretation (instead of the known interpretations) of what these images are.

So you've only supported the standard interpretation.

Thank you for the feedback.

About Anubis/Wepwawet i know it is Wepwawet dunno why i ran with a king's standard. A term written on the page i visited but cant seem to find anymore lol.

Baffled is indeed filler from other sources.

Now to get to the meat, the hieroglyphs. I understand that even then hieryglyphs had meaning. You can call a horned viper "f" but the image of the viper remains. Was it based on a viper? Stars? Both? 

That you can tell letters from the glyphs in itself doesnt disprove a further use. Look at any math equation where f(x)=...

I understand cancer is a crab but I didnt want to impose the western view. What we see in the sky are three stars basically and you can make it out to be anything. This space represents the month November however, a time for bigger fish. I'll look into tilapia.

About the star/constellation positions they are not that far off as you make them out to be.

Context is still preserved imo. Admittingly I am not aware of the finer things of Egypt.

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jaylemurph
1 hour ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Pfft..., typical academic. 
Utterly unwilling to entertain the idea that everything they know is wrong because some bloke on the Internet has a theory.
Shame. 
Shame. 
Shame. 
:whistle:

All I’ll add is that They Who Sit in Judgement have lifted a leg and taken aim at this blasphemy. It shall not stand. 

—Jaylemurph 

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Sir Wearer of Hats
15 minutes ago, Orestes_3113 said:

Of course it is about fitting to a pattern. Can only know if the shoe fits when you try them on.

Well, in this case you are trying to fit a left foot into a right hand glove.

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Kenemet
4 hours ago, Orestes_3113 said:

Now to get to the meat, the hieroglyphs. I understand that even then hieryglyphs had meaning. You can call a horned viper "f" but the image of the viper remains. Was it based on a viper? Stars? Both? 

It's based on the sound of the word in ancient Egyptian.  The hieroglyphs can (under the right combination) stand for either an object or a sound.  The horned viper hieroglyph has never been associated with the determinative that means "star."  If they mean "star" they have a special sign to indicate that they are talking about a star (or the name of a star.)

Quote

That you can tell letters from the glyphs in itself doesnt disprove a further use. Look at any math equation where f(x)=...

We have many known cases from hundreds of thousands of texts where a symbol represents (variously) a sound, a word, an action, a physical object, or a concept.  In each case, the actual grammar (plus special symbols) tells us which of these are meant.  In linguistics, they're called "signifiers"   Depending on the signifier (or lack of it), the "ka" symbol can mean the sound "ka", or a part of the soul or even "cattle."  

...etcetera.

So yes, the horned viper "f" has been written down a hundred thousand or more times in many contexts and in documents that are written in more than one language and alphabet.  Scholars have been annotating and collating these usages for almost 300 years.  So, yes.  I can say that at this point in time it's understood what almost every one of the 3,000+ symbols means and how they are used throughout time (because some of them do change over 3,000 years.)

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Orestes_3113
Posted (edited)

Looked into tilapia fish, hatches in March matures in 240 days, or 8 months. Prime catching season would be November, the month of cancer midheaven.

About the glyph let me be the idiot to ignore you on that. If I say viper I could refer to lynx constellation, viper on the ground or 'f' sound in this example by not making a distinction. Whith protowriting a broader interpretation is possible.

The context of the constellations and the turn of the seasons seem to fit. The major gain is to look at the midnight midheaven for interpretation, instead of the ascendent which would be used in the decanate system.

Edited by Orestes_3113

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Orestes_3113
9 hours ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Well, in this case you are trying to fit a left foot into a right hand glove.

And it shall fit damnit :lol:

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Sir Wearer of Hats
1 hour ago, Orestes_3113 said:

Looked into tilapia fish, hatches in March matures in 240 days, or 8 months. Prime catching season would be November, the month of cancer midheaven.

About the glyph let me be the idiot to ignore you on that. If I say viper I could refer to lynx constellation, viper on the ground or 'f' sound in this example by not making a distinction. Whith protowriting a broader interpretation is possible.

The context of the constellations and the turn of the seasons seem to fit. The major gain is to look at the midnight midheaven for interpretation, instead of the ascendent which would be used in the decanate system.

So you’re saying that it’s not only a functional written language, but also a record of astronomical phenomena?
So much for Cladking’s infamous “stinky-footed bumpkins”.

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Orestes_3113
13 minutes ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

So you’re saying that it’s not only a functional written language, but also a record of astronomical phenomena?
So much for Cladking’s infamous “stinky-footed bumpkins”.

In essence yes but very very simplistic. Not sophisticated, not standardized therefore hard to catch.

Again the main emphasis is the midnight midheaven. Distinguished months:

October, gemini, the start of sowing and the killing of the bull, subjecting, executing, smiting. Also "Two powers" alignment -> G1.

November, cancer, mature fish

December, leo, a reflection of noon summer solstice. Base for Sphinx with Regulus.

March, scorpio, the start of harvest signified by a scorpion wearing a serpent in northern direction.

Between sowing and harvest is 5 months, leaving 7.

 

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Wepwawet

I've not seen mention of the Milky Way and it's possible use in ritual orientation at Giza and Thebes, nor of how the sacred landscape, including it's momuments, is orientated at Abydos. I mention this as it's all connected, and G1, as it is necessary to keep reminding, cannot be viewed in isolation from the rest of Egypt.

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Orestes_3113
49 minutes ago, Wepwawet said:

I've not seen mention of the Milky Way and it's possible use in ritual orientation at Giza and Thebes, nor of how the sacred landscape, including it's momuments, is orientated at Abydos. I mention this as it's all connected, and G1, as it is necessary to keep reminding, cannot be viewed in isolation from the rest of Egypt.

In my view their cosmology would need to permeate all of Egypt including Abydos.

Pots have been found in upper Egypt relating to the scorpion king. If you could be more specific concerning ritual orientations using the Milky Way then I will certainly look into it.

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Wepwawet
18 minutes ago, Orestes_3113 said:

In my view their cosmology would need to permeate all of Egypt including Abydos.

Pots have been found in upper Egypt relating to the scorpion king. If you could be more specific concerning ritual orientations using the Milky Way then I will certainly look into it.

So you've not looked into this.

Pots don't come into this excepting the "Mother of pots" for what is there.

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Harte
14 hours ago, Orestes_3113 said:

Of course it is about fitting to a pattern. Can only know if the shoe fits when you try them on.

Yeah, well now that I know about Tut's sandals, I'm not trying the shoe on until it has drawings of me vanquishing my enemies on it.

18 hours ago, Kenemet said:

The "smiting scene" is actually an executioner's pose; holding the head upright by the hair and a sword aimed at the neck.

Looks like a club to the head to me.

18 hours ago, Kenemet said:

11 is Wepwauwet, opener of the ways.  Not Anubis. This standard is given to all pharaohs.  And "King Anubis" is a character from "My Little Pony" (https://mlp-gameloft.fandom.com/wiki/King_Anubis) not from ancient Egypt.

Surely you don't mean to disparage the solemn and august reputation of My Little Pony as a source for Egyptological inquiry?

Harte

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Orestes_3113
2 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

So you've not looked into this.

Pots don't come into this excepting the "Mother of pots" for what is there.

Mother of pots, U-j, yes. Still need to look into the Milky Way.

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Wepwawet
36 minutes ago, Orestes_3113 said:

Mother of pots, U-j, yes. Still need to look into the Milky Way.

Giulio Magli

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