originally posted by: Kantzveldt
They are shown because the concern is with every aspect of the Cult of Sobek in the Fayum region, the cosmological concerns of the cult are seen in
the sections in the OP, this the transformative aspect of Sobek-Ra through the Duat, the relationship to Osiris, in that sense very much like any
Egyptian magical guide, whether the Pyramid texts, Coffin texts, Book of Coming Forth by Day, Book of Caverns, Book of Gates, they all share similar
The key mystery of the Book of Faiyum is it's uniqueness compared to other texts, the format and narrative structure are without direct comparison.
Unlike those that you list, there are no clearly identifiable spells or instructions on how to navigate a 'journey'. This is why it intrigues so
much, and why it is fun to speculate upon it. Of all the texts, possibly I can see some similarity to the Book of Caverns, which too seems (to me) to
combine elements of the physical with the metaphysical. In terms of the shrines, I feel that there is some possibility, given context, that they may
be tips of the hat of recognition to the other nomes, particularly given the inability of the experts to relate them to any shrines found in the
physical vicinity of Lake Moeris.
originally posted by: Kantzveldt
The Labyrinth aspect is a result of internal complexity, but i think the best comparison is with the Sumerian Field constellation and the construction
of the Abzu, the E-engura of Eridu or the E-Sagila of Babylon, the heart of the City around which the Akitu celebrations centred in the New Year
rising of the Iku constellation, the Pegasus square, were Bet-Akitu meant 'House of Life'
Of course twelve would be used as a symbolic number, as it was with the Hebrew Tabernacle or Heavenly Temple that are also based on the Celestial
Square, the importance of this really cannot be over estimated.
I think that there is the possibility of numerous comparisons and explanations. Personally, and in no way negating your own theory, in terms of the
comparison with Mesopotamian influence, the Book's mention of the Ogdoad would draw me towards a comparison with the Octaetris.
In astronomy, an octaeteris (plural: octaeterides) is the period of eight solar years after which the moon phase occurs on the same day of the
year plus one or two days.
This period is also in a very good synchronicity with five Venusian visibility cycles (the Venusian synodic period) and thirteen Venusian revolutions
around the sun (Venusian sidereal period). This means, that if Venus is visible beside the moon, after eight years the two will be again close
together near the same date of the calendar.
The Book therefore, in relationship with the 'Labyrinth' presents the coexistence of the Luni-Solar Calendar, that the Egyptians inherited from
Sumerian astrology, to the adoption of the Solar calendar as depicted by the 12 palaces arranged into two sets of six, one batch running south, the
other north. This of course coincided with the incredibly, for it's time and beyond, complex hydrological system that fed and drained the lake. This
again is illustrated in the Book, by the outstretched arms of Mehet-weret representing those channels. That Mehet-weret is shown on the horizontal is
yet another entirely unique feature of the Book, which some have taken to indicate that the Book was meant only for the priest-class. By placing her
in this position too, given the text, seems to be a means by which to link Faiyum with the rest of Egypt.
"Deities and humans live in peace. It flows from Elephantine to reach (its proper) place to bring possessions from Elephantine. Which proceeds from
the leg of the Child, to inundate the two districts of Osiris, who endures and is strong in body for ever.”
“This is Mehet-weret making her two arms; she gives cool water to the two lands which flows to the south and the north of the Fayum. "
My favourite bit of the text though, given my particular interests, apart from the hydrological system, are the almost taxinomical classifications,
according to type of the flora and fauna of the lake. I get a strong sense of there being some attempt to create a record of this time and place that
is obliquely scientific. Some of the reviews at the time of the exhibit put forth the idea that the Book was a precursor of product branding, and I
can see what they mean to an extent, but I think that perception is too weighted in modern cynicism. I think much more that this was an incredible
place, with a somewhat different way of life to the rest of Egypt and the priesthood of Sobek wanted to communicate that.
edit on 26-4-2014 by KilgoreTrout because: (no reason given)