|Publication Date||December 31, 2002|
Royal stelae are one of the most important sources for reconstructing the history of pharaonic Egypt. They document a variety of royal actions: military campaigns; construction work in temples; donations of statues and barques to temples; gifts of cult instruments and other offerings. During the 18th Dynasty they play an increasingly significant role in the demonstration of royal power. Hitherto, a strictly historical approach has determined how these monuments are viewed by scholars and a fresh approach is now needed, asking such questions as: for what purpose was a stela erected? where? by whom? and what was the nature of its visual appearance? Such an investigation has to be based on the premise that royal stelae are official monuments which reflect how pharaoh wished to present himself. The stelae combine picture and text in one monument which also draws its meaning from the architectural context in which it stands. An important question is to determine the target group for whom the stelae were intended. Some were clearly intended to be read by or declaimed to a large audience while others were addressed primarily to the gods. This book is intended to serve as a source book and the main part consists of the documentation of each stela followed by an analysis of the totality of the stelae. The study includes unknown or poorly published monuments and offers new readings and observations based on an examination of the original monuments. Beside the most familiar historical; stelae, the book also deals with a group of small stelae which have been of peripheral interest until now because of their short or even missing texts. The book pulls all the information together in trying to establish the evolution, meaning and function of royal stelae.