Egyptian Art Dynasties and Time Periods Glossary

Dynasties and Time Periods in Ancient Egypt Art

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Introduction

Predynastic Period (5550–3100 BCE)

Early Dynastic Period, 1st–2nd Dynasty (3050–2687 BCE)

Old Kingdom Dynasty, 3rd–6th Dynasty (2687–2191 BCE)

First Intermediate Period, 7th–11th Dynasty (2191–2061 BCE)

Middle Kingdom, late 11th–14th Dynasty (2061–1665 BCE)

Second Intermediate Period, 15th–17th Dynasty (1665–1569 BCE)

New Kingdom, 18th–20th Dynasty (1569–1081 BCE)

Third Intermediate Period, 21st–23rd Dynasty (1081–711 BCE)

Late Period, 24th–31st Dynasty (711-333 BCE)

Ptolemaic Period (332–31 BCE)

Roman Period (31 BCE–337 CE)

Byzantine Period (337–642 CE)

Arab Conquest (642 CE)

Glossary

Glossary of Ancient Egyptian Terms

Amduat | Ankh | Ba | Bark, bark shrine | Book of the Underworld / Book of the Dead | Cartouche | Delta | Djed Pillar | Duat | Egyptology | Faience | Hieroglyph | Ka | Levant | Libya | Ma'at | Nubia | Opening of the Mouth Ceremony | Papyrus | Pharoah | Pyramid Texts | Red Crown | Roman Period | Royal Titulary | Scarab | Shabti (ushabti) | Shen ring | Sistrum | Solar bark | Sphinx | Stela | Two Ladies Name | Underworld Books | Uraeus | Was scepter | Wedjat (Wadjet, Wdjat) | White Crown

Amduat
Funerary text; the sun god and his divine protectors journey through the twelve hours of the night.

Ankh
The symbol for life.

Arab Conquest (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Ba
Amobile aspect of the soul of a dead person or deity shown as a human-headed bird; aspect of human beings that resembles our concept of “personality.”

Bark, bark shrine
The bark was a type of boat used to transport the cult images of Egyptian gods from one shrine to another. The bark shrine was a stone structure in which the bark could be set down during ritual processions from one temple to another.

Book of the Underworld / Book of the Dead
The underworld texts are made up of a group of related funerary texts, which were known to the Egyptians as the Amduat or “that which is in the Underworld.” The central event of all of these works is the journey of the sun god through the dangers of the underworld through the 12 hours of the night to his rebirth with the dawn each morning.

Byzantine Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Cartouche
Elliptical outline that surrounded kings’ names.

Delta
The north of Egypt where the Nile splits up before reaching the Mediterranean Sea.

Djed pillar

Symbol for “stability”; identified with the backbone of Osiris.

Duat
The name of the underworld, ruled by Osiris.

Early Dynastic Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Egyptology
The study of the culture of ancient Egyptian civilization.

Faience
Glazed non-clay ceramic material used widely in Egypt for the production of such things as jewelry, shabtis, and vessels.

First Intermediate Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Hieroglyph
A Greek term meaning sacred carving; the script which was in use in ancient Egypt until the late 4th century C.E.

Ka
Sustaining spirit of a person or deity; the creative life-force of any person; the essential element that distinguished a living person from a dead one.

Late Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Levant
The countries bordering the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

Libya
A country in northern Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea located between Tunisia and Egypt.

Lower Egypt
The north of Egypt where the Nile splits up before reaching the Mediterranean Sea.

Ma'at
Truth, justice, balance, the divine order; also a goddess symbolizing these ideas, usually depicted either as an ostrich feather or as a seated woman wearing an ostrich feather on her head.

Middle Kingdom (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

New Kingdom (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Nubia
The ancient name of the area of modern day Sudan.

Old Kingdom (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Opening of the Mouth ceremony
Funerary ritual through which the deceased and all representations of him were brought to life.

Papyrus
A paper made from papyrus stems.

Pharaoh
A term for an Egyptian king; literal meaning in ancient Egyptian, “great house” (i.e. the palace); generally considered to be a term for the king in the New Kingdom.

Predynastic Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Ptolomaic Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Pyramid Texts
A group of texts made up of around 800 spells that were recorded on the inner walls of pyramids of the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period. These texts constitute ancient Egypt’s earliest funerary texts.

Red Crown
Crown of Lower Egypt (northern Egypt, the Delta).

Roman Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Royal Titulary
Group of names and titles held by each king made up of five names: the Horus name, the Golden Horus name, the Two Ladies name, the Son of Re name, and the throne name.

Scarab
Image of a dung-beetle; symbol of Khepri, god of the rising sun.

Second Intermediate Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Shabti (ushabti)
Funerary figurine, usually mummiform; a magical figurine that acted as a substitute for a deceased person—especially to perform labor for their owners in the afterlife.

Shen ring
Symbol for “eternity.”

Sistrum
Musical rattling instrument associated with women and the goddess Hathor.

Solar bark
Boat in which the sun god and the deceased pharaoh traveled through the underworld.

Sphinx
Mythical creature often portrayed with the body of a lion and the head of a man, wearing the royal nemes headcloth.

Stela
A flat slab, usually of stone, with images and/or inscriptions; typically set up as a monument in a tomb or temple.

Third Intermediate Period (link to Egyptian Art: Dynasties and Time Periods)

Two Ladies Name
One of the royal names in the royal titulary; this name was under the protection of two goddesses: Nekhbet and Wadjet, the “Two Ladies.”

Underworld Books
Texts illustrating the journeys of the sun god, found mainly on the walls of royal tombs.

Upper Egypt
Southern Egypt.

Uraeus
Image of the cobra goddess who protects the king.

Was scepter
Symbol for “dominion.”

Wedjat (Wadjet, Wdjat)
The eye of the god Horus; a symbol of regeneration and wholeness.

White Crown
Crown of Upper Egypt (southern Egypt).