In this richly illustrated book, renowned archaeologist Donald Redford draws on the latest discoveries--including many of his own--to tell the story of the ancient Egyptian city of Mendes, home of the mysterious cult of the "fornicating ram who mounts the beauties." Excavation by Redford and his colleagues over the past two decades has cast a flood of light on this strange center of worship and political power located in the Nile Delta. A sweeping chronological account filled with photographs, drawings, and informative sidebars, City of the Ram-Man is the first history of Mendes written for general readers.
Founded in the remote prehistoric past, inhabited continuously for 5,000 years, and abandoned only in the first-century BC, Mendes is a microcosm of ancient Egyptian history. City of the Ram-Man tells the city's full story--from its founding, through its development of a great society and its brief period as the capital of Egypt, up to its final decline. Central to the story is millennia of worship dedicated to the lascivious ram-god. The book describes the discoveries of the great temple of the ram and the "Mansion of the Rams," where the embalmed bodies of the avatars of the god were buried. It also discusses ancient Greek reports that these ram-gods occasionally ritually fornicated with women.
Vividly written and informed throughout by Redford's intimate knowledge of the remains of Mendes, City of the Ram-Man is a unique account of a long-lost monument of Egyptian history, religion, and culture.
Donald B. Redford is a historian and archaeologist who has worked extensively in Egypt since 1975, directing a number of important excavations, notably at Mendes and Karnak. A professor at Pennsylvania State University, he is the author of many books, including Akhenaten: The Heretic King (Princeton). He is also the editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.
"For those unfamiliar with Ancient Egyptian archaeology, this book is a welcome summary of Redford's work and his interpretation of its results. He brings the city of Mendes to life for the first time outside the classical accounts, and successfully synthesizes a huge amount of material."--Penny Wilson, Times Literary Supplement
"[T]he book has certainly to be praised for giving a view . . . of an ancient Egyptian city, its history and its excavations."--Robert Gozzoli, Brynr Mawr Classical Review
"Combining information from written records and evidence from his excavations at Mendes as well as a thorough grounding in the history of ancient Egypt, Redford offers something unique--namely, a narrative covering several thousand years of Egyptian history from the focal point of a single important city, Mendes."--Choice
"This is a book aimed at the expert as well as the more casual reader. . . . [A] very readable text, . . . this book is sure to become a well-used reference work for anyone interested in the site of Mendes in particular, but also in the sometimes complex history of the Nile Delta."--Ancient Egypt
"Donald Redford's City of the Ram-Man will interest specialists and armchair archaeologists alike. Redford looks at even the most complex archaeological and historical data with the eye of a storyteller. He constantly weaves interesting and often little-known details into the warp of his story, and his work is a rare thing--a consummate fusion of solid scholarship and truly readable history."--Richard H. Wilkinson, author of The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations vii
List of Sidebars xiii
List of Abbreviations xxi
Chapter One: The Beginnings 1
Chapter Two: The Advent of Horus 8
Chapter Three: In the Time of the Residence 18
Chapter Four: The Collapse 42
Chapter Five: The Mysterious Centuries: The Middle Kingdom 58
Chapter Six: Mendes under the Empire Pharaohs 67
Chapter Seven: The Great Chiefs of the Meshwesh 95
Chapter Eight: Egypt in the Time of Troubles 111
Chapter Nine: The Ram, Lord of Djedet 124
Chapter Ten: The Saite Revival 138
Chapter Eleven: Mendes, the Capital of Egypt 144
Chapter Twelve: The Great Disaster 179
Chapter Thirteen: Dusk and Darkness: The End of Mendes 188
Notes and Further Readings 211
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Donald B. Redford: