ARCE TN: Power Tool: How Gold Enhanced Pharaoh’s Authority, Influence, and Prestige

Registration is required

Presented by: Professor Peter Brand

  • 6:00 PM CTTennessee
  • Zoom
  • + Add to Calendar

Lecture Information: 

Egyptian Pharaohs monopolized the mining of gold and directed artisans to craft it into every sort of exquisite objects. Decorating themselves with gold jewelry, regalia, and gilded furnishings they flaunted their authority with the metal Egyptians called “flesh of the gods.” They also leveraged gold’s mesmerizing allure to cement their influence with three key constituencies: the Egyptian elite, foreign kings, and the gods themselves. Every high official longed to receive the “gold of praise,” a rich array of expensive gold trinkets and objects the king showered on his most favored courtiers. Pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1550-1200 BCE) gifted large sums of gold in their diplomatic relations with the kings of Assyria, Babylonia, and Mitanni, in exchange for other exotic goods. Avaricious for Egyptian gold, other kings repeated the constant refrain that “gold is as common as dust” in Egypt. Egyptian kings also consecrated huge quantities of gold to the gods and their temples, consecrating a rich variety of ritual vessels, cultic implements, and sacred icons and idols. They even used gold as a building material, plating huge obelisks, temple gateways and other architectural elements in the precious metal. In the hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, we will explore the politics and ideology of pharaonic gold, all richly illustrated with numerous images, including exquisite artifacts from Tutankhamun’s treasures.