This year, archaeologists unearthed a giant statue of Egypt’s famous pharaoh Amenhotep III, Tutankamun’s grandfather, in Luxor, say the antiquities authority.
The 43 foot statue was found in seven pieces at Kom al-Hitan and originlly was one of two statues that stood at the entrance to his mortuary temple; it may have been destroyed during an earthquake around 27BC. The statue is made of colored quartzite and, once put together, will depict the king as standing.
Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt between 1390 and 1352BC, was the father of Akhenaten, the pharoah who broke with the tradition of Amun and imposed the exclusive worship of Aten, or Ra, the Sun god. (more)
What may Amenhotep have thought about what is going on in Egypt today?
He was a traditionist, but his son, Akhenaten, wanted to break with that tradition. Who was right? We can only postulate our own opinions and draw conclusions with the benefit of hindsight. What is absolutely undeniable is that tradition has been the cause of stagnation all over the world, while not all changes are enlightened. It takes a brave man to stand against tradition, and even if his new ideas prove to be no better, or worse, at least it gives the population a chance to test it out, to formulate their own approach to how they wish to be ruled and by whom. There will always be a possibility of change for the better.
The change in Egypt at the moment – as across the world – will tend to look worse before it starts to look better: that is the nature of change. Only time will tell if what is replacing the old will be better, or worse, than the old. The age old question arises once more. Who are the stronger leaders – the state politicians, worldly-wise and university educated; the leaders who rise from the grass-roots and who are ‘in touch with the people’; or the religionists? Religious tradition is probably the most stubborn to move with the times. Its very origins are so far removed in time from the present day situation, and based on beliefs rather than logical reasoning, that it may bring the most precipitous situation for a strongly religious state.
Egypt has a historical past that is greatly mixed with other cultures and other nationalities. From visiting, conquoring and ruling Greeks, Romans, Persians, French, British and Arab nations, the Egyptian psyche has become a blend of ideas, beliefs and politics. That may be Egypt’s greatest advantage to date. To lose that diversity under a singular Islamic Government may be it’s latest cause of decline. On the other hand, it may be a unifying factor that raises it’s Islamic profile in the eyes of it’s neighbours.
Amenhotep may have been turning in his tomb at the radical actions of his son, or he may have seen the progressive rise of monotheism as a maturity compared to his own pagan and polytheistic tradition. On the other hand, he may have thought that losing that tradition of diversity was Egypt’s downfall. Whatever our opinion, Egypt is changing.