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PhD Defence

The coronation ritual of the falcon at Edfu: tradition and innovation in ancient Egyptian ritual composition

Thursday 16 February 2017
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. O.E. Kaper
  • Prof. Chr. Zivie-Coche (École Pratique des Hautes Études)


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

About this PhD

A profound cultural transition took place in the Ptolemaic period in Egypt, entailing large-scale innovations and fundamental change in many areas of society. A close examination of the Ptolemaic temples shows that they also underwent substantial change and innovation in their architectural appearance and building techniques, their wall decoration including the composition of new religious texts and the hieroglyphic script. Yet in the composition of new ritual texts the priests seem to have been particularly interested in their own past and traditions. This research project investigates the role and function of tradition in the composition of new ritual texts in Ptolemaic Egypt on the basis of an in-depth analysis of the structural organisation and ritual composition of one the most elaborate and complex temple rituals known from Ptolemaic Egypt: the coronation ritual of the sacred living falcon, whi ch was c elebrated each year in the temple of Edfu on the date of 1 Tybi. The available source material suggests that this ritual was a new composition of the Ptolemaic period in which tradition was merged with contemporary ideas. An investigation of the interrelations of the ritual texts and iconographic themes of the coronation ritual of the falcon with other textual and iconographic materials enables us to investigate the role and function of tradition in the ritual, to identify the editorial processes to which the new ritual composition was subjected and to reach conclusions on the extent of originality and the conceptualisation of innovation in ancient Egyptian ritual composition.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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Inès van Arkel, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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