Karen Margaret Bryson

  • Fellowship Dates 2015-2016
  • Research Topic New Historical Perspectives on the Reign of Horemheb
  • Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate Johns Hopkins University
Few kings of ancient Egypt have inspired as much fascination as Horemheb, whose rise to the highest civil rank and subsequently to the throne of the Two Lands has been recounted over more than a century of historical scholarship. Since the last dedicated scholarly study of his career was published in 1964, major new evidence has emerged of his activities, both before and after taking the throne. This research brings together currently available evidence and evaluates it synoptically in order to test past interpretations and develop new insights into the significance of the king’s reign. This political, historical perspective incorporates archaeological evidence and evaluates its significance, focusing on the question of how effectively Horemheb was able to assert the authority of the royal office throughout the length of his reign and how his rule may have influenced the course of Egypt’s subsequent history. Horemheb’s reign is often presented in the literature as a period of triumphant reconciliation. There is reason to believe, however, that troubled conditions may have prevailed throughout its entire length. Methodologically, this research reevaluates the monuments attributed to Horemheb as their initial patron, as opposed to works of predecessors that he simply restored or completed. It studies the relief decoration of Horemheb’s standing monuments in Egypt, utilizing orthogonal photography to accurately analyze proportions and other stylistic features. It additionally systematically evaluates his royal statuary on sites and in museums, clarifying how effectively Horemheb was able to command Egypt’s resources during his time in power.

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