Aspects of Abydos with Paul Whelan (October 2018) - summary, class photo and reviews.
Abydos was the main cult centre of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the Underworld. Today most visitors to Abydos gain a sense of its importance in antiquity only from the magnificent memorial temple of the 19th Dynasty king Seti I and, time permitting, the less well preserved and smaller temple of his son Ramesses II. Yet, by the time they were built Abydos had already witnessed more than two thousand years of continuous activity and would for more than a thousand years after, maintaining a central role in the royal and religious culture of the ancient Egyptians.
We began with the foundation of Abydos, over five thousand years ago, as a royal and religious centre. It was here that the earliest pharaohs were buried and where some of the earliest evidence of royal and religious ceremonies can be found. These early traditions would continue to influence all future activities at the site.
We then turned to the Old Kingdom and the changing status of Abydos from the 4th to the 6th Dynasties charted by royal and non-royal evidence from the site, and culminating in the first appearance of Osiris.
Next, we visited the Middle Kingdom when the popularity of a pilgrimage to Abydos to experience the annual festival of Osiris reached unparalleled heights and saw many innovative ways even ordinary Egyptians expressed their devotion to the god.
Our final session moved almost a thousand years forward in time to the 25th Dynasty and the period of Nubian rule in Egypt when Abydos plays a surprisingly influential role in royal religious beliefs. Their reverence for Osiris even saw the replication of an Abydene monument at Thebes and Nubia.
Paul with some of the delegates
Abydos Study Day reviews and comments:
'Paul's breadth of knowledge, ability to impart fresh perspectives and present his subject in an accessible and engaging way made for a highly enjoyable and thought provoking day. Great venue and handouts. An excellent first event from Ta-Wer Egyptology, which I hope shall be the first of many'. AW
"I think it was a great day and it worked very well. If you go on, it certainly will become some sort of Egyptological institution in London". W
‘Paul has the ability to combine an accessible introduction to a topic with a comprehensive synthesis and exploration of more complex research and thoughts that stimulates a new way of approaching a site or topic that you may already know well. The Ta-wer Study Day on Abydos was both informative and enjoyable, hopefully there will be more to come!’ J Billman
Congratulations on your splendid study day. I was so glad to have joined you. Everything was absolutely great – lectures and those excellent handouts, venue and food! Well done both of you. Now you’ve had a bit of practice who knows what heights you will reach next time! Actually can’t imagine anything better. L
The venue at 15 Hatfield's and lunch was very good and easy to get to from Waterloo. More importantly the subject matter of Abydos was for me a very interesting one. Everyone seemed nice and despite sitting amongst tutors and published academics I wasn't uncomfortable with any of it. Indeed role on the next course. C
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Contact email address: Jane@ ta-wer.org
More study days in 2019 - with guest speakers.
Online distance learning courses.
Maybe group visits. Check back regularly to see what is available.