Cultural Memory and Identity in Ancient Societies by Martin Bommas

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By Martin Bommas

Lately reminiscence has turn into a important inspiration in historic stories, following the definition of the time period 'Cultural reminiscence' through the Egyptologist Jan Assmann in 1994. pondering reminiscence, as either anyone and a social phenomenon, has resulted in a brand new manner of conceptualizing background and has drawn historians into debate with students in different disciplines similar to literary stories, cultural conception and philosophy. the purpose of this quantity is to discover reminiscence and identification in historic societies. 'We are what we have in mind' is the remarkable thesis of the Nobel laureate Eric R Kandel, and this holds both actual for historic societies as smooth ones. How did the societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome bear in mind and commemorate the previous? How have been relationships to the previous, either person and collective, articulated? Exploring the stability among reminiscence as survival and reminiscence as reconstruction, and among reminiscence and traditionally recorded truth, this quantity finds the best way historic societies shaped their cultural identification.

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18 The specific term is the German ‘Schriftkultur’. 19 Assmann 1997: 169 ff. The reason for this focus is the fact that the hieroglyphic writing system was developed primarily for political reasons. 20 Assmann 1997: 169. 21 Wilkinson 2000. Concerning this publication see also M. Baud’s review; Baud 2003. Other annals dating from the Old Kingdom and structured similarly to the Palermo Stone are presented by M. Baud and V. Dobrev; Baud and Dobrev 1997. 22 This is what Egyptology also defines as ‘year-name’, a ‘formal demarcation of time, divided according to the actions of particular, named kings’ (Wengrow 2006: 128).

79. 54 Cf. the chalice of the Eton Myers collection (ECM 1583) dated to the Twenty-second Dynasty: Spurr et al. 1999: 9 (no. 54), showing several images of the king smiting enemies. 55 Cf. the wall relief of Ptolemy VIII or IX from Dendera where the scene decorates the royal kilt. Swan Hall 1986: fig. 84. 56 Morenz 2011 (forthcoming). 57 The red and the white crowns are displayed together here for the first time on one single monument. 58 Morenz 2011 (forthcoming). 59 Morenz points out that to reconstruct the phase of cultural funding of Ancient Egyptian culture, Egyptologists only have sources that testify (and monumentalize) the conqueror’s view with the connected propaganda (Morenz 2011, forthcoming).

17 Again, Bing observes that in spite of the widespread convention of the ‘message epitaph’, poems which ask the reader to bear news of a person’s death to their relatives, we do not find any accounts of someone actually complying with such a poem’s request;18 nor is there any ancient Greek equivalent of Shelley’s Ozymandias, in which a traveller is reported as describing a notable monument he has seen, including its inscription (Bing 2002: 52–54). But message epitaphs do not in general ask to be repeated or described, but simply for information to be conveyed.

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