Analysis Of Senwosret III's Three Royal Inscriptions

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During the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, pharaohs began to erect slabs of stone called stelas, which were created to honor their various accomplishments. Three stelas were discovered which celebrated the triumphs of Senwosret III, who ruled during Egypt’s 12th dynasty. The First and Second Stelas were located in Semna and were created in his years 8 and 16, respectively. The third stela was set up at Elephantine in year 9 (Prof. Roth, Essay Instructions: Middle Kingdom Culture as Reflected in Three Royal Inscriptions). Under Senwosret III’s reign, Egyptian authority in the south was strong and many of their fortresses were restored and developed. The stelas mainly addressed the pharaoh’s endeavors to fortify the southern border of Egypt and prevent …show more content…

It is evident that the successful attempts by Senwosret III to advance and fortify the southern Egyptian border deserved much recognition. The text from the Year 9 stela describes an order by Senwosret III to create a ‘rampart at the sides of the south’ in order to ‘[to protect(?)] the people on the island of Elephantine’ (Breasted, 292-295). The declaration of his actions on a stela reinforces the idea of the pharaoh as a guardian for the people of Egypt. Senwosret III claims that ‘Aggression is bravery, and to retreat is vile’ (Breasted, 292-295). From this, it is clear that the pharaoh has an obligation to defend the borders of the land. This is because as the political and religious leader in Egypt, the pharaoh was expected to protect the people under his rule and was responsible for the well-being of the …show more content…

Egypt’s contact with their neighbors was mainly through trade. Many times in Egyptian art, foreigners are shown bringing trade goods to the king. Trade was vital to the Egyptians; however, they also viewed foreigners as symbolizing chaos (Prof. Roth, Lecture 6, 2/10/16). In the stela from year 8, it states that the southern boundary was made by Senwosret III to ‘prevent any Nubian from passing it going downstream…except for a Nubian who shall come to do trading in Iken / or as a messenger’ (Breasted, 292-295). These restrictions on when a Nubian may come north; i.e., to trade or carry a message, demonstrate how the Egyptians valued foreign trade, but did not regard the foreign people as highly as they regarded themselves. The Egyptians believed that they were at the center of the earth and considered themselves superior to people of other lands. In the stela from year 16, Senwosret III describes the Nubians saying, ‘…they are not men of worth. They are wretched and broken hearted’ (Simpson, 338). This illustrates how the Egyptians viewed themselves as more civilized than the foreigners and believed that the world was created for them. Because they had the Nile, which flooded consistently, and the resources to flourish, the Egyptians felt that they were situated perfectly by the gods and possessed a very ethnocentric perspective about their society and their role in

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