Egyptian self-definition in the New Kingdom and Coptic period
This thesis is an investigation into self-definition during two contrasting periods in Egypt's past. It consists of five chapters, plus a conclusion. Chapter I introduces the thesis, putting the topic into its historiographical background, and gives it a theoretical framework. The thesis then falls into two sections, which mirror each other, using the same types of source material. First, the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BCE) is investigated, and then the Coptic period (fourth to ninth centuries CE). Chapter2 assesses New Kingdom textual sources, in particular letters. Statements of self made by different members of the literate society are examined. The inconsistencies within the source material are highlighted, as is a high degree of conformity. In Chapter 3, New Kingdom Memphis is investigated. The impact of official ideologies on the Memphite population is assessed, as witnessed by the temple complexes, a royal palace, the harbour areas, a residential location( Kom el Rabi'a) and the pyramid fields. In Chapter 4, it is seen that a variety of foci could be appealed to by a literate Egyptian seeking to define her/himself in Coptic Egypt. As in Chapter 2, letters are the focus of study, revealing a range of opinions. Chapter 5 tests the rigid self-definition seen in the writings of the Christian hierarchy against the urban site of Coptic Thebes. An analysis is made of the intensive occupation which occurred in the floodplain and the surrounding desert. In conclusion, a comparison is drawn between New Kingdom and Coptic Egypt, and the validity of ideological statements concerning self-definition is considered.