Wizard Wunderkinder and Vengeful Women

Cult Practices in Ancient Egyptian Literature

Franziska Naether

ISAW Visiting Research Scholar

Sorcery, reincarnation, mummification – rituals, magic, and divination play a major role in ancient Egyptian literature from the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2137 BC) until the Roman Imperial Period (ca. 3rd century AD). From more than 200 narrations and wisdom texts written in Middle Egyptian, Late Egyptian and Demotic languages, Franziska Naether will present and analyze passages of cult practices from a particularly rich and exciting story – the Second Setna Novel about the son of pharaoh Ramesses II, Setna, and his wunderkind son Siosiris fighting against an evil wizard from Nubia. Naether’s main research question is: Are the cult practices in the literature comparable to what we know from ritual manuscripts or are they described differently to keep the story more exciting?

Franziska Naether is assistant professor of Egyptology at the Egyptological Institute and Egyptian Museum "Georg Steindorff" at the University of Leipzig. Her dissertation "Sortes Astrampsychi" focused on a complex Greek lot oracle from Roman Egypt and other divinatory methods and their legacy. Naether's research interests include ancient Egyptian literature, religion and its material culture, representation and communication of rulers, papyrology and digital humanities. From 2005 to 2008, she was collaborator of the initial phase of the "Trismegistos" database and is now working for the "Demotistische Literaturübersicht," a review project for demotic studies featured in the journal "Enchoria" and in Trismegistos.  Naether will be a Visiting Research Scholar at ISAW during the 2015-16 academic year.

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Reception to follow.

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