Text and Image

Yossra Ibrahim (Mainz)

Ancient Egyptian Astronomy between Text and Image

The event of the deceased king joining the imperishable stars is a subject frequently attested in ancient Egyptian funerary texts such as; the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts. Although, no illustrations seem to have existed along with these descriptions, to tell us how the ancient Egyptians realised such astronomical elements; nevertheless, there are other elaborate diagrams that depict intricate celestial bodies and serve the purpose of perceiving the ancient Egyptian night sky. In the Middle Kingdom, coffin lids were decorated with simple illustrations of a constellation and associated deities. However, it is during the New Kingdom that such scenes transform to elaborate celestial diagrams and become plentiful in terms of content and sources. The Celestial Diagram is a term commonly used to refer to a set of illustrations that can be depicted on a number of sources such as the ceilings of temples and tombs, water clocks, and coffin lids. This presentation is going to elucidate the celestial diagram with a special focus on one astronomical aspect which is the description of the ancient Egyptian constellations in funerary texts and how they are depicted as visual works of art on a number of sources. First, the presentation is going to examine funerary references to constellations and then move on explaining how celestial bodies such as constellations are depicted on various sources and how these illustrations changed over time. In addition to assessing the configuration, arrangement and the elements making up the celestial diagram.


Peter John Williams (Cambridge)

Early Illustrated Texts of Aratus and Eratosthenes within Codex Climaci Rescriptus

This paper introduces previously unpublished evidence for the early Greek text of Aratus and Eratosthenes. This is found in the 6th century undertext of the palimpsest Codex Climaci Rescriptus, which was bought by Agnes Smith Lewis between 1895 and 1906 and more recently acquired from Westminster College Cambridge by the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. Since 2012 a team has been using multispectral images to read the previously unidentified texts, which collocate extracts from Aratus’s Phaenomena and Eratosthenes’s Catasterisms, along with illustrations, just as predicted by scholars. This is a uniquely early representative of this type of manuscript. The paper will consist of an introduction to the manuscript, guided reading of some of its underwriting, and a discussion of the issues which it raises.