King to God: The Divine Oracle of Ahmose at Abydos


Stephen Harvey


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Conference Proceeding

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The existence of a posthumous oracle of King Nebpehtyre Ahmose (ca. 1550-1525 BCE) is documented by means of a stela representing his divine barque in procession, carried by priests dedicated to his cult. This paper will examine evidence for the development of his cult, based in the mortuary complex founded by the king at south Abydos. Identifications of possible royal representations of Ahmose’s barque in Ramesside temples at Abydos reinforce the status that this founder cult had in later times. The agency of local priests in developing this cult will be discussed, in an attempt to examine how royal and private strategies may have coincided to create an oracular phenomenon of relevance to the local community and beyond. Evidence from the much better-known oracle of Amenhotep I at Thebes will be adduced in order to define particular local characteristics that distinguish the divinized father’s oracle from that of his son.

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