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Egyptian scarabs : date and interpretation


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Many of us have Egyptians scarabs in their collection, so I think it is interesting to show and discuss these objects.

For the date of my scarabs, I use the work of A. Rowe, A catalogue of Egyptian scarabs, Chicago, 1936.

It shows many scarabs with interpretation and, very important, it gives the elements to date, so this book is also the origine of some illustrations.

For dating, there are 2 possibilities : first the inscription and then the form of the scarab.

The inscription gives us the most ancient date possible : if there is a mention of a Pharao, the earliest date possible is his period or later.

The form of the scarab is needed to date.

image.png.5da72802b618ec8e390f0627d77bed8b.png   from A. Rowe

 

For each part of the scarab, Rowe gives a lot of examples for dating.

here a first scarab

sorry, I have some problems with the photos

image.png.e1592e98557a4918253499ba526abe1c.pngimage.png.6b5517038036c4ea803e13516989a080.pngimage.png.5573ea9f985b23cf5cf8c2f844741aee.pngimage.png.dff8f5ab95431955e854b3e5909d9f58.pngimage.png.23e745bd1856f169568218057216a826.png

a white steatite  scarab, the base engraved with a scarab flanked by two cobras, 19.48 mm, 12 mm, 7 mm.

The head and the clypeus is number 30 in Rowe's catalogue, dated Hyksos-XX° dynastyimage.png.b10cebbbd968adaf22b6619a923c81f9.png

The elytra and prothorax is nr 3, XIII° Dynasty-Hyksos

image.png.8ac63d031c29d101d0429f469e4c9012.png

The side is nr 51, XIII° Dynasty-Hyksos

image.png.6e93058eed0b5f2f83262a65361fcc1e.png

With this elements, we can date the scarab in the period XIII° Dynasty-Hyksos, and more correct: the XV° Dynasty = a Hyksos dynasty.

On the base are two uraei with a long tale, this is interpreted as a form of the name of Ra, the sungod.

The scarab is the sign for hpr.

The name is also Ra Kheper, an unknown Hyksos king, only known by a few scarabs;

If you have scarabs, show them please.

PS : sorry for the size of the photo's, but I have problems with 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, NewStyleKing said:

Why is the "Hyksos" period  chock full of scarabs?  It appears to be so?  

 

NSK=John

As I recall, the Hyksos rulers issued a very large number of scarabs, and they're very common today. Perhaps they were trying to establish the legitimacy of their rule in the context of Egyptian tradition? Although it's my understanding that the hieroglyphs they used didn't always make sense. If you read the thread in the antiquities/artifacts forum about my collection, there are several scarabs, including at least one from the Hyksos period I believe.  

Edited by DonnaML
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skarabei.jpg.a66681c9fbf06e2a72cf63d3fd94ed58.jpg

 

This is one of two examples of scarab that I own, this one with blue faience and rather blundered legends seems to have been created much later than the steatite scarabs.  I also own a steatite example but currently cannot locate the image of it and will have to re-image.  The steatite example originated with a large dispersal of lesser antiquities from the British Museum in the 1970s and 1980s.  This faience example I believe I picked up at a coin show - and frankly I am not satisfied beyond a doubt that it is even ancient.

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@Topcat7 nice scarab, but I have some problems.

There are very few with an inscription on the back. Her is the name of Thoutmosis III (Men Kheper Ra) in the cartouche with an uraeus (most chance) or a Maat sign (feather) at each side, difficult to see. Only the upper part (head ans clypeus) is represented, the prothorax and elytra are a whole, needed for the inscription. Above the cartouche, there are some more hiëroglyphs, difficult to identify at first vieuw

The side gives us  XIII-XVI° dynasty : nearly the whole scarab period

The upper part is difficult to identify, but the horizontal lines at the tail are typical for the XVIII-XIX° Dynasty.

We can date it, I think, XVIII-early XIX° Dynasty. It is possible by the name of the Pharao (XVIII° Dynasty) and the style and quality of the side and the upper part and the material : steatite I think.

The big problem for me is the bottom, it looks as signs, carved by a man without experience.

Another possibility is a scarab of the late period, fabricate somewhere in the Mediterranean ( I Think Phenicia) and then I dat it 7/6° century BC.

I prefer this possibility as long as the base has not been translated ( difficult in this quality, if it has a signification.

The problem is that most sellers of scarabs knows nothing about it and date it in a very long period. If you trust your seller, you have a very nice scarab, and, I think with the photos, authenthic. Congratulations !!!!

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, antwerpen2306 said:

@Topcat7 nice scarab, but I have some problems.

There are very few with an inscription on the back. Her is the name of Thoutmosis III (Men Kheper Ra) in the cartouche with an uraeus (most chance) or a Maat sign (feather) at each side, difficult to see. Only the upper part (head ans clypeus) is represented, the prothorax and elytra are a whole, needed for the inscription. Above the cartouche, there are some more hiëroglyphs, difficult to identify at first vieuw

The side gives us  XIII-XVI° dynasty : nearly the whole scarab period

The upper part is difficult to identify, but the horizontal lines at the tail are typical for the XVIII-XIX° Dynasty.

We can date it, I think, XVIII-early XIX° Dynasty. It is possible by the name of the Pharao (XVIII° Dynasty) and the style and quality of the side and the upper part and the material : steatite I think.

The big problem for me is the bottom, it looks as signs, carved by a man without experience.

Another possibility is a scarab of the late period, fabricate somewhere in the Mediterranean ( I Think Phenicia) and then I dat it 7/6° century BC.

I prefer this possibility as long as the base has not been translated ( difficult in this quality, if it has a signification.

The problem is that most sellers of scarabs knows nothing about it and date it in a very long period. If you trust your seller, you have a very nice scarab, and, I think with the photos, authenthic. Congratulations !!!!

 

 

 

@antwerpen2306Thank you very much for your words. I knew nothing about it, and I have had it for so long that I have forgotten where I got it from, even.

Thank you, again.

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Posted (edited)

Wow ant2306, thanks for starting this interesting scarub-thread

 

scarubs are so very cool, right? ... sadly, I only have two examples (but yah, both of them are very cool)

 

2nd Intermediate Period Steatite scarab (below)

Circa 1650-1550 BC

Diameter: 23 x 16 mm

Obverse: Base engraved with an antelope walking right; palm branches in field. A few minor chips and cracks, otherwise intact, part of greenish-brown glaze remaining, pierced for mounting.

Ex-stevex6 … From the David Hendin Collection

 

Scarab Antelope.jpg

 

2nd Intermediate Period Steatite scarab (below) 

Circa 1650-1550 BC

Diameter: 21 x 15 mm

Obverse: Base engraved with two crocodiles back-to-back. Intact, once glazed, pierced for mounting.

Ex-stevex6 … From the David Hendin Collection

 

Scarab Crocodiles.jpg

 

=> thanks again for the great scarab-thread ... 

I'm gonna have to give it a second-read to fully understand where my scarabs fall ... interesting

 

Edited by Steve
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[IMG]
Egyptian
basalt heart scarab,
Late Period, c. 664 - 332 BC,
the body nicely carved with flattened base.
Light deposits within the recesses.
L: 1.9 cm.
Ex Boston Museum of Fine Arts


[IMG]
[IMG]
Egypt Amenhotep III stone scarab IN-HAND
Egypt Amenhotep III
Scarab 1390-1352 BCE
cartouch Neb Maat Ra
43.37g 45mm
ex Gustave Mustake

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very nice scarabs, I could spend hours on.

@Topcat7I was thinking this week about your scarab, I think it is an oriental production, as I suggested.

@Steve very nice, every real Egyptian scarab had a name or a message, it is not only a picture. So the first with an antilope represent a gazelle, the signs reads : ghs and the branch can be read nht=strong. so I think it is a name. 

Your crocodile is the god Sobek, with his town in the Fayoum Sjedet, named by the Greeks Crocodilopolis : town(polis) of the Crocodiles, and rebaptized by Ptolemaios II in Arsinoë for his wife and sister . His name Sobek is incorporated in several names of Pharao's in the period 1950-1650 BC, so the date will be +/- correct.

@Alegandronnice hart scarab, I don't have it in my collection and I don't think I can use my reference to date it, but ,coming from  a good museum, there is no problem. For the Amenhotep scarab, the name indicates the early possible date, I think it would be interesting first to determine the date and then translate the inscription. Maybe I can help you, I hope so.

For the Thutmosis scarab, there is  similar in collection, here is the impression. I am making a detailled description for  my daughter now af all  my collection. Can I reproduce here my script in Flemish and French, it is 4/5 pages, can you translate it by google?

image.png.b793cfe9c09d0c393dd95ce74463a355.png

 

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Here is my version of the scarab of @Alegandron

It is a big steatite scarab : 26 mm,18 mm,11 mm, dated XVIII°-XIX° Dynasty.

The inscription is 𓆄 𓇳 𓏠 𓆣 𓆄   𓎟 .  The feather is the symbol for Maat, the Truth, the the name of Thoutmosis III -Mn hpr r' and under neb, lord. So we can translate it  as : Men Kheper Ra, lord of the two Truths.

This form of the name is the identification as King of the two lands of Egypt, the name Thoutmosis is indicated by S} r' : Son of Ra, the Sun : Dhwtj ms : Thot (the God) is born.

The 2 lines on the cartouche represent the title of king of Upper and Lower Egypt.

 

image.png.15d3760ba92a1d37c099f0bf6f89c260.pngimage.png.1057296a05281c91fd6d17e877270ab2.png from : De Buck, Grammaire élémentaire du Moyen Egyptien,Leiden,1967, p209

image.png

image.png

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21 hours ago, antwerpen2306 said:

For the Amenhotep scarab, the name indicates the early possible date, I think it would be interesting first to determine the date and then translate the inscription. Maybe I can help you, I hope so.

I would really enjoy any help!  I am not a scholar, just an amateur history enthusiast that enjoys Ancient Histories.

Thank you!

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ROYAL SCARABS:

They were used as charms, talimans, amulets, honor to the Pharoah, etc. as a necklace or other ornamental piece.

[IMG]
Egypt Scarab RAMESSES II cartouche 19th Dyn 1292-1189 BCEwinged uraeus cobra 4.1g 19mm Gustave Mustaki coll acquired fr Egypt in 1948


[IMG]
Egypt 21st Dynasty Scarab 16x11mm Pharoah Neterkheperre 986-967 BCE ex DeVries collection George Fraser pg 41 #329 Plate XII


[IMG]
Egypt 15th Dyn Hyksos 1650-1550 BCE Scarab Sobek kneel R 16x12mm ex DeVries Collctn Flinders Petrie 942-943 Plate XIV


[IMG]
Egypt Amenhotep III Scarab 1390-1352 BCE cartouch Neb Maat Ra 43.37g 45mm ex Gustave Mustake


[IMG]
Egypt Scarab Pamai Pamay 830 - 773 BC 8th Pharaoh of the 22nd Dynasty 960 - 766 BC High Priest of Ma'at.


[IMG]
Egypt SCARAB Thuthmosis III ca 1504-1450 BCE ex CNG ex Hendin


[IMG]
Egypt SCARAB Seti I ca 1291-1278 BCE 19th Dynasty ex Zuzim

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very nice collection. I was looking now the first scarab of Ramesses. For determination of the period :

see nr 110 : XIXth Dyn386641546_ely110001.jpg.7fcc980a580ce76f3b438594113b2ff9.jpg

 for the side, nrs 22 or 23, I think 22

1977545990_side2001.jpg.dc0272b3efde3cf758a56c16de2c753a.jpg

for the inscription : the winged uraeus is indicating a king, the cartouche shows the beginning of the name as king of the 2 Egypts

𓇳 𓁦 𓌀 

wsr m3(.t r' : rich in truth

on the right side, it more difficult to see : I identificate a sign mn and a sign nb and a third, not easy. The 2 signs mean nb = lord mn = stability

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My wife’s scarab collection 

Approximate age: December, 2021(?)

Date of discovery: January 4, 2022

Location of discovery: Khan al Khalily, night market - Cairo

Value (to her): priceless!

837AEB0D-678A-4E9A-B6BB-879254EB9B93.jpeg.1391221a231cbdd508226d24a324a144.jpeg

 

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congrats with your wife's scarab collection. I think you make a mistake with the date, it is not december 2021, but november 2021 😊

That Osiris looks a nice one, I had a similar in my second residence, but one day in summer, birds came in and did fall the stature from 4 m high : I had one osiris in 5 pieces

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Like @Alegandron, I have an ex-Hendin scarab with the name of Tuthmosis III on it:

image.jpeg.f0c86178dde4f29ba26c392933fd2184.jpeg

I corresponded with Hendin about it and discovered more about its provenance. He got it in the 70s from the Bethlehem dealer who also handled the Dead Sea Scrolls, Samir Kando. It was among the first scarabs he bought with a nice colour preserved in the glaze. The colour is why I liked it too!

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3 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

Like @Alegandron, I have an ex-Hendin scarab with the name of Tuthmosis III on it:

image.jpeg.f0c86178dde4f29ba26c392933fd2184.jpeg

I corresponded with Hendin about it and discovered more about its provenance. He got it in the 70s from the Bethlehem dealer who also handled the Dead Sea Scrolls, Samir Kando. It was among the first scarabs he bought with a nice colour preserved in the glaze. The colour is why I liked it too!

Wow, you got the gud’n from the batch! Nice!

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Just please remember that scarabs with the name of Tuthmosis III on them can be perfectly genuine ancient scarabs without dating back to his reign: I have read that they were still making them many hundreds of years later. 

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