Hypnos and Thanatos in Egypt? the Meaning of Beds in Ancient Egypt
Saturday 14 April 2018
Venue Oakwood Centre
By Manon Schutz
n Greek mythology, Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death) were brothers, sometimes even twins, born to Nyx, the night. This close relationship is easily explained by the typical characteristics that unite these two phenomena, as both are basically antonyms for life. The question I would like to raise now is whether we can find a similar belief in ancient Egypt. How closely linked were death and sleep? One possibility to answer this question is by looking at the meaning of beds. Even though we nowadays tend to connect beds to everyday life, it is noteworthy that all the preserved Egyptian beds stem from tombs, not the domestic area. Thus, the aim of this talk is to analyse the function of beds in the funerary context of ancient Egypt and their role as connecting link between sleep and death.
Manon Schutz is a doctoral candidate and Clarendon scholar at Mansfield College, University of Oxford. In her thesis 'Sleep, Beds, and Death in Ancient Egypt', she is analysing the function of the bed in the funerary context of Ancient Egypt from Predynastic times to the Graeco-Roman Period, especially in its role as protector and guarantor of rebirth. In ner Magister Artium thesis, which she completed at the University of Trier (Germany), as well as my Master of Studies thesis for the University of Oxford, she analysed coffins from the Roman Period. Furthermore, she is a volunteer at the Griffith Institute, Oxford, where she is now mainly working with Petrie's journals. She was also involved in the exhibition and publication of the Egyptian collection housed in the Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art (MNHA) in Luxembourg.
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