The Crown of the Divine Child in the Meroitic Kingdom. A Typological Study

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Abstract

The crown of the divine child was one of the headdresses that transferred from Egypt to the Meroitic Kingdom. It was integrated in the Egyptian decoration program in the early Ptolemaic time. The first king of Meroe to use this crown in the decoration of the Lion Temple in Musawwarat es-Sufra was Arnekhamani (235-218 BCE). It also appeared later in the sanctuaries of his successors Arkamani II (218-200 BCE) and Adikhalamani (ca. 200-190 BCE) in Dakka and Debod. The Egyptians presented it as the headdress of child gods or the king. In the Kingdom of Meroe the crown was more like a tool to depict the fully legitimised king before he faced the main deity of the sanctuary. To show this the Meroitic artists changed its iconography in such a way that the primarily Egyptian focus on the aspects of youth and rebirth withdrew into the background so that the elements of cosmic, royal and divine legitimacy became the centre of attention. Even if the usage and parts of the iconography were different, the overall meaning remained the same. It was a headdress that combined all elements of the cosmos as well as of royal and divine power.

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