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Shishak’s Karnak Relief – More Than Just Name-Rings

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses Shishak's Karnak relief which is studied repeatedly for its unique compilation of Asiatic place-names, providing a rare insight into the geo-political state of Early Israel. The relief itself contains a lengthy inscription and intricate representations which upon close consideration provide ample political information of their own. This is obtained by comparing the triumphal relief to others of its genre, and carefully separating traditional traits from innovative ones. The interpretation of these novelties as ideological markers points to an earlier dating of the military campaign, sometime during the first decade of Shishak's reign. A survey of Egyptian royal art demonstrates that triumphal reliefs have evolved from the basic smiting scene genre into a sub-genre which grew to include the topographical lists of conquered enemies. Two sources allegedly contradict the suggested early dating of the campaign and the relief: Stela no. 100 from Gebel es-Silsilah and the Biblical account.

Keywords: Biblical account; Gebel es-Silsilah stela; inscription; interpretation; place-names; Shishak's Karnak relief; smiting scene genre; triumphal relief



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