Author of the Month

The Balance of the Two Lands: Ancient Egypt's Division According to the Ratio of Triangular Equilibrium (As immortalized in the Great Pyramid) (cont.)
By William Glyn-Jones

Bauval and Hancock's appendix also tells us that 'the triangle [of the determinative for 'to weigh'] distinctly recalls the profile or cross-section of a pyramid', having already pointed out that 'while Ayan is envisaged as the pivot or 'balance point' of the Two Lands, the actual process of 'weighing' is described as taking place…[in the land of the]…burial of Osiris in the House of Sokar.' This 'Land of Sokar' is generally taken to be the Memphis necropolis, most notably Saqqara, which, it is thought, may even derive its current name from Sokar. Bearing in mind that pyramids cover a burial of kings identified with Osiris, one cannot escape the suspicion that the Stepped Pyramid of Saqqara, the first of pyramids and for the Ancient Egyptians the most sacred, was seen as the fulcrum of the Balance of the Two Lands.

Balance of the Lands Geometry at Saqqara : The Upper and Lower Sky

One of the most interesting Memphite uses of the "Balance of Upper and Lower" geometric pattern under discussion in this piece is to be found in the Multiple Djed wall panels made from many blue-green glazed tiles inset with a shallow arch pattern, the arch being held up by the djeds. The Djed Pillar, which here in this early version seems to take the form of a tied bundle of reeds, had a long history in Egypt as an amuletic and hieroglyphic symbol of stability, and later at least as the backbone of Osiris, as well as having some connection with Ptah, the god of Memphis. Three of these faience panels were used to decorate chambers in the underground maze of tunnels beneath the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. Saqqara is the necropolis site near Memphis, the site which we have seen is at the Balance of the Lands. I have superimposed the geometry and it cannot be denied that the correspondence is good enough to show that the Egyptians were interested in this particular geometrically constructed pattern at the beginning of the Pyramid Age.

Triangular Equilibrium
Triangular Equilibrium / Balance of the Lands geometry superimposed over a Saqqara Step Pyramid Multi-Djed Tiled Panel

The panels' only motif is a circle segment-shaped vault held up by djed pillars made from papyrus reed bundles. The rest of the panel is made from blue green tiles representing reed mats and also the sky, i.e. the sky mythologized as a reed mat like the ones the early Egyptians placed over their reed-bundle structures.

The djeds therefore appear to be mythological pillars holding up the arch of the sky. This in turn implies that the same geometric pattern we have looked at here - the one that was applied by the Ancient Egyptians to the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt - was also applied by them to the sky, resulting again in a conception of Upper and Lower. In The Egypt Code Robert Bauval quotes Egyptologist Samual Mercer as saying that "the Duat was a kind of duplicate Egypt. There was an Upper and Lower Duat, and it had a great river running through it."

Ankh Tawi : The Binding of the Two Dominions

There is more iconography that has an intriguing bearing on this mystery. An ankh symbol is repeatedly shown in Egyptian inscriptions flanked by two was scepters, often with the neb sign underneath. A simple interpretation, no doubt intentional, reads this as an invocation of long life and power. However the ankh symbol means not only 'life' but also 'to bind' and some examples of this grouping show the ankh animated, with arms grasping the was scepters and with weights hanging from the elbows of these arms. An example is in the Denderah Hathor temple. This leads more readily to an interpretation related to the Balance of the Lands, since this and the Binding of the Two Lands seem to have been interchangeable, and with ankh having e a meaning of "to bind". So for example Memphis could be called Ankh Tawi, the Binding of the Two Lands, as well as the Balance of the Two Lands, Mekhat Tawi. The was scepter is read as 'dominion', and 'power', and so the symbol grouping can be read as relating to Horus being granted sovereignty over the Two Lands, as in the Shabaka Stone text, or perhaps it could be read along the lines of a similar interpretation, the Balance of the Two Dominions, or indeed the Two Powers - Horus and Set.

Image 3
Weights Neb (Basket) Was - "Dominion/
- "Many/Much/ Ankh - Wealth/Power"
All" "Life/To Bind"

Two staffs do have precedent in Egypt as symbols of the Two Lands. For example in Abydos we see Thoth, Aesclepius-like, before Seti I holding two Caduceus-like scepters entwined with cobras, one staff topped with papyrus of the North with its cobra wearing the crown of the North and the other topped with the papyrus of the South the corresponding Southern Crown. There are also the later Horus cippus images where the young god stands flanked similarly by the lotus and papyrus staffs of South and North. (Again there are serpents in each hand and the image seems to be the Serpent Bearer trampling on Scorpio, one of magical protection intimately connected with the resurrection of Osiris as Orion.)

Image 4
Thoth holds serpent-entwined lotus and papyrus wands and gives life to pharaoh Seti I in Osiris pose, from Abydos, Upper Egypt
PreviousPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Next

Site design by Amazing Internet Ltd, maintenance by Synchronicity. G+. Site privacy policy. Contact us.

Dedicated Servers and Cloud Servers by Gigenet. Invert Colour Scheme / Default