Ancient Egypt and the other

Cornelius, I. (2010)

CITATION: Cornelius, S. 2010. Ancient Egypt and the other. Scriptura, 104:322-340, doi:10.7833/104-0-174.

The original publication is available at


Texts and images are used to look at the way the ancient Egyptians perceived and treated ‘the other’ (their neighbours and foreigners such as the Asians, Kushites and Libyans). Were they treated with dignity? According to the Egyptian world view, Egypt was the centre of the world and the foreign countries were seen as the periphery. Egypt stood for order and the vile foreigners for chaos. The foreigners had to be controlled by the pharaoh who conquered the foreign lands, which also had to pay tribute. This article devotes more attention to the Kushites, who were described as wretched and were physically mistreated. On the other hand, there are also examples of Egyptians interacting with foreigners in a more positive fashion. But in the end not much dignity was accorded to ‘the other’.

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