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Dwain Brazil

Professor Gurdil
HUM 310
30 October 2014
Essay #2: Egyptian Scarabs
Egyptians used scarabs in many different ways throughout their history. The
scarabs had several different meanings and were very versatile. There were several
different types of scarabs including but not limited to: heart scarabs, commemorative
scarabs and scarab amulets. Each different type of scarab indicated their different
functions within varying social context from thapotopaic to amulet, socieomonic,
and propagandistic. The scarab amulets symbolism was intended to be inclusive and
broad, rather than confined to ne particular meaning in a given circumstance.
Scarab is an indigenous Egyptian dung beetle. This beetle rolls balls of dung,
which it then lays its eggs into. The ancient Egyptian used this reproductive behavior
and linked it to the mythological cycles of solar rebirth and death. They used the
scarab as a image of the sun god pushing the sun across the sky.
Scarab amulets were made to be small in size and compact in shape. The
Middle Kingdom used scarabs as seals by non-royal bureaucrats, and many personal
names and titles were found on these amulets. Scarabs were even used as
manipulation tools for political reasons by the Hyksos kings and their court during the
Second Intermediate Period. During the New Kingdom the number of scarabs
cumulates increased throughout the Mediterranean and Levant in the Eastern world.
The scarab amulets majorly depicted representations of divine figures, aphorisms
and king names but there was also a rise in personal piety in the later years. The
wide rand of scarabs as decorations complicates their meanings and functions. The
auletshad multiple uses including: administrative tools social status markers,
apotropaic talisman and even distributed propaganda messages. Therefore it is very
hard to place these objects into any specific category such as socio-economic,
religious, or political categories.
As documented there werent any real religious practices that revolved around
the scarabs. The closest it gets is the Late Period in the Middle Kingdom scarabs
depicted divine iconography. The depictions include names of gods and images
along with good luck sayings; articulacy associated with the god Amen and his many
writings.
Scarabs were used in more than just religious settings. A type of scarab base
includes rules names and images fro the Middle kingdom through the late period.
These types of scarabs were because of the association of the king and sun god.
The third category of scarab base cummlings would have non-royal personal names
and titles such as the elite officers or the priesthood. The fourth type is a decorative
group and it deprives motifs at northwest Asian origin, it came to the new kingdom

when Egypts empire reached its apex. Lastly the fifth and final scarab amulet group
features geometric and stylized patterns. Many of the patterns date into the Middle
Kingdom, most common within the group were abstract geometric, scroll, spiral and
even humanoid patterns.
I would have to say that there are no apparent parallels between the Egyptian
and Greek society when it comes to he scarabs. The scarabs have too many uses
and meanings to be directly compared to anything else. All the Greek fixture and
artifacts fit neatly into one category and did not have multiple meanings. For example
a painted bowl with a picture of Achilles, it would either be used for its purpose as a
bowl or as an artistic expression from an artist. Where as in the Egyptian society a
scarab amulet could either be a religious piece or just something with a quote on it
and even a sign to let people know what political party you belonged to and if you
could be bribed or not.
In conclusion this article should that scarabs have multiple meanings and
since made so readily available, cannot be for a particular class or structure f people.
It seems as if anyone and everyone could get their hands on their own scarab, but
thats what it was intended purpose was.