Guest Post from Katie Hamstad:
The Egyptian lifestyle revolved around their religious customs and beliefs. But unlike the Greeks and Romans—who at this point in time weren’t even a glimmer in someone’s eye—they had several supreme gods who, depending on where you came from, was the creator or “king” of the gods. Amun-Ra, a shapeless, bodiless being was the god of Thebes and the Upper Egyptian royal line, while travel northward and Ptah becomes the dominant god. To be completely honest, it’s very complex and hard to get your head around. So for the sake of the Kiya series, I only focused on a few.
At the very beginning, Naomi, the MC, enters the Temple of Bast, the fertility goddess represented by a cat. I chose this particular goddess because it’s symbolic of the journey Naomi is about to be forced to take. Her entering the temple, although she is Hebrew, is almost like she’s receiving the blessing to be fertile from Bast when she sees and comprehends the rituals etc on the walls.
But, getting to the most important religious aspects of the time, Akhenaten decided to do away with the old religion and established the monotheistic religion of Aten. This was a dramatic and earth moving event for the Egyptians. Thebes (Luxor) was the city of Amun, and Akhenaten’s family were the bloodline of Amun. His ancestors, all the Pharaohs before him, were believed to be the children of Amun-Ra sent to earth to lead and guide his people. The problem was, the priests of Amun-Ra were growing very powerful. They were trumping decisions made by the Pharaoh, undermining his power, and doing their own thing in the name of their god.
No one really knows what Akhenaten’s exact motives were when he denounced Amun, but the power of the priests may have had a great deal of influence on his decision. The problem was, by pronouncing a monotheistic state, hundreds of other deities beloved by the people became outlawed. So, they had to hide their idols and religious materials away and pretend to follow the Aten as commanded, and soon, they had to uproot themselves and move to the newly established city of Akhetaten (Tel-El Amarna).
Now, Naomi is a Hebrew, which means her religion was that of Elohim and Yahweh (Jehovah). She was raised to believe in virtuous living, integrity, and that the Egyptian religion was a serious sin to follow. So when she is taken into this monotheistic society established by Akhenaten, she is face with a moral dilemma. You can read the books to find out more!
Egyptians had a very strong belief in the afterlife. Even in their new religion, they still practiced the same death rituals. Mummification was essential to preserve the body so the spirit could return to it. To behead or have a body devoured by beast condemned a soul to wander the afterlife lost and lamenting. Thus, executions with beheading/throwing to beasts or destruction of the body in any way, was the worst thing imaginable to Egyptians.
The royalty were buried with all their possessions so in the next life they wouldn’t do without. Often, deceased children and family members were moved into king’s tombs to be with them. Tombs were laid out like houses, with sitting areas and the rooms for the sarcophagus like bedrooms.
The Hebrews also believed in the afterlife. The bodies were prepared and buried, so they would be ready for the day of resurrection.
Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay—the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.
Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay’s children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and push for power.
But Tut is in trouble. While Ay’s daughter draws Horemheb’s attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone’s distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.
Although I haven’t finished the series yet, the Kiya series is really great! I highly recommend it!
There’s also a RAFFLECOPTER!