National Traumas and the Invention of History in Ancient Egypt

Inaugural lecture by Professor of Egyptology Kim Ryholt, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen

Discussant: Claus V. Pedersen

Shared traumas can be an immensely powerfull tool in establishing group identity, also on a national level. To remain effective, such traumas must be passed from generation to generation and commemorated. The celebration of the 150-year anniversary of the Battle/Defeat of Dybbøl this year, and the controversy surrounding its portrayal, affords a good example. But the phenomenon is nothing new. The lecture will discuss how certain traumatic events were used to invent historical narratives and shape an identity in ancient Egypt, some of them being commemorated over many centuries.