To create an empire: the ancient Egyptian mind and beliefs behind the New Kingdom’s imperial expansion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Perhaps one of the most recognisable elements of ancient Egyptian iconography is the depiction of the smiting of the enemies of Kemet by the Pharaoh. This establishes a direct connection with the most profound belief, where Egypt was both the maatic centre of the Universe and also should be kept clean from those who did not follow their “maatic principles” – the others – a central concern in the Egyptian collective mind. Entering the New Kingdom, the political canvas had changed drastically in the previous historical period. Maat was no longer circumscribed to Egypt itself. There was, ideologically, a need to extend it to new territories, previously dominated by isfet. This work analyses how a belief, accompanied by a political scenario became one possible catalyst for the forging of an imperial dominion. From the old Kingdom until then, Egyptians mainly protected Kemet and its most immediate borders, with the occasional exception. But a change in view and action originated a new approach in terms of the interaction of Egypt with the outside world that would last for several hundred years and change the political scenario, geographical frontiers and the sphere of influence that the original Kemet had established. The main challenge of this essay is to understand whether the Egyptian New Kingdom empire was a response to protect Egypt and its beliefs or a newfound imperialistic desire?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient Egypt 2017
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives of Research
EditorsMaria Helena Trindade Lopes, Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska, Jadwiga Iwaszczuk, Ronaldo Guilherme Gurgel Pereira
Place of PublicationWarsaw
PublisherHarrassowitz Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-3-447-11458-5, 978-83-952189-5-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventVIIIth European Conference of Egyptologists: CECE8 - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 26 Jun 20171 Jul 2017
Conference number: 8

Publication series

NameTravaux de L’Institut des Cultures Méditerranéennes et Orientales de L’Académie Polonaise des Sciences
PublisherHarrassowitz Verlag


ConferenceVIIIth European Conference of Egyptologists


  • Empire
  • Enemies
  • Expansion
  • Protection
  • New Kingdom


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