Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CLXXXIV. A Return Visit (13 of 15)

Valley of the Kings

Our cruise would have been very long had we attempted to see all of the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. If you add to that all the tombs open to the public in the Valley of the Kings, our stay in Upper Egypt would have been interminable. Thus, we only saw some of these tombs.

I will describe some of them. Before doing so, however, I’ll talk about tomb construction and decoration.

Tomb construction and decoration

Construction and decoration was more or less the same in these tombs.

Three corridors led to an antechamber which in turn led to the main hall with its sunken floor for receiving the sarcophagus.

Construction of a tomb began at the beginning of a reign and never took more than six years to complete.

Decorating the tomb called for: preparing the interior surfaces; sketching the designs and inscriptions in black; filling in the designs; and including the hieroglyphics in red.

Some examples

We visited at most six tombs, four are briefly described below.

Tomb 16 Ramses I (XIX Dynasty)

He founded the dynasty but didn’t live long enough to see it evolve. He reigned for a year or two and was buried in a simple tomb.

A sloping corridor with a steep flight of steps leads to a more or less square chamber containing the open sarcophagus. The decoration is brilliantly colored on a grey background.

Tomb 2 Ramses IV (XX Dynasty)

The bright (electric) light in this tomb contributes towards a favorable impression, for, even though the decorations are third rate, the overall effect is pleasing.

Robbed in antiquity, the body was never found, and the tomb long remained open to the curious. Steps and then three high white corridors descend gently into the sarcophagus chamber. The huge sarcophagus in pink granite is covered with texts and magical scenes.

Tomb 17 Seti I (XIX Dynasty)

At 100 meters, this is the longest tomb. Its reliefs are well preserved and carefully executed.

Beneath a ceiling painted with vultures flying towards the back of the tomb, the walls of Corridor A (the letter relates to the plan of the tomb) are decorated on the left with Seti before the god of the morning sun.

There is a chamber known as the Chamber of the Cow since it represents the sky goddess Nut (the naked goddess of the sky who gave birth to the sun each morning) in the form of a cow. The texts here recount the tale of the destruction of humankind; in this, it is similar to the Mesopotamian and Biblical stories of the Flood.

Tomb 8 Merneptah (XIX Dynasty) (Possible Pharaoh of the Exodus)

His tomb descends steeply through corridor steps. Over the entrance, Isis (sister and wife of Osiris, in turn, Osiris is the god of the underworld) and Nephthys (sister of Isis and Osiris) worship the sun disc, while the entrance corridors are decorated with scenes from the Book of the Gates (instructions for charting the course the Pharaoh should take to get to the next life) and other texts.

In a small antechamber is the huge granite lid of the outer sarcophagus; go down a few stairs and you will find the pink granite lid of the inner sarcophagus.


The last stop on our cruise was the city of Aswan. Here again there was a lot to see, but time permitted us to visit only the most important sites: The Aswan Dams.

The old Aswan Dam was built by the British between 1898 and 1902. Its has lost most its power since it has ceded its place to the High Dam. The height of the old dam was increased twice to expand irrigation and its hydroelectric capacity, but an expanding population necessitated the construction of the High Dam.

The project of El Sad El A’li, as it is known in Egypt, found itself amidst world-wide controversy. The politics behind it resulted in The Suez Canal Crisis, which in turn involved England, France, Israel, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The turbulence created was as powerful as the water now rushing down its massive walls.

It was started in the mid-1960s and completed in 1971. The water within it has reached a height of 182 meters and has backed up 500 kilometers to the second cataract within the Sudan.

The dam has averted catastrophe by storing surplus water over a number of years; thus it balanced low floods against high and ensured up to three harvests a year. Without it, the famines that has plagued Ethiopia and the Sudan would have been repeated in Egypt.

The High Dam is a compelling sight; the politics and logistics behind it were swept away with the torrents of water; and I was left in awe at that partnership between humans and nature.

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