|This picture is Art, and therefore the performers do not need to be named. I thought slavery was illegal now, but what do I know? Shame, Guardian, shame.|
Tearing my eyes away from the Mediterranean coast of France and its tantalising proximity (on the same continent, anyway) with Oppidum Heueneburg, perhaps Herodotus's "Pyrene," there is a first pristine new state of the Iron Age that by rights claims priority of attention. Dido's Carthage is incomparably the greatest foundation of the era "around 800." In fact, notwithstanding Virgil, who needs several centuries between Aeneas and Romulus, archaeology is increasingly clear on the approximate reliability of the traditional 813BC founding date. In fact, we might be close to getting rid of the "approximately." From carbon dates to a mass of pottery that can be correlated with the incredibly precise Aegean sequence, we can certainly say that it occurred sometime between 830 and 800. It's the very model of the Early Iron Age revival of the state. Unfortunately, that raises a bit of a problem, which I guess I've already "solved" with my introduction.
|Really, if you don't want to be exploited by foreign capitalists, keep up with the whole military industrial complex thing. (Offer void for atomics with the following exceptions: Israel; Pakistan; North Korea, as it turns out; definitely not Iran.)|
|The gorgeous inlays identify Pedubast's torso.|
Pedubast had at least enough sway to have his cartouche carved at Karnak and at the Great Temple in the Dakhla Oasis, leading Egyptologists to conclude that his power base extended to the Western Oases. This is all very well, but it is worth noting that Thebes would have been by far the largest city in the Mediterranean Basin at this time. I understand that a complex of temples and palaces and the villages of the oft-rebellious workmen across the river might not technically qualify as a city. But in any realistic terms, the concentration of population and aritsanal skill seems to qualify. At some point in his reign Pedubast commissioned a life-sized bronze statue, of which the middle bits survive. It is both a highlight of Egyptian art in the period and the only surviving such statue from the period. Thebes was capable of some very impressive feats, a point I dilate on a bit below, because I'm disorganised that way.
Meanwhile, Osorkon B/III and his father, Takelot II/F being based at Heracleopolis Magnus, an abandoned city site not far from Beni Suef that we like to refer to by a Greek name because being confused is fun!
|We can totally safely make an analogy with|
contemporary Chinese work like this Zhou
dynasty Hu, or ritual wine vessel.
Piling on a little more completely unjustified speculation, it is likely that a good part of the recovered bronze wealth enjoyed by the rebel Theban regime was in the form of temple furniture. That being said, for my "Bank of Thebes is carrying out fiscal easing operations" speculation to work all the way over at Carthage requires injecting that metal into the larger economy. Short of the discovery of Third Intermediate Period material in Siwa or Fezzan to demonstrate the existence of a trade route via the Western Oases, perhaps even to Carthage, we have a problem. The Theban regime may or may not have needed Mediterranean resources such as horses for war or luxury goods for patronage, but access to the Nile route, it was not going to get them. The Pedubast regime has a problem, and perhaps this is the problem. Too much of the burial fields' treasury is still locked up in temple furniture, and that might be why it was so short lived. Since its fall is so closely coincident with what increasingly looks like a sudden explosion of Phoenician activity in the west that my anachronistic "increased money supply" story seems vaguely plausible.