Egyptian Scouts on Horseback in Ancient Egypt

Abu Simbel Temple Horses in the Battle of Kadesh

after photo in 'Ramses II' by TGH James
remember this sketch of an Abu Simbel rider?

looking up the north wall to the rider near the ceiling
the Abu Simbel rider high on the wall
Egyptian scout on horseback on Abu Simbel Temple's north wall

Abu Simbel horseback rider

This rider compares to the Luxor scout in the tale of the Battle of Kadesh. On some other Kadesh scenes he is labeled as "The arrival of the scout to hasten the army" of Ptah (TGH James Ramses II). This photo doesn't add much information to the sketch from a prior article since it was too far away to photograph well.

The larger photo illustrates the perspective problem from standing at mere human level in the massive Ramses II temple at Abu Simbel and the color cast of sunlight bending around corners and pillars. Aiming a camera at the rider on horseback at the top of the wall far overhead yields precious little detail. Massive pillars rather close to the walls throw shadows and block the view of the tableau when you stand in the center of the Great Hall. It's marvelous to experience, nearly impossible to photograph.

The facade of the Abu Simbel Temple built by Ramses II Ramses II colossal statues inside the Great Hall The Battle of Kadesh tableau behind Ramses osiride statues in front of pillars
[left] The facade outside the Abu Simbel Temple
[mid] Ramses colossal statues inside the Great Hall
[right] The Battle of Kadesh tableau in the shadows behind Ramses-fronted pillars

The sheer size of the battle scene provides an astonishing view in real life even though Ramses' artists exhibit inferior artistry on this north wall. These horses lack the undulating curves and beauty of form so splendid in the Luxor scout's horse. And the incisions look more scratched than chiseled. They apparently concentrated on the opposite wall with its glorious oversized rendition of Ramses II drawing his bow from his chariot, his pet lion striding beside the horses. That famous image will be a topic in itself.

[v.1-5] Messenger Riders [ 1 | 2 | Back]

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