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The taking of Joppa

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  • Archaeology
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Political Science


The story of The Taking of Joppa is a window onto the workings of New Kingdom foreign military policy towards the Levant. Comparative and contextual study reveals marked differences from accepted norms of Egyptian literature, suggesting a unique opening into the political climate in which it was written. But what is The Taking of Joppa and how is it best read? This study aims to highlight the complexity and value of this long-overlooked text. The thesis begins with a detailed literary analysis of the piece. Coupling linguistic questions with the investigation of many of the names, gods and cultural references that appear, the text is laid open for study within the wider concerns of its historical context. A study of genre places The Taking of Joppa alongside military tomb biographies, with which it shares much of its subject matter. The Tale of Sinuhe, The Siege of Megiddo and The Battle of Kadesh are also examined as pieces close in style and concern to Joppa. Examination of the historical background to the narrative setting and to the date of the papyrus on which Joppa is recorded leads to a complementary study of the New Kingdom’s empire-building efforts. Textual, material, and sociological issues are examined, as both external and internal manifestations of Egyptian culture. The study concludes with a discussion of the piece's political and ideological power within the context of an Egyptian empire. Historical, linguistic and archaeological evidence conspires to show that The Taking of Joppa is a complex and highly constructed text, essential in understanding many aspects of foreign and domestic Egyptian affairs.

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