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Pharaonic Prelude—Being on the Move in Ancient Egypt from Predynastic Times to the End of the New Kingdom

Heidi Köpp-Junk


As textual, iconographic, and archaeological evidence shows, travel and mobility were an essential force within Egyptian culture. Not only the elite, including the pharaoh himself, but members of all social strata were also on the move. Travels to very distant destinations have been recorded since earliest times. The frequency of travel, as well as the travel distances of individual voyagers, differ considerably, the latter ranging from long treks to local jaunts. Various modes of travel and transport are attested, from journeys by foot up to trips with exclusive and expensive vehicles such as the chariot. While practical aspects are occasionally highlighted in the Egyptian sources, the emotional consequences for the individual travelers are hardly ever mentioned and remain diffuse for the modern observer.

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