Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

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Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
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Collections / Itineraries / Egyptian Collection: New Kingdom


The New Kingdom (18th-20th dynasties: 1539-1075 BC), a long historical period during which Egypt plays a leading role in the political scene of the Near East, born from that "national" levied, guided by the sovereigns of the XVII dynasty which liberate the Delta from foreign domination of the Hyksos, the principles of foreign countries (15th-17th dynasties: 1640-1540 BC). The country doesn't limit more to defending its borders and a moderate expansion to the south but, under the guidance of a series of particularly energetic pharaohs, as Thutmose III, inaugurates an aggressive policy that has the last purpose to realize a direct or indirect control on the band Syro-Palestine, as well as on Nubia.
The influx of huge loots, resulting in repeated military victories, causes a profound transformation of the Egyptian society: beside to the aristocracy born from the liberation war emerges a new middle class. Arise new centers of economic power, primarily that which belongs to the clergy of the Amun temple at Thebes, which becomes so powerful to be resulted bulky for the same pharaoh. Amenhotep IV/Akhenaton tries to contain the political interferences of the Theban priesthood, more and more intrusive, through a series of changes: moved his residence from the sacred city to Amon, Thebes to Amarna; replaces the solar disc Aton to Amon as dynastic divinity, perhaps unique, and starts a great architectural and artistic season, inspired by new canons.
Amarnan experience fails in its objective of restoration of pharaonic power, but the attempt will be taken up not long after by Ramesses II in a more cautious forms and, therefore, more effective. Ramses Dynasties ( 19th and 20th dynasties: 1292-1075 BC) will also have to face international politics problems and defend the Country from Hittites and Sea Peoples. The country is able to defend its borders but, after Ramesses II, the direct and indirect control of the Egyptian power on the Near East is destined to decline significantly.
Many of the objects exposed in the Egyptian section of Bologna date back to this important historical period; numerous stelae, vases, the nucleus of tomb reliefs coming from Saqqara, the funerary and templar statues of dignitaries of various ranks and pharaohs, and more. In particular should be noted for its wealth the nucleus of ushabti statuettes.

Exhibition rooms | Egyptian collection