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Anand N. Balaji

Anand N. Balaji is an independent researcher who has a special interest in the Amarna era.


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8 years 3 months
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Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Oil on canvas by Jacques-Louis David, (1801 and 1805). Unteres Belvedere (Public Domain) and Tipu Sultan, known as the Tiger of Mysore, firing at his adversaries during the siege of Seringapatam, (1791). (Public Domain); Deriv. Design by Anand N. Balaji

Ingress Into Egypt: Napoleon, Tipu Sultan And Their Battles To End The ‘Iron Yoke’ Of England

Once celebrated as ‘the temple of the whole world’, Egypt was the repository of infinite knowledge in myriad disciplines that marked the apogee of humankind’s accomplishments over millennia. Like a...
The Colossi of Memnon on the Theban West Bank. Antonio Beato. Brooklyn Museum. (Public Domain); An 18th century apothecary vessel with the inscription MUMIA. Deutsches Apothekenmuseum Heidelberg (Public Domain); Amy, Flinders Petrie's sister-in-law, buying antiquities at Abydos, circa 1899. © The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL, London. (Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin / CC BY-SA 4.0); One of the dahabeahs of Thomas Cook & Son, (Egypt) Ltd. Brooklyn Museum Libraries. Wilbour Library of Egyptology. (Ju

A History Of Egyptian Antiquities: Assessing Pivotal Highs And Lows Down The Centuries

Following the culmination of the Anglo-Egyptian War in 1882, the British used their experiences in colonizing the Indian subcontinent to tackle the geo-political scenario in Egypt, opening the...
Deriv; Sculpture depicting the King Tutankhamun as a child, gold plate with Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun.

The Twin Tragedy of Tutankhamun: Death of a Dynasty

Tossed away callously in a dark corner of the lavish Treasury in the subterranean tomb of Tutankhamun was possibly the most poignant remnant of the boy king’s short life. Positioned next to the...
 “Litany of Ra” scene in the tomb of King Merenptah (KV8), Valley of the Kings, Luxor; design by Anand Balaji

Echoes of Eternal Egyptian Art: Masters of Form and Finesse—Part I

The ancient Egyptians were pioneers of various forms of art and architecture. Down the millennia, the world has been left awestruck by the design and purpose of their grandiose monuments, their...
Limestone relief of Crown Prince Thutmose in the role of high priest. Saqqara. Neues Museum, Berlin. Design by Anand N. Balaji (Merja Attia); Deriv.

On The Trail Of The Mysterious Crown Prince Thutmose: Clues To A Sudden, Violent Death? – Part II

In addition to making Crown Prince Thutmose High Priest of Ptah, Amenhotep III prepared his intended successor in the ways of Aten worship too. This was a thread later picked up by Akhenaten , who as...
A small schist statuette shows Prince Thutmose as a miller grinding grain. Louvre Museum, Paris. Design by Anand N. Balaji (Public Domain); Deriv.

On The Trail Of The Mysterious Crown Prince Thutmose: The King Who Was Not To Be – Part I

Amenhotep IV, the youngest-known son of Pharaoh Nebmaatre Amenhotep III-heqa-Waset, ascended the throne at the height of Egypt’s golden age. The seeds for that efflorescent era of the Eighteenth...
A painting by Charles Le Brun, French painter and art theorist, depicting Alexander and Porus during the Battle of the Hydaspes (1673) design by Anand N. Balaji (Public Domain); Deriv.

Alexander’s Indus Folly: Bizarre Search for the Source of the Nile in India

When the Macedonian monarch Alexander III, popularly known as Alexander the Great , arrived in the northwest of the larger Indian subcontinent in 327 BC following his conquest of the massive...
This mud sealing found in KV 54 is still attached to a piece of the papyrus tie that was used to secure a container. The impression preserves the throne name of Tutankhamun, Nebkheperure, and the epithets “beloved of Khnum” and “manifold of praises.”

When Tutankhamun Lay in State: Do Floral Collars Hint at Sinister Turn of Events? – Part II

Based on the floral remains recovered from his crypt (KV62) and Pit (KV) 54, do the Dakhamunzu letters, allegedly written by Ankhesenamun, point to Tutankhamun’s delayed interment? If true, this is...
Of all the pharaohs of ancient Egypt who yearned to rest for an eternity in their sepulchers in the Valley of the Kings, only Tutankhamun has had his wish fulfilled. Here, his mortal remains rest within a climate-controlled glass case in the Antechamber.

When Tutankhamun Lay in State: Did Ankhesenamun Willfully Delay Her Husband’s Burial – Part I

The twilight years of the Amarna interlude are shrouded in mystery. We have little concrete evidence of the persons who reigned and their actions. Tossed into this confounding milieu are details of...
Magic Wand of hippopotamus ivory (Middle Kingdom-Second Intermediate) depicting a procession of deities. The curve of this wand follows that of the hippopotamus tusk from which it was made, but its flat form is reminiscent of the curved throwing sticks used to catch fowl. Powerful protective deities, such as Taweret and Bes, are depicted together with protective uraeus serpents and other mythical creatures. Many of the figures brandish knives to dispel evil spirits.

Think Egypt Think Magic: Essence of Spells, Incantations, Amulets and Absolute Faith – Part II

Popular stories from different eras of ancient Egyptian history reveal staggering and incredible tales of magical feats that were performed by lector priests, sorcerers and even kings. How much of...
This dwarf-like, protective deity was very popular in ancient Egypt. Bes is represented with the nude body of a dwarf, grotesque facial features, and the ears and mane of a lion. He wears a tall feather-crown and usually rests his hands on his hips. Known from as early as the Middle Kingdom circa 2000 BC.

Think Egypt Think Magic: The Power of Heka in the Life of King and Commoner – Part I

Ancient Egypt was renowned and respected for her wisdom, art and architecture by all those who came into contact with her. What also caught the attention of these admirers was the practice of magic...
 Discovered by Gaston Maspero in 1885–86, this wooden shabti box was inscribed for Paramnekhu, a ‘Servant in the Place of Truth’ who was a son or grandson of the famous Sennedjem and Iineferti. Families of artisans such as this brought the king’s tombs to life. 19th Dynasty. Thebes, Deir el-Medina, Tomb of Sennedjem (TT1).

Heart of the Pharaoh Part II

The artisans and builders who resided at Set Ma’at (‘The Place of Truth’) were among the most valued workers in all of Egypt. Yet, there came a time when the economy of the country was on the verge...
The Ramesseum witnessed high drama during the workers' protest against the third king to bear the name, Ramesses. Pictured here are headless Osiride statues of Ramesses II.

Striking at the Heart of the Pharaoh: Social Injustice and Deception in the Place of Truth – Part I

A couple of years before he celebrated his jubilee, Ramesses III was beset by internal problems. A great king who had combated vicious enemies from all corners and was deified by his subjects for his...
The richly decorated wooden chair or ‘throne’ of Princess Sitamun that was found in KV46; design by Anand Balaji

Bedazzling Treasures of Yuya and Tjuyu: Stunning Burial on a Par with Royalty – Part II

With their daughter, Tiye, married into the powerful ruling family of Egypt, Yuya and Tjuyu led a charmed life. With strong ties to their hometown Akhmin, Yuya seems to have participated actively in...
Dancing Bes figures on the left outer arm of the Sitamun's chair; and detail of the face mask of one of the coffins of Yuya; design by Anand Balaji

Bedazzling Treasures of Yuya and Tjuyu: K46 and the Golden Road to Nobility – Part I

Queen Tiye stands head and shoulders above all the Great Royal Wives of ancient Egypt. Though it is said that her background was that of a commoner, she rose to prominence mainly due to her...
Faience amulet of the head of Bes from the Late Period, 26th to 30th Dynasties. The deity was worshipped and invoked by ordinary Egyptians as a protector against malevolent forces; design by Anand Balaji ( Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Deriv)

Bes, The Protector Deity: Exuberant Harbinger of Health, Happiness and Vitality – Part II

Few gods achieved the fame that the lion-dwarf Bes managed to garner. He was not only a popular god among the elite in ancient Egypt, but in time was worshipped by people of every strata of society...