Yesterday I shared that I am an aficionado of weird things. Well, most weird things. At least the weird things that I find interesting.
I have never been a fan of hats, however. I don’t like to wear them because they give me “hat hair” and make me look like an old Iowa farmer! (Not cool when you live in California, but OK if you live in Iowa, I guess!) Most of the time, when I see pictures of the British royals and the hats they wear, I think they look downright silly, as if they’re on their way to “Silly Hat Day” or something at the palace.
In San Francisco (’nuff said) there is an extremely long-running stage show called “Beach Blanket Babylon” (which I’ve never seen, but have friends who have) and one of the highlights of the show is supposedly the really weird hats worn by the performers. That may explain why I’ve never gone to see it. Hats just don’t do it for me!!!!
Apparently, the Brits aren’t the only ones who have had it in their hearts to wear silly hats. Think about the hat of Napoleon, that stupid looking hat that was worn sideways and stretched pretty much from shoulder to shoulder. What’s up with that? It’s a mystery to me. And the other strange hats that have been worn by soldiers, sailors and the like in olden days. Not exactly the kind of garb that would strike fear into their enemy: “Hey, here they come! Oh, look at those silly hats! This battle is going to be a pushover if they wear hats like those!”
The ancient Egyptian pharaohs had weird hats, too. But at least they had something on they that was a bit scary: the emblem of a cobra about to strike! Today’s photo is of a bas relief depicting a pharaoh. Check out the baseball cap (er, I mean, crown!) on this dude’s head! I must say that though I did a cursory search for the meaning of all the objects that are sitting atop the horns that seem to grow out of Mr. Pharaoh’s head, I couldn’t find much. So, I’ll just tell you what I know (or think I know).
On the front of the crown is the uraeus, the cobra, which was a symbol of the Pharaoh. That’s the curved looking thing right on his forehead, above his eyes. If you look closely at the images on top of the head-dress, it appears that there are two more cobras, one facing forward and one after. These may indicate the Pharaoh’s all-seeing, all-knowing wisdom and watch over his land, or may just be indicators that he was ruler of both Upper and Lower Egypt (although that was normally depicted by a dual-crown showing the shape of the Upper Egypt ruler and Lower Egypt ruler).
Centered in the crux of the crown above his head is the golden disk of Ra, the sun god. The Pharaoh’s were believed to be gods, of course, and they chose Ra as their symbol and ancestor because that was about as powerful of natural force as they could imagine (and who could blame them living in such a hot place as the deserts of Egypt!)
In front of his nose in the ankh, the symbol of life. The Pharaoh is reaching out to take the staff, another symbol they used to show they were the leaders of the nation’s people.
As to the meaning of the rest of his head gear, you’ve got me. If you have time on your hands and nothing better to do, see what you can find out and share it in the comments. Inquiring minds want to know!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In the aftermath of his defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The letter came more than a month after Lee’s retreat from Pennsylvania. At first, many people in the South wondered if in fact Lee had lost the battle. Lee’s intent had been to drive the Union army from Virginia, which he did. The Army of the Potomac suffered over 28,000 casualties, and the Union army’s offensive capabilities were temporarily disabled. But the Army of Northern Virginia absorbed 23,000 casualties, nearly one-third of its total. As the weeks rolled by and the Union army reentered Virginia, it became clear that the Confederacy had suffered a serious defeat at Gettysburg. As the press began to openly speculate about Lee’s leadership, the great general reflected on the campaign at his headquarters in Orange Courthouse, Virginia.
The modest Lee took the failure at Gettysburg very personally. In his letter to Davis, he wrote, “I have been prompted by these reflections more than once since my return from Pennsylvania to propose to Your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army… No one is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire… I, therefore, in all sincerity, request your Excellency to take measure to supply my place.”
Lee not only seriously questioned his ability to lead his army, he was also experiencing significant physical fatigue. He might also have sensed that Gettysburg was his last chance to win the war. Regardless, President Davis refused the request. He wrote, “To ask me to substitute you by someone… more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence of the army… is to demand an impossibility.”
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In the dog world, dogs mature physically based on their size. A smaller dog will be physically mature in 8-10 months. A large breed, like a mastiff, can take over two years to be truly mature.