The scarab beetle was an exceedingly popular symbol in the art of Ancient Egypt, thought to represent the sun god, Ra. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle rolling its ball of dung across the desert mirrored the journey of the sun across the sky from day to night. As the beetle laid its eggs within the dung, it became a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. The design of a scarab’s back is an important element in determining the date and region of an amulet’s production. Humeral callosities, as seen in this piece, are not recorded on seal amulets dating before the 2nd Millennium BC. They are rarely seen on scarabs from the 2nd Intermediate Period and are usually indicative of amulets dating from the 18th Dynasty (1550-1070 BC).
Men-maat-re was one of five names in Seti I’s royal titular. He was a New Kingdom pharaoh from the 19th Dynasty and was the son of Ramesses I. His known reign dates are inconclusive, giving an 11 year reign or 15 years, although there are no recorded dates after the 11th year. He is known as a great ruler, known for his military campaigns and aim to reclaim order and territory in Canaan and Syria, and his victories over the Hittites. His greatest military achievement was the reclaiming of Kadesh in Syria, which had not been held since the reign of Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamun. It is generally believed that Seti I restored much of the Egyptian Empires’ glory after the chaotic and fragmentary reign of Ahkenatan and Tutankhamun. Somewhat unfortunately for Seti I, his achievements pale in comparison to his son’s, Ramesses II, or Ramesses the Great.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.