PHARAOH CROWNED WITH SHEPHERD’S CROOK

AND FLAIL

The statue of the Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, the “Heretic Pharaoh”) is shown crowned with the intertwined crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, holding a shepherd’s crook and a flail (the cords of the flail are broken off).

The Pharaoh was considered to be the incarnation of the god Amen-Ra on earth.  As the incarnation of the god the pharaoh ruled not simply in the name of the god, but as the god.

The crowns symbolize his dominion over the two kingdoms of Egypt, Upper and Lower.  The shepherd’s crook shows that he was to guide the people as a shepherd guides his flock.  The flail indicates that the pharaoh also had the power to correct and to discipline his people.

Byzantine emperors ruled not as gods, but rather as the deputies of God, who was the eternal king of the universe.  Later Western European emperors and kings claimed that their power came from God and that they ruled in His name.  These monarchs claimed to rule “Dei Gratia,” “by the Grace of God.”

The royal scepters used in coronation ceremonies recall the flail of the pharaohs, symbolizing the duty to dispense justice, punishment to evildoers and assistance to the righteous.  The shepherd’s crook was used by the Church to symbolize the role of the bishop as the shepherd of the flock.