The Palette of Narmer

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The Palette of Narmer:
Historical archives or political propaganda

The Palette of Narmer
The Palette of Namer is an Ancient Egyptian artefact, pre-dating the Early Dynastic period. This clay tablet depicts the legacy of King Namer, but due to its mysterious nature, it is still unknown if these depictions are a historical record or a tool of political propaganda. Based on its size, shape and detailed images it is apparent that this palette was not used for daily purposes or historical archives. With further inspection of the images on the palette, it is clear that the chief purpose of the piece was not to record the historical ventures of King Narmer but to assert his kingship and dominance over Ancient Egypt.

Political propaganda is a form of communication, usually visual, that has a main purpose of influencing people towards a cause or position by showing only one side of the argument. This persuasion technique is used in the detailed depictions on the Palette of Narmer to promote his dominate power over his subjects. King Narmer is shown as a large, god-like figure who towers over those around him, all other characters on the palette are shown following or being overpowered by Narmer. The other figures on the palette have the appearance of fear as Narmer rules over them with an iron fist. This applies fear and seeks to build support by installing anxieties into his subjects, enemies and all who gaze upon the palette. Through these techniques we can see that the main intension of the artefact was to show Narmer as Egypt’s ultimate authority figure.

Throughout the panels of the palette we see Narmer asserting his dominance over many different people. On the top panel of the front side of the pallet, Narmer is depicted inspecting ten decapitated enemies slain in battle, once again in attempt to install fear. He again is drawn much larger than those around him, and is holding a mace in his left hand and a flail in his right, which is a traditional...
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