Friday, February 27, 2009

Hammurabi’s Law Code and Adoption (Part 2)

Several things should be noted about the laws quoted in the previous blog entry:

1) All of these laws refer to a male child being adopted. We know from adoption contracts (more about this later) that girls were also adopted, but the Hammurabi’s Law Code only discusses male adoptees.
2) Law #186 shows that there was a period of time after an adoption during which the biological parents could reclaim the adopted child, but law #185 shows that that period of time was limited.
3) Palace officials (eunichs?) and priestesses could not have a child that they had adopted be reclaimed by the biological parents. Perhaps this was designed to protect palace officials who could not have children by allowing them to adopt children who would care for them in their old age.
4) If a craftsman taught an adoptee his trade, he could not have his adopted son be reclaimed. This would allow a craftsman to be certain that the time and effort he put into teaching the child a trade, would be rewarded by his (the craftsman) having a son who could take over the family business. The craftsman could, however, have the adopted son be reclaimed if he did not teach the child a trade. This is perhaps a protection for the child, to help ensure that the adoptive father would properly raise him.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hammurabi's Law Code and Adoption

When dealing with family matters in the Old Babylonian Period, it is reasonable to see what Hammurabi’s law code has to say on the matter. “Laws” 185 – 191 contain relevant information. The translation I am giving here comes from Hammuarabi’s Laws by M. E. J. Richardson (see my review of the book).

#185 “If a man has taken in a tiny child at birth as a son and has brought him up, that ward shall not be reclaimed”

#186 “If a man has taken in a tiny child as a son, and then soon after he has taken him in his father and mother search him out, that adopted child shall return to his father’s house”.

#187 “The son of an official with a position in the palace and the son of a priestess shall not be reclaimed”.

#188 “If a professional craftsman has taken in a child as a ward and instructed him in manual skills, he shall not be reclaimed”.

#189 “If he has not instructed him in manual skills, that ward shall return to his father’s house”.

#190 If a man has not counted together with his own sons, the child whom he has taken in as a son and whom he has brought up, that ward shall return to his father’s house”.

#191 “If a man has established his house after taking in a son as a child and bringing him up, and then has his own children and reaches a decision to expel the ward, that child shall not go away empty handed.

The father who brought him up shall give him as his inheritance one-third of his wealth and then he shall go away.

He shall not give him any field, orchard or house”.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Old Babylonian Adoption

It has been a bit crazy at work recently, so I have not had time to blog, but I have put out all the fires (for now) and can get back to this website.

A while back, my wife and I investigated the possibility of adopting, but we ultimately were unable to. The experience got me interested in adoption in the ancient Near East. So I have decided to devote some time to the subject.

I have translated some adoption contracts from the Old Babylonian Period and will post them here and then put together an overview of what I have found. I will also include discussion of contracts translated by others. Most of the contracts are simply slight variations of each other and will not contain many surprises after you have read a few of them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 12)

Nebkheperre Intef was almost certainly succeeded by Sekhemre Wepmaat Rahotep. Nekheperre had a wife named Sobekemsaf and Rahotep had a mother named Sobekemsaf, which probably means that Rahotep was Nebkehheperre’s son (Beckerath, p. 196) and these two Kings can be fit into the Turin Canon in spots one and two or in spots eleven and twelve. If Winlock is correct in his belief that the Kings of Dynasty Seventeen are listed on the Abbott Papyrus in the inverse order of their reigns (Beckerath, p. 195), then Nebkheperre and Rahotep cannot be Kings eleven and twelve as Sekhemre Shedtowi Sobekemsaf would then be out of order on the Abbott Papyrus. Placing Nekhepere and Rahotep in spots one and two solves this problem however. Furthermore, a stela of Queen Sobekemsaf was found at Edfu in the same workshop as stelae dating to the last years of the Thirteenth Dynasty (Beckerath, p. 171). This suggests that her husband should be placed as early in Dynasty Seventeen as possible. Since Nebkheperre cannot be placed in the second through tenth spots on the Turin Canon (his name does not fit in the surviving fragments of the papyrus in these places) he must be the first King of the Dynasty. The second King must have a name starting with Sekhemre and Sekhemre Wepmaat Rahotep fits this criteria.

This leaves three open spots on the Turin Canon. Since Sekhemre Herhermaat Intef is known to have buried Sekhemre Wepmaat Intef these two kings must be placed next to one another on the Turin Canon. If the previous arguments are accepted, then the only place this can be done is in spots eleven and twelve. It should be pointed out that these places on the Canon require that the King’s names have a “-re” in them, and that both of the Intef’s fit this requirement. The only remaining king, Sekhemre Wadjkau Sobekemsaf, must be the third king of the dynasty. This fits with the remaining fragments of the Canon, which require a royal name in this place that contains “Sekhemre”.

Thus it can be seen that the order of the kings given in previous posts to this blog fits all the available evidence.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 11)

The remnants of the Turin Canon, when combined with the archaeological evidence presented in the previous section, can be used to make a reasonable ordering of the Pharaohs of Dynasty Seventeen possible. The Turin Canon gives the following information (Beckerath, Jurgen von, Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der zweiten Zwischenzeit in Aegypten (Gluckstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1964), p. 195):

King --------------------------------------------------- Length of Reign
[…] ---------------------------------------------------- […]
Sekhemre […] --------------------------------------- 3 years
Sekhemre […] --------------------------------------- 16 years
Sekhemre Se[mentowi] (Thiuty) ------------------ 1 year
Seankhenre (Mentuhotep) ------------------------- 1 year
Ra-Nebereraw (I) ----------------------------------- 19 years
Ra-Nebereraw (II) ---------------------------------- 5 months
Semenenre ------------------------------------------ […]
Sewoserenre ---------------------------------------- 12 years
Sekhemre Shedweset (= Shedtowi) --------------- […]
[…]re ------------------------------------------------- […]
[…]re ------------------------------------------------- […]
[…] --------------------------------------------------- […]
[…] --------------------------------------------------- […]
[…] --------------------------------------------------- […]

[sum]: Kings [1]5 they reigned […]

The gaps in the papyrus (represented above by […]) complicate matters, but by carefully adding the archaeological evidence to this foundation we can produce a reconstruction of the period which fits the available evidence quite well.

First, it is known for certain that the last two Kings of the dynasty were Sekenenre Ta’o and Kamose. The thirteenth king is almost certainly Senakhtenre Ta’o. Senakhtenre is listed on the Karnak King-List between Nebkheperre Intef and Sekenenre and is listed as an ancestor of Ahmose (along with Sekenenre and Kamose) on the offering table of Ken. Hayes suggests that the thirteenth King of the dynasty was Sekenenre I and fourteenth was Sekenenre II (Hayes, William, “Egypt: from the Death of Amenemesses II to Seqenenre II,” in Cambridge Ancient History vol. 2, pt. 1 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 819). Hayes got this idea from the Abbott Papyrus which lists pyramids for two separate rulers named Sekenenre Ta’o (Breasted, James, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 4, (New York: Russel & Russell, 1962), p. 256). This is wrong however. All modern Egyptologists prefer to emend the papyrus to make the first of these two Kings Senakhtenre Ta’o (Beckerath, p. 195). Even the ancient scribe who wrote the Abbott Papyrus was unsure of the validity of listing two Sekenenres as he added “…the second King Ta’o…” to his mention of the second pyramid. Note that the scribe said that there were two Ta’os, not two Sekenenre Ta’os. It seems far better to make the first King on the Abbot Papyrus Senakhtenre Ta’o rather than an otherwise unknown Sekenenre I. Furthermore, the bottom line of the Turin Canon states that there were []5 kings in Dynasty Seventeen. If there were two Sekenenres this would make the dynasty total sixteen Kings, without the second Sekenenre the gap in the papyrus can be restored as fifteen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 10)

At this point I have recounted the history of the Sevententh Dynasty as best as can be done with the available evidence. However, if you read any of the the Egyptological literature on this topic, you will probably find that few, if any, other writers have reached the same conclusions that I have. For instance, other researchers will no doubt place the kings in a different order than I have.

Given this, I think it only fair that I justify what I have written by explaining the reasons I reached these conclusions. So, in my next few posts, I will do exactly that.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 9)

Kamose was not fated to finish the job of expelling the hated Asiatics. With the accession of Kamose’s younger brother, Ahmose, we come to the end of the Second Intermediate Period and the beginning of the New Kingdom. As Ahmose is the first King of Dynasty Eighteen, his reign is, strictly speaking, not a part of the period covered by this paper. This section cannot close however, without a brief mention of the final sack of Avaris.

Helck places this event in year ten of Ahmose’s reign while Redford places it in year fifteen (Vandersleyn, pp. 33 – 4). Vandersleyn points out that the Rhind Papyrus bears two dates, year thirty-three of Apopis, and year eleven of an unknown King. He then reasonably argues that this unknown King is Ahmose, rather than Khamudy (the last of the Hyksos Kings) and uses this to support his argument that the sack of Avaris took place no earlier than year eleven of Ahmose (Vandersleyn, pp. 33 – 4). The actual sack of Avaris does not seem to have been accomplished smoothly. The biography of Ahmose Son of Ebana records two battles at Avaris, with a battle south of Avaris between them, once again indicating that some Egyptians remained loyal to the Hyksos (Lichtheim, Miriam, Ancient Egyptian Literature vol. 2 (Berkley: University of California Press, 1976), p. 12).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 8)

Davies has concluded that the statue of Kamose from Mallawi is a forgery (Davies, p. 31), but this still leaves three more monuments from his reign to discuss. These three monuments are all texts describing Kamose’s war against the Hyksos. The Carnarvon Tablet was the first of these to be found, but the information it contains is also contained in the larger texts (The First Kamose Stela and the Second Kamose Stela) and the following discussion is limited to the texts of the two stelae.

The first Kamose stela is the only dated monument known from Kamose’s reign, but that date (year three) was clearly inserted after the original carving of this document (Habachi, p. 47). The text mentions Kamose’s campaign against the Hyksos vassals at Nefrusi (Habachi, p. 47), a city which might have been located near present day Ashmunien (Habachi, p. p. 51). It begins with a conference between Kamose and his council of nobles. The nobles suggest that Kamose not attack the Hyksos ruler Apopis, saying that, “Men till for us the finest of their (the Hyksos) land; our cattle are in the papyrus marshes… our cattle are not taken away…” (Habachi, p. 78). This has been reasonably interpreted as meaning that at the beginning of the reign of Kamose there was some sort of agreement between the Hyksos and the Thebans permitting the Thebans to graze their cattle in the fertile Nile Delta. This statement has also been interpreted to mean that prior to the reign of Kamose there was no fighting of any real importance between the Hyksos and the Upper Egyptians and that Sekenenre could not, therefore, have died in battle with the Hyksos (see the discussion above of Sekenenre’s mummy). As noted earlier, this passage does not rule out the possibility of a conflict between Sekenenre and the Hyksos. Such a conflict could have taken place and been temporarily “settled” upon the accession of Kamose, before erupting into a final war of independence during the third year of Kamose’s reign.

Kamose refused to take the timid advice of his council and declared that he would fight the Asiatic invaders in the north. The stela then describes the sack of Nefrusi and reveals the interesting fact that the Egyptians of that area remained loyal to Apopis instead of switching to Kamose’s side (Habachi, p. 48). The first stela breaks off at this point.

The second stela picks up the narrative sometime after the premature end of the first stela. How much of the story is lost by the breakage of the first stela is unclear, but at the beginning of the second stela Kamose has already advanced all the way to Avaris. Apopis has one last card to play against Kamose. The Hyksos ruler sent a messenger southwards by way of the oases in the Libyan Desert, in an attempt to get the King of Kush (in what is now the Sudan) to attack Kamose from behind. But Kamose, “… captured his message beyond the oasis going southward to Kush…” (Habachi, p. 49) and foiled Apopis’ plot. The second stela also reveals that Kamose had conducted a campaign against Kush, probably sometime during the period of time covered by the lost portion of the first stela. Kamose must have advanced at least as far as Toshka during this campaign as there are two graffiti there from his reign (Habachi, p. 52). The stela of Emhab lends further credence to the belief that this campaign took place in year three of Kamose’s reign. This text tells of Emhab fighting in a campaign in Kush during year three of an unnamed King, who, according to the stela, fought from Avaris to Kush (Habachi, p. 57).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 7)

If the war for independence was not begun under Sekenenre, then it certainly began during the reign of Sekenenre’s successor, Wadjkheperre Kamose. There is only one regnal year known for this reign (year three) but there is some sentiment that he ruled longer (Vandersleyn, C., Les Guerres D’Amosis (Brussels: Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth, p. 1971), p. 27).

There seems to have been some experimentation with royal names during the reign of Kamose. On the Carnarvon Tablet his Horus name is Kh’hrnstf, on a fan from the treasure of Queen Aahotep it is Sedjtowi, while on a bark stand at Karnak it is Khabtowi (Habachi, Labib, Second Stela of Kamose (Gluckstadt: Varlag J. J. Augustin, 1972), p. 58). There is also some experimentation with his “Son of Re” name. An Axe-head in England gives “Kamose” as his “Son of Re” name, while an Axe-head in the British Museum gives Pa-heken instead (Winlock, Tombs, p. 264). On a foundation plaque, which is now in University College (London), the “Son of Re” name is given as Pa-Hek-‘a (Winlock, Tombs, p. 264). The significance of these name changes is unknown. Similar changes occur in the names of Ahmose (Kamose’s successor) and Tuthmose I (Ahmose’s grandson), ad then the custom disappears (Winlock, Tombs, pp. 264 – 5).

Other objects from the reign of Kamose include some scarabs, and the objects found buried with the King’s mummy (Habachi, p. 58). The inspectors of Ramesses IX reported that they found Kamose’s tomb untouched, but it must have been rifled afterwards as the necropolis officials took the mummy and the coffin that contained it and buried it in the ground at Dra-abu-Naga, near where Aahotep (the mother of Kamose) and two of the Intefs had been similarly interred (Winlock, Tombs, p. 259). A visit of Prince Napoleon (a cousin of Napoleon III) led to the discovery of Kamose’s burial. It seems that the Egyptian Khedive Said requested that French archaeologist Mariette facilitate the visit of Prince Napoleon by discovering objects along the path of the Prince’s tour, re-burying the objects, and then “discovering” them when Napoleon was actually present (Winlock, Tombs, pp. 259 – 60). Kamose’s rishi coffin contained a scarab, some amulets, a bronze mirror, a dagger and a cartouche flanked by golden lions and bearing the name of Ahmose (who buried his older brother), as well as a mummy which crumbled to dust when the coffin was opened (Winlock, Tombs, pp. 260 – 1).

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Discovery In Egypt

I will continue with the Seventeenth Dynasty research in my next post, but there is some news out of Egypt that I would like to report.

A tomb has been discovered at Sakkara that contains about 30 mummies. The tomb dates to Dynasty Twenty-Six. Several of the mummies are in sarcophagi, but most of them were buried in niches in the wall. More details can be found at:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 6)

With the reign of Sekhenenre Ta’o we come to the beginning of one of the most glorious periods of Egyptian history. Sekhenenre has left little to posterity aside from a throwstick bearing the name of Ta’o, which could conceivably belong to Senakhtenre Ta’o, rather than Sekenenre Ta’o (Winlock, Tombs, p. 257), a scribal palette bearing his name (now in the Louvre – see Beckerath, Untersuchungen, p. 188), and a lintel from Dier-el-Ballas (Beckerath, Untersuchungen, p. 188).

There is, however, a legend concerning this King which has survived to modern times. This story was written down during the Ramesside Period and is now known from a partial copy of it which has been preserved on papyrus. The story describes how Sekenenre received a letter from Apopis, alleging that the hippopotami in the sacred lake of Amen at Karnak were making so much noise at night that poor King Apopis was unable to sleep in his palace of Avaris (over 500 miles away!). Sekenenre called his council of nobles together to decide how to deal with this insult. Unfortunately, we do not know the end of the story as the papyrus breaks off before the end of the tale.

There is a problem with this story however. It is completely preposterous! Many scholars attribute it to an attempt to contrast the King’s resolute leadership with the timid behavior of his noblemen. However, Dr. Hans Goedicke has re-translated the text claiming that the word translated as “hippopotami” actually means something like “a group of troops” and that these troops were what was keeping Apopis from sleeping at night (Goedicke, Hans. The Quarrel of Apophis and Seqenenre, Van Siclen Books, 1986). This translation makes better sense to me.

In any event, by a stroke of good fortune, we are able to guess the end of the tale. The mummified corpse of Sekenenre was found in the famous Dier-el-Bahri cache of royal mummies. Edward Wente has estimated Sekenenre’s age at death to be between the age of 35 and 40 based on a medical examination of the mummy (Harris, James and Edward Wente, an X-Ray Atlas of the Royal Mummies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 333). The cause of death is quite clear; Sekenenre died violently. One of the five wounds in the head was made by a battle axe of Syro-Palestinian design, and this surely indicates that Sekenenre was killed in battle with the hated Hyksos. Some scholars disagree with this assessment, preferring to believe that Sekenenre was murdered in a palace conspiracy and citing as evidence the fact that Kamose (Sekenenre’s son) seems to have initiated the battle against the Hyksos (B. G. Trigger, el. Al., Ancient Egypt (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 173 and William Kelly Simpson ed., Literature of Ancient Egypt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), p. 77). This could be true, except that it is highly unlikely that a battle axe of any sort, much less one of Levantine origin, would be used in a palace assassination. It seems more likely that small, easily hidden weapons, such as daggers, would be used in such an assassination. The mummy also has a javelin wound, and battle axes and javelins seem more likely to be involved in a combat situation rather than a palace conspiracy. Also, while it must be admitted that there was some sort of peaceful relationship between the Hyksos and the Thebaid at the beginning of the reign of Kamose (more on this below during the discussion of the Kamose Stela), this does not mean that such a situation must have existed during the reign of Kamose’s predecessor.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 5)

The next two Kings both bore the personal name of Intef and both are extremely ephemeral rulers. Sekhemre Wepmaat Intef seems to have ruled for three years and although we do not know the exact location of his tomb we do know that it was inspected during the tomb robbery investigations of Dynasty Twenty (Hayes, CAH, P. 67). However, his canopic chest and coffin have survived. The coffin bears an inscription saying that it was the gift of Sekhemre Herhermaat Intef (the next King of the dynasty), a fact which indicates that Sekhemre Wepmaat Intef died before he could prepare his own funeral (Hayes, CAH, p. 67). The capstone of this King’s pyramid is now in the British Museum (Beckerath, Untersuchungen, p. 171).

Sekemre Herhermaat Intef was interred in a cheap undertaker’s stock coffin, to which the royal uraeus was hastily pegged (Winlock, Tombs, p. 267). To further illustrate the hastiness with which this King was buried, it should be pointed out that the coffin of his predecessor had the feather work decoration upon it done in gilt, while Sekhemre Herhermaat only had the decoration painted onto his coffin (Beckerath, Untersuchungen, p. 172). This King seems to have reigned for only a few months (Hayes, CAH, p. 67).

Little is known of the next King, a man named Senakhtenre Ta’o, as he has left no monuments. His name appears on the Karnak King List between those of Nebkheperre and Sekenenre Ta’o (Hayes, CAH, pp. 71 – 2) and he is listed as an ancestor of Ahmose, along with Sekenenre and Kamose, on the offering stela of Ken (Winlock, Tombs, p. 257). Hayes disputes Senakhtenre’s position here (Hayes, CAH, P. 72), but his arguments do not seem correct to me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 4)

Sekhemre Sementowi Thiuty, who seems to have ruled for only about one year (Hayes, CAH, p. 68), is known from the Karnak King-List (Hayes, CAH, p. 68) and from a block found at Dier-el-Ballas (just North of Naqqada) which also bears the name of Sekenenre Ta’o (Beckerath, p. 180). This King’s burial has never been found, although his canopic chest turned up in the tomb of his wife, Mentuhotep (Beckerath, p. 180). The most likely explanation for this is that Mentuhotep predeceased her husband, who had his own canopic chest re-inscribed for her, with the idea of preparing another for himself. This burial also included a rectangular coffin (Hayes, CAH, p. 68), which is unusual because anthropoid “rishi” coffins had, by this time, replaced the older rectangular ones. Perhaps the Queen’s unanticipated death necessitated the reuse of an old coffin.

Two fragmentary sphinxes, one bearing the name Mentuhotep and the other bearing the name of Seankh[enre] are the only monuments from the reign of the next King of Dynasty Seventeen. One scarab bearing the name of Seankhenre is also known (Beckerath, pp. 180 -1). His reign was probably very brief, perhaps less than a year (Hayes, CAH, p. 69).

The next King, Sewadjenre Nebeaw I, is documented by a bronze dagger from Hu, a mention on the Karnak King-List and upon a Harpokrates statue from the Late Period. A stela from his reign which was found at Karnak has also survived (Beckerath, p. 183). This stela cites a contract which transfers the office of Governor of el-Kab from the present holder of the office to his brother as payment for a debt owed. This stela fixes the reign of Neberaw I as being only three generation removed from that of King Merhetepre Ini of the Late Thirteenth Dynasty (Hayes, CAH, p. 69). Neberaw I was succeeded by Neberaw II, whose second name may have been Neferkara, as that name is mentioned upon a Late Period Harpokrates statue (Beckerath, p. 183). This second Neberaw may have provided the “coffin of Osiris” found in the tomb of Djer at Abydos (Beckerath, p. 184) (the Egyptians had long believed that the Proto-Dynastic tomb of Djer was the tomb of the god Osiris).

The next two Kings are totally obscure. The Turin Canon mentions both Semenre and Sewoserenre, but no contemporary monuments have survived (Beckerath, p. 185). Sewoserenre is probably the “Woserenre” mentioned in the Karnak King-List next to Senakhtenre and Sekenenre (two later Kings of Dynasty Seventeen) (Beckerath, p. 186). It should also be pointed out that the name Sewoserenre is one of the names of the Hyksos Pharaoh Khian. Is Sewoserenre Khian, ruling in Upper Egypt, or is he a separate King bearing the same name? Beckerath believes that the Sewoserenre of Dynasty Seventeen was not Khian, although he speculates that this King may have been named after Khian (Beckerath, p. 185). This may mean that Sewoserenre and Khian were contemporaries, but all of this is speculation.

Sekhemre Shedtowi Sobekemsaf ruled for at least sixteen years and is known to have built at Karnak and Medamud. He also seems to have sent an expedition to the Wadi Hammamat (Beckerath, Jurgen von, Abriss der Geschichte des Alten Aegypten (Munchen: Verlag R. Oldenbourg, 1971), pp. 32-3). Several items from the burials of nobles of his reign have survived, including the stela of Mentuhotep, whose father was the Overseer of the estates of Sobekemsaf’s Queen, Nebkhas (Winlock, Tombs, pp. 242-3). There are fragments of a small limestone shrine (?) dating to his reign in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as a pyramid shaped stela of the scribe Sobekhotep, which is now in the Berlin Museum (Beckerath, Untersuchungen, p. 174). A private stela from el-Kab mentions Queen Nebkhas (Beckerath, Untersuchungen, p. 174), and Sobekemsaf’s canopic chest is preserved in Leiden (Hayes, CAH, p. 67).

By chance, we have an almost complete account of the actual looting of the tomb of Sekhemre Shedtowi Sobekemsaf. The papyrus Amherst is one of a series of papyri detailing the investigation of the Theban officials of the Twentieth Dynasty into the wide-scale tomb robberies which were taking place at that time. The thieves who violated the tomb of Sobekemsaf were captured and confessed their action in great detail. The mummy of Sobekemsaf had, “… a numerous list of amulets and ornaments of gold at its throat; its head had a [mask] of gold upon it …” (Breasted, James, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 4, (New York: Russel & Russel, 1962), p. 265). After removing these objects, the thieves then set fire to the bodies of Sobekemsaf and his wife and divided their loot into eight parts (Breasted, p. 265). The fate of these thieves is unknown, but it could not have been pleasant.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 3)

Nebkheperre was succeeded by “The Horus Wahankh, Established in Life, Two Ladies Woserenpet, Rich in Years, The Golden Horus Wadj […], Flourishing in […], the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Sekhemre Wahkau, the Image of Re Whose Crowns are Established, the Son of Re Rahotep” (Winlock, Rise and Fall, p. 122). This King’s name appears on the Karnak King-List (Hayes, CAH, p. 66) and upon three stelae dating to his reign. One of these stelae shows Rahotep and several of his officials offering to Osiris Khenty-Amenty in connection with ceremonies commemorating Rahotep’s restoration of the Osiris temple at Abydos (J. J. Clere, “La Stele de Sankhptah Chambellan du Roi Rahotep,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 68 (1982): pp. 63 – 5). The second stela was erected, “at the time of building the wall anew, in the temple of Osiris” (Winlock, Rise and Fall, p. 122), while the third stela shows Rahotep and Queen [Sobek]emsaf offering to Min (Stewart, p. 84). The location of the tomb of Rahotep is unknown.

Sekhemre Wadjkau Sobekemsaf seems to have reigned for at least seven years, as there is an inscription in the Wadi Hammamat from that year (Beckerath, p. 117). This Pharaoh erected monuments at Thebes, Medamud, Abydos and Elephantine (Beckerath, p. 177), and von Beckerath mentions four statues bearing the name of Sobekemsaf, two of which clearly belong to this reign. Von Beckerath believes that the other two belong to this reign as well (Beckerath, p. 177). To this list must be added the statue in the British Museum (BM 871) which has recently been reattributed to Sobekemsaf rather than to one of the Dynasty Thirteen Sobekhoteps (Davies, W. V., A Royal Statues Reattributed (London: British Museum, 1981), p. 1). A stela shows that his wife was named Nebemhat, and that he had a daughter named Sebekemheb, as well as a son-in-law named Ameny (Stewart, p. 18). There is also some evidence that Sobekensaf had a son, also named Sobekemsaf, who predeceased him (Winlock, Tombs, p. 269).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Seventeenth Dynasty (Part 2)

This first ruler of the Seventeenth Dynasty was named: The Horus Neferkheperu, Two Ladies Herhernestef, the Good God Nebkheperre, Son of Re Intef. His monuments are found throughout Upper Egypt and there can be little doubt that he was one of the most important rulers of the Dynasty. The exact length of his reign is uncertain, although there is a reference to year tree (Winlock, Herbert, Rise and Fall of the Middle Kingdom at Thebes (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1947), p. 104).

Several monuments have been found at Abydos from the reign of Intef, including an architrave and some columns which bear his names and titles, several stelae of local nobles bear his name and some scarabs have been found near the Osiris temple (Winlock, p. 109). At Edfu Newberry found two gold armlets bearing the name of Intef and his wife, Sobekemsaf, as well as a gold pendant bearing the names of the royal couple (Winlock, p. 112). A stela of Nebkheperre Intef has been found at Karnak. On this stela, the King boasts of having defeated both the Asiatics and the Nubians (Winlock, p. 111), but this may well be an empty boast. The present whereabouts of this stela is, unfortunately, unknown. At el-Kab, Quibell found some blocks bearing the name Intef and Winlock proposes that they belong to the reign of Nebkheperre, rather than from the reign of one of the later Intefs (Winlock, p. 112).

It is at Koptos that the most important documents from Nebkhepere’s reign have been found. He is shown with upraised mace striking down a cluster of enemies (Hayes, William, Scepter of Egypt, vol. 2 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1959), p. 8) and some slabs dating to his reign have been found reused as pavement stones in a later building (Winlock, p. 109). These slabs have been published by Stewart (Stewart, H. M., Egyptian Stelae (Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd., 1979), pp. 19 – 20). The most important object of his reign found at Koptos is an inscription describing the removal of a priest of Min, a man named Teti, from office at Nebkeheperre’s command. The stela reads in part:

“Year Three, third month of (the season) Prt, day 25, under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebkeheperre, Son of Re Intef, given life like Re eternally. My Majesty commands the wearer of the royal seal, the Prince of Koptos Kinenew, and the wearer of the royal seal, the Priest of Min, the Scribe of the temple, Neferhotep (as well as) all of the soldiers of Koptos and all of the priesthood. Behold, this command is brought to you that you be informed that My Majesty, life!, prosperity! And health!, has sent the Scribe of the Divine Treasury of Amun, Siamun and [ ] Amenwoserre to make an investigation in the temple of Min! The priesthood of my father Min arrived before My Majesty, life!, prosperity! And health!, saying, ‘Evil speech has happened in this temple! Foes have been harbored by, cursed be his name, Teti, son of Minhotep!’. Cause that he be overthrown in the temple of my father Min. Drive him away from his temple office from son to son and from heir to heir…” (Translated by the author ).

The stela then goes on to order that Minemhat be given the office which has been taken from Teti. What is important here is that Intef is giving commands in his own name, and not in the name of the Hyksos King. This indicates that, at this point in time anyway, the King’s of the Seventeenth Dynasty were not subservient to the Hyksos ruler in Avaris.

Nebkheperre’s wife, Sobekemsaf, was born and buried at Edfu, where several objects bearing her name have been found. She was revered as late as the Eighteenth Dynasty, as shown by a stela of that period which shows her and Aahotep (wife of Sekenenre Ta’o) together (Hayes, William, “Egypt: from the Death of Amenemes III to Seqenenre II”, in Cambridge Ancient History vol. 2, pt. 1 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 70).

Nebkheperre’s burial was found at Dra abu Naga in 1827 by local tomb robbers. This tomb allegedly had only one chamber which contained a sarcophagus carved from the living rock (Winlock, Herbert, “The Tombs of the Kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty at Thebes”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 10 (1924): p. 229). Inside this sarcophagus was the coffin which is now in the British Museum. This coffin gives only the name Intef. However, it almost certainly belongs to Nebkheperre. There are three coffins dating to Dynasty Seventeen which bear the name of Intef. One of these coffins also bears the name of Sekhemre Herhermaat, so it is clearly not Nebkheperre’s. On the coffin in the British Museum, the name Intef is spelled with a reed plant sign as the first hieroglyph. The third coffin uses a different character to spell the name Intef. Since Nebkheperre is the only one of the three Intefs known to have used the reed sign in spelling his name, the coffin in London must be his (Beckerath, Jurgen von, Untersuchungen zur Politischen Geschichte der zweiten Zwischenzeit in Aegypten (Gluckstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1964), p. 170). Inside this coffin were two bows and six arrows (Hayes, CAH, p. 71), a diadem and a mummy from a later period which was almost certainly placed there by the tomb robbers in an attempt to increase the value of their discovery (Hayes, CAH, p. 71). To further complicate things, the robbers claimed that a heart scarab bearing the name of King Sobekemsaf was found on the mummy of Intef! This led Hayes to believe that Sekhemre Shedtowi Sobekemsaf was the successor of Nebkheperre, as it was logical to believe that Nebkheperre’s successor would give a gift of some sort for the burial of his predecessor (Hayes, CAH, p. 68). This story should be viewed very suspiciously however, as these same tomb robbers claimed that the mummy was the original one found in the coffin when it was, in reality, from a much later period than Dynasty Seventeen.

Two small obelisks were found by Mariette in front of the remains of Nebkheperre’s pyramid at Dra abu Naga, but both of them were lost in the Nile when the boat carrying them to the Bulaq Museum sank in 1881 (Beckerath, p. 169). The location of the tomb was subsequently forgotten until the tomb was re-discovered in 2001 by David Polz and his team from the German Archaeological Institute. The tomb consists of a mudbrick pyramid surrounded by mudbrick enclosure wall. A life size statue of the king was found in front of the pyramid. Adjacent to the king’s pyramid was the funerary chapel of one Teti, who was a “treasurer” Intefs.