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.

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