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Volume7 No. 2, Summer1996

T',flf, OST'RAgON

EGYPTIAN STUDY SOC IET Y @ oxm roeo PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE Judy Greenfield Frank pettee Sandy Kerns Mary pratchett David Pepper Cheryl preyer J ill Tay lor ESS STAFF LIAISON Dr. Robert pickerino

THE OSTBACON is published three times per year by members of the Egyptian Study Society. The ESS, a support group of the DENVERMUSEUM oF NATURAL HISTORy. is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to study ancient Egypt. Articles are contributed by members and scholars on a volu n tary ba sis. M em ber par t ic ipat ion is enc ou r a g e d . Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part witnout written oermis sion . o1 99 6 E gy pt ian St udy Soc iet y Publication of THE OSTRACON is supported by a grant from THE PETTY FOUNDATION

I N T HI S I S S UE Page 1 Metals in Ancient Egypt by WillMartin 9 Ancient Egyptian Civit Law by CristinCochran 17 The GranvilleMummy b y W. B e n s o n Ha re r 18 Featured Pharaoh: Senusertill by DavidPepper 21 Featured God/Goddess: Neith by Li nda E ngel


CAST IN COPPER, WROUGHT IN GOLD: METALS IN ANCIENT EGYPT By Will Martin Will Martin is a senior at About the Author: He enjoys reading, Lakewood High School. singing, and studying about ancient Egypt. His interest in Egypt dates all the way back to the 4'n grade. It is held that the four prerequisites for the development of a complex civilization are a reliable source of water, fertile soil, a warm climate, and natural barriers to help discourage Egypt possesses all would-be conquerors. four, making it an ideal location for the rise of Though these f our are a civilization. indisputably vital, one more thing is absolutely necessary to the f ormation of a civilization: knowledge of metals and how to work them. Metal is such an intrinsic part of every complex culture that f ew people ever stop to think about it; yet it has def ined civilization f or thousands of years. The Beginning. The origin of metalworking as a profession is a bone of contention among metal earliest archaeometallurgrsts; the artifacts come f rom the city-state of Catal Huyuk in Anatolia. For many years, the most widely accepted theory on how metals were originally discovered was the Open-Fire Theory. In order to smelt copper, the ore must remain in a "reducing" atmosphere -- starved of with a temperature of at least oxygen (1 1084"C 983'F) until the molten metal separatesinto copper and slag. The scenario runs something like this: One day, Nigel the Neolithic Hunter-Gatherer built a fire over ore-bearing rocks. Later, after the fire had burned out, a twinkle among the ashes Nigel Leaning forward, caught his eve. blob of to reveal a away brushed the ashes partially melted copper. Still warm, it bent a lt looked prettY, so he little in his grasp. decided to experiment with other rocks ta see if they would make pretty blobs, too. Voila! Metals were discovered. Page 7

However, this theory is only partially tenable, as Robert Raymond points out: "... 1084' C is rarely achieved in an open fire, even with wind assistance. A greater problem is the a reducing atmosphere. maintenance of Burning carbon fuel does produce carbon monoxide gas, thus creating a reducing atmosphere immediately above the glowing coals, but in an open f ire this is f itf ul and intermittent."l lt is highly unlikely t hat these two conditions (adequate temperature and reducing atmosphere) could be accidentally met for the appropriate amount of time. A newer theory, which is rapidly gaining adherents, is the Kiln Theory. Pottery and worked metals begin to appear in the archaeologrcal record almost simultaneously. A kiln is an ideal place for intentional, or even accidental, smelting to take place. The fire is kept blazing hot f or hours by the potter's apprentices. Also, in an enclosed kiln the fire quickly devours all the oxygen, thereby creating the required reducing atmosphere. The only other element needed is the copper One of the f ew practices which is ore. common to the large majority of primitive tribes is the custom of body-painting at times of celebration, war, and, in some cultures, all For example, take kohl, the the time. precursor of eye shadow. Fashionable duration of for the Egyptians used it frequently Kohl is made from the dynastic period. malaclrite - the most common form of copper ore. lt kohl is good for decorating humans, why not pots? Pigments made from metallic ores have been commonly used in pot decorations f rom the earliest times to the present day. With all the vital elements in place, here is what the Kiln Theory sounds like: One fine was Potter Smitty the Prehistoric day, Earlier, he experimenting with a new glaze. had placed a test batch of pots in the kiln. Pulling them out, he smiled with satisfaction -the pots were all perfect - except, he noticed, On this one, there were for one of them. unsightly blotches of something shiny. Upon Summer 1996


closer examination, Smitty decided that the shiny parts would be attractive if he could make a pot entirely covered with them. With nothing else to do, he played with the new glaze for a few months and eventuaily figured out how to make blobs on purpose. Ta-da! En t erm etals,stage right.

t o g e t in v o lv e din t h e d e b a t e . S t ill o t h e r s r o l l t h e ir e y e s a n d s a y , " Wh a t a s illy q u e s t i o n ! T h e a lie n sd id it ! , " o r s o me t h in ge q u a llylu d i c r o u s .

O n c e m e tals h a d been discovered,it was n o t long before their use as both decorative and f u n c tio n a litem s became known. The earlie s t metal artifacts from Egypt are small copper b e a ds fou n d by W illiam Flinders petrie in b u r i alsfr o m the Naqada I culture. Later o n , d u r i ng th e dyn astic period, uses for m e t a l d i v e r sifi ed . The obvious use is edged imp le m e n ts: kn ive s, chisels, swords, and the lik e . C h i s e ls,in p a r ti cular,are anotherpoint of c o n t e n t i onam o n g ar chaeometallurgists. Chise lso f copper, even copper hardenedby the addition of arsenic,were too soft to quarry the stones u s e d in bu ild in g the pyramids and o t h e r b u i l din g s. Yet, obviously,the pyramidsw e re b u i l t . Ho w? Some think that the E gypt ia n s s i m p ly did n 't m i nd the tedium of quarry in g hard stone with soft metal. Others prefer not

Most Egyptian mines were located near the Re d S e a (s e e f ig u re 1 ), wh e re " g o ld , c o p p e r , le a d , a n d iro n , a s we ll a s v a rio u s p r e c i o u s s t o n e s " a we re f o u n d . S ilv e r was m i n e d e ls e wh e re ,a n d wa s c o n s id e re dmo re v a l u a b l e t h a n g o ld f o r a lo n g t ime b e c a u s eit w a s r a r e r . " . . . t h e f irs t s ilv e rin E g y p t wa s o b t ai n e df r o m Nu b ia ,b u t t h e re is n o re c o rda s t o t h e p e r i o di n which the Egyptiansfirst learnt to purify their g o ld , o r t o s e p a ra t et h e s ilv e r, t h ou g h i t i s fairly certainthat later in their history they did separate it as chloride by the action of c o mmo ns a lt . " u

Digginglt Up. However,all that aside,perhaps the best way to tell the story of Egyptian me t a llu rg y is t o s t e p t h ro u g h th e e n t i r e process. The first step One strong point in favor is t h e min in g . E g y p t i a n of this theory is that the min in g t e c h n i q u e sw e r e accidental smelting of never recordedby a nametals contained in t iv e E g y p t ia n. I n f a c t , glazes and paints for t h e o n ly re c or do f t h e s e pots has been observed t e c h n iq u e st h at s t i l l e x present time. in the is t s is a n a c c o u n to f t h e Traditional potters f rom Greek traveler Agatharmany cultures still c h id e s of Cnidus. decorate their pots in this Du rin g t h e second same way. One is Kripal c e n t u ry B CE, A g a t h a r Singh, a potter who lives chides traveled extenin Rajasthan, lndia. s iv e ly t h ro u g h the Singh makes all his own eastern parts of Egypt, paints and glaz es f rom in c lu d in g a v i s i t t o a local minerals. Occasiong o ld min e . His r e c o r do f ally, he has to discard a t h e wo rk in g c o n d i t i o n s Figure1: Ancient map of Egyptiangold mining area batch of lead-based glaze ( Fr om Clar ke & Engelbac hAnc i ent Egy pti an C ons tr uc ti onand Ar c hi tec tur e) a n d t e c h n iq u e s a t t h e prills (small because min e h a s b e e n p r e b l o b s of sm e lted metal) of lead appear in it s e rv e d ,a lo n gwit h t h e re s t o f h is t ra v e l s ,i n h i s d u r i ng its f ab r ication. Less f requently , p rills book ON THE ERYTHRAEAN SEA a p p ea ri n the g la zeafter the pot has beenf ire d , ("Erythraean"derivesfrom the Greekeruthros, r u i n i ngthe pa tte rn.2 " re d" ). 3

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Co p p e r wa s min e d c o n t in u o u s lyt hr o u g h o u t t h e d y n a s t icp e rio d ,b u t wa s t o o e x p e n s i v ef o r commonersto use extensively,so stone was u s e d in c o n ju n c t io nwit h me t a l f o r t h o u s a n d s Page 2


of years. Egypt's source of tin remains a mystery as there were no significant native deposits of it. This explains why bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was never intentionally produced before the 18'h Dynasty: The trade network was not sufficiently far flung to give the Egyptians a steady source of tin. There are two artifacts of bronze from before the 18'n Dynasty. The first is a small pin from the Third Dynasty, in which the bronze is probably accidental. The second is a life-size statue of Pepi I from the Sixth Dynasty, in which bronze may, or may not, have been used intentionally'

- rather like a grain mill -- and ground until it was the consistency of flour. The mills were run by the unfortunate wives of the men who had been sentenced to labor in the mine, two or three to a handle. The pulverized quartz was then washed to remove everything but the gold. Agatharchides described the washing apparatus as wooden, but he was probably mistaken. Wood is scarce in the Middle East and has been for most of recorded history' Why waste precious wood when st one is so much more durable and available? ln fact, stone washing tables have been f ound at various sites in Nubia and EgYPt'e

Egyptian gold was found in veins of quartz' The mining process was tedious and difficult' Agatharchides described the miners this way: " the Kings of Egypt collect together and consign to the gold mines those condemned for crimes and prisoners of war '.. alone and sometimes together with their whole families' Thus, at the same time, thev exact punishment ... and obtain great revenues f rom their labor'"Using criminals as miners was done only during the Ptolemaic period' Earlier, the mines had been worked only as needed by groups of orisoners of war and forced laborers under military guard.t Once at the mine, the workers began excavating by lighting f ires against the rock face. After the fires had burnt for a while, they were quenched suddenly with water or vinegar. The combination of high temperatures and sudden cooling caused the ordinarily hard ouartz to become brittle. Then, workers with hammers smashed it into chunks. "Those who are strongest and young smash the quartz bearing rock with hammers .'. They also cut many galleries through the rock, not on a strarght line, but ... intersecting like the roots They excavate wearing lamps of trees. fastened to their foreheads, following a sort of

The gold-bearingdust was put on the washing table, which had a smooth, slightly inclined surface. A worker would rub it as water was poured down the table from the top, carrying away the unwanted dirt but leaving the heavier gold in place. The gold-washers were called Selangeus(singular),or Selangei (plural)'to After repeated washings, including a final rinse with a light sponge, the particles of gold were given to the smelters, who, Agatharchides said, "pack it according to a fixed measure and weight into pottery vessels. They mixed in a lump of lead of a size proportionate to the amount of gold and pieces of salt and, in addition, they add a little tin and barley bran' Having covered it with a close-fitting lid and thoroughly sealed it with clay, they bake it in a kiln for five days and nights continuously' After allowing it to cool, they find in the jars none of the other substances, but they obtain pure gold with only a small amount having

white vein."8

been lost."" The lead was added t o separate any extraneous metals. The salt separated silver, the only metal that the lead missed, which was then absorbed by the crucible' The tin was intended as a hardener, but it actually impaired the process. The barley bran, "a reducing agent, would moderate the rate of the

Following behind tlre miners, young boys collected the chunks of rock and took them outside, where they were further crushed into gravel by older men called "pounders'" After this, the gravel was placed inside a stone mill -

The work was not only diff icult, it was hazardous to one's health. One reason was that the mines had brittle walls which tended

Page 3

oxidation process,"t' though it is doubtful that the Egyptians thought of it in those terms.

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to collapse. Also, the tunnels were so small and cramped that the miners had to work lying on their backs or sides, which made it difficult to run from a cave-in. Agatharchides claimed that the prisoners were ' bound in fetters, another reason it would be difficult to run. lt should be noted that no chains or fetters have yet been discovered in the area Agatharchides described. lt is possible he made them up for effect I It should also be f urther noted that Agatharchides wrote during the Ptolemaic Period. Given the conservative nature of the Egyptians, however, there is no reason to believe that mines were very much different during any other period of Egyptian history. The main difference was that earlier miners would have used bronze or copper hammers rather than iron ones. Refining the Raw Material. The second step in the process is the smelting. Not all smelting was like the gold-smelting described above. When Agatharchides wrote, Egyptians had been smelting metal for two or three thousand years - giving them ample time to refine the process. The earliest known smelting pit was excavated in 1965 by Beno Rothenburg in the

S in a i a t T imn a . ' " lt is lit t le mo r e t h a n a f ire p la c e-- ju s t a rin g o f ro c k s p ile d a r o u n da b o wl-s h a p e dd ip in t h e g ro u n d o n a r i d g e (s imila rt o f ig u re 2 , t o p le f t ). B u t f o r t h e d is c o v e ryo f o t h e r p ie c e so f e q u ip m e n t- l i k e t h e mo rt a rswh ic h t h e " p o u n d e rs "m i g h t h a v e u s e d-- it mig h t h a v e b e e no v e r-lo o k e d . T h is is a n e x a mp leo f a s imp le b o w l f u r n a c e . A lo w rin g o f mu d b ric k s o r s t o n e s c i r c l e dt h e p it , wh ic h wa s lin e d wit h lo a m. T h e s m a s h e d o re wa s mix e d wit h t h e b u rn in gc o a l s t o b e s t u t iliz et h e a v a ila b leh e a t . Ch u n k so f i r o n w e r e a d d e d a s f lu x ; t h e iro n f a c ilit a t e dt h e s m e l t i n g p ro c e s s . T h e re s u lt in g me t a l p o o l e d i n t h e bottom. lt was very poor stuff, just a few p rillso f u s a b lec o p p e rmix e d in wit h t he s l a g . As the process was perfected, the bowl f u rn a c ec h a n g e ds h a p eu n t il, e v e n t u al l yi,t w a s a s h a f t f u rn a c e . I n a s h a f t f u rn a c e ,t he w a l l o f b ric k s is h ig h e r, a n d t h e f u rn a c e w a s in t e n t io n a llye x c a v a t e d ,ra t h e r t h a n j u s t b u i l t a ro u n d a h o le . T h e p it wa s lin e d w i t h b r i c k s a n d lo a m a n d wa s ro u g h lyc y lin d ric ailn s h a p e . Ho le swe re le f t in t h e b ric k s a n d lin in gf o r t h e insertionof tuyeres- but more on that later. In a p it f u rn a c e ,t h e me t a l wa s s e ld o mve r y p u r e b e c a u s eit wa s mix e d wit h t h e s la g . A f t e r

r;w F i g u re 2 : H e a ti n g Me ta l f or casti ng (FromT.G.HJames pharaoh,s peopre) .

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enough heat had been applied to the charge (the amount of metal put into the furnace),the slag and the pure metal would separate into two layers with the slag on top. lf the same amount of charge was placed into the furnace e a c h tim e , th e n the slag would be at the sa me level each time. Once this was understood,it was si m ple enoughto put a tap into the side of a shaft furn a c e at th e the level of s l a g . Wh e n th e t a p wa s o p e n e d , the sla g drained off into a p i t on the g r o u nd , l ea vin g t h e p ur e co p p e r b e h i n d i n the f u r n a ce .

smelting on a small-scalein crucibles using blowpipes- it is the best interpretationof some of the South Americanevidence,for example. In Egypt it is far more likelythat smelting(rather than melting)was largerscale and would have involved bellows. The volume of air that is requiredfor large slag-tappingfurnaces [shaft

4+HdAffre

f urnacesl is too great for bl ow p ipes. t n

The difference between melting and smeltin g is m i n i m a l . I n s me l t i n g ,t h e ore is melted f or the f irst t ime a n d i m purities are remo v e d . I n m e l t in g , th e p u r e metal is melted preparatory to being poured in t o a m o l d .

O n e th in g tha t both bowl furMetalworking andTools) Figure 3: Three melters at work (fromBerndscheelEgyptian naces and shaft furnacesneededwas a steady supply of air to Blowpipes were used more extensively in the k e e pthe fir e h o t. For this, the E gyptiansu s e d Old and Middle Kingdoms than in the New " t u y e r e s" ( see Fi gures3 & 4). Tuyeresw e re Kingdom. Blowpipes could be dangerous; air p i e c eso f cl ay formed in a cylinderor a c o n e rising from a fire hot enough to melt copper a r o u n d the en d of a hollow reed. The re e d isn't good for lungs if accidentally inhaled. carriedair to the fire, while the tuyere kept it Also, arsenic was alloyed with copper as a f r o m i gn iti ng . The tuyerescould be used e it h e r hardener fairly often, and the fumes from this as blowpipesor attachedto bellows. There is aren't particularly invigorating either. Dr. Budd was u s e d method n o e asy w ay to tell which says: r Dr. P aul B udd, of t h e w i t h a p a r ti cula tuyere. I have worked with Cu-As (Copper-Arsenic) Ancient MetallurgyResearchGroup at Bradford alloysand I certainlyused a respirator! Having U n i v er sityin the UnitedK ingdom,wrote: simplydirectthe air blast Tuyeresthemselves and providerefractory protectionf or the air deliverysystem. They are not, in themselves, . diagnosticof either blowpipesor bellows althoughthe diameterof the orificemay give an indication. The idea that blowpipeswere used in ancient Egypt comes primarily from tomb paintrngs(3rd & 2nd millennium)which depict 'metalworkers'. lt is likely that what is shown is in fact metal melting in a crucible which is high temp. but relativelysmall-scale.There has been much speculation in archaeometallurgy generallyabout the possibilitiesof early copper Page 5

said this, it's not as bad as you might think (but don't try it at home!). The fume producedis the oxide As2O3, but smelting conditionsare usually very reducing [starved of oxygen] so that the oxide is rarely formed when smelting As-bearingCu ores. The dangerariseswhen air can get at the As at high temperature,when, for instance,addingAs metal or As mineralsto molten Cu -- this is a very bad idea without wrappingthem in Cu sheetsfirst and even then it's very risky, as you have to get it below the surface of the molten Cu very f ast. Once alloyed,Cu-As can be manipulatedwith relative ease without the evolutionof fumes in casting

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until the composition rises above 1Oo/oAs. Then you can get fumes in casting. As2O3 gives a characteristic white smoke and condenses out as white powder -- the classic poison of the Victorians.. You get some warning,as the fumes stink of garlic. About 20 mg of ingested As will cause death. lt is probablyunlikelythat you could get this from a lungful of fumes, but it wouldn't do you any good. Any repeated exposure would almost certainly lead to nerve damage and serious illness. lt's also a carcinogen."tu Bellows certainly sound better than that! However, the only evidence of bellows is in

swung aside as air rushed in and was pressed againstthe hole when pressurebuilt up as the air was forced out. Everything was made using native materials. The result of the experimentwas a chunk of slag with veins of p u re c o p p e r in it , s in c e h is f u rn a c e w a s a simple pit furnace rather than a shaft furnace; but it proved that the process shown in the Another t o mb p a in t in g s c o u ld wo rk . t u advantageof the bellows was that there was n o d a n g e r o f a n o x ia . (T ry b lo win g t h r o u g h a t u b e a s q u ic k lya s p o s s ib lef o r a wh i l e a n d s e e h o w q u ic k lyd iz z in e s s e t s in ! )

t o mb p a in ti ng s. No e x a mp le s of th e actual have bellows been d i s c ove r e d .Ski n bellows the sort of bellows associated with blacksmiths were barely u s e d a t all. M uch more c o m mon we r e dish bellows. For dish

AccomplishingSomething Useful. The third step in the processis to actually ma k e s o me t h i n g o u t o f the pure metal it took so lo n g t o a c q u ire . E a r l yi n E g y p t ' s h is t or y , t h e e a s ie s twa y o f d o i n g t h i s wa s t o a n n e a lit. T h a t i s , to take a piece of native (n a t u ra lly p u re) c o p p e r , bellows, a sack of leather was fixed to two a n d s imp ly b ea t i t i n t o pieces of ceramic, one the shape desired. shaped like a dish. The A n n e a lin g a ls o h a r d e n s other was flat, and could t h e c o p p e r, g i v i n g i t a " s k in " o f h a r d m e t a l . have been wood. The (rrom Figure 4: Parts of the blowpipe scheer) dish had a hole in it with L a t e r, t h e c o p p e r w a s a r e e d le a d in gto the tuyere. A n intake v a lv e melted down first and poured into an open w a s pla ce do n the leather,but no one k n o ws mo ld - a c h u n k o f ro c k o r wo o d in t o w h i c h t h e p r e c i selyho w it was made. The dish wa s basic form of the finished object has been p l a c edon th e g r ound and the reed was pu s h e d c a rv e d . T o ma k e a k n if e , c h is e lt h e s h a p eo f a i n t o the tuye r e . Then, someonewould p u t a k n if e in t o a ro c k a n d p o u r in t h e me t a l . O n c e f o o t i n the d ish, and grab a leather p u ll cool, it will be a knife-shapedpiece of metal attached to the top (see figure 2, bottom & wh ic h c a n b e a n n e a le du n t il it h a s a n e d g e . r i g h t) . Pullin gup filled the bellows with a ir, The surface of a piece of metal made in an a n d pu sh in gdo wn with the foot pushedth e a ir o p e n mo ld will b e mo re o r le s s f lat , l i k e t h e o u t thr o u g h the tuyere. When a grad u a t e s u rf a c eo f a p u d d le o f wa t e r. lt mi g h t c u p a student named John Merkel recreated an lit t le b it , s in c e t h e e d g e s c o o l f a s t e r t h a n t h e Eg y p ti ansm elti ngpit in 1981, he made a s e t "The article was f irst cast center. o f d ish b e llo ws, duplicatingthe ones in t h e approximatelyto its finishedshape,the cutting t o mb pa in ti ng sas closely as possible. T h e re edges being hammered out afterwards when w a s no u p p e r h alf to his bellows; they we re t h e me t a l wa s c o ld . T h is c o n f irms.. . t h a t t h e simply a piece of leathertied around the edge hardness of the cutting edges of antique o f a dish a n d pumped up and down. F o r a n c o p p e ra n d b ro n z eimp le me n t swa s du e s o l e l y intake valve, he cut a hole in each piece of t o h a mme rin g . S o me g rin d in gma y ha v e b e e n l e a t he r ,a n d sewed a flap to the insidewh ic h d o n e , b u t , a s t h is wo u ld re mo v et h e h a r d s k i n s Summer| 996

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i n t e ntio n a llyp r o duced by hammering, it is likely to have been applied to wood-working t o o l s o n ly."17 This point is in dispute because,as mentioned above, annealedcopper is not hard enough to quarrystone. Yet the Egyptiansdid so. I t e ms m ad e i n open molds could only h a v e d e t a il o n a si ng le side, which was fine f o r knives, but limited the possibilitiesfor jewelry or statuary. A better method was the closed mo l d . In a clo se dmold, two halvesare carv e d in two different blocks, with one or more c h a nn e lsle a d in gto the edge of the block, T h e b l o c ks w er e th e n put together and metal wa s p o u r ed in to th e hole formed by the chann e ls . shapest h a t Th i s allo we dfo r three-dimensional (see f igure be cast r epeatedly 5, t h e could c a s t ingof a br o n zetemple door). Howeve r,it w a s difficu lt to do becausethe edges had t o l i n e up p e r fectl y . A lso, there was a ch a n c e t h a t the scu lp tor might accidentallycarv e a n u n d e r cu t e d g e into the cast which w o u ld preventthe finishedobject from coming free of t h e m old . Another casting method is calledcir6 perdu, or l o s t - w axcasti ng . In lost-wax casting,a mo d e l is carvedand shapedin wax, then coated with c l a y or pla ster of P aris or somethingsim ila r.

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Once the coating is dry, it is turned upside down and heateduntil the wax melts out, leaving a hollow spacethe exact shapeof the carving. The mold is then filled with metal. When the metal hardened,the coating was smashed, freeing the metal, but destroying the mold. The result was a unique object that required comparativelylittle working to completeit. For large objects, such as life-sizestatues of t h e p h a ra o h , a s imila r me t h o d , c a l l e d c o r e d c a s t in g ,wa s u s e d . A c o re wa s s h a p e dt o t h e generalform of the finished object. The core was then covered with a coat of wax, which wa s t h e n s c u lp t e din t o t h e f in a l f o rm, i n c l u d i n g min u t e d e t a ils . T h e c o re re ma in e d a s a p e rma n e n p t a rt o f t h e p ie c e . G a rla n ds a y st h a t t h e c o re s we re s a n d o r lo a m. He m e n t i o n s t h a t t h e c o re o f a n it e m h e p e rs o n a ll ys p l i t a n d e x a min e dwa s s a n d , b u t h e d o e s n ot e x p l a i n h o w t h e s a n d c o u ld h a v e b e e n ma d e c o h e s i v e e n o u g ht o re t a in it s s h a p ed u rin gt h e p r o c e s s . Regardlessof its material,the core had to be anchoredso that it would not move when the wax was melted off. There is no conclusive e v id e n c e o f wh a t me c h a n is m wa s u s e d t o a n c h o r it , t h o u g h G a rla n df o u n d mi n u t e i r o n s t ru t s in a p ie c e h e e x a min e d . A n ad v a n t a g e of this method is that the cored products requiredless metal, and so were both lighter and less expensivethan solid metal objects.

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tl

'ill

\\i

A :\t Figur e 5: Cas t ing M e t a l ( F r o mT . G . H .J a m e s P h a r a o h 'sP e o p l e )

Page 7

Summer 1996


T h e f in a l step was polishing. P olis h in g i n v olve s thr e e stages: smoothing, scou rin g , "For polishing, the E gy p t ia n a n d b u ffin g . metalworkersused special stones to smooth uneven patches on metal objects. Agate, w h i ch w as p r o bablyused for polishingst o n e s , can be found at severalplaces in Egypt and is s t i l l u se d to d a y for polishing by golds mit h s . Metal surfaces may also have been finished u s i ng ab r a sive s like emery or sand. T h e gleamingsurfaceson the pieceswere obtained b y a fin a l bu r n ishingwith small balls ma d e o f l e a t h e r felt, , or o ther textiles."18 Other metals were used in ancient Egypt as w e l l , tho u g h on a smaller scale. In an 1 8 : n D y n asty n o b le man'stomb, a finger ring o f t in w a s disco ve r e d. lt is the only pure tin art if a c t from Egypt. The gold/silver alloy called p opular e l e ctr um w as for jewelry throu g h o u t the dynasticperiod. Headdressesof lead were madefor statuettes. So What? Metal defines civilization. The four prerequisites -- water, fertile soil, warmth, and natural protection provide only the r u d i men ts.Without metal, E gyptianciviliz a t io n would have left little more than a few stone t o o l s an d pr e se r vedbodiesfor us to pond e ra t . Most people would agree that the Great P y r am idis m o r e impressivethan a wood h u t lashedtogether with rope. Moreover, if they s t o p p e d to thin k about it, they would re a liz e t h a t witho u t m e talthere would be no pyramidj u s t th e hu t. To m a ke i t m o r e personal,how much me t a l is i n y ou r h o u se ? Not inside the rooms, b u t in t h e ho u se itself. How many pounds of s t e e l n a i l s ho ld you r r oof on? How many mile s o f c o p pe r w i r i ng a r e there in your walls? Ho w smooth would the wood be if it had been roughedout with a flint ax insteadof cut with a s a w? l f su d d enlyyou had to make do wit h o u t an y m e tal,would you be able to survi v e ? The next time you admire somethingEgyptian, t a k e a m o m e n t to appreciatetheir metals . . . u n l e ssyou 'd r atherhave lived in that hut! Summer1996

ENDNOTES 1. Raymond,Robert. Out of the FieryFurnace:the lmpact of Metals on the Historv of Mankind. MelbourneAustralia;The MacmillanCompanyof AustraliaPty. Ltd., 1984, p. 13. 2. Raymond,p. 15. 3. "Erythro-." The AmericanHeritageDictionarvof the EnglishLanguage,CollegeEdition. Boston; The HoughtonMifflin Company,1980, p. 446. 4. Garland,Major H. Ancient EgyptianMetallurgv, London, Charles Griffin and Company, 1927, p.24. 5. Garland,p. 26. 6. Agatharchidesof Cnidus. On the Ervthraean Sea, Trans. Stanley M. Burstein.London; The HakluytSociety,1989, p. 60. 7. Fitzler, Kurt. Steinbrtiche und Bergwerke im ptolmaeischen und romischen Agvpten, Leipzig; 1910, pp. 12-13, as quoted by Stanley M. Bursteinin a footnote to his translationof On the ErythraeanSea, by Agatharchides of Cnidus. p. 62. 8. Agatharchides, 9. Burstein,StanleyM. Footnoteto his translation of On the ErythraeanSea, by Agatharchidesof Cnidus, London; The Hakluyt Society, 1989, p.64. 10. Burstein. Footnoteto Agatharchides, p. 64. pp. 65-66. 1 1. Agatharchides 12. Burstein. Footnoteto Agatharchides, p. 66. 13. Raymond,p. 17. 14. Budd, Dr. Paul. Electronicmail to the author, (Dr. Paul Budd, Ancient May 1, 1996. Metallurgy Research Group, Department of Archaeological Sciences,Universityof Bradford, UnitedKingdom. 15. Budd. Electronicmail to author,May 1, 1996. 16. Raymond,pp. 28-29. 17. Garland,p. 35. 18. Scheel, Bernd. Egyptian Metalworkingand Tools, Aylesbury, United Kingdom; Shire Publications Ltd., 1989, pp. 37-4O.

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AN OVERVIEWOF CIVIL LAW PRECEPTS I N T H E O L D AN D MID D L EK IN GD OM S With a b r i e f a n a l ysi so f h o w th e se l a ws a r e e x e m p li fi e da n d q p p l i e di n th e "T a l eo f t h e E l o q u e n tP e a sa n t" By Cristin Cochran About the Author: Cristin Cochranis an attorney specializing in land and environmental law with Owest Communications. She has a BS in Asian History from the University of lllinois, an MBA from the University of Colorado, and a law degree from Denver University. Her interests in ancient Egypt span history, architecture, and law.

Introduction:

Unlike their

contemp o ra ry

neighbors, Egyptians of the Old and Middle Kingdoms do not appear to have drawn up formal legal codes. No codex, no "Egyptian Revised Statutes", and no Magna Carta prototype have ever been found. A brief review of scholarly reaction to this apparent dearth of legal codif ication ranges f rom the classically culture-bound, as in "who but the Greeks or Romans could have 'thunk' it?", to rather overreaching interpretations of tomb art, such as forty tubular objects at the hand of a vizier being theorized as legal scrolls. (The consensus now seems to be that the "scrolls" are f logs,) Given the lack of primary legal sources, current scholars have focused on parables such as the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant as a commentary and reflection on both the laws and the l egal system of the Middle Kingdom. This paper seeks: (1 ) to pr esent a rationale f or the perceived "lack" of primary legal sources, a set of laws, or a legal code; (2) to summarize a brief outline of Egyptian civil procedure, as appears to have existed; (3) to discuss the status and rights of the individual as revealed by documents relating to probate and contract issues; and (4) to comment on the judicial/legal role of the vizier. Additionally, comparisons to the modern U.S. legal system are offered.

Page I

J o h n A . Wils o n , in a n a d d re s s d e l i v e r e di n 1954,1 agreed that Egypt, even f rom Predynastictimes, was a theocracywith three divineattributesof Egyptianlaw or rule. These three attributeswere embodiedin the divinely in s p ire d c re a t io n o f t h e u n iv e r s e a n d , accordingly,were renewed and reaffirmedby e a c h E g y p t ia nk in g in h is s t a t u s a s g o d a n d ru le r. B e c a u s et h e la w e ma n a t e dd irec t l yf r o m t h e k in g a s a g o d o n e a rt h , t h e l a w w a s re n e we dwit h e a c h n e w k in g a n d , o wi n g t o t h e k in g ' s p re s e n c en, o c o d if ic a t io nwa s ne c e s s a r y o r e v e n p ro p e r. A lt h o u g ht h is a rg u me n ti s o n l y t h e o re t ic a l,it s lo g ic is a t le a s t a s p e rsu a s i v e as c a llin go f f t h e s e a rc hf o r a c o d e , o r s o m e o t h e r s e t o f la ws , u n d e r t h e a s s u mp t io nth a t t h e y n e v e re x is t e d . The three attributesof Egyptian"law" are hu, t ra n saf t e d a s " a u t h o rit a t iv ec o mman d"; s i a , translated as "perception" and ma'at, transla t e d a s " ju s t ic e . " (Ho we v e r,Ma ' a f c a n a l s o me a n " t ru t h , " " rig h t f u l, " o r " rig h t e o u s n e s s " ) B e c a u s et h e s e t h re e a t t rib u t e swe re s e t u p b y t h e g o d s a t t h e c re a t io n o f t h e wor l d , t h e y re p re s e n tu n iv e rs a l p rin c ip le s . Co nf o r m a n c e wit h t h e s e p rin c ip le s is a n i n h e r e n t re s p o n s ib ilitoyf t h e k in g . T h e y a ls o de f i n et h e e s s e n c eo f t h e s o c ia lc o n t ra c twh ic h pr e s e r v e d E g y p t ia n c u lt u ra l s o c ie t y u p t h rou g h t h e P t o le ma icp e rio d . Hu, sia, and ma'at can be compared to the b ra n c h e s o f o u r o wn a n d s imila r m o d e r n g o v e rn me n t s : executive hu legislative sia judicial

ma'at

authoritative command enacting into rules and regulations ( t h e e s s e n c e o f t h e l a w) justice

I n a n c ie n t E g y p t , a ll o f t h e s e p rin c ipl e sw e r e e mb o d ie din o n e e n t it y , t h e k in g , ra t h e rt h a n b e in g s p re a da b o u t , a s in t h e mo d e rn ,c h e c k s a n d -b a la n c esso rt o f s y s t e m. T h e k in g wa s re q u ire dt o c o n f o rm w i t h t h e principlesof hu, sr'a,and ma'at because,as a god, it was presumed that he had created these principles as part and parcel of the c re a t io no f t h e u n iv e rs e . (He wa s p er s o n i f i e d t h e re ,rig h t ? ) Summer | 996


A s a g o d , as well as a king, he was t h e ultimateauthorityon the law: dispensingm a ' a t as he perceived it through his d iv in e knowledge,srb, with his enforcementpowers, hu.

the collectivesocial contract conceivedof as infinite expressionsof ideal justice. A legal system perhaps based on some universally agreed upon set of principlesthat were so broadly recognized and they accepted that la w s unto b e c a me themselves. Possibly,a system akin to the E n g lis h le g a l s y s t e m ' s c o u rt so f e q u it y.

As early as the Second Dynasty, the Palermo Stone shows that these t h r e e pr in cip le s of law (hu, sia, and ma'at), had been extended to an Proceduralissues. There administrative system is n o e v id e n cet h a t t h e t h a t un d e r too ksuch legal n o w v a u n t e d oc c u p a t i o n and governmentalfuncof "lawyer" was known t i o n s as th e r e cordingof t o O ld o r Mid d l eK i n g d o m t h e a n n u a l N i le flood populaEgyptians. There were, l e v e l , a r e g u la r however, specialized t i o n cen su s, and a CelestialJudgment- Horusweighsthe heart offered scribes who b i e n ni al ce n su s of gold of the deceasedin the Netherworld p a rt ic u la r le g a l s e r v i c e s . 3 a n d fie ld s. The P alermo (FromErmanLife in Ancient Egypt) These servicesmay have Stone's reports on gold included support with the civil procedure and fields imply the existenceof some system system that is the absolutely required that recorded private ownership of both real rig a ma ro let h a t mu s t b e f o llo we d , t h e n a n d a n d per so n a lpr o perty,as well as trackin gt h e (A mo d e rn n o w, t o g a in a c c e s s t o t h e ju s t ic e s y s t e m . t r a n s fe r o f th a t ownership. T h e O ld a n d Mid d le K in g d o m' sc iv il pr o c e d u r a l e q u i va le n ti s th e county clerk and rec o rd e r. real s y s t e m a p p e a rst o h a v e b e e n s imi l a r t o o u r estatedeedsa n d Sh e ha s cop ie so f all the o wn . A c a u s e o f a c t io n wa s f irs t p l e a d b y t h a t ' s also wh ere you register your c a r. ) s u b mis s io no f a p e t it io n . T h e p e t i t i o n w a s Government protection of private property admitted before the vizier's court (in essence r i g h tsr e q u ir e sa fairly elaboraterecordke e p in g f ile d , ju s t a s o n e n o w f ile s a c iv il c o m p l a i n t s y s t e m , in clu d ingthe establishmentof fo rms with the clerk of the appropriatecourt to o f own e r sh ip , and the enforcemen t o f in it ia t ea le g a l a c t io n ). O n c e t h e p et i t i o nw a s agreements to transfer property between i n d i vid u a ls.2 admitted,the opposingparty (the modernterm " d e f e n d a n t " will b e u s e d a s a c o n v e n i e n c e The government of the Second Dynasty only) was "served" or somehow notifiedof the p e n d in g c o mp la in t . T h e d e f e n da n t c o u l d c o n t in u e dto de velop into a strong centra liz e d a n s we r,t h e p la in t if fc o u ld t h e n re s p o n d ,a n d , bureaucracythat was so strongly entrenched Fourth Dynasty f in a lly t h e d e f e n d a n t c o u ld re p l y t o t h e that by the arbitrary acts on re s p o n s e .O n c e a ll t h e a n s we rsa n d r e s p o n s e s t h e pa r t o f the king were largely inhib it e d . N o t e th a t occa sionallythe king may h a v e a n d re p lie swe re c o mp le t e ,t h e ma t te r w a s s e t "forgottenwhat he had done at the creationof f o r h e a rin g . the universe" as documentary evidence does indicate that the king sometimes rescinded O u r n o t io n so f v e n u e (ma k in gs u re a h e a r i n gi s h e ld in t h e mo s t a p p ro p ria t e p l a c e ) o r d e c i s i on s m a d e by his administrat io n in ju ris d ic t io n (wh e t h e r t h e c o u rt h ol d i n g t h e o p p ositi onto establishedlaws. h e a rin ga c t u a lly h a s t h e a u t h o rit yt o h e a r t h e matter and render judgment) do not seem to Note also that Egyptian-style "established have been pertinent. Perhaps everybody in laws" does not imply a codificationbut, rather, Summer | 996

Page lO


Egypt knew whom to petition for what, and where. No detailed rules for filing in national or localcourts have been preserved. Likewise,we can only presumewhat subjects were possibleareas of inquiry by the vizier's c o u n cils. The scope and rangeof dispute s ,a s evidencedby the written record, seems to be q u i t e l i m i te d . T his writer has found n o ev i d e nceof pe r sonalinjury claims,stockho ld e r derivativeactions,or any sort of tort action at a l l . The r eco r dd oes contain a fair amount o f evidenceinvolving probate and estate issues, i n a d diti on to qu estions of property tran s fe r and relatedcontract issues. (To be treated in a f u t u r e r e p o r t ar e disputes involving crimin a l co mp lain ts. This paper deals only with c iv il i s s u e s .) Fi na lly, in civil cases, there wa s si m p l y no a p p e llatelevel court. lf one wa s d i s s a tisf i ed w i th the ruling of the viz ie r' s c o u n c i l ,on e j ust appliedagain,preferablyw it h s o me n e w pie ce of evidence,and hoped t h a t the petitionfor hearingwas granted. Although th e mem b e r sh ipo f the councilmight changein th e i n ter im ,the a ctual hearingbody remain e d th e s a m e .a Title to Real Property. Land registrationwas c l e a r l yw i th in the v izier'sjurisdiction.A ltho u g h to d a y we do n 't give much thought t o registeringor recordingdeeds, the system that m u s t ha ve be e n in place in E gypt to recogn iz e , t r a c k an d th e n en forceclaimsof legaltitle h a d to be very complex and wide-spread. Much of t h e w o r ld tod a y, especiallythose nationsus in g t h e R om a nsystem of land title (as opposedt o t h e Eng lish system we use), can't offe r a landowneras much security as seems to have b e e n t he no r m in ancient E gypt. Much of t h e k n o w n "ca se la w" involves issues invol v in g p r o p e r tycon ve ya nce. In the Old K ingdom ,t h e term "imyt-pr" reterred to a certified deed of c o n v eya n ce ,sim ilar to that piece of pa p e r w h i c h pr o ve s that you own your hou s e , a s s u mi ng l,i ke the ancientE gyptians,you m a d e i t d o w n to the courthouseto have it record e d . Later,imyt-pr came to be a more genericterm c o v e r in g all so r ts of conveyance, inclu d in g personal,as opposedto real property.5lmyt-pr we r e do cu m e n tsin the form of a declaratio nt o Page 11

the local council, or the srw, of the transaction. The srw, who consisted of representativesof local authorities operating underthe commandof the vizier,registeredthe imyt-pr, and made a copy for the archives. To this end it is interesting to remember the relativelyshort history of photocopyingin the recordation of deeds. Before photocopy machines,deed copieswere still made by hand in this country, just as they had been in Egypt 4 , 5 0 0 y e a rse a rlie r. There are numerous examples of deeds of c o n v e y a n c era n g in gf ro m o u t rig h ts a leo r g r a n t t o t h e a n c ie n t e q u iv a le n t o f a la nd s a l e s contract. A particularlynoteworthy example involves a contract for the sale of a small h o u s e n e a r t h e K h u f u p y ra mid . G T h i s F o u r t h Dynasty agreementwas apparentlyregistered in part to help insure that the terms of the s a le s c o n t ra c t wo u ld b e me mo ria lize d . l t i s reasonableto presume that such a record would carry with it some elementof authority. To what degree the Egyptian state stood behind registereddeeds is not known. The fact that registrationwas possibleand appears t o h a v e b e e n a n o rd in a ryu n d e rt a k in gc e r t a i n l y suggeststhat Egyptianscould rely, at least to some degree,on the authority of the state to enforce the validity of transfers of private p ro p e rt y . T h is , in t u rn , e v id e n c e sn o t o n l y t h e existenceof privatelyheld property in the Old a n d Mid d le K in g d o ms ,b u t a ls o in d ic a t e st h e le v e l o f a d min is t ra t io na n d c o n t in u it y o f t h a t a d min is t ra t io no v e r t ime wh ic h a llo w e d t h e state the authorityto grant registereddeeds. Contract issues. Since at least the Fourth Dynasty, Egyptians could arrange for their contracts to be prepared before the local council. The procedure seems to have involved registering the contract with the councilafter the signingpartiesto the contract had executedthe contract in the presenceof witnesses. No specialstatus was requiredto b e a wit n e s s . I n d e e d ,ju s t a b o u t a n y o n ew h o wa s h a n d y s e e me d t o s u f f ic e . I n ad d i t i o n , ju d g in g f ro m t h e p e n ma n s h ip v e r s u s t h e written content of some surviving contracts, literacy was not a precondition to either Summer 1996


directions. This separate body of "law" is inferred f rom references in the wills that distinguishthe intention of the person making the will from established practice. This establishedpractice appears to have treated both sexes equally and provided that, Subject matter for u n le s s o t h er w i s e a t i ncluded contracts ra n g e d , a ll c h i l d r e n t e r ms an d co n ditions equally. in h e rit e d for the services of S p o u s e s in h e r i t e d a Such an s l a v es.s s h a re e q u iva l e n t t o agreement f requently e a c h c h ild ' s . D e v i a took the form of a sort t io n s f ro m t h e n o r m o f g uar a n tee : Should c e rt a in ly occurred. the slave Henry not perform as agreed, Documentary bequests that r e c o m pe n se in the abound EarthlyJudgment- Uerchuu,Judge of the two Courts a lt e rt h e s e " pr i n c i p l e s " f o r m of a n im a ls,grain, and Superintendent of Justice. (FromErmanLife in Ancient Egypt) t o a c h ie v et he v a r y i n g m e t a l, fab r ic, o r cloth pa id objective of the w o u l d be as p e rs o nma k in gt h e will. lt P a p y ru sB e r l i n9 0 1 0 c o m pe n sa ti on . The S tele Juridique,foun d a t concernsa probate issue where the validityof Karnak and dated to the 17'h Dynasty, a will is q u e s t io n e db y t h e e ld e s t s o n a n d specifically referenced a sales contract in which the parties had one year to perform the apparently,the legal heir. The court required t e r ms a n d con d itionsrequiredwith an opti o nt o t h a t t h e p rima ry b e n e ic f ia ry o f t h e w i l l , r e n e w th e tim e allowed.s That a body o f apparentlysome trustee, prove the validity of c o n t ractla w cou ld developindependentof a n y the will through sworn affidavits of the written code is probably more surprising to wit n e s s e st o t h e will. T h e a c t u a l o u t c o m eo f those accustomedto legal systems that do not t h is c a s e is u n k n o wn , a s t h e o n ly s u r v i v i n g portion of the record is the court order that rely on prior history. Stare decisis, the p r o p o siti ontha t the ruling on an earlier,simila r directsthe primarybeneficiaryto respondwith c a s e , con tr olsth e decisionon a later cas e , is a f f id a v it st o t h e le g a lh e ir' s p ro t e s to n t h e w i l l . t h e ba sis fo r th e U. S . (and all other E n g lis h T h e c a s e is s ig n if ic a n t ,h o we v e r, be c a u s ei t s t y l e ) l eg a l systems. This is the "commo n shows that the court had the power to compel " law. The Fr ench don't have it, and t h e t h e p ro d u c t io no f e v id e n c e ,re n d e r j u d g m e n t R o man s did n 't either. However, it app e a rs o n t h e b a s is o f t h a t e v id e n c e ,a n d p r o v i d et h e t h a t , l i ke us, th e ancientE gyptiansdid hav e it , f o ru m f o r t h e re s o lu t io no f t h e d is pu t e i n t h e too. In fact, the starting point for the ancient first place. Eg y pti an s,th e cr eationof the world, (altho u g h not contemporaneously recorded on any Responsibilities of the Vizier. In an attempt to k n o wn o str aca ) , makes for a more log ic a l b rin g t h e E g y p t ia nle g a l s y s t e m. mo r e i n l i n e b e g i nnin gth a n that which the U. S . cou rt s with our own, many writers have attemptedto e n j o y! overstate the role and responsibilitiesof the v iz ie r in t h e a d min is t ra t io na n d a d ju d i c a t i o no f justice. This writer prefersto rely on the oft Probateissues. Many examples of wills and q u o t e d (b o t h in E g y p t d u rin g t h e 1 2 ' nt h r o u g h trusts have survived from the Old and Middle K i n g d o m s.l 0 ln addition, it appears th a t a at leastthe 18thdynasties)"Dutiesof a Vizier," generalunderstandingof probate issues, such a s in s c rib e din t h e t o mb o f Re k h mir e a : vizier a s w ho wo u ld inherit how much and w h e n , t o T h u t mo s e lll a n d t o A me nh o t e p l . existed independent of any testamentary Re k h mire ' se la b o ra t e lyin s c rib e dt o mb i n c l u d e d making or witnessing a contract. lt appears that many contracts were dictated to a scribe who directly transcribedthe language of the parties,includinga statement as to the names o f t h e witne sse s.T

Summer1996

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a glowing autobiography that conveniently included what now appears to be the standard job description for a Middle Kingdom vizier: 1, Adjudicatein conformancewith the principles establishedby the king (which were, by definition,those establishedat the creation of the world). 2. Hold open court, regularlyand formally. 3. Walk forth daily so that the poor and timid could still reachthe vizier. 4. Act in conformancewith the regulationsand be sure that everything is done in conformancewith precedence. 5. Act with strict impartiality.l2 A number of interesting precepts can be gleaned from this job description. The first is that the vizier clearly works under the authority of the pharaoh. The vizier's authority derives from his boss, the pharaoh, whose authority derives from the fact that he's a god who created the earth and consequently, established the laws that, in this Egyptian society, were universal and unchanging. The requirement to hold open court seems rather ordinary by modern U.S. standards. Remember, though, that opening court sessions to all was a radical concept in this country in 1776. This particular element of the vizier's job description can be absolutely dated to the 12'h Dynasty and was probably standard operating procedure for many years before that. The requirement for regular and formal hearings also speaks to the level of civil rights accorded under the universally understood Egyptian socio-legal contract of the time. Further guaranteeing unfettered access to the courts is the vizier's required daily stroll, trolling, as it were, f or litigants who were unable to make it to the regular court sessions. lmplying some precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act, in terms of supplying some means of alternative access, seems a little prescient, but the emphasis remains the same: Everybody was entitled to access the court, and through the vizier they could exercise their god-given rights as Egyptians to the full protection of the pharaoh's law. Page 73

Students of the u.s. legal system will be interested to note that the concept of stare decisis, that is, rendering decisions in conformance with precedent, was a serious c o mp o n e n t o f t h e v iz ie r' s d u t ie s . C l o s e r analysisrevealsthe logic in this legal precept. Since the law itself was establishedat the creationof the universe,all legaldisputesmust h a rk e nb a c k t o t h a t o rig in a la l w. Finally, the requirement to act in strict imp a rt ia lit yis , p ro b a b lylik e a n y o t h er h u m a n administeredsystem, a goal rather than a p ra c t ic a lly a c h ie v a b le a c c o mp lis h me n t . A s discussedbelow, in the analysisof the Taleof the EloquentPeasant,one of the partiesin that d is p u t e c a me t o t h e t a b le wit h a lot m o r e status and power and tried to use it to the d e t rime n t o f t h e p e a s a n t . T h e n , a s n o w , a special effort on the part of the less empoweredparty was requiredto bring about ju s t ic e . J u s t ic e , if we a re t o b e li e v e o u r ostraca, was done, and furthermore, must h a v e b e e n d o n e o n a re g u la r b a s is f o r t h e Egyptian system to function with as much c o n t in u it ya s d id . F ro m v a rio u s o t h e r d o c u me n t a rye v ide n c e ,a s we ll a s s lig h t v a ria t io n s in t h e v iz i e r ' s j o b d e s c rip t io nt h a t a p p e a r in s o u rc e so t h e r t h a n Re k h mire ' st o mb , 1 3it is k n o wn t h a t rec o r d so f ju d g me n t swe re k e p t a n d t h a t t h e c o u r t c o u l d be expected to enforce judgments. P ro c e d u ra lly , c o mp la in t s a n d answers, p e t it io n sa n d re s p o n s e s h , a d t o b e in w r i t i n g . Dio d o ru s s a id t h a t writ in g wa s re q u i r e d t o a v o id in f lu e n t ia lrh e t o ric . ra L u c k ily D i o d o r u s was writing long after the aggrievedeloquent p e a s a n th a d g o n e h o me h a p p y a n d lo ng b e f o r e the creationof the EgyptianBar Association! Individual rights of ordinary Egyptians. Over t ime , t h e le v e l o f in d iv id u a fl re e d o mse n j o y e d by ordinary Egyptiansappearsto have varied somewhat by gender, birth order, and socioe c o n o mic s t a n d in g . lt is d if f ic u lt t o r e l i a b l y chart any sort of trend owing to the length of time involved and due to the relativescarcity of documentation. However, it appearsthat e a rly in t h e O ld K in g d o m,a n d c e rt a in l yd u r i n g Summer 1996


One class of the population that doesn't the Third and Fourth Dynasties, all children, currently correlate to U.S. society involves ge nder, legal equa lit y . l5 enjoyed r e g a r dle ssof prisonersof war and slaves. While prisoners This lack of legal differentiation based on of war were bought and sold like chattel;they g e n d e r see m s to have diminishedover time . c o u ld h o ld p ro p e rt y in t h e ir o wn n am e s a n d By the Sixth Dynasty, it appears,at least in so b e a r wit n e s sa t la w. A s s u c h , t h e ir s ta t u sw a s far as the noble class was concerned,that the power mo re a k in t o t h a t o f a E u ro p e a ns e rf .1 8S l a v e s ' in a resulte d o f money and c o n s o lid a ti on rights were fewer. However,they could marry d i mi nu ti on in th e legal status of wome n . l6 f re e in d iv idu a l so r b e Evidence for this a d o p t e da n d e m a n c i d e c l i n e i n fe m inine pated. Interestingly, legal status appears it is contractsfor the i n w i l ls an d tr u sts of la b o r o f s l a v e s ( o r t h e p e r io d wh e r e a contracts w i f e , w ho is clearly g u a ra n t e e i n g t h e o l d e n o u g h to h ave q u a n t it yo r q u a l i t yo f produceda son who t h e ir wo r k ) t h a t has reachedmajority, p ro v id emuc h o f t h e is treated as a legal d o c u me n t a r y e V i with a i n c o mp e ten t g u a r d ia n sh ipi n the d e n c e o f c on t r a c t i n g T a x d efaul ters recei vi ng j usti ce (F ro mT.G.HJames . P haraoh'Pseopl e) styles terms and f o r m o f h e r son pe r i od. d u rin gt h is e stab lished being o v e r h e r . Fu r therevidenceappearsin the ris e How The Eloguent Peasant demonstrates the o f t h e co n ce p t o f primogenitureat about t h is existence and application of the universally s a m e tim e . Th is concept, that the eldes t s o n understoodprecept of Egyptian Law. The Tale w a s en ti tle dto certain advantagesas we ll a s of the Eloquent Peasantls is an especially b e i n g b u r d e n e d with certain responsibilit ie s , p o p u la rMid d le K in g d o mf a b le p ie c e dt o g e t h e r also seems to have emerged in the 6'n "E ldest f ro m f o u r in c o mp le t e p a p y ri c o p ies . T h e D y n asty. Th e status of S on" co u ld e lo q u e n tp e a s a n tis a f a irly a v e ra g efe l l o w b y d e v o lve up o n the next in age, owing t o t h e n a me o f K h u n -A n u p , [ h e re a f t e r c a l l e d infirmity or inability to meet the requirements "Joe"l, who has set off to market with a o f t h e jo b , so lo ng as the next in age wa s a t7 d o n k e yt ra in c a rry in ga la rg eq u a n t it yo f g o o d s so n . wh ic h h e in t e n d s t o b a rt e r f o r f o o d . J o e i s literallycut off at the pass by a noble property T h e go o d old d a ys, however,were back by t h e owner, Nemtynakht, who forces Joe to 12 t n a n d 1 3 'n Dynasties,when the righ t s o f p r i m oge n itur eag ain fell into disuse and t h e trespassonto his property. In the course of the trespass, one of Joe's donkeys takes a status of women returned to its earlier level. T h e Pa p yr u s Br ooklyn 355.1446, dated b y bite, at "a wisp" of Nemtynakht'sbarley. The penaltyfor theft of the barleyis the seizure,by s o m e to ci r ca 1 785 B CE , involves a cas e in Nemtynakht,of all that Joe has brought with w h i c h a m a r r ie d woman brings a laws u it h im. ln a d d it io n ,t h e n o b le ma nb e a t sJ o e u p . against her father in order to protect strictly private property interests. This document The fable is quite factual: The quantity and i mp l i es tha t m arried women once a g a in q u a lit y o f J o e ' s g o o d s , a s w e l l a s enjoyedlegal rights by the 13thDynasty. The Ne mt y n a k h t ' s c o v e t o u s n a t u re a nd s o c i a l r i g h t of a m a r r iedwoman to sue in her o wn status are clearly stated. Nemtynakht'sacts name, let alone contract or hold property,was in response are also laid out in a factual u n k n own to m an y U.S . citizensof the fe ma le g e n d er ,up th r o u ghthe FirstWorld War. matter. No valuesare expressedor implied.

#E;x

Summer1996

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Consequently,a reader could simply presume that the penaltyfit the crime by the standards of the time and move on to the next interesting story. Such a responseis certainlylogical. lt is not, however, persuasive.orsatisfying. The fable evokes an emotionalresponse;what this writer will call a natural reaction to an unfair act. The reader automaticallyroots for Joe, t h e g oo d gu y, a n d condemnsthe acts of t h e n o b l e, N em tyna kht. Not now, and not 4,O O O years ago, was it fair to seize another's p r o p er ty,or a ssault him under these circ u mstances. The source for the abhorrenceof Nemtynakht's acts lies in the universal concepts of fairness and justice, ma'at, lhat also formed the basis of Egyptianlegaltheory. M o d e r n r e a d e r s,just like ancient E gypt ia n s , k n o w tha t this is not the way their worl d is s u p p o se dto fun ction. The ancient E gypt ia n s h a d a go o d exp la nationfor this: ma'at, one o f the preceptsestablishedwhen the world' was created,made it so. Ma'at, and the power of th e p h a r a o hto m ake things right, hu, mea n s Jo e i s g o in g to come out right in the end, a n d , o f c o ur se ,he d o e s. Jo e , de p r ive d of his property and inj u re d unjustly, spends the next ten days trying to ta l k Nem tyna kh t into returning his thin g s . U n s u ccessful,he heads into town to file h is co mp lain twith, R ensi,the local vizier's rep re sentative,who is just steppingout of his house on t h e wa y to his courthousebarge when J o e m e e t s up with h im. Joe asks to file a c o mpl a i n t an d i s g iven leave to do so. Un b e k n o w n st to Jo e , Rensi accepts the validit y o f J o e ' s com p la in te ven in the face of oppos it io n by h i s m a g istr ateswho attempt to exp la in away Nemtynakht'sactions by suggestingthat J o e i s actua llyon e of Nemtynakht'sserfs . I n a c c e ptin gJoe 's complaint,Rensiindicatest h a t he h a s th e au tho rityto compel Nemtynak h t o r e p a y Joe b u t is s o taken with Joe's orat o ry th a t , wh ile m a king provisionsfor Joe's w if e and-kiddiesback home, he forces Joe to return to c o ur t nin e tim es to plead his case. J o e ul t i m atelytr iu m p hs, as the good guy alw a y s sh o u l d. Th e fa ct that Joe's social status wa s f a r l owe r th a n Nemtynakht complic a t e s ac h i e vin gth e de siredend, but does not chan g e

o r d imin is hwh a t t h a t o u t c o me s h o u l d b e : t h e restorationof Joe's wrongfullyseizedproperty. Ma'at is satisfied. The difference in social status between the two parties clearly gives Nemtynakht a significant advantage, one that he was probably cognizant of when he initiated the c o n d u c t c o mp la in e d o f . Re n s i ' s o w n magistratesappearto dismissthe matterout of hand with little more to go on than the differencein the parties' social standing. One can also take some affront at the prospectof Joe being forced to continue his performance wh e n , u n b e k n o wn s t t o h im, h is c a u s e i s already won. Were the issues reversed,one c a n wo n d e r if Ne mt y n a k h two u ld n ' t h a v e h a d a f a r e a s ie rt ime in c o u rt . T h e h u rd le st h a t J o e must overcome as a result of his low status call into questionthe true universalityof justice espousedin both the concept oI ma'at and the vizier's job description that requires strict imp a rt ia lit y . The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant also illustratessome of the proceduralaspects of t h e E g y p t ia n le g a l s y s t e m. Joe files his c o mp la in twit h Re n s i,t h e v iz ie re q u iv al e n t .H e is g iv e n h is d a y in c o u rt -- in f a c t , n in e d a y s i n court -- as he returns each day to appealthe d e c is io n o f t h e p re v io u s d a y . No a p p e a l s c o u rt s we re k n o wn t o e x is t in a n c ie n t E g y p t . From the Tale of the Eloquent Peasa'nt and other records,most authoritiesbelievethat the appellateprocessconsistedof returningto the s a me c o u rt o r c o u n c il, h o p e f u lly w i t h n e w evidenceor a better argument,for as long as t h e y ' d le t y o u in , F in a lly ,Re n s iin d ic a t e st h a t h e h a s b o t h t h e a u t h o rit yt o re n d e rju d g m e n t and the power to enforce it, indicatingthat both venue and jurisdictionwere sufficient in h im. Gonclusion. Much ado has been made about the lack of a codex, a set of laws, or some written documentationof ancientEgyptianlaw. This writer suggeststhat the only lack is that of understanding of the basis of ancient Egyptian law. Just as we harken to the somewhat abstract concept of the "common


law", so did ancient Egyptiansrefer to the set of laws established by the pharaoh at the creation of the world. Both systems rely on the principleof precedent,sfare decisis, or the rendering of decisions in conformity with e a r l ie rde cisio n s. In our system, the commo n law is recorded in the written decisions of c o u r ts. Ar g u ably, the ancient E gy p t ia n s recordedtheir set of laws in the same way - by writing up the facts, arguments,and rationale of variouscases. In this light, the Tale of the EloquentPeasant,emerges as ancient Egyptian c a s e la w. M a'at was done as it wa s u n i v er sallyu n d e rstoodto be. Then, as n o w, s o c i al a n d e conomic standing, some t ime s hasten the speed with which justice is r e n de r e d . Th e hope remains, then as n o w, t h a t a ve r a g eJoes will get their day in c o u rt j u s t a s no b le slike Nemtynakhtdo. ENDNOTES 1 . W i l son Jo , h nA. "A uthorityand Law in An c ie n t Egypt,"a paperdeliveredat the Symposium on Authorityand Law in the AncientOrientheldat the 164th meeting of the American Oriental Society in New York City, April 14, 1954, and reprintedas a pocket part in the Journal of the AmericanOrientalSociety,Supp 17 (1954). 2. From transcriptsof court proceedingsand legal documents of the time, it appears that the Egyptian government's recording system was reliableenough to form the basis of decisions upholdingor denying claims of ownership,and that the act of registeringor recordinga deed or will was considered an important element in insuring the validity of the conveyance. Although such a system seems ordinary by contemporaryAmericanstandards,many modern nations, especially those that adhere to the Romanratherthan Englishsystem of laws (Brazil f or example), still do not track titles and conveyances with the level of effort demonstratedin the Old Kingdom. 3. Harris,J.R. ed. The Legacy of EgVpt,2d ed., 1971 Oxford University Press, p. 311. Also, T.G.H. James, in an address to the Denver Egyptian Study Society, recalling the descendantsof these specializedlegal scribes, who are nowadays perchedon the curb outside governmentalbuildings in Egypt equipped with typewriters,seals,and a marvelousarray of very off icial looking f orms, all ready f or f ill-in-theblanklegalwork. Summer | 996

4. lbid. p. 310. 5. lbid. p. 298. 6. Shupak, Nili. "A New Sourcefor the Study of the Judiciary and Law of Ancient Egypt; The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant," Universityof Haifa, lsrael, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 51 no. 1, 1992 Universityof Chicago,p. 9. 7. Harris,op. cit., p.312. 8. PapyrusBerlin9784, 9785 and PapyrusGurug, ii.l and ii.2. 9. Harris,op. cit., p. 293. 10. lbid. p.292. 1 1. lbid. p. 293, 31 1, Also note the Fourth Dynastywill of one Hrti, in which he established a family trust, endowed his mortuarycult, and named his eldest son as trustee. The will createda trust designedto preservethe corpus while fundingthe deceased'smortuarycult and his kiddie's legacy with trust revenuesonly. Another estate case, this one f rom the 19'n Dynasty, involvedthe will of Mes, a scribe of the Treasuryof Ptah at Memphis. Mes' estate, with the permissionof the court, had been broken up amongst his heirs. lrregularities, includingfalse documents,had resultedin the dispossessionof Mes' mother from her share. ln this case, the council(court)sat as a orobate court, taking into considerationthe validity of documentaryevidence and the statement of witnessesin renderinga decisionthat restored to Mes' mom her originalshare. 12. Wilson,op. cit., p. 4. 13. Shupak,op.cit.,footnote #34. 14. Shupak,op.cit.,p. 10. 15. Harris,op. cit., p. 297. 16. lbid.,p. 293. 17. lbid.,p. 296 18. lbid.,p. 3O7. 19. The three principalcopies are PapyrusBerlin 3023, Papyrus Berlin 3025, Papyrus Berlin 10499, plus the more partialPapyrusButler527 = PapyrusBritishMuseum 10274. This writer used a translationin Miriam Lichtheim'sbook Ancient EgyptianLiterature,Volume 1: The Old and Middle Kingdoms,Universityof California Press,1975.

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TH E G RA NV ILLEMUMMY By W. Benson Harer About the author: W. BensonHarer is a physicianin San Bernardino, CA. He is interested in scientific methods for the study of mummification practices in ancient EgVpt. Harer also serves on the Board of Governors for ARCE (American Research Center in Egypt).

c o u n t ry h e v is it e d ! He wa s f lu e n t i n F r e n c h , E n g lis h , G e rma n , Ru s s ia n , T u rk ish , G r e e k , L a t in ,a n d A ra b ic . G ra n v illef in a lly e n lis t e d a s a s u rg eo n i n t h e B rit is h n a v y wh e re h is e x p e rie n c esi n c l u d e d s u rv iv in ga s h ip wre c k . A f t e r n in e y e a r s , h e wa s re t ire do n a p a rt ia lp e n s io n ,a n d w e n t o n t o L o n d o n , wh e re h e ra p id ly be c a m e a p ro min e n tp h y s ic ia na n d s u rg e o n .

I t s e e me d q u it e a p p ro p r i a t et h a t Augustus Bozzi Granville is a littlewh e n h e wa s u n we ll, Si r A l b e r t know n but important figure in both E d mis t o ns h o u ld c a ll f o r Gr a n v i l l e ' s Egyptology and obstetrics and s e rv ic e s in 1 8 2 2 . S ir A l b e r t , a gynecology. He championed health we a lt h ya n d a d v e n t u ro u sno b l e m a n , care f or women in the early h a d v is it e d v a rio u s o a s e s i n E g y p t 1BOO's, a time when most English in 18 1 9 . Wh e n p a s s rn gt h r o u g h physicians and surgeons disdained O u rn a , h e p u rc h a s e da s a r c o p h a OB-GYN as unworthy of their Anubi s,god of embal mi ng (From g u s , c o mp le t e wit h mu m m y , f o r GraftonEgyptian Designs) attention. Granville was a pioneer $ 4 . O 0 . S ir A lb e rt b ro u g h t i t h o m e gynecologic surgeon who is and it became an interesting conversation credited with performing the first operation to piece in his drawing room. remove a fibroid tumor of the uterus. He was also a f ounder of the The f emale mummy atorganization which evolved tracted Granville's attention. into the Royal College of Sir Albert was mainly Obstetricians and Gvnecolointerested in the decorative gists. case, so he offered the Granville, born in Milan in mummy to Granville to see 1783, led an exciting life. what information might be gleaned f rom an autopsy. When in medical school in Pavia at age 19, he was For the next six weeks, arres ted and jailed for his reThe O pe n i n g o f t h e M o u t h C e r e m o n y Granville dissected the (FromChadwickFirst Civllizations) publican sentiments. Family mummy in his drawing room clout got Granville released, but after he f o r o n e t o t wo h o u rs d a ily . T h e in te l l i g e n t s i a obtained his degree, it could not save him from o f L o n d o nwe re in v it e dt o o b s e rv e . U l t i m a t e l y , conscription into Napoleon's army. Granville h is re s u lt swe re p re s e n t e dt o t h e Ro ya lS o c i e t y could not obtain a passport to f lee. With and published in The Transactionsin 1825. His mo s t imp o rt a n tf in d in g wa s e v id en c eo f a n characteristic initiative, he auditioned for the lead role with a touring opera company -- and o v a ria n ma s s f ro m wh ic h h e c o n cl u d e ds h e got the part! At that time, the opera company d ie d o f " o v a ria nd ro p s y . " traveled under a single group passport and he G ra n v ille ' swo rk a n d t h e re s u lt s o f a m o d e r n was, thus, able to leave ltaly. Ultim ately, Granville reached Venice and He then abandoned his operatic career. traveled through the Middle East for several years. Granville had an extraordinary ear for languages and learned the language of every Page 17

re -e v a lu a t ioonf h is mu mmy we re p re s e n t e dt o t h e E S S o n A p ril 2 5 , 1 9 9 6 . A b o ok o n t h e s u b je c t is c u rre n t ly in p re p a ra t io nf o r t h e B rit is hMu s e u mP re s s . T o re lie v et h e s u s p e n s e o f wa it in g f o r t h e b o o k ' s p u b lic a t io n :G r a n v i l l e wa s c o rre c tt h a t s h e h a d a n o v a ria nt u m o r , b u t it wa s b e n ig n ! Summer1996


WHO'S WHO IN ANCIENTEGYPT

c u b it s ,t h re e p a lms ,a n d t wo f in g e rs( 6 ' 6 " ! ) i n h e ig h t . 2 His s t a t u a ryd e p ic t sh im a s a m i d d l e a g e d ma n , h is p o s e mo re b ro o d i n g a n d reflectivethan god-likeas most previousroyal statues had been. Senusertmay have wanted t o b e re me mb e re da s a ru le r c o n c e rn e df o r h i s p e o p le ,f o r h is ma n y in s c rip t io n sd wel l o n t h i s subject. He wrote:

From Newberry, Ancient Egyptian Scarabs

FEATUREDPHARAOH III SE N U S E R T (Ruled1878 - 1841 BCE)

By David Pepper Ahout the Author: David Pepper is a professional engineer and commercial pilot and has a BS in Physics, an MS in Aerospace Engineering,and a Mastersin BusinessAdministration. He has served on the ESSBoardas treasurerand is currently chair of the publicationscommittee. T h e M i dd le Ki ngdom rulers of ancient Eg y p t brought stability and prosperity back to the country after the chaotic years of the First I n t e r m ed ia tePer iod. The 11'n Dynasty k in g , M e n tuh o tepll, had re-unifiedthe two la n d s , and a few years later, Amenemhet, probably h i s v izi er , se ize dthe throne and founde d t h e 1 2 ' hDyna stya n d its line of powerfulkings. A l t h oug hAm en e mhet'sson, S enusertl, w a s a powerful ruler, it was his great-grandson, Se n use r t l l l , w ho is remembered as t h e g r e a te stp h a r a o hof the Middle K ingdom. He w a s m ost l i kely the famous S esostris , t h e l e g e nd a r y Egyp tian king spoken of in t h e w r i t i ngs o f Classical authors such a s Herodotus, who stated that this king sailed i n t o the l nd ia n Ocean and then marc h e d through the Levant into Europe,defeatingthe Sc y t hia n sa n d Thraciansalongthey way.1 Senusertlll chose Khakaure,"appearingas the s o u l o f R e," a s his throne name. Man e t h o d e s cr i be d h im as a great warrior, a n d m e n tio n e dtha t the king was very tall at f o u r Summer1996

"l am a king who speaksand acts. My heart's intentions are carriedout by my arm. I am one to in orderto seize,impatient who is aggressive succeed, and w ho does not al l ow a ma t t er t o lie i n hi s heart."

T h is wa s writ t e n o n a b o u n d a rys t e laa t S e m n a in Nu b ia . He g o e s o n t o s a y : " l a m o n e wh o c o n s id e rsc la ima nt sa n d a m gentle,but I am not gentletowardsan enemy " who attacks. Senusert lll was the f ifth king of the 12'h Dynasty, and he is credited with f inally , ho re d u c in gt h e p o we r o f t h e lo c a ln o mar c h s w h a d s e iz e d a u t h o rit y a t t h e b e g in ni n go f t h e First IntermediatePeriod. At the time of his coronation,Senusert'sregionalgovernorswere using epithets and titles that had previously been strictly royal prerogatives. They were e v e n d a t in g t h e y e a rs a c c o rd in g t o e a c h n o ma rc h ' sre ig n ! B y t h e e n d o f h is r u l e ,t h e s e n o ma rc h sh a d a p p a re n t lylo s t p o we r, a n d t h e y n o lo n g e r b u ilt p ro v in c ia lt o mb s . Se n u s e r t ' s c e n t ra liz in g o f t h e a d min is t ra t io wa n s a brilliant s t o k e o f g e n iu s ,f o r h e a p p a re n t lyre l o c a t e dt h e h e re d it a ryg o v e rn o rs h ip sb a c k t o h is c a p i t a la t L is h t , wh e re h e c o u ld k e e p c lo s e r c o n t r o l o n t h e ro y a lb u re a u c ra c y . 3 S e n u s e rtlll is b e s t k n o wn f o r h is c a m p a i g n s a g a in s t t h e Nu b ia n s . S o b e k h u , o n e o f h i s s o ld ie rs ,a ls o t o o k p a rt in t h e s e ca m p a i g n s , a n d s t a t e din h is a u t o b io g ra p h y : "His

majesty proceeded southwards to

overthrow the B ow men of N ubi a." o

In a statue now located in the Brooklyn Mu s e u m,S e n u s e rtlll is s h o wn s e a t e du p o n a lo w b a c k e dt h ro n e (s e e F ig u re 1 ). H i s n a m e , " K h a k a u re , "is e n g ra v e do n h is b e lt , an d o n t h e Page18


t h r o n e ba se is a depiction of the nine bo ws , r e p r ese n ti ng the tr aditionalenemiesof E gy p t . 5 To allow for swifter passage of his army t o w a r ds the sou th, in year.eight of his r e ig n S e n u s er th a d a canal dug to bypassthe ro c k s o n t h e Fir st Cataract. On an unda t e d i n s c r ip ti ona t Se h ellslandit says: "ISenusert lll] made (it) as his memorial to Anukis, Mistress of Nubia, making f or her a canal whose name is 'Beautifulare the Ways of " Khakaure'. Chief Treasurer Senankh stated the canal measured 250 feet long, 83 feet wide, and 20 feet deeo.6 f n years 12 and 15, he recorded his campaigns against the Nubians on a giant stela at Semna (now in Berlin): "l carried off their women, I carried off their subjects,went forth to their wells, and smote their bulls."7 Semna was the southern boundary that Senusert established to keep the Nubians at bay. He ordered the construction of huge forts to garrison troops at Semna, Kumma, and Uronarti lsland. At Semna he erected a stela that said: "Southernboundary,made in year eight, under the personof King Khakaure,... to preventany Nubiancrossingit by water or by land, with a ship or any Nubianherds,except for any Nubian who shall come to trade at Mirgissa,or with a " commission. At Uronarti a second stela was erected which states, "l have establishedmy boundaryfurther south than my fathers, I have added to what was given to me... A coward is he who is driven back from his border,since the Nubian listens, to fall at a word: To answer him is to make him retreat; Attack him: he will turn his back; Retreat:he will start attackino."s Senusert then goes on to say of the Nubians: Page | 9

S enusert l l l (tromK MTY ol .6N o.2)

Summer 1996


"Th ey ar e not pe o p l e w o rth y o f re s p e c t. They a re wr et c hes , c r a v e n -h e a rte d ! M y p e rs o n has se e n it : it is not a l i e !" e Mu ch

of t he

wea l th

a c q u i re d

i n th e

N u bi an

c a mpa ig n sw as directed towards the temp le s i n Eg yp t a n d th eir renewal.lo A n inscrip t io n f r o m Ab yd o s chroniclesthe refurbishm e n to f O s i r is' b a r g e , sh rine, and chapels with g o ld , e l e c tr u m , la p is lazuli, malachite, and o t h e r p r e c io u ssto n e s. Finejewelry made from t h e s e g e ms wa s disco veredin 1894 by de Morg a nin t h e t om b s o f Senusert'squeen Mereret, a n d h i s s ister ,the p r incessS it-Hathor,at Dashu r.

Senusert's own tomb at Dashur was the largest of the Middle Kingdom pyramids, but the removal of the limestone casing left a mudbrick core which deteriorated rapidly. There is only a rubble mound left today. The entrance to this pyramid was concealed under the paving of the surrounding court on the west side, but it was discovered and robbed in antiquity. Senusert lll's son, Amenemhet lll, was the last great ruler of the 12'n Dynasty. He also built a pyramid at Dashur, the so-called "Black Pyramid", which appears to have been abandoned in favor of another pyramid at Hawara in the Faiyum. Next to this pyramid Amenemhet lll built the f amous Labyrinth which was described by Herodotus.ll Senusert lll ruled for some 37 yeafs, according He was a ruler who to the Turin Canon. wanted to be remembered as an individual, as can been seen on the f acial f eatures of his many still remain today. statues that powerful bureaucracy and a Supported by a competent army, his successful rule was one that was remembered for many generations afterwards. Senusert truly lived up to his birth name: "Man of Power."

E NDNO T E S

F igur e 2: S en u s e rt l l l (tro mKMT V o l .6 N o .2 )

Summer | 996

1 . Do d s o n ,A id a n . Mo n a rc h so f t h e N i l e , L o n d o n ,Ru b ic o nP re s s ,1 9 9 5 , p . 64 . 2 . Cla y t o n ,P e t e r. Ch ro n ic leo f t h e P ha r a o h s , L o n d o n ,T h a me s& Hu d s o n ,1 9 9 4 , p . 8 4 . , e n w o s r e tl l l , 3 . De lia ,Ro b e rtD. " K h a k a u reS K in g & Ma n , " K MT V o l. 6 No . 2 , Su m m e r 19 9 5 , p . 3 0 . 4 . De lia ,p . 2 5 . 5 . De lia ,p . 2 8 . 6 . De lia ,p . 2 1 . 7 . Cla y t o n ,p . 8 5 . 8 . Do d s o n ,p . 6 1 . 9 . Do d s o n ,p . 6 2 . 1 0 . Cla y t o n ,p . 8 6 . 1 1 . Cla y t o n ,p . 8 8 .

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FEATUREDGOD/GODDESS NEITH By LindaEngel About the Author: Linda Engel is a long-time member of FSS who has been fascinated with ancient Egypt since she read a book about the discovery of Tut's tomb at the age of I l. As co-owner of Engels' Jewels of the Nile (an import business) since | 988, she makes annual trips to Egypt and Greece. Her vast collection of photos of archeological sftes in EgVpt includes many shots of "weird or unusual" subjects which caught her interest. Engel then attempts to research their origins and/or purpose by questioning Egyptologists or checking various reference books. She said many of her photos still remain a mystery!

The protectivegoddessesof the four sourcesof the Nileeach guard one of the four gates of the underworld. They are widely recognizedfrom a g i l d ed w oo d e n canopic shrine in t h e Tutankhamuncollection. The shrinecontainsa delicatelycarvedand gildedfigure of a different goddesson each of its four corners. Each of these goddessesis associatedwith an organ of the body and with a cardinaldirection: lsis Nephthys Selket Neith

liver lungs intestines stomach

south north

also the symbolsof her nome. Thesesymbols have lead to a general belief that Neith was originallyeithera goddessof huntingor of war. She was worshipped from Predynastictimes onward at sais, capital of the Fifth Nome of Lower Egypt,in the western Delta. lt is almost certain that her cult was already old at the beginningof the First Dynasty. Sais claimedto be the burial place of Osiris, and Herodotus describedthe great annual festival in honor of lsis-Neithin his writings as a "feast of lamps" because torches and lamps were burned continuouslyuntil daybreak. Neith is also frequentlyshown wearingthe red crown of Lower Egypt. lt has been theorized that she may have had her beginningsas a goddess of a confederationof nomes in the north. Her titles included "Great Goddess," " Mo t h e r o f t h e G o d s , " a n d " Da u g h te ro f R a . " Neithwas saidto have borneRa beforeher own creation out of the primordialwaters (Nun). Associationwith the primordialoceanled to her being thought of as the personification of the Waters Of Chaos. The similarityof the words Neithand Nun has beencited as additionalproof of her connectionwith the primordialbeginnings o f ma n k in d . At varioustimes during later dynasties,Neith's attributesincorporatedthose of Sekhmet,Bast, Mut, Nekhbet,lsis, and Hathor.Duringthe 18th Dynasty,she becameidentifiedwith Hathoras a protectressof women, especiallyin light of her

WeSt

east

These four goddesses were also frequently depicted in pairs on the heads and feet of coffins. lsis, Nepthys, and Selket are usually easilyidentified. However,many peopleremain relativelyunfamiliarwith Neith althoughshe has a history of worship extending back to Predynastic times. Non-animalfetishes were often carried in the hand of a god or goddess. Such is the case with Neith,who is often shown carryingher cult signs,a shieldand crossedarrows - which were Page21

Forms of Neith (fromGrafton

Summer 1996


portrayal as a cow with 18 stars on her side and a collar around her neck from which hangs an ankh. In another scene, she is shown with a crocodile suckling f rom each breast, in her personification as mother of the crocodile god Sobek. Neith gained her greatest following during the Saite Period (26'n Dynasty) when Egypt was reunited after invasion by the Assyrians. This period brought a yearning for the past glories of Egypt. Great new temples and tombs were built at Sais by 26'n Dynasty pharaohs. Nectanebo ll claimed divine birth by naming Neith as his mother, and Neith evolved into a universal mother figure and guardian of both men and gods. As a creative goddess, Neith became worshipped as the consort of Khnum at Elephantine.

the tomb of Unas,last rulerof the fifth Dynasty, indicatesthat Neith was believedto perform important ceremoniesin connectionwith the preservationof the dead. One passagefrom Unas' tomb identifies Neith as being the "ProtectivePower of the Eye of Horus." The funerary ceremonies with which Neith was associatedwere magicalin nature;and mummy wrappings, bandages and shrouds were consideredto be magicalgifts from Neith that provided for the protection of the mummy. Neith was also sometimes referred to as " O p e n e r o f t h e Wa y s , " g iv in g h e r a " f e m a l e A n u b is "c h a ra c t e riz a t io n .

It has also been theorized that it was during the Saite Period. when the importance of wool as a trade good increased, that one of Neith's headdresses (an oval f igure with curved appendages)began to be viewed as a weaver's shuttle. This led to her being considered the patroness of domestic arts. Further credence is lent to this theory because her name is very similar to the ancient Egyptian root word nfef which means "to knit" or "to weave." However, it is clear that the oldest and most characteristic symbols of Neith were two crossed arrows and a shield. Great powers of sorcery were also attributed to Neith. She was appealed to for her great wisdom, as demonstrated in the myth of the great quarrel between Horus and Set. In this myth, Horus and Set battle to gain control over the slain Osiris' throne. Eventually, Set decided he might gain advantage by bringing the matter to arbitration before a tribunal of gods. When the tribr-rnalis unable to come to a decision, Thoth is instructed to write a letter to Neith as "goddess of Sais and the oldest of the goddesses," requesting her wisdom in resolving the dispute. Neith's association with the realm of the dead goes far back in antiquity. Text at Saqqara in Summer | 996

Neith (from BudgeThe Godsof the Egyptians)

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Although not as well known as some of the other goddesses,clearly Neith was no minor deity. Her worship extended tar back into PredynasticEgypt. She was regardedas the oldestof the goddessesand was veneratedas a protector of the dead throughout Egyptian history. BIBLIOGRAPHY Budge,E.A.Wallis. The Gods of AncientEgypt,New York. DoverPublications Inc. lons, Veronica. Egvptian Mythology, London, HamlynPublishing GroupLtd.

DID YOU KNOW? "Although the word ba is usually translated as 'soul' or 'spirit,' ... for the ancient Egyptian of New Kingdom and later times, the ba was a spiritual aspect of the human being which survived - or came into being - at death, and which was imbued with the fullness of a person's personality ... This ba bird is often shown in tomb paintings and in the vignettes of funerary papyri hovering over the mummy of the deceased, or entering and leaving the tomb at will." Wilkinson,ReadingEgyptianArt.

Lurker,Manfred. The Gods and Symbolsof Ancient Egypt,London,Thamesand Hudson. Wilkinson,RichardH. ReadingEgyptianArt, London, Thamesand Hudson.

Babird (from Mertz Red Land,BlackLand)

THE D E N V E RMU S E U MOF NATURALHISTORY 2 O O 1C o l o r a d oBl vd . De n v e r ,C O 8 0 20 5

EGYPTIAN STUDY -

S OC I E TY 9DsrF

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