Attention has already been called to the very great importance
of the autobiographies of the military and administrative
officials of the Pharaohs, and a selection of them
must now be given. They are, in many cases, the only
sources of information which we possess about certain wars
and about the social conditions of the periods during which
they were composed, and they often describe events about
which official Egyptian history is altogether silent. Most of
these autobiographies are found cut upon the walls of tombs,
and, though according to modern notions their writers may
seem to have been very conceited, and their language exaggerated
and bombastic, the inscriptions bear throughout
the impress of truth, and the facts recorded in them have
therefore especial value. The narratives are usually simple
and clear, and as long as they deal with matters of fact they
are easily understood, but when the writers describe their
own personal characters and their moral excellences their
meaning is sometimes not plain. Such autobiographies are
sometimes very useful in settling the chronology of a doubtful
period of history, and as an example of such may be
quoted the autobiography of Ptah-shepses, preserved in the
British Museum. This distinguished man was born in the
reign of Menkaurā, the builder of the Third Pyramid at
Gīzah, and he was educated with the king's children, being
a great favourite of the king himself. The next king, Shepseskaf,
gave him to wife Maātkhā, his eldest daughter, in
order to keep him about the Court. Under the succeeding
kings Userkaf and Sahurā he was advanced to great honour,
and he became so great a favourite of the next king, Neferari-karā,
that he was allowed to kiss the king's foot instead of
the ground on which it rested when he did homage. He
was promoted to further honours by the next king, Neferefrā,
and he lived to see Userenrā ascend the throne. Thus Ptah-shepses
lived under eight kings, and his inscription makes
it possible to arrange their reigns in correct chronological
This inscription was found cut in hieroglyphs upon a slab of limestone fixed in Una's tomb at Abydos; it is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It reads:
The Duke, the Governor of the South, the judge belonging to Nekhen, prince of Nekheb, the smer uat vassal of Osiris Khenti Amenti, Una, saith: "I was a child girded with a girdle under the Majesty of King Teta. My rank was that of overseer of tillage (?), and I was deputy inspector of the estates of Pharaoh.... I was chief of the teb chamber under the Majesty of Pepi. His Majesty gave me the rank of smer and deputy priest of his pyramid—town. Whilst I held the rank of ... His Majesty made me a 'judge belonging to Nekhen.' His heart was more satisfied with me than with any other of his servants. Alone I heard every kind of private case, there being with me only the Chief Justice and the Governor of the town ... in the name of the king, of the royal household, and of the Six Great Houses. The heart of the king was more satisfied with me than with any other of his high officials, or any of his nobles, or any of his servants. I asked the Majesty of [my] Lord to permit a white stone sarcophagus to be brought for me from Raau. His Majesty made the keeper of the royal seal, assisted by a body of workmen, bring this sarcophagus over from Raau in a barge, and he came bringing with it in a large boat, which was the property of the king, the cover of the sarcophagus, the slabs for the door, and the slabs for the setting of the stele, and a pair of stands for censers (?), and a tablet for offerings. Never before was the like of this done for any servant. [He did this for me] because I was perfect in the heart of His Majesty, because I was acceptable to the heart of His Majesty, and because the heart of His Majesty was satisfied with me.
 On the east bank, opposite Memphis,
"Behold, I was 'judge belonging to Nekhen' when His Majesty made me a smer uāt, and overseer of the estates of Pharaoh, and ... of the four overseers of the estate of Pharaoh who were there. I performed my duties in such a way as to secure His Majesty's approval, both when the Court was in residence and when it was travelling, and in appointing officials for duty. I acted in such a way that His Majesty praised me for my work above everything. During the secret inquiry which was made in the king's household concerning the Chief Wife Amtes, His Majesty made me enter to hear the case by myself. There was no Chief Justice there, and no Town Governor, and no nobleman, only myself, and this was because I was able and acceptable to the heart of His Majesty, and because the heart of His Majesty was filled with me. I did the case into writing, I alone, with only one judge belonging to Nekhen, and yet my rank was only that of overseer of the estates of Pharaoh. Never before did a man of my rank hear the case of a secret of the royal household, and His Majesty only made me hear it because I was more perfect to the heart of His Majesty than any officer of his, or any nobleman of his, or any servant of his.
"His Majesty had to put down a revolt of the Āamu dwellers on the sand. His Majesty collected an army of many thousands strong in the South everywhere, beyond Abu (Elephantine) and northwards of Aphroditopolis, in the Northland (Delta) everywhere, in both halves of the region, in Setcher, and in the towns like Setcher, in Arthet of the Blacks, in Matcha of the Blacks, in Amam of the Blacks, in Uauat of the Blacks, in Kaau of the Blacks, and in the Land of Themeh. His Majesty sent me at the head of this army. Behold, the dukes, the royal seal-bearers, the smer uats of the palace, the chiefs, the governors of the forts (?) of the South and the North, the smeru, the masters of caravans, the overseers of the priests of the South and North, and the overseers of the stewards, were commanding companies of the South and the North, and of the forts and towns which they ruled, and of the Blacks of these countries, but it was I who planned tactics for them, although my rank was only that of an overseer of the estates of Pharaoh of.... No one quarrelled with his fellow, no one stole the food or the sandals of the man on the road, no one stole bread from any town, and no one stole a goat from any encampment of people. I despatched them from North Island, the gate of Ihetep, the Uārt of Heru-neb-Maāt. Having this rank ... I investigated (?) each of these companies (or regiments); never had any servant investigated (?) companies in this way before. This army returned in peace, having raided the Land of the dwellers on sand. This army returned in peace, having thrown down the fortresses thereof. This army returned in peace, having cut down its fig-trees and vines. This army returned in peace, having set fire [to the temples] of all its gods. This army returned in peace, having slain the soldiers there in many tens of thousands. This army returned in peace, bringing back with it vast numbers of the fighting men thereof as living prisoners. His Majesty praised me for this exceedingly. His Majesty sent me to lead this army five times, to raid the Land of the dwellers on sand, whensoever they rebelled with these companies. I acted in such a way that His Majesty praised me exceedingly. When it was reported that there was a revolt among the wild desert tribes of the Land of Shert ... I set out with these warriors in large transports, and sailed until I reached the end of the high land of Thest, to the north of the Land of the dwellers on sand, and when I had led the army up I advanced and attacked the whole body of them, and I slew every rebel among them.
 i.e. the nomads on the Marches of the Eastern Desert.
 A part of Syria (?).
"I was the ... of the Palace, and bearer of the [royal] sandals, when His Majesty the King of the South and North, Merenrā, my ever living Lord, made me Duke and Governor of the South land beyond Abu (Elephantine) and of the district north of Aphroditopolis, because I was perfect to the heart of His Majesty, because I was acceptable to the heart of His Majesty, and because the heart of His Majesty was satisfied with me. I was ... [of the Palace], and sandal-bearer when His Majesty praised me for displaying more watchfulness (or attention) at Court in respect of the appointment of officials for duty than any of his princes, or nobles, or servants. Never before was this rank bestowed on any servant. I performed the duties of Governor of the South to the satisfaction [of every one]. No one complained of (or quarrelled with) his neighbour; I carried out work of every kind. I counted everything that was due to the Palace in the South twice, and all the labour that was due to the Palace in the South I counted twice. I served the office of Prince, ruling as a Prince ought to rule in the South; the like of this was never before done in the South. I acted in such a way that His Majesty praised me for it. His Majesty sent me to the Land of Abhat to bring back a sarcophagus, "the lord of the living one," with its cover, and a beautiful and magnificent pyramidion for the Queen's pyramid [which is called] Khānefer Merenrā. His Majesty sent me to Abu to bring back a granite door and its table for offerings, with slabs of granite for the stele door and its framework, and to bring back granite doors and tables for offerings for the upper room in the Queen's pyramid, Khānefer Merenrā. I sailed down the Nile to the pyramid Khānefer Merenrā with six lighters, and three barges, and three floats(?), accompanied by one war boat. Never before had any [official] visited Abhat and Abu with [only] one war boat since kings have reigned. Whensoever His Majesty gave an order for anything to be done I carried it out thoroughly according to the order which His Majesty gave concerning it.
"His Majesty sent me to Het-nub to bring back a great table for offerings of rutt stone (quartzite sandstone?) of Het-nub. I made this table for offerings reach him in seventeen days. It was quarried in Het-nub, and I caused it to float down the river in a lighter. I cut out the planks for him in acacia wood, sixty cubits long and thirty cubits broad; they were put together in seventeen days in the third month (May-June) of the Summer Season. Behold, though there was no water in the basins (?) it arrived at the pyramid Khānefer Merenrā in peace. I performed the work throughout in accordance with the order which the Majesty of my Lord had given to me. His Majesty sent me to excavate five canals in the South, and to make three lighters, and four barges of the acacia wood of Uauat. Behold, the governors of Arthet, Uauat, and Matcha brought the wood for them, and I finished the whole of the work in one year. [When] they were floated they were loaded with huge slabs of granite for the pyramid Khānefer Merenrā; moreover, all of them were passed through these five canals ... because I ascribed more majesty, and praise (?), and worship to the Souls of the King of the South and North, Merenrā, the ever living, than to any of the gods.... I carried out everything according to the order which his divine Ka gave me.
"I was a person who was beloved by his father, and praised by his mother, and gracious to his brethren, I the Duke, a real Governor of the South, the vassal of Osiris, Una."
 i.e. his title was not honorary.
This inscription is cut in hieroglyphs upon a slab of stone, which was originally in the tomb of Herkhuf at Aswân, and is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and upon parts of the walls of his tomb. Herkhuf was a Duke, a smer uat, a Kher-heb priest, a judge belonging to Nekhen, the Lord of Nekheb, a bearer of the royal seal, the shēkh of the caravans, and an administrator of very high rank in the South. All these titles, and the following lines, together with prayers for offerings, are cut above the door of his tomb. He says:
"I came this day from my town. I descended from my nome. I builded a house and set up doors. I dug a lake and I planted sycamore trees. The King praised me. My father made a will in my favour. I am perfect.... [I am a person] who is beloved by his father, praised by his mother, whom all his brethren loved. I gave bread to the hungry man, raiment to the naked, and him who had no boat I ferried over the river. O ye living men and women who are on the earth, who shall pass by this tomb in sailing down or up the river, and who shall say, 'A thousand bread-cakes and a thousand vessels of beer to the lord of this tomb,' I will offer them for you in Khert Nefer (the Other World). I am a perfect spirit, equipped [with spells], and a Kher-heb priest whose mouth hath knowledge. If any young man shall come into this tomb as if it were his own property I will seize him like a goose, and the Great God shall pass judgment on him for it. I was a man who spoke what was good, and repeated what was loved. I never uttered any evil word concerning servants to a man of power, for I wished that I might stand well with the Great God. I never gave a decision in a dispute between brothers which had the effect of robbing a son of the property of his father."
Herkhuf, the Duke, the smer uat, the chamberlain, the Judge belonging to Nekhen, the Lord of Nekheb, bearer of the royal seal, the smer uat, the Kher-heb priest, the governor of the caravans, the member of council for the affairs of the South, the beloved of his Lord, Herkhuf, who bringeth the things of every desert to his Lord, who bringeth the offering of royal apparel, governor of the countries of the South, who setteth the fear of Horus in the lands, who doeth what his lord applaudeth, the vassal of Ptah-seker, saith:
 Some titles are here repeated.
"His Majesty Merenrā, my Lord, sent me with my father Ara, the smer uat and Kher-heb priest, to the land of Amam to open up a road into this country. I performed the journey in seven months. I brought back gifts of all kinds from that place, making beautiful the region (?); there was very great praise to me for it. His Majesty sent me a second time by myself. I started on the road of Abu (Elephantine), I came back from Arthet, Mekher, Terres, Artheth, in a period of eight months. I came back and I brought very large quantities of offerings from this country. Never were brought such things to this land. I came back from the house of the Chief of Setu and Arthet, having opened up these countries. Never before had any smer or governor of the caravan who had appeared in the country of Amam opened up a road. Moreover, His Majesty sent me a third time to Amam. I started from ... on the Uhat road, and I found the Governor of Amam was then marching against the Land of Themeh, to fight the Themeh, in the western corner of the sky. I set out after him to the Land of Themeh, and made him to keep the peace, whereupon he praised all the gods for the King (of Egypt). [Here follow some broken lines.] I came back from Amam with three hundred asses laden with incense, ebony, heknu, grain, panther skins, ivory, ... boomerangs, and valuable products of every kind. When the Chief of Arthet, Setu, and Uauat saw the strength and great number of the warriors of Amam who had come back with me to the Palace, and the soldiers who had been sent with me, this chief brought out and gave to me bulls, and sheep, and goats. And he guided me on the roads of the plains of Arthet, because I was more perfect, and more watchful (or alert) than any other smer or governor of a caravan who had ever been despatched to Amam. And when the servant (i.e. Herkhuf) was sailing down the river to the capital (or Court) the king made the duke, the smer uat, the overseer of the bath, Khuna (or Una) sail up the river with boats loaded with date wine, mesuq cakes, bread-cakes, and beer."
 Herkhuf's titles are here repeated.
Herkhuf made a fourth journey into the Sūdān, and when
he came back he reported his successes to the new king,
Pepi II, and told him that among other remarkable things
he had brought back from Amam a dancing dwarf, or pygmy.
The king then wrote a letter to Herkhuf and asked him to
send the dwarf to him in Memphis. The text of this letter
Herkhuf had cut on the front of his tomb, and it reads thus:
Royal seal. The fifteenth day of the third month of the
Season Akhet (Sept.-Oct.) of the second year. Royal
despatch to the smer uat, the Kher-heb priest, the governor
of the caravan, Herkhuf. I have understood the words of
this letter which thou hast made to the king in his chamber
to make him to know that thou hast returned in peace from
Amam, together with the soldiers who were with thee. Thou
sayest in this thy letter that there have been brought back
by thee great and beautiful offerings of all kinds, which
Hathor, the Lady of Ammaau, hath given to the divine Ka
of the King of the South and North, Neferkarā, the everliving,
for ever. Thou sayest in this thy letter that there
hath been brought back by thee [also] a pygmy (or dwarf)
who can dance the dance of the god, from the Land of the
Spirits, like the pygmy whom the seal-bearer of the god
Baurtet brought back from Punt in the time of Assa. Thou
sayest to [my] Majesty, "The like of him hath never been
brought back by any other person who hath visited Amam."
Behold, every year thou performest what thy Lord wisheth
and praiseth. Behold, thou passest thy days and thy nights
meditating about doing what thy Lord ordereth, and wisheth,
and praiseth. And His Majesty will confer on thee so many
splendid honours, which shall give renown to thy grandson
for ever, that all the people shall say when they have heard
what [my] Majesty hath done for thee, "Was there ever
anything like this that hath been done for the smer uat
Herkhuf when he came back from Amam because of the
sagacity (or attention) which he displayed in doing what
his Lord commanded, and wished for, and praised?" Come
down the river at once to the Capital. Bring with thee this
pygmy whom thou hast brought from the Land of the
Spirits, alive, strong, and healthy, to dance the dance of the
god, and to cheer and gratify the heart of the King of
the South and North, Neferkarā, the everliving. When
he cometh down with thee in the boat, cause trustworthy
men to be about him on both sides of the boat, to prevent
him from falling into the water. When he is asleep at night
cause trustworthy men to sleep by his side on his bedding.
See [that he is there] ten times [each] night. [My] Majesty
wisheth to see this pygmy more than any offering of the
countries of Ba and Punt. If when thou arrivest at the
Capital, this pygmy who is with thee is alive, and strong,
and in good health, [My] Majesty will confer upon thee a
greater honour than that which was conferred upon the
bearer of the seal Baurtet in the time of Assa, and as great
is the wish of [My] Majesty to see this pygmy orders have
been brought to the smer, the overseer of the priests, the
governor of the town ... to arrange that rations for him
shall be drawn from every station of supply, and from
every temple without....
This inscription is cut in hieroglyphs on the doorposts of the tomb of Ameni at Beni-hasan in Upper Egypt. It is dated in the forty-third year of the reign of Usertsen I, a king of the twelfth dynasty, about 2400 B.C. After giving the date and a list of his titles, Ameni says:
"I followed my Lord when he sailed to the South to overthrow his enemies in the four countries of Nubia. I sailed to the south as the son of a duke, and as a bearer of the royal seal, and as a captain of the troops of the Nome of Mehetch, and as a man who took the place of his aged father, according to the favour which he enjoyed in the king's house and the love that was his at Court. I passed through Kash in sailing to the South. I set the frontier of Egypt further southwards, I brought back offerings, and the praise of me reached the skies. His Majesty set out and overthrew his enemies in the vile land of Kash. I returned, following him as an alert official. There was no loss among my soldiers. [And again] I sailed to the South to fetch gold ore for the Majesty of the King of the South, the King of the North, Kheperkarā (Usertsen I), the ever living. I sailed to the south with the Erpā and Duke, the eldest son of the king, of his body Ameni. I sailed to the south with a company of four hundred chosen men from my troops; they returned in safety, none of them having been lost. I brought back the gold which I was expected to bring, and I was praised for it in the house of the king; the prince [Ameni] praised God for me. [And again] I sailed to the south to bring back gold ore to the town of Qebti (Coptos) with the Erpā, the Duke, the governor of the town, and the chief officer of the Government, Usertsen, life, strength, health [be to him!]. I sailed to the south with a company of six hundred men, every one being a mighty man of war of the Nome of Mehetch. I returned in peace, with all my soldiers in good health (or safe), having performed everything which I had been commanded to do. I was a man who was of a conciliatory disposition, one whose love [for his fellows] was abundant, and I was a governor who loved his town. I passed [many] years as governor of the Mehetch Nome. All the works (i.e. the forced labour) due to the palace were performed under my direction. The overseers of the chiefs of the districts of the herdsmen of the Nome of Mehetch gave me three thousand bulls, together with their gear for ploughing, and I was praised because of it in the king's house every year of making [count] of the cattle. I took over all the products of their works to the king's house, and there were no liabilities against me in any house of the king. I worked the Nome of Mehetch to its farthest limit, travelling frequently [through it]. No peasant's daughter did I harm, no widow did I wrong, no field labourer did I oppress, no herdsman did I repulse. I did not seize the men of any master of five field labourers for the forced labour (corvée). There was no man in abject want during the period of my rule, and there was no man hungry in my time. When years of hunger came, I rose up and had ploughed all the fields of the Nome of Mehetch, as far as it extended to the south and to the north, [thus] keeping alive its people, and providing the food thereof, and there was no hungry man therein. I gave to the widow as to the woman who possessed a husband. I made no distinction between the elder and the younger in whatsoever I gave. When years of high Nile floods came, the lords (i.e. the producers) of wheat and barley, the lords of products of every kind, I did not cut off (or deduct) what was due on the land [from the years of low Nile floods], I Ameni, the vassal of Horus, the Smiter of the Rekhti, generous of hand, stable of feet, lacking avarice because of his love for his town, learned in traditions (?), who appeareth at the right moment, without thought of guile, the vassal of Khnemu, highly favoured in the king's house, who boweth before ambassadors, who performeth the behests of the nobles, speaker of the truth, who judgeth righteously between two litigants, free from the word of deceit, skilled in the methods of the council chamber, who discovereth the solution of a difficult question, Ameni.
 He afterwards reigned as Amenemhāt II.
 Titles of Ameni repeated.
This inscription is cut in hieroglyphs upon a large rectangular slab of limestone now preserved in the British Museum (No. 100). It belongs to the period of the eleventh dynasty, when texts of the kind are very rare, and was made in the reign of Uahānkh, or Antef. It reads:
Thetha, the servant in truth of the Horus Uahānkh, the King of the South, the King of the North, the son of Rā, Antef, the doer of beneficent acts, living like Rā for ever, beloved by him from the bottom of his heart, holder of the chief place in the house of his lord, the great noble of his heart, who knoweth the matters of the heart of his lord, who attendeth him in all his goings, one in heart with His Majesty in very truth, the leader of the great men of the house of the king, the bearer of the royal seal in the seat of confidential affairs, keeping close the counsel of his lord more than the chiefs, who maketh to rejoice the Horus (i.e. the king) through what he wisheth, the favourite of his Lord, beloved by him as the mouth of the seal, the president of the place of confidential affairs, whom his lord loveth, the mouth of the seal, the chief after the king, the vassal, saith:
I was the beloved one of his Lord, I was he with whom he was well pleased all day and every day. I passed a long period of my life [that is] years, under the Majesty of my Lord, the Horus, Uahānkh, the King of the South and North, the son of the Sun, Antef. Behold, this country was subject unto him in the south as far as Thes, and in the north as far as Abtu of Then (Abydos of This). Behold, I was in the position of body servant of his, and was an actual chief under him. He magnified me, and he made my position to be one of great prominence, and he set me in the place beloved (?) for the affairs of his heart, in his palace. Because of the singleness [of my heart] he appointed me to be a bearer of the royal seal, and the deputy of the registrary (?). [I] selected the good things of all kinds of the offerings brought to the Majesty of my Lord, from the South and from the North land whensoever a taxing was made, and I made him to rejoice at the assessment which was made everywhere throughout the country. Now His Majesty had been afraid that the tribute, which was brought to His Majesty, my Lord, from the princes who were the overlords of the Red Country (Lower Egypt), would dwindle away in this country, and he had been afraid that the same would be the case in the other countries also. He committed to me these matters, for he knew that my administration was able. I rendered to him information about them, and because of my great knowledge of affairs never did anything escape that was not replaced. I was one who lived in the heart of his Lord, in very truth, and I was a great noble after his own heart. I was as cool water and fire in the house of my Lord. The shoulders of the great ones bent [before me]. I did not thrust myself in the train of the wicked, for which men are hated. I was a lover of what was good, and a hater of what was evil. My disposition was that of one beloved in the house of my Lord. I carried out every course of action in accordance with the urgency that was in the heart of my Lord. Moreover, in the matter of every affair which His Majesty caused me to follow out, if any official obstructed me in truth I overthrew his opposition. I neither resisted his order, nor hesitated, but I carried it out in very truth. In making any computation which he ordered, I made no mistake. I did not set one thing in the place of another. I did not increase the flame of his wrath in its strength. I did not filch property from an inheritance. Moreover, as concerning all that His Majesty commanded to set before him in respect of the royal household (or harim), I kept accounts of everything which His Majesty desired, and I gave them unto him, and I made satisfactory all their statements. Because of the greatness of my knowledge nothing ever escaped me.
I made a mekha boat for my town, and a sehi boat, so that
I might attend in the train of my Lord, and I was one of the
number of the great ones on every occasion when travel or
journeying had to be performed, and I was held in great
esteem, and entreated most honourably. I provided my
own equipment from the possessions which His Majesty,
the Horus Uahānkh, the King of the South, the King of the
North, the son of the Sun, Antef, who liveth like Rā for ever,
gave unto me because of the greatness of his love for me,
until he departed in peace to his horizon (i.e. the tomb).
And when his son, that is to say, the Horus Nekhtneb-Tepnefer,
the King of the South, the King of the North, the son
of Rā, Antef, the producer of beneficent acts, who liveth
for ever like Rā, entered his house, I followed him as his
body-companion into all his beautiful places that rejoiced
[his] heart, and because of the greatness of my knowledge
there was never anything wanting (?). He committed to
me and gave into my hand every duty that had been mine
in the time of his father, and I performed it effectively under
His Majesty; no matter connected with any duty escaped
me. I lived the [remainder] of my days on the earth near
the King, and was the chief of his body-companions. I was
great and strong under His Majesty, and I performed everything
which he decreed. I was one who was pleasing to
his Lord all day and every day.
This inscription is cut in hieroglyphs on the walls of the tomb of Aahmes at Al-Kāb in Upper Egypt; this distinguished marine flourished in the reigns of the first kings of the eighteenth dynasty, about 1600 B.C. The text reads:
The captain of the transport men, Aahmes, the son of Abana, the truth-speaker, saith: O all men, I will declare unto you, and will inform you concerning the favours that were conferred upon me. Seven times was I given gold in the sight of the whole land, and likewise slaves, both male and female, and grants of land for estates to be held by me in perpetuity were also made to me. Thus the name of a man bold and brave in his deeds shall not be extinguished in this land for ever! He saith:
I passed my childhood in the town of Nekheb (Eileithyiaspolis, Al-Kāb). My father was a soldier in the army of the King of the South, the King of the North, Seqenn-Rā, whose word is truth; Baba was his name, and he was the son of Reant. I performed military service as his substitute in the ship called the Bull in the reign of the Lord of the Two Lands, Nebpehtirā (Amasis I), whose word is truth. I was at that time a youth, and was unmarried, and I slept in the shennu. Afterwards I got a house (i.e. wife) for myself, and I was drafted off to a ship, the "North" (?), because of my bravery. Then it became my lot to follow after the king, life, strength, health [be to him!], on my feet whensoever he made a journey in his chariot. The king sat down (i.e. besieged) before the city of Hetuārt (Avaris), and it was my lot whilst I was on my two feet to do a deed of bravery in the presence of His Majesty, whereupon I was made an officer in the vessel [called] Khā-em-Mennefer. The king was fighting on the arm of the river of Avaris [called] Patchetku, and I rose up and engaged in the fight, and I brought back a hand. The royal herald proclaimed the matter, and the king gave me the gift of gold [which was awarded] for bravery. The fighting was renewed at this place (i.e. Avaris), and I again joined in the fight, and I brought back a hand; and the king gave me the gift of gold [which was awarded] for bravery a second time.
 He had cut it off from a vanquished foe.
Then the king fought a battle in Egypt, to the south of this place, and I made prisoner a man and brought him back alive; I went down into the water and brought him along on the road to the town, being firmly bound, and I crossed the water with him in a boat. The royal herald proclaimed [this act], and indeed I was rewarded with a double portion of the gold [which is awarded] for bravery. Then the king captured Avaris, and I brought back prisoners from the town, one man and three women, in all four persons. His Majesty gave these to me for slaves. Then His Majesty sat down before (i.e. besieged) Sharhana in the fifth year, and captured it. I brought back from thence two persons, women, and one hand. And the king gave me the gift of gold [awarded] for bravery, as well as the two prisoners for slaves.
 The water of the arm of the Nile.
 The Syrian town mentioned in Joshua xix. 6.
Now after His Majesty had smitten the Mentiu of Satet, he sailed up the river to Khenthennefer to crush the Antiu of Sti, and His Majesty overthrew them completely, and slew very many of them. I rose up and made three prisoners, viz. two men, alive, and three hands. And the king rewarded me with a double portion of gold, and he gave me the two prisoners to be my slaves. Returning His Majesty sailed down the river. His heart was expanded with the bravery of strength, for he had [now] conquered the Lands of the South [as well as] the Lands of the North. [Then as for] Aatti, the accursed one, who came from the South, his destiny came upon him, and he perished. The gods of the South laid their hands upon him, and His Majesty found him in Thenttaāmu (?). His Majesty brought him back bound alive, and with him were all his people loaded with fetters. I captured two of the soldiers of the enemy, and I brought them back, firmly fettered, from the boat of the foe Aatti. And the king gave me five men and parcels of land, five stat [in area] in my city. This was likewise done for the sailors, one and all. Then that vanquished foe came, Tetaān (the accursed one!) was his name, and he had gathered together round about himself men with hearts hostile [to the king]. His Majesty smote him and his accursed servants, and they ceased to exist. His Majesty gave me three men and a parcel of land five stat [in area] in my town.
 Tribes of the Eastern Desert (?).
 The tribes of the Nubian Desert.
I transported the King of the South, the King of the North, Tcheserkarā (Amenhetep I), whose word is truth, when he sailed up the river to Kash (Cush, Nubia) to extend towards the south the frontiers of Egypt. His Majesty captured that accursed Anti of Nubia in the midst of his accursed bowmen; he was brought back, fettered by the neck, and they could not escape. [They were] deported, and were not allowed [to remain] upon [their] own land, and they became as if they existed not. And behold, I was at the head of our bowmen! I fought with all my strength and might, and His Majesty saw my bravery. I brought back two hands and carried them to His Majesty. And the king went and raided men, women, and cattle, and I rose up and captured a prisoner and brought him alive to His Majesty. I brought back His Majesty from Khnemet-heru, and the king gave me a gift of gold. I brought back alive two women whom I had captured in addition to those I had already carried to His Majesty, and the king appointed me to be "Āhatiu-en-Heq" (i.e. "Warrior of the Princes," or "Crown-warrior"). I transported the King of the South, the King of the North, Āakheperkarā, whose word is truth, when he sailed up the river to Khent-hen-nefer, to put down the rebellion in Khet land, and to put an end to the incursions of the people of Asemt. I fought with great bravery in his presence in the troubled water during the towing (?) of the fighting barges over the rapids(?), and the king made me the "Captain of the Transport." His Majesty, life, strength, health [be to him!] ... raged like a panther, he shot his first arrow, [which] remained in the neck of the vanquished foe ... [the enemies] were helpless before the flaming serpent on his crown; [thus] were they made in the hour of defeat and slaughter, and their slaves were brought back prisoners alive. Returning His Majesty sailed down the river having all the mountains and deserts in his hand. And that accursed Anti of Nubia was hung up head downwards, at the prow of the boat of His Majesty, and [then] placed on the ground in the Apts (i.e. Karnak). After these things the king set out on an expedition against Rethenu (Northern Syria), to avenge himself on foreign lands. His Majesty went forth against Neharina, where he found that the wretched enemy had set his warriors in battle array. His Majesty defeated them with great slaughter, and those who were captured alive and brought back by him from his wars could not be counted. And behold, I was the captain of our soldiers, and His Majesty saw my deeds of might. I brought out of the fight a chariot with its horses, and he who had been driving it was fettered prisoner inside it, and I carried them to His Majesty, who gave me a gift of gold, a twofold portion. Then I waxed old, and I arrived at a great age, and the favours [bestowed upon] me were as [many as those] at the beginning [of my life] ... a tomb in the mountain which I myself have made.
 The "Upper Pool," site unknown.
This inscription is cut in hieroglyphs upon the walls of the tomb of Aahmes at Al-Kāb in Upper Egypt. Aahmes was a contemporary of Aahmes the transport officer, and served under several of the early kings of the eighteenth dynasty. The text reads:
The Erpā, the Duke, the bearer of the seal, the man who took prisoners with his own hands, Aahmes, saith: I accompanied the King of the South, the King of the North, Nebpehtirā (Amasis I), whose word is truth, and I captured for him in Tchah (Syria) one prisoner alive and one hand. I accompanied the King of the South, the King of the North, Tcheserkarā, whose word is truth, and I captured for him in Kash (Nubia) one prisoner alive. On another occasion I captured for him three hands to the north of Aukehek. I accompanied the King of the South, the King of the North, whose word is truth, and I captured for him two prisoners alive, in addition to the three other prisoners who were alive, and who escaped (?) from me in Kash, and were not counted by me. And on another occasion I laboured for him, and I captured for him in the country of Neherina (Mesopotamia) twenty-one hands, one horse, and one chariot. I accompanied the King of the South, the King of the North, Āakheperenrā, whose word is law, and I brought away as tribute a very large number of the Shasu alive, but I did not count them. I accompanied the Kings of the South, the Kings of the North, [those great] gods, and I was with them in the countries of the South and North, and in every place where they went, namely, King Nebpehtirā (Amasis I), King Tcheserkarā (Amenhetep I), Āakheperkarā (Thothmes I), Āakheperenrā (Thothmes II), and this beneficent god Menkheperrā (Thothmes III), who is endowed with life for ever. I have reached a good old age, I have lived with kings, I have enjoyed favours under their Majesties, and affection hath been shown to me in the Palace, life, strength, health [be to them!]. The divine wife, the chief royal wife Maātkarā, whose word is truth, showed several favours to me. I held in my arms her eldest daughter, the Princess Neferurā, whose word is law, when she was a nursling, I the bearer of the royal seal, who captured my prisoners, Aahmes, who am surnamed Pen-Nekheb, did this. I was never absent from the king at the time of fighting, beginning with Nebpehtirā (Amasis I), and continuing until the reign of Menkheperrā (Thothmes III). Tcheserkarā (Amenhetep I) gave me in gold two rings, two collars, one armlet, one dagger, one fan, and one pectoral (?). Āakheperkarā (Thothmes I) gave me in gold four hand rings, four collars, one armlet, six flies, three lions, two axe-heads. Āakheperenrā gave me in gold four hand rings, six collars, three armlets (?), one plaque, and in silver two axe-heads.
 The nomads of the Syrian desert.
 The titles, King of the North, King of the South, and the words, "whose word is truth" occur with each name; they are omitted in the translation.
The autobiographies given hitherto are those of soldiers, sailors, and officials who in the performance of their duties travelled in Nubia, the Egyptian Sūdān, the Eastern Sūdān, the Red Sea Littoral, Sinai, and Western Asia. The following autobiography is that of one of the great nobles, who in the eighteenth dynasty assisted in carrying out the great building schemes of Queen Hātshepset and Thothmes III. Tehuti was an hereditary chief (erpā), and a Duke, and the Director of the Department of the Government in which all the gold and silver that were brought to Thebes as tribute were kept, and he controlled the distribution of the same in connection with the Public Works Department. The text begins with the words of praise to Amen-Rā for the life of Hātshepset and of Thothmes III, thus: "Thanks be to Amen-[Rā, the King of the Gods], and praise be to His Majesty when he riseth in the eastern sky for the life, strength, and health of the King of the South, the King of the North, Maātkarā (Hātshepset), and of the King of the South, the King of the North, Menkheperrā (Thothmes III), who are endowed with life, stability, serenity, and health like Rā for ever. I performed the office of chief mouth (i.e. director), giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the great boat of the head of the river [called] Userhatamen. It was inlaid (or overlaid) with the very best gold of the mountains, the splendour of which illumined all Egypt, and it was made by the King of the South, the King of the North, Maātkarā, in connection with the monuments which he made for his father Amen-Rā, Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, who is endowed with life like Rā for ever. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the God-house, the horizon of the god, and on the work of the great throne, which was [made] of the very best silver-gold of the mountains, and of perfect work to last for ever, which was made by Maātkarā in connection with the monuments which he made for his father Amen-Rā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the shrine (?) of Truth, the framework of the doors of which was of silver-gold, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the works of Tcheser-Tcheseru, the Temple of Millions of Years, the great doors of which were made of copper inlaid with figures in silver-gold, which was made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of Khākhut, the great sanctuary of Amen, his horizon in Amen-tet, whereof all the doors [were made] of real cedar wood inlaid (or overlaid) with bronze, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the works of the House of Amen, it shall flourish to all eternity! whereof the pavement was inlaid with blocks of gold and silver, and its beauties were like unto those of the horizon of heaven, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the great shrine, which was made of ebony from Kenset (Nubia), with a broad, high base, having steps, made of translucent alabaster [from the quarry] of Het-nub, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the works of the Great House of the god, which was plated with silver in which figures were inlaid in gold—its splendour lighted up the faces of all who beheld it—made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the great broad, high doors of the temple of Karnak, which were covered with plates of copper inlaid with figures in silver-gold, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the holy necklaces and pectorals, and on the large talismans of the great sanctuary, which were made of silver-gold and many different kinds of precious stones, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the works in connection with the two great obelisks, [each of which] was one hundred and eight cubits in height (about 162 feet) and was plated with silver-gold, the brilliance whereof filled all Egypt, made by Maātkarā, &c. I performed the office of chief mouth, giving orders. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the holy gate [called] "Amen-shefit," which was made of a single slab of copper, and of the images (?) that belonged thereto, made by Maātkarā, &c. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the altar-stands of Amen. These were made of an incalculable quantity of silver-gold, set with precious stones, by Maātkarā, &c. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the work of the store-chests, which were plated with copper and silver-gold and inlaid with precious stones, made by Maātkarā, &c. I directed the artificers who were engaged on the works of the Great Throne, and the God-house, which is built of granite and shall last like the firmly fixed pillars of the sky, made by Maātkarā, &c.
 This queen frequently ascribed to herself male attributes.
 i.e. that kind of gold which is found in its natural state alloyed with silver.
 The "Holy of Holies," the name of Hātshepset's temple at Dēr al-Baharī.
And as for the wonderful things, and all the products of all the countries, and the best of the wonderful products of Punt, which His Majesty presented to Amen, Lord of the Apts, for the life, strength, and health of His Majesty, and with which he filled the house of this holy god, for Amen had given him Egypt because he knew that he would rule it wisely (?), behold, it was I who registered them, because I was of strict integrity. My favour was permanent before [His Majesty], it never diminished, and he conferred more distinctions on me than on any other official about him, for he knew my integrity in respect of him. He knew that I carried out works, and that I covered my mouth (i.e. held my tongue) concerning the affairs of his palace. He made me the director of his palace, knowing that I was experienced in affairs. I held the seal of the Two Treasuries, and of the store of all the precious stones of every kind that were in the God-house of Amen in the Apts, which were filled up to their roofs with the tribute paid to the god. Such a thing never happened before, even from the time of the primeval god. His Majesty commanded to be made a silver-gold ... for the Great Hall of the festivals. [The metal] was weighed by the heqet measure for Amen, before all the people, and it was estimated to contain 88½ heqet measures, which were equal to 8592½ teben. It was offered to the god for the life, strength, and health of Maātkarā, the ever living. I received the sennu offerings which were made to Amen-Rā, Lord of the Apts; these things, all of them, took place in very truth, and I exaggerate not. I was vigilant, and my heart was perfect in respect of my lord, for I wish to rest in peace in the mountain of the spirit-bodies who are in the Other World (Khert-Neter). I wish my memory to be perpetuated on the earth. I wish my soul to live before the Lord of Eternity. I wish that the doorkeepers of the gates of the Tuat (Other World) may not repulse my soul, and that it may come forth at the call of him that shall lay offerings in my tomb, that it may have bread in abundance and ale in full measure, and that it may drink of the water from the source of the river. I would go in and come out like the Spirits who do what the gods wish, that my name may be held in good repute by the people who shall come in after years, and that they may praise me at the two seasons (morning and evening) when they praise the god of my city.
 The temples of Karnak and Luxor.
 The teben = 90.959 grammes.
This remarkable inscription is found on a stele which is preserved in the British Museum (No. 1027), and which was made in the ninth year of King Ptolemy Philopator Philadelphus (71 B.C.). The text opens with a prayer to all the great gods of Memphis for funerary offerings, and after a brief address to her husband's colleagues, Thaiemhetep describes in detail the principal incidents of her life, and gives the dates of her birth, death, &c., which are rarely found on the funerary stelæ of the older period. Thaiemhetep was an important member of the semi-royal, great high-priestly family of Memphis, and her funerary inscription throws much light on the theology of the Ptolemaic Period.
1. Suten-ta-hetep, may Seker-Osiris, at the head of
the House of the Ka of Seker, the great god in Rāqet; and
Hap-Asar (Serapis), at the head of Amentet, the king of the
gods, King of Eternity and Governor of everlastingness;
and Isis, the great Lady, the mother of the god, the eye of
Rā, the Lady of heaven, the mistress of all the gods; and
Nephthys, the divine sister of Horus, the 2. avenger of his
father, the great god in Rāqetit; and Anubis, who is on his
hill, the dweller in the chamber of embalmment, at the head
of the divine hall; and all the gods and goddesses who dwell
in the mountain of Amentet the beautiful of Hetkaptah
(Memphis), give the offerings that come forth at the word,
beer, and bread, and oxen, and geese, and incense, and
unguents, and suits of apparel, and good things of all kinds
upon their altars, to the Ka of 3. the Osiris, the great princess,
the one who is adorned, the woman who is in the highest
favour, the possessor of pleasantness, beautiful of body,
sweet of love in the mouth of every man, who is greatly
praised by her kinsfolk, the youthful one, excellent of disposition, always ready to speak her words of sweetness, whose counsel is excellent, Thaiemhetep, whose word (or voice) is truth, the beloved daughter of the royal kinsman, the priest of Ptah, libationer of the gods of 4. White Wall (Memphis), priest of Menu (or Amsu), the Lord of Senut (Panopolis), and of Khnemu, the Lord of Smen-Heru (Ptolemaīs), priest of Horus, the Lord of Sekhem (Letopolis), chief of the mysteries in Aat-Beqt, chief of the mysteries in Sekhem, and in It, and in Khā-Hap; the daughter of the beautiful sistrum bearer of Ptah, the great one of his South Wall, the Lord of Ānkh-taui, Herānkh, 5. she saith:
"Hail, all ye judges and all ye men of learning, and all ye high officials, and all ye nobles, and all ye people, when ye enter into this tomb, come ye, I pray, and hearken unto what befell me.
"The ninth day of the fourth month  of the season Akhet of the ninth year under the Majesty of the King of the Two Lands, the god Philopator, Philadelphus, Osiris the Young, the Son of Rā, the lord of the Crowns of the South and of the North, Ptolemy, the ever living, beloved of Ptah and Isis, 6. [was] the day whereon I was born.
"On the ... day of the third month  of the season Shemu of the twenty-third year under the Majesty of this same Lord of the Two Lands, my father gave me to wife to the priest of Ptah, the scribe of the library of divine books, the priest of the Tuat Chamber,  the libationer of the gods of the Wall, the superintendent of the priests of the gods and goddesses of the North and South, the two eyes of the King of Upper Egypt, the two ears of the King of Lower Egypt, the second of the king in raising up the Tet pillar,  the staff of the king [when] brought into the temples, 7. the Erpā in the throne chamber of Keb, the Kher-heb (precentor) in the seat of Thoth, the repeater (or herald) of the tillage of the Ram-god, who turneth aside the Utchat (sacred eye), who approacheth the Utchat by the great Ram of gold (?), who seeth the setting of the great god [who] is born when it is fettered, the Ur-kherp-hem, Pa-sher-en-Ptah, the son of a man who held like offices, Peta-Bast, whose word (or voice) is truth, born of 8. the great decorated sistrum bearer and tambourine woman of Ptah, the great one of his South Wall, the Lord of Ānkh-taui, whose word (or voice) is truth.
"And the heart of the Ur-kherp-hem rejoiced in her exceedingly. I bore to him a child three times, but I did not bear a man child besides these three daughters. And I and the Ur-kherp-hem prayed to 9. the Majesty of this holy god, who [worketh] great wonders and bestoweth happiness (?), who giveth a son to him that hath one not, and Imhetep, the son of Ptah, hearkened unto our words, and he accepted his prayers. And the Majesty of this god came unto this Ur-kherp-hem during [his] sleep, and said unto him, 10. 'Let there be built a great building in the form of a large hall [for the lord of] Ānkh-taui, in the place where his body is wrapped up (or concealed), and in return for this I will give thee a man child.' And the Ur-kherp-hem woke up out of his sleep after these [words], and he smelt the ground before this holy god. And he laid them (i.e. the words) before the priests, 11. and the chief of the mysteries, and the libationers, and the artisans of the House of Gold, at one time, and he despatched them to make the building perfect in the form of a large, splendid funerary hall. And they did everything according as he had said. And he performed the ceremony of 'Opening the Mouth' for this holy god, and he made to him a great offering of the beautiful offerings of every kind, and he bestowed upon him sculptured images 12. for the sake of this god, and he made happy their hearts with offerings of all kinds in return for this [promise].
"Then I conceived a man child, and I brought him forth on the day of the third month of the season Shemu of the sixth year, at the eighth hour of the day, under the Majesty of the Queen, the Lady of the Two Lands, Cleopatra, Life, Strength, Health [be to her!], 13. [the day] of the festival of 'things on the altar' of this holy god, Imhetep, the son of Ptah, his form being like unto that of the son of Him that is south of his wall (i.e. Ptah), great rejoicings on account of him were made by the inhabitants of White Wall (Memphis), and there were given to him his name of Imhetep and the surname of Peta-Bast, and all the people rejoiced in him. 14.
"The sixteenth day of the second month of the season Pert of the tenth year was the day on which I died. My husband, the priest and divine father of Ptah, the priest of Osiris, Lord of Rastau, the priest of the King of the South, the King of the North, the Lord of the Two Lands, Ptolemy, whose word is truth, the chief of the mysteries of the House of Ptah, the chief of the mysteries of heaven, earth, and the Other World, the chief of the mysteries of Rastau, the chief of the mysteries of Rāqet, the Ur-kherp-hem, Pa-sher-en-Ptah, placed me in Am-urtet, 15. he performed for me all the rites and ceremonies which are [performed] for the dead who are buried in a fitting manner, he had me made into a beautiful mummy, and caused me to be laid to rest in his tomb behind Rāqet.
"Hail, brother, husband, friend! O Ur-kherp-hem, cease not to drink, to eat, to drink wine, 16. to enjoy the love of women, and to pass thy days happily; follow thy heart (or desire) day and night. Set not sorrow in thy heart, for oh, are the years [which we pass] so many on the earth [that we should do this]? For Amentet is a land where black darkness cannot be pierced by the eye, and it is a place of restraint (or misery) for him that dwelleth therein. The holy ones [who are there] sleep in their forms. They wake not 17. up to look upon their friends, they see not their fathers [and] their mothers, and their heart hath no desire for their wives [and] their children. The living water of the earth is for those who are on it, stagnant water is for me. It cometh 18. to him that is upon the earth. Stagnant is the water which is for me. I know not the place wherein I am. Since I arrived at this valley of the dead I long for running water. I say, 'Let not my attendant remove the pitcher from the stream.' 19. O that one would turn my face to the north wind on the bank of the stream, and I cry out for it to cool the pain that is in my heart. He whose name is 'Arniau' calleth everyone to him, and they come to him with quaking hearts, and they are terrified through their fear of him. 20. By him is no distinction made between gods and men, with him princes are even as men of no account. His hand is not turned away from all those who love him, for he snatcheth away the babe from his mother's [breast] even as he doth the aged man. He goeth about on his way, and all men fear him, and [though] they make supplication before him, he turneth not his face away from them. Useless is it to make entreaty to him, 21. for he hearkeneth not unto him that maketh supplication unto him, and even though he shall present unto him offerings and funerary gifts of all kinds, he will not regard them.
"Hail, all ye who arrive in this funeral mountain, present ye unto me offerings, cast incense into the flame and pour out libations at every festival of Amentet."
The scribe and sculptor, the councillor, the chief of the mysteries of the House of Shent in Tenen, the priest of Horus, Imhetep, the son of the priest Khā-Hap, whose word (or voice) is truth, cut this inscription.
 These words mean, "The king gives an offering," and the formula is as old at least as the fourth dynasty. It is obvious that the king could not make a funerary gift to every one who died, but the words are always found in funerary texts down to the latest times.
 The Hall of Offerings in the tomb.
 The raising of the Tet pillar was an important ceremony, which was performed at the annual miracle-play of Osiris; it symbolised resurrection.
 This was the official title of the high-priest of Memphis.
 The great Death-god.
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