« PreviousContinue »
character; it is commonly known as the “ Prison Pyramid.' Of the monuments of this king in the British Museum may be mentioned a grant of land to the god Khenti Amenti of Abydos (Egyptian Vestibule, No. 74); an alabaster vase from his pyramid, inscribed with his name and titles (Wallcase 138 in the Fourth Egyptian Room, Nos. 59 and 60); and a fine breccia bull, to which the royal names and titles have been added in recent times (No. 61).
Rā-meri, or Pepi I, was probably the greatest king of this dynasty. He worked the granite quarries at Elephantine, or Syene, and in the Wâdî Hammâmât, and he established his power in the Peninsula of Sinai, where he ruled the local tribes with a strong hand. His reign was one of industrial progress; and trade and handicrafts flourished thoughout the country under his fostering care. Under the leadership of a favourite official named Unå, he despatched a very large army composed of men drawn from all parts of the Sûdân, to put down a wide-spread revolt which had broken out among the dwellers in the Eastern Desert called “the Aamu, who lived on the sand.” Una gained a decisive victory, and was promoted to very high honours. Pepi I built a pyramid at Sakkârah, the walls of the chambers and corridors of which were covered with inscriptions of a religious character ; from this comes the fine alabaster vase, inscribed with his name and titles, in Wall-case 138 in the Fourth Egyptian Room, No. 66. (For two fine “ false doors from the tomb of Qarta, a high official of Pepi I, see Egyptian Vestibule, Nos. 75, 76.)
Pepi I was succeeded by Mer-en-Rā I Tchefau(?).em-sa-f, who carried on the works begun by his father, and built a pyramid at Sakkârah, from which came the fine alabaster vase in Wall-case 138 in the Fourth Egyptian Room, No. 66. He was succeeded by Nefer-ka-Rā Pepi II, who according to tradition lived to the age of 100 years. During his reign Egypt was in a state of prosperity, and there was great activity in trade and handicrafts. At this time flourished the famous official Her-khuf, who was the master of a caravan which traded between Egypt and the Sûdân, which country ne visited four times. On the last occasion he brought back a pygmy from “the land of the Spirits," which King Pepi II bade him bring to Memphis. Detailed orders were sent to the effect that the pygmy was to be watched during the day so that he might not fall into the water, and his sleeping place was to be visited ten times each night hy properly qualified people, for, said the king : “I wish to see “him more than all the tributes of Sinai and Punt.” Other
Vestibulo-peri, wipel attac, Am
prominent traders in the Sûdân on behalf of the king at this time were Pepi-nekht, Mekhu, who died there, and whose body was brought back to Egypt by his son Sabben, etc.
Among the objects of the time of Pepi II may be mentioned a portion of a doorway made by him at Abydos, and a sepulchral stele of Nefer-Sennå, from his tomb at Denderah (Egyptian Vestibule, Nos. 77 and 78). Among the priests who ministered in the chapel attached to the pyramid of Pepi I was Heb-peri, whose stele is exhibited in the Egyptian Vestibule, No. 79. The most important monument of his reign is the mastaba tomb of Ur-åri-en-Ptah, a royal kinsman and scribe, libationer, and councillor, from Şakkârah, which has been re-built in the Assyrian Saloon (No. 80). It is a good typical example of the tomb of noblemen and high officials of the period. The painted reliefs are interesting, and are typical of the wall decorations of tombs towards the close of the VIth dynasty. The inscriptions show that both Ur-åri-en-Ptah and his wife were buried in the chamber beneath the mastaba ; the list of offerings, some go in number, is exceptionally long.
Of the last king of the VIth dynasty, Mer-en-Rā II Tchefa-em-sa-f, nothing is known.
The funerary art of this period is well illustrated by the stelae and “false doors” of: Sennu (Bay 1, No. 81), Ptahķetep, a priest (No. 82), Ertā-en-ānkh, a royal kinsman and councillor (No. 83), Uthenia, whose “ good name ” was Pená (a very interesting relief, No. 84), Áțu, a scribe and superintendent of the “Great House of the Six” (No. 85), Behenu, a priestess of Hathor (No. 88), and a portion of a slab from the roof of a tomb, with Rutings, which are probably intended to represent tree trunks (No. 90). All these, with the exception of No. 81, are in the Egyptian Vestibule. To this period also probably belong the libation tanks, and tablet for offerings of Antkes, Khart-en-Khennu, and Senb (Bay 14, Nos. 93-95).
Besides the larger remains of this period, the scarabs in the Table-cases in the Fourth Egyptian Room should be examined, Several of them are inscribed with names of the kings of the first six dynasties, but it is not certain how many, or if any, of such scarabs are contemporaneous, and for this reason they have not been described in the preceding paragraphs. On the other hand, of the fine collection of scarabs of officials, inscribed with their titles, scores certainly belong to the period of the first half of the
Ancient Empire, and are of the greatest interest and historical value.
The monuments prove that between the IVth and VIth dynasties the Egyptians lived in a state of serfdom, and that they regarded their king as the owner of both their souls and bodies. He was the very essence of God in human form upon earth, and his power was absolute; even in the Other World his authority was held to be equal to that of the great gods of the dead. The Pharaohs of this period were masters of the Peninsula of Sinai, and of the Eastern Desert between Egypt and the Red Sea ; and the memory of the raid which Seneferu made in the Sûdân probably induced the warlike tribes of that country to permit Egyptian caravans to pass from Syene to the Blue and White Niles unmolested.
At the close of the VIth dynasty a period of general disorder appears to have set in, the chiefs of cities such as Suten-henen (Herakleopolis), Asyât and Thebes contending among themselves for supremacy. Of the history of this period nothing is known. According to Manetho (version of Africanus) we have :
Seventh Dynasty. From Memphis.
Seventy kings in seventy days.
Eighth Dynasty. From Memphis.
Twenty-seven kings in 146 years.
The Tablet of Abydos supplies after Neter-ka-Rā, the name of the last king of the VIth dynasty, the following sixteen names, which represent, presumably, the kings of the VIIIth dynasty :1. Men-ka-Rā.
9. Nefer-ka-Ra Tererl. 2. Nefer-ka-Rā.
10. Nefer-ka-Heru. 3. Nefer-ka-Rā Nebi. II. Nefer-ka-Rā Pepi senb. 4. Țet-ka-Rā ...... 12. Senefer-ka Annu. 5. Nefer-ka-Rā Khențu. 13. .... kau-Rā. 6. Mer-en-Heru.
14. Nefer-kau-Rā. 7. Senefer-ka.
15. Nefer-kau-Heru. 8. N-ka-Rā.
Under the rule of these kings the princes of Herakleopolis succeeded in gaining their independence, and thus the seat of the government of Egypt was removed from Memphis up the river to Suten-henen, the modern Ahnâs, about 60 miles south of Cairo.
The Turin Papyrus contains a series of fragmentary names, which may represent those of the kings of one or the other of these dynasties; the fourth of these is Khati, whose name is also found on a rock in the First Cataract, and on a bronze bowl in the Museum of the Louvre in Paris.
Among the kings of the Tenth Dynasty may be placed king Ka-meri-Rā, in whose reign lived Khati, prince of Siut, or Asyût. About this time war appears to have been going on between the princes of Herakleopolis and the princes of Thebes, and the prince of Siut sent troops to support the Herakleopolitans against the Thebans. For a time the Thebans were beaten, but at length they gained the mastery over the princes of the North, and founded a new dynasty.
Of the period represented by dynasties VII-X there are no monuments in the British Museum, with perhaps the exception of a few scarabs.
Slitans agai but at length the bed a new dynas
Eleventh Dynasty. From Thebes.
About B.C. 2600.
The founder of this dynasty was, most probably, Antefá, a local chief of the Thebaïd, whose titles were ERPA O and HA , and “great prince of the nome of the Thebaïd, "the satisfier of the heart of the king, the controller of the “Gates of the Cataract, the support of the South, making “the two banks of the Nile to live, chief of the Priests, the " loyal servant of the Great God, the Lord of Heaven.” He was probably succeeded by two or three chiefs of similar 210
MENTHU-HETEP'S TEMPLE AT DÊR AL-BALLARI.
name who made no claim to the sovereignty of the Northern Kingdom, which was then in the hands of the princes of Herakleopolis. The first of Antefa's successors who claimed to be “King of the South and of the North,” and “Lord of the two Lands," i.e., all Egypt, was Uah-ankh Åntef-āa, who was succeeded by Nekht-neb-tep-nefer Antef, and he was followed by Sānkh-ab-taui Menthu-ḥetep I. These facts are derived from the important stele of Antef, a priestly official, which is exhibited in the Northern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 4, No. 99 (see Plate XXII). Among the officials who flourished in the reign of Uah-Antef and his son was Thetha, whose sepulchral stele, inscribed with a biographical notice, is exhibited in the same Bay (No. 100). From his tomb also came the inscription which formed the façade No. 101), and the reliefs (Nos. 102, 103), on which are represented inembers of the family of the deceased bearing offerings. The order of the remaining kings of the dynasty is doubtful. Several of them were called Menthu-ḥetep, and they may be distinguished by their prenomens thus :
No. 101), a members of the remaining kich. Mer
S-ānkh-ka-Rā Menthu-hetep. The first of these kings, Neb-hapt-Rā Menthu-hetep, probably Menthu-hetep II, appears to have been an able ruler, who reigned for about 46 years. He was a great warrior, and established his authority from one end of Egypt to the other. Among his other achievements was the pacifying of the Aamu, or the tribes of the Eastern Desert and Sinai. He built a fine temple at Dêr al-Bahari, the remains of which have been recently discovered and excavated. This building is unique in being associated with a pyramidtomb. The fragments of the painted limestone reliefs which have been found among its ruins lack nothing in finish, fidelity to nature, and execution, whilst in design and general treatment they may be compared with some of the best funerary reliefs of the Vth dynasty. In the Northern Gallery, Bay 3, an interesting collection of such fragments is exhibited, and worthy of note are: Head of a painted limestone statue of Neb-hapt-Rā Menthu-hetep, wearing the crown of the South (No. 104); portion of a painted relief, with a figure of the king being embraced by
This builof which haveta fine to