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Façade and "false door" from the tomb of Ptah-shepses, high priest of Memphis, who flourished in the reigns of Menkaura and his successors. IVth dynasty. B.M.
small pyramid, about 60 feet high, which he built at Sakkârah. Ptaḥ-hetep, the great Wazîr and author of the famous Book of Moral Precepts which bears his name, flourished in the reign of Assȧ. The walls of the two largest chambers and of two of the corridors are covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions deeply cut in the stone and inlaid with green paste. These inscriptions are of the greatest importance, for they throw much light on the manners and customs and religion of the primitive inhabitants of the country. They contain incantations and other magical texts which were to be recited for the benefit of the dead king in the Other World. Some of these were composed in the Pre-dynastic Period, and the scribes of the period found it difficult to understand them. The remainder seem to have been the work of the priests of Ra and to have been introduced into Egypt when they succeeded in establishing the cult of this foreign god in the country. The tomb of Unås is the earliest tomb that contains these texts, and it is somewhat surprising that they were not cut on the walls of the chambers and corridors of the pyramids of Khufu, Khāfrā and Menkaurā.
The Sixth Dynasty. From Memphis.
The reigns of the first two kings1 of this dynasty, Tetȧ and Userkarā Ati, were unimportant, and details of them are wanting. Tetȧ built a pyramid near that of Unàs, and it contains hieroglyphic texts of the class described above. The greatest king of the dynasty was Meri-Ra Pepi I, the Phios of Manetho, who strengthened the power of Egypt in the Sinaitic Peninsula and worked the quarries of Hammâmât, Hetnub and Elephantine. He succeeded in coming to an arrangement with the local chiefs of Elephantine, who helped him not only to obtain large quantities of granite from the quarries at Aswân, but assisted his expeditions to the South when they came to the southern frontier of Egypt. In all his affairsdomestic, military and commercial-Pepi I was assisted materially by the great soldier and statesman called Unȧ. This great man raised an army of Sûdânî men and with them fought and conquered on several occasions the confederation of nomad tribes in the Eastern Desert and in the region of the Cataracts, and so rendered his caravans safe from attack by them. Unȧ also defeated the desert tribes who lived to the north-east of the Delta and southern Palestine. The exploits and triumphs of Unȧ, which, fortunately, he has recorded in the biography that was found2 in his tomb at Abydos by Mariette, are, substantially, the history of his master's reign. The arts and crafts flourished under Pepi's rule, and the building of large tombs by priests, officials and nobles in all parts of Egypt
1 Manetho begins this dynasty with Othoes, and says that he was killed by his guards.
2 The stele on which it was inscribed is now in the Cairo Museum.
gave occupation to workers in stone and copper, etc., of all kinds. The skill of the worker in copper1 is well illustrated by the figures of the king and his son that Quibell found in pieces at Hierakonpolis and are now in the Cairo Museum. The figure of the king is over 6 feet in height, and that of his son a little more than 3 feet, and the eyes in both heads are inlaid with obsidian.
The pyramid of Pepi I is at Sakkârah, and the walls of its chambers are covered with hieroglyphic texts of a magical and religious character.
Pepi I was succeeded by his eldest son Merenrā I Meḥtiemsaf (the Menthesuphis of Manetho), whose mother was one of two sisters, each of whom was called Ankhnes-Merira, daughters of the governor of the nome of This. He came to the throne when quite young and only reigned 5 years (7 according to Manetho). His chief interest lay in developing relations with the Nubian and Sûdânî kings, about whose countries he must have heard much from Unå. On his accession he appointed this distinguished man to be governor of the South, and the relations between the Egyptian Court and the nobles of Elephantine became so cordial that Merenrā visited the Gate of the South in the last, i.e., the fifth year of his reign, and, presumably, inspected the works in the granite quarries, and received the homage of the chiefs of Matchai, Arthet and Uauat. Unȧ, having been born in the reign of Tetȧ, was superseded, probably on account of his age, by the Egyptian Herkhuf, who, with the help of the shêkhs of the caravans at Elephantine, made three journeys to the countries that lay in the Sûdân far to the south. On his last journey the gifts that he brought back for the king were so numerous that 300 asses were needed to transport them to Elephantine. Merenrā died in the fifth year of his reign and was buried in the pyramid at Şakkârah, which the natives call "Haram as-Sayyâdîn" (the Pyramid of the Hunters). The tomb was plundered in the Middle Ages, and the head of the mummy was broken off the body and the lower jaw smashed. The king's remains are in the Cairo Museum (No. 3017), in the case that contains some of the bones of Unàs.
Merenrā I was succeeded by his half-brother Neferkarā Pepi II (Phiôps) who, according to Manetho, began to reign at the age of six and died aged 100 years. Herkhuf made another journey to the Southern Sûdân, probably in the first year of the reign of Pepi II, and returned laden with the products of the South and with a pygmy from the "land of the spirits," who knew how to perform the dances of the gods of his country. When this was reported to the king he wrote a letter dated the 15th day of the third month of the first season of the second year of his reign and ordered him to bring the pygmy to his Court without delay, and he promised to give him a greater reward, if he did so, than that with which King
1 The analysis given in the official Guide (the edition of 1915, p. 85) is: copper 58.50 per cent., tin 6·557 per cent., carbonate of copper 34 per cent.
Bronze table of offerings, with its vessels complete, which was made for the Kher-heb of Abydos, called Atenå. VIth dynasty. B.M. No. 5315.
Model of a granary of the Old Kingdom; by the side of the stairway leading to the roof is a model of the guardian with his grain measure beside him. VIth dynasty. B.M. No. 21804.