Page images
PDF
EPUB

is about 21 feet square, and the niche in the wall at the end was probably intended to hold a statue of Pakheth.

The famous Tombs of Beni-Hasan are hewn out of the living rock, and are situated high up in the mountain ; they are about thirty-nine in number, and all open on a terrace, somewhat similar to the terrace outside the tombs at Aswân. Each tomb preserves the chief characteristics of the mastăbas of Sakkara, that is to say, it consists of a hall for offerings and a shaft leading down to a corridor, which ends in the chamber containing the sarcophagus and the mummy. The tombs were hewn out of a thick layer of fine, white limestone, and the walls were partly smoothed, and then covered with a thin layer of plaster, upon which the scenes in the lives of the wealthy men who ordered them to be made might be painted. Lower down the hill are some scores of mummy pits, with small chambers attached, wherein, probably, the poorer class of people who lived near were buried. Of the 39 tombs at Beni-Hasan only twelve contain inscriptions, but it is clear from these that the men who made the necropolis there were well-born, independent, and almost feudal proprietors of the land in the neighbourhood, who filled various high offices in the city of Menāt-Khufu, which was situated not far off, and that they flourished during the XIth and XIIth dynasties. Of the twelve inscribed tombs, eight are of governors of the nome Meḥ, two are of princes of Menāt-Khufu, one is of the son of a prince, and one is of a royal scribe. The 39 tombs were divided by Lepsius into two groups, northern and southern ; in the former are 13 and in the latter 26 tombs. Six of the inscribed tombs belong to the reigns of Amenemhāt I., Usertsen I., and Usertsen II., and the other six were probably made during the rule of the kings of the XIth dynasty.

Tomb of Åmeni lan or Ámenemḥāt

Åmeni was the governor of the XVIth

No. 2.

[ocr errors]

nome of Upper Egypt, called Meḥ by the Egyptians and Antinoë by the Greeks, and he flourished in the reign of Usertsen I. He was by birth the hereditary prince of the district, and he held the rank of “ņā” or “duke," and the office of priest to various gods and goddesses ; he seems to have combined in his own person the offices of almost every high state official in the nome. Architecturally his tomb is of great interest, and it is instructive to find examples of the use of octagonal and polyhedral pillars in the same tomb; the shrine is at the east end of the hall, and two shafts, which lead to mummy chambers below, are on one side of it. The inscription shows that Ameni was buried in the 43rd year of the reign of Usertsen I., on the 15th day of the second month of the inundation, i.eu, about the end of May; the feudal lords of the nome seem to have had an epoch of their own by which to reckon, for we are told that the 43rd year of Usertsen I. was the equivalent of “year 25 of the nome of Meh.”

Ameni makes an appeal to those who visit his tomb to pray that abundant funeral offerings may be made to his ka (i.e., double), in these words :-"Oye who love life, and who hate death, say ye, Thousands of [cakes of] bread and [vessels of] beer, and thousands of oxen and feathered fowl be to the ku of the prince and duke* Ameni, triumphant.'” He then goes on to say that he went with his lord to Ethiopia on an expedition against the peoples of that land, that he set the bounds of Egyptian territory further to the south, that he brought back tribute from the conquered peoples, and that there was no loss among his soldiers. His success was so great that his praise “ascended even into the heavens," and soon afterwards he sailed up the river with 400 chosen men on a second expedition to bring back gold for his lord ; his mission was successful, and he was sent up once more, but this time with 600 men, and he returned in peace, having done all that he had been ordered to do. It is a great pity that we are not told how far south he went.

* Here follow other titles.

In the rest of the inscription Ameni tells of the excellent

way

in which he ruled the nome under his charge. He says, “I was a gracious and a compassionate man, and a ruler who loved his city. I have passed (my) years as ruler of the nome of Meḥ, and all the works of the palace came under my hand. The cattle owners of the nome gave me 3,000 of their cattle, and I received praise therefor in the palace ; at the appointed seasons I brought the proceeds of their toil to the palace, and nought remained due to him. I journeyed through the nome from one end to the other, making inspections frequently. I have never made the daughter of a poor man to grieve, I have never defrauded the widow, I have never oppressed the labourer, and I have never defrauded the owner of cattle. I have never impressed for forced labour the labourers of him who only employed five men; there was never a person in want in my time, and no one went hungry during my rule, for if years of leanness came, I [made them) to plough up all the arable land in the nome of Meḥ up to its very frontiers on the north and south [al my expense). Thus I kept its people alive and obtained for them provisions, and so there was not a hungry person among them. To the widow I gave the same amount as I gave to her that had a husband, and I made no distinction between the great and the little in all that I gave. And afterwards, when the Nile floods were high, and wheat, and barley, and all things were abundant, I made no addition to the amounts due from them."

The pictures on the walls represent the working of flint weapons, the making of bows, the making of a bier, working in metal, the making of pottery and stone vessels, the weaving of rope, ploughing, reaping, the treading of corn, the making of wine, the netting of birds and fish, musicians playing the harp and rattling the sistrum, the hunting of wild animals, games of wrestling, the attack of a fortress, the sailing of boats laden with men and women, the slaughter of the sacrificial bull, the bringing of offerings, etc. The name of Ameni's father is unknown; his mother was called Hennu 8 mm

छ ง 8 , and his son Khnemu-þetep 88

No. 3. Tomb of Khnemu-Hetep II. 55 Khnemu-hetep was the governor of the Eastern Mountains, i.e., of the land on the eastern side of the nome of Meh as far as the Arabian mountains; and he flourished in the reign of Usertsen II. He was by birth the hereditary prince of the district, and he held the rank of “ḥā” or “duke," and the office of priest to various gods and goddesses. On the door-posts and lintel of his tomb is an inscription which records his name and titles, and gives a list of the days on which funeral services are to be performed at the tomb, and offerings made. On the jambs of the doorway are two short inscriptions in which “those who love their life and who hate death,” and “those who love a long life, and would be brought to a state of fitness for heaven,” are entreated to pray that thousands of meat and drink offerings may be made to the ka of Khnemu-hetep II.

From the inscriptions it is clear that Khnemu-ḥetep II. was the son of Neħerå www 84.

4, the son of Sebek Ānkh

; his father was a feudal prince, erpa 8 and he held the rank of "hā” or “duke." The mother of

Khnemu-ḥetep was Baqet

[ocr errors]

the daughter of a

194

(அப்ப்ப 30

prince called Khnemu-ḥetep I., and of his wife Satáp, each of whom was of princely rank. His wives were called Khati

and Tchat,

he

; by the first he had four sons and three daughters, and by the second two sons and one daughter. In the great inscription of 222 lines Khnemu-ḥetep II. records his biography. After stating that he built his tomb in such wise that his name, and those of his officers, might endure in the land for ever, he goes on to tell how in the 19th year of

“Nub-kau-Rā, son of the Sun, Amen-em-ḥāt [II.],” he was made prince of the city of Menāt-Khufu, and governor of the eastern desert, and generally raised to the rank of his maternal grandfather.

Following this up, Khnemu-hetep II. tells the story of how his maternal grandfather, who seems to have been called Khnemu-ḥetep I., was made lord of MenātKhufu in the half-nome of Tut-Heru, and of the nome of M O

Se of the Sun, Amen-em-ḥāt [1.]. The maternal grandfather was succeeded by his eldest son Nekht I., the uncle of the builder of this tomb. The next section of the text tells how greatly Khnemu-ḥetep II. was honoured by his king, and how his sons Nekht II., and Khnemu-ḥetep III. were made governor of a nome, and governor of the foreign lands respectively. In the rest of the inscription Khnemu-ḥetep says that he restored the inscriptions on the tombs of his ancestors which had become defaced ; that he built a funeral chapel for himself, even as his father had done in the city of Mernefert, and made doors both for it and for the shrine within it; and that he made near it a tank of water, and made arrangements for a supply of flowers for the festivals which were celebrated in the tomb. It is

son

« PreviousContinue »