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Owning towns and the people in them?

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:17 am    Post subject: Owning towns and the people in them? Reply with quote

I was jsut reading something from Breasted and something jumped out at me.

Quote:
I have not empowered any mortuary priest of the endowment, to give the land, people or [anything I have conveyed to them, for making funerary offernings to me] therewith, in payment to any person; or to give as property to any person, except that [they] shall give [it to thier children], entitled to the division of it with any mortuary priest among these mortuary priests.


This is from some testamentary enactment from an official from the time of Khafre.

It's interesting first of all that apparently officials were given entire towns to support in the endowment of their funerary offerings.

The text seems to imply that besides the towns, the people were also the property of the official, and he could give them to a mortuary priest to support his own mortuary cult.

Were these people considered serfs?

This is section 203 in Breasted's Volume 1 btw.
This is not the only text alluding to the fact that people owned entire towns.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Were these people considered serfs?


The way it's phrased in your quote, these people certainly sound like serfs. The king would often give land in payment for (or as a reward for) service, but I'd never stopped to consider the villages that might be standing on that land. Shocked These mortuary priests ("ka-priests" is also a common term) were expected to care for one's tomb in perpetuity, the father handing the responsibilities to his son who then passes the job to his son, on down in time. (That was the ideal, anyway.) So it was the responsibility of the tomb owner and his family to make certain the running of the tomb was self-sufficient, meaning the ka-priest and his descendants had the means to carry out the job in the years to come. That would require such resources as farm lands and cattle herds. Perhaps the people who occupied this land were workers or servants or serfs of the tomb owner and his family, who then signed them over to the ka-priest and his family.

But whole towns? That seems a tad excessive.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of pages before the quote I gave is a piece about a prince Nekure. He was a son of Khafre. He bequeaths to his heirs 14 towns and 2 estates in the pyramid city of his father.

Breasted mentions that besides these 14 towns, Prince Nekure had at least 12 towns (maybe 14) in the mortuary endowment of his tomb.
He mentions that it's not possible to determine if these towns belonged to the prince's estate or if they were given by the reigning king at the prince's death.

So not just a town to suppport your mortuary cult, but maybe as many as 12 or 14 Laughing

The prince's estates which he leaves to his wife and sons/daughters seem to lie all over the place, and several have "khafre" names (newly established towns???). But some are in for intance the Mendesian nome and some in the Cerastes Mountians (where ever those places may be).

In some cases the king also donated fields besides towns for the making of mortuary offerings.

it's all pretty interesting. But hard to understand exactly what's going on.
I think people had household slaves, but I didn't think they would "own" a bunch of town folk. Shocked
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it possible that many of these were towns now lost to us that were actually established by the government, along the lines of those at Giza and Akhetaten and Deir el-Medina? I'm thinking that they were set up for some express governmental purpose, such as industry or mortuary. That would make sense.

I'd have no idea what I'd do with 12 to 14 towns. Shocked I keep thinking of that Southpark episode where the "plump" kid Kartman gets an inheritence or something and uses it to buy an amusement park so he can kick out everyone else and have it all for himself. Very Happy
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
Is it possible that many of these were towns now lost to us that were actually established by the government, along the lines of those at Giza and Akhetaten and Deir el-Medina? I'm thinking that they were set up for some express governmental purpose, such as industry or mortuary. That would make sense.

I wondered about that too. It would make sense to create the cities near the places where the funerary cults were. It just made me wonder who would live there. Would they just be able to get people to move because they were able to provide them with work?

It does remind me of the mid 18th dynasty when some of the cities and settlements around the temples were populated by the men and women who were either captured during the war or were part of the tribute / impost provided.

I don't know if the old kingdom had these kinds of resources from war and tribute.

The fact that these places were named after the king also made me wonder if the settlements were created by the king. Otherwise would all the cities change names after the power went from one king to another?

"City-Khufu" is now named "City-Khafre"?

I wonder how much income 12-14 cities would generate? I kinda picture some tax being levied, but I have no evidence for that. Hmmm, will ahve to look at that....
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I wonder how much income 12-14 cities would generate? I kinda picture some tax being levied, but I have no evidence for that. Hmmm, will ahve to look at that....


Most definitely. Think of a whole town and all of its merchants...these villagers were censused and taxed for the support of the government and its concerns. If my admittedly weak theory is true and these particular villages were established by the government, it's possible housing was free and the inhabitants well provided for, but they would have shared the burden of taxation like all other Egyptians.

One can begin to see how lucrative it would be to own an entire town.

Hmmm, think I'll log onto e-bay and see if any are for sale. Very Happy
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
One can begin to see how lucrative it would be to own an entire town.

Hmmm, think I'll log onto e-bay and see if any are for sale. Very Happy


LOL Good Luck. If you succeed do we have to call you kmt-sesh, Lord of [...]?

Or will you rename the city something like "Kmt-sesh is radiant on the horizon"? Laughing

On a more serious note: I am not aware of such properties supporting mortuary cults in the later periods.

Thinking of say Maya and Meryt in Saqqara, who would have payed for their mortuary cult? Any lands bequeathed to priests? They had special lector priests who were in charge right? (They are just an example that came to mind).
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Or will you rename the city something like "Kmt-sesh is radiant on the horizon"?


Has a nice ring to it. I'll be sure to paint it on all the water towers. Very Happy

Quote:
Thinking of say Maya and Meryt in Saqqara, who would have payed for their mortuary cult? Any lands bequeathed to priests? They had special lector priests who were in charge right? (They are just an example that came to mind).


I believe Maya served as treasurer under Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemhed, right? The Maya from Martin's book? With such a long high-level career Maya must have amassed considerable wealth and the favor of the powerful people of the court, not to mention three different pharaohs. It's possible Maya alone could afford such a tomb and cult, and after his death, as was customary, Maya's eldest son (or daughter, if there was no son) would have been responsible for making certain the cult went on. Certainly lands in the family of Maya went to pay for the services of ka-priests.

And as I said, as a reward for service, Maya and people like him could be the beneficiaries of pharaoh's gratitude. Sometimes an entire tomb could be the gift of the king, more often sarcophagi or other burial equipment or a proper mummification. Tomb owners sometimes note this in inscriptions in their tombs--they want to brag about how much the king liked them. And another gift might well be land and other material resources meant to service the mortuary cult.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:

Has a nice ring to it. I'll be sure to paint it on all the water towers. Very Happy

In hieroglyphics no doubt Smile

kmt_sesh wrote:
I believe Maya served as treasurer under Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemhed, right? The Maya from Martin's book? With such a long high-level career Maya must have amassed considerable wealth and the favor of the powerful people of the court, not to mention three different pharaohs. It's possible Maya alone could afford such a tomb and cult, and after his death, as was customary, Maya's eldest son (or daughter, if there was no son) would have been responsible for making certain the cult went on. Certainly lands in the family of Maya went to pay for the services of ka-priests.

Yes, Horemheb and Maya woudl ahve been some of the few non-royals who would have had such splendid tombs. Interestingly neither had a son.

Maya's brother Nahuher officiated over the burial, but I don't remember seeing anything about the lector priests who would make sure the offerings were made. I think sometimes these priests do show up on stelas near the tomb or in the chapel.

These individuals must have been immensely wealthy.

I don't remember reading about the tombs of Maya or Horemheb being gifts. They would ahve had to be gifts of Tutankhamen I think. Which means, given Tut's youth, that the tombs of Maya and Horemheb would be gifts to themselves? Very Happy
Still makes me wonder if Aye's tomb is right around the corner...


And as I said, as a reward for service, Maya and people like him could be the beneficiaries of pharaoh's gratitude. Sometimes an entire tomb could be the gift of the king, more often sarcophagi or other burial equipment or a proper mummification. Tomb owners sometimes note this in inscriptions in their tombs--they want to brag about how much the king liked them. And another gift might well be land and other material resources meant to service the mortuary cult.[/quote]
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Last edited by anneke on Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Maya's brother Nahuher officiated over the burial, but I don't remember seeing anything about the lector priests who would make sure the offerings were made. I think sometimes these priests do show up on stelas near the tomb or in the chapel.


That's right, it would often fall to a brother to carry out the cult and see to the ka-priests. I wrote that it might fall to the eldest daughter if there was no son, but I remember now that this was very rare.

And your mention of these priests having stelae in or near the tomb sparked my memory. I can't remember which one it is in Martin's book, but one of those tombs has just such a stelae. Otherwise you don't often even see them mentioned in the tombs they serviced (it was more often the case for these priests to spell out their vocations in their own tombs).
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
And your mention of these priests having stelae in or near the tomb sparked my memory. I can't remember which one it is in Martin's book, but one of those tombs has just such a stelae. Otherwise you don't often even see them mentioned in the tombs they serviced (it was more often the case for these priests to spell out their vocations in their own tombs).


In the old kingdom it seems pretty common to mention these ka-priests in the tombs though. At least from the reading of the mastaba series there are several tombs that mention the ka-priests and some of them mention a whole bunch.
Although it's possible that these priests are acquaintances in some other way and are not mentioned because they are performing the funerary rites for the deceased.

I'll have to look at the Martin book again Smile. That book is just fun to browse through...
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Although it's possible that these priests are acquaintances in some other way and are not mentioned because they are performing the funerary rites for the deceased.


That's my take on it. I don't know that ka-priests were related to the people for whom they performed the service, though it probably happened on occasion. One might feel comforted knowing a relation is seeing to the care of his tomb and cult.

I returned to Martin's books to try to track down that ka-priest I was thinking of, and actually came up with a couple of examples. Martin uses the term "lector priest," which is kind of confusing, because every class of priests would have one of these in their group. I think "ka-priest" is a better description and narrows down the purpose of this priesthood, though lector priests certainly would have been among them. And all this person is, is a literate individual who would read from the scrolls during the rituals.

Anyway, I came across Pehefnefer in the tomb of none other than Horemheb, and one Shedamun in the tomb of Raia. Both these priests are depicted in reliefs in these tombs.
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