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Who was behind the murder of King Teti? (6th dynasty)

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:29 pm    Post subject: Who was behind the murder of King Teti? (6th dynasty) Reply with quote

We talked about this is the thread about Queen Nitocris, but I found some intriguing info. Some of these people put the nasty in dynasty I think...

Miroslav Verner mentions an inscription on a basalt sarcophagus cover of Queen Ankehenpepi IV. She was a wife of Pepi II, and must have been married to him much later in his reign. She may have died during the First Intermediate period and was buried in a store room of Queen Iput II, who was also a Queen of Pepi II.

When the cover was originally found the inscriptions seemed uninterpretable and unreadable, but using modern photographic techniques Baud and Dobrev were able to recently reconstruct and read part of the inscriptions.

Quote:
Although explicit proof is lacking in the text, the context provided by the extant parts of the inscription seem to indicate that at the beginning of the Sixth Dynasty Userkare sis in fact rule (for about 4 years?). During Pepi I's reign Userkare was condemned to damnatio memoriae, and this may have had to do with the rumor reported by Manetho that King Teti had been murdered by his own guard. Among other things, the inscription suggests that the discovery of the blocks from the destroyed building of Queen Shesheshet, Teti's mother, should be seen in the context of the strife-torn climate of that time.


I find it interesting that Dodson/Hilton list Shesheshet as the possible mother of Teti. There is also a Princess Shesheshet who is a daughter of King Unas.

We know that Teti married Iput I, a daughter of Unas.
It would make more sense for the story if Sesheshet was not Teti's mother but another wife of his. In this case Teti would have married two sisters, and Sesheshet managed to have her husband murdered and put her son Userkare on the throne. Sesheshet is listed as a King's mother and that would then refer to Userkare.

Iput must have rallied some powerful people around her. I wonder if that is the reason Iput's son Pepi I was married to not one daughter of a powerful noble named Khui, but two. And Djau was made Vizier. Was this maybe the price for getting the throne for Pepi I.

The core of Pepi I's pyramid does contain blocks with the name of Queen Sesheshet. It appears that these relief blocks were deliberately damaged. Maybe part of her punishment? If she is the Queen referred to in the inscriptions of the official Uni, then we would expect her to have been punished.

Heard anything more about the inscriptions on Ankhesenpepi IV's sarcophagus cover? It's mentioned on touregypt, but no details are given.
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Charly
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting book concerning conspiracies against the king is Naguib Kanawati's Conspiracies in the Egyptian Palace, London, 2003.
It covers the period from Unis to Pepi I. The author however doesn't speculate about the identity of the queen mentionned in the tomb of the official Uni.
Hawass identifies this queen as Weret-yamtes in his book Silent Images. Since her tomb hasn't been identified yet (destoyed under Pepi I?), she is a possible candidate.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. The book by Kanawati looks interesting.
I think he is an egyptologist with the Australian Univ who recently found the mummies with the beaded nets behind a door in a 6th dynasty tomb.

Amazon.com comes up with quite a few interesting books by him. (But that's an aside).

Interesting that Hawass thinks it refers to Queen Weret-yamtes. Does he by any chance speculate on what she did?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawass suggests that the queen could have been accused of adultry or was caught conspiring against the king or the crown prince. But since no charges are mentionned in the Uni text, it all remains speculation.

Strange though is the quote he gives from the Uni text: " When there was a secret charge in the royal harem against Queen Weret-yamtes, his majesty made me go in to hear (it) alone".
According to Kanawati the queen is never mentionned by name; I guess Hawass made a mistake here by presenting speculation as a fact.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also thought Conspiracies in the Egyptian Palace sounded interesting, so I went to Amazon to check it out.

$104.00

Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised

After I used a defibrillator to restart my heart and picked myself off the floor, I rechecked the price, thinking surely I was wrong. I was not. What makes this book worth $104.00!

I should really use the library more often. Unfortunately, I'm one of those who makes frequent notes within the margins of books, and the library typically frowns on that. All of Kanawati's books seem rather overpriced, but The Tomb and Beyond: Burial Customs of the Egyptian Officials personally interests me. I'm not above paying $60 for a book.

But $104 scares me. I'll have to keep that defibrillator handy if I come across any more of Kanawati's books.
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Charly
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anneke wrote:
Quote:
The core of Pepi I's pyramid does contain blocks with the name of Queen Sesheshet.


The presence of the blocks in Pepi I's pyramid is attributed to Middle Kingdom restorations (according to Stadelmann, Baud / Dobrev,...). For these restorations not only mudbrick was used but also limestone blocks from surrounding tombs. Pepi I would have had no reason to destroy a building belonging to his grandmother (the available evidence suggests that Queen Sesheshet was indeed Teti's mother).
Other researchers (Seipel, Munro, Jánosi,...) believe(d) that some of the blocks belonged to the destroyed tomb of the mother of Userkare since another queen's name has been partialy retrieved: Khentet[...]. However, this theory fails to explain the presence of the blocks naming Queen Sesheshet.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The presence of the blocks in Pepi I's pyramid is attributed to Middle Kingdom restorations (according to Stadelmann, Baud / Dobrev,...).


On the south side of the pyramid of Pepi I, the French mission in 1993 found an inscription on behalf of Khaemwaset, High Priest of Memphis and son of Ramesses II--and the great New Kingdom restorer of monuments that were ancient by his own time.

The inscription testifies that this pyramid is one of the Saqqara necropolis monuments restored by the prince. No doubt some of the anomalous blocks found within the ruins of the pyramid got there because of Khaemwaset's work. And while people like the prince were restoring monuments in the Saqqara necropolis of the New Kingdom, others were helping themselves to the stones of much older tombs in the construction of their own monuments.

Quote:
(the available evidence suggests that Queen Sesheshet was indeed Teti's mother).


This is the general consensus, though evidence has yet to be found to enable anyone to clarify it beyond a suggestion, as you said. In their new book, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt (Thames & Hudson, 2004), Dodson and Hilton follow the same theory. It doesn't get much newer than that, but still there isn't quite enough out there to determine exactly how Sesheshet A was related to Teti. This was a rather turbulent time in Egypt--as the Old Kingdom waned and the chaos of the First Intermediate Period grew near--and there are lots of questions still to be answered about the lineages and relations of the royal families.

Then again, if all the questions were answered, ancient Egypt would not be so fascinating to us. Wink
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The book Charly mentions does say that there is evidence of something "afoot" at the end of Teti's reign. There's no mention by name of any Queen, but there are three tombs where the figure and the name of the owner are erased:
Hesi - the Vizier
Mereri - the Overseer of the Weapons
Seankhhuiptah - the Chief Physician.

There are also quite a few tombs where parts of the tomb owners bodies are mutilated or names are erased. Five of these were guards in service to the King.

The author mentions that the treatment of the tombs of Hesi, Mereri and Seankhhuiptah is not unlikely to have accompanied a death sentence.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are also quite a few tombs where parts of the tomb owners bodies are mutilated or names are erased. Five of these were guards in service to the King.


Has anyone been able to determine that the mutilation was caused by anyone other than tomb robbers? The erasure of names is telling, but in the commissions of their crimes tomb robbers were not typically kind to mummies.



Poor, poor Nefertiti-wannabe. Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mutilation of the bodies I referred to was in the inscriptions. I don't think the bodies if these disgraced individuals were actually found.

The treatment of these people in the inscriptions varies from having their name erased and their images completely removed to having for instance their eyes removed in the inscriptions and possibly their hands and feet hacked of.

The author wonders if the people who were erased may have been put to death, and these courtiers who were not erased but mutilated may have suffered similar punishment in real life. Rather a gruesome idea if you ask me. They would have either been blinded or had some limbs removed (or both).

I also found it interesting that some of the tombs were reassigned to women. I know that women seem to have been held in high regard during this time period, but somehow having your tomb given to a woman may have added insult to injury???
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The author wonders if the people who were erased may have been put to death, and these courtiers who were not erased but mutilated may have suffered similar punishment in real life. Rather a gruesome idea if you ask me. They would have either been blinded or had some limbs removed (or both).


This would certainly be an effective means of destroying a person's potency in the afterlife. As we all know, hacking off hands or feet would render them crippled, hacking out eyes would make them blind, and hacking off ears would turn them deaf. I can think of other things to hack off, but that would be just mean... Twisted Evil

This reminds me in a way of the practice of deliberately miscarving certain animals and creatures (e.g., vipers or snakes) to make them incomplete in reliefs. The Egyptians seemed to have sincerely believed that it was possible for these dangerous animals to leap off the walls and cause harm to the tomb owner, for instance, so it was best to cut a viper in half or show only a portion of a crocodile.

Of course, they could have simply carved these critters so that they were penned in cages. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your comments evoke images of defanged vipers and toothless crocodiles Laughing

On a more serious note: Given thier belief system, these were rather serious punishments. Somehow it would have been better to have your limbs amputated in real life and leave the reliefs intact than the other way around.

The descriptions of the mutilations of the reliefs paints a picture of a quite systematic persecution. These people had their images removed not only in their own tomb, but also in the tombs of others.

I think it's Mereruka's tomb where several retainers were removed from the inscriptions. The same happened in other tombs. The main occupant was left alone, but either sons or retainers were systematically purged.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The descriptions of the mutilations of the reliefs paints a picture of a quite systematic persecution. These people had their images removed not only in their own tomb, but also in the tombs of others.


Clearly the attempt was being made to ensure that these criminals would be destroyed both physically and spiritually. However they died--execution or sent off to the Kushite mines to be worked to death--the authorities wanted to be sure there would be no afterlife waiting for them.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charly wrote:
Hawass suggests that the queen could have been accused of adultry or was caught conspiring against the king or the crown prince. But since no charges are mentionned in the Uni text, it all remains speculation.

Strange though is the quote he gives from the Uni text: " When there was a secret charge in the royal harem against Queen Weret-yamtes, his majesty made me go in to hear (it) alone".
According to Kanawati the queen is never mentionned by name; I guess Hawass made a mistake here by presenting speculation as a fact.


I noticed that a translation of the Uni text on nefertiti.iwebland refers to the lady as "Queen, Imtes".

I can't remember where I saw this (may be Kanawati), but sometimes the Queen is referred to as "Great of Sceptre", which is just a Queenly title.
I wonder if the text is ambiguous in that the reference to the Queen could be either a title or a name?

The "Great of Sceptre" title reads as weret-hetes (wrt hts).
Not sure how close that is in hieroglyphics to Weret-Imtes.
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