King Ay the Successor of Tutankhamun

 King Ay the Successor of Tutankhamun


The 18th dynasty is one of the most interesting periods in Egypt's history, having such notable kings as Akhenaten, the heretic king, and such well known kings as Tutankhamun.  Ay, who was probably an old man (at least 70) when he inherited the thrown from Tutankhamun, apparently inherited the thrown by marrying Tutankhamun's widow, Ankhesenamun. There seems to have been considerable intrigue to this marriage. This she likely did against her wishes, as Ay was probably her grandfather. Further, is would seem that she was not even regarded as a dominant wife, as paintings in his tomb usually showed Ay accompanied by Tiy, an older wife. In fact, we learn from Hittite archives that Ankhesenamun wrote to Suppiliumas, the Hittite king, requesting one of this sons for her to marry and make pharaoh. After some investigation by Suppiliumas, this request was granted, but his son, Zannanza was killed en-rout while traveling through Syria.


But evidence of Ankhesenamun's  marriage to Ay was noted by Professor Percy Newberry, who recorded a ring he found in Cairo in the 1920s with he cartouches of Ay and Ankhesenamun inscribed side by side, a typical way of indicating marriage.  This wedding must have happened rapidly, for Ay officiated at Tutankhamun's funeral as a king wearing the Blue Crown, thus enhancing his claim to the thrown. His reign was brief, believed to only have been four years. It is likely that Ankhensenamun died very shortly afterwards, for there is no mention of her beyond the Cairo ring. In fact, her image has been hacked out on several monuments, and it has been suggested that her dealings with the Hittites may have disgraced her, resulting in her death.

Ay (it-netjer) means "Father of God.  His Throne name was Kheperkheperu-re, meaning "Everlasting are the Manifestations of Re". He is first documented as a Master of Horses at the court of Akhenaten, though he was probably originally from Akhmin, where was responsible for the rock chapel to the local god, Min.  His career is fairly well documented during the reign of Akhenaten, when he rose to the position of Vizier and royal chancellor. He probably never held any priestly office prior to becoming king, however, but was instead a military man like most of the men of power during this period. He may have been related to Yuya, the father of Queen Tiye, making him the brother-in-law of Amenophis III.

We believe Ay reigned in Egypt between 1325 and 1321 BC, and was burred in Tomb KV 23 in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes), though his mummy has never been positively identified. It has been suggested that the mummy from the 1881 cache originally identified as Amenhotep III might rather be that of Ay, but this is probably doubtful. This tomb was probably originally meant for Tutankhamun.  Ay's sarcophagus was very similar to Tutankhamun's with winged goddesses at each corner. Also present, as in Tutankhamun's tomb, were decorative designs featuring the representation of the twelve monkeys, symbolizing the night hours on one of the burial chamber walls.  Totally unique to any royal tomb are beautiful bird hunting scenes.  The tomb was discovered by Belzoni in 1816.

It was probably Horenheb who succeeded Ay and who wrecked havoc in Ay's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.  When Belzoni found the tomb, the sarcophagus was in fragments and his figure was hacked out and his name excised in the wall paintings and text. Likewise, little of Ay's building projects can be identified probably because Horenheb probably usurped these as well.  In Ay's mortuary temple near Medinet Habu, he had his name inscribed on two quartzite colossi of Tutankhamun, but these too were modified by Horenheb when he took over Ay's temple complex. Ay had nominally carried on the heretic religious practices of Akhenaten, and it would be Horemheb who would put an end to this.

It should also be noted that early on, Ay began construction of one of the largest tombs at El-Amarna, containing the longer of the two surviving versions of the Hymn to the Aten.  The last decoration in Ay's el-Amarna tomb was probably created in the ninth year of Akenaten's reign. However, this tomb was later abandoned in favor of the tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

The tomb of King Ay in the Valley of the Kings

 The tomb of King Ay in the Valley of the Kings


The tomb of Ay is located in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) near the new rest house. This area is known as the West Valley, but is sometimes also called Wadi el-Gurud (Valley of the Monkeys or Baboons), because of a scene in this tomb depicting the twelve Baboon, very similar to a scene in the Tomb of Tutankhamun. In fact, this tomb may have originally been intended for Tutankhamun, but he died unexpectedly early so another, private tomb was quickly enlarged for his burial. It is very possible that both the tomb of Tutankhamun and this one were decorated by the same artists.

Ay's tomb is designated WV 23 and is a fairly simple affair as royal tombs go in the Valley of the Kings. It has a fairly straight axis, though the burial chamber is offset. Typically, tombs of this era usually had corridors that were offset from the axis, so Ay's tomb built in the 18th Dynasty seems to anticipate the stylistic attributes of the 20th Dynasty tombs. It was only recently opened to the public, after the tomb was restored However, it has no pillared halls, or even a ritual shaft, as we find in most royal tombs.

The tomb was discovered in the winter of 1816 by Belzoni who carved his name and the date on the rock at the side of the entrance.  It had been looted in antiquity, and also seems to have been the object of deliberate mutilation.

Upon entering the tomb, a stairway is first encountered, leading to the first corridor.  After this corridor is another steep stairway leading to the second corridor.  This corridor first leads to a vestibule, and then the burial chamber, which is offset to the right (northeast).  Behind the  burial chamber is the tombs one storage annex, in this case, often referred to as the canopic chamber.


Only the burial chamber is decorated, and even here, the decorations form a simple scheme. However, some of the paintings are both interesting and unusual. Perhaps this tomb is most famous for a bird and hippopotamus hunting scene. Ay, holding decoy ducks, and his first wife, Teye are also depicted within this double scene. Most royal tombs of this period rarely departed from a religious theme.


On the southwest wall of the tomb in the top register we find a scene depicting the goddess Nephthys standing behind a boat carrying the nine gods of the Ennead, consisting of Re-Horakhty in front, followed by Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis and Horus. Behind Nephthys is another boat carrying two falcon standards.

On the rear wall (northwest), we find a scene with Ay, sometimes with his ka.  He is receiving offerings from Nut and is embraced by Osiris. Turning the corner, on the northeast wall we find the scene of the twelve baboons representing the first stage of the Book of Amduat. Above the entrance to the storage annex is a rare scene depicting the four sons of Horus shown as mummified royal figures holding flails, but not crooks.  On the left are Duamutef and Qebhsenuef wearing the crowns of Upper Egypt, while on the right are Amsety and Hapy wearing the crowns of Lower Egypt.


Not much in the way of funerary equipment was found in this tomb.  Large fragments of the kings sarcophagus were recovered, but Ay's mummy has never been found. The sarcophagus was at one time moved to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo, but after repairs were completed and the tombs burial chamber cleared by Otto Schaden from the University of Minnesota in 1972, the sarcophagus was returned to the tomb. This red quartzite sarcophagus is very similar to Tutankhamun's  with carved images of Isis, Nephthys, Selkis and Neith at its corners protecting the deceased.

King Horemheb

 King Horemheb


King Horemheb was the Last King of Egypt's 18th Dynasty and he came from Herakleopolis near the entrance to the Fayoum, little else is known about the background of this pharaoh that we place as the last king of Egypt's important 18th Dynasty (New Kingdom). His parentage is completely unknown. Horemheb obviously showed a very early gift as a military officer, first probably serving under Amenhotep III. Later, in the reign of Akhenaten, he became Great Commander of the Army. During the reign of Tutankhamun, he became King's Deputy (and very likely regent), and may, together with Ay, been responsible for governing Egypt in the background during Tutankhamun's reign. During Tutankhamun's reign, Horemheb evidently enjoyed considerably more freedom then he had under Akhenaten, for he was apparently able to conduct at least some military actions in Syria, where Egypt had lost considerable territory to the Hittites. It is also very possible that Ay or Horemheb had Tutankhamun murdered when that king grew near adulthood and hence, independent rule.

However, at the time of Tutankhamun's death, Egypt was engaged in a fairly major confrontation with the Hittites that ended in a defeat at Amqa not far from Kadesh. Though we do not know whether Horemheb was leading the Egyptian troops in this battle, he appears to have been not much involved in Tutankhamun's funerary arrangements despite his high position may suggest that he was out of the country at this time. It may also explain Ay's ascent to the throne at that time.

The pharaoh's birth name and epithet was Horemheb meryamun, meaning "Horus is in Jubilation, Beloved of Amun". His name is also sometimes spelled Horemhab, or Haremhab. His throne name was Djeserkheperure Setepenre, meaning "Holy are the Minifestations of Re, Chosen of Re"


It is clear that General Horemheb was an ambitious man, and so upon the death of Ay, he declared himself king of Egypt in about 1321 BC. It is really unknown to what extent he seized power, for he can be seen as Ay's heir on a relief from the tomb of the High Priest of Ptah, Ptahemhat-Ty. However, as king, a coronation statue now in Turin recounts how his local god, Horus of Hnes (Hutnesu), elevated him to the throne, which might be seen as justification of his having won some struggle for power after Ay's death. In the Turin stela, he goes on to record how he was carefully prepared for his role as king as the deputy and prince regent of Tutankhamun. Eventually, it is Horus of Hnes that presents him to Amun during the Opet Festival procession, and then who proceeds to crown him as king. Hence, though he makes no claim to be of royal blood, he becomes divinely elected to the throne by means of an oracle.

A middle aged man by the time of his ascent to the throne, he consolidated his rise to pharaoh by marriage to a lady named Mutnodjmet, who was a songstress of Amun as well as perhaps the sister of Nefertiti (though some authorities disagree on this matter), Akhenaten's widow. Hence, he formed a link back to the female royal blood line, though perhaps somewhat tenuously. From a recently rediscovered tomb at Saqqara, he appears to have had an earlier wife, perhaps by the name of Amenia. From the bones recovered from Horemheb's Saqqara tomb, it is believed that Mutnodjmet, who was in poor health at the time, may have died at the age of 45 while attempting to give birth to a child during the king's 13th year as ruler. No other children seem to have outlived the pharaoh.


He probably felt, and perhaps rightly so, that Egypt was in need of strong leadership after the Amarna Period, and though the transition had begun as early as the reign of Tutankhamun, he also sought to complete the return to Egypt's traditional religion. It appears that it was during the reign of Horemheb that the first attempts were made to write the Amarna Period out of Egyptian History, and he is often credited with reopening and repairing the temples of Amun, as well as restoring its priesthood. However, realizing the problems that this powerful priesthood caused for previous kings, he had military men who's loyalties he could trust appointed as priests.

Though some official presence remained at Amarna, it was probably occupied with the dismantling of buildings so that the stone could be used elsewhere. He was surely responsible for the demolition of the Aten temples at Karnak. The stone from these structures was reused in the foundations and filling of Horemheb's own building projects to Amun-Re. Specifically, these building projects at Karnak included the commencement of the mammoth Hypostyle Hall, together with the Ninth and Tenth Pylons. However, in using the building materials of Akhenaten's previous structures for fill, he inadvertently preserved them so that today's Egyptologists have been able to reconstruct from this fill many complete scenes from the Amarna period. At Luxor, he continued the work of Amenhotep III and Tutankhamun, usurping the latter's monuments both there and elsewhere. Perhaps much of the work completed during the reign of Tutankhamun was actually commissioned by Horemheb for today, many of the statues and reliefs bearing Horemheb's cartouches was actually work completed during Tutankhamun's reign.


In addition to Horemheb's efforts of religious restoration, a stela on the north face of the Tenth Pylon at Karnak, which was duplicated at Abydos, describes the king's desire to remedy various excesses committed by servants of the state. Though these documents known as the Great Edict of Horemheb, he apparently invoked harsh punishments for those found guilty of corruption. Abuses included the unlawful requisitioning of boats and slaves, the theft of cattle hides, the illegal taxation of private farmland and fraud in assessing lawful taxes and the extortion of local mayors by officials responsible for organizing the king's annual visit to the Opet Festival. Convicted officials faced the removal of their noses and then exile, while soldiers who stole animal hides, for example were subject to a hundred blows and five open wounds. In fact, there seems to have been a whole body of laws intended to stamp out widespread bribery and corruption. Many of these problems have been viewed as the result of the iconoclastic policy of Akhenaten, whose disruption of the traditional temple based economy had opened the door to all kinds of excesses by local administrators, as well as military officials.

However, Akhenaten had been dead for about fifteen years when Horemheb came to the throne, and some Egyptologists question whether these reforms were undertaken during the reign of Horemheb, or instead represented the king's recounting of reforms he had overseen as an official of Tutankhamun. It should be noted that no king's name appears on the previously mentioned stela, though it has been attributed to Horemheb because his cartouche was recorded on the lunette (rounded upper part of the stela).

Regardless of these efforts, there was apparently several instances of tomb vandalism during the reign of Horemheb. We know that the tomb of Tuthmosis IV was robbed and then restored in Horemheb's eighth year as ruler. Graffiti recording the restoration credits Maya with the work, and he was probably also responsible for the re-closure of Tutankhamun's tomb, which also seems to have suffered the attention of robbers.

Possibly because he was no longer primarily a military man after rising to the throne of Egypt, he sought to consolidate his hold over the army by dividing it under two separate commanders, one for the north (Lower Egypt) and the second for Egypt's southern region (Upper Egypt). Though the restoration of Egypt's traditional religion occupied much of Horemheb's reign, there were some military operations that were undertaken, some of which may have simply been to follow up on actions initiated during the reigns of his predecessors. Though most of these seem to have been strictly limited, reliefs on the north face of the Tenth Pylon and on the adjacent courtyard walls at Karnak evidence a Syrian campaign, though little else is known of these. In fact, at times we learn more about his confrontations with the Hittites from sources outside Egyptian texts, including one Hittite text that refers to a possible peace treaty that may have been effected during his reign. From other inscriptions at Karnak, we also learn of a possible trading expiation to the land of Punt. Horemheb's rock cut sanctuary at Silsila also speaks of a Nubian operation.

We also know that the burial of two Apis bulls at Saqqara can be attributable to the reign of Horemheb. They were buried in two rooms of a single tomb.

Though official records of Horemheb's reign credit him with as many as 59 years on the throne, these incorporate the pharaohs of the Amarna period. Later kings would also omit the Amarna period pharaohs from various king's lists, including the Ramesside records at Abydos and Karnak. On the other hand, the highest unequivocal record for the length of his reign is thirteen years. Nevertheless, a 27th year is mentioned in a graffiti on a statue in his mortuary temple, which was probably near the end of his life. Hence, many Egyptologists believe he reigned for about thirty years. Upon his death, there being apparently no children as heirs to the throne of Egypt, he chose Paramesse, who was perhaps his northern Vizier, as his successor. The new king would become Ramesses I, who founded Egypt's 19th Dynasty.

Horemheb's close colleague during his early years, Maya, almost certainly served Akhenaten at Amarna and was probably the same person as May, who owned a tomb at Amarna. Both Horemheb and Maya also had superbly decorated tombs built for themselves at Saqqara during the reigns of Tutankhamun and Ay. The tomb attributed to Horemheb was very large, and reliefs recovered from its ruins in the 19th century were of the highest quality. On Horemheb's accession to the throne of Egypt, he had uraei added to the brows of his figures in his tomb at Saqqara, so perhaps he had a brief thought of making it his regal tomb. However, that tomb was used for the burial of Horemheb's two known wives, and he eventually had a conventional royal tomb (KV57) dug in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Thebes (modern Luxor), although its decorations were never completed. Some have used the fact that this tomb was incomplete as evidence that his reign was shorter than most Egyptologists now believe. He also usurped the mortuary temple of Ay at Medinet Habu for his own, rebuilding it on a much larger scale.

Many of Horemheb's successors in the 19th Dynasty considered him to be the founder of their line, which probably explains why a number of officials together with some royalty, such as princes Tia, the sister of Ramesses II, located their tombs near his at Saqqara.

The Tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings

 The Tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings


 Horemheb was the successor of Ay, who in turn had succeeded Tutankhamun as pharaoh of Egypt. He was actually not related to the earlier kings of the 18th dynasty, though he served in the courts of first Amenophis IV, and then Tutankhamun and finally Ay. Horemheb was a royal scribe and general of the armies at various times.  He restored the old worship of Amun and reconstructed the provincial administration and military cadres.Financed by Theodore Davis, a wealthy American, it was a young British Egyptologist named Edward Ayrton who, in 1908, discovered the tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings. Today, the tomb is designated KV57.

Initially, the tomb was filled with rubble washed in by the infrequent rain over the past thousands of years.  After removing the debris from the entrance, another two days was required to clean the rubble from the tomb itself.  Unfortunately, much of the funerary equipment was in pieces due to the rubble.

In his tomb, Horemheb developed several innovations which would carry on from the 18th into the 19th dynasty tomb builders. His tomb does not have the right angle between the end of the descending corridor found in earlier 18th dynasty tombs, and he introduces painted bas-reliefs instead of the simple paintings found in earlier tombs. Also, for the first time he inscribes passages from the Book of Gates on his tomb Walls rather than those from the Amduat.  The Book of Gates is a religious composition regarding the "gates" that separate the night's twelve hours.

In addition, there are a number of idiosyncrasies in Horemheb's tomb that are never repeated.  These include a slope in the burial chamber from the first pair of pillars to the steps of the "crypt, a second set of stairs leading to the crypt, and a lower storeroom beneath the burial chamber's annex.

Entering the tomb, the first stairway down ends in a corridor that in turn leads to a second stairway and a second corridor.  Finally one arrives at the first room with a shaft. On the walls of the shaft are paintings of two groups of deities. The first group is Hathor, Isis, Osiris and Horus, on the left, and Hathor, Anubis, Osiris and Horus to the right. Here, Isis replaces the goddess Nut found in earlier tombs. Decorations, as in earlier tombs, are limited to this shaft, the antechamber and the burial chamber proper. However, the painting are much more sophisticated then many earlier tombs, obviously produced by more skilful artists who vary the stances, gestures and clothing of the figures. There is also an extensive use of color with multicolored hieroglyphs and blue-green backgrounds.

From here the tomb leads to a two-pillar hall and then to a third corridor and finally a vestibule. The burial chamber with its six pillars and four lateral and one back annex are next.  The annexes were used to store funerary equipment.  Within the burial chamber is the king's large, red granite sarcophagus and the walls are painted with the fifth division from the Book of Gates, including a figure of Osiris. The sarcophagus is interesting from the standpoint that it incorporates features both from before and after the Amarna period, making it transitional. The gable-ended lid is completely unique.

There was considerable funerary equipment found within the tomb.  A number of wooden (cedar and acacia)  images, broken by the rubbish were discovered. Also smashed were alabaster canopic jars with portrait-headed stoppers and four miniature lion-headed embalming tables. Other items of funerary equipment included:
Lioness headed couch
Hippo headed couch
Cow headed couch
Three large Anubis figures
A "germinating Osiris"
Magical bricks
Model boats
Fixed and folding chairs
Pall Rosettes
Faience beads
Wood and stone containers for embalmed provisions

Interestingly, while Horemheb reigned for at least 28 years, his tomb was never completely finished. This would have been enough time to finish the most complex of tombs. The work was apparently started and stopped at various times, and because of this, Egyptologist have learned a great deal about how tombs were built. In particular, different stages of the decorations were left unfinished, giving Egyptologists considerable clues to the techniques used by the early artists. 

The Great Decree of Horemheb

The Great Decree of Horemheb


His majesty took counsel with his heart [how he might] .... [exp]el evil and suppress lying. The plans of his majesty were an excellent refuge, repelling violence behind ...... [and delivering the Egyptians from the oppressions] which were among them. Behold, his majesty spent the whole time seeking the welfare of Egypt and searching out instances [of oppression in the land]. .... [came the scribe] of his majesty. Then he seized palette and roll; he put it into writing according to all that his majesty, the king himself said. He spoke as follows: "[My majesty] commands ... [concerning all] instances of oppression in the land.

If the poor man made for himself a craft with its sail, in order to be able to serve the Pharaoh, L.P.H., [loading it with the dues for the breweries and the kitchens of the Pharaoh, and he was robbed of the craft and] the dues, the poor man stood reft of his goods and stripped of his many labors. This is wrong, and the Pharaoh will suppress it by his excellent measures. If there be a [poor man] who pays the dues of the breweries and kitchens of the Pharaoh, L.P.H., to the two deputies, [and he be robbed of his goods and his craft, my majesty commands: that every officer who seizes the dues] and taketh the craft of any citizen of the army or of any person who is in the whole land, the law shall be executed against him, in that his nose shall be cut off, and he shall be sent to Tharu.

[Furthermore, concerning the impost of wood, my majesty commands that if any officer find] a poor man without a craft, then let him bring to him a craft for his impost from another, and let him send him to bring for him the wood; thus he shall serve [the Pharaoh].

[Furthermore, my majesty commands that if any poor man be oppressed by] [robbe]ry, his cargo be emptied by theft of them, and the poor man stand reft of hi[s good]s, [no further exactions for dues shall be made from him] when he has nothing. For it is not good, this report of very great injustice. My majesty commands that restitution be made to him; behold .... .

[Furthermore, as for those who] ... and those who bring to the harem, likewise for the offerings of all gods, paying dues to the two deputies of the army and ... [my majesty commands that if any officer is guilty of extortions or thefts], the law [shall be executed] against him, in that his nose shall be cut off, and (he) shall be sent to Tharu likewise.

When the officers of the Pharaoh's house of offerings have gone about tax-collecting in the towns, to take [katha-plant], [they have seized the slaves of the people, and kept them at work] for 6 days or 7 days, without one's being able to depart from them afar, so that it was an excessive detention indeed. It shall be done likewise against them. If there be any place [where the stewards shall be tax-collecting, and any one] shall hear, saying: "They are tax-collecting, to take katha-plant for themselves," and another shall come to report, saying: "My man slave (or) my female slave has been taken away [and detained many days at work by the stewards;" it shall be done likewise against them.]

The two divisions of troops which are in the field, one in the southern region, the other in the northern region, stole hides in the whole land, not passing a year, without applying the brand of [the royal house to cattle which were not due to them, thereby increasing] their number, and stealing that which was stamped from them. They went out from house to house, beating and plundering without leaving a hide for the people .... Then the officer] of the Pharaoh went about to each one, [to collect the hides charged against him and came to the people demanding] them, but the hides were not found with them (although) the amount charged against them could be established. They satisfied them, saying: "They have been stolen from us." A wretched case is this, therefore it shall be [done] likewise.

When the overseer of the cattle of Pharaoh, L.P.H., goes about to attend to the loan-herds in the whole land, and there be not brought to him the hides of the ... which are on the lists, [he shall not hold the people responsible for the hides if they have them not, but they shall be released by command of his majesty] according to his just purposes. As for any citizen of the army, (concerning) whom one shall hear, saying: "He goeth about stealing hides," beginning with this day, the law shall be executed against him, by beating him a hundred blows, opening five wounds, and taking from him by force the hides which he took.

Now, as for the other instance of evil which the [official staff were accustomed to commit, when they held inspection] in the land, of that which happened [against the law], [the table-scribe of] the queen and the table-scribe of the harem went about after the official staff, punishing them and investigating their affair ...... of the one who sailed down-or up-river. One investigated it among the officials in the time of the King Menkheperre (Thutmose III). Now, when the one who sailed down-or up-river whom they took; and when [the superior officials of] [the king], Menkheperre, went about [after these officials] each year, [that they might make an] expedition to the city, and that these superior officials might come to these officials, saying: "Give thou [to us] the consideration for the careless expedition;" then, behold, the Pharaoh, L.P.H., made the expedition at the feast of Opet each year without carelessness. One prepared the way before the Pharaoh [and questioned the local magistrate, wherever he] landed, [concerning the corrupt official] causing him to ......what he (the corrupt official) was like. As for one who goes about again, afterward, to seek the consideration ......, then these officials shall go about with the expedition concerning the affairs of these poor people ...... My majesty commands to prevent that one shall do thus, beginning with this day ..... the landing; he is the one against whom one shall prosecute it.

Likewise the collection of vegetables for the breweries [and kitchens of the Pharaoh and] ..... [Extortion was practiced, and the officials plundered] the poor, taking the best of their vegetables, saying: "They are for the impost [of the Pharaoh]." [Thus they] robbed the poor of their labors, so that a double [impost was levied. Now, my majesty commands that as for any officials who come to] collect vegetables [for] the impost of Pharaoh, L.P.H., in the arbors, and the .... houses of the estates of Pharaoh, L.P.H., and the ... of Pharaoh which contain vegetables, (concerning whom) one shall hear, saying: "They ... for any ... of any citizen of the army, or [any] people, [beginning with this day, the law shall be executed against them] ...... transgressing commands.

Now as far as these officials of the herds, who go about ...... in the southern region or the northern region collecting grain from the [citizens] of the city .... going about .... in the southern region or northern region collecting ... from the poor ... . ......... going about taking possession to bring every citizen, to cause them to see ... (concerning whom) one shall hear, (saying) ".... a crime, .... collection of the harem who go about in the [towns tax-collecting] ...... the ... of the fishermen .... carrying the ..... .

I have improved this entire land ...... I have sailed it, as far as south of the wall, I have given ..., I have learned its whole interior, I have traveled it entirely in its midst, I have searched in .... [and I have sought two officials] perfect in speech, excellent in good qualities, knowing how to judge the innermost heart, hearing the words of the palace, the laws of the judgment-hall. I have appointed them to judge the Two Lands, to satisfy those who are in ...... . [I have given to each one] his seat; I have set them in the two great cities of the South and the North; every land among them cometh to him without exception; I have put before them regulations in the daily register [of the palace] ........ I have directed [them] to the way of life; I led them to the truth, I teach them, saying: "Do not associate with others of the people; do not receive the reward of another, not hearing .... . How, then, shall those like you judge others, while there is one among you committing a crime against justice.

Now, as to the obligation of silver and gold ....... [my] majesty remits it, in order that there be not collected an obligation of anything from the official staff of the South and North.

Now, as for any official or any priest (concerning whom) it shall be heard, saying: "He sits, to execute judgment among the official staff appointed for judgment, and he commits a crime against justice therein;" it shall be against him a capital crime. Behold, my majesty has done this, to improve the laws of Egypt, in order to cause that another should not be ........... .

[Behold, my majesty appointed] the official staff of the divine fathers, the prophets of the temples, the officials of the court of this land and the priests of the gods who comprise the official staff out of desire that they shall judge the citizens of every city. My majesty is legislating for Egypt, to prosper the life of its inhabitants; when he appeared upon the throne of Re. Behold, the official staffs have been appointed in the whole land ... all ... to comprise the official staffs in the cities according to their rank. ....

They went around ... times a month, which he [made] for them like a feast; every man set down at a portion of every good thing, of good bread, and meat of the storehouses, of royal provision .....; their voices reached heaven, praising all benefits ... the heart of all the soldiers of the army. [The king appeared to the people] ... throwing (gifts) to them from the balcony while every man was called by his name by the king himself. They came forth from the presence rejoicing, laden with the provision of the royal house; yea, they too [grain-heaps] in the granary, every one of them [bore] barley and spelt, there was not found one who had nothing .... their cities. [If they did not complete the circuit therein within three days, [....] their khetkhet-officers hastened after them to the place where they were immediately. They were found there .....

Hear ye these commands which my majesty has made for the first time governing the whole land, when my majesty remembered these cases of oppression which occur before this land.

Naophorous statue

Naophorous statue

The statue represents a kneeling man holding a naos with a statue of Osiris in front of him. He wears a long shirt with low-cut neck and wide pursed sleeves and an apron reaching his ankles; on the head there is an elaborate wig with wavy curls and two underlying flaps of larger curls reaching his shoulders. Delicate cold features of oval face are skilfully modelled. On the front surface of the naos there are three hieroglyphs remaining of an erased inscription (A); another inscription that was almost entirely erased had been arranged at the back pillar (B). Traces of red and yellow strips survive on the crown of Osiris. Stylistic and iconographic characteristics of the statue including the type of garment and the wig allow us to date it to post-Amarna period, probably to the reign of Horemheb.

Relief of officers before the king

Relief of officers before the king

The lower part of this fine relief shows bowing courtiers. They wear wigs reaching their shoulders, garments that reach the calf and pleated kilts. In the lower left corner the head of Horemheb can still be seen, wearing a wig with a lock on the forehead and a diadem with uraeus, which is a later addition. The relief block comes from the tomb of Horemheb in Saqqara. Reliefs from the same tomb are also kept in Berlin, Florence and Leiden.

Seated statue of Horemheb with Horus

Seated statue of Horemheb with Horus

This nearly life-size statue is made of white limestone. Horemheb is seated on the right side of the god, who places his right arm around the king's waist. The god's left hand is holding the sign of life. The two figures greatly resemble each other. Both have bare upper bodies and wear the short ritual kilt and the double crown. The king is also wearing the striped royal headcloth and an artificial beard. On first inspection, the sculpture appears to be in a perfect state of preservation, but this is deceptive. The statue has been extensively restored in modern times and several parts were added: the two outer arms and the feet of both statues, the left hand, beard, and the tip of the nose of the king, as well as the beak of the falcon. The appeal of this work lies particularly in the contrast between the traditional rigidity of the overall modelling on the one hand and the face on the other, the style of which has been largely determined by late Amarna art. The realism with which the anatomical details have been represented and the retaining of the portraiture despite the idealizing nature of the piece are a continuation of the art of the "heretic Pharaoh" Akhenaten. All in all, this sculpture seems to bring us closer to the personality of the forceful statesman Horemheb more than any other of his portraits.

Group Statue of Horemheb with Isis, Osiris, and Horus

 Group Statue of Horemheb with Isis, Osiris, and Horus


In this group statue, King Horemheb is depicted with Osiris, Isis, and Horus.

Osiris is in his characteristic pose holding his two scepters, the crook and the flail. He also wears the Atef crown. Isis wears a tripartite wig with cow horns, the sun disk on top, and a uraeus, or royal cobra, on the front.

Her right hand holds the Ankh, the sign of life; and her left hand passes behind the shoulders of her husband, Osiris. The pharaoh wears the Nemes headdress with the royal uraeus. The face of the deity, obviously Horus, who sits next to the king, has been destroyed.

The slightly protruding eyes and full cheeks of the figures are typical of late Eighteenth Dynasty sculpture.