April 10, 2012

The Autobiography of Ahmose son of Ebana

The Autobiography of Ahmose son of Ebana
The noble Ahmose came from a military family. His father had served under Seqenenre II, and Ahmose himself entered the army as a young man. In his autobiography (inscribed on the walls of his tomb at el-Kab) he wanted the world to know how he had served under three successive kings: Ahmose I, Amenhotep I and Tuthmosis I, their reigns spanning the years 1570 to 1524 BC. His proud opening remarks set the scene:


I will tell you, 0 all ye people; I will cause you to know the honours which came to me. I was presented with gold [by the king for bravery] seven times in the presence of the whole land; male and female slaves likewise. I was endowed with many fields. The fame of one valiant in his achievements shall not perish in this land forever.

Promoted to officer, Ahmose served in many of the campaigns to expel the Hyksos. He boasts that, ‘I took captive there [Avaris] one man and three women, total four heads, and His Majesty gave them to me for slaves'. He also fought in Nubia. In all he took part in ten campaigns - small wonder that he twice received the 'gold of valour’. This was the order of the ‘Golden Fly’ (the ancient Egyptian equivalent of the British Victoria Cross) of which three examples were found on a gold chain in the coffin of Queen Aahotep (p. 102). Ahmose eventually died an old and honoured warrior, loaded down with decorations and land.

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