April 5, 2012

The Story of Weni and The Young Pepi II

Rags to Riches
The Story of Weni
Weni Egypt
The exemplary life of the noble Weni, who served under the first three kings of the dynasty, is inscribed on the walls of his tomb at Abydos. One of the longest narrative inscriptions of the period, the autobiography records how Weni rose from almost obscure origins through the court’s hierarchy from an ‘inferior custodian’ to a ‘Friend’ of Pepi and a High Court judge at Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) - the important cult centre of the vulture goddess Nekhbet. Eventually he was appointed Governor of the South under Merenre. As a most respected judge (’I was more excellent to the heart of His Majesty than any official of his’) he was the sole arbiter in a harem conspiracy case involving the Queen Weret-lmtes: ‘Never before had the like of me heard a secret matter of the King’s harem, but His Majesty caused me to hear it’.

Bearing in mind Manetho’s assertion that the previous king, Teti (Pepi’s father), had been assassinated, no doubt the sentence on the queen was a capital one.

After that success Weni changed positions to be placed at the head of an army of ‘many tens of thousands' that marched against the bedouin in northern Sinai. He boasted that despite the numbers no one suffered on the route thanks to his policy of ‘living off the land’. In all he crushed five revolts in the area, culminating in the first recorded Egyptian attack on southern Palestine. Finally, in his capacity as Governor of the South under Merenre, Weni brought stone for the royal pyramid from the First Cataract quarries, and in so doing cut five channels to facilitate passage through the cataract.

The Young Pepi II

Pepi is depicted here in the royal headdress worn only by kings.
A charming vignette of the young excitable eight-year-old King Pepi II comes from an inscription on the fagade of the tomb of the noble and caravan leader Harkhuf at Aswan. Harkhuf made four journeys into the dangerous lands south of Aswan to collect elephant tusks, ebony, incense and other precious commodities.

None, however, was more precious than the small pygmy whom he captured on the route to Darfur in Year 2 of Pepi's reign. Returning with his prize, he sent word ahead to the royal court at Memphis and received back explicit instructions in a letter from the young king to ‘come northward to the Court immediately ... My Majesty desires to see this dwarf more than the gifts of Sinai and of Punt’. Harkhuf was told to take great care that the dwarf was always accompanied on the deck of the ship so that he should not fall into the Nile and that he should also be inspected ten times a night as he slept to ensure no harm befell him. Harkhuf evidently achieved his mission and presented the dwarf at Court, to the young king’s delight.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pepi II was Egypt's first bi-sexual king. Pepi II had trade with Sodom. Abraham visited Egypt when Pepi II was plagued (Genesis 12:17) right before the fall of Memphis upon Pepi II's death.

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