ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian bestiary: Monkeys
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Source: Excerpt, 'Ancient Egypt', Time-Life Books
    Rich Egyptians had vervets (African green monkey) and tailless Barbary macaques imported from western North Africa as pets. After their death they were sometimes even mummified and buried, as finds at Saqqara prove.
    In the Pyramid Texts the vervet monkeys played a gruesome role, but at least King Unas was not among their victims:
(O you) his vervet monkeys who cut off heads. Unas passes you by in peace.
Pyramid Texts, PT 254 [1]
    But most monkeys ancient Egyptians came into contact with, must have been pets. This is reflected in literature. Among the gifts the protagonist of the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor received from the snake which proclaimed to be the Ruler of Punt were elephant tusks, greyhounds, long-tailed vervet monkeys and ky.w-monkeys.[2]
[1] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Pyramidentexte => Unas-Pyramide => Vorkammer => Westwand => PT 254
[2] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften => 1. Erzählungen => Mittelägyptische Erza"hlungen => Die Geschichte des Schiffbröchigen => pPetersburg 1115 => Die Geschichte des Schiffbröchigen

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October 2009