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Ancient Egyptian history: The assassination attempts against Ramses III
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The assassination attempts against Ramses III

Head of mummy of Ramses III Head of the mummy of Ramses III
Photo taken by Emile Brugsch

    Ramses III survivied a number of assassination attempts and rebellions. A vizier started an uprising in the town of Athribis, which was harshly put down. Later, in his 31st year, Tiy, one of the royal wives, plotted against the king in order to ensure the accession of her own son, Pentaur. She was supported by a number of heralds, the grand-chamberlain, Pabakamon, a general and other high functionaries. The method used was magic, encantations over waxen images and an attempt to start a popular uprising.
    The great enemy Paibekkamen who had been major-domo. He was brought on account of his having attached himself to Tiye and the women of the harem. He made common cause with them and proceeded to carry their words outside to their mothers and their brothers and sisters who were there, saying 'Collect people and foment hostility' so as to make rebellion against their lord. And they set him in the presence of the great officials of the Place of Examination and they examined his crimes and found that he had committed them. And his crimes took hold of him, and the officials who examined him caused his punishment to cleave to him.

The Judicial Turin Papyrus

    This last plot against Ramses III, in which the king apparently had his throat slit,[1] was avenged by his son, Ramses IV. A court of justice consisting of fourteen officials, among them seven butlers, condemned the plotters to be mutilated, executed, or driven to suicide. The records of this trial attest to the corrupt and anarchical nature of the administration.

  And they went and examined them, and they caused to die by their own hands those whom they caused to die, though I know not whom, and they punished the others also, though I know not whom. But I had charged them very strictly saying 'Take good heed and beware lest punishment be inflicted upon anyone crookedly by an official who is not over him'; thus I spoke to them (the judges) again and again. And as for all that has been done, it is they who have done it; let all that they have done fall upon their heads. For I am exempted and protected everlastingly, being among the righteous kings who are in the presence of Amen-Re', King of the Gods, and in the presence of Osiris, the Ruler of Eternity.

The Judicial Turin Papyrus

 


Footnotes:
[1] USAToday: "Egyptologist: Ramses III assassinated in coup attempt", accessed at http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2012/12/17/ramses-ramesses-murdered-bmj/1775159/ on 18th December 2012

 


-Records of the harem conspiracy against Ramses III
-Ramses III
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December 2012