Ancient Egypt: The Pursuit of Runaway Slaves

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The Pursuit of Runaway Slaves

    The Chief of Bowmen of Tjeku, Ka-Kem-wer, to the Chief of Bowmen Ani and the Chief of Bowmen Bak-en-Ptah: In life, prosperity, health! In the favor of Amon-Re, King of the Gods, and of the ka of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt: User-kheperu-Re Setep-en-Re - life, prosperity, health! - our good lord - life, prosperity, health! I say to the Re-Har-akhti: "Keep Pharaoh - life, prosperity, health! our good lord - life, prosperity, health! - in health! Let him celebrate millions of jubilees, while we are in his favor daily!" - Bowmen: Gendarmerie, often Medjai soldiers of originally Nubian descent.
Tjeku: New Kingdom town on the frontier of Sinai. The town Per-Temu Tjeku uncovered at Tell el-Maskhuta was founded by Necho II in the Late Period [1]
User-kheperu-Re Setep-en-Re: Seti II
Re-Har-akhti: The god of the rising sun
jubilees: The sed festivals, celebrated about every 30 years.
    Another matter, to wit: I was sent forth from the broad-halls of the palace - life, prosperity, health! - in the 3rd month of the third season, day 9, at the time of evening, following after these two slaves. Now when I reached the enclosure-wall of Tjeku on the 3rd month of the third season, day 10, they told [me] they were saying to the south that they had passed by on the 3rd month of the third season, day 10. [Now] when [I] reached the fortress, they told me that the scout had come from the desert [saying that] they had passed the walled place north of the Migdol of Seti Mer-ne-Ptah - life, prosperity, health ! - Beloved like Seth.
    When my letter reaches you, write to me about all that has happened to [them]. Who found their tracks ? Which watch found their tracks ? What people are after them ? Write to me about all that has happened to them and how many people you send out after them. [May your health] be good!

(Papyrus Anastasi V: 19.2-20.6)
James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Princeton, 1969., p 259.

Migdol: Migdols were tower-like fortifications built under Asiatic influence.

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-[1] Tell el-Maskhuta

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Update: December 2003