Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egyptian texts: The inscription of Ameni, nomarch of the Oryx nome.
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Familytree of Khnumhotep
Middle Egyptian nomes

The inscription of Ameni

Lines 1 to 5, columns 6 to 13 in hieroglyphics by Lepsius (Opening in a new window)
1 Year 43 under the majesty of 2 Sesostris I, living forever and ever; 3 corresponding to year 25 in the Oryx nome with the hereditary prince, count, [/// (?)] Amen[emhet], triumphant. 4 Year 43, second month, of the first season, day 15.
O ye who love life and hate
5 death, say ye, 1,000 loaves and beer, 1,000 oxen and geese for the 6 ka of the hereditary prince, count, [/// (?)] great lord of 8the Oryx nome, [/// (?)], attached to Nekhen, lord of Nekhbet, chief of prophets, Ameni, triumphant.
I followed my lord when
7he sailed southward to overthrow his enemies among the four barbarians. I sailed southward, as the son of a count, wearer of the royal seal, and commander in chief of the troops of the Oryx nome, as a man represents his old father, according to [his] favor in the palace and his love in the court. I passed Kush, 9sailing southward, I advanced the boundary of the land, I brought all gifts; my praise, it reached heaven. Then 10 his majesty returned in safety, having overthrown his enemies in Kush the vile. I returned, following him, with ready face. 11 There was no loss among my soldiers.
- -Sesostris I: Senusret I (Kheperkare) c.1962-1917
-year 25 in the Oryx nome: Amenemhet, called Ameni, became nomarch of the Oryx nome in the eighteenth year of the reign of Senusret I. He was a member of an influential family of Upper Egyptian nomarchs.
-the Oryx nome: 16th nome of Upper Egypt.
-ka: cf. Ka
-Nekhen: Hierakonpolis, capital of the 3rd nome of Upper Egypt.
-Nekhbet: Personification of the White Crown of Upper Egypt, goddess of Upper Egypt in the form of a vulture, her cult centre was at Nekheb (El Kab).
-father: Khnumhotep I
-vile: Enemies were generally given demeaning epithets.
-with ready face: Breasted: Orders were always given "in the face of" an officer; an officer prepared for efficient service is therefore "ready of face" in the Egyptian idiom.
I sailed southward, to bring gold ore for the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheperkere, living forever and ever. 12 I sailed southward together with the hereditary prince, count, oldest son of the king, of his body, Ameni. I sailed southward, with a number, 400 of all the choicest of 13 my troops, who returned in safety, having suffered no loss. I brought the gold exacted of me; I was praised for it in the palace;
Columns 14 to 21 in hieroglyphics by Lepsius (Opening in a new window)
14 the king's-son praised god for me.
Then I sailed southward to bring ore, to the city of Coptos, together with the hereditary prince, count, governor of the city and vizier, Sesostris. I sailed southward with a number, 600
15 of all the bravest of the Oryx nome. I returned in safety, my soldiers uninjured, having done all that had been told me.
-sailed southward: Upriver, the prevailing winds blow from the north, making sailing upriver a possibility.
-gold ore: Egypt had quite a few gold mines, but a substantial amount of gold was exacted from the Kushites.
-Kheperkere: Senusret I
-Ameni: the future pharaoh Amenemhet II.
I was amiable, and greatly loved, a ruler beloved of his city. Now, I passed years 16 as ruler in the Oryx nome. All the imposts of the king's house passed through my hand. The gang-overseers of the crown possessions of the shepherds of the Oryx nome gave to me 3,000 bulls in their yokes. I was 17 praised on account of it in the palace each year of the loan-herds. I carried all their dues to the king's house; there were no arrears against me in any office of his. The entire Oryx nome labored for me 18 in [/// /// (?)] -a ruler beloved of his city: The approval of the ruler by the populace was stressed during the Middle Kingdom, even if it may have been a matter of lip service. Servants, on the other hand, emphasized the approval of their lord.
There was no citizen's daughter whom I misused, there was no widow whom I oppressed, there was no [peasant (?)] whom I repulsed, there was no shepherd whom I repelled, 19 there was no overseer of serf-laborers whose people I took for (unpaid) imposts, there was none wretched in my community, there was none hungry in my time. When years of famine came 20 I plowed all the fields of the Oryx nome, as far as its southern, and northern boundary, preserving its people alive and furnishing its food so that there was none hungry therein. I gave to the widow as (to) her who had a husband; 21 I did not exalt the great above the small in all that I gave. Then came great Niles, possessors of grain and all things, (but) I did not collect the arrears of the field. -no citizen's daughter whom I misused...: People in positions of power have always had a problem with not taking undue advantage of their inferiors.
-serf-laborers: During early history many country folk seem to have been in a position similar to that of medieval serfs in Europe. But whether their dependence was based on law or just due to a lack of opportunity to go elsewhere is unknown. (cf. Slavery).
-great Niles: Inundations
-arrears of the field: the dues which had accumulated during the years of drought.

J.H.Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part One, §§518ff.


- -The inscription of Khnumhotep I, Ameni's father
-The inscription of Khnumhotep II, Ameni's nephew
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© February 2005