Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: The Inscription of the nomarch Kheti, son of Sit
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Kheti II and his wife
Kheti II and his wife
Source: U. Verhoeven-van Elsbergen, Zwischen Memphis und Theben
Natur und Geist, 2004
Forschungsmagazin der Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz

The Inscription of the nomarch Kheti, son of Sit

    I brought a gift for this city, in which there were no families of the Northland, nor people of Middle Egypt; making a monument in ............... I substituted a channel of ten cubits. I excavated for it upon the arable land. I equipped a gate [for] its ............ it in the ground of [...] in one building, free from [...]. I was liberal as to the monument [...] [...] ........... [I sustained] the life of the city, I made the [...] with grain-food, to give water at [mid]day, to [... ...] ........... [I supplied water] in the highland district, I made a water supply for this city of Middle Egypt in the [mountain], which had not seen water. I secured the borders ... ... ... [...]. I made the elevated land a swamp. I caused the water of the Nile to flood over the ancient [landmarks], I made the arable land ... ... water. Every neighbor was [supplied with water and every citizen had] Nile water to his hearts desire; I gave waters to his neighbors, and he was content with them.
    Kheti (alt. Akhtoy) belonged to a family of nomarchs based at Siut (Sauty). He ruled during the late First Intermediate Period. His main preoccupations seem to have been economical, above all creating the conditions for the growing of adequate quantities of food. It is generally assumed that an unfavourable climate change brought about famines and the collapse of the Old Kingdom order.
Northland : the Delta
cubits : A cubit is about 52 cm
this city of Middle Egypt : Sauty
    I was rich in grain. When the land was in need, I maintained the city with kha and with heket. I allowed the citizen to carry away with himself grain; and his wife, the widow and her son. I remitted all imposts which I found counted by my fathers. I filled the [pastures] with cattle, [every] man had many colors; the cows brought forth twofold, the folds were full of calves. I was kind to the cow, when she said, "It is [...]," I was one rich in bulls ... his ox; ... ... he lived well. with kha and with heket : measures of capacity.
colors : Cattle of many colours?
    I was one rich in monuments of the temple, ............. [who increased] that which he found, who repeated offerings. I was a favorite, ............
    I was one strong with the bow, mighty with his sword, great in fear among his neighbors. I made a troop of soldiers ........... as commander of Middle Egypt.
    I had goodly ships, ... ... ... ... a favorite of the king when he sailed up-river.
    I was one [vigilant] in that which he said; with a [determined] heart on the evil [day]. I had a lofty tomb with a wide stair before the chamber.
    I was a favorite of the king, a confidant of his princes, his [exalted ones] before Middle Egypt. He caused that I should rule as a child of a cubit (in height); he advanced my seat as a [youth]. He had me instructed in swimming along with the royal children. I was one correct of [speech], free from [opposition] to his lord, who brought him up as a child. Siut was satisfied with my administration; Heracleopolis praised god for me. Middle Egypt and the Northland said: "It is the instruction of a king." Kheti was probably closer to the royal family than many other nomarchs, who had become independent of the central power to a large extent. Kheti inherited his position, but was confirmed by the king.
Siut : Sauty, capital of the 13th nome of Upper Egypt
    Saith [Kheti] .......... born of Si[t] .............. night watch ........ in glorifying his name.
    ........ [Then mourned] the king himself, all Middle Egypt and the Northland .............. The king himself and the counts were gathered together [for the burial. He was interred in his tomb of the] highlands.
    The son of his daughter made his name to live and glorified [him]. ........... [His daughter ruled in Si]ut, the worthy stock of her father [reigned in the city] ............. beloved of Upwawet, rejoicing in doing good to [her city] .................... beloved of the king, his favorite. The city was satisfied with that which she said. ........ [She acted as] lord, until her son became strong-armed .............
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt ; Part One, §§ 407 ff.
Women at all levels of society could become temporary caretakers. They generally passed on the power of office to the rightful heir.


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Update: July 2005