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Ancient Egyptian texts: The Mayer Papyri
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The Ramesside tomb robberies:

The Mayer Papyri

Year 1, of Uhem-mesut (whm-ms.wt), fourth month of the third season, day 13. On this day occurred the examination of the thieves of the tomb of King Usermare-Setepnere (Ramses II), L. P. H., the great god; and the tomb of King Menmare, L. P. H., Seti (I), L. P. H., which are [recorded (?)] in the treasury of "The-House-of-King-Usermare-Meriamon (Ramses III),-L.-P.-H.", concerning whom the chief of police, Nesuamon, had reported, in this roll of names; for he was there, standing with the thieves, when they laid their hands upon the tombs; who were tortured at the examination on their feet and their hands, to make them tell the way they had done exactly. - Breasted: These two documents are the court records of the prosecution of the tomb-robbers, whose names are recorded on the back of the Papyrus Abbott, in the first year of Ramses X (nineteenth of Ramses IX), and of others in the next year, eight months later.
-Uhem-mesut (whm-ms.wt) Breasted: Lit., "Repeating birth," and meaning "Born again" a name often applied to the king, as Goodwin already saw. It is here Ramses X who is meant.
-of the tomb: Breasted: Lit. "house of the corridor"
-tomb: Breasted: Judging from the connection, this word must mean "tomb," but it is otherwise unknown to me; it is written with the gs-sign and the determinative for a building or tomb.
By the governor of the city and vizier, Nibmarenakht;
Overseer of the White House and overseer of the granary, Menmare-nakht;
Steward and king's-butler, [Ini (?)], the [herald (?)] of Pharaoh, L. P. H.;
Steward of the court, king's-butler, Pemeriamon (PA-mrj-jmn), the scribe of Pharaoh.
The court consisted of three high officials presided over by the vizier.
-White House: the treasury
Examination.
The
Aaa, Paykamen (pAj-kAmn), under charge of the overseer of the cattle of Amon, was brought in; the oath of the king, L. P. H., was administered to him, not to tell a lie. He was asked: "What was the manner of thy going with the people who were with thee, when ye robbed the tombs of the kings which are [recorded (?)] in the treasury of "The-House-of-King-Usermare-Meriamon,-L.-P.-H."?
He said: "I went with the priest Teshere (tA-Srj), son of the divine father, Zedi, of 'The House;' Beki, son of Nesuamon, of this house; the
Aaa, Nesumontu of the house of Montu, lord of Erment; the Aaa, Paynehsi of the vizier, formerly prophet of Sebek of Peronekh (pr-anx); Teti (tA-tj) [///] who belonged to Paynehsi, of the vizier, formerly prophet of Sebek of Peronekh; in all six."
-Aaa: Breasted: This is a title common among the people of the necropolis, and often occurring in these prosecutions. We have no hint as to its meaning
-six: Breasted: Counting the speaker
The chief of police, Nesuamon, was brought in. He was asked: "How didst thou find these men?"
He said: "I heard that these men had gone to rob this tomb. I went and found these six men. That which the thief, Paykamen, has said is correct. I took testimony from them on that day //////// The examination of the watchman of the house of Amon, the thief, Paykamen, under charge of the overseer of the cattle of Amon, was held by beating with a rod, the bastinade was applied to his feet. An oath was administered to him that he might be executed if he told a lie; he said: 'That which I did is exactly what I have said.' He confirmed it with his mouth, saying: 'As for me, that which I did is what [they] did; I was w[ith the]se six men, I stole a piece of copper therefrom, and I took possession of it.'"
-copper: Breasted: mAjw, with determinative of metal
The Aaa, the thief, Nesumontu,was brought in; the examination was held by beating with a rod; the bastinade was applied on (his) feet and his hand(s); the oath of the king, L. P. H., was administered to him, that he might be executed if he told a lie. He was asked: "What was the manner of thy going to rob in the tomb with thy companions?"
He said: "I went and found these people; I was the sixth. I stole a piece of copper therefrom, I took possession of it."
-copper: Breasted: mAjw, with determinative of metal
The watchman of the house of Amon, the Aaa, Karu (qA-rw), was brought in; he was examined with the rod, the bastinade was applied to his feet and his hands; the oath of the king, L. P. H., was administered to him, that he might be executed if he told a lie. He was asked: "What was the manner of thy going with the (sic !) companions when ye robbed in the tomb?"
He said: "The thief, the
Aaa, Pehenui, he made me take some grain. I seized a sack of grain, and when I began to go down, I heard the voice of the men who were in this storehouse. I put my eye to the passage, and I saw Paybek and Teshere, who were within. I called to him, saying, 'Come!' and he came out to me, having two pieces of copper in his hand. He gave them to me, and I gave to him 1½ measures of spelt to pay for them. I took one of them, and I gave the other to the Aaa, Enefsu (an.f-sw).
The priest, Nesuamon, son of Paybek, was brought in, because of his father. He was examined by beating with the rod. They said to him: "Tell the manner of thy father's going with the men who were with him."
He said: "My father was truly there. I was (only) a little child, and I know not how he did it."
On being (further) examined, he said: "I saw the workman, Ehatinofer (aHAtj-nfr), while he was in the place where the tomb is, with the watchman, Nofer, son of [Merwer {Mr-wr) (?)] and the artisan, [///] in all three (men). They are the ones I saw distinctly. Indeed, gold was taken, and they are the ones whom I know."
On being (further) examined with a rod, he said: "These three men are the ones I saw distinctly."
The weaver of "The House," Wenpebti (wn-pHtj), son of [///] was brought in. He was examined by beating with a rod, the bastinade was applied to his feet and his hands. The oath of the king, L. P. H., was administered, not to tell a lie. They said to him: "Tell what was the manner of thy father's going, when he committed theft in the tomb with his companions."
He said: "My father was killed when I was a child. My mother told me: 'The chief of police, Nesuamon, gave some chisels of copper to thy father, then the captains of the archers and the
Aaa slew thy father.' They [held (?)] the examination, and Nesuamon took the copper and gave it to [me (?)]. It remains [in the possession of (?)] my mother."
A Theban woman, Enroy (jn-n-rA-j), the mistress of the priest, Teshere, son of Zedi, was brought in. She was examined by beating with a rod; the bastinade was applied to her feet and her hands. The oath of the king, L. P. H., not to tell a lie, was administered to her; she was asked: "What was the manner of thy husband's going when he broke into the tomb and carried away the copper from it?"
She said: "He carried away some copper belonging to this tomb we sold it and devoured it."
Fourth month of the third season, day 17; was held the examination of certain of the thieves of the cemetery.
................................
He was again examined by beating with a rod. They said to him: "Tell what were the other places which thou didst break into."
He said: "I broke into the tomb of the King's-Wife, Nesimut."
He said: "It was I who broke into the tomb of the King's-Wife, Bekurel (bk-wr-n-rA), wife of King Menmare (Seti I), L. P. H., in all, three (tombs)."
-............................: Breasted: Here follows the trial of five men, with the usual formulae, only slightly varied from those used above. The tomb which they were accused of robbing is not mentioned. All five were found innocent. The prosecutions which follow (Columns 3-6), do not refer to any particular tombs, but they are followed in turn by a list (Col. 7), headed: "Year 2, first month of the first season, day 13; the names of the robbers of the tomb of Pharaoh." This list contains the names of twenty-two persons (two women), among whom are some of those above prosecuted. After a gap of a few lines Column 8 proceeds with an important trial, of which the beginning is lost in the gap.
................................
-............................: Breasted: After enumerating some of the things stolen, in response to a question of the vizier, the examination of the next man shows him to have been innocent. The fisherman who carried the thieves over to the west side is next examined and discharged; and of the three men whose trial follows, one was innocent. A list of twenty-five thieves fills the next column which is headed: "The thieves of the cemetery whose examination was held, concerning whom it was found that they had been in the tombs." Column 11 contains a similar list entitled: "The thieves of the tomb, in the second month, tenth day," while the margin bears a list of "the women who were imprisoned," being eleven of the wives of the thieves. The document then closes with proceedings in which some of the accused in the first trial reappear.
 
The second document (Papyrus Mayor B) is in a different hand, but records proceedings of the same sort. In a connection which is not entirely clear, the tomb of "Amenhotep III, the Great God," is mentioned, and it is evident that it had been robbed.

J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Four, §§ 544-556

 


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