Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: The Inscription of Weni
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Pepi I
Pepi I
Excerpt
Source: Artchive
-

The Inscription of Weni

    [Count, governor of the South], chamber-attendant, attached to Nekhen, lord of Nekheb, sole companion, revered before Osiris, First of the Westerners, Uni. He says:
    [I was a child] who fastened on the girdle under the majesty of Teti; my office was that of supervisor of [....] and I filled the office of inferior custodian of the domain of Pharaoh.
- -Nekhen : Hierakonpolis: city in the 3rd nome of Upper Egypt, ancient southern capital
-Nekheb : El Kab, city in the 3rd nome of Upper Egypt, cult centre of Nekhbet
-Teti ca. 2345-2313 BCE
    ........ [I was] the eldest of the [...] chamber under the majesty of Pepi. His majesty appointed me to the rank of companion and inferior prophet of his pyramid-city. While my office was ..... his [majesty made me] judge attached to Nekhen. He loved me more than any servant of his. I "heard," being alone with (only) the chief judge and vizier, in every private matter .... in the name of the king, of the royal harem, and of the six courts of justice, because the king loved me more than any official of his, more than any noble of his, more than any servant of his. -Pepi I (Meryre) ca. 2313-2279 BCE
-heard : as in hearing a case
-the six courts of justice : lit. the six great houses
    Then I [be]sought ... the majesty of the king that there be brought for me a limestone sarcophagus from Troja. The king had the treasurer of the god ferry over, together with a troop [of] sailors under his hand, in order to bring for me this sarcophagus from Troja; and he arrived with it, in a large ship belonging to the court, together with [its] lid, the false door; the [setting]. two [....], and one offering-tablet. Never was the like done for any servant, for I was excellent to the heart of his majesty, for I was pleasant to the heart of his majesty, for his majesty loved me. -Troja : rAAw - Tura, quarry near Memphis
-under his hand : under his command
-loved me : lit. his heart was filled with me
    While I was judge, attached to Nekhen, his majesty appointed me sole companion and superior custodian of the domain of the Pharaoh, and [...] of the four superior custodians of the domain of the Pharaoh, who were there. I did so that his majesty praised me, when preparing court, when preparing the king's journey (or) when making stations. I did throughout so that his majesty praised me for it above everything. -making stations : ?
    When legal procedure was instituted in private in the harem against the queen, Imtes his majesty caused me to enter, in order to hear the case alone. No chief judge and vizier at all, no prince at all was there, but only I alone, because I was excellent, because I was pleasant to the heart of his majesty; because his majesty loved me. I alone was the one who put (it) in writing, together with a single judge attached to Nekhen; while my office was (only) that of superior custodian of the domain of Pharaoh. Never before had one like me heard the secret of the royal harem, except that the king caused me to hear (it), because I was more excellent to the heart of his majesty than any official of his, than any noble of his, than any servant of his. -queen : great king's wife.
The charge against the queen is unknown, as is the outcome of the procedure. The case seems to have required some delicacy
    His majesty made war on the Asiatic Sand-dwellers and his majesty made an army of many ten thousands; in the entire South, southward to Elephantine, and northward to Aphroditopolis; in the Northland on both sides entire in the [stronghold], and in the midst of the [strongholds], among the Irthet negroes, the Mazoi negroes, the Yam negroes, among the Wawat negroes, among the Kau negroes, and in the land of Temeh.
 
    His majesty sent me at the head of his army while the counts, while the wearers of the royal seal, while the sole companions of the palace, while the nomarchs and commanders of strongholds belonging to the South and Northland; the companions, the caravan-conductors, the superior prophets belonging to the South and the Northland, the overseers of the crown-possessions, were (each) at the head of a troop of the South or the Northland, of the strongholds and cities which they commanded, and of the negroes of these countries. I was the one who made for them the plan while my office was (only) that of superior custodian of the domains of the Pharaoh of [.... .... ....] . Not one thereof [...] with his neighbor; not one thereof plundered [dough] (or) sandals from the wayfarer; not one thereof took bread from any city; not one thereof took any goat from any people. I despatched them from the Northern Isle, the Gate of Ihotep, the bend of Horus, Nibmat. While I was of this rank .... .... .... everything, I [inspected] the number of these troops, (although) never had any servant inspected.
-Asiatic Sand-dwellers : bedouins living in Sinai and Canaan, possibly Canaanites in general
-Elephantine : Abu, city in the 1st, southernmost nome of Upper Egypt
-Aphroditopolis : Tep-ihet, city in the 22nd, northernmost nome of Upper Egypt
-Irthet : Irtjet
-Mazoi : Medjay. Many of the Medjay migrated into Egypt and were employed as police units.
-Temeh : Tjemeh
    This army returned in safety, (after) it had hacked up the land of the Sand-dwellers; this army returned in safety, (after) it had destroyed the land of the Sand-dwellers; this army returned in safety, (after) it had overturned its strongholds; this army returned in safety, (after) it had cut down its figs and vines; this army returned in safety, (after) it had thrown fire in all its [troops]; this army returned in safety, (after) it had slain troops therein, in many ten thousands; this army returned in safety, (after) [it had carried away] therefrom a great multitude as living captives. His majesty praised me on account of it above everything.
    His majesty sent me to despatch [this army] five times, in order to traverse the land of the Sand-dwellers at each of their rebellions, with these troops. I did so that [his] majesty praised me [on account of it].
    When it was said there were revolters, because of a matter among these barbarians in the land of Gazelle-nose, I crossed over in troop-ships with these troops, and I voyaged to the back of the height of the ridge on the north of the Sand-dwellers. When this army had been [brought] in the highway, I came and smote them all and every revolter among them was slain. -land of Gazelle-nose : possibly northern Canaan
-the ridge : Mount Carmel ?
    When I was [master of the footstool] of the palace and sandal-bearer, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Mernere my lord, who lives forever, made me count, and governor of the South, southward to Elephantine, and northward to Aphroditopolis; for I was excellent to the heart of his majesty, for I was pleasant to the heart of his majesty, for his majesty loved me.
    When I was [master of the footstool] and sandal-bearer, his majesty praised me for the watchfulness and vigilance, which I showed in the place of audience, above his every official, above [his every] noble, above his every servant. Never before was this office conferred upon any servant. I acted as governor of the South to his satisfaction. Not one therein [...] with [his] neighbor. I accomplished all tasks; I numbered everything that is counted to (the credit of) the court in this South twice; all the corvée that is counted (to the credit of) the court in this South twice. I performed the [... ... ... ...] in this South; never before was the like done in this South. I did throughout so that his majesty praised me for it.
-sandal-bearer : a position of some importance, cf. the Narmer Palette
-the South : Upper Egypt
    His majesty sent me to Ibhet to bring the sarcophagus (named): "Chest-of-the-Living," together with its lid and the costly, splendid pyramidion for the pyramid (called): "Mernere-Shines-and-is-Beautiful," of the queen.
    His majesty sent me to Elephantine to bring a false door of granite, together with its offering-tablet, doors and [settings] of granite; to bring doorways and offering-tablets of granite, belonging to the upper chamber of the pyramid (called): "Mernere-Shines-and-is-Beautiful, " of the queen. Then I sailed down-stream to the pyramid (called): "Mernere-Shines-and-is-Beautiful," with 6 cargo-boats, 3 [tow]-boats and 3 [...]-boats to only one warship. Never had Ibhet and Elephantine been visited in the time of any kings with only one warship. Whatsoever his majesty commanded me I carried out completely according to all that his majesty commanded me.
    His majesty sent me to Hatnub to bring a huge offering-table of hard stone of Hatnub. I brought down this offering-table for him in only 17 days, it having been quarried in Hatnub, and I had it proceed down-stream in this cargo-boat. I hewed for him a cargo-boat of acacia wood 60 cubits in its length and 30 cubits in its breadth, built in only 17 days, in the third month of the third season. Although there was no water in the [...], I landed in safety at the pyramid (called): "Mernere-Shines-and-is-Beautiful;" and the whole was carried out by my hand, according to the mandate which the majesty my lord had commanded me. -acacia wood : the local timber used for boat building.
-cubit : about half a metre
-in the third month of the third season: the eleventh month of the Egyptian civil calendar, Julian date: January during the reign of Merenre (c.2279-2270).
    His majesty sent [me] to dig five canals in the South and to make 3 cargo-boats and 4 [tow]-boats of acacia wood of Wawat. Then the negro chiefs of Irthet, Wawat, Yam and Mazoi drew timber therefore, and I did the whole in only one year. They were launched and laden with very large granite blocks for the pyramid (called): "Mernere-Shines-and-is-Beautiful." I then [...] for the palace in all these 5 canals, because I honored, because I [...], because I praised the fame of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Mernere, who lives forever, more than all gods, and because I carried out everything according to the mandate which his ka commanded me.
    I was one beloved of his father, and praised of his mother; first-born .... pleasant to his brothers, the count, the real governor of the South, revered by Osiris, Uni.
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt
Part I, §§ 293ff
-canals : seemingly canals piercing the first cataract
-drew timber therefore : there was little wood suitable for ship building in Upper Egypt or Nubia. It may have been brought down from further south.

 


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These are just suggestions for further reading. I do not assume any responsibility for the availability or content of these websites
 
-Lebensgeschichte des wni (in Hieroglyphs)
-Quest for Weni the Elder: An Old Kingdom cemetery yields the tomb of a "True Governor of Upper Egypt."
 

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October 2002