Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: Will of Nau-nakht
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Will of Nau-nakht

Year 3, 4th month of Inundation, day 5, under the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Ramesses (IV). On this day a declaration concerning her property was made by the Citizenness Nau-nakht before the following court: ...
She said:
'As for me, I am a free woman of the land of Pharaoh. I brought up these eight servants of yours and gave them an outfit of everything (such) as is usually made for those in their station. But see, I am grown old, and see, they are not looking after me in my turn. Whoever of them has aided me, to him I will give (of) my property, but he who has not given to me, to him I will not give of my property.'
List of the workmen and women to whom she gave: PN, PN (She said: 'I have given to him as a special reward(?) a washing-bowl of bronze over and above his fellows--10 sacks of emmer'), PN, (the first three were males) PN, PN (both female). (As for the Citizenness Menat-nakht, she said concerning her: 'She shall have her share in the division of all my property except for the oipe of emmer which my three male children and also the Citizenness Wast-nakht have given me and except for my hin of fat which they have given me in the same manner.').
List of her children of whom she said: 'They shall not participate in the division of my 1/3, but in the 2/3 of their father they shall participate: PN, PN, PN, PN (one male, three female). As for these 4 children of mine, they shall <not> participate in the division of any of my property. And as for any property of the scribe Qen-herkhepeshef, my [first] husband, and also his landed property and this storeroom of my father and also this oipe of emmer which I collected, in company with my husband, they shall not share them. And as for these eight children of mine they shall participate in the division of the property of their father in one single division.' And as for my cauldron which I gave him (i.e. one of her sons) to purchase bread for himself and the tool of 7 deben and the vase of 7 deben and the pick of 6 deben, that is forty deben (in all), they shall serve him as a portion. He shall not participate in any further copper, it shall belong to his brothers (and sisters).'
Written by Amon-nakht, the scribe of the King's Tomb of forbidden entry.
Year 4, 3rd month of Inundation, day 17.
On this day the workman Khaem-nun and his children again presented themselves at the court saying: 'As for the writings which the citizenness Nau-nakht has made concerning her property, they shall be (carried out) exactly as prescribed. The workman Nufe-hotep shall not share in it.'
He made an oath by the Lord saying: 'If I reverse my undertaking so as to contest it again,'--(that then) he would be liable to 100 blows and be deprived of his property.
List of members of the tribunal ...
(Docket on outside)
Declaratory deed w[hich the citizenness Nau]-nakht [made] of their property.
Statement made by the workman Khaem-nun before (list of the members of the kenbet)
'Look, I will give this washing-bowl weighing 13 deben of copper. It shall belong to Qen-herkhepeshef (and) no son or daughter shall contest it, nor shall his deposition be heard, it not (being included in) any division.'
"Year 3, 3rd month Inundation, day 10.
On this day the workman Khaem-nun stated: 'As for the washing-bowl which I have given (to) the workman Qen-herkhepeshef, his son, it shall belong to him. Neither any son or daughter nor the wife of Qen shall contest it, nor shall his deposition be heard in future.'
Handing over on this day before (list of the members of the kenbet) the workman Qen-herkhepeshef having declared: 'I will give him 2 ¾ khar' and then having sworn an oath by the Lord saying: 'As Amun endures, and as the Ruler endures! If I take this income in grain from my father they shall take away this reward(?) of mine, and I will <give?> one pair of sandals to the workman Amon-nakht and I(?) will give one box (to) the workman Maa-nakhtef in order to pay for the writings which they have made concerning the deposition of their father.'

Jaroslav Cerny, The Will of Naunakhte and the Related Documents, JEA 31 (1945) 29-53

- New Kingdom
  eight servants: eight children, children and slaves were often depicted together and treated similarly.
  Hin: hnw:lit. jar, one tenth of a heqat, about half a litre
  in the 2/3 of their father they shall participate: she cannot withhold the property of their father from them, but had full discretion over her own . Communal property of a couple was generally divided with two thirds going to the husband (or his heirs) and one third belonging to the wife.
  oipe: ipt Measure of capacity, 4 heqat, about 20 litres (Late New Kingdom)
  deben: dbn Weight of metal, equal to 10 kit, about 91 grammes
  khar: XAr, lit. sack, measure of capacity, equalled 4 oipe, i.e. 16 heqat in the Late New Kingdom


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March 2004


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