Title page


Sebek of the Fayoum are referred to in a papyrus of accounts..

The cartouche of Usertesen II is the commonest of all. The pyramid cities Hotep Usertesen, Kherp? Usertesen, and if I recollect rightly Kha Usertesen (as in the colossus tomb at El Bersheh) are mentioned and are perhaps all to be attributed to this king, whose name often occurs in the letters as that of a presiding deity.

The hymn to Usertesen III may have been composed after his death : a reservoir or garden of this king is mentioned. Amenemhat III is the first king of whom we may say that papyri certainly written in his reign were found at Kahun.

Amenemhat IV. One letter dated in his reign.

XIIIth dynasty. Sekhem khu taui re (Sebekhotep I ?) the founder of the dynasty: a long aput list.

His successor Sekhem ka re: another aput.

(The evidence for the identification of these two names is complicated, but I think will leave little to be desired when published.)

All the above cartouches are from Kahun: the great documentary age there, which can be proved to extend from Amenemhat III to Ra sekhem khu taui, was precisely the period during which the Pharaohs paid especial attention to irrigation : at that time the height of the Nile was frequently gauged as far south as Semneh above the second cataract. The prosperity of Kahun was due not only to the pyramid and temple of Usertesen II but also to the innumerable works involved in building and irrigation schemes thereabouts. Hotep Usertesen, as it was called, was an important entrepot during the building of the pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara, and a scrawled letter speaks of works at three places viz. at Hotep Usertesen, at the tomb-site (hat) of the deceased princess Ptah neferu ? and in the city of Aphroditopolis (Atfiyeh).

The transition from the Xllth to the XIIIth dynasty, though marked by Manetho and the Turin papyrus, cannot have been a great revolution.

Sebek nefru (who probably reigned jointly with Amenemhat IV) dying childless like her brother, may have left the kingdom to the representative of another branch of the "sons of Ra;" but this is only hypothesis. Kahun continued to flourish for a time, and the kings of the XIIIth dynasty treated their predecessors' monuments with respect.

Letters came to Kahun from Thebes, Heliopolis, Heracleopolis (Ahnâs), Crocodilopolis (Medinet el Fayoum) as well as from places in the immediate neighbourhood connected with the worship of Usertesen. One of the most puzzling things is to find that Sepdu "Lord of the Eastern desert" is a local God: either we must suppose that the settlers at Hotep Usertesen came from the East of the Delta (or from the Eastern desert), and introduced his worship, or else we must seek an explanation in the original meaning of the word which we translate "East," namely "left." The Egyptians ascending the Nile from the sea had our "east" on their "left" Likewise if they ascended the Fayûm branch from the great lake or sea of the Fayûm, our North would be on their " left." The canal and lake of the Fayûm were of great mythological as well as commercial importance, and I really venture to suggest that they saw so much analogy in them to the main stream and the sea that they considered it most appropriate to place the desert north of the canal under the guardianship of Sepdu "Lord of the left hand desert". The Lake of the Fayûm was sometimes called uat ur like the Mediterranean and other seas: and the Fayûm in one of the sacred books is divided up into 24 little nomes as if it were a third land added to the " two lands " of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Kahun furnished also a letter of the XVIIIth dynasty: it was written in duplicate and addressed to "Pharaoh L. W. H. the Lord" Amenhotep IV. Its date of the 5th year is valuable. In the 6th year the king having changed his name to Khuenaten dedicated his new capital city to the Sun's disk or Aten. The letter was written from Memphis and contains no reference to the disk worship : the writer Apii is probably identical with an individual already known by a stela dedicated to Ptah in the museum at Florence.

From Gurob the most important papyri are -

Two small legal documents, sunu, found together, and both referring to the same transaction; dated in the 33rd year of Amenhotep III.

One page from a long letter or report presented to a son of Rameses II after the death of that king.

home - previous page - next page