Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Upanishads, Mukhya, Sanskrit

The Upanishads are considered by Hindus to contain utterances (śruti) concerning the nature of ultimate reality (brahman) and describing the character of and path to human salvation (moksa or mukti). The Upanishads are commonly referred to as Vedānta, variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda".

The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Soul, Self) are central ideas in all the Upanishads, and "Know your Ātman" their thematic focus.
The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions. Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.

More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down verbally.

The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to being composed through the early modern and modern era, though often dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas. The image above is The Seven Seats Chakras. The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all. The Lord is the supreme reality. Rejoice in him through renunciation. Covet nothing. All belongs to the Lord.

Thus working may you live a hundred years. Thus alone can you work in full freedom. Those who deny the Self are born again Blind to the Self, enveloped in darkness, Utterly devoid of love for the Lord. The Self is one. Ever still, the Self is Swifter than thought, swifter than the senses.
The Seven Seats Chakras
 Though motionless, he outruns all pursuit. Without the Self, never could life exist. The Self seems to move, but is ever still. He seems far away, but is ever near.

He is within all, and he transcends all. Those who see all creatures in themselves And themselves in all creatures know no fear. Those who see all creatures in themselves And themselves in all creatures know no grief. How can the multiplicity of life Delude the one who sees its unity? The Self is everywhere. Bright is the Self, Indivisible, untouched by sin, wise, Immanent and transcendent. He it is Who holds the cosmos together.

In dark night live those For whom the world without alone is real; In night darker still, for whom the world within Alone is real. The first leads to a life Of action, the second of meditation. But those who combine action with meditation Go across the sea of death through action And enter into immortality Through the practice of meditation. So have we heard from the wise. In dark night live those for whom the Lord Is transcendent only; in night darker still, For whom he is immanent only.

But those for whom he is transcendent And immanent cross the sea of death With the immanent and enter into Immortality with the transcendent. So have we heard from the wise. The face of truth is hidden by your orb Of gold, O sun. May you remove the orb So that I, who adore the true, may see The glory of truth. O nourishing sun, Solitary traveler, controller, Source of life for all creatures, spread your light, And subdue your dazzling splendor So that I may see your blessed Self.

Even that very Self am I! May my life merge in the Immortal When my body is reduced to ashes! O mind, meditate on the eternal Brahman. Remember the deeds of the past. Remember, O mind, remember. O God of fire, lead us by the good path To eternal joy. You know all our deeds. Deliver us from evil, we that bow And pray again and again. OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Book Of The Dead, The Seven Arits:

The Seven Arits of The Book Of The Dead
If (these) words be recited by the spirit when he shall come to the Seven Arits, and as he entereth the doors, he shall neither be turned back nor repulsed before Osiris, and he shall be made to have his being among the blessed spirits, and to have dominion among the ancestral followers of Osiris.
Horus, Osiris, Isis
 If these things be done for any spirit he shall have his being in that place like a lord of eternity in one body with Osiris, and at no place shall any being contend against him.

The First Arit:
The name of the Doorkeeper is Sekhet-her-asht-aru. The name of the Watcher is Smetti. The name of the Herald is Hakheru. The Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, shall say when he cometh unto the First Arit: "I am the mighty one who createth his own light. I have come unto thee, O Osiris, and, purified from that which defileth thee, I adore thee. Lead on. Name not the name of Ra-stau to me. Homage to thee, O Osiris, in thy might and in thy strength in Ra-stau. Rise up and conquer, O Osiris, in Abtu.

Thou goest round about heaven, thou sailest in the presence of Ra, thou lookest upon all the beings who have knowledge. Hail, Ra, thou who goest round about in the sky, I say, O Osiris in truth, that I am the Sahu (Spirit-body) of the god, and I beseech thee not to let me be driven away, nor to be cast upon the wall of blazing fire. Let the way be opened in Ra-stau, let the pain of the Osiris be relieved, embrace that which the Balance hath weighed, let a path be made for the Osiris in the Great Valley, and let the Osiris have light to guide him on his way."

The Second Arit.
The name of the Doorkeeper is Unhat. The name of the Watcher is Seqt-her. The name of the Herald is Ust. The Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, shall say when he cometh to this Arit:
 "He sitteth to carry out his heart's desire, and he weigheth words as the Second of Thoth. The strength which protecteth Thoth humbleth the hidden Maati gods, who feed upon Maat during the years of their lives. I offer up my offerings [to him] at the moment when he maketh his way.

I advance, and I enter on the path. O grant thou that I may continue to advance, and that I may attain to the sight of Ra, and of those who offer up [their] offerings."

The Third Arit.
The name of the Doorkeeper is Unem-hauatu-ent-pehui. The name of the Watcher is Seres-her. The name of the Herald is Aa. The Osiris the scribe Ani, whose word is truth, shall say [when he cometh to this Arit]: "I am he who is hidden in the great deep. I am the Judge of the Rehui, I have come and I have done away the offensive thing which was upon Osiris.
 I tie firmly the place on which he standeth, coming forth from the Urt. I have stablished things in Abtu, I have opened up a way through Ra-stau, and I have relieved the pain which was in Osiris. I have balanced the place whereon he standeth, and I have made a path for him; he shineth brilliantly in Ra-stau."

The Fourth Arit.
The name of the Doorkeeper is Khesef-her-asht-kheru. The name of the Watcher is Seres-tepu. The name of the Herald is Khesef-at. The Osiris the scribe Ani, whose word is truth, shall say [when he cometh to this Arit]: "I am the Bull, the son of the ancestress of Osiris. O grant ye that his father, the Lord of his god-like companions, may bear witness on his behalf. I have weighed the guilty in judgment. I have brought unto his nostrils the life which is ever lasting. I am the son of Osiris, I have accomplished the journey, I have advanced in Khert-Neter."

The Fifth Arit.
The name of the Doorkeeper is Ankhf-em-fent. The name of the Watcher is Shabu. The name of the Herald is Teb-her-kha-kheft. The Osiris the scribe Ani, whose word is truth, shall say [when he cometh to this Arit]: "I have brought unto thee the jawbone in Ra-stau. I have brought unto thee thy backbone in Anu. I have gathered together his manifold members therein. I have driven back Aapep for thee. I have spit upon the wounds in his body. I have made myself a path among you. I am the Aged One among the gods. I have made offerings to Osiris. I have defended him with the word of truth. I have gathered together his bones, and have collected all his members."

The Sixth Arit.
The name of the Doorkeeper is Atek-tau-kehaq-kheru. The name of the Watcher is An-her. The name of the Herald is Ates-her-[ari]-she. The Osiris the scribe Ani, whose word is truth, shall say when he cometh to this Arit]: "I have come daily, I have come daily. I have made myself a way.
 I have advanced over that which was created by Anpu (Anubis). I am the Lord of the Urrt Crown. I am the possessor [of the knowledge of] the words of magical power, I am the Avenger according to law, I have avenged [the injury to] his Eye. I have defended Osiris. I have accomplished my journey. The Osiris Ani advanceth with you with the word which is truth."

The Seventh Arit.
The name of the Doorkeeper is Sekhmet-em-tsu-sen. The name of the Watcher is Aa-maa-kheru. The name of the Herald is Khesef-khemi. The Osiris the scribe Ani, whose word is truth, shall say [when he cometh to this Arit]: "I have come unto thee, O Osiris, being purified from foul emissions. Thou goest round about heaven, thou seest Ra, thou seest the beings who have knowledge. Hail, thou, ONE! Behold, thou art in the Sektet Boat which traverseth the heavens. I speak what I will to his Sahu (Spirit-body). He is strong, and cometh into being even [as] he spake. Thou meetest him face to face. Prepare thou for me all the ways which are good [and which lead] to thee."

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Eleventh Egyptian Dynasty 2134 - 1991 BCE

Manetho's statement that Dynasty XI consisted of 16 kings, who reigned for 43 years is contradicted by contemporary inscriptions and the evidence of the Turin King List, whose combined testimony establishes that this kingdom consisted of seven kings who ruled for a total of 143 years. However, his testimony that this dynasty was based at Thebes is verified by the contemporary evidence.
Inyotef II/Intef II
 It was during this dynasty that all of ancient Egypt was united under the Middle Kingdom.

This dynasty traces its origins to a nomarch of Thebes, "Intef the Great, son of Iku", who is mentioned in a number of contemporary inscriptions. However, his immediate successor Mentuhotep I is considered the first king of this dynasty. An inscription carved during the reign of Wahankh Intef II shows that he was the first of this dynasty to claim to rule over the whole of Egypt, a claim which brought the Thebeans into conflict with the rulers of Herakleopolis Magna, Dynasty X. Intef undertook several campaigns northwards, and captured the important nome of Abydos.

Warfare continued intermittently between the Thebean and Heracleapolitan dynasts until the fourteenth regnal year of Nebhetepra Mentuhotep II, when the Herakleopolitans were defeated, and this dynasty could begin to consolidate their rule. The rulers of Dynasty XI reasserted Egypt's influence over her neighbors in Africa and the Near East. Mentuhotep II sent renewed expeditions to Phoenicia to obtain cedar. Sankhkara Mentuhotep III sent an expedition from Coptos south to the land of Punt.

XI Egyptian Dynasty 2134 - 1991
Mentuhotep I 2134  - 2144? BCE
Inyotef I/Intef I/Sehertawy 2144 - 2118?  BCE
Inyotef II/Intef II/Wahankh 2118 - 2069 BCE
Inyotef III/Intef III/Nakhtnbtepnefer 2069 - 2061 BCE
Mentuhotep II/Nebhetepre 2061 - 2010 BCE
Mentuhotep III/Sankhkare 2010 - 1998 BCE
Mentuhotep IV/Nebtawyre 1998 - 1991 BCE

Mentuhotep I was the first pharaoh of Eleventh dynasty. He is also known as Montuhotep and his name honors the god Menthu. He was at first a local Egyptian prince at Thebes during the First Intermediate Period. He became the first openly acknowledged ruler of the Eleventh dynasty by assuming the title of first "supreme chief of Upper Egypt" and, later, declaring himself king over all Egypt. He is named as a nomarch in Thutmose III's royal list of the 'Hall of Ancestors' monument at Karnak. Mentuhotep's wife was Neferu I. He was the father of Intef I, his successor, and Intef II.
Inyotef III/Intef III
 He was also a grandfather of Intef III. Mentuhotep I was a local Egyptian ruler at Thebes during the First Intermediate Period. He founded the Eleventh dynasty which eventually reunited Egypt under the Middle Kingdom. He is associated with Mentuhotep II. It is commonly thought that the two rulers were one and the same.

Pharaoh Inyotef I: Inyotef I was on of the founder of the 11th Dynasty. He took Thebes as the Capitol of Egypt and ruled it from there. He was the son of Montuhotep I, the "elder". The king took over a divided Egypt and tried to reunite the north and the south under his power. Herakleopolitans ruled Northern Egypt during the period of the 9th and 10th Dynasties' kings. Inyotef was buried in Thebes in the mortuary complex that he built. His royal successors honored his mortuary complex and did not modify it.

Intef II was a Pharaoh of the Eleventh dynasty during the First Intermediate Period. His capital was located at Thebes. At this time, Egypt was split between several local dynasties. After the death of the nomarch Ankhtifi, Intef was able to unite all the southern nomes down to the First Cataract. After this he clashed with his main rivals, the nomarchs of Herakleopolis Magna for the possession of Abydos. The city changed hands several times, but Intef II was eventually victorious, extending his rule north to the thirteenth nome. After these wars, more friendly relations were established and the rest of Intef's reign was peaceful. The discovery of a statue of Intef II, wrapped in a sed festival robe, in the sanctuary of Heqaib at Elephantine suggests that this king's authority extended to the region of the First Cataract and, perhaps, over part of Lower Nubia by his 30th year.

This impression would appear to be confirmed by an expedition led by Djemi from Gebelein to the land of Wawat (i.e.: Nubia) during his reign. Consequently when Intef II died, he left behind a strong government in Thebes which controlled the whole of Upper Egypt and maintained a border just south of Asyut. The earliest attested dating of the god Amun at Karnak occurs during his reign. The surviving sections of the Turin Canon for the Middle Kingdom with Intef II; it assigns this king a reign of 49 years.

Pharaoh Inyotef III: Intef III's father and predecessor reigned for 49 years and Intef III may thus have accessed the throne a middle-aged or even elderly man. Although Intef III's name is lost in a lacuna of the Turin canon, a king list compiled in the early Ramesside period, its reign length is still readable on column 5, row 15, and given as 8 years. The relative chronological position of Intef III as the successor of Intef II and predecessor of Mentuhotep II is secured by his established parentage to these two kings as well as the Turin canon and two blocks from the temple of Montu at Tod.
Mentuhotep II/Nebhetepre
 These blocks show the succession of kings from Intef I to Mentuhotep II and while Intef III's horus name is damaged, its position is certain. The absolute dating of Intef III's reign is less certain and several dates have been proposed:

Pharaoh Mentuhotep II: Mentuhotep II is considered to be the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The Turin Canon credits him with a reign of 51 years. Many Egyptologists have long considered two rock reliefs, showing Mentuhotep II towering over smaller figures labeled king "Intef", to be conclusive evidence that his predecessor Intef III was his own father; this is, however, not entirely certain, as these reliefs may have had other propagandistic purposes, and there are other difficulties surrounding Mentuhotep's true origin, his three name-changes, and his frequent attempts to claim descent from various gods.

Painted sandstone seated statue of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, Egyptian Museum, Cairo. When he ascended the Theban throne, Mentuhotep II inherited the vast land conquered by his predecessors from the first cataract in the south to Abydos and Tjebu in the north. Mentuhotep II's first fourteen years of reign seem to have been peaceful in the Theban region as there are no surviving traces of conflict firmly datable to that period. In fact the general scarcity of testimonies from the early part of Mentuhotep's reign might indicate that he was young when he ascended the throne, an hypothesis consistent with his 51 years long reign.

In the 14th year of his reign, an uprising occurred in the north.
 This uprising is most probably connected with the ongoing conflict between Mentuhotep II based in Thebes and the rival 10th dynasty based at Herakleopolis who threatened to invade Upper Egypt. The 14th year of Mentuhotep's reign is indeed named Year of the crime of Thinis.

This certainly refers to the conquest of the Thinite region by the Herakleopolitan kings who apparently desecrated the sacred ancient royal necropolis of Abydos in the process. Mentuhotep II subsequently dispatched his armies to the north. The famous tomb of the warriors at Deir el-Bahari discovered in the 1920s, contained the linen-wrapped, unmummified bodies of 60 soldiers all killed in battle, their shroud bearing Mentuhotep II's cartouche. Due to its proximity to the Theban royal tombs, the tomb of the warriors is believed to be that of heroes who died during the conflict between Mentuhotep II and his foes to the north. Merykara, the ruler of Lower-Egypt at the time may have died during the conflict, which further weakened his kingdom and gave Mentuhotep the opportunity to reunite Egypt.

The exact date when reunification was achieved is not known, but it is assumed to have happened shortly before year 39 of his reign. Indeed, evidence shows that the process took time, maybe due to the general insecurity of the country at the time:
Mentuhotep III/Sankhkare
 commoners where buried with weapons, the funerary stelae of officials show them holding weapons instead of the usual regalia, and when Mentuhotep II's successor sent an expedition to Punt some 20 years after the reunification, they still had to clear the Wadi Hammamat of rebels.

Mentuhotep III was the son and successor of Mentuhotep II. One of the wives of Mentuhotep II, Tem, was given the title Mother of the Dual King and based on that title she is almost certainly the mother of Mentuhotep III. Pharaoh Mentuhotep III's family is a mystery and it is not known if his successor Mentuhotep IV was a son of his or not.Mentuhotep IV's mother is known to have been Queen Imi. If he was the son of Mentuhotep III, Imi must have been the wife of Mentuhotep III.

Sankhkare Mentuhotep had a mud-brick temple erected at Thoth Hill in Western Thebes. The temple was built on the site of an older archaic temple. It was dedicated to the god Horus. This temple may have been destroyed by an earthquake towards the end of the 11th dynasty. Sankhkare Mentuhotep was responsible for several building projects in the 12 years of his reign. His own mortuary temple was begun in Deir el-Bahari, but never completed. The temple was located a short distance from his father's mortuary temple. A causeway would have led up to a temple platform. Inscriptions show that the king was buried in a chamber cut into the rock-face.

Mentuhotep IV was the last king of the 11th Dynasty. He was the son of a woman named Imi, who was a secondary wife of either Mentuhotep II or Mentuhotep III.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Atra Haziz Tablet & Etana

Atra Haziz Tablet
A man... A man... The son to his father... They sat and... He was carrying... He saw... Ellil... They took hold of... Made new picks and spades, Made big canals, To feed people and sustain the gods. 600 years, less than 600, passed, And the country was as noisy as a bellowing bull.
 The god grew restless at their racket, Ellil had to listen to their noise. He addressed the great gods, The noise of mankind has become too much, I am losing sleep over their racket. Top left Sumerian God Enki/Enlil and next to it Atrahasis tablets.

Give the order that suruppu-disease shall break out, Now there was one Atrahasis Whose ear was open to his god Enki. He would speak with his god And his god would speak with him. Atrahasis made his voice heard And spoke to his lord, How long will the gods make us suffer? Will they make us suffer illness forever? Enki made his voice heard And spoke to his servant: Call the elders, the senior men! Start an uprising in your own house, Let the heralds proclaim... Let them make a loud noise in the land:

Do not revere your gods, Do not pray to your goddesses, But search out the door of Namtara. Bring as baked loaf into his presence.
Sky God
 May the flour offerings reach him. May he be shamed by the presents And wipe away his hand. Left Sumerian Sky God. Atrahasis took the order, Gathered the elders to his door. Atrahasis made his voice heard And spoke to the elders:

I have called the elders, the senior men! Start an uprising in your own house, Let the heralds proclaim... Let them make a loud noise in the land:

Do not revere your gods, Do not pray to your goddesses, But search out the door of Namtara. Bring as baked loaf into his presence. May the flour offerings reach him. May he be shamed by the presents And wipe away his hand. The elders listened to his speech; They built a temple for Namtara in the city. Heralds proclaimed... They made a loud noise in the land. They did not revere their god, they did not pray to their goddess,

But searched out the door of Namtara, Brought a baked loaf into his presence The flour offerings reached him. And he was shamed by the presents. And wiped away his hand.
 The suruppu-disease left them. The gods went back to their regular offerings.

The Igigi, the gods of creation, created a city and laid its foundation, and called it Kish. But the people were without a king, so the gates were barred against the world. Then Ishtar searched the land for a king, and Inninna searched the land for a king, and Ellil searched the land for a king, and they found Etana, a shepherd, and led him into the city.

They built his dais, and gave him his scepter, and made him king over all the land.  But Etana feared for his kingdom, for he had no son and heir. His wife Muanna, called Sherbi’anni, had an illness and could not carry a child to term. One day Muanna was visited with a powerful dream, and she spoke to Etana, saying unto him that only with the shammu sha aladi, the plant of birth that grows in the heavens, would she be able to bear him a son and heir. For many months Etana scoured the land from one end to the other in search of the plant of birth, but he found it not. Then Etana returned to Kish and offered up many sacrifices to Shamash, and beseeched his aid, saying,

“Mighty Shamash, god of the sun, god of justice, you have dined on the flesh of my fattest sheep and drunk the blood of my lambs, and inhaled the scent of my last fragment of incense. Deliver unto me the plant of birth, that my wife might bear a child!” Shamash took pity on Etana, and said unto him, “Follow the road into the mountain region, and on the slopes there is a pit. Search therein, and you will find that which you require.” Etana followed the long road until he reached the mountain region. Searching the slopes of the mountains he found a pit, and within the pit he found an eagle.

The eagle called out to Etana, saying, “My prayers to Shamash have been answered! Free me from this pit, and we will be friends forever.”
 Etana descended into the pit, and found the eagle’s wings were cut off, and its feathers all plucked forth, and it was dying of hunger and thirst.

Etana brought water unto the eagle until its thirst was slaked, and he brought food unto the eagle until its hunger was sated. Then Etana saw that the eagle was recovered enough to cling to him, and Etana ascended the pit with the eagle on his back. For seven months, Etana brought food and water to the eagle as it healed, and its wings grew, and it learned again how to fly. In the eighth month the eagle was fully healed, and it spoke to Etana, and asked of him, “How can I repay your kindness?”

Etana said unto the eagle, “I need the plant of birth that grows in the heavens, that my wife might give birth to our child.” The eagle replied, “I have never flown so high, but lie on my back and grip my wings, and I will carry you there.”

Etana laid his body on the eagle’s back, and stretched his arms along its wings, and grasped its feathers. Then the eagle flew up into the sky. And when it had flown one league up into the sky the eagle spoke to Etana, saying, “Look down at the land below! How small it has become.” And Etana looked, and saw that all the land now looked no larger than a hill, and the broad rivers were narrow streams. When the eagle had flown a second league up into the sky, it spoke to Etana, saying, “Look, look my friend! How small the land is now.” And Etana looked, and saw that all the land now looked no larger than a garden, and the broad rivers were tiny trickles. When the eagle had flown a third league up into the sky, and they were at the very gates of heaven, it spoke once more to Etana, saying,

“Now look, my dearest friend! See how tiny the land has become.” And Etana looked, and saw that the land was smaller than an anthill, and the broad rivers could not be seen. And he trembled in his fear, and his hands grew cold and lost their grip, and he fell. One league Etana fell, and the eagle flew down and caught him, and stopped his fall, but a fierce wind struck them and forced them apart.

A second league Etana fell, and the eagle caught him, and stopped his fall, but the swirling gusts blew them apart. The final league Etana fell, and the eagle caught him, and stopped his fall only a few cubits above the ground.  
3rd on the right Shamash
Together they landed heavily into a thicket of poplar, and fell into darkness. While they slept, terrible visions appeared to Etana, and he saw the people in pain and misery, and he saw the land stricken by drought and famine, and he was made to know that these things would come to pass because he had not sired an heir.

And while they slept, a vision appeared to the eagle, of a woman of surpassing beauty seated upon a throne, and on both sides of her rested lions, and in her hand was the plant of birth. When they awoke, Etana and the eagle shared their visions with one another, and they knew that the woman could only be Ishtar who lived in the heavens. So together they agreed that they must once more attempt to reach the heavens, and with profound resolution they set forth. Once more the eagle flew one league into the air, and Etana looked down and saw that the land and rivers were greatly diminished.
 The eagle flew a second league into the air, and Etana looked down and saw that the land was very small and the rivers were tiny trickles.

The eagle flew a third league into the air, and  Etana looked down and could not see the land at all.  He was sorely afraid, but still he clung tightly to the eagle until at last they arrived in the heavens. Together they passed through the gates of Anu, Ellil, and Ea, and they made obeisance.

Together they passed through the gates of Sin,  Shamash, Adad, and Ishtar, and they made obeisance. They came to the throne of Ishtar, and she smiled upon them, and gave the plant of birth to Etana, and made known to him its use.

Etana and the eagle flew down from the heavens and returned to Kish, where  Etana cultivated the plant in his garden. For nine months he gave the juice of the plant to Muanna, his wife, until she bore him a son who was named Balih.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Tablet of Ishtar, Inanna, Tammuz, Dumuzi

Ishtar was the goddess of love, war, fertility, and sexuality. Ishtar was the daughter of Anu.
 She was particularly worshipped in northern Mesopotamia, at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela (Erbil). Besides the lions on her gate, her symbol is an eight-pointed star. Ishtar holding her symbol, Louvre Museum One type of depiction of Ishtar/Inanna The lion was her symbol (detail of the Ishtar Gate) In the Babylonian pantheon, she "was the divine personification of the planet Venus".

Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Gilgamesh noted, "Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them." Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them.

"Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength," says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, "and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip." Even for the gods Ishtar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh — this love caused the death of Tammuz.

Her cult may have involved sacred prostitution, though this is debatable. One of the most famous myths about Ishtar describes her descent to the underworld. In this myth, Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld and demands that the gatekeeper open them:
 If thou openest not the gate to let me enter, I will break the door, I will wrench the lock, I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors. I will bring up the dead to eat the living. And the dead will outnumber the living.

The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter, but "according to the ancient decree". The gatekeeper let Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar had to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passed the seventh gate, she was naked.

In rage, Ishtar threw herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal ordered her servant Namtar to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her. After Ishtar descended to the underworld, all sexual activity ceased on earth. The god Papsukal reported the situation to Ea, the king of the gods.

Ea created an intersex being called Asu-shu-namir and sent it to Ereshkigal, telling it to invoke "the name of the great gods" against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal was enraged when she heard Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she had to give it the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkled Ishtar with this water, reviving her.

Then, Ishtar passed back through the seven gates, getting one article of clothing back at each gate, and was fully clothed as she exited the last gate.
 Here there is a break in the text of the myth, which resumes with the following lines: If she (Ishtar) will not grant thee her release, To Tammuz, the lover of her youth, Pour out pure waters, pour out fine oil; With a festival garment deck him that he may play on the flute of lapis lazuli, That the votaries may cheer his liver.

[his spirit] Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure, With precious stones filled her bosom. When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure, She scattered the precious stones before her, "Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish! On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli, playing it for me with the porphyry ring. Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women! That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense."

Formerly, scholars believed that the myth of Ishtar's descent took place after the death of Ishtar's lover, Tammuz: they thought Ishtar had gone to the underworld to rescue Tammuz. However, the discovery of a corresponding about Inanna, the Sumerian counterpart of Ishtar, has thrown some light on the myth of Ishtar's descent, including its somewhat enigmatic ending lines.

According to the Inanna myth, Inanna can only return from the underworld if she sends someone back in her place. Demons go with her to make sure she sends someone back.
Dumuzi/Tammuz and Inanna. 
 However, each time Inanna runs into someone, she finds him to be a friend and lets him go free.

When she finally reaches her home, she finds her husband Dumuzi  (Babylonian Tammuz) seated on his throne, not mourning her at all. In anger, Inanna has the demons take Dumuzi back to the underworld as her replacement. Dumuzi's sister Geshtinanna is grief-stricken and volunteers to spend half the year in the underworld, during which time Dumuzi can go free.

The Ishtar myth presumably had a comparable ending, Belili being the Babylonian equivalent of Geshtinanna.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Seventh & Eight Egyptian Dynasty 2181 to 2160 BCE

The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasties VII and VIII) are often combined with Dynasties IX, X and XI (Thebes only) under the group title First Intermediate Period. The Dynasties VII and VIII date approximately from 2181 to 2160 BC.

The First Intermediate Period is the name conventionally given by Egyptologists to that period in Ancient Egyptian history between the end of the Old Kingdom and the advent of the Middle Kingdom. As such, depending on when individual historians place the 'downfall' of the Old Kingdom - with the end of either the Sixth or the Eighth Dynasties - the First Intermediate Period (sometimes abbreviated as "FIP") can be considered to embrace the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and most of the Eleventh Dynasties.

The Old Kingdom was weakened by famine and weak leadership. One theory holds that a sudden, unanticipated, catastrophic reduction in the Nile floods over two or three decades, caused by a global climatic cooling, reduced the amount of rainfall in Egypt, Ethiopia, and East Africa, contributing to the great famine and subsequent downfall of the Old Kingdom. The last pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty was Pepi II (or possibly Nitocris). He was 6 when he ascended the throne and believed to have been 100 years old when he died, for a reign of 94 years, longer than any monarch in history.

Menkare may have been a king of the First Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt. He is entirely unattested outside of the Abydos King List. Neferkare II may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List, however J. von Beckerath believes he may have been the king with the praenomen Wadjkare[citation needed], which is attested in a graffito contemporary with First Intermediate Period.

Neferkare Neby may have been a king of the Seventh Dynasty of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is clearly attested on the Abydos King List, and unlike other kings of this period, is attested in two other sources. His mother was apparently Queen Ankhesenpepi II, which would presumably make his father Pepi II Neferkare. Neferkare Neby appears on the false door at Ankhensenpepi II's tomb, and is also inscribed on her sarcophagous. Neferkare Neby also appears to have begun planning the construction of a pyramid at Saqqara, but never significantly entered the building stage.

Djedkare Shemai may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List. Neferkare Khendu may have been a seventh dynasty king of Ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List. Merenhor may have been a Seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List.

Neferkamin may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His throne name Sneferka is attested on the Abydos King List, however he also appears on a tablet in the British Museum with the name "Neferkamin". Neferkamin may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His throne name Sneferka is attested on the Abydos King List, however he also appears on a tablet in the British Museum with the name "Neferkamin".

Nikare may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List. Neferkare Tereru may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List. Neferkare Tereru may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List. Neferkahor may have been a seventh dynasty king of ancient Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. His name is only attested on the Abydos King List and on a cylinder seal.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Immaculate Conception, Osiris, Isis, Horus, Seth & Ra

The Immaculate Conception came straight of the Egyptian myth about Osiris, Isis, Horus and Seth. It stated that Aset conceived Har 'Horus" after the passing of Asaru "Osiris" through Magic by the Neter "Supreme Being" Tehuti. This was the same story around the birth of Christ.
 Mary was visited by the Eloheem, Neter "Supreme being", Gabriel and conceived Jesus of the Holy Ghost or magic or some divine Intervention.

O my brothers and my sisters, gather around me that I may tell the tale of the Before-Time, of the Golden Age when the gods walked upon the earth with us. Know then that in those ancient days, long before even the grandfather of our Pharaoh's grandfather was born, Osiris the great-grandson of Ra sat upon the throne of the gods, ruling over the living world as Ra did over the gods. He was the first Pharaoh, and his Queen, Isis, was the first Queen. They ruled for many ages together, for the world was still young and Grandmother Death was not as harsh as she is now. His ways were just and upright, he made sure that Maat remained in balance, that the law was kept. And so Maat smiled upon the world. All peoples praised Osiris and Isis, and peace reigned over all, for this was the Golden Age.

Yet there was trouble. Proud Set, noble Set, the brother of Osiris, he who defended the Sun Boat from Apep the Destroyer, was unsettled in his heart. He coveted the throne of Osiris. He coveted Isis. He coveted the power over the living world and he desired to take it from his brother. In his dark mind he conceived of a plot to kill Osiris and take all from him. He built a box and inscribed it with wicked magic that would chain anyone who entered it from escaping. Set took the box to the great feast of the gods. He waited until Osiris had made himself drunk on much beer, then challenged Osiris to a contest of strength.

Each one in turn would enter the box, and attempt, through sheer strength, to break it open. Osiris, sure in his power yet feeble in mind because of his drink, entered the box. Set quickly poured molten lead into the box. Osiris tried to escape, but the wicked magic held him bound and he died. Set then picked up the box and hurled it into the Nile where it floated away.
 Set claimed the throne of Osiris for himself and demanded that Isis be his Queen. None of the other gods dared to stand against him, for he had killed Osiris and could easily do the same to them. Great Ra turned his head aside and mourned, he did not stand against Set. This was the dark time. Set was everything his brother was not.

He was cruel and unkind, caring not for the balance of Maat, or for us, the children of the gods. War divided Egypt, and all was lawless while Set ruled. In vain our people cried to Ra, but his heart was hardened by grief, and he would not listen. Only Isis, blessed Isis, remembered us. Only she was unafraid of Set. She searched all of the Nile for the box containing her beloved husband. Finally she found it, lodged in a tamarisk bush that had turned into a mighty tree, for the power of Osiris still was in him, though he lay dead. She tore open the box and wept over the lifeless body of Osiris. She carried the box back to Egypt and placed it in the house of the gods. She changed herself into a bird and flew about his body, singing a song of mourning. Then she perched upon him and cast a spell. The spirit of dead Osiris entered her and she did conceive and bear a son whose destiny it would be to avenge his father. She called the child Horus, and hid him on an island far away from the gaze of his uncle Set.

She then went to Thoth, wise Thoth, who knows all secrets, and implored his help. She asked him for magic that could bring Osiris back to life. Thoth, lord of knowledge, who brought himself into being by speaking his name, searched through his magic. He knew that Osiris' spirit had departed his body and was lost. To restore Osiris, Thoth had to remake him so that his spirit would recognise him and rejoin. Thoth and Isis together created the Ritual of Life, that which allows us to live forever when we die. But before Thoth could work the magic, cruel Set discovered them.
  He stole the body of Osiris and tore it into many pieces, scattering them throughout Egypt. He was sure that Osiris would never be reborn. born by lumping it on the stone. Bottom left Isis and next to it Horus.

Yet Isis would not despair. She implored the help of her sister Nephthys, kind Nephthys, to guide her and help her find the pieces of Osiris. Long did they search, bringing each piece to Thoth that he might work magic upon it. When all the pieces were together, Thoth went to Anubis, lord of the dead. Anubis sewed the pieces back together, washed the entrails of Osiris, embalmed him wrapped him in linen, and cast the Ritual of Life. When Osiris' mouth was opened, his spirit reentered him and he lived again.Yet nothing that has died, not even a god, may dwell in the land of the living. Osiris went to Duat, the abode of the dead.

Anubis yielded the throne to him and he became the lord of the dead. There he stands in judgment over the souls of the dead. He commends the just to the Blessed Land, but the wicked he condemns to be devoured by Ammit.
Oshuru's Shrine
 When Set heard that Osiris lived again he was wroth, but his anger waned, for he knew that Osiris could never return to the land of the living. Without Osiris, Set believed he would sit on the throne of the gods for all time. Yet on his island, Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, grew to manhood and strength. Set sent many serpents and demons to kill Horus, but he defeated them. When he was ready, his mother Isis gave him great magic to use against Set, and Thoth gave him a magic knife.

Horus sought out Set and challenged him for the throne. According to the late Prof. Achonolu the picture to the left is taken at a place in Eastern Nigeria, in Nssuka called Osiris/Oshuru's Shrine located in  Oshuru's Groove. In addition, the oldest boat in Africa was also found in Yobe State, Northern Nigeria, incorporating Niger and Chad in close proximity to Eastern Nigeria. The structure is made from iron-slags and are over 10,000 years old.
 The Dufuna canoe predated the Egyptian solar both by 2000 years and the people of  Eastern Nigeria were already producing iron-work on an industrial scale as far back as 2,5000 BCE, which is now officially the oldest in the world.

Set and Horus fought for many days, but in the end Horus defeated Set and castrated him. But Horus, merciful Horus, would not kill Set, for to spill the blood of his uncle would make him no better than he. Set maintained his claim to the throne, and Horus lay claim himself as the son of Osiris. The gods began to fight amongst another, those who supported Horus and those who supported Set. Banebdjetet leaped into the middle and demanded that the gods end this struggle peacefully or Maat would be imbalanced further. He told the gods to seek the council of Neith. Neith, warlike though wise in council, told them that Horus was the rightful heir to the throne. Horus cast Set into the darkness where he lives to this day.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Gilgamesh Epics, Tablet I, Column I to III

Gilgamesh, the King The Creation of Enkidu The Civilization of Enkidu Gilgamesh Dreams of Enkidu.
Column I
Fame haunts the man who visits Hell, who lives to tell my entire tale identically. So like a sage, a trickster or saint, GILGAMESH was a hero who knew secrets and saw forbidden places, who could even speak of the time before the Flood because he lived long, learned much, and spoke his life to those who first cut into clay his bird-like words.

10. He commanded walls for Uruk and for Eanna, our holy ground, walls that you can see still; walls where weep the weary widows of dead soldiers. Go to them and touch their immovable presence with gentle fingers to find yourself. No one else ever built such walls. Climb Uruk's Tower and walk abut on a windy night. Look. Touch. Taste. Sense. What force created such mass?

20. Open up the special box that's hidden in the wall and read aloud the story of Gilgamesh's life. Learn what sorrow taught him; learn of the those he overcome by wit or force or fear as he, a town's best child, acted nobly in the way one should to lead and acted wisely too as one who sought no fame. Child of Lugal banda's wife and some great force, Gilgamesh is a fate alive, the finest babe of Ninsun, she who never

30. let a man touch her, indeed so sure and heavenly, so without sin. He knew the secret paths that reached the eagle's nest above the mountain and and knew too how just to drop a well into the chilly earth.
 He sailed the sea to where Shamash comes, explored the world, sought life, and came at last to Utnapishtim far away who did bring back to life the flooded earth. Is there anywhere a greater king
40. how can say, as Gilgamesh may "I am supreme"?

Column II
The bigger part of him was made in heaven and the smaller part somewhere on earth. She-who-must-be-obeyed fashioned his body's self. She endowed him. Gilgamesh watches the flocks of Uruk himself as if he were a loose bull, nose up in open field. No one else could come close to fighting like that. His clan is roused by howling dreams

50. And with them all he goes howling through sanctuaries. But would he ever let his child come To see him ravish others? "Is this shepherd of Uruk's flocks, our strength, our light, our reason, who hoards the girls of other men for his own purpose?" ....line break When Anu in the sky heard this,

70. he said to Aruru, great goddess of creation that she is: "You created humans; create again in the image of Gilgamesh and let this imitation be as quick in heart and as strong in arm so that these counterforces might first engage, then disengage, and finally let Uruk's children live in peace."
 Hearing that, Aruru thought of Anu. Then she wet her creative fingers, fashioned a rock, and tossed it as far as she could into the woods.

80. Thus she fathered Enkidu, a forester, and gave birth in terror and in fright without a single cry of pain, bringing forth another likeness of Ninurta, god of war. Hair covered his body and his curls resembled those of any good girl, growing swiftly like the fair hair of Nisaba-giver-of-grain. This Enkidu had neither clan nor race. He went clothed as one who shepherds well, eating the food of grass, drinking from the watery holes of herds and racing swift as wind or silent water.

90. Then Enkidu met a hunter at the watery hole on three consecutive days. And each time the face of the hunter signaled recognition of Enkidu. For the herds were uninvited at the hunter's oasis and the hunter was disturbed by this intrusion. His quiet heart rushed up in trouble.
  His eyes darkened. Fear leaped forth onto a face that looks as if it expects to doubt for a long, long time.

Column III
100. Then with trembling lips the hunter told his father this complaint: "Sir, one has come to my watery hole from afar and he is the biggest and best throughout the land. He feels power. His is a strength like that of Anu's swift star, and tirelessly does he roam across the land. He eats the food of beasts and, like the beasts, he comes at will to drink from my watery hole. In fear do I see him come to undo what I have done by wrecking traps, by bursting mounds, by letting animals slip through my

110. grasp, beasts that I would bind." Then with hateful lips, the father told the hunter his reply: "Boy, your answer lies in Uruk where there stalks a man of endless strength named Gilgamesh. He is the biggest and best throughout the land. He feels power. His is a strength like that of Anu's swift star. Start out toward Uruk's ancient palace and tell your tale to Gilgamesh. In turn he'll say to set a trap, take back with you a fine lover, some sacred temple girl,

120. who might let him see what force and charm a girl can have. Then as Enkidu comes again to the watery hole, let her strip in nearby isolation to show him all her grace. If he is drawn toward her, and leaves the herd to mate, his beasts on high will leave him then behind."
  The hunter heard his father well and went that very night to Uruk where he said this to Gilgamesh: "There is someone from afar whose force is great throughout our land.

130. His is a strength throughout the land. He feels power. His is a strength like that of Anu's swift star, and tirelessly does he roam across the land. He eats the food of beasts and, like the beasts, he comes at will to drink from my watery hole. In fear do I see him come to undo what I have done by wrecking traps, by bursting mounds, by letting animals slip through my grasp, beasts that I would bind." So Gilgamesh replied: "Go set a trap; take back with

140. you a fine lover, Shamhat, the sacred temple girl, who might let him see what charm and force a girl can have. Then as Enkidu comes again to the watery hole, let her strip in nearby isolation to show him all her grace. If he is drawn toward her, and leaves the herd to mate, his beasts on high will leave him then behind." The hunter returned, bringing with him the sacred temple girl, and swift was their journey. Three days later, at the watery hole, they set their trap for Enkidu and spoke no word for two

150. whole days waiting and waiting and waiting. Then the herd came slowly in to drink.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ninth & Tenth Egyptian Dynasty 2160 - 2025 BCE

The Ninth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty IX) is often combined with Dynasties VII, VIII, X and XI (Thebes only) under the group title First Intermediate Period. Dynasties IX and X date approximately from 2160 to 2025 BC.
Akhtoy I (Wakhare Khety I)
Merykare I
Neferkare III
Akhtoy II (Wakhare Khety II)
Akhtoy III (Meryibtowe)
Akhtoy IV (Wahkare)
Akhtoy V (Nebkaure)
Merykare ?
Please feel free to share
Dynasty IX was founded at Herakleopolis Magna, and Dynasty X continued there. At this time Egypt was not unified, and there is some overlap between these and other local dynasties. The Turin Canon lists eighteen kings for this royal line, but their names are damaged, unidentifiable, or lost.
This dynasty was also known as the Herakleopolis Dynasty because the rulers controlled lower Egypt from Herakleopolis. This dynasty is also often called the "House of Khety" because many of the ruler's names were Khety, but it is considered to be fairly unstable due to frequent changes in rulers. The Herakleopolitans expelled Asiatic immigrants from the Nile delta and fortified the eastern border of Egypt. This dynasty was responsible for establishing the importance of Memphis.

The Herakleopolitans improved irrigation works, reopened trade with Byblos, and began the "Coffin Texts". One of the kings wrote the "Instruction to Merikara." They also had frequent outbreaks of fighting against the Thebans north of Abydos. Eventually they were conquered by the Thebans and this marked the end of the Herakleopolis Dynasty and the beginning of the Middle Kingdom.

Wakhare Khety I was a pharaoh in the Ninth dynasty of Egypt. His name is mentioned in the Turin King List. Neferkare III, sometimes numbered VII, VIII, or IX, was the third pharaoh of the ninth dynasty of ancient Egypt, ca. 2140 BCE (during the First Intermediary Period), according to the Turin King List, where his name, Neferkare, is inscribed in the register 4.20. Neferkare is not included on the Abydos King List or the Saqqara King List, nor can the existence of his reign be positively confirmed through archaeological finds. This otherwise unattested ruler of Herakleopolis Magna has been controversially identified by various scholars with a king named Ka-nefer-re, who is mentioned in an obscure and isolated tomb inscription of Ankhtifi, nomarch of Hieraconopolis and prince of Moala, about 30 km south of Thebes. Ankhtifi led a coalition of his nome and Edfu against Thebes.

Wankhare Khety II was a local ruler of the Egyptian 9th / 10th Dynasty who governed the 13th nome of Upper Egypt, serving under the Heracleopolitan pharaoh Merykare during the First Intermediate Period (ca. 21st century BC). His unfinished tomb at Asyut has been excavated several times since the late 19th century, most recently in 2003-2006. There is lots of confusion as to how many rulers named Khety (Akhtoy) may have existed in this period; some scholars, relying on the Turin Canon, count as many as seven, but most of these are unknown from other sources. H. R. Hall believed Khety II was the Akhthoes of Manetho's list.

According to Manetho, "He became more terrible than all those who had gone before him that he did evil unto the people in all Egypt and that he finally went mad and was devoured by a crocodile." This fate is similar to other kings whom Manetho felt had ruled cruelly; Menes, who unified Upper and Lower Egypt, was also said to have been devoured by a crocodile. While seen as a local ruler, as there was not real central authority during much of the First Intermediate Period, Khety II (or an earlier king of the same name) appears to have held sway over much of Middle and Upper Egypt, as his name is found in inscriptions north of the First Cataract.

Merikare (also Merykare and Merykara) was a pharaoh in the Ninth or Tenth dynasty of Egypt, during the First Intermediate Period in about 2075 BC. His name is not mentioned in the Turin King List; also his dates are uncertain.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Sixth Egyptian Dynasty 2345 - 2181 BCE

The Sixth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty VI) is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and V under the group title the Old Kingdom. Dynasty VI is considered by many authorities as the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom, although The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt includes Dynasties VII and VIII as part of the Old Kingdom.
 Manetho writes that these kings ruled from Memphis, since their pyramids were built at Saqqara, very close one to another.

VI Egyptian Dynasty 2345  -  2181 BCE
Teti/Sehepeptawy 2345 - 2333 BCE
Userkare 2333 - 2331 BCE.
Pepi 1st/Nefersahor/Menrenre 2331 - 2287 BCE.
Nemtiemsaf 1st/Menrenre 2287 - 2278 BCE
Pepi 2nd/Neferkare 2278 - 2184 BCE
Nemtiemsaf 2nd/Menrenre 2184 - 2182 BCE?
Nitocris 2182 - 2181 BCE?

All kings of the 6th dynasty, except for Merenre II and Nitocris, are attested by archaeological sources. Merenre II and Nitocris are only known through the king-lists and Manetho. No known monuments give there names and they are not even mentioned in inscriptions of high officials. Because the king-lists often give Merenre II the same titulary as Merenre I, it is believed that at least his titulary may be the result of a mistake.

Teti, less commonly known as Othoes, was the first Pharaoh of the Sixth dynasty of Egypt and is buried at Saqqara. The exact length of his reign has been destroyed on the Turin King List, but is believed to have been about 12 years. Egypt's 6th Dynasty marks the decent into the darkness of the First Intermediate Period in Egypt's history. At times, the rule of these kings is somewhat obscure, including that of Teti (sometimes also known as Othoes, from Mantheo King Lists), who was the first king and the founder of the 6th Dynasty His reign settled some of the accession problems following the death of Unas. In fact, he adapted the Horus name, Seheteptawy, which means, "He who pacifies the Two Lands".

He ruled Ancient Egypt from around 2345 until 2333 BC, though of course Egyptologists differ on these dates, as well as his length of rule. The Turin King's List gives him less then one year's rule, which most scholars find very unlikely. Manetho suggests thirty, to thirty-three years, but there is no evidence of his jubilee festival, so this also seems unlikely. The latest known date from Teti's reign is that of the "sixth census", an event that took place on average every two years, or possibly every year and a half. Therefore many Egyptologists give him a reign of twelve years.

His wife, Queen Iput I, was probably the daughter of King Unas who was the last king of the 5th Dynasty. The queen was the mother of Teti's heir, King Pepi I. Historians believe that she is the one that gave him the royal power, legitimizing his rule. She is buried in her own pyramid near Teti's at Saqqara. Other wives included Khuit and Weret-Imtes. Along with his son, Pepi I, he also probably had another son named Teti-ankh-km, which means "Teti-ankh the Black", and a daughter named Seshseshet (also called Watet-khet-her). Her marriage to the vizier Mereruka probably furthered Teti's political stability, creating good will within the increasingly powerful nobility.

Userkare ("The Soul of Ra is Strong") was the second king of the Sixth Dynasty.
Pepy I
 He is generally seen as one of the leaders who opposed his predecessor, Teti's royal line and was most likely an usurper to the throne. Alternatively Janosi and Callender thought Userkare could be the son of Teti and Queen Khuit. Userkare may have been a royal claimant from the Fifth dynasty but he was certainly a rival to Teti for the throne. Since Manetho claims that Teti was killed by his bodyguards, theories of conspiracy have been put forward that Userkare was the leader of this conspiracy who then proceeded to seize the throne. The recently discovered South Saqqara Stone document from Pepi II's reign confirms his existence and assigns him a reign of between two to four years.

Teti's son, Pepi I, eventually managed to oust Userkare and succeed his murdered father.
In the Turin King List, there is a lacuna between Teti and Pepi I Meryre, large enough to have fit an entry for Userkare. Userkare is apparently mentioned in several king-lists. Userkare started work on some larger building projects, as shown by an inscription mentioning his workforce. However, no pyramid-complex has been identified for him presumably because of the brevity of his reign.

Pepi I Meryre (reigned 2332 - 2283 BC) was the third king of the Sixth dynasty of Egypt. His first throne name was Neferdjahor which the king later altered to Meryre meaning "beloved of Re."
Pepy II Boy
Pepi was the son of Teti and Iput, who was a daughter of Unas, last pharaoh of the previous dynasty. He needed the support of powerful individuals in Upper Egypt in order to put down his brother, the usurper Userkare who had murdered his father and for Pepi to win back his rightful throne. These individuals would remain a strong presence in his court thereafter.

His two most important wives and the mothers of his two successors (Merenre Nemtyemsaf I and Pepi II) were Ankhesenpepi I and Ankhesenpepi II. Other known wives include Meritites IV, Nubwenet and Inenek-Inti, who are buried in pyramids adjacent to that of Pepi, Mehaa, who is named in the tomb of her son Hornetjerkhet, and a queen named Nedjeftet who is mentioned on relief fragments. He also had a son called Teti-ankh and two daughters, Iput II and Neith, both became wives to Pepi II.

According to the Turin King-list, he ruled for over 90 years, which appears to be confirmed by Manetho, who recorded 94 years. This would make Pepi II the longest ruling king of Ancient Egypt. Some doubt has however been shed on this high number, and some researchers believe that it was the result of a miss-reading of 64.
Queen Nitocris
 However, because of the onset of the First Intermediate Period, the latter part of his reign was probably ineffectual, perhaps at least somewhat due to his advanced age. While the power of the nomarchs grew, the power of pharaoh dissolved. With no central power, local nobles began raiding each other's territories. His mother Ankhnesmerire II most likely ruled as regent in the early years of his reign.

Merenre Nemtyemsaf II was briefly Pharaoh of Egypt, likely succeeding his long-lived father Pepi II Neferkare. The Turin King List says that Merenre reigned for only a year, after succeeding his father Pepi II. His name is also mentioned on a stela that was discovered near the site of the pyramid of Neith, perhaps his mother.

His nomen was formerly read as Antyemsaf, a reading now known to be incorrect. It was long thought that he was succeeded by Nitocris, who was thought to be his sister/wife. It is now generally recognized that the name "Nitocris" was conflated with that of a male pharaoh named Neitiqerty Siptah instead.According to Herodotus (Histories ii), he was murdered in a plot and later revenged by his sister Nitocris.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Fifth Egyptian Dynasty 2494 to 2345 BCE.

The Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty V) is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom. The Fifth Dynasty dates approximately from 2494 to 2345 BCE. Manetho writes that the Dynasty V kings ruled from Elephantine, but archaeologists have found evidence clearly showing that their palaces were still located at Ineb-hedj ("White Walls"). 
As before, expeditions were sent to Wadi Maghara and Wadi Kharit in the Sinai to mine for turquoise and copper, and to quarries northwest of Abu Simbel for gneiss.

VI Dynasty  2494 to 2345 BCE.
Userkaf/Irimaat 2494  - 2487 BCE.
Sahure/Nebkhau 2487  - 2475 BCE.
Neferirkare Kakai/Neferirkare  2475  - 2455 BCE.
Shepseskare Isi/Shepseskare  2455 - 2448 BCE.
Neferefre/Neferkhau 2448 - 2445 BCE.
Niuserre Ini/Niuserre  2445 - 2421 BCE.
Menkauhor Kaiu/Menkauhor 2421 - 2414 BCE.
Djedkare Isesi/Djedkare 2414 - 2375 BCE.

Unas Wadjtawy/Unas 2375 - 2345 BCE.

Trade expeditions were sent south to Punt to obtain malachite, myrrh, and electrum, and archeological finds at Byblos attest to diplomatic expeditions sent to that Phoenician city. Finds bearing the names of a several Dynasty V kings at the site of Dorak, near the Sea of Marmara, may be evidence of trade but remain a mystery. Known rulers in the Fifth Dynasty are listed below. The pharaohs of this dynasty ruled for approximately 150 years. The Horus names and names of the Queens are taken from Dodson and Hilton.

Pharaoh Userkaf: Userkaf, traditionally the first ruler of the 5th Dynasty is, like most of the other kings of the dynasty, not well attested. We are even uncertain of his father, though he may have been a priest. His mother was probably Neferhetep, making him the grandson of Djedefre who succeeded Khufu. We believe he was married to Khentkaues I, who is buried at Giza. This marriage may have legitimised his claim to the throne. We believe that Khentkaues I was probably Menkaure's daughter and perhaps a half sister of Shepseskaf. Oddly, nowhere in her tomb is Userkaf mentioned.

There was apparently another queen (possibly), who's pyramid lies close to the pyramid of Userkaf's at Saqqara. It should be noted that resources on Userkaf are rather confusing. Some allow Neferhetep to be his wife, rather then mother, while others even ascribe to Khentkaues I being his mother, rather then his wife. However, the majority seem to suggest the relationships as first set out above.  Userkaf did not build his pyramid at Giza but at Saqqara, as Shepseskaf, last king of the Fourth Dynasty had done. Bottom left and right: Group portrait of Sahura with the local god of Coptos Fifth Dynasty 2,490 B.C.E. Sahura's pyramid is in Abusil, and his sun temple has not yet been rediscovered.

Userkaf was the kings birth name, meaning "His Soul is Powerful. He was also known as Weserkaf and may possibly be known in some literature as Ouserkaf, or Oeserkaf.
 His Horus name was Iry-maat, meaning "He who puts Maat into Practice". It is interesting to note that having chose this Horus name, he was burdening himself with the maintenance of the whole of creation. He may have come to the throne as an older man, for we are told his reign only lasted seven years, though as usual, the actual dates of his reign very from Egyptologist to Egyptologist. His seven year reign is attested to in the Turin King list and seems to be confirmed on the Palermo Stone.

Pharaoh Sahure: Sahure was the second ruler of ancient Egypt's 5th Dynasty. His birth name means "He who is Close to Re". His Horus name was Nebkhau, and we believed he ruled Egypt from around 2487 to 2475 B.C.E.

The Turin King List gives him a reign of twelve years. His pyramid complex was the first built at Abusir (though Userkaf had probably already built his solar temple there) and marks the decline of pyramid building, both in the size and quality, though many of the reliefs are very well done. It provides us most of the information we know of this king. We believer that he was the first of two sons of queen Khentkaues I to hold the throne, and that his father was probably Userkaf. It is probable that Khentkaues I was the character of Redjedet in the Papyrus Westcar, who according to the magician Djedi, was destined to give birth to the children of Ra and the first kings of the 5th Dynasty.

Neferirkare Kakai was the third Pharaoh of Egypt during the Fifth dynasty. His praenomen, Neferirkare, means "Beautiful is the Soul of Ra". His Horus name was Userkhau, his Golden Horus name Sekhemunebu and his Nebti name Khaiemnebty. It is not known who Neferirkare's parents were. Some Egyptologists see him as a son of Userkaf and Khentkaus I.
 Scenes discovered in Sahure's funerary domains may indicate however that Neferirkare may have been the son of Sahure and Queen Neferetnebty. One theory holds that Neferirkare may have been known as Prince Ranefer when he was young, and had a (twin?) brother named Netjerirenre, who may have taken the throne under the name of Shepseskare. Neferirkare married Queen Khentkaus II and had 2 sons who both became pharaoh: Ranefer - under the name Neferefre and Niuserre.

Little is known about his reign. Manetho's Kings-list assigns Neferirkare a reign of 20 years but verso 5 of the damaged Palermo Stone preserves the Year of his 5th Cattle Count (Year 9 on a biannual count). His following years were lost in the missing portion of the document. The Czech Egyptology Miroslav Verner maintains, however, that it cannot have been as long as 20 years due to the unfinished state of Neferirkare's Abusir pyramid complex.

Shepseskare Isi, also spelt Shepseskare, (in Greek known as Sisiris), was a Pharaoh of Egypt during the Fifth dynasty, who is thought to have reigned from around 2455 to 2448 BC. His throne name means "Noble is the Soul of Re." However, he is the most ephemeral ruler of this dynasty and some Egyptologists such as Miroslav Verner have strongly argued that Shepseskare's reign lasted only a few months at the most based upon the evidence of an unfinished fifth dynasty royal pyramid at Abusir, whose base was barely completed before it was abandoned as well as the very small number of objects identifying this king.
 The state of the unfinished Abusir pyramid tells us that this king's reign was unexpectedly cut short. However, both the Turin King List and Manetho state that Shepseskare ruled Egypt for seven years.

Neferefre was the son of king Neferirkare Kakai by queen Khentkaus II, and the elder brother of pharaoh Nyuserre Ini. While Neferefre is given a reign of some twenty years in Manetho's Epitome, this number is a substantial overestimation of his true reign length; the current academic view is that he enjoyed a very short rule based on the completely unfinished state of his intended pyramid. A visual examination of the partly damaged data for Neferefre's reign in the Turin King List shows only a single vertical stroke for this king (each vertical stroke signifies one year).

This would give him a reign of about 1 or 2 years which agrees well with the archaeological evidence. The Czech Egyptologist, Miroslav Verner, who has been excavating at Abusir since 1976, states in a 2001 journal article that: "The shape of the tomb of well as a number of other archaeological finds clearly indicate that the construction of the king's funerary monument was interrupted, owing to the unexpected early death of the king. The plan of the unfinished building had to be basically changed and a decision was taken to hastily convert the unfinished pyramid, (of which only the incomplete lowest step of the core was built), into a "square-shaped mastaba" or, more precisely, a stylized primeval hill.

At the moment of the king's death neither the burial apartment was built, nor was the foundation of the mortuary temple laid." Verner concludes that based on the position of a mason's inscribed Year 1 date from Neferefre's reign which was found "on a large corner block situated at the end of the tunnel for the pyramid's descending corridor at about two thirds of the height of the extant core of the monument", Neferefre reign lasted "not longer than about two years."

The only known date from his reign is the aforementioned mason's inscription from his first Year in the foundation of his pyramid tomb. Little else is known about Neferefre.
 While the name of Neferefre's undiscovered sun temple is known to be Hetep-Re, no such structure has yet been discovered owing perhaps to the short length of his reign. A significant cache of administrative papyri-comparable in size to the Abusir Papyri found in the temple of Neferirkare-was discovered at Abusir by a 1982 University of Prague Egyptological Institute excavation from a storeroom of his mortuary temple.

Nyuserre Ini (also spelt as Neuserre Izi or Niuserre Isi, and sometimes Nyuserra; in Greek known as Rathoris), was a Pharaoh of Egypt during the Fifth dynasty. He is frequently given a reign of 24 or 25 years and is dated from ca. 2445 BC to 2421 BC. His prenomen, Nyuserre, means "Possessed of Re's Power". Nyuserre was the younger son of pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai by Queen Khentkaus II, and the brother of the short-lived king Neferefre.

He is often thought to have succeeded his brother directly, but there is some evidence to suggest that Shepseskare reigned between the two, albeit only for a few weeks. Possibly, the latter had attempted to restore the lineage of Sahure who might have been his father, deposing the lineage of Neferirkare Kakai in the process, but was unsuccessful. Nyuserre's only known consort was Reptynub. A King's Daughter by the name of Khamerernebty (A) was the daughter of Nyuserre. The identity of her mother is not known. Khamerernebty was married to the vizier Ptahshepses.

Menkauhor Kaiu (Menkaouhor, in Greek known as Menkeris), was a Pharaoh of the Fifth dynasty during the Old Kingdom. He was the successor of King Nyuserre Ini and was succeeded by Djedkare Isesi. Menkauhor's royal name or prenomen means "Eternal are the Souls of Horus".
 Menkauhor may have been a son of Nyuserre. Reliefs from the mortuary temple of Khentkaus II may point to this proposed family relationship, but it is not a certainty. Queen Meresankh IV has been suggested as the consort for Menkauhor. It is possible however that she was a wife to Djedkare Isesi instead. Queen Khuit I has also been suggested as a possible wife of Menkauhor, but this is not certain. It has been suggested that Menkauhor's successor Djedkare Isesi was his son. Other possible children include the princes Raemka and Khaemtjenent, but it is also possible they are sons of Djedkare Isesi, so they could be his grandsons instead.

Djedkare Isesi in Greek known as Tancheres from Manetho's Aegyptiaca, was a Pharaoh of Egypt during the Fifth dynasty. He is assigned a reign of twenty-eight years by the Turin King List although some Egyptologists believe this is an error and should rather be thirty-eight years. Manetho ascribes to him a reign of forty-four years while the archaeological evidence suggests that his reign is likely to have exceeded thirty-two years. Djedkare's prenomen or royal name means "The Soul of Ra Endureth." It is not known who Djedkare's parents were. Djedkare could be Menkauhor's son, or Niuserre's son. He may have been either a son, brother or cousin of his predecessor Menkauhor. Similarly the identity of his mother is unknown.

Unas was the ninth and last king of the 5th Dynasty and what some believe to be the end of the Golden Age of the Old Kingdom. The 6th Dynasty would finally be the end of Egypt's grand beginning, as the country would then slip into the troubling First intermediate Period. Unas (also Oenas, Unis, Wenis, or Ounas) was a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, and the last ruler of the Fifth dynasty from the Old Kingdom. His reign has been dated between 2375 BC and 2345 BC. Unas is believed to have had two queens, Nebet and Khenut, based on their burials near his tomb.