Beloved vizier of the Fifth Dynasty
Westptah served in the reigns of sahure (2458-2446 b.c.e.) and kakai (Neferirkare; 2446-2426 b.c.e.). He began his career during the reign of Sahure and later became vizier of Egypt under Kakai. A noted architect and the chief justice of the nation, Westptah fell ill while attending the ruler. The court physician was summoned but could not save the aged official. When Westptah died, Kakai was supposedly inconsolable. He arranged for the ritual purification of the body in his presence and then commanded that an ebony coffin be made for Westptah. The vizier’s son, Mernuterseteni, was ordered by the pharaoh to bury his father with specific tomb endowments and rituals. Westptah was given a grave site next to the pyramid of Sahure in return for his services to the nation. The tomb contained a touching description of these honors.
A small but exquisite structure at kar-nak in thebes, erected by senwosret i (r. 1971-1926 b.c.e.), the chapel has now been restored in Karnak and is a masterpiece of Egyptian architecture of the Middle Kingdom Period (2040-1640 b.c.e.), an era considered by later generations of Egyptians as the golden age of the nation. The carved wall reliefs depict Senwosret I being embraced by ptah, amun, atum, and horus, each god placed at the cardinal points of the earth.
Wiay (fl. 11th century b.c.e.)
Royal woman of the Twenty-first Dynasty
Wiay was the second-ranked consort of psusennes i (r. 1040-992 b.c.e.) after Queen mutnodjmet (2). She was the mother of istemkhebe (2), who married menkheper-resenb (2), the high priest of amun in Thebes.
Widia (fl. 14th century b.c.e.)
Prince of the city-state of Ashkelon on the coastal plain of modern Israel A vassal of Egypt, Prince Widia wrote to akhenaten (r. 1353-1335 b.c.e.) to express his loyalty. The Egyptian imperial holdings were in a state of unrest during the ‘amarna Period, and Widia’s city was relatively close to the Egyptian command post at Gaza. Ashkelon revolted and was retaken by ramesses ii (r. 1290-1224 b.c.e.).
A long document dating to the fourth year of the reign of ramesses v (1156-1151 b.c.e.), this text concerns legal matters in a village named Neshi, south of Memphis in the faiyum area. Fields are listed in this papyrus, depicting the dominance of the temple’s holding in the region. The text also records types of grain harvested. The Wilbour Papyrus is in the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
Window of Appearance
An architectural innovation popular in the New Kingdom Period (1550-1070 b.c.e.) and made famous by akhenaten (r. 1353-1335 b.c.e.) at ‘amarna, this window was actually a stage set into the walls of the palace, where he could stand before the people. From this elevated position the ruler dispensed honors to officials. Akhenaten and Queen nefertiti were depicted in the ‘Amarna Window of Appearance, honoring the faithful servants of their reign, including horemhab (r. 1319-1307 b.c.e.). The tomb of nebwenef in Thebes depicts ramesses ii (r. 1290-1224 b.c.e.) and Queen nefertari at a Window of Appearance. The Window of Appearance symbolizes the horizon.
Woman of Tell Halif (fl. 3300-3000 b.c.e.)
Egyptian woman buried in the Negev Desert, dating to the Early Bronze IB Period
Part of the emerging Egyptian culture, the Woman of Tell Halif and her gravesite represent an Egyptian presence in the Negev region. A potsherd discovered in the grave is ingrained with the serekh, or royal sign of narmer, the unifier of Upper and Lower Kingdoms on the Nile. See also egypt.
It was a social position varying over the centuries and subject to the various nomes and epochs. some women achieved lasting fame, while the majority served in positions related to their homes and families. Royal women and those of nonroyal status seldom had records attesting to their duties or rights, and in almost every case (with the exception of the queen-pharaohs) they were considered for the most part in terms of their relationships to the surrounding males. Even the mortuary stelae, the tablets erected for women as gravesite commemoratives, equated them normally with their husbands, fathers, or sons. in the tombs women were portrayed in secondary positions if they were shown at all. in some historical periods women were portrayed the same size as their husbands, but in most instances they were smaller and placed in a peripheral area.
The royal women were the best documented, but even they are only cursorily mentioned in dynastic records. in the nomes, however, many women, such as Princess nebt, did maintain their own estates and hold high ranks personally or as regents for their minor sons. in times of building, for example, women were subject to the corvee, the service given to the pharaoh at pyramid or temple sites. Women went with the men to the building sites and did the cooking, weaving, or nursing. They received honors as a result.
Khamerernebty, the consort of Menkaure of the Old Kingdom Period, in a strikingly intimate pose
Legally, the women of ancient Egypt were the equals of men, and they are mentioned frequently in regulations concerning the proper attitudes of officials. Some didactic literature warns young men against frivolous or flirtatious women, but there is also a text that admonishes young men to think about the travails and sufferings that their mothers endured for their sake. Women depicted in the mortuary reliefs and paintings are shown conducting the normal household tasks, although women of higher status no doubt had household servants to do these chores.
Women are presented in most tomb scenes as young and beautiful, whether they are the wives or mothers of the men buried there. Such idealization was part of the mortuary or funerary art and did not represent the actual age or physical condition of the women portrayed.
No women were recorded as having excelled in the various arts. No government positions were held by women, except as regents for the royal heirs or nome heirs, and even in the temples the roles of women were normally peripheral. The early priestesses were relegated to the role of songstresses or chantresses in the New Kingdom Period (1550-1070 b.c.e.). In the Eighteenth Dynasty, queens held the rank of “god’s wife of amun,” a role that would evolve into a politically powerful role in later generations, restricted to princesses of the various dynasties.
At the same time, however, women bought and bartered items in the marketplace, sold real estate, oversaw doctor’s treatments, piloted boats, and served as court-appointed executrixes of estates. They normally married only with their consent, unless they were nome heiresses or members of the royal families. They testified as valid witnesses in court, drew up wills, and filed for divorce. In a divorce proceeding, the woman kept her dowry and was usually awarded one-third of the joint property. In the Late Period (712-332 b.c.e.) couples made prenuptial agreements. Higher-ranked women were comparatively literate and quite equal to men before the law. Daughters received shares of all inheritances and maintained personal properties.
Woser (fl. 15th century b.c.e.)
Vizier of the Eighteenth Dynasty
He served tuthmosis iii (r. 1479-1425 b.c.e.). Woser was the uncle of the famed rekhmire, who followed him in that office. Two tombs at thebes and a shrine at gebel el-silsileh commemorated Woser. The latter shrine had a single chamber with a statue niche at one end.
“writing from the god himself’
This was a term used to denote any text that dated to the early historical periods of the nation. such a text, having been preserved over the centuries, was deemed sacred and viewed as divine inspiration. Because of its age, the text was revered and carefully observed.
Xerxes I (d. 466 b.c.e.)
Persian king of Egypt of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty
Xerxes I reigned over Egypt from 486 b.c.e. until his death, but he never visited the Nile personally. He was the son of darius i and Queen Atossa, and he completed the city of Persepolis, a site that his father had begun as a capital. He also put down rebellions in the Persian Empire.
The Egyptians recorded Xerxes as a “criminal” after he crushed a revolt on the Nile in his second year, using the military units and commanders on the Nile. Xerxes also forced the Egyptian fleet to punish the Greeks at salamis and instituted his son achaemenes as satrap of Egypt. Xerxes was murdered with his son crown Prince Darius in his own court and was succeeded by artax-erxes i, his son by Queen amestris.
A site in the Delta (the modern sakha) that served as the capital of the Thirteenth Dynasty (1783-1640 b.c.e.). The Xoite rulers were limited in their powers, as the hyksos surrounded them and other cities raised up their own royal lines. The rulers of Xois were named in the turin canon and listed by manetho. They were probably eliminated during the Second Intermediate Period (1640-1550 b.c.e.) and certainly removed from power when ‘ahmose (r. 1550-1525 b.c.e.) ousted the Hyksos and reunited the nation.
The city of Xois was overrun by Libyan invaders from the west in the reign of ramesses iii (1194-1163 b.c.e.). He mounted a large military force and repelled the meshwesh, the dominating Libyan clan, and their allies from the area in order to free the city and safeguard the entire Delta.
Yakoba’am (fl. 16th century b.c.e.)
Ruler of the Hyksos Sixteenth Dynasty
He was a founder of a line of hyksos kings (c. 1640-1532 b.c.e.), a minor Asiatic group serving as contemporaries, or possibly as vassals of the Great Hyksos of the Fifteenth Dynasty at avaris. scarabs bearing Yakoba’am’s name were discovered in northern Egypt and in Palestine.
It was a region of nubia (modern Sudan) south of aswan. As early as the Sixth Dynasty (2323-2150 b.c.e.), the Egyptians were trading with this area. An official of that dynasty named harkhuf, who served pepi ii (r. 2246-2152 b.c.e.), was reported as having visited Yam.
Yanhamu (fl. 14th century b.c.e.)
Egyptian governor of Palestine in the ‘Amarna Period
He served in the reign of akhenaten (1353-1335 b.c.e.). Yanhamu was probably a Canaanite appointed to the office by Akhenaten. His correspondence was discovered in the ‘amarna letters, as he reported events to the Egyptian capital and relayed the growing elements of unrest in the region. Yanamu reported that he received a letter from Mut-ba’la, the prince of Pella, a former site in modern Jordan. The vassal was protesting his innocence in the ongoing territorial disputes in the area. Yanhamu and other dignitaries of Egypt’s imperial holdings were not supplied with sufficient troops or provisions during this reign, resulting in a loss of vassal states and conquered domains.
Yapahu (fl. 14th century b.c.e.)
Prince of a city-state called Gezer, now Tel-Gezer in Israel
Yapahu wrote to akhenaten (r. 1353-1335 b.c.e.) to complain about the Egyptian forces garrisoned in his territory. His correspondence is part of the ‘amarna letters.
Yaqub-Hor (Mer-user-re) (fl. 16th century b.c.e.)
Ruler of the Fifteenth Dynasty, called the Great Hyksos Yaqub-Hor was the successor of either Sheshi or salitis and reportedly reigned 18 years. Few details about his reign have survived.
A people of nubia (modern Sudan), residing near the second cataract of the Nile, the Yerdjet began paying tribute to Egypt as early as the sixth Dynasty (2323-2150 b.c.e.). Many nomadic groups migrated to the Nile area to be protected by the Egyptian garrisons. others, having established residence long before, had to accept the occupation of their lands.
Yewelot (fl. 10th century b.c.e.)
Royal prince of the Twenty-second Dynasty
He was the son of osorkon i (r. 924-909 b.c.e.) and probably Queen karomana (2). Yewelot served as the high priest of amun at thebes. He wrote a decree concerning the distribution of his property, and this document provides details of the period.
Yuf (fl. 16th century b.c.e.)
Court official of the Eighteenth Dynasty
Yuf served ‘ahmose (r. 1550-1525 b.c.e.) as a personal steward and acted as an official in the courts of Queen ah’hotep (1) and Queen ‘ahmose-nefertari. An edfu stela announces his career. Yuf was a priest in the temple there.
Yuny (fl. 13th century b.c.e.)
Aristocratic official of the Nineteenth Dynasty
Yuny served ramesses ii (r. 1290-1224 b.c.e.) as the chief scribe of the court. His tomb at deir el-durunka, south of assiut, has reliefs that depict Yuny as a hereditary prince and count in his nome. A life-sized statue of him was found in his tomb.
Yuti (fl. 14th century b.c.e.)
Sculptor of the Eighteenth Dynasty
Yuti served akhenaten (r. 1353-1335 b.c.e.) as one of the royal sculptors of ‘amarna, the capital. A panel in the tomb of Huya, another official of ‘Amarna, depicts Yuti painting a statue of baketamun, the sister of Akhenaten, who assumed the name Baketaten while living with her brother. Yuti is shown painting with his left hand.
Yuya and Thuya (Yuia and Tuiya) (fl. 14th century b.c.e.)
Officials in the Eighteenth Dynasty, the parents of Queen Tiye
Tiye (1) was the consort of amenhotep iii (r. 1391-1353 b.c.e.). Yuya was the Master of Horse for the royal cavalry, a general officer of chariot units. He and Thuya were not Egyptians but came from the Hurrian region of modern Syria. He also served as prophet of the god min and as a supervisor of the oxen of Min in akhmin. Thuya was the supervisor of the harem of Mi’am and the harem of amun. she was also the mistress of robes in the temple of Min.
Their tomb was elaborately prepared, and their mummies were beautifully embalmed. An osiris bed was included in their funerary regalia. This gravesite was in the valley of the kings, a unique privilege, and it contained one of the most lavish displays of mortuary furnishings ever uncovered. Both beautifully embalmed mummies were in gilded frameworks. Yuya was called “the god’s father,” a court title of respect.
Zannanza (fl. 14th century b.c.e.) III-fated prince of the Hittites
The son of the Hittite king suppiluliumas i (d. c. 1325 b.c.e.), he was sent to Egypt in response to the marriage offer made by Queen ankhesenamon, the daughter of akhenaten and the widow of tut’ankhamun (r. 1333-1323 b.c.e.). Ankhesenamon offered her throne to the hittites if they would send a prince to wed her. Prince zannanza made the journey but was killed at the border, probably by command of horemhab (r. 1319-1307 b.c.e.), then a general of the armies. This event impacted on Egypt’s relations with the Hittites in future reigns and brought about the death of suppiluliu-mas i.
Zatatna (fl. 14th century b.c.e.)
Prince of Accho, modern Acre, in Israel
Zatatna wrote to akhenaten (r. 1353-1335 b.c.e.), asking for aid in defending his lands. zatatna accused another king, Labayu of sechem, of plotting his downfall. No aid was sent to Accho. The correspondence of Zatatna is part of the ‘amarna letters.
It was a site on the eastern shore of the Nile, north of beni hasan, that served as an early necropolis. The site was called “the Place of the Dead.” A step pyramid from the Third Dynasty (2649-2575 b.c.e.), trapezoid in design and covered with masonry, was discovered there. There are also 19 tombs on the site associated with hebenu (modern Kom el-Ahmar) in the oryx nome. six of these tombs date to the Old Kingdom Period (2575-2134 b.c.e.). Also present is the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1307 b.c.e.) tomb of Nefersekheru.
This is a site south of giza, on the edge of the desert, containing two pyramids and a tomb dating probably to the Third Dynasty (2649-2575 b.c.e.). The northern pyramidal monument, now listed as “the Unfinished Pyramid,” may have been built by nebka (r. 2649-2630 b.c.e.), and it is called “Nebka is a Star.” The lavish decorations of the monument, however, lead to a belief that it was actually constructed in a later reign. The substructure and enclosing wall were started and then abandoned. The second monument is called the layer pyramid and was built out of small stone blocks. The tomb nearby contained eight stone bowls inscribed with seals of kha’ba (r. 2603-2599 b.c.e.), and it is believed that this was his mortuary monument.
Zenodotus (fl. c. 280 b.c.e.)
First director of the Library of Alexandria
He was appointed director of the library of Alexandria for life by ptolemy i soter (r. 304-284 b.c.e.). Zenodotus was from Ephesus, in modern Turkey, and he was invited to Egypt where he became the tutor to ptolemy ii philadelphus.
Zenon (fl. third century b.c.e.)
Carian Greek serving Egypt in the Ptolemaic Period
He served ptolemy ii philadelphus (r. 285-246 b.c.e.). Zenon was an assistant to the treasurer Apollonius. He lived beside the faiyum and managed Apollonius’s estates in the region. Zenon also traveled to Alexandria, Palestine, and Syria. His archives, depicting his historical period in Egypt in detail, have survived.
It was the site called malkata on the western shore of thebes. amenhotep iii (r. 1391-1353 b.c.e.) built his vast pleasure palaces and shrines at Malkata, and an artificial lake was created on the site.