Posts Tagged ‘Unas’
Edfu is most often associated with the Temple of Horus built there during the Ptolemaic Period, but the Tell Edfu Project, directed by the Oriental Institute’s Dr. Nadine Moeller, is literally uncovering a much older story. Ancient Edfu was a persistent city that took a two-fisted approach to adversity and not only survived the first two Intermediate Periods, but flourished.
In Edfu Part One: Ancient Djeba we will look at the history of this ancient mid-sized town that shattered the myth of Egypt being a “civilization without cities.”
Tags: Djeba, Djedkare, Edfu, Fifth Dynasty, First Intermediate Period, Harsomtus, Hathor, Henri Henne, Horus, Isi of Edfu, Middle Kingdom, Nadine Moeller, Old Kingdom, Oriental Institute, Osiris Chapel at Edfu, Psamtik I, Ptolemaic Dynasty, Second Intermediate Period, Seventeenth Dynasty, Sixth Dynasty, Tell Edfu, Tell Edfu Project, Temple of Horus at Edfu, Teti, Thebes, Thirteenth Dynasty, Twelfth Dynasty, Unas, Wetjeset-Hor
The Sixth Dynasty rolled in like the thunderhead that portents a rising storm. There had been tension between the royal line from which Teti descended and the one which had just vacated the throne. Court officials had grown accustomed to wealth. Provincial nobles were flexing their will to independence. Famine. Waves of refugees. Ongoing religious reform. Teti’s agenda could be summarized in two words–damage control.
The King is dead, long live the King.
The death of Pharaoh Unas prompted the most fragile transfer of power in the Old Kingdom to date, but it would hardly be the last, or the worst. Without an heir, or at least one who ascended to the throne, the fact that the crown passed from one dynasty to another peaceably amidst a time of growing turmoil is a testament to what remained of Egypt’s institutions.
In every recession there are winners and losers. Meet Chief Justice and Vizier Mereruka, one of the winners. Even as the kings during his lifetime were building ever-smaller and cheaper pyramids, this officer of the royal court built the Taj Mahal of the Sixth Dynasty.
Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But Mereruka stands out as an excellent example how the power dynamics were shifting as the Old Kingdom entered its twilight years.