Unas and the Cannibal Hymn
The reign of Djedkare comes to an end after nearly forty years of rule. His successor, Unas, oversees some important theological and artistic developments.
The Pyramid Texts make their appearance in this reign, carved on the walls of Unas’ tomb at Saqqara (Read them all, wall by wall, here). Most notable of these hymns is the Cannibal Hymn, a violent but fascinating litany extolling Unas’ power and status among the great gods.
Images of starving Bedouin (nomads) appear in the causeway of his pyramid complex. This hints at famines and drought sweeping the Near East, heralding a period of climate change that will ultimately destabilize and destroy the Old Kingdom royal power.
The pyramid causeway of Unas (Source: Jon Bodsworth, via Wikipedia)
Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, 1973 (2006 paperback edition).
Vincent Brown – Pyramid Texts Online.
Gaston Maspero, The History of Egypt (Gutenberg.org).
Ancient Egypt Online – Unas.