Episode 17: A New Era


Teti and Kagemni: Dynasty VI

The Vizier Kagmeni, from his tomb at Saqqara.
The Vizier Kagmeni, from his tomb at Saqqara (Source: Wikipedia).

Unas has passed to the afterlife with gusto. His daughter marries an outsider, Teti, who becomes the new King of Upper and Lower Egypt. For historians, this kind of shift in lineage is a good point to mark the beginning of the Sixth Dynasty.

A new literary genre also reaches maturation: Didactic Literature conveys teachings and instructions for future generations.

Two classic works emerge in quick succession, the Maxims of the Vizier Ptah-hotep and the Instructions for the Vizer Kagemni.




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The Pyramid of Teti, seen from the North-East (Source: Memphis Tours)


The burial chamber and enormous sarcophagus of Teti, at Saqqara (Source: the author, 2013).


The Pyramid Texts which adorn the walls of Teti’s burial chamber (Source: the author, 2013).


The Sole Companion Ihy, a noble before his offering table, on a tomb built next to Teti’s pyramid (Source: the author, 2013).


Naguib Kanawait (et al.) The Teti Cemetery at Saqqara, Multiple Volumes.

Naguib Kanawati, Conspiracies in the Egyptian Palace, 2011.

Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, 1973 (2006 paperback edition).

Nigel Strudwick, Texts from the Pyramid Age, 2005 (Google Books).

William Kelly Simpson (editor), The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 2003.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I really like this Ptah-hotep, but at some point I started thinking…
    All this wonderful wisdom, it was from and for the elites.
    The commoners had access to all this thinking? All these values were also shared by the broad society? It was encouraged, they followed?

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Panino,
      We’re not sure. Realistically, this stuff would have spread. Anyone memorising the maxims could share them around, and “elite” are not necessarily consumed *only* by elites. Some of this was clearly directed at “up-and-comers.” So…maybe?

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