EgOldK2

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner; Rudolf Cesaretti ♥ these codes were reviewed at at the Seshat Workshop on Egyptian History, Oxford 2014

♠ Original name ♣ Egypt - Late Old Kingdom ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ Late Old Kingdom; Old Kingdom of Egypt ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ 2300 BCE ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 2350-2150 BCE ♥

Traditionally the Old Kingdom extends from the 3rd dynasty to the 6th dynasty. The earlier times (1st and 2nd dynasty) is considered an Archaic period.

The Late Old Kingdom period is from the 6th Dynastys onwards.

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ unitary state; loose ♥ unitary state: 2350-2200 BCE; loose: 2200-2150 BCE. EWA: unitary state 2650-2200.

From the 5th dynasty the highest bureaucrat was a powerful civilian vizier, who oversaw a highly-stratified government system with specialised departments. [1]

The decentralizing trend in this period is reflected in the development of a provincial nobility.

According to Hassan (1993), "In the later years of the Old Kingdom, the provincial officials became hereditary holders of their posts and regarded their nomes as their own property."[2]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ none ♥

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ Egypt - Classic Old Kingdom ♥
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ Egypt - Period of the Regions ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.


♠ Capital ♣ Memphis ♥

Original name was hw.t-k3-Ptah ("Estate/house of the spirit of Ptah") [3] founded at the beginning of the 1st Dynasty. [4] Known as White Wall [5] (Ineb=hedj(w) = "white wall(s), i.e the royal palace enclosure walls) or Memphis (Greek Memphis < Egyptian Mn-nfr, an abbreviation of the longer name for the funerary complex of king Pepi I.) [6]

This original site was "probably gradually replaced in importance by the more populated suburbs further to the south, approximately to the east of Teti's pyramid. Djed-isut, the name of this part of the city, derived from the name of Teti's pyramid and its pyramid town. The royal palaces of Djedkara and Pepy I (and possibly also that of Unas) may, however, have already been transferred further south ... to places in the valley east of the present South Saqqara and separated from Djed-isut by a lake." [7]


♠ Language ♣ Ancient Egyptian ♥

General Description

The Old Kingdom period of Egypt covers the Third to Sixth ruling Dynasties, a period stretching from about 2650 to 2150 BCE. Seshat divides this period into two groups, the 'Classic' Old Kingdom period, covering the First through Fifth Dynasties (roughly 2650-2350 BCE), and the 'Late' Old Kingdom, comprising turbulent Sixth Dynasty (2350-2150 BCE). This dynasty witnessed a decentralization of the king's authority, leading to the First Intermediate Period, or Period of the Regions.

Population and political organization

The kings of the Sixth Dynasty were still based at the capital in Memphis. Lower Nubia, over 1000 km away from the Egyptian centre, was organized into six small chiefdoms under the Sixth Dynasty.[8] The hwt, once a royal possession and conveyor of central authority, was now dominated by a powerful provincial nobility that viewed their area of control as hereditary property[9] - a development enshrined in the governor's new title, 'great chief of the nome'.[10] It appears that military institutions did not change significantly from the Early to the Late Old Kingdom: there was still no permanent, state-run standing army.[11]
Long viewed as an incarnation of an ancient sky and falcon god called Horus, from the Fourth Dynasty onward the Egyptian king also was considered the son of a sun god, Ra.[12] Ra grew in importance during the Old Kingdom and, around the beginning of the Fifth Dynasty, had essentially become an Egyptian state god. During the Sixth Dynasty the sun temples in which Ra was worshipped became large institutions maintained by donations and landed property.[13] In contrast to the earlier age, during the Sixth Dynasty it was promotion within the sun temples that became the route to high office within the palatial bureaucracy.[14] Priests would not become full-time professionals until the New Kingdom: at this time, they worked rotating shifts.[15] Nevertheless, large-scale temple building for a wide range of local gods, including Khenti-amentiu at Abydos; Min at Koptos; Hathor at Dendera; Horus at Hierankonpolis; and Satet at Elephantine, underlines the florescence of religious expression as well as the command of a large labour pool by the king and local elites more generally during the Sixth Dynasty.[16]
The growing power of local elites, commanding religious and administrative authority as well as great agricultural wealth and control over labour in the form of corvée dues, undermined the central power of Sixth-Dynasty rulers. After the death of King Pepi II (r. 2278-2184 BCE), there were repeated contests over the succession.[17] Eventually, these conflicts, coupled with the declining authority of the kings and possibly periods of famine caused by successive harvest failures due to poor Nile flooding, led to the collapse of centralized authority and the onset of the First Intermediate Period, or Period of the Regions.

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥ these codes were reviewed at at the Seshat Workshop on Egyptian History, Oxford 2014

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [75,000-300,000] ♥ KM^2. 89,000: 2181 BCE [18] 367,000: 2500 BCE [19]

Inferred 75,000 km2 low estimate per John Baines' response to 100,000km2 as previous low estimate: "I’d be inclined to give a lower estimate, just for Nile valley and delta, and say in words ‘plus partial control of surrounding desert regions’ or similar."[20]

♠ Polity Population ♣ 1,500,000 ♥

1.5 million. [21]

From about 200,000 3500 BCE to over 1 million c3100 BCE. Old Kingdom population between 1.5 -2.0m [22]

1 million, 3000 BCE. [23]

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ [30,000-50,000] ♥ Thousands. Memphis. [24]

EWA

Memphis. No figures. Estimated 30,000 to 50,000 for the Memphite region in 2500 BCE (if included migrant population of 10,000 to 20,000). [25]

Mumford: "Early Dynastic to Old Kingdom (c. 3000-2125 BCE): Memphis. 31 hectares. 6,000 people estimated population. 193 per hectare." [26]

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ [4-5] ♥

EWA: 4 Memphis, 3 regional centres like Hierakonpolies and Abidos, 2 minor centre like Aswan/Naga-el-Deir, 1 villages. ref. Bard 2014, 2nd edition.

1. Memphis

2. Regional centres like Hierakonpolis and Abydos
3. Minor centres like Aswan and Naga-el-Deir
4. Villages
(5. Hamlets)

EWA final: this variable for early dynastic to Hyksos should be 4 to 5. The reason is that we can infer the existince of hamlets at the bottom end of the scale. This should be implemented for all the intermediate polities.


♠ Administrative levels ♣ 7 ♥


1. King

The term "Pharaoh" as political title emerged in the New Kingdom. In earlier times "Pharaoh" means literally what the Egyptian phrase does i.e. "great house."
"head of state and the topmost administrator of Egypt"[27]
"royal centers like the Hwt-aAt, the towers swnw, and the agricultural domains of the crown nwt mAwt(literally “the new localities”) continued to dot the Egyptian landscape and helped to assert the presence of the king’s authority, in a formal way" [28]


_ Central government (150 people + families) _ [29]

2. Vizier
"Beginning in the Fourth Dynasty, fewer members of the royal family remained in high managerial posts, and a consolidation of administrative power took place around Egypt's highest civilian bureaucrat, namely the vizier, beginning in the Fifth Dynasty." [30]
3. Department heads
"the vizier oversaw the entire state administrative system and his office maintained direct and unrestricted control over a range of entities, such as granaries and treasuries, until the appearance of specialized departments sometime in the Fifth Dynasty."[31]
4. Sub-department heads
"Administrative units, such as granaries, and treasuries (which included commodity management sub-departments) [32]
5. Granary complex[33] head (inferred)
snw.t refers to an individual storage silo, or granary complex [34]
6. Assistant-directors of the granary (hry-tp snw.t) [35]
7. Scribes / Other employees
Baker (rth), brewer ('fty), miller (ndw.t), tallier (nht-hrw), foreman, "inspector of custodians of granary property" [36]


Scribal hierarchy[37]

3. Overseers of controllers of the scribes
4. Controllers (hrp)
5 scribal overseers (imy-r3)
6. scribal inspectors (shd)
7. scribal under-supervisors (imy-h.t)


4. Kom el-Hisn cattle center [38](administrator in charge of this)
5. State farmers


_Crew system used to organize labour_

1. Leader of the crew

"In the Old Kingdom, a crew was made up of two gangs" [39]
2. Leader of a gang
"In the Old Kingdom... a gang was divided into four or five phyles" [40]
3. Leader of a phyle
"In the Old Kingdom... each phyle had four divisions of about 10 men each, although this number could vary (Roth, 1991). Hence, the total labour force in a crew could well reach 400 men, possibly even more."[41]
4. Foreman of a division
"In the Middle Kingdom, the most frequent sizes of a division (including one foreman) were 10, 14 and 20 (Gardiner et al., 1952, 1955; Mueller, 1975; Simpson, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1986). However, there were smaller division sizes of 9 and 4, with two supervisors combined into one larger division (Griffith, 1898)."[42]


"It would appear that prior to the Fifth Dynasty the existence of a cohesive multi-tiered administration for granaries is not borne out by the evidence, due perhaps to a paucity of the sources, but more likely to the fact that granary management, being carried out by the vizier's office, may have lacked distinguishable traits. A hierarchical bureaucracy sets in only during the latter parts of the Old Kingdom..." "towns were likely to have been in charge of the daily operations of their own granaries ... The overall responsibility of the state apparatus with respect to regional granary administration may lie exclusively in issuing instructions via royal communications, supplying accounting oversight, and if need be dispensing justice." [43]

"I suggest putting King (pharaoh): the term Pharaoh was hardly used for kings until the time of Akhenaten, a millennium later; before that it meant the palace or royal estate as an institution; 2: the hierarchy looks too extended to me, because in principle all the administrators were qualified as scribes, so your levels 3 and 5 are basically the same, for example, while the ’overseer – inspector – under-supervisor’ hierarchy existed in various areas (even nail-clipping!); maybe remove level 5 and remove ‘scribal’ from levels 6 and 7."[44]


_ Provincial line _ [45]

3. Hwt - administrators of royal centers [46]
"Private inscriptions state that the HoA Hwt or “governor of a Hwt” was a state official appointed by the administration." [47]
Early in the Old Kingdom "territorial organization based more on a network of royal centers scattered all over the country than on a structure of provinces clearly marked out and controlled by local governors."[48]
"the so-called geographical processions, in which each province was depicted as formed not only by towns and their hinterland (w-“districts”) but also by marshy areas (pehu)." [49]
4. Staff of nomarch
The nomarch had staff.[50]
4. Workshops within royal centers
"some of the institutions whose name is composed with the element Hwt were perhaps some kind of specialized royal workshop like the Hwt-mHa, Hwt-THnt, or Hwt-Smaw known from later inscriptions."[51]
4. Village leaders (inferred from the existence of villages))
"The inscriptions in Metjen’s tomb, from the early Fourth Dynasty, reveal that a Hwt could control several villages, whereas the autobiography of Ibi of Der el-Gebrawi states that extensive fields of about 50 ha provided with workers and cattle were administered by a Hwt, a fact confirmed by the ritual texts where the Hwt appear as administrative centers asserting their control over several fields and domains (Moreno García 1999, 2001a)."[52]
5. Scribes
End 3rd millennium: "contemporary priests and scribes proudly proclaim that they worked for simple village governors (hq3w), chiefs (hrjw-tp), and administrators (jmjw-r pr), they reveal the real importance of these authorities, usually hidden under the stereotypical iconography of the punished or bowing chief of a village."[53]

_ Nubian line _

2. Governor?
3. Chiefdoms
In the 6th Dynasty Lower Nubia was organized into six small chiefdoms [54]
4. Village chiefs (inferred)

"During the Old Kingdom, provincial districts were usually (though not always) run by a two-tiered administration. 'Overseers of priests' of the local cults were important because of the role played by their temples as nodes in the network of economic administration, but the leading office was that of 'great overlord of the nome' (often translated as 'nomarch')."[55]


♠ Religious levels ♣ 6 ♥


1. King

"temples and Hwt were part of a network of economic and production centers spread all over the country and controlled by the crown." [56]
"In contrast to the temples, the Hwt was seldom a path to social promotion to the highest offices of the state during the Sixth Dynasty."[57]
"temples or Hwt never became private possessions, and the revenues of the local dominant families seem to have been dependent, in a significant way, on their ties with the state and its institutions.[58]


_ Sun-temple levels _

Starting from the 5th Dynasty, "The building of sun-temples was the outcome of a gradual rise in importance of the sun-god. Ra now became Egypt's closest equivalent to a state god. Each king built a new sun-temple and their proximity to the pyramid complexes, as well as their similarity to the royal funerary monuments in plan, suggest that they were built for the afterlife rather than the present. A sun-temple consisted of a valley temple linked by a causeway to the upper temple. The main feature of the upper temple was a massive pedestal with an obelisk, a symbol of the sun-god. An alter was placed in a court open to the sun. ... Like pyramid complexes, sun-temples were endowed with land, received donations in kind on festival days, and had their own personnel." [59]

High Priest or Overseer of the Estate

Larger cult complexes with numerous "Servants of God" had a high priest (jmj-r3 hmw-ntr). In the 4th, 5th and 6th Dynasty this role was often filled by more than one person. In some complexes this role had a special title. [60]
"In Old Kingdom royal cult complexes (including sun temples), the hmw-ntr were organized into five phyles, or companies. Each phyle had two sub-groups lead by a shd, inspector, and each of the ten sub-groups served the royal cult complex in rotation for one thirty-day month."

Servant of God (hm-ntr) from 1st Dynasty.

Servant of God "prepared offerings, performed rituals, had access to the sanctuary of the divine image, and controlled entrance to the temple." [61]

Servant of God (hmt-ntr)

Female priestesses Servant of God (hmt-ntr) was under the authority of a man. Associated with goddesses Hathor and Neith, and music making. Within the temple there was a female head (wrt-hnr) of a musical troupe (hnr). [62]

W'b Priest

The w'b priest (w'b) assisted the Servants of God (hmw-ntr). They performed "the lesser tasks requisite to maintaining the temples and rituals. Their leader was called the Great W*b." W'b priests "handled ritual instruments and cultic objects." Certainly from 5th Dynasty a W'b could be promoted to hm-ntr "at either the same temple or a different one." [63]

Lector Priest

The lector priest hrj-hb(t) was "the skillful reader who carried the ritual book and recited the formulas of cultic performance. No woman held this title." The titles Chief Lector Priest and Senior Lector Priest "may have connoted not so much degree of command as length of service." [64]

hntj-s

"Ann Macy Roth, following Paule Posener-Kreiger, finds that in papyri from Abusir (Dynasty 5 and early Dynasty 6) hntjw-s perform the same duties as Servants of God, save for particular functions relative to the divine image and transporting offerings to and from the temple. She concludes that hmw-ntr served the deceased king's divine aspect while the hntjw-s served his human aspect."[65]


2. High Priest or Overseer of the Estate
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
3. Servant of God (hmw-ntr)
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
4. Servant of God (hmw-ntr) - Inspector (shd)
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
5. Servant of God (hmt-ntr) - Female head (wrt-hnr)
6. Servant of God (hmt-ntr) - Musicians
5. Great W*b (w'b '3)
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
6. W'b Priest (w'b)
7. ... ? ...
inferred level - scribes? guards? lay workers attached to the temple estate?


_ Pyramid complex levels _

2. High Priest or Overseer of the Estate
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
3. Servant of God (hmw-ntr)
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
4. Servant of God (hmw-ntr) - Inspector (shd)
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
5. Servant of God (hmt-ntr) - Female head (wrt-hnr)
6. Servant of God (hmt-ntr) - Musicians
5. Great W*b (w'b '3)
could also be a Lector Priest hrj-hb(t)
6. W'b Priest (w'b)
7. ... ? ...
inferred level - scribes? guards? lay workers attached to the temple estate?


_ Local cult complex _

"Religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians was locally diverse and socially stratified. Practically every area of Egypt had its local god, which for its inhabitants was the most important deity, and the elevation of Ra to the level of state god had little effect on this. If anything, the annals show that the kings now began to pay even greater attention to local deities in all parts of the country by making donations, often of land, to their shrines, or exempting them from taxes and forced labour." [66]


1. Servant of God

In the Old Kingdom a local government official was usually appointed to this role in the local cult complex. [67]
2. ... ? ...
3. ... ? ...


_ Mortuary complex _

"some priests were not associated with temples. These were the mortuary priests who served cultuses at tombs." [68]


1. Mortuary Priest [69]

2. ... ? ...
3. ... ? ...


♠ Military levels ♣ [3-7] ♥

EWA: There was no permanently established military in the Old Kingdom. War was more or less part of the overall bureaucratic system.

Not a professional military but there was military activity. We cannot code zero for levels. There were officers and individuals equivalent to generals in charge of campaigns, wars and battles. Coding 7 which is currently the administrative levels code. Coded as a range [3-7] to take various possibilities into account (from king- officer-priest to something more complex).

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ inferred present ♥ State-run army. [70] e.g. Overseer of the quiver

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ suspected unknown ♥ State-run army. [71] e.g. Overseer of the quiver

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ absent ♥ Priests worked rotating shifts. Not full-time professional until the New Kingdom. [72]

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ present ♥ Overseers of granaries and treasury. [73]. Other administrative departments included public works.[74]

♠ Examination system ♣ absent ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ inferred present ♥ Some later Old Kingdom tomb biographies suggest at least an informal promotional system. e.g. Biography of Weni, Dynasty 6, from Abydos. [75].

Promotion on merit was essential to scribal culture but knowing the right person and informal networks also helped a bureaucrat's career.[76] Example given 6th Dynasty scribe Weni of Abydos.

"It was administered by a literate elite selected at least partly on merit." [77]

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred present ♥ In a chapter on administrative departments during the Old Kingdom, Papazian writes that 'the government was composed of several major administrative departments, such as granaries and treasuries, each with its own broad responsibilities'. Especially during the early Old Kingdom, the same structures appear to have served multiple purposes as royal residences and administrative buildings at the centre, but it seems that there were other specialized government buildings in provincial contexts. For instance, provincial (but state-controlled) granaries included 'in addition to the storage silos, a measuring or tallying court ... It was in that specific area that most scribal and supervisory activities took place'.[78] Treasury building. Permanent officials in law courts. [79]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ inferred absent ♥ There were property laws and formal written legal instruments, though no evidence for a fully articulated legal code.[80] No evidence for a formal criminal code [81].

No evidence for a formal criminal code [82] and no evidence for a legal code.

♠ Judges ♣ {absent; present} ♥ "There seems to have been no separate architectural or engineering division of the administration any more than there was a separate judiciary. The title sʒb is often translated “judge,” but it seems to be a generic term for “official” when applied to a named individual." [83]

"typical of the Egyptian system that the judicial function was not the prerogative of a professional, specialist body reflected in a clearly defined category of official titles. It is true that the titles of certain officers and bodies ... are suspected to relate entirely to the judiciary, but the basic capacity of making accepted judgements see also to have extended generally to men in a position of authority, even where their titles seem primarily administrative."[84]

There was "a distinct layer of judicial administration that was in charge of investigating matters relating to discrepancies in the handling of grain resources." [85]

♠ Courts ♣ present ♥ Law courts with permanent officials, titles include: “Overseer of the court”, “Master of the Secrets of judgements in the court.” [86] Permanent, specialized officials with jurisdiction over criminal cases. The vizier held the top position in the law system, the "overseer of the six courts."[87]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ inferred present ♥ Permanent officials in law courts. [88] These permanent officials also may have been judges rather than lawyers. Judges could also have been lawyers and vice versa.

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ inferred present ♥ Menes began construction of basins to retain flood waters, dug canals and irrigation ditches to reclaim marshland. By 2500 BCE, a system of dikes, canals and sluices had been constructed. Irrigation system was communal.[89][90]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ absent ♥ Earliest wells date to the el Napta/Al Jerar Early Neolithic (c6000-5250 BC) at Napta Playa in the Western Desert. There is written evidence for wells from 4th dynasty Old Kingdom. "Most of the inscriptions seem to be connected to mining or quarrying activities in the Eastern Desert or travel routes from the Nile Valley towards the Red Sea." "The basic techniques involved in well-building, such as sinking shafts and building casings of solid stones, must be considered to have existed in Egypt at least since the early Old Kingdom and probably even earlier."[91] A pipe network that connects the drinking water to individual settlements is not known to exist / not thought to be present.
♠ markets ♣ {absent; present} ♥ Before the New Kingdom inter-regional trade was conducted between institutions. "Merchants who worked for their own gain existed in ancient Egypt only during the New Kingdom." Ancient Egypt was a "supply state" with the necessities distributed down from institutions to the people. Goods exchanged at markets were primarily consumables like beer and bread, also some dried meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. Non-consumables included household artifacts.[92] However: "non-institutional trade networks should be considered. Egyptology has traditionally interpreted pharaonic foreign trade as relying exclusively on exchange operations promoted and carried out by the monarchy, especially through expeditions seeking for exotic and luxury items from Punt, Nubia and the Levant. However, things seem more complex." [93] Coded as unknown because no evidence for actual market places or buildings. AD Warburton disagrees with the supply state view "lack of evidence of state 'control' of crafts or of the economy; ... absence of evidence of 'redistribution' ... increasingly widespread evidence of commercial activity ... exaggerated attention to titles has paid neither sufficient attention to their absence, nor to the lack of evidence for an administrative role of titles when they are documented. Together these points suggest that the Ancient Egyptian economy was a pre-capitalist market economy in which administration played a relatively unimportant role in itself."[94]
♠ food storage sites ♣ present ♥ e.g. granary complex. [95] This doesn't qualify as a specialised government building. "Every collective in Egyptian society, whether a town or a village, maintained grain storage facilities" [96] "A Third-Fourth dynasty complex found at Elkab consisted of storage facilities, silos, and sites where agricultural produce was transformed (Hendrickx and Eyckerman 2009)" [97]

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ present ♥ Road network emerged with development of irrigation systems. Excavated soil was piled by the side of ditches, these formed embankments which were used as paths and roads. Generally not paved. An exception was the 11.5 km paved straight road (flagstones and petrified wood) discovered in the Fayyum. Artefacts date it to c2494-2184 BCE. [98]
♠ Bridges ♣ inferred present ♥ Earliest reference to small bridge is for the new kingdom. Bridges over wide expanse of water unknown.[99] However, it is highly probable that small bridges were necessary before this time and Egyptians would have been more than capable of building and maintaining them.
♠ Canals ♣ present ♥ [100] Menes diverted the Nile to build Memphis where it had run. [101] "To improve their communications with the south, the Egyptians dug out navigable channels in the rapids of the First Cataract at Aswan; this policy, initiated in the third millennium before our era, was to be continued by the kings of the Middle Kingdom and later by those of the New Kingdom.[102]
♠ Ports ♣ present ♥ Commerce between Lebanon and Egypt.[103] i.e. Ports.

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ present ♥ [104]

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ present ♥
♠ Written records ♣ present ♥
♠ Script ♣ present ♥ Script and writing materials developed in late fourth millennium BCE. [105]
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ present ♥ hieroglyphs
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ absent ♥ The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the Coptic language. The repertoire of glyphs is based on the Greek alphabet augmented by letters borrowed from the Egyptian Demotic and is the first alphabetic script used for the Egyptian language.[106]

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ present ♥
♠ Calendar ♣ present ♥
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ present ♥ First of the Pyramid Texts followed burial of Unas (Wenis) 2323 BCE. [107]
♠ Religious literature ♣ present ♥ On the walls of King Unas's (2375-2345 BCE) burial chamber: "The Pyramid Texts represent the earliest large religious composition known from ancient Egypt; some of their elements were created well before the reign of Unas and map out the development of Egyptian religious thought from Predynastic times."[108]
♠ Practical literature ♣ present ♥ Formal legal instruments of property transfers, and letters are also known. There are also temple accounts on papyrus known. "as early as 3000 BCE official reference standards of length, volume, and weight were being maintained in temples and royal palaces in Egypt" [109]
♠ History ♣ present ♥ Annals. [110]
♠ Philosophy ♣ {present; absent} ♥ The Maxims of Ptahhotep "a major literary work of the Old Kingdom, which summarises the rules of conduct of a successful official, is ascribed to the vizier of Djedkara." (2414-2375 BCE). [111] "The philosophical literture is something perculiar to the Middle Kingdom and First Intermediate Period."[112]
♠ Scientific literature ♣ present ♥ School of medicine at Bubastis. [113] Imhotep, physician, architect, High Priest of Ra. [114] "as early as 3000 BCE official reference standards of length, volume, and weight were being maintained in temples and royal palaces in Egypt" [115] the Edwin Smith papyrus (1700 BCE): "attempting to salvage content from an older script dating back to 3000 B.C."[116]
♠ Fiction ♣ inferred present ♥ Highly literate elite.


Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥ Payment in agricultural goods. [117]
♠ Tokens ♣ present ♥ In earlier Naqada period there were baked clay and stone tokens - cones, spheres, disks, cylinders, tetrahedrons etc.; impressed tablets.[118]
♠ Precious metals ♣ inferred present ♥
♠ Foreign coins ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Paper currency ♣ inferred absent ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ present ♥
♠ Postal stations ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ inferred absent ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner; Enrico Cioni ♥ these codes were reviewed at at the Seshat Workshop on Egyptian History, Oxford 2014

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ inferred present ♥ Evidence of copper metallurgy between 3000-2500 BCE. [119] [120]
♠ Bronze ♣ inferred present ♥ Evidence of copper metallurgy between 3000-2500 BCE. [121] [122] Evidence for bronze arrowheads and spearheads. Spearheads and arrowheads initially flintstone and bone, then replaced by bronze. [123]
♠ Iron ♣ absent ♥ Meteoritic Iron, present, not used in military capacity.
♠ Steel ♣ absent ♥ time period

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ inferred absent ♥ "The weaponry being used by the Egyptians and their opponents--a combination of bows and arrows, shields, spears and axes--remained virtually unchanged from the Sixth to Thirteenth Dynasties".[124]
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ New World weapon.
♠ Slings ♣ present ♥ [125] [126]
♠ Self bow ♣ present ♥ Present.[127] "By the Dynastic Period, archers were most commonly depicted using a 'self' (or simple) bow"[128]
♠ Composite bow ♣ absent ♥ "Composite bows are known from both Mesopotamia and the Great Steppe from the III millennium BCE."[129] "The composite bows spread into Palestine around 1800 BCE and were introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in 1700 BCE."[130]
♠ Crossbow ♣ absent ♥ not present during this time period
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ absent ♥ not present during this time period
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥ not present during this time period
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥ not present during this time period
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent ♥ not present during this time period

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ inferred present ♥ Inferred from use in previous periods, though no longer one of the main weapons: "the weaponry being used by the Egyptians and their opponents--a combination of bows and arrows, shields, spears and axes--remained virtually unchanged from the Sixth to Thirteenth Dynasties."[131] Confirmed for an earlier time period. [132]
♠ Battle axes ♣ present ♥ "Throughout the Dynastic Period of the most commonly used weapon was the axe. In the Old and Middle Kingdoms the conventional axe usually consisted of a semicircular copper head (see figures 23a and 24) tied to a wooden handle by cords, threaded through perforations in the copper and wrapped around lugs. At this stage there was little difference between the battleaxe and the woodworker's axe. In the Middle Kingdom, however, some battleaxes had longer blades with concave sides narrowing down to a curved edge (figure 23b)"[133]
♠ Daggers ♣ inferred present ♥ used in earlier time in this region [134] However: "The weaponry being used by the Egyptians and their opponents--a combination of bows and arrows, shields, spears and axes--remained virtually unchanged from the Sixth to Thirteenth Dynasties".[135]
♠ Swords ♣ inferred absent ♥ "the weaponry being used by the Egyptians and their opponents--a combination of bows and arrows, shields, spears and axes--remained virtually unchanged from the Sixth to Thirteenth Dynasties."[136] Copper swords earlier than 17th century BCE have been found in Susiana.[137] However, Egypt was behind Sumer in development of armour so may also have developed weapons such as the sword later.
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ "One of the most important sources for the study of Egyptian weapons in the early Middle Kingdom is a pair of painted wooden models (Cairo, Egyptian Museum) from the tomb of Mesehti, a provincial governor at Asyut in the Eleventh Dynasty (figure 22). Forty Egyptian spearmen and forty Nubian archers are reproduced in faithful detail, showing the typical costume and arms of the common soldier."[138]
♠ Polearms ♣ present ♥ "Whereas the conventional spear was intended to be thrown at the enemy, there was also a form of halberd (figure 25c), which was effectively a spear shaft fitted with an axe blade and used for cutting and slashing."[139]

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ absent ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ present ♥ "During the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom the Egyptians depended upon the donkey's back for land transport. ... Well before 3000 BC donkeys in Upper Egypt were trained to carry loads."[140] The donkey was probably domesticated from the African wild ass 'in more than one place' but for the Nubian subspecies 5500-4500 BCE in the Sudan.[141] "During the Bronze Age the standard mechanism of transport was the donkey (Egypt) or the solid-wheeled cart drawn by the onager (Sumer). Ramses II revolutionized Egyptian logistics by introducing the ox-drawn cart, which quickly became the standard mode of military logistical transport for almost a thousand years."
♠ Horses ♣ absent ♥ Horses non-native to Egypt. Introduced c1700 BCE. [142]
♠ Camels ♣ inferred absent ♥ camels not considered native to Egypt, likely introduced by Persians in 525 BCE
♠ Elephants ♣ ♥

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[143] Parrying stick. [144]
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ present ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[145]
♠ Shields ♣ present ♥ Cowhides probably most common material. [146] "From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[147]
♠ Helmets ♣ absent ♥ Not until the 18th Dynasty c1500 BCE.[148] "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[149]
♠ Breastplates ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[150] Armour not worn during 3rd millennium BCE. [151]
♠ Limb protection ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[152] Armour not worn during 3rd millennium BCE. [153]
♠ Chainmail ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[154] Armour not worn during 3rd millennium BCE. [155]
♠ Scaled armor ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[156] Armour not worn during 3rd millennium BCE. [157]
♠ Laminar armor ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[158] Armour not worn during 3rd millennium BCE. [159]
♠ Plate armor ♣ absent ♥ "The soldiers of the Old and Middle Kingdom wore no armour. In the Old Kingdom they are usually depicted wearing only a belt and a small triangular loincloth, and by the Middle Kingdom their costume was invariably the same short linen kilt as that worn by civilian workmen. [...] From the late Predynastic Period to the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian soldiers' only bodily protection (apart from the occasional use of a band of webbing across the shoulders and chest) was supplied by long, roughly rectangular shields made of cowhide stretched over a wooden frame."[160] Armour not worn during 3rd millennium BCE. [161]

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ present ♥ River vessels used for conflict.[162]
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ absent ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ present ♥ Navy was the main fighting force until the New Kingdom. [163] Land forces are known, but they appear to have been ad hoc, mustered for specific purposes. Note e.g tomb of Weni, dyn. 6 (Abydos): "an army of many tens of thousands from all over Upper Egypt" mustered to fight the "Asiatic sand-dwellers." [164] Seagoing ships between the Levant and Egypt existed in the Old Kingdom [165] Spalinger speculates whether Lebanese sailors may have been used in Old Kingdom naval flotilla, just as Nubian soldiers used in Egyptian army (6th Dynasty)[166]

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ present ♥ e.g. Southern border at Elephantine.[167]
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Nubians built palisades in Nubia [168] but unlikely for Egypt due to lack of trees?
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ inferred present ♥ According to Gnirs, "fortification architecture and techniques of siege had become the basic means of warfare by the third millennium BCE." [169]
♠ Ditch ♣ [absent; present] ♥
♠ Moat ♣ [absent; present] ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ present ♥ Walled towns present prior to 3100 BCE.
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ [absent; present] ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣ present ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ inferred absent ♥ Not mentioned for this period in Shaw's (1991, 15-24) discussion of Egyptian fortifications.[170] According to Gnirs, "fortification architecture and techniques of siege had become the basic means of warfare by the third millennium BCE." [171] Construction of a fortress at Elephantine (possibly Classic Old Kingdom). [172]
♠ Long walls ♣ 0 ♥ km. "The traditional borders of Egypt comprised the Western Desert, the Sinai Desert, the Mediterranean coast and the Forst Nile Cataract at Aswan. Such natural physical barriers were sufficient to protect the Egyptians from outside interference for the many centuries during which their distinctive civilisation developed."[173] Evidence of some city walls.[174]
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥ these codes were reviewed at at the Seshat Workshop on Egyptian History, Oxford 2014

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ inferred present ♥ "One man alone never held all-encompassing powers of the center, even if the rhetoric of the Old Kingdom made the king the source of all authority."[175] Most important government official in Old and Middle Kingdoms was the vizier. "next to the king, his was the ultimate responsibility for fiscal, administrative and judicial affairs."[176] However, in Old and Middle Kingdoms no firm evidence for two viziers (north and south) which was the case in later periods.[177] "In order to facilitate work, different departments existed: treasury, agriculture, and labor."[178] The officials of the state departments "dealt with all assets of the state: goods, produce, and man-power. They supervised the collection of dues and corvee labor and their allotment for varied purposes."[179] End 3rd millennium: "contemporary priests and scribes proudly proclaim that they worked for simple village governors (hq3w), chiefs (hrjw-tp), and administrators (jmjw-r pr), they reveal the real importance of these authorities, usually hidden under the stereotypical iconography of the punished or bowing chief of a village."[180]
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ present ♥ "One must imagine a network of government agencies spread through-out the country, attempting by bureaucratic methods total assessment and management of resources, and overlying to varying degrees the semi-autonomous functioning of pious foundations and private estates whose own 'officials' would have had as their principal concern not the facilitating of the transfer of wealth to the crown, but rather the effective operation of the foundation or estate of which they themselves were the chief beneficiaries. The resulting tension, or division of loyalty ... will become clearer when provincial government is discussed."[181] Pious foundations in the Old Kingdom could have charters of immunity, which contradicted royal ideology of service to the king.[182] King able to "lay claim to any resources of the land at will, although in practical terms this was tempered by a number of restrictions."[183]
♠ Impeachment ♣ inferred absent ♥ In Egyptian ideology the Pharoah was "chosen and approved by the gods"[184] so it is perhaps unlikely there would have existed a formal system to impeach this individual as that would imply the rule of man was greater than that of the gods.

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ present ♥ Late in Old Kingdom "the ex officio system of remuneration no longer functioned satisfactorily and the fiscal system was probably on the verge of collapse. Some offices became, in effect, hereditary and were kept in the same family for serveral generations."[185] "During the 6th dynasty the power of the center declined. Nomarchs and other provincial officials no longer obtained their appointments from the king but instead passed their offices on to their sons, as if they made up dynasties."[186]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥ these codes were reviewed at at the Seshat Workshop on Egyptian History, Oxford 2014

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ present ♥ The ideology of state was a 'social contract' between the king and his subjects. This contract was, however, not one made between the ruler and the people (and e.g. enshrined in a written constitution); it was one signed with the gods. The king who failed to carry through his side of the contract would expect to lose favour with the gods. The people, for their part, could not legitimately rebel on their own evaluation of the king's performance; only given signs that the gods did not consider the king legitimate.

"In the case of Ancient Egypt, the ideology of the state, promoted through religious, artistic and literary texts, was centred around the divine right of the king to secure the submission of his subjects to his royal will in return for their right to expect protection, subsistence and the preservation of Maat (order, justice, righteousness) in society."[187]

"Divine kingship is the most striking feature of Egypt in these periods."[188]

"The king had been chosen and approved by the gods and after his death he retired into their company."[189]

"But, perhaps, the most definitive expression of the king's acting like Ra is that he puts Maat in the place of isfet, its opposite. As the texts say: 'Heaven is at peace; earth is in joy. For they have heard the king has set right (in the place of wrong) (PT 1775) and 'Unas has come forth from the Island of Fire. Unas has set Maat in it in the place of isfet' (PT 265). The putting of Maat in the place of isfet or replacing evil with good is fundamental to both royal and later general human responsibility. Thus the Pyramid Texts establish the basis of moral justification. ... In the Pyramid Texts, then, Maat is a moral claim for justification before history and heaven, humanity and God by the king. This moral claim is at the same time the core of the claim which legitimates the king's rule ... Bergman calls Maat 'the fundamental state myth'".[190]

King was thought to be under the patronage of the gods...he preserved maat (order, justice, righteousness) on their behalf and for the good of the Egyptian people.[191]

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ present ♥

Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BCE) "took the idea of self-deification further than any previous pharaoh and was the first to present himself as a divine being during his lifetime."[192] New Kingdom

'god-king' throughout pharaonic period [193]

However, this is nuanced: "Yet while the king of Egypt was the centre of society and had the largest tomb monuments of any period, he too was subject to the gods. It is as if restrictions on symbolic display promoted his centrality by exclusion: his religious role and relation to the gods were too important to figure on the monuments of others". [194]

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ present ♥ Ideology/cosmology holds all humans as equal, though in practice acknowledged and accepted that there were stark social/political/economic differences [195]. "The concept of imakhu ['honoured'] (which can also be translated as 'being provided for') was an expression of a remarkable moral dictum that ran through all levels of Egyptian society and that corrected the extreme cases of social inequality: it was the duty of a more influential and richer person to take care of the poor and socially disadvantaged in the same way the head of a family was responsible for all its members."[196] "Through ideology and its symbolic material form in tombs widely held beliefs concerning death came to reflect the hierarchical social organization of the living and the state controlled by the king"[197]

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ absent ♥ [198] "Through ideology and its symbolic material form in tombs widely held beliefs concerning death came to reflect the hierarchical social organization of the living and the state controlled by the king"[199] this was the code for Dynasty II. presumably still applies in this period.
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ present ♥ No strict inherited elite status, but elites / commoners idealogical equivalent [200] "Through ideology and its symbolic material form in tombs widely held beliefs concerning death came to reflect the hierarchical social organization of the living and the state controlled by the king"[201] this was the code for Dynasty II. presumably still applies in this period.

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ present ♥ "The concept of imakhu ['honoured'] (which can also be translated as 'being provided for') was an expression of a remarkable moral dictum that ran through all levels of Egyptian society and that corrected the extreme cases of social inequality: it was the duty of a more influential and richer person to take care of the poor and socially disadvantaged in the same way the head of a family was responsible for all its members."[202] "the association between ma'at and the just society finds expression in the Instructions of the vizier Ptah-hetep of the Fifth Dynasy: 'Justice (ma'at) is great, its value enduring. It has not been disturbed since the days of him who created it. He who transgresses the laws is punished."[203] "But, perhaps, the most definitive expression of the king's acting like Ra is that he puts Maat in the place of isfet, its opposite. As the texts say: 'Heaven is at peace; earth is in joy. For they have heard the king has set right (in the place of wrong) (PT 1775) and 'Unas has come forth from the Island of Fire. Unas has set Maat in it in the place of isfet' (PT 265). The putting of Maat in the place of isfet or replacing evil with good is fundamental to both royal and later general human responsibility. Thus the Pyramid Texts establish the basis of moral justification. ... In the Pyramid Texts, then, Maat is a moral claim for justification before history and heaven, humanity and God by the king. This moral claim is at the same time the core of the claim which legitimates the king's rule ... Bergman calls Maat 'the fundamental state myth'".[204] In the Old Kingdom: "First, Maat is established as a moral order with divine, natural and social dimensions. Secondly, Maat is counterposed with isft (evil, chaos, wrong-doing) as well as with dw (evil), grg (falsehood) and 3bt (wrong-doing). Thirdly, Maat is a standard and measure of both moral life on the personal and social level. Fourthly, Maat is tied to the concept of moral and social excellence (ikr, mnh) and resultant worthiness (im3h). Finally, the ground of Maat is that it's God's will, and thus the king's will and that it is good, effective and life-giving."[205]

♠ production of public goods ♣ present ♥ 'Texts from 2200 BCE and 1450 BCE where people say that they improved the layout of the necropolis including water sources so people could perform the cult for their ancestors better'[206]

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ absent_to_present ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ inferred present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ absent_to_present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ inferred present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ present ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [207] [208] [209]

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