Manual The Instruction of Amenemope. A Critical Edition and Commentary, Prolegomenon and Prologue

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It is assumed that he died towards the end of the reign of Ay when he seemingly vanished from all records and Horemheb , the designated heir of Tutankhamun, became pharaoh instead. Nakhtmin may have been the son of Pharaoh Ay , his mother being known from a statue to be the 'Adoratrix of Min , Songstress of Isis ' Iuy. She is thought to be Ay's first wife, and could therefore be the mother of Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet.

Nakhtmin appears to have been the chosen successor to Ay, but died before he could succeed. On a beautiful statue of Nakhtmin and his wife Mutnodjmet in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo , Nakhtmin was identified as the son-in-law of the king. This title could be completed as the son of the king of his own body which would make him the son of Ay, or it could be completed as the son of the king of Kush.

There is no record of a Viceroy of Kush by the name of Nakhtmin, and it seems that the nobleman Paser was Viceroy during that time period. This has led to the identification of Nakhtmin as Ay 's son. The statue with the inscription has suffered extensive damage.

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Only two pieces remain, the head and shoulders of Nakhtmin and the upper part of the body and head of his wife. Both statues look as though the eyes, nose and mouth have been deliberately damaged. This has been interpreted as some form of persecution even after death. Another man called Nakhtmin was married to Mutemnub, the sister of Ay's wife Tey. Her ideological opposite was Isfet Egyptian jzft , meaning injustice, chaos, violence or to do evil. The earliest surviving records indicating that Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, were recorded during the Old Kingdom of Egypt , the earliest substantial surviving examples being found in the Pyramid Texts of Unas ca.

Later, when most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth , as their attributes are similar. In other accounts, Thoth was paired off with Seshat , goddess of writing and measure, who is a lesser-known deity.

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After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in ancient Egyptian religion dealt with the Weighing of the Heart that took place in the Duat. Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws and righteousness. Maat represents the ethical and moral principle that every Egyptian citizen was expected to follow throughout their daily lives. They were expected to act with honor and truth in matters that involve family, the community, the nation, the environment, and the gods.


Maat as a principle was formed to meet the complex needs of the emergent Egyptian state that embraced diverse peoples with conflicting interests. From an early period the king would describe himself as the "Lord of Maat" who decreed with his mouth the Maat he conceived in his heart. The significance of Maat developed to the point that it embraced all aspects of existence, including the basic equilibrium of the universe, the relationship between constituent parts, the cycle of the seasons, heavenly movements, religious observations and fair dealings, honesty, and truthfulness in social interactions.

The ancient Egyptians had a deep conviction of an underlying holiness and unity within the universe. Cosmic harmony was achieved by correct public and ritual life.


Any disturbance in cosmic harmony could have consequences for the individual as well as the state. An impious king could bring about famine, and blasphemy could bring blindness to an individual. In addition to the importance of the Maat, several other principles within ancient Egyptian law were essential, including an adherence to tradition as opposed to change, the importance of rhetorical skill, and the significance of achieving impartiality and "righteous action".

In one Middle Kingdom to c.

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Maat called the rich to help the less fortunate rather than exploit them, echoed in tomb declarations: " I have given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked " and " I was a husband to the widow and father to the orphan ". To the Egyptian mind, Maat bound all things together in an indestructible unity: the universe, the natural world, the state, and the individual were all seen as parts of the wider order generated by Maat.

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  • There is little surviving literature that describes the practice of ancient Egyptian law. Maat was the spirit in which justice was applied rather than the detailed legalistic exposition of rules. Maat represented the normal and basic values that formed the backdrop for the application of justice that had to be carried out in the spirit of truth and fairness. From the Fifth Dynasty c. Later scholars and philosophers also would embody concepts from the Sebayt , a native wisdom literature. These spiritual texts dealt with common social or professional situations and how each was best to be resolved or addressed in the spirit of Maat.

    It was very practical advice, and highly case-based, so few specific and general rules could be derived from them. During the Greek period in Egyptian history, Greek law existed alongside Egyptian law.

    The Egyptian law preserved the rights of women who were allowed to act independently of men and own substantial personal property and in time this influenced the more restrictive conventions of the Greeks and Romans. Scribes held prestigious positions in ancient Egyptian society in view of their importance in the transmission of religious, political and commercial information. Thoth was the patron of scribes who is described as the one "who reveals Maat and reckons Maat; who loves Maat and gives Maat to the doer of Maat".

    Maat was the goddess of harmony, justice, and truth represented as a young woman. The sun-god Ra came from the primaeval mound of creation only after he set his daughter Maat in place of Isfet chaos. Kings inherited the duty to ensure Maat remained in place and they with Ra are said to "live on Maat", with Akhenaten r. Maat had an invaluable role in the ceremony of the Weighing of the Heart.

    See below: "The Weighing of the Heart". The earliest evidence for a dedicated temple is in the New Kingdom c. Amenhotep III commissioned a temple in the Karnak complex, whilst textual evidence indicates that other temples of Maat were located in Memphis and at Deir el-Medina. This is why hearts were left in Egyptian mummies while their other organs were removed, as the heart called "ib" was seen as part of the Egyptian soul.

    If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather of Maat, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat.

    The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. While the heart was weighed the deceased recited the 42 Negative Confessions as the Assessors of Maat looked on.

    Egyptians were often entombed with funerary texts in order to be well equipped for the afterlife as mandated by ancient Egyptian funerary practices. These often served to guide the deceased through the afterlife, and the most famous one is the Book of the Dead or Papyrus of Ani known to the ancient Egyptians as The Book of Coming Forth by Day. The lines of these texts are often collectively called the "Forty-Two Declarations of Purity". Rather, they appear to express each tomb owner's individual practices in life to please Maat, as well as words of absolution from misdeeds or mistakes, made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased.

    Many of the lines are similar, however, and paint a very unified picture of Maat. The doctrine of Maat is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Negative Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani. The following are translations by E.

    EGIPTOLOG√ćA: The Instruction of Amenemope - A Critical Edition and Commentary

    Wallis Budge. The Assessors of Maat are the 42 deities listed in the Papyrus of Nebseni , [32] to whom the deceased make the Negative Confession in the Papyrus of Ani. Egyptian deity and concepts of truth, order and justice. For other uses, see Maat disambiguation.

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    Goddess of truth, justice, wisdom, the stars, law, morality, order, harmony, the seasons, and cosmic balance. Maat was both the goddess and the personification of truth and justice. Her ostrich feather represents truth. Not to be confused with Mut. See also: True of Voice.

    I have not committed sin. I have not committed robbery with violence. I have not stolen. I have not slain men and women. I have not stolen grain. I have not purloined offerings. I have not stolen the property of the gods. I have not uttered lies. I have not carried away food. I have not uttered curses.