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Register 2: Crete, the Keftiu ( view bs-38415)

The Keftiu, residents of Crete, and perhaps a few islands around it who share Minoan culture, are represented in some Theban tombs whose owners lived during fifty years spanning the reigns of Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, or Amenhotep II. After this period Crete is absorbed into the Mycenaean culture; the Keftiu longer appear, and there is no trace of commercial activity between Crete and Egypt, as does continue with the continental Aegean world.  In the tomb of Rekhmire there is an indication that allows the dating of the transition which takes place in Crete during his lifetime, the Mycenaeans replacing by conquest the Minoans between 1436 and 1426 BC (Sylvie Hodel): the (tribute) carriers were initially represented wearing the belted Minoan loincloth, but the painters, after seeing the newcomers, had replaced it with the Mycenaean loincloth (however the value of the loincloth as a chronological criterion is not accepted by all specialists).
The Keftiu are shown, unexpectedly, with a dark red skin colour, just as one finds in Cretan painting. They have long hair with curls on the top of the skull. They wear sandals with straps, along with colourful leggings ( view bs-38422). They bring the products of their crafts, mainly vessels of gold ( view bs-38424, view bs-38426view sh-85) and silver ( view sb-145, view bs-38425) in the form of decorated with, or shaped like. animals (lion, bull, ibex): jugs, drinking cups, amphorae, rhytons ( view bs-38421). They also provide the products they have obtained by trade: ingots and rings of silver, daggers, chains ( view bs-38420) and pieces of lapis lazuli. These riches will be piled up at the feet of the scribes ( view bs-38428).
Accompanying text: ""Coming in peace by the Great of Crete, islands that are in the middle of the sea, bending, bowing of the head, because of the power of His Majesty, the King of Lower Egypt, Menkheperre, given life forever, on learning of his strength in all foreign countries, their tribute being on their backs, in order that they may be given the breath of life, desiring to be faithful (literally: to be upon the water) to His Majesty, to ensure that his power protects them. It is the confidant of the King, Mayor of the City, Vizier Rekhmire, who receives all the tribute of all foreign countries, which are brought due to the power of His Majesty."

Register 3: Countries of the South, Nubia and the Sudan

At the beginning of the eighteenth dynasty, Egypt quickly resumed control of these areas after the interlude of the Hyksos. The new state of these vassal lands was government by Egypt and their contributions were taxes. Their (tribute) bearers are of course black, have frizzy hair and are wearing little skin loincloths. Six Nubians are wearing fly pendants suspended around their necks, very different in their general shape from Egyptian fly pendants of the same time period ( view bs-38440-45). The latter is always made of gold and seldomly given by Pharaoh to high rank militaries only (this issue has been studied in 2015 by A. Marshall).
Nubians bring dogs, oxen with curved horns ( view bg-377, view bs-38433, view bs-38434), a hamadryas baboon and vervet monkeys ( view bg-381, view bs-3849), one of which climbs the neck of a beautifully painted giraffe ( view bs-38436), a feline ( view bg-382, view bs-38442). Then there are animal skins ( view bs-38445), giraffe tails, ostrich eggs and feathers ( view bs-38437), ebony logs ( view bs-38440), gold rings and bars, elephant tusks ( view bg-383), ointments, red stones (amethyst?) and green (malachite?), oil of Nubia in large white jars ( view bg-385).
Accompanying text: "Coming in peace by the Great of southern countries, Nubia, Lower Nubia and Khenethennefer, bending, touching the ground with their foreheads, bringing their tribute to the place where His Majesty is found, The King of Upper and Lower Egypt (Menkheperre) |., living forever, in order for him to give them the breath of life, It is the Prince, Governor, Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, sole friend, Mayor of the City, Vizier, Rekhmire, who receives the tribute of all foreign countries that are brought due to the power of His Majesty, through force [...] efficiency [...]".

Register 4 : Retenu (Syria-Palestine)

All men have very fair skin and wear the same long white robe with sleeves decorated with red and blue stripes. Their hairstyles are, in contrast, all different: close cropped hair or shaved head, hair falling over the shoulders, a tousled mop of hair encircled by a ribbon. The products they bring do not suggest wealth, nor a high degree of sophistication, two characteristics which must have evolved later. The men bring a baby elephant, a bear - the brown bear disappeared from Syria in the last century - ( view cm-6513, view bs-38447), vases, some of which are gold ( view bs-38452, view bs-38451, view bs-38450), a chariot ( view bs-38449, view tb-231) and its two horses - an animal that the Egyptians had never previously drawn - ( view cm-6506), rare woods, weapons (bows, quivers, swords), some copper ingots, ivory unguent containers and two beautiful vases which seem to be made of a veined glass paste and must be among the very first imported into Egypt ( view bs-38453, view bg-387/1).
Accompanying text: "Coming in peace by the Great of Retenu of all the northern regions upon the borders of Asia, bending, bowing their heads, bringing their tribute in order that they be given the breath of life, desiring to be faithful to His Majesty, seeing his great strength, the fear he inspires taking possession of their hearts. Thus it is, the Prince, Governor, servant of god, great confidant of the Lord of the Two Land, Mayor of the City, Vizier Rekhmire, who receives the tribute of all foreign countries [...]”.

Register 5: The captives of vassal countries, Nubia and Retenu ( view cm-6508-6511)

These are both prisoners and hostages. In particular, Pharaoh required the sons of the high dignitaries of the conquered countries to be sent to his court, which calmed down tendencies to revolt, Moreover; these children received an education in Egypt and could be powerful supporters after returning to their own countries. The captives are divided into two groups, preceded and followed by guards armed with clubs and throwing sticks.
•  To the right are the Nubians, seven men and seven women ( view sh-39). The women, wearing long red skirts, bring with them children, with the youngest in a basket on their backs.
•  On the left advance fourteen Syrians divided into two groups ( view sh-91) in the first group, the men wear a sleeved tunic and in the second, a loincloth covered with a thin tunic. They are followed by women who have donned a white dress with a curious three-tier form over their legs and which are tied at the waist with a belt. They also are accompanied by children, one in a basket ( view bs-38455 , view bs-38456, view bs-38457).
Text : "Bringing the children of the Great of the southern countries together with the children of the Great of the northern countries, which were fetched away as the better part of the spoils of His Majesty, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Menkheperre, endowed with life, from all foreign countries, to fill the workshops and to (be) servants of the divine offerings for (his) father Amon, Lord of the thrones of the Two Lands, as that which has been given him, all foreign countries having been gathered into his grasp, their Great having been overthrown under his sandals. For the prince, Governor, who is in the heart of one who is in the palace (= the Pharaoh), the Mayor of the City, Vizier Rekhmire, who receives the loot of each foreign country which is carried back here through the strength of His Majesty."

The Vizier ( pl Davies_paintings-XXII/3, view xx-021)

His image is completely erased. Facing left, he witnessed the tribute ceremony. The accompanying text is still present: "Receiving the attendants of the Southern regions along those of Punt, the Retenu (Syria-Palestine) attendants, the Cretan attendants, along with the loot from all foreign countries foreign, which has been sent through power of His Majesty, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt (Menkheperre) | living forever, by the Prince, Governor, Great among Greats, Dignitary among Friends, Director of the chief Works, efficient confidant of the sovereign, the one causing he who is in the Palace to praise him and to place him at the head of (his) friends, and as top chief of the entire country, (because) he recognized (him) as one who achieved useful things. The example is for him; his venerable status is before him, the Mayor of the City, the Vizier Rekhmire".
Rekhmire is followed by six officials (called ‘friends’ or ‘companion’s) each carrying in his left hand a plant branch. Above them is the text: "Friends of the Palace - life, health, strength - coming before the Vizier, reciting prayers. They recite a joyous chant: The sovereign, the one whose monuments are perfect. . Menkheperre Every office is upheld, regions and cities are established, laws and regulations are enduring for their effects. The children of Dignitaries are in the office of their fathers May he continue (literally again)... to do the same for millions of years. He is durable and stable on the throne of Horus. May he come to repeat the Sed-festival. May he guide the living for eternity".
This text clearly shows that they clear the way for the Vizier who leaves the throne room after the King's speech. Behind them was a person holding a stick who has almost completely disappeared.

The text of the installation of the Vizier

The speech, delivered by Tuthmosis III for his newly appointed Vizier, is a distillation of principles that should govern the action of this powerful figure. This is still a difficult text, which remains subject to certain interpretations ( pl Davies-paintings-XXI).

Introduction: "Instructions communicated to the Vizier Rekhmire Bringing the Council members into the audience hall of the palace, life, integrity, health. Pharaoh presents the newly appointed Vizier Rekhmire."
The king's speech: "And His Majesty said to him.. Look now at the edifice of the Vizierate Ensure vigilance about what happens there, See, it is the prop of the whole country. See, as to the Vizierate , see, it is not really a sweet thing, See, it's a thing bitter as gall. See, this is copper around the gold of the estate of his Lord. Look, it is someone who does not bow his head before the Magistrates of the Council, and does not create supporters or accept them (as partisans). See, if a man is inside the house of his master (= if it is according to the rule) it is that he must act appropriately (for him) and it is not for another to do as he must do the same. See, it was after he suffered [.. .] from the office [...] that a complainant comes from Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt (in short) the entire country, so you must watch to do all things according to the law, to do everything as it should (literally everything in accordance with its justice) in [? making (sure)] that justice is done for him.
See, for a magistrate who appears in public, that in all he does (openly) is as water and wind can report. See, what he did is known. Indeed (literally: it is in truth), If it is something [wrong] he does in his conduct and that it is not revealed from the mouth of the head of current affairs, then we (the Pharaoh ) will know from the mouth of one he has given judgment to, when he says that to the person being responsible for the business, stating, "This is not my decision to support the case (literally: my voice). The complainant will send [...] or to the (higher) magistrate. All the more one cannot ignore what he did. See, this is a protection for the magistrate to have acted according to the rule, doing what was laid down. (When) The complainant and the one judged [...] "I have not been done justice."  See, this is the proverb that is in the Book of Memphis, namely: 'To the lord, merciful and, renowned Vizier!' Beware of what was said of the vizier Khety. That is for the benefit of other people he impoverished people around him for fear of what might be said against him [...] That one of them might complain that a judgment exists that he thought applied to his case, he persevered to the impoverishment, but it was an excess of justice [...] It is an abomination to the god to be biased (literally ‘overlook one side’). It is a Precept that you shall do the same, so that you shall consider (equally) that (person) which you know to whom you do not know, who is close to you (equally) as one who is away from you.
As for the magistrate who does similar things to these, he will become successful here in his Office. Do not treat the complainant with negligence before you pay attention to his words. If there is a complainant who come to complain to you (in person), do not dismisses what he says as a thing already declared. You may dismiss him only after you have made sure that he understands why you rejected his (complaint). See, it is said, 'a complainant would rather that one pays attention to his speech than to hear that (judgment) for which he had come. " Do not show your anger towards a man unjustly. Show your anger about that for which one ought to show wrath. Make yourself dreaded that we have to fear you (because) you are a magistrate, it is the magistrate who is feared. See, this is the prestige of the magistrate, to dispense justice. (But) behold, if a man is feared a million times, there is something wrong with him in people's opinions. They will not say of him: 'He is a man'. See [...] a judge who tells a falsehood, but it is on his own merit that he should get on. See, you will succeed because you'll take care to do justice in this office. See, It is by the decisions of the Vizier we desire to accomplish justice. So, see, that’s been his rigorous goal since (the time of) God. See, this is said about the great scribe of the Vizier that 'A Scribe of Ma'at', is said of him. And as for the building in which you heard cases, there is a lobby within under [...] judgment [...] "As for the one who provides (?) Justice to all people it is the Vizier. See, a man remains in his office when he does things according to the rules given to it. Good fortune belongs to a man, when he does as it is laid out for him. Do not let a case drag out in which the law concerned is known . And, see, as regards the bold (man), it is that the master loves the fearful more than the daring. Thus you will act according to the directions that were given to you. Behold, it is given to [. ..] and pay attention to these regions in proceeding to their certification. If you're planning to inspect (them), you will send, as inspectors, district supervisors, the chief of the police and their officers. If there is someone who can inspect on your behalf, you delegate it to him, so you will act like what is ordained for you."


One can only be impressed by the high standard of propriety expected in the most powerful servant of the state.. Pharaoh emphasises the difficulty of the job, which is not an easy sinecure. Judgments must be made according to law, without favor and petitioners must be able to freely contact the Vizier. The attention given to the public must be stressed. If the reality is sometimes far from this ideal, it had at least the merit of being in writing. An intriguing point is the absence, in both the installation and in the duties, of any reference to the criminal procedure, but perhaps it was discussed in the space (now refilled) corresponding to the "window" piercing in the front wall.

The king under a kiosk


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King Tuthmosis III is seated under a Kiosk. He is identified by his name Son of Ra (Djehoutymes) in the white cartouche upon the scene view cm-6557 and view tb-152, and name of Horus (Strong bull [One who appears in Thebes] carried by his Ka ( view sb-157). The roof of the building is supported by lotus-form columns and carries the winged sun Horus the Behedite, whose name was deleted by Atonists. The Pharaoh is depicted in the form of Osiris, clad in a feather decorated tunic, wearing the atef crown and holding in his hands the crook and sceptre. Before the Kiosk stood the figure of Rekhmire which has (now) been completely erased.

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