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Abstract

The Title smsw hAyt in Ancient Egypt
The Title smsw hAyt in Ancient Egypt
Faten Hamdy Mahmoud El Elimi Abir Enany, PhD.
Associate Professor and Vice-Dean of Student's Affairs Assistant Professor
Tourism Guidance Department. Tourism Guidance Department.
Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Faculty of Archaeology and Tourism Guidance
Suez Canal University. Misr University for Science and Technology
Email:faten_hamdy910@yahoo.com Email: enany_abir@hotmail.com
Abstract:
The title smsw hAyt, the elder of the hAyt, could be traced in Ancient Egypt amongst officials’
titles since the Fourth Dynasty till the Twenty First Dynasty. The title smsw hAyt was related to
some pyramid complexes; palaces as well as in connection with temples. The title was
interpreted as “the elder of the portal”, “the elder of the forecourt” or “the elder of the hall”. The
duties of the job were varied administrational and ritualistic ones.
This research aims to study the development of the title as well as the duties and the status of the
officials who held it.
Introduction
The title smsw hAyt, the elder of the hAyt, was found amongst the titles of the Old1,
Middle and less frequently the New Kingdom 2. The researchers were able to identify twenty one
officials carrying the title of smsw HAyt starting from the Fourth Dynasty till the Twenty First
Dynasty. The aim of the research is to study the title, the status and the duties of the officials who
held it.
The researchers noticed different ways of the writing of the title through the different
periods of the Ancient Egyptian history. In the Old kingdom it was , in the Middle
1 Klaus Baer, Rank and Title in The Old Kingdom: The Structure of the Egyptian Administration in the Fifth and
Sixth Dynasties (Chicago, 1960), 210-221, table I, 250, 252-3, Dimitri Meeks, Année lexicographique, vol. I (Paris,
1980), 77.2468; 77.3604.
2 Alan Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica, Texts, vol. I (Oxford, 1947), 60.
1
Kingdom we find and in the New Kindgom
3.
The title smsw hAyt was related to some pyramid complexes, palaces4 as well as in
connection with temples5. The smsw of the pyramid complexes had the title followed by the
name of the funerary complex6. Some of the examples of the latter case are the noble Ptah
Shepses who was smsw hAyt of king Djed-ka-re pyramid7, the noble Ka-dwa who was the
smsw hAyt for the pyramid of Khaef-re8 and Nefer-Hotep the smsw hAyt of the pyramid of
Men-Kaw-Ra9. For smsw hAyt of temples we have Amenemhat10 of the New Kingdom and
Wenamun11 of the early Twenty First Dynasty. There were also some smsw hAyt whose title did
not define the institute that they served.
Interpretation and Development of the Title:
The title was interpreted as “the elder of the portal”, “the elder of the forecourt”12 or “the
elder of the hall”13. The interpretation of the title depended on that of the word hAyt that had
different ways of writing leading to a variety of interpretations. In the “Wörterbuch”, hAyt took
meanings of hall, for-hall in a temple14 and hall of the judgment of the dead15. It took a variety of
determinatives starting from a piece of wood-probably a log or a stone roof-beam-16 and a branch
during the Old Kingdom. From the Twelfth Dynasty onward it started to take as determinative or
ideogram the sky sign or a columned porch17. hAyt was also used to indicate sky by the end of
the New Kingdom18. These two would continue through the New Kingdom and to the end of
Dynastic Egypt. This development led some Egyptologist to believe that the word hAyt changed
3 Adolf Erman and Hermann Grapow, Wörterbuch Der Aegyptichen Sprach, Band II (Berlin, 1971), 476, 8-11.
4 Patricia Spencer, The Egyptian Temple, A Lexicographical Study (London, 1984), 157.
5 Alan H. Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica (Oxford, 1947), 60.
6 Michel Baud, Famille royale et pouvoire sous l’Ancien Empire égyptien. IFAO: BdE 126/1 (1999), 27 & n. 105;
Carl R. Lepsius, Dekmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, t. III (Geneve, 1972), 34 b.
7 Ahmed Badawi, “Denkmäler aus Sakkara”, ASAE 40 (1940), 573 and see below document 10 and fig.12.
8 Selim Hassan, Excavations at Giza (1934-1935), t. VI 3 (Cairo, 1950), 93 and see below document 6 and fig. 7;
Wolfgang Helck, Untersuchumgen Zu Den Beamtentiteln Des Ägyptischen Alten Reiches, (Hamburg, 1954), 83 n.
31.
9 Selim Hassan, The Mastabas of the Seventh Season and their Description, t. VII (Cairo, 1953), 55 and see below
document 5 and fig. 5.
10 Alan H. Gardiner, The Tomb of Amenemhat (No. 82) (London, 1915), 7, and see below document 19.
11 Alan H. Gardiner, Late Egyptian Stories, Bibliotheca Aegyptica I (Bruxelles, 1932), I, I.
12 Kurt Sethe, Urknden Der 18 Dynastie, Band IV (Berlin, 1961), 1073; Gardiner, Onomastica, 60.
13 Wb II, 476, 8-9.
14 Wb II, 476, 5
15 Wb II, 476, 4
16 Gardiner, Onomastica, 61.
17 Spencer, Egyptian Temple, 155-156.
18 Wb II, 476, 12.
2
its meaning from ceiling in the Old Kingdom to portico or porch in the New Kingdom19.
Therefore, it is possible that the “hall” indicated in the word hAyt was open to sky20, fully or
partly. The title was thus interpreted as the elder of the forecourt21, the elder of the hall22 or the
elder of the portal23. Some interpretations suggested “the elder of the “judicial” court24.
During the Old Kingdom the title was in use starting from the Fourth Dynasty until the
Sixth Dynasty. From the time of King Pepi II in the Sixth Dynasty the title does not appear in
documents known to us25 until it reappeared during the Middle Kingdom. From the statue of
Horaa of the Thirteenth Dynasty, time of Sobekhotep IV26 it does not appear till the Eighteenth
Dynasty, time of Amenhotep II in the New Kingdom. The last time known to us for the title to be
used is for Wenamun in the Twenty First Dynasty.
Document of Smsw hAyt
The title of smsw hAyt occurs from the Fourth Dynasty, and continued to be used
until the Twenty First Dynasty. As mentioned above, the title could be attached to a pyramid
complex, palace or temple27. Documents of the twenty one officials known to us who have held
this title may be found in the following pages:
Documents of officials who held the title of smsw hAyt in Old Kingdom:
Doc.1: Kai28
Name: qAy
Period: Dynasty IV.
Title: smsw hAyt.
Other titles: wab nsw, King's purificator; imAxw the venerated; mrr-nb.f beloved of his
master.
19 Spencer, Egyptian Temple, 157.
20 hAyt was used to as a name for a bakery during the time of Seti I and were often partly open to the sky: Abir
Enany, The Kitchen in Ancient Egypt from the Archaic Period till the End of the New Kingdom (PhD Diss.,
University of Ein Shams, 2007) 4-5, 127-128.
21 Urk. IV, 1073; Gardiner, Onomastica, 60.
22 Wb II, 476, 8-9.
23 Gardiner, Onomastica, 60.
24 Dilwyn Johns, An Index of Ancient Egyptian Titles, Epithets and Phrases of the Old Kingdom, vol. II BAR IS 866
(2000), 902-903.
25 Jacques Pirenne, Histoire des institutions et du droit privé de l’ancienne Egypte, vol. III, (Bruxelles, 1934), 238.
26 H. De Meulenaere, “La statue d’un contemporain de Sebekhotep IV ‘, BIFAO 69 (1971) 64.
27 Spencer, Egyptian Temple, 157.
28 Murray, Index, pl. XLI.
3
Document: Giza tomb (no. 69).
Giza tomb (no. 69), we found a scene of Kai with his title of smsw hAyt (fig.1)29.
Doc.2: Sehedjwabu30.
Name: sHD wabw
Period: Dynasty IV.
Title: smsw hAyt.
Other titles: Hr sStA, master of secrets, rx nsw; known to the king; imAxw xr ntr aA
venerated by the Great God.
Document: Giza tomb (no. 93)31.
Giza tomb (no. 93), where was found a scene of Sehedjwabu with his title of smsw hAyt
(fig.2)32.
Doc.3: Djedshepswpw33.
Name: Dd-Spssw-pw
Period: Dynasty V.
Title: sAb smsw-hAyt Judge, Eldest of the Audience Hall.
Document: Statue of Djedshepswpw34.
A small mastaba (D.32) of Djedshepswpw at Sakkara, amongst its ruins was found a statue in
limestone. This statue bears the name of the deceased and his title (fig.3)35 sAb smsw-hAyt
Dd-Spsw-pw Judge, eldest of the audience hall, Djedshepswpw.
29 Carl R. Lepsius, Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, II (Geneve, 1971), pl. 34 b.
30 Murray, Index, pl. XLI.
31 LD.II , pl. 38 b.
32 LD.II, pl.38 b.
33 Jacques Pirenne, Histoire des institutions et du droit privé de l’ancienne Empire, vol. II (La Ve Dynastie 2750-
2625) (Bruxelles, 1934), 145.
34 Auguste Mariette and Gaston Maspero, Les mastabas de l’Ancien Empire (New York, 1976), D.32, 261.
35 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.32, 262.
4
Doc.4: Shepsi36
Name: Spsi
Period: Dynasty V.
Title: sAb smsw-hAyt Judge, Eldest of the Audience Hall.
Document: Mastaba of Shepsi (D.33)37.
A stone mastaba of Shepsi at Sakkara contains the name and title of Shepsi (fig.4)38: sAb
smsw-hAyt Spsi Judge, eldest of the audience hall, Shepsi.
Doc.5: Neferhotep39
Name: nfr-Htp
Period: Middle Dynasty V or later.
Title: smsw hAyt r mn-kAw-ra mr nTr. smsw
hAyt of the pyramid called (Menkura) is divine40.
Other titles: imAxw xr ntr a Honoured by the Great God.
Document: Mastaba of Neferhotep at Giza.
This mastaba is badly ruined; it is denuded down to almost the first course of masonry.
An alabaster offering-table in the form of a circle is set in the floor in front of the destroyed
false-door of this mastaba (fig.5)41. This offering-table bears the sign of htp, upon the mat of the
htp is a horizontal inscription which contains the title of smsw hAyt42:
36 Pirenne, Histoire II, 145.
37 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.33, 262.
38 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.33, 262.
39 Jones, Titles, 903.
40 Bertha Porter, and Rosalind Moss, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs,
and Paintings, vol. III2, Memphis (Oxford, 1974), 244; Selim Hassan, Excavations at Giza,The Mastabas,of the
Seventh Season and their Description, vol. VII (Cairo, 1953), 55, pl. 29(c); Maha M.F. Mostafa, Untersuchungen
zu Opfertafeln im Alten Reich (Hildesheim, 1982), pl.21 (1).
41 Selim Hassan, Excavations at Giza, vol. V 1933-1934 (Cairo, 1944), 186, fig. 34.
42 Hassan, Giza VII, 55.
5
imAxw xr ntr a smsw hAyt r mn-kAw-ra mr nTr
Honoured by the Great God, Eldest of the Audience Hall of the Pyramid (called) Menkura, is
divine.
Doc.6: Kadua43
Name: kA-dwA
Period: Neussere or Later (Dynasty V or later)
Title: smsw hAyt
.
smsw hAyt n xa.f-ra mr wr
smsw hAyt of the pyramid "Khafra is Great"
Other titles: Hm nTr Hr wsr-ib Priest of Hr wsr-ib (Khafra), Hm nTr nbty-wsr-m Priest
of nbty-wsr-m (nebty-name of Khafra), rx nsw King’s relative (Known to the King), imy-r
pr Overseer of the house44, Hm kA Ka servant, wab nsw King’s purificator, imAxw xr ntr
a Honoured by the Great God, imAxw The honoured one, sHD wab[w] Inspector of
purificators, Hr sStA Master of secrets; Hm nTr Priest and wab puricator of King Khafra45.
Document: Limestone Mastaba at Giza46.
The mastabe of Kadua is built of fairly large blocks of limestone47. On the left thickness
of the main entrance, a vertical row of well cut inscriptions contains the name of Kadua (fig.6).
43 Jones, Titles, 903.
44 Wolfgang Helck, “Bemerkungen zu den Pyramidenstädten im Alten Reich”, MDAIK 15 (1957), 99.
45 Selim Hassan, Excavations at Giza, The Mastabas of the Sixth Season and their Description, vol. VI3 1934-1935
(Cairo, 1950), 93.
46 PM III2 , 244; Hassan, Giza VI3 , 93-110.
47 PM III2, 244.
6
On the lintel of the doorway of the mastaba, an offering text and a list of names and titles of
Kadua (fig.7), amongst these titles, is found the title of48 smsw hAyt.
Doc.7: Wepemnefer.
Name: Wp-m-nfr
Period: End of the Dynasty V, time of the reign of King Djedkare-Isisi49 (predecessor of King
Unas).
Title: smsw hAyt
Other titles: sAb, judge.
Document: Mastaba of Ptah-Hetep50.
This mastaba was discovered in 1850, at Sakkara, just south of Mariette’s house, the only part
now accessible is the funerary chapel. The west wall of this chapel contains funerary and
offering scenes with Ptah-hetep in front of rows of other officials (fig.8). Amongst those is found
one with the name Wepemnefer who carries the title of smsw hAyt (fig.9)51. The title is
preceded by that of sAb.
Doc.8: Heqeqrn.f-nefermery
Name: hqq.rn.f-nfr-mri
Period: End of Dynasty V.
Title: smsw hAyt
Other titles:
sDAwty bity sAb smsw hAyt
48 Hassan, Giza VI3, 93.
49 J. E. Quibell, The Ramesseum and the Tomb of Ptah-Hetep (London, 1989), 33.
50 Quibell, Ramesseum and the Tomb of Ptah-Hetep, 25-34.
51 Quibell, Ramesseum and the Tomb of Ptah-Hetep, 33-34.
7
The Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Judge smsw hAyt 52.
Document: Inscriptions in Wadi Hammamat.
Doc.9: Ankhemsaef53
Name: anx-m-sA.f
Period: End of Dynasty V.
Title: smsw hAyt
Other titles: rx nsw King’s relative, imy-r sr[w] Overseer of the judicial officials, sAb
Judge, imAxw xr ntr a Honoured by the Great God, sAb iry nxn smA wDa mdw Judge
attached to Nxn who judges justly54.
Document: Mastaba of Ankhemsaef.
This mastaba lies to the south of the mastaba of Kadua, in Giza, built of local limestone
masonry. A lintel of this mastaba was found lying in the ground in front of the doorway. This
lintel contains three rows of incised inscriptions; the third row contains the titles of Ankhemsaef
(fig.10)55: King’s relative, Overseer of the judicial officials, Judge, Eldest of the Portal or
Forecourt, Honoured by the Great God, Ankhemsaef.
The entrance of this mastaba opens in a narrow, rectangular chapel; in the western wall of
this chapel are situated two false- doors. The northern one contains at the top the title of “Eldest
of the Portal” (fig.11)56.
Doc.10: Ptah-shepsses-pw57
Name: ptH Spss pw
Period: End of Dynasty V or Dynasty VI.
52 Urk I, 259, 14.
53 Jones, Titles, 903.
54 Hassan, Giza VI3, 147.
55 Hassan , Giza VI3, 149, fig.142.
56 Hassan, Giza VI3, 152, fig.146.
57 Johns, Titles, 903.
8
Title:
smsw hAyt Dd-kA-ra mr nfr ptH Spss pw
smsw hAyt of the pyramid called (Djedkare)58.
Other titles: TAty Judge59; Hm kA ka priest; imAxw xr nTr a The Venerated by the Great
God.
Document: False-door of Ptah-shepsses-pw.
False- door of Ptah-shepsses-pw in Sakkara, excavated by Service des Antiquités in 1942-194660.
The upper part of the frame of the false-door contains inscriptions of four horizontal rows
(fig.12). On the left side of this frame, in front of the deceased, we can find the title of smsw
hAyt61.
Doc.11: Khuienptah62
Name: xwi.n.ptH
Period: Dynasty V or later.
Title: smsw hAyt63.
Other titles: wab nsw King’s Purificator; imAxw xr nb.n.f Honoured by his Master and rx
nsw King’s Relative.
Document: Stone built mastaba at Giza.
The lintel of the main entrance doorway was discovered broken into three pieces, and
reused in a later burial construction. It was repaired and restored to its original place. This lintel
contains offering text in two horizontal rows; one of them bears the deceased's titles as follows64:
58 Ahmed Badawi, “Denkmäler Aus Saķķarah”, ASAE 40 (1940), 573-574; Helck, MDAIK 15, 106.
59 Badawi, ASAE 40, 575.
60 PM III2, 243; Badawi, ASAE 40, 573-574.
61 Badawi, ASAE 40, 574, pl. 60.
62 PM III2, 237.
63 PM III2, 237; Hassan, Giza VII, 35-41.
64 Hassan, Giza VII, 35.
9
r nTr aA wab nsw smsw hAyt imAxw xr nb.n.f xwi.n.ptH
‘before the Great God, (to) the King’s purificator, the Eldest of the Audience Hall, Honored by
his Master, xwi.n.ptH.
Another inscription on the drum of the doorway, which contains a single horizontal row of
hieroglyphs, bears the title of Eldest of the audience hall (fig.13)65.
Doc.12: Khepteth66.
Name: xptT
Period: Dynasty VI.
Title: smsw hAyt 67.
Other titles: imAxw xr nTr a Honoured by the great god.
Document: A piece of stone of Khepthet.
A piece of stone from the tomb of Khepthet at Giza, which contains the title of smsw hAyt
(fig.14)68.
Doc.13: Ihy69
Name: iHy
Period: Dynasty VI
Title: smsw hAyt 70.
Other Titles: sAb Judge.
Document: Inscriptions at Hammamat 71.
65 Hassan, Giza VII, 38, fig.27.
66 Jones, Titles, 903.
67 Jones, Titles, 902.
68 Herman Junker, Giza VI, Grabungen auf dem Friedhof des Alten Reiches (Leipzig, 1943), 231-232, fig. 94.
69 Murray, Index, pl.XLI.
70 Pirenne, Histoire III, 101.
71 LD. II, pl.115 l.
10
Some inscriptions from Hammamat, on which is found the title smsw hAyt (fig.15).
Doc.14: Akhuhotepher72
Name: Axw-Htp-Hr
Period: Old Kingdom
Title: smsw hAyt.
Other Titles: sAb judge; Hm-nTr MAat priest of Maat; Hr sStA n Ht-Hr overseer of the
secretes of Hathor, rx nsw king’s relative (known to the king).
Document: Tomb of Khuhotepher (D.60).
Tomb of Khou-hotep-her at Sakkara73, on the door of the entrance, inscriptions contains the title
of smsw hAyt (fig.16).74
On the right side of the door of entrance, another inscriptions with the titles of Khou-hotep-her
(fig.17)75. On the corridor of the tomb, an inscription bears the title of smsw hAyt (fig.18)76.
Doc.15: Meruka.
Name: Mrw-kA77
Period: Old Kingdom
Title: smsw hAyt 78
Other titles: wab nsw purificator of the King, Hm nTr “Priest of Cheops”, and imAxw xr
nTr aA “Honoured by the Great God”; rx nsw King’s relative (known to the king).
Document: Mastaba of Meruka at Giza79.
72 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.60, 340-348.
73 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.60, 340-348.
74 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.60, 341.
75 Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, D.60, 342.
76 Mariette and Maspero Les mastabas, D.60, 343.
77 Jones, Titles, 903.
78 Herman Junker, Giza IX, Grabungen auf dem Friedhof des Alten Reiches (Leipzig, 1950), 76.
79 Junker, Giza IX, 76-77.
11
On the pillar of this mastaba, some inscriptions contain the title of smsw hAyt (fig.19)80.
Doc.16: Nisekha
Name: N-s-xA
Period: Old Kingdom
Title: smsw hAyt 81.
Other titles: wab nsw purificator of the King
Document: Statue of Nisekha
Statue of Nisekha at Giza, on which we read the title of smsw hAyt 82:
smsw hAyt wab nsw N-s-xA
smsw hAyt, purificator of the King Nisekha
Documents of a person’s have a title of smsw hAyt in the Middle Kingdom:
Doc.17: Horaa
Name: Hr aA
Period: Late Middle Kingdom, Dynasty XIII, time of King Sebekhotep IV83.
Title: smsw hAyt.
Document: Grey granite statue, found in 1960 at a commercial of antiquities in New York, then
it was deposited in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (USA) (n o 63-29)84. This
statue represented a man seated on a cubic chair, the two hands on his knees. He put a long skirt.
This style returns to the Middle Kingdom, time of Amenemhat III. On his skirt inscriptions, all of
80 Junker, Giza IX, 77, pl. 31.
81 Junker, Giza IX, 40.
82 Junker, Giza IX, 40.
83 Herman De Meulenaere “La statue d’un contemporain de Sebekhotep IV ‘, BIFAO 69 (1971), 64.
84 De Meulenaere, BIFAO 69, 61.
12
them bear the title of smsw hAyt85. On the right and left sides of the chair, three columns of
inscriptions, contains the title of smsw hAyt86.
Doc.18: Seneb
Name: snb
Period: Middle Kingdom
Title: smsw hAyt87
Document: Stela (CG 20610) from Abydos88.
The stela of Seneb from Abydos which contains the title of Seneb as smsw hAyt (fig.20)89.
Documents of a person’s have a title of smsw hAyt in the New Kingdom:
Doc.19: Amenemhet.
Name: Imn-m-hAt
Period: Dynasty XVIII, time of king Amenhotep II.
Title: smsw hAyt90.
Other titles: sS Scribe; sS n TAty Scribe of the visier; imy-r n TAty steward of the vizier,
imy-r n pr TAty steward of the vizier’s house, Hsb rmT who reckons the people, imy-r
xbsw overseer of ploughed lands and Hsb it im Snwt Htp-ntry n Imn Who recons the
corn in the granaries of the divine offerings of Amun 91.
Document: Tomb of Amenemhet (TT 82)92.
85 De Meulenaere, BIFAO 69, 62.
86 De Meulenaere, BIFAO 69, 62.
87 H. O. Lange and H. Schäfer, Grab Und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichts,in Museum von Kairo No. 20001-
20780, Vol.II (Berlin, 1908), 249-250, no. 20610.
88 Lange and Schäfer, Grab Und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichts,, no. 20610.
89 Lange and Schäfer, Grab Und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichts,, no. 20610.
90 Alan H. Gardiner, The Tomb of Amenemhat (No. 82) (London, 1915), 7.
91 Gardiner, Tomb of Amenemhat, 6-7.
92 Gardiner, Tomb of Amenemhat, 5-9.
13
Tomb of Amenemhet at Sheikh Abd el Gurnah. On the south wall of the hall of the tomb, a scene
on which we found the title of smsw hAyt at the top of the scene from the left side (fig.21)93.
Doc.20: Ren-senb
Name: rn-snb
Period: Dynasty XVIII, time of King Amenhotep III.
Title: smsw hAyt 94.
Other title: sAb Judge95.
Document: Limestone stela from the temple of Karnak96.
This stela was found by Chevrier in the hypostal hall of Karnak. It contains twenty eight lines of
text; in lines 27-28, is found the title of smsw hAyt97.
Doc.21: Wenamun.
Name: wn-imn
Period: The Twenty First Dynasty, time of Herihor and Semends.
Title: smsw hAyt n pr imn.
98
Document: The Report of Wenamun.
Written on a papyrus acquired by Golenisheff in 1891 and is now in the Moskow Museum. The
papyrus is dated back to the Twenty Second Dynasty and contains the report of Wenamun as the
diary of his journey north to Byblos to fetch wood for the boat of Amun-Ra. The events take
place during the joint rule of Herihor in the south and Semends in the north in the early years of
93 Gardiner, Tomb of Amenemhat, pl.V a.
94 Lacau, Stèle, 45.
95 Lacau, Stèle, 46.
96 Lacau, Stèle, 44-47.
97 Lacau, Stèle, 45.
98 Gardiner, LES, I, I.
14
the Twenty First Dynasty. In the first line of the report Wenamun gives his name and title of
smsw hAyt 99.
Status and Duties of the smsw hAyt according to the Documents:
The duties of smsw hAyt were -due to the lack of concrete evidence- a matter of
debate. Davies believed that this title signified the ushers of a palace or of a temple100 and
Gardiner found this title of a palace or temple official to be a dignified name for a door keeper 101
although he also suggested that it had the same function in front of the palace as the imy-r
Xnwty that was like a chamberlain who received courtiers at the front of the palace and was a
dignified official who was represented in the company of other high officials102. Hayes believes
that the smsw hAyt is kind of a door keeper and suggested that it was more of an honorary title
that had no exacting functions, that was conferred on older men in recognition of distinguished
service in some more active office and suggests that the duties involved in this title are those of a
"door-keeper"103.
The researchers however, believe that the post of the smsw hAyt was probably more
important than just a mere door keeper as there are examples of smsw hAyt that worked as the
vizier scribe104. Some smsw hAyt held the title of sAb and both titles were sometimes combined
together as sAb smsw hAyt 105 in addition to one case where we were met by the title imy-r-
sr[w], the Overseer of the Magistrates106. The officials who held the title smsw hAyt of pyramids
during the Old Kingdom held a variety of other titles such as the sHD wabw Inspector of
purificators, Hr sStA the Master of Secrets,107, wcb priest, the King’s Relative108 and sDAwty
bity , the chancellor of the king of Lower Egypt109. The duties of those who held the title smsw
hAyt of a pyramid city have been suggested to be related to the administration of the place he
served110.
99 Wolfgang Helck, “Wenamun”, VI, 1215; William Kelly Simpson, The Literature of Ancient Egypt (Cairo,
2003), 116; Gardiner, LES, I, I.
100 Norman De Garis Davies, The Tomb of Rekhmire at Thebes, vol. I ( New York, 1973), 80.
101 Howard Carter and Alan H. Gardiner, "The tomb of Ramses IV and the Turin Plan of a Royal Tomb", JEA 4,
(1917), 134 n. 7.
102 Gardiner, Onomastica, 44-45.
103 William C. Hayes, A Papyrus of the Late Middle Kingdom in the Brooklyn Museum [Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446
(New York, 1972), 76.
104 Lacau, Stèle, 46; Gardiner, Amenemhat, 6-7.
105 Murray, Index, pl. XLI; Cairo 20017; Lange and Schafer, Grab Und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichts, I 17;
Murray, Index, pl. XLI; Urk I, 259, 14, and see below documents 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1 and 14
106 Hassan, Giza VI3, 147 and see below document 9.
107 See below documents 6,11 and fig. 6, 13.
108 Hassan, Giza VII, 35 and see below documents 6, 9, 15 and fig. 6, 11, 19.
109 Urk I, 259, 14 and see below document 8.
110 Wolfgang Helck, Untersuchumgen Zu Den Beamtentiteln Des Ägyptischen Alten Reiches, (Hamburg,1954), 99,
4.
15
The duties of the smsw hAyt of a palace can only be indicated with some clarity in the
New Kingdom autobiography of Rekhmire where the noble Rekhmire explains how at entering
the gate of the palace the courtiers bent for him and he found the smsw hAyt of the palace
clearing sDsr the way for him111. This would indicate that the hAyt was at the front of the
palace, probably a porch or portico leading into the main building112 and would hint that one of
the duties of the smsw hAyt would be to receive the dignitaries as they entered the palace.
During the New Kingdom, the high officials who held the title in temples seem to have
enjoyed a high status as in the case of Amenemhat who was the smsw hAyt n pr imn as well as
being the scribe of the vizier, a steward of the vizier and head of the weavers of Amun as well as
the one who reckons the corn of offerings in the granaries of Amun, the one who recons the
fields and the one who reckons the people113. In the report of Wenamun, the writer introduced
himself in the first line as Wenamun, smsw hAyt n pr imn and continued describing his
important mission114. It might also be indicated since this was the title Winamun chose to use in
the introductory line of the story that it must be a significant one.
Conclusion:
From these twenty one documents we can conclude that the title smsw hAyt was held
by some officials since the Fourth Dynasty till the Twenty First Dynasty. The researchers tracked
the development of the different ways if writing the title and the probable development in the
functions of those who held it.
We can distinguish three main types of smsw hAyt. Those who served in pyramids,
those who served in palaces and those who served in temples. The first type of smsw hAyt are
those of pyramids who -according to the other titles they held- seem to have been involved in the
funerary service of the pharaohs whom they served his pyramid as indicated from some of their
titles such as wab, wab nsw and Hm kA. They also seem to have been related to laws as some
of them held the title of sAb and imy-r-sr[w].
The second type is the smsw hAyt of palaces who might have had the duties of
receiving high dignitaries at the porch of the palace as well as other posts they held. The rarity of
texts related to this type of smsw hAyt made the researchers depend on the above-mentioned
text of Rekhmire that mentioned how he was received at the palace gate by the smsw hAyt of
the palace.
111 Alan H. Gardiner, "The Autobiography of Rekhmire", ZÄS 60 (1925), 64.
112 Spencer, Egyptian Temple, 157.
113 Gardiner, Amenemhat , 6-7, and see below document 20.
114 Gardiner, LES, 61. See below document 20.
16
The third type of smsw hAyt is those of the temples who seem to have enjoyed a high
status and were responsible for important tasks related to the temple they served as indicated
from the titles of Amenemhat who held several high titles including sS; sS n TAty; imy-r n
TAty, imy-r n pr TAty, Hsb rmT, imy-r xbsw and Hsb it im Snwt Htp-ntry n Imn
as well as other important titles. The same status can be indicated in the story of Wenamun who
was sent on an expedition to fetch wood for the boat of Amun. Those two high officials were
smsw hAyt in the temple of Amun.
From the analysis of the documents, the researchers also concluded that the title smsw
hAyt was more common during the Old Kingdom than the Middle and the New Kingdoms. It
was also noticed that it was more common in pyramid complexes than it was for palaces and
temples. This would be clarified in the following table:
Table of smsw hAyt
Titles Period Name Some other
titles
Number of
document
smsw hAyt Dynasty IV Kai purificator, the
venerated,
beloved of his
master
Doc.1
smsw hAyt Dynasty IV Sehedjwabu master of
secrets, known
to the king,
venerated by the
great god.
Doc.2
sAb smsw
hAyt
Dynasty V
Dynasty V
Dynasty V or
later
End of Dynasty
V
Djedshepswpw
Shepsi
Kadua
Wepemnefer
Doc.3
Doc.4
Doc.6
Doc. 7
smsw hAyt of
the pyramid
called
(Menkura) is
Middle of
Dynasty V or
later
Neferhotep Honoured by
the Great God
Doc.5
17
divine
smsw hAyt of
the pyramid of
Khafra
Neussere or
later, Dynasty V
or later
Kadua Priest of King
of Khafra, Priest
of Hr wsr-ib
(Khafra), Priest
of nbty-wsr-
m (nebty-name
of Khafra),
King’s relative,
Overseer of the
house, Ka
servant, King’s
purificator,
Honoured by
the Great God,
The honoured
one. The
Inspector of
purificators,
Master of
secrets, Priest
and puricator of
king Khafra
Doc.6
smsw hAyt Dynasty V or
later
Khuienptah King’s
Purificator,
Honoured by
his Master and
King’s Relative
Doc.11
smsw hAyt End of Dynasty
V
Heqeqrn.f-
nefermery
Ankhemsaef
King’s
chancellor,
judge.
Doc.8
Doc.9
smsw hAyt of
the pyramid
called
(Djedkare)
End of Dynasty
V, or Dynasty
VI
Ptah-shepsses-pw Judge, ka priest,
the venerated by
the great god.
Doc.10
smsw hAyt Dynasty VI Khepteth Honoured by Doc.12
18
Ihy the great god.
Judge
Doc.13
smsw hAyt Old Kingdom Khuhotepher judge; priest of
Maat; overseer
of the secretes
of Hathor.;
king’s relative.
Doc.14
smsw hAyt Old Kingdom Meruka “Wab priest”,
“Priest of
Cheops”, and
“Honoured by
the Great God”,
king’s relative.
Doc.15
smsw hAyt Old Kingdom Nisekha purificator of
the king
Doc.16
smsw hAyt Middle
Kingdom
Horaa
Senb
Doc.17
Doc.18
smsw hAyt New Kingdom Re-seneb Judge Doc.19
smsw hAyt New Kingdom Amenemhet Scribe; Scribe
of the visier;
steward of the
vizier, steward
of the vizier’s
house, who
reckons the
people, overseer
of ploughed
lands, Who
recons the corn
in the granaries
of the divine
offerings of
Amun.
Doc.20
19
smsw hAyt New Kingdom Wenamun Doc. 21
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Tomb", JEA 4 (1917), 130- 158.
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20
Hayes, W. C., A Papyrus of the Late Middle Kingdom in the Brooklyn Museum [Papyrus
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(Hamburg, 1954).
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vol. II BAR IS 866 (2000),
Junker, Herman, Giza VI, Grabungen auf dem Friedhof des Alten Reiches, t.VI (Leipzig, 1943).
------, Giza VII, Grabungen auf dem Friedhof des Alten Reiches (Leipzig, 1944).
------, Giza IX, Grabungen auf dem Friedhof des Alten Reiches (Leipzig, 1950).
Lacau, Pierre, Une stèle juridique de Karnak, Supplément aux ASAE, Cahier nº. 13 (Cairo,
1949).
Lange, H. O., and Schafer, H., Grab Und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichts, Catalougue Général
des Antiquités Égyptienne du Musée du Caire (Berlin, 1902).
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20780, vol.II (Berlin, 1908).
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Murray, Margaret A., Index of Names and Titles of the Old Kingdom (New York, 2004).
Pirenne, Jacques, Histoire des institutions et du droit privé de l’ancienne Egypte, vol. II, La Ve
Dynastie (2750-2625) (Bruxelles, 1934).
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21
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The Figures
22
Fig.1: A scene of Kai with his titles
LD II, 34 (b)
Fig.2: A scene of Sehedjwabu with his titles.
LD II, 38 (b).
Fig.3: Inscription on the statue of Djedshepswpw.
Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, 262, D.32.
Fig.4: Inscription of the mastaba of Shepsi.
Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, 262, D.33.
23
Fig.5: An offering table of Neferhotep.
Hassan, Giza V, 186, fig. 34; Maha M.F. Mostafa, Untersuchungen zu Opfertafeln im Alten Reich (Hildesheim,
1982), pl.21 (1).
Fig.6: A vertical row of inscriptions containing the name of Kadua.
Hassan, Giza VI3, fig.78.
24
.
Fig.7: An offering text of Kadua, containing the title of smsw hAyt.
Hassan, Giza VI3, fig.82.
Fig.8: Scene from the mastaba of Ptah-hetep.
Quibell, Ramesseum and the Tomb of Ptah-Hetep, pl. XXXVII.
25
Fig.9: Part of the scene of Ptah-hetep with the title of sAb smsw hAyt of Wepemnefer.
Quibell, Ramesseum and the Tomb of Ptah-Hetep, pl. XXXVII.
Fig.10: Lintel of mastaba of Ankhemsaef
Hassan, Giza, VI3, fig.142.
26
Fig.11: False door of Ankhemsaef.
Hassan, Giza VI3, fig.146.
Fig.12: The upper frame of the False-door of Ptah-Shepsses-pw.
Badawi,, ASAE 40, pl. 60.
Fig.13: Drum of the doorway of Khuienptah.
Hassan, Giza VII, fig.27.
Fig.14: piece of stone from the mastaba of Khepteth.
Junker, Giza VI, fig. 94
27
Fig.15: Ihy
LD II, 115( l)
Fig.16: Inscription on the door of the entrance tomb of Khuhotepher.
Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, 341, D.60.
Fig.17: Right side of the entrance tomb of Khuhotepher.
Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, 342, D.60.
Fig.18: Inscription on the corridor of the tomb of Khuhotepher.
Mariette and Maspero, Les mastabas, 343, D.60.
28
Fig.19 : Pillar of the mastaba of Meruka.
Junker, Giza IX, 77, pl. 31.
Fig.20: Four rows of inscriptions from the stela of Seneb.
Lange and Schafer, Grab Und Denksteine des Mittleren Reichts, 249, No. 20610.
Fig.21: South wall of the hall of the tomb of Amenemhet,(top left side, title of smsw hAyt).
Davies and Gardiner, Tomb of Amenemhat, pl.V (a).
29
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