Tuesday, December 24, 2013

rḫ(t) nswt : complex title !

The case is complex : numerous hypotheses are emitted by eminent Egyptologists for almost a century !

All the more give a complex that this title can be bound to other titles (being able to give or not elements of complementary explanations).

The first aspect which was the object of long discussions is the sense of this title.


The first adopted sense was "parent of king" but the study of certain elements showed that it was necessary to widen the "initial" sense.

Two categories carrying this title distinguish themselves : the royal descendants (especially during IV dynasty - grandchildrens ? cousins ?) and the "participants" in the royal cult (title mainly granted by king).

These two categories are often complementary.


To note that at the beginning of the Old Kingdom the royal "family" (in the broad sense of the term) takes an active part in the royal administration as well as in the royal cult.

Reserved sense "
acquaintance of king" so seems more adapted, so covering the (possible) notion of royal kinship and royal partisans.

Besides the debate of the possible royal kinship bound as such, numerous discussions were led on the nature of the title : real or honorary ?

This title was probably bound to real Palatine affairs.


It seem as well as this title was likened to a social "category" (apparently rather low in the social scale).

This "category" would concern at the same time an actual work and a more honorary name.

That this title has a link with the royal kinship or not, that it is honorary or not, it is at work from the Old Kingdom.

The texts of pyramids give us an element interesting on the sense of this title.


In formulae (VI dynasty), so that king can join the court of Rê, it is hinted that king is "known" by Rê !

We have probably a ground copy (royal court and hierarchies) of the model associated with the divine world.

What is not abnormal because this analogy between the royal court and the solar cult includes by the iconic figure of Rê, the archetypal king and by the fact that king is his "son".

We notice that during all the Old Kingdom, this title is going to evolve (can be to the detriment of the pure "kinship") and that this evolution is going to continue in the next periods of Egyptian story.


This title makes (and will still make) debate.


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