Vizier (Ancient Egypt)

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Statue of Hemiunu, vizier and designer of Khufu's pyramid at the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim, Germany. His feet rest on columns of hieroglyphs, painted in yellow, red, brown, and black.
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Vizier (Tjaty)
in hieroglyphs

The vizier (/vɪˈzɪər/ or /ˈvɪzɪər/) was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king, or pharaoh during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms.[1] Vizier is the generally accepted rendering of ancient Egyptian tjati, tjaty etc., among Egyptologists.[2] The Instruction of Rekhmire-(Installation of the Vizier), a New Kingdom text, defines many of the duties of the tjaty, and lays down codes of behavior. The viziers were often appointed by the pharaoh, most from loyalty or talent.[3]

Responsibilities[edit]

The viziers were appointed by the pharaohs, but often belonged to a pharaoh's family. The vizier's paramount duty was to supervise the running of the country, such as a prime minister, at times even small details of it such as sampling the city's water supply.[4] All other lesser supervisors and officials, such as tax collectors and scribes, would report to the vizier. The judiciary was part of the civil administration and the vizier also sat in the High Court. However at any time, the pharaoh could exert his own control over any aspect of government, overriding the vizier's decisions. The vizier also supervised the security of the pharaoh and the palace. The viziers often acted as the pharaoh's seal bearer as well, and the vizier would record trade.[5] In the New Kingdom, there were two viziers, one for Upper Egypt and one for Lower Egypt.[6]

Behavior Code[edit]

According to the Installation of the Vizier, a New Kingdom document describing the office of the vizier, the vizier has certain traits and behaviors that are required to be a vizier:

  • Act by the law
  • Judge fairly
  • Do not act willfully or headstrong

Notable Egyptian Viziers[edit]

Old Kingdom[edit]

Viziers of the Old Kingdom
Vizier Pharaoh Dynasty Comments
Kagemni I Sneferu 4th Dynasty Purported author of the Instructions of Kagemni. Not attested in contemporary sources,
Nefermaat I Khufu 4th Dynasty Son of Sneferu and father of Hemiunu
Hemiunu Khufu 4th Dynasty Nefermaat's son, believed to have designed Khufu's pyramid
Kawab Khufu 4th Dynasty Eldest son and vizier of Khufu
Ankhhaf Khafre 4th Dynasty Son of Sneferu
Nefermaat II Khafre 4th Dynasty Nephew of Nefermaat the Elder, a son of Nefertkau; a grandson of Sneferu
Minkhaf Khafre 4th Dynasty Son of Khufu, vizier under Khafre
Khufukhaef Khafre 4th Dynasty Son of Khufu, vizier under Khafre
Nikaure Menkaure 4th Dynasty Son of Khafre
Ankhmare Menkaure 4th Dynasty Son of Khafre
Duaenre Menkaure 4th Dynasty Son of Khafre, vizier during the late 4th dynasty
Nebemakhet Menkaure 4th Dynasty Son of Queen Meresankh III
Iunmin I Menkaure 4th Dynasty Possibly son of Khafre, vizier during the late 4th dynasty
Babaef II Shepseskaf 4th Dynasty Grandson of Khafre
Sekhemkare Userkaf and Sahure 5th Dynasty Son of Khafre and queen Hekenuhedjet.
Weshptah Sahure and Neferirkare Kakai 5th Dynasty
Ptahhotep I Djedkare Isesi 5th Dynasty Previously thought to be the author of The Maxims of Ptahhotep
Akhethotep Djedkare Isesi 5th Dynasty Son of Ptahhotep I.
Ptahhotep II Djedkare Isesi 5th Dynasty Author of The Maxims of Ptahhotep
Senedjemib Inti Djedkare Isesi 5th Dynasty
Senedjemib Mehi 6th Dynasty possible son-in-law of Unas (or Djedkare Isesi), vizier during the early 6th dynasty
Nefersheshemre Teti 6th Dynasty
Kagemni Teti 6th Dynasty son-in-law of Teti
Mereruka Teti 6th Dynasty son-in-law of Teti
Khentika Teti 6th Dynasty
Ankhmahor Teti - Pepi I 6th Dynasty
Merefnebef Teti - Pepi I 6th Dynasty Merefnebef is also known as Unis-ankh and Fefi in his tomb
Hesi Teti - Pepi I 6th Dynasty
Meryteti Pepi I 6th Dynasty grandson of Teti, son of Mereruka
Iunmin II Pepi I 6th Dynasty
Nebet Pepi I 6th Dynasty mother-in-law and vizier of Pepi I
Tjetju Pepi I 6th Dynasty
Djau Pepi I 6th Dynasty brother-in-law of Pepi I, son of Nebet
Rawer Pepi I 6th Dynasty
Shemay Neferkaure - Neferkauhor 8th Dynasty son-in-law of Neferkauhor, nomarch of Coptos, later vizier
Idy Neferirkare(?) 8th Dynasty son of Shemay

Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period[edit]

Viziers of the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period
Vizier Pharaoh Dynasty Comments
Bebi Mentuhotep II 11th dynasty
Dagi Mentuhotep II 11th dynasty
Amenemhat Mentuhotep IV 11th dynasty He later became king as Amenemhat I, first king of the 12th dynasty
Ipi Amenemhat I 12th dynasty
Intefiqer Amenemhat I
Senusret I
12th dynasty
Senusret Senusret I
Amenemhat II
12th dynasty
Ameny Amenemhat II 12th dynasty
Amenemhat-ankh Amenemhat II (?)[7] 12th dynasty
Siese Amenemhat II 12th dynasty
Sobekemhat Senusret III 12th dynasty
Nebit Senusret III 12th dynasty
Khnumhotep III Senusret III 12th dynasty
Kheti Amenemhet III 12th dynasty
Ameny Amenemhat III 12th dynasty [8]
Zamonth Amenemhat III 12th dynasty [8]
Senewosret-Ankh (vizier) End 12th dynasty
Beginning 13th dynasty
Khenmes [8] 13th dynasty
Ankhu Khendjer 13th dynasty
Resseneb 13th dynasty Son of Ankhu[9]
Iymeru 13th dynasty Son of Ankhu[9]
Neferkare Iymeru Sobekhotep IV 13th dynasty
Sobka called Bebi[10] 13th dynasty
Ibiaw[10] Ibiaw or Ay 13th dynasty
Sonbhenaf [10] Ibiaw or Ay, or Djehuti uncertain
Aya [10] Ini I 13th dynasty Aya was Governor of El Kab before being appointed vizier in year 1 of Ini I
Ayameru [10] 13th dynasty Ayameru was the younger son of Aya and succeeded him in office.

New Kingdom[edit]

Viziers of the New Kingdom
Vizier of the South (Thebes) Pharaoh Dynasty Vizier of the North (Memphis)
Tetinefer Ahmose I? 18th Dynasty
Imhotep Tuthmosis I 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Aakheperreseneb Tuthmosis I 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Amethu called Ahmose Tuthmosis I, Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Hapuseneb Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Useramen Hatshepsut Thutmose III 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Rekhmire Thutmose III 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Neferweben Thutmose III 18th Dynasty Likely Vizier of the North
Amenemipet called Pairy Amenhotep II, Tuthmosis IV 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Seny Tuthmosis IV 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Hepu Tuthmosis IV 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Thutmose Tuthmosis IV 18th Dynasty Vizier of the North
Ptahmose Amenhotep III 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Amenhotep-Huy Amenhotep III 18th Dynasty Vizier of the North
Aperel Amenhotep III, Akhenaten 18th Dynasty Vizier of the North
Ramose Amenhotep III, Akhenaten 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Nakhtpaaten Akhenaten 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Pentu Tutankhamen 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Usermontu Tutankhamen 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Ay ? Tutankhamen 18th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Paramessu Horemheb 18th Dynasty Later took the throne as Ramesses I
Nebamun Horemheb, Sethi I 18th Dynasty, 19th Dynasty Vizier of the North
Prince Sethi Ramesses I 19th Dynasty
Hatiay Sethi I, Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the North?
Paser (Vizier) Sethi I, Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Nehi Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Khay Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South in ca year 27-45
Thutmose Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South in ca year 45-50.
Prehotep I Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the North in ca year 40.
Prehotep II Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the North in ca year 50.
Neferronpet Ramesses II 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South in ca year 50
Panehesy Merenptah 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Pensekhmet Merenptah 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South, Year 8
Merysekhmet Merenptah 19th Dynasty Vizier of the North, year 3?
Hori II Ramesses II, Merenptah, Seti II, Amenmesse, Ramesses III 19th Dynasty
Amenmose Seti II and Amenmesse 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Khaemtir Seti II and Amenmesse 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Paraemheb Seti II and Amenmesse 19th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Nehi? Ramesses III 20th Dynasty
Hewernef Ramesses III 20th Dynasty Vizier of the South
To Ramesses III 20th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Mentehetef (Montu-hir-hetef) Ramesses IX 20th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Wennefer Ramesses IX 20th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Nebmarenakht also called Saht(a)-nefer Ramesses IX, Ramesses X and Ramesses XI 20th Dynasty
Khaemwaset Ramesses IX 20th Dynasty Vizier of the South
Herihor Ramesses XI 20th Dynasty Vizier of the South

Third Intermediate Period[edit]

Late Period[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shaw, Ian (2002). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-19-280293-4. 
  2. ^ Gardiner, Alan Henderson (1957). Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (3rd edition ed.). Oxford: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum. pp. p.43. ISBN 0 900416 351. 
  3. ^ M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol.2, pp.21ff. [date missing]
  4. ^ Goddard, J (2012). Public Health Entomology. Starkville: CRC Press. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Jane Bingham, Fiona Chadler, Jane Chisholm, Gill Harvey, Lisa Miles,Struan Reid, and Sam Taplin "The Usborne Internet - Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World" page 80 [clarification needed][date missing]
  7. ^ W. Grajetzki: Court Officials of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, London 2009, ISBN 978-0-7156-3745-6, p. 169
  8. ^ a b c Grajetzki: Court Officials, 169
  9. ^ a b Grajetzki: Court Officials, 170
  10. ^ a b c d e Kim Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c.1800-1550 B.C." Museum Tuscolanum Press, 1997. p.192 (ISBN 87-7289-421-0)

External links[edit]