Friday, August 19, 2011

Pharaoh Teti

My main characters are digging up a tomb in Saqqara, so I suppose I should figure out which king they're unearthing... It may or may not be Teti, but I figured I'd research him anyway to see if he's interesting. 

Teti is thought to have reigned for 12 years and was the first pharaoh of the sixth dynasty. He ruled Egypt from 2345-2333 BC. Unas was the pharaoh before Teti, and Unas' daughter, Iput I, married Teti, giving him his royal status. To stabilize his rule even further, Teti married one of his daughters to a powerful vizier. His son with Iput, Pepi I, became pharaoh after his father.

Little is known about Teti's reign (which makes it good for an author to take some liberties... ;) ), though he did keep a lot of the same people in his court as his predecessor Unas. At the time, Teti maintained relations with Byblos and kept the peace with Nubia and Punt. His temple at Abydos, built from the quarry work done during his reign, was exempt from taxes, and was associated with Hathor, the goddess of love, beauty, music, and joy.

The exciting part of his story is that Teti was murdered by his guards. No one knows why, and the only way we know is through the account of the historian Manetho. No other evidence exists of Teti's death. Another king, Userkare, came on the throne between Teti and his son Pepi, which means he may have had something to do with Teti's death. Or, he may have just been associated with Queen Iput and acted as regent because Pepi was too young to rule. (I know which version I like better...if he was just a regent, why was Teti murdered?) An interesting twist is that Khuit, one of Teti's other queens, may have been Userkare's mom.

His pyramid at Saqqara is called the "Prison Pyramid". It was originally called "Teti's places are enduring". A statue of Teti was found there, made of pink and black granite. Aboveground was not well preserved; now it just looks like a hill. But the chambers and corridors inside are very well preserved and can be visited. His stone outer sarcophagus is the first to have hieroglyphs carved into its inner walls.

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