Vizier (Ancient Egypt)

The vizier (/vɪˈzɪər/ or /ˈvɪzɪər/) was the highest official in ancient Egypt to serve the pharaoh (king) 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. During the 4th Dynasty and early 5th Dynasty, viziers were exclusively drawn from the royal family; from the period around the reign of Neferirkare Kakai onwards, they were chosen according to loyalty and talent or inherited the position from their fathers.[3]


Vizier (Tjaty)
in hieroglyphs

Responsibilities

The viziers were appointed by the pharaohs and often belonged to a pharaoh's family. The vizier's paramount duty was to supervise the running of the country, much like a prime minister. At times this included small details such as sampling the city's water supply.[4] All other lesser supervisors and officials, such as tax collectors and scribes, reported to the vizier. The judiciary was part of the civil administration, and the vizier also sat in the High Court. 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 by overseeing the comings and goings of palace visitors[5]. The viziers often acted as the pharaoh's seal bearer as well, and the vizier would record trade.[6] From the Fifth Dynasty onwards, viziers, whom by then were the highest civilian bureaucratic official, held supreme responsibility for the administration of the palace and government, including jurisdiction, scribes, state archives, central granaries, treasury, storage of surplus products and their redistribution, and supervision of building projects such as the royal pyramid.[7]In the New Kingdom, there were two viziers, one for Upper Egypt and one for Lower Egypt.[8]

Installation of the Vizier

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

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

List of viziers

Early Dynastic period

Viziers of the Early Dynastic period
VizierPharaohDynastyComments
MenkaNinetjer?2nd DynastyEarliest known holder of the title

Old Kingdom

Viziers of the Old Kingdom
VizierPharaohDynastyComments
Kagemni ISneferu4th DynastyPurported author of the Instructions of Kagemni. Not attested in contemporary sources,
Nefermaat IKhufu4th DynastySon of Sneferu and father of Hemiunu
HemiunuKhufu4th DynastyNefermaat's son, believed to have designed Khufu's pyramid
KawabKhufu4th DynastyEldest son and vizier of Khufu
AnkhhafKhafre4th DynastySon of Sneferu
Nefermaat IIKhafre4th DynastyNephew of Nefermaat the Elder, a son of Nefertkau I; a grandson of Sneferu
MinkhafKhafre4th DynastySon of Khufu, vizier under Khafre
KhufukhaefKhafre4th DynastySon of Khufu, vizier under Khafre
NikaureMenkaure4th DynastySon of Khafre
AnkhmareMenkaure4th DynastySon of Khafre
DuaenreMenkaure4th DynastySon of Khafre, vizier during the late 4th dynasty
NebemakhetMenkaure4th DynastySon of Queen Meresankh III
Iunmin IMenkaure4th DynastyPossibly son of Khafre, vizier during the late 4th dynasty
Babaef IIShepseskaf4th DynastyGrandson of Khafre
Seshathotep HetiUserkaf, early 5th Dynasty5th DynastyIt is not certain if Seshathetep held the titles of a vizier.
SekhemkareUserkaf and Sahure5th DynastySon of Khafre and queen Hekenuhedjet.
WerbaubaSahure5th Dynasty
WashptahSahure and Neferirkare Kakai5th Dynasty
MinneferNyuserre Ini5th Dynasty
PtahshepsesNyuserre Ini5th DynastyBecame the son-in-law of Nyuserre Ini some time after his ascension to the throne.
KayNyuserre Ini5th Dynasty
PehenuikaiNyuserre Ini5th Dynasty
Ptahhotep DesherMenkauhor or Djedkare Isesi5th Dynasty
PtahhotepDjedkare Isesi5th Dynasty
Seshemnefer (III)Djedkare Isesi5th Dynasty
Ptahhotep IDjedkare Isesi5th DynastyPurported author of The Maxims of Ptahhotep
AkhethotepDjedkare Isesi5th DynastySon of Ptahhotep I.
Senedjemib IntiDjedkare Isesi5th Dynasty
Ptahhotep IIUnas5th Dynasty
Akhethetep HemiUnas5th Dynasty
IhyUnas5th Dynasty
NiankhbaUnas5th Dynasty
Sekhem-ankh-Ptah5th Dynasty or 6th DynastyDating uncertain, may have been the son-in-law of a king.
Senedjemib Mehi6th Dynastypossible son-in-law of Unas (or Djedkare Isesi), vizier during the early 6th dynasty
NefersheshemreTeti6th Dynasty
KagemniTeti6th Dynastyson-in-law of Teti
MererukaTeti6th Dynastyson-in-law of Teti
KhentikaTeti6th Dynasty
MehuTeti6th Dynasty
AnkhmahorTeti - Pepi I6th Dynasty
MerefnebefTeti - Pepi I6th DynastyMerefnebef is also known as Unis-ankh and Fefi in his tomb
HesiTeti - Pepi I6th Dynasty
MerytetiPepi I6th Dynastygrandson of Teti, son of Mereruka
Iunmin IIPepi I6th Dynasty
NebetPepi I6th Dynastymother-in-law and vizier of Pepi I
TjetjuPepi I6th Dynasty
QarPepi I6th Dynasty
DjauPepi I6th Dynastybrother-in-law of Pepi I, son of Nebet
Rawer (vizier)Pepi I6th Dynasty
ShemayNeferkaure - Neferkauhor8th Dynastyson-in-law of Neferkauhor, nomarch of Coptos, later vizier
IdyNeferirkare(?)8th Dynastyson of Shemay

Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period

Viziers of the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period
VizierPharaohDynastyComments
BebiMentuhotep II11th Dynasty
DagiMentuhotep II11th Dynasty
AmenemhatMentuhotep IV11th DynastyHe later became king as Amenemhat I, first Pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty
IpiAmenemhat I12th Dynasty
IntefiqerAmenemhat I
Senusret I
12th DynastyHe is indicated in the Wadi el-Hudi as being involved in military missions in Lower Nubia.[9]
SenusretSenusret I
Amenemhat II
12th Dynasty
AmenyAmenemhat II12th Dynasty
Amenemhat-ankhAmenemhat II (?)[10]12th Dynasty
SieseAmenemhat II12th Dynasty
NebitSenusret III12th Dynasty
Khnumhotep IIISenusret III12th Dynasty
KhetiAmenemhat III12th Dynasty
AmenyAmenemhat III12th Dynasty[11]
ZamonthAmenemhat III12th Dynasty[11]
Senewosret-Ankh (vizier)End 12th Dynasty
Beginning 13th Dynasty
Khenmes[11]13th Dynasty
AnkhuKhendjer13th Dynasty
Resseneb13th dynastySon of Ankhu[12]
Iymeru13th DynastySon of Ankhu[12]
Neferkare IymeruSobekhotep IV13th Dynasty
Sobka called Bebi[13]13th Dynasty
Ibiaw[13]Ibiaw or Ay13th Dynasty
Sonbhenaf[13]Ibiaw or Ay, or Djehutiuncertain
Aya[13]Ini I13th DynastyAya was Governor of El Kab before being appointed vizier in year 1 of Ini I, as reported in the Juridical Stela
Ayameru[13]13th DynastyAyameru was the younger son of Aya and succeeded him in office, as reported in the Juridical Stela

New Kingdom

Viziers of the New Kingdom
Vizier of the South (Thebes)PharaohDynastyComments
TetineferAhmose I?18th DynastyVizier of the North (Memphis)
ImhotepThutmose I18th DynastyVizier of the South
AakheperresenebThutmose I18th DynastyVizier of the South
Amethu called AhmoseThutmose I, Hatshepsut18th DynastyVizier of the South
HapusenebHatshepsut18th DynastyVizier of the South
Amethu called AhmoseThutmose II, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III18th DynastyVizier of the South
UseramenHatshepsut, Thutmose III18th DynastyVizier of the South
NeferwebenThutmose III18th DynastyLikely Vizier of the North
RekhmireThutmose III18th DynastyVizier of the South
Amenemipet called PairyAmenhotep II, Thutmose IV18th DynastyVizier of the South
SenyThutmose IV18th DynastyVizier of the South
HepuThutmose IV18th DynastyVizier of the South
ThutmoseThutmose IV18th DynastyVizier of the North
PtahmoseAmenhotep III18th DynastyVizier of the South
Amenhotep-HuyAmenhotep III18th DynastyVizier of the North
AperelAmenhotep III, Akhenaten18th DynastyVizier of the North
RamoseAmenhotep III, Akhenaten18th DynastyVizier of the South
NakhtpaatenAkhenaten18th DynastyVizier of the South
PentuTutankhamen18th DynastyVizier of the South
UsermontuTutankhamen18th DynastyVizier of the South
Ay ?Tutankhamen18th DynastyVizier of the South, succeeded Tutankhamen as Pharaoh
ParamessuHoremheb18th DynastyLater took the throne as Ramesses I
NebamunHoremheb, Sethi I18th Dynasty, 19th DynastyVizier of the North
Prince SethiRamesses I19th Dynasty
HatiaySethi I, Ramesses II19th DynastyVizier of the North?
Paser (Vizier)Sethi I, Ramesses II19th DynastyVizier of the South
NehiRamesses II19th DynastyVizier of the South
KhayRamesses II19th DynastyVizier of the South, ca. Year 27-45
ThutmoseRamesses II19th DynastyVizier of the South, ca. Year 45-50.
Prehotep IRamesses II19th DynastyVizier of the North in ca year 40.
Prehotep IIRamesses II19th DynastyVizier of the North in ca year 50.
NeferronpetRamesses II19th DynastyVizier of the South in ca year 50
PanehesyMerenptah19th DynastyVizier of the South
PensekhmetMerenptah19th DynastyVizier of the South, Year 8
MerysekhmetMerenptah19th DynastyVizier of the North, Year 3?
AmenmoseSeti II and Amenmesse19th DynastyVizier of the South
KhaemtirSeti II and Amenmesse19th DynastyVizier of the South
ParaemhebSeti II and Amenmesse19th DynastyVizier of the South
Hori IISeti II, Siptah, Twosret, Sethnakht and Ramesses III19th Dynasty
Iuty20th DynastyVizier of the North?
Nehi?Ramesses III20th Dynasty
HewernefRamesses III20th DynastyVizier of the South
ToRamesses III20th DynastyVizier of the South
NeferronpeRamesses IV to Ramesses VI20th DynastyVizier
NehyRamesses VI20th DynastyVizier, son of Neferronpe
Mentehetef (Montu-hir-hetef)Ramesses IX20th DynastyVizier of the South
WenneferRamesses IX20th DynastyVizier of the South
Nebmarenakht also called Saht(a)-neferRamesses IX, Ramesses X and Ramesses XI20th Dynasty
KhaemwasetRamesses IX20th DynastyVizier of the South
HerihorRamesses XI20th DynastyVizier of the South

Third Intermediate Period

Viziers of the South[14]
VizierPharaohyearDynastyComments
HerihorSmendes Ic. 1075 B.C.21st Dynasty
Pinedjem ISmendes Ic. 1070 B.C.21st Dynasty
AmenhirpameshaPsusennes Ic. 1040 B.C.21st Dynasty
Neseramun (A)Siamunc. 960 B.C.21st DynastySon of Nebneteru (ii) a Letter Writer to the Pharaoh
Padimut (A)Shoshenq Ic. 930 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastyVizier of the South
Ia-oOsorkon Ic. 900 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
RudpamutTakelot Ic. 880 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Hor(y)Takelot Ic. 876 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
HoriTakelot IIc. 845? B.C.22nd-23rd DynastySon of Iutjek?
Nespakheshuty ATakelot IIc. 835 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Harsiese DShoshenq IIIc. 825 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Hor (viii)Shoshenq IIIc. 820 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
PentyefankhPedubast Ic. 815 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Harsiese EShoshenq III / Shoshenq IVc. 790 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Djedkhonsefankh EShoshenq III / Osorkon IIIc. 780 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Nakhtefmut CShoshenq III / Osorkon IIIc. 775 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Hor xOsorkon IIIc. 770 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastySon of Nakhtefmut C
PamiuOsorkon IIIc. 765 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastyVizier of the South
PakharuTakelot IIIc. 760 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastySon of Pamiu
Ankh-OsorkonRudamunc. 755 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
PediamonetIuput IIc. 750 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastySon of Pamiu
Harsiese FIuput IIc. 745 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Nesmin AIuput IIc. 740 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastySon of Harsiese F
Ankh-horIuput IIc. 730 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
Nespakheshuty BIuput IIc. 725 B.C.22nd-23rd Dynasty
PedieseIuput IIc. 720 B.C.22nd-23rd DynastySon of Harsiese F?

Late Period

Viziers of the Late Period[15]
VizierPharaohDynastyComments
Khamhor A25th DynastyVizier of the South, Son of Harsiese F
Harsiese G Pahrer25th DynastyVizier of the South, Son of Khamhor A
Nesmin B25th DynastyVizier of the South, Son of Khamhor A
Mentuhotep (Vizier)25th DynastyVizier of the North
Nespaqashuty C25th-26th DynastyVizier of the South
Harsiese R25th-26th DynastyVizier of the North
Nespademu25th-26th DynastyVizier of the South, Son of Nespaqashuty C
Nespaqashuty D25th-26th DynastyVizier of the South, buried in TT312, Son of Nespademu
Djedkare (Vizier)25th-26th DynastyVizier of the North
SasobekPsamtik I25th-26th DynastyVizier of the North
NasekheperensekhmetPsamtik I26th DynastyVizier of the North
BakenrenefPsamtik I26th DynastyVizier of the North
AnkhwenneferPsamtik I26th DynastyVizier of the North
Iry26th DynastyVizier of the South
Djedwebasettiuefankh26th DynastyVizier of the South
Iufaa26th DynastyVizier of the North, father of Gemenefhorbak
Gemenefhorbak26th DynastyVizier of the North
Harsomtusemhat26th DynastyVizier of the North
Psamtek-MeryneitAmasis II26th DynastyVizier of the North
PasherientaihetAmasis II26th DynastyVizier of the North
Horsiese26th DynastyVizier of the North
PsamtiksenebNectanebo II30th Dynasty

See also

References

  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 ed.). Oxford: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum. p. 43. ISBN 0 900416 351.
  3. M. Heimlich, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol.2, pp.21ff.
  4. Goddard, J (2012). Public Health Entomology. Starkville: CRC Press.
  5. Ancient Egyptian administration. Moreno Garcia, Juan Carlos,. Leiden, The Netherlands. ISBN 9789004249523. OCLC 849248179.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. Archived September 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. Ancient Egyptian administration. Moreno Garcia, Juan Carlos,. Leiden, The Netherlands. ISBN 9789004249523. OCLC 849248179.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. Jane Bingham, Fiona Chandler, Jane Chisholm, Gill Harvey, Lisa Miles,Struan Reid, and Sam Taplin "The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World" page 80
  9. Ancient Egyptian administration. Moreno Garcia, Juan Carlos,. Leiden, The Netherlands. ISBN 9789004249523. OCLC 849248179.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. W. Grajetzki: Court Officials of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, London 2009, ISBN 978-0-7156-3745-6, p. 169
  11. Grajetzki: Court Officials, 169
  12. Grajetzki: Court Officials, 170
  13. 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)
  14. Kitchen, Kenneth A. The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt, 1100-650 B.C. (Book & Supplement) Aris & Phillips. 1986 , Table 15, pg 483
  15. Viziers by Anneke Bart
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