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The Loyalist Teaching

This didactic work survives as an imperfectly preserved Middle Kingdom literary composition in Middle Egyptian. It has been named 'the Loyalist Instruction' by its modern Egyptological editors, because the central theme is the importance of loyalty to the king.


All surviving manuscript copies were written in the New Kingdom, but excerpts from the first part (sections 1-6) are included in the hieroglyphic inscription on a stela from Abydos (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 20538) of a man called Sehetepibra, deputy treasurer in the reign of Amenemhat III (about 1825 BC). In addition, the final pair of phrases at the end of section 14 occur on a stela from Abydos (Egyptian Museum, Berlin 7311) of a man called Rehuankh, an 'intimate of the king' in the reigns of Neferhotep I and Sobekhotep IV (about 1750 BC); here it is possible that this pair of phrases formed a widely-circulating saying, rather than being a 'quotation' on the stela of Rehuankh from this particular Teaching, but, in general terms, the occurrence of the phrase on this dated monument supports a date for the composition in the Middle Kingdom.


No name of an author is preserved on the surviving sources. However, there are two indications that it was ascribed to or composed by or for the treasurer Mentuhotep, leading official in the reign of Senusret I (about 1950 BC): (1) in design and in other parts of its content the stela of Sehetepibra is modelled on a larger stela of the treasurer Mentuhotep (Egyptian Museum, Cairo CG 20539) and (2) the titles preserved before the lost name in the manuscript versions indicate a leading official of the early Twelfth Dynasty. The principal title on the monuments of Mentuhotep (that before the name) is treasurer (second highest official of the administration), rather than, as often stated, vizier (highest official of the administration), though his titulary includes 'vizier' on two monuments; for sources and comment, see Grajetzki 2000: 47-49.



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