25 Pages

High level of security

Teti seems to have drastically increased the number of guards of his palace and pyramid. The office of ‘guard’ was first introduced late in the Fifth Dynasty,285 but the number of occupants, as far as we know, was far more restricted than that under Teti. Furthermore, at no other time were the holders of this office, particularly in its supervisory levels, overseers, superintendents, etc., so clustered in the cemetery of a reigning monarch. Presumably this reflects the desire of the king for these men to be close to him in the hereafter as well as in life. This appears also in the other responsibilities these ‘guards’ had, for they were in charge of one or more of the following departments: the king’s repasts, his clothing, his ornaments, the palace cool rooms (bathrooms), etc. In addition to the tombs of the higher officials, including the viziers and overseers of Upper Egypt, etc., the rest of the cemetery is occupied by the tombs of individuals employed in the personal service of the king and who, in addition, were almost always ‘guards’. Security appears to have become of paramount importance, not only for the king but also for his top officials and supporters. A striking example of this may be seen in the case of the vizier and son-in-law of the king, Mereruka [30], who was depicted in an outdoor activity, carried in a palanquin and accompanied by a number of men. Seven of them bore no titles other than that of a guard or one of its supervisory levels, and all seven were his brothers.286 The appointment of Mereruka’s brothers as guards was not exceptional, for the sons and relatives of most individuals buried in the Teti cemetery were absorbed in the same department, which must have become overcrowded with its employees.