chapter
8 Pages

INTRODUCTION

To the Egyptians the king was not an ordinary mortal for he combined human and divine entities and as such was the link between mankind and the world of the gods, both in life and the hereafter. The king owned everything and was the source of all powers; he was the centre of all existence. Change of dynasty, struggles for the throne, collapse of regimes, calamities such as famines and plagues, foreign occupations, etc., no doubt changed the image of the monarchy, but the basic nature of kingship persisted. To achieve this and to maintain a façade of stability and continuity in the face of all changes the king had to remain secluded, surrounded by a small elite of family members and trusted officials, and the palace was shrouded with secrecy as may be inferred from some of the titles of officials employed in the personal service of the king. These included the titles of ‘privy to the secrets of the king in his every place’, ‘privy to the secrets of all the king’s repasts’, ‘privy to the secrets of the god’s treasures’, ‘privy to the secrets of the god’s words’, ‘privy to the secrets of the king in every secret command’, ‘privy to the secrets of the fields of offering’, ‘privy to the secrets of what one sees’, etc.