Weni - from an official to a general

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Weni was born in a noble family under Pharaoh Teti rule, approximately 4,500 years ago. He became the most devoted helper of Teti's successors from the 6th dynasty, Pepi I. and Merenre. This honest man was not only honoured warrior and unblemished steward of royal manors, above all he was a confidant and a friend of Egyptian Pharaohs.

It wasn't an exception, that children from the most highborn families were educated in royal palace at the time of Old Kingdom. So Weni, future general, who defeated Egyptian enemies, might be educated with royal children. When he was about ten, he wore a kilt symbolizing his entrance to the society of adults. He got a commission the " head of the palace tenants" then.

Weni, beginning of a career

Still young Pepi I. came to the throne after Teti's death. Weni, who might be educated with the new ruler, became one of favourite of Pepi I. and got a commission of the "Great sanctuary administrator". It meant, that he took care about all royal manors, recruited and trained palace servants and administered the land of the Pharaoh. Not long after that Weni got also a commission of the "lector - priest".

It was an important position, that gave Weni the authority to supervise the right running of all cults worshipped at the Pharaoh's court. Another manifestation of Pepi I. trust was conferment of a title the "head priest of pyramidal town". He was put in charge of building Pharaoh's chantry pyramid, which was built to the north of the necropolis in Saqqara.

Weni also had a title "the only friend", which usually meant, that the dignitary moved in a close proximity around the ruler. However, it seems, that Weni and the Pharaoh were real friends.

Weni and military career

Rioting at the boundaries were at the birth of his other career. He was first-rate waging the Pharaoh's army and became an excellent strategist. The first enemies he had to fihgt with were "These, who live behind sand". It was name for bedouin tribes, that came from Canaan. They did robber incursions and threatened the Egyptian dominance over this area.

Weni set off in north-western direction and on the Horus way (an antique way along the Mediterranean Sea connecting Egypt with Asia) and penetrated into Cannaan. Bad-organised and incoordinated Bedouins couldn't oppose for a long time to the powerful Egyptian army. The inhabitants of Memphis (Mennefer) prepared a triumphal welcoming to Weni and his army.

But the Egyptian success was only relative, because the Pharaoh had to take a new crusade against the same tribes. It took five crusades on to whole to defeat the Bedouins. The fifth crusade was the mightiest. Weni decided to surround the enemy, so he needed plenty of soldiers. That's why the army was transported on ships to the battlefield.

Weni and pharaoh Merenre

After the rule of Pepi I. Merenre came to the throne. It seemed, that the new Pharaoh respected Weni as well and was friendly to him. He confered him several other titles, including the title the "chamberlain and sandals porter of His Majesty". For his power boosting the new Pharaoh relied on wise advice of his zealous helper, whom he had already known from his childhood. It was good for him, because Weni proved his loyalty to the land again. The power of monarchs grew all the time in the Upper Egypt. The local rulers requested for more and more independence on the central power.

Just at this moment Merenre I. showed his respect to Weni again, he appointed him to the "prince and governor of the Upper Egypt". Nobody could be titled like this before him. He was entrusted with a territory spreaded from Elephantine (at the level of the first cataract) to Qesy (middle Egypt). It included about 14 Nomes from total 40, that Egypt was separated into. Weni restored law and order and tax payments in the Upper Egypt and he also punished riots and robberies. He returned the dominance of the Pharaoh over this territory and watched carefully over all Nomes, which fell within his cognizance.

Message from the Nile

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