Harkhuf was a governor of
Upper Egyptin the 23rd century BC. He travelled extensively over time. His name is sometimes spelled Herkhuf or Hirkhuf.
All that is known of the life of Harkhuf can be learned from the inscriptions in his tomb at
Qubbet el-Hawaon the west bank of the Nileat Aswan, near the First Cataractof the Nile. He was a native of Elephantine. He was appointed governor of the southern part of Upper Egypt and overseer of caravans under the pharaoh Merenre, third king of the 6th dynasty. His primary business, however, was trade with Nubia[Vernus, op.cit.,p.122] , forging political bonds with local leaders [ibidem] , and preparing the ground for an Egyptian expansion into Nubia. He led at least four major expeditions in his life. On the last one he brought with him what his correspondence with the six year old Pepi IIreferred to as a dwarf, apparently a pigmy [Vernus, op.cit.,p.74] .
He travelled a considerable distance to a land called
Iyam, which probably corresponds to the fertile plain that opens out south of the area of modern Khartoum, where the Blue Nilejoins the White, Yoyotte [Yoyotte, op.cit. p.173ff] thought it was located further north in the Libyan desert.
The inscriptions reflect changes in the Egyptian world view occurring during the Late Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period, with the person of the king becoming more human and displaying emotions and interests [Karenga, op.cit., p.52] , and a person leading a moral life by helping his neighbour: "I gave bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, I ferried him who had no boat." [Breasted, op.cit., §328] .
* James Henry Breasted, "Ancient Records of Egypt", Part One, Chicago 1906, §§ 325ff.
* Jean Yoyotte: "Pour une localisation du pays de Iam," BIFAO 52 (1953)
* M. Lichtheim, "Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings", Vol.1, Berkeley 1973, pp.23-27
* Pascal Vernus, Jean Yoyotte, "The Book of the Pharaohs", Cornell University Press 2003
* G.W. Murray, "Harkhuf's Third Journey", The Geographical Journal, Vol. 131, No. 1 (Mar., 1965), pp. 72-75
* Maulana Karenga, "Maat, the Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics", Routledge 2004
* [http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/harkhuf.htm Tomb inscriptions of Harkhuf]
* [http://www.dignubia.org/maps/timeline/bce-2300b.htm Harkhuf's Story]
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