Egypt Picture - Robbery Confessions on Papyrus

Robbery Confessions on Papyrus

Robbery Confessions on Papyrus




Robbery Confessions on Papyrus


A papyrus records the confession of robbers who entered the tombs of kings and commoners alike and stripped the mummies of their jewelry. A great deal is known about the activities of tomb robbers, and the measures taken to deal with them, from a collection of papyri dating from the end of the Twentieth Dynasty (c. 1069 BC). At this time there seems to have been a general breakdown in law and order, and the robbing of tombs was a symptom of these troubled times. The papyri contain the names of the tombs that had been robbed, the confessions of the robbers, and the results of the official inspections of the tombs undertaken in answer to allegations of theft.

The confessions, from both men and women, were often extracted under torture. The punishments meted out to the robbers are known from the oath that they were required to swear when they gave testimony: 'As Amun lives and as the ruler lives, if I be found to have had anything to do with any one of the thieves may I be mutilated in nose and ears and be placed on the stake'.

The tombs of priests and other commoners were not immune from violation by the robbers, who dragged the bodies out of their coffins to strip off their jewelry, and left them out in the desert.

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