Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
story of Uzahor-Resenet About Emperor Cambujia (Cambayses)
Andrew R. Burn,
Persia and the Greeks.
The Defence of the West, c.546-478 B.C.
(1962 London) pages 81-90
following Egyptian inscription was written over a so-called Naophoros-statue,
i.e., a statue representing a man carrying ('phoros') a small shrine
('naos') with an image of a god. In this case, the god can be identified
with Osiris, the ruler of the Underworld. The text commemorates all pious
acts of the carrier, the Egyptian courtier Uzahor-Resenet. The
statue, which is about 70 centimeters high, was brought to Italy by the
Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138), who kept it in his villa at Tivoli.
it is displayed in the Egyptian department of the Vatican Museum.
was not only the pharaoh's personal physician, but was also responsible
for the royal navy. In 526 BCE, king Amasis died and was succeeded by his
son Psammetichus III. During the transitional period, the Persian Emperor Cambyses
invaded Egypt and defeated his unprepared enemies at Pelusium. It is probable that Uzahor-Resenet defected to the
Persians at some stage before or during this war, because nothing is known
about naval operations.
When Cambyses had taken the Egyptian capital Memphis, he
was recognized as the new pharaoh. Uzahor-Resenet was reinstated in almost
all his former functions and helped Cambyses behave like a true Egyptian
king. For example, he persuaded Cambyses to direct the Persian garrison in
the holy city of Sais to another camp, making sure that the ancient
sanctuary of Neit, the mother of the supreme god Re, and the shrine of
Osiris were purified.
Cambyses left Egypt in the spring of 522, taking
Uzahor-Resenet with him as his physician. Unfortunately, the king had an
accident on his way back, and his doctor was unable to cure him. After
Cambyses' death and a violent civil war (click here
for the story), Darius became king. The new ruler allowed Uzahor-Resenet
to return home and ordered him to supervise the medical schools -the
so-called 'houses of life'- that had been destroyed (by Cambyses?). Since
the text does not mention Darius' visit to Egypt in 519/518, it is likely
that Uzahor-Resenet died soon after his return.
Offering by the king to [the god] Osiris-Hemag:
thousands of bread and beer, beef and birds and all other things good
and pure, for the ka of a man honored with the gods of the
province of Sais, the chief physician Uzahor-Resenet.
Offering by the king to Osiris, who lives in
Khet-Bjet: a funeral offering of bread and beer, beef and birds,
alabaster vases and garments, incense and perfumes and all other good
things, for the ka of a man honored by the gods of the province of
Sais, the chief physician Uzahor-Resenet.
Oh Osiris, Lord of Eternity! The chief physician
Uzahor-Resenet keeps you in his arms to
protect you. May your ka order that people do all
kinds of useful things to him
because he stands guard behind your eternal shrine.
This man honored with the great [goddess] Neit,
the mother of the god [Re], and with the gods of Sais, the
prince, the royal chancellor, the unique companion,
the one truly known and loved by the king, the
scribe, the inspector of the scribes of the dedet-court, the
first among the great scribes of the prison, the director of the
the admiral of the royal navy of the king of Upper
and Lower Egypt Khnemibre [Amasis], the admiral of the royal
navy of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Ankhkaenre [Psammetichus III], Uzahor-Resenet,
son of the director of the castles, khrjep-priest, renep-priest,
khepetwedet-priest, prophet of Neit, who is the head of the
province of Sais Peftuôneit,
says: 'The great king of all foreign countries
Cambyses came to Egypt, taking the foreigners of every foreign country
with him. When he taken possession of the entire country
they settled themselves down therein, since he was
made great sovereign of Egypt and great king of all foreign countries.
His Majesty appointed me his chief physician
and caused me to stay with him in my quality of
companion and director of the palace, and ordered me to compose his
titulary, his name as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Mesuti-Re [born
of Re]. And I made sure that His Majesty knew of the greatness of
which is the seat of the great Neit, the mother who
brought forth Re, and who unveiled birth when birth did not exist. [And
I made sure that His Majesty knew] the significance of the temple
of Neit, which is the sky in all its dispositions, and knew the
greatness of the castles of the Red Crown
and all the gods and goddesses who live there, and
knew significance of the greatness of Khet-Bjet, which is the dwelling
of the sovereign, the lord of heaven [Osiris], and knew the
greatness of the Resenet and the Mekhnet, of the dwelling of Re and
the dwelling of Atum, which are the mysteries of all gods.'
The man honored with his town's god [Osiris]
and all other gods, the prince, the royal chancellor, the unique
companion, the one truly known and loved by the king,
the chief physician Uzahor-Resenet, son of Atemirtis,
says: 'I made a petition
to His Majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt
Cambyses concerning the many foreigners billeted on the temple of Neit
that they should be driven thence, so that the temple
of Neit was restored to its former greatness. And His Majesty ordered
that all the foreigners
who were living in the premises of Neit should be
driven out, that all their houses and all their garbage should be
thrown out of the temple, and that
all their baggage should be carried away from its
premises, His Majesty ordered the purification of the temple of Neit
and its restoration to the people
[lacuna] and the schedule of the priests. His
Majesty ordered to restitute the revenues of the wakf-estate to
the great Neit, the mother of the god, and to the gods of Sais. His
to conduct all their festivities and all their
processions as they had always been. His Majesty ordered these things
because I had informed him about the greatness of Sais, which is the
town where all gods have placed their eternal thrones.'
The man honored with the gods of Sais,
the chief physician Uzahor-Resenet, says: 'The king
of Upper and Lower Egypt Cambyses came to Sais. His Majesty came to
the temple of Neit in person. Like all kings before, he prostrated
himself before Her Majesty [Neit]. Like all good kings, he made
a large sacrifice
of all good things to the great Neit, mother of the
god, and to all great gods of Sais. His Majesty did this because I had
informed His Majesty about the greatness of Her Majesty,
who is the mother of Re himself.'
The man honored with Osiris-Hemag,
the chief physician Uzahor-Resenet, says: 'His
Majesty did all useful things in the temple of Neit. Like all kings
before him, he established libations to the lord of eternity in the
interior of the temple of Neit.
His Majesty did this because I had informed His
Majesty about all useful things which had been done in the temple by
all kings because of the greatness of this temple, which is the
eternal dwelling of all gods.'
The man honored with the gods of the province Sais,
the chief physician Uzahor-Resenet, says: 'I restored the revenues of
the wakf-estate of the great Neit, the mother of the god,
for eternity, as per His Majesty's orders. I
established [new and] pious funds for Neit, the mistress of
Sais, like a servant
excelling his master does. I am the benefactor of my
city: I have saved its inhabitants from the very large troubles
which had come over the whole country and which had
not yet existed before in this country. I defended the meek
against the powerful; I saved those who were afraid
after an accident had happened to them; I gave them all useful things
when they were unable to take care of themselves.'
The man honored with his town's god, the chief
physician Uzahor-Resenet, says: 'I am honored by my father, praised by
trusted by my brothers. As per His Majesty's orders,
I established them in the function of prophet and gave them a fief
for eternity. I made a fine tomb for those who had no
tomb. I nourished all their children. I made their houses strong. I
all useful things for them, like a father does for
his children, when trouble came over
this province, when very large troubles came
over the country as a whole.'
The prince, the royal chancellor, the unique
companion, the prophet of the one who lives with them, the chief
physician Uzahor-Resenet, son of Atemirtis, says: 'His Majesty the
king of Upper and Lower Egypt Darius (may he live forever!) sent me
back to Egypt, while His Majesty was in Elam, having become great king
of all foreign countries and great sovereign of Egypt, ordering me to
restore the Houses of Life
and the [lacuna] after they had been ruined.
The foreigners carried me from country to country until we reached
Egypt, as per orders of the lord of both countries [Upper and Lower
Egypt]. I did what His Majesty had ordered. I provided the [Houses
of Life] with students, all sons of fine people; there were no
sons of common men. I placed them under the direction of all
[lacuna] all their works. His Majesty ordered
to provide them with all necessary means to ensure that they could do
their work. [Consequently], I gave them all they needed and all
the scribes' accessories, as it had always been. His Majesty did this,
because he knew how useful this art can be to survive illness and to
ensure that the names of the gods, their temples, the revenues of
their wakf-estates and their rituals are remembered for
The chief physician Uzahor-Resenet, says: 'I was
honored by all my masters for all my life. They gave me golden
ornaments and all kinds of useful things.'
The man who was honored with Neit, says: 'Oh great
gods of Sais,
remember all merituous actions done by the chief
physician Uzahor-Resenet. Ensure that all kinds of useful things are
done for him and ensure that his good reputation will remain
unshattered in this country for ever.'
Keywords: Aryans, Achaemenian, Achaemenids, Hakhamanesh,
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies