Legal documents from Lahun
The deed of conveyance of Mery UC 32037
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Dating to about 1818 BC, this document is one of the oldest legal manuscripts preserved from Egypt; earlier examples are copies in hieroglyphs on stone, but this is an original document on papyrus paper.
The first line gives the date, year 37, month 4 of flood, day 29, separate from the 8 lines of core content; these open with the title of the document, imt-pr 'what is in the house' or deed of conveyance. A man called Mery makes the following terms:
The document closes with a list of witnesses, partly lost; the title is also written on the other side of the document, in the rectangle that would have been left visible after the document was folded and sealed.
No other sources shed light on the family relations revealed by this document, leaving key questions open:
However, the document does illuminate some other central issues in social relations in Egypt around 1800 BC:
Transliteration (using signs A, i, y, a, w, b, p, f, m, n, r, h, H, x, X, s, S, q, k, g, t, T, d, D) with translation
rnpt-sp 37 Abd 4 Axt sw 29
imt-pr irt.n mty n sA intf sA mry Ddw n.f kbi n
sA.f mry sA intf Ddw n.f iw-snb iw.i Hr rdit pAy.i
mty n sA n sA.i mry sA intf Ddw n.f iw-snb r mdw iAw
xft ntt wi tn.kwi imi dhn.t(w).f m tA At
ir tA imt-pr irt.n.i n tAy.f mwt Xr-HAt sA r.s
ir pAy.i pr nty m spAt Hwt ..-t iw.f n nAy.i n
Xrdw msy n.i in sAt imy-sA n qnbty n w
sbk-m-HAt sAt nbt-nn-nswt Hna ntt nbt im.f
imy-rn.f mtry iry imt-pr tn r-gs.sn
mty n sA sA-.. sA sp sn
[wab nswt?] snwsrt sA snbwbw
mty n sA intf sA
mry n sA.f
mry sA intf
Ddw n.f iw-snb
Year 37, month 4 of flood, day 29
Deed of conveyance made by the controller of the watch Intef's son Mery called Kebi for
his son Mery's son Intef called Iuseneb. I am giving my (position of)
controller of the watch Mery's son Intef called Iuseneb in exchange for (being) staff of old age,
because I am now grown old. Let him be appointed at once.
As for the deed of conveyance which I made for his mother previously - it is cancelled.
As for my house which is in the district of Hut-..-t, it is for my
children born to me by the daughter of the guard of the district counsellor
Sobekemhat's daughter Nebetnennisut, with all its contents.
Namelist of witnesses in whose presence this deed of conveyance has been written:
controller of the watch Sa-..'s son ditto
Pure-[priest of the king] Senusret's son Senbubu
Deed of conveyance made by
the controller of the watch Intef's son
Mery for his son
Mery's son Intef
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