Aspects of the Judiciary in the Egyptian Old Kingdom

Caleb R. Hamilton

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This paper addresses aspects of the judiciary, focusing on the courts, during the Egyptian Old Kingdom. The proposal that the Egyptian administration during the Old Kingdom was divided into five parts (the treasury, agriculture, royal archives, works and the judiciary) prompts this paper to explore the judicial part of the administration by focusing on the different courts that made up the judicial branch. It will be proposed that the courts that existed formed a hierarchy that Egyptians could appeal to when disputes arose and conflict resolution was required.

The evidence for the court system comes from the inscriptional records dating from the Old Kingdom. It is through their examination that the judiciary will be outlined in regards to what courts made up the legal branch of the Egyptian administration for this time period. This will cover the provincial tribunals or councils (the so-called DADAt), the Great Courts (Hwt wrt), as well as the special tribunals, such as the Hall of Horus (shw-Hr/wsh.t-Hr) or the unique ‘Mansion of the Prince’, as mentioned in the Pyramid Texts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient Cultures at Monash University
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a Conference held between 18-20 October 2013 on Approaches to Studying the Ancient Past
EditorsJessica Cox, Caleb R. Hamilton, Katherine R. L. McLardy, Amy J. Pettman, David Stewart
Place of PublicationOxford UK
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781407314266
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2015

Publication series

NameBAR International Series
PublisherBAR Publishing

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