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Ancient Man and His First Civilizations 

Autobiography of Ahmose, son of Abana

The Crew Commander Ahmose son of Abana, the justified; he says. I speak to you, all people. I let you know what favours came to me. I have been rewarded with gold seven times in the sight of the whole land, with male and female slaves as well. I have been endowed with very many fields. The name of the brave man is in that which he has done; it will not perish in the land forever.

(Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums - Urk IV 1,16 - 2,6)


Crew commander: Ahmose is generally given the title of admiral
Gold: awards in the form of golden necklaces or the like


He speaks as follows. I grew up in the town of Nekheb, my father being a soldier of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Sekenenre, the justified. Baba son of Reinet was his name. I became a soldier in his stead on the ship "The Wild Bull" in the time of the Lord of the Two Lands, Nebpehtire, the justified. I was a youth who had not married; I slept in a hammock of netting.

(Urk IV 2,8 - 2,16)


Nekheb (modern el Kab) in the third Upper Egyptian nome, Ahmose is buried there.
Seqenenre Tao II
Nebpehtire Ahmose I (ca. 1570-1546)


Now when I had established a household, I was taken to the ship "Northern", because I was brave. I followed the sovereign on foot when he rode about on his chariot. When the town of Avaris was besieged, I fought bravely on foot in his majesty's presence. Thereupon I was appointed to the ship khaemmennefer ("Rising in Memphis"). Then there was fighting on the water in "P'a-djedku" of Avaris. I made a seizure and carried off a hand. When it was reported to the royal herald the gold of valour was given to me. Then they fought again in this place; I again made a seizure there and carried off a hand. Then I was given the gold of valour once again.

Then there was fighting in Egypt to the south of this town. and I carried off a man as a living captive. I went down into the water - for he was captured on the city side - and crossed the water carrying him. When it was reported to the royal herald I was rewarded with gold once more.

Then Avaris was despoiled, and I brought spoil from there: one man, three women; total, four persons. His majesty gave them to me as slaves. Then Sharuhen was besieged for three years. His majesty despoiled it and I brought spoil from it: two women and a hand. Then the gold of valour was given me, and my captives were given to me as slaves.

(Urk IV 3,2 - 5,2)



The campaign against the Hyksos
seizure and carried off a hand: Prisoners often either died of their wounds or were killed by their captor, a practice known since earliest times, and as proof of a kill a hand or the genitals were cut off.
Avaris: capital city of the Hyksos in the eastern delta
"P'a-djedku" of Avaris: canal of Hutuaret i.e. Avaris (Ángel Sánchez Rodríguez)
Sharuhen: Sharhana, border town in south-western Canaan
The enslavement of large numbers of Asiatic began during this war.


Now when his majesty had slain the nomads of Asia, he sailed south to Khent-hen-nefer, to destroy the Nubian Bowmen. His majesty made a great slaughter among them, and I brought spoil from there: two living men and three hands. Then I was rewarded with gold once again, and two female slaves were given to me. His majesty journeyed north, his heart rejoicing in valour and victory. He had conquered southerners, northerners.

(Urk IV 5,4 - 14)


Nubian campaign of King Ahmose
Khent-hen-nefer: Nubian region south of the second cataract.
Many Nubians served in the Egyptian army as archers since the First Intermediate Period


Then Aata came to the South. His fate brought on his doom. The gods of Upper Egypt grasped him. He was found by his majesty at Tent-taa. His majesty carried him off as a living captive, and all his people as booty. I brought two young warriors as captives from the ship of Aata. Then I was given five persons and portions of land amounting to five arura in my town. The same was done for the whole crew.

(Urk IV 5,16 - 6,9)


The capture of Aata
Tent-taa: place in Kush (?); the canal of Tinettaa (Ángel Sánchez Rodríguez )
arura: 2700 m˛



The defeat of Tetian


Then came that foe named Tetian. He had gathered the malcontents to himself. His majesty slew him; his troop was wiped out. Then I was given three persons and five arura of land in my town.



Then I conveyed King Djeserkare, the justified, when he sailed south to Kush, to enlarge the borders of Egypt. His majesty smote that Nubian Bowman in the midst of his army. They were carried off in fetters, none missing, the fleeing destroyed as if they had never been. Now I was in the van of our troops and I fought really well. His majesty saw my valour. I carried off two hands and presented them to his majesty. Then his people and his cattle were pursued, and I carried off a living captive and presented him to his majesty. I brought his majesty back to Egypt in two days from "Upper Well," and was rewarded with gold. I brought back two female slaves as booty, apart from those that I had presented to his majesty. Then they made me a "Warrior of the Ruler."



Nubian campaign of King Amenhotep I
Djeserkare: Amenhotep I (ca.1546-1527)


Then I conveyed King Aakheperkare, the justified, when he sailed south to Khent-hen-nefer, to crush rebellion throughout the lands, to repel the intruders from the desert region. I was brave in his presence in the bad water, in the towing of the ship over the cataract. Thereupon I was made crew commander. Then his majesty [was informed that the Nubian] .. At this his majesty became enraged like a leopard. His majesty shot, and his first arrow pierced the chest of that foe. Then those [enemies turned to flee], helpless before his Uraeus. A slaughter was made among them; their dependents were carried off as living captives. His majesty journeyed north, all foreign lands in his grasp, and that wretched Nubian Bowman head downward at the bow of his majesty's ship "Falcon." They landed at Ipet-sut.


Nubian campaign of King Thutmose I
Aakheperkare: Thutmose I (ca.1527-1515)
The cataracts were serious obstacles. Fortresses were built to protect the struggling navigators who had to unload the boats and drag them through the cataracts.
Ipet-sut: Karnak, where there was the temple of Amen


After this (his majesty) proceeded to Retenu, to vent his wrath throughout the lands. When his majesty reached Nahrin, his majesty found that foe marshalling troops. Then his majesty made a great slaughter of them. Countless were the living captives which his majesty brought back from his victories. Now I was in the van of our troops, and his majesty saw my valour. I brought a chariot, its horse, and him who was on it as a living captive. When they were presented to his majesty, I was rewarded with gold once again.



Syrian campaign of King Thutmose I
Retenu: Northern Canaan
Nahrin: Eastern Mesopotamia, i.e. the land between the two rivers


I have grown old; I have reached old age. Favoured as before, and loved [by my lord], I [rest] in the tomb that I myself Behy. Again I am given by the King of Upper and Lower Egypt ... 60 arura in Hadjaa. In sum ... arura.


Ahmose served under three pharaohs whose combined reigns lasted from ca.1570 to 1515