Prince Khaemweset, The First Egyptologist

Posted: March 25, 2015 in History
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It is amazing what you can sometimes stumble across on the internet when searching for an almost totally unrelated subject.

For me, it was this guy, Prince Khaemweset.  He was the grandson of Seti I, and son of Ramesses II.  That is right, THE Ramesses.  Ramesses the Great.

Khaemweset was the second son of Ramesses, born in the 13th century BC, and became a priest, the Sem-Priest of Ptah.  What he is best remembered for is restoring the monuments of earlier kings and nobles, for which he is sometimes called the first Egyptologist.

Consider this; by the time he was born, Ancient Egypt had been around for almost 2000 years already, and many of the monuments he restored were well over 1000 years in age.

Fast forward to the Greco-Roman period over 1000 years later and Khaemweset is reborn in Egyptian literature, albeit more as a mythological hero, called Setne Khamwas.  Setne was a corruption of his title, setem-priest.  There are two stories we know of, and I’d like to think there are more out there waiting to be discovered.

In the first, Setne Khamwas and Naneferkaptah, he comes across as something of an adventure archaeologist, a sort of precursor to Indiana Jones, seeking out for the Book of Thoth in the tomb of Prince Naneferkaptah.  Needless to say, it doesn’t go entirely as planned.

The second, Setne Khamwas and Si-Osireinvolves trips to the afterlife, a magician from the past and an evil magician from Nubia out to destroy Egypt.

I’m hoping to get a chance to read them soon as they sound rather interesting.  Plus I am sure there are parts of them I can use as ideas or inspiration for stories.  I’m guessing that by now they have also fallen into public domain. 🙂

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