The Autobiography of Ankhtifi
Ankhtifi lived during the First Intermediate Period after the collapsed of the Old Kingdom when Egypt had fallen into civil chaos and famine. He was the provincial governor of Hierakonpolis and supporter of the Herakleopolitan 10th dynasty which was fighting the Theban 11th Dynasty of Mentuhotep I and Intef I for control of all Egypt. He engraved the walls of his tomb with an account of his schemes to re-establishing order in the land, his struggles against Thebes and the horrendous suffering of the Egyptian people.
“I reached the west bank of the Theban province and my courageous crack troops, yes my bold crack troops, ventured to the west and east looking for an open battle. But no one dared to come out from Thebes because they were afraid of my troops.”
Ankhtifi did not suffer from false modesty and he’s keen to make us aware of his worth. “I was the beginning and the end of mankind, since nobody like myself existed before nor will he exist; nobody like me was ever born nor will he be born. I surpassed the feats of the ancestors, and coming generations will not be able to equal me in any of my feats within this million of years.”
However, despite being a swaggering show-off it appears that he eased the suffering of his own people. “My barley went upstream until it reached lower Nubia and downstream until it reached Abydene. All of Upper Egypt was dying of hunger and people were eating their children, but I did not allow anyone to die of hunger in my nome.”
He needed to exaggerate his virtues for the benefit of the gods who judged his soul so preventing the cannibalism of children might have been a favourable decider in the Hall of Judgment. But just in case we doubt his lack of humility he asserts “I am the hero without equal.”
Nowadays he would probably be one of those narcissistic American senators, a self-righteous Member of the British Parliament or an arrogant French politician. Of course none of these mediocrities will be remembered in 3000 years.
So Ankhtifi is probably correct with his outrageous claims.
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