nomarch of the third Upper Egyptian nome, is known from the inscriptions in the chapel of his rock-cut tomb situated in Moʿalla (ancient Hefat, about 40 kilometers/25 miles south of Luxor, on the eastern bank of the Nile). The events described date back to the ninth Herakleopolitan dynasty, probably to its third king, Neferkare (c.2100 BCE); at that time, the first political disorders developed that presaged the conflict between the Herakleopolitan kingdom and the rising power of Thebes. Ankhtifi's main titles were “Great Overlord of the Nome,” “Overseer of Priests,” and “General.”

Inspired by the god Horus and under the nominal authority of his sovereign, Ankhtifi extended his influence over the second Upper Egyptian nome, Edfu, for which he also became nomarch, and then over the first nome of Upper Egypt, Elephantine. He then led several military expeditions against a coalition formed by the nomes of Thebes and Coptos, the fourth and fifth Upper Egyptian nomes, respectively. He first fought in the region of Hermonthis, against the Thebans and their allies, the Coptites, and then in the Theban nome, where intimidation operations took place.

The interest in those inscriptions far exceeds their mere historical facts. They express Ankhtifi's pride in acting on his own initiative and in proving both his military valor and his sound judgment during his administration. In accordance with the phraseology used in the First Intermediate Period, they also tell us how well the nomarch looked after his city and his nome—in particular, how he provided it with grain. Moreover, the prosperity of his administration enabled him, at a time when famine struck Upper Egypt, to have the surplus of his own grain production sent as far as the cities of Dendera and Abydos to the north, and Elephantine to the south. They also contain a description of the various parts of the chapel of his tomb, with curses against those who might be tempted to desecrate them, as well as a description of the doorway leading to it. A final inscription, although fragmentary, seems to allude to the new year's rites and to a nautical celebration, also represented on a wall of the tomb and associated with the falcon god Hemen of Moʿalla, where the hippopotamus of myth was overcome.


Tomb Publication

  • Vandier, Jacques. Moʿalla: La tombe d'Ankhtifi et la tombe de Sebekhotep. Bibliothèque d'Étude, 18. Cairo, 1950.

Translations of Chapel Inscriptions

  • Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings, vol. 1, The Old and Middle Kingdoms, pp. 85–86. Berkeley, 1973.
  • Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Autobiographies Chiefly of the Middle Kingdom: A Study and Anthology, pp. 24–26. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, 84. Freiburg and Göttingen, 1988.
  • Schenkel, Wolfgang. Memphis. Herakleopolis, Theben. Die Epigraphischen Zeugnisse der 7.–11: Dynastie Ägyptens, pp. 45–57. Ägyptologische Abhandlungen, 12. Wiesbaden, 1965.
  • Schenkel, Wolfgang. Die Bewässerungsrevolution im Alten Ägypten, pp. 42–44. Mainz, 1978.

Commentaries on Chapel Inscriptions

  • Doret, Éric. “Ankhtifi and the Description of His Tomb at Moʿalla.” In For His Ka: Essays Offered in the Memory of Klaus Baer, edited by David Silverman, pp. 79–86. Studies in Oriental Civilization, 55. Chicago, 1994.
  • Fecht, Gerhard. “Zu den Inschriften des ersten Pfeilers im Grab des Anchtifi (Moʿalla).” In Festschrift für Siegfried Schott zu seinem 70. Geburtstag am 20. August 1967, edited by Wolfgang Helck, pp. 50–60. Wiesbaden, 1968.
  • Fischer, Henry G. “Notes on the Moʿalla Inscriptions and Some Contemporaneous Texts.” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 57 (1961), 59–77.
  • Goedicke, Hans. “Ankhtyfy's Threat.” In Individu, société et spiritualité dans l'Égypte pharaonique et copte: Mélanges égyptologiques offerts au Professeur Artistide Théodoridès, edited by C. Cannuyer and J. M. Kruchten, pp. 111–121. Athens, 1993.
  • Goedicke, Hans. “Administrative Notions in the First Intermediate Period.” Chronique d'Égypte 70 (1995), 41–51.
  • Goedicke, Hans. “Ankhtyfy's Fight.” Chronique d'Égypte 73 (1998), 29–41.
  • Kees, Hermann. “Aus den Notjahren der Thebais.” Orientalia, n.s. 21 (1952), 86–97.
  • Posener, George. “La tombe d'Anchtifi à Moʿalla.” Journal des Savants (1952), 115–126.
  • Spanel, Donald. “The Date of Ankhtifi of Moʿalla.” Göttinger Miszellen 78 (1984), 87–94.
  • Willems, Harco. “Crime, Cult and Capital Punishment (Moʿalla Inscription 8).” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 76 (1990), 27–54.

Eric Doret