Soldiers

Soldiers

The military may have constituted a social class of their own, with sons often following their fathers into the army. Son often followed father into the army. Opportunity, good luck, and courage could help a soldier rise in wealth and prestige. Because Kings were also war-leaders, a good soldier had a chance to catch the king's attention, and improve his status; kings rewarded outstanding service with land, slaves, and prestigious posts.

During the Age of the Pyramids, several soldiers left accounts of their rise in social status. Weni, who lived during the Sixth Dynasty, about 2340-2280 BCE, came from a noble family, but rose through the bureaucracy by leading a variety of successful expeditions. He left an account a campaign in Palestine to overcome nomad.

He was an engineer, too, and took large workforces into the deserts to fine quarry stone, and to cut canals through the red granite at the First Cataract to ease the transport of men and goods. He ended his career as Governor of Upper Egypt. In a long and interesting autobiography, he boasts of his relationship with the king, saying that he was "rooted in his heart." King Teti showed his trust by asking Weni to hear a legal case, in secret, against one of his queens.

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