Ancient Egypt culture, Dwarfs and Custom Control

Dwarfs in ancient Egyptian culture

Dwarfs and Custom control were ones of the most exciting facts about ancient Egypt culture.

Ancient Egypt civilization was the first one to introduce the custom control habits, and also we have seen the Dwarfs for the first time in ancient Egyptian culture.

Dwarfs in Egypt culture

Facts about dwarfs in Egypt culture
Dwarf Seneb. Dwarfs in Egyptian culture

Dwarfs and deformed-backers bestowed honor and high ranks in the great houses of Ancient Egypt, and a special status was given to those who had been brought from distant lands.

For example, Hr-Khufu was highly regarded and respected by his monarch because, in one of his expeditions in the far who was south, he brought with him a dwarf performing the “Dance of the Gods”.

In the neighborhood of the pyramid of Kh’a-F-Ra (Chephren), there is a tomb of the dwarf, Seneb, and in the vicinity of the tombs of the governors of Khu-F-Wi (Minat Khu-F-Wi), there are tombs for the dwarfs and hunchbacks.

Meanwhile, in a letter sent by the king Nefer-Ka-Ra, to Hr-Khu-F, who brought the dwarf, there were instructions from the king to give attention and care and show hospitality to the dwarf, until some employees would be recruited to handle this matter of serving and carrying for him.

This provides evidence to the attention and consideration given to the dwarfs. Dwarfs, as far as we know, have little bodies; however, they are well-built, with short arms and legs.

They were mostly entrusted with the wardrobe of the patron of the house, keeping in good shape his clothes and make-up Kit.

Dwarfs in the Old Kingdom

In the Old Kingdom, they had been depicted while preparing such item closely related to the meetings of the nobles, in the banquets such as the necklaces, and or holding a rope leashing the dogs or monkeys of their masters.

It seemed that one of those dwarfs whose name was Khnum-Hotep enjoyed a remarkable position during the 5th dynasty since he was appointed as a lector priests for the tomb of a nobleman.

Moreover, he was assigned an exquisite tomb in Sakkara, and his statue was considered to be remarkable work of the Old Kingdom artist.

The kings of the early dynasties had their intimate dwarfs, who were buried in tombs which had been prepared near those of their kings.

Stelae were prepared so that the portraits of the dwarfs would be carved or drawn on them. In Bani Hassan tombs a skeleton of a dwarf is depicted while standing beside the seat of his master.

Culture of Egypt: Dwarfs in the Middle Kingdom

Facts about dwarfs in Egypt culture
Dwarfs in ancient Egyptian culture

However, in the Middle Kingdom, the dwarfs were very close to the chiefs of the nomes, and they changed their role to be clowns amusing the nobles and governors.

In the 18th dynasty, a group of these dwarfs had escorted the princess Nermet-Mut. The role of the dwarfs as clowns is still performed to the present day in the wrestling arena.

Dwarfs in Islamic ages

In the Islamic ages they took part in numerous festivals and ceremonies, such as those held to celebrate the circumcision of the sons of the Sultan of Ottoman Empire, where a picture showed a Persian dance, and in the center, one dwarf is performing athletic dances.

The presence of dwarfs in the palaces to amuse the king and his courtiers continued to take place in European royal palaces.

There was a generally accepted popular story of a woman called Sheikha Zebida, who was very short. People used to see her in the feasts, and ceremonies.

They gathered around her, laugh at the way she spoke and the way she looked. Nowadays we still see those dwarfs in circuses and wrestling arenas.

The Egyptian T.V. still shows some of those dwarfs go. Therefore, they were providing laughter and entertainment to the other throughout the ages.

It is said that there was a dwarf in Quba palace during the reign of Khedive Ismail.

The dwarf used to amuse him. The dwarfs were almost doing the same job in the distant past, the Medieval Egypt and the present day.

Dwarfs nearly performed the same Job in the past, the Medieval history the present.

Egypt culture: the fact about Custom Control

Custom Control was an applicable system in the Graeco-Roman era, which continued during the Islamic ages.

Meanwhile, custom Dues were imposed on imported goods and merchandise transported through the Red Sea, and the City of Coptos was the collection Zone of these dues.

A list of Custom Dues for each category of merchandise was provided to the public to protect them from blackmailing by the public servants.

In Alexandria, the per-capita tax was imposed on the sailors, seamen, and women. The Egyptians aged between 14-60 had paid the per-capita tax.

However exempted from it were the Romans, Alexandrians, the descendants of Greek officers and the priests.

Under the Greeks and Romans, guardhouses were established alongside the Nile as inspection zones.

It seems that the main target of the inspectors was not only to check the accuracy of the information provided by the navigators concerning the cargo of their ships But also to collect the custom duties.

Custom Control during Islamic Egypt

Ibn Gubair stated that when he had come to Alexandria, during the reign of Sultan Saladin, the first men he had met were the inspectors of the port who climbed to the boat in order to record the merchandise on board.

On the seashore, all the goods were taken to the custom building where a thorough inspection was made.

The place was always very crowded. The merchants had declared under oath that these were the merchandise they had imported and nothing else.

In this mass and crowd, you should expect that many were eventually lost, with the merchants dismissed in extreme disappointment.

Ibn Gubair also went on to say that the men of the Sultan were requesting the passengers to declare everything they had brought.

They went on checking the inside of the bags and pouches and then started to make a personal inspection for the passenger’s one after the other. The inspection was performed very carefully and skillfully.

The passengers moreover were sworn under oath that they had not hidden any stuff away from the men of the Sultan and they had declared everything to them.

Ibn Gubair gave a full and detailed account of the crowd in the Customhouse (The Diwan).

Custom duties were collected in the imported goods, and in the crowd, many items and belongings were lost or stolen, the matter which is still customarily seen to our present day.

So Dwarfs and Custom Control were an important part of ancient Egypt culture.