Joe Baker
The Šašanq 5, Bakenrenef and Šabaka Apis bulls
Sat Jul 8, 2017 07:54

Hi Michael

How do you explain then the burial of an Apis in Bocchoris year 6 and the year 2 graffito of Shabaka in the same chamber?

This “fact” was first put forward in a 1958 paper by J. Vercoutter (“The Napatan King and Apis Worship”, Kush 8 (1960) 62-76), and after that it became universally accepted. However it was later brought into question by Ibrahim Aly in his 1991 thesis following the renewed excavations of the Serapeum, but his objections never became wide spread. Although Jean-Frédéric Brunet was aware of this in 2001, see
Also in 2003 Frédérick Payraudeau was certainly aware of it when, after my arguments briefly made him consider (but then rejected) the reverse conventional order [although he now supports the reversal], he wrote this about the Shabaka-Bakenranef synchronism in post 3146 of 27 June 2003, see;article=3146

the traditional synchronism comes from an overinterpretation of Vercoutter, shown by Ibrahim Aly in his thesis on Serapeum, and sustained in personnal communication by Perdu and Devauchelle who have worked on these data some years ago with Aly.

Vercoutter’s only source for his statement was the published works of Mariette, the original excavator of the Serapeum (discovered in 1851). Problem was that Mariette made several contradictory points in his works, particularly between his 1855 and 1856 published articles and the plan of the Serapeum published by Maspero in 1882, after Mariette’s field notes had been borrowed and never returned (or seen since).

In Mariette’s original articles he reported

  1. In one room there was found a small stele containing a coarsely written black ink record mentioning year 2 of Šabaka. In the same room was found the remains of a royal cartouche ending in two kꜣ signs (that is Neferkaure Šabataka). However it is not stated if this was on a stele or on a wall of the chamber.
  2. In another room was found the Apis bull of year 37 Šašanq (5) and in the same vault was the Apis bull of year 6 of Bakenrenef. He also noted that a study of the vault showed that these two bulls followed each other with no intervening bulls between them.
  3. He also refers to a door of the room on whose walls were drawn the cartouches of Bakenrenef and Šašanq (5).

So in these original articles it seems there are references to two chambers. One contained both bulls that were buried in year 37 Šašang and year 6 Bakenrenef, while the other chamber contained a single bull buried in year 2 Šabaka and which also contained a record naming Šabataka.

Decades later, Mariette’s illustration of his reconstruction plan of the Serapeum, shows two adjacent chambers containing these bulls. However now the Apis of year 37 Šašanq (5) is said to have been the sole bull in chamber S, while in chamber R resided the bulls of year 6 Bakenrenef and year 2 of Šabaka. This is despite the fact that chamber R, which was the smallest chamber in the Lesser Vaults, is made to hold two bulls while all the other (larger) chambers only contain a single bull. So it appears Vercotter has accepted this later plan rather then the earlier statements of Mariette. (He also further compounded his error by assuming that the year 2 stele record of Šabaka was actually a wall inscription, whereas Mariette only reports wall drawings naming Šašanq (5) and Bakenrenef).

Regards Joe

  • Re: Article RequestsMichael Liebig, Fri Jul 7 11:25
    Hi Joe and all, In Göttinger Miszellen no. 251 Broekman connect the end of Bocchoris with the early reign of Shabataka. How do you explain then the burial of an Apis in Bocchoris year 6 and the year... more
    • The Šašanq 5, Bakenrenef and Šabaka Apis bulls — Joe Baker, Sat Jul 8 07:54
      • G. BroekmanMichael Liebig, Mon Jul 10 11:16
        Hi, G. Broekman now write personal to me (sorry for the incorrect received letters from the e-mail): "The occurrence of the name of Shabaka in the Serapeum at Saqqara is only known from Mariette. In... more
Click here to receive daily updates