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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

202                                    Law
in the veracity of the party to swear to the genuineness of the
document.
We must not leave the discussion of the law of the Old and
Middle Kingdoms without mentioning the revenue law which
was akeady developed at that time. Beside other taxes there
existed then a personal tax which was probably a poll tax. Some
amusing returns relating to that form of taxation have been
preserved. In them the head of the family declared all the
persons who belonged to his household, but the document was
doubtless written by a revenue officer. The names of the tax-
payers were neatly written, one under the other, in one column.
Now, as is well known, every word in Egyptian ends with a
determinative sign. Thus the name of a man, e.g, ends with
the seated male figure (^)- The revenue officer, when drawing
up the lists, made use of that fact in order the more readily to
summarize the results of his survey. He separated the deter-
minatives from the rest of the spelling of the names and put
them into a column of their own in which one could then see
at a glance how many men (^)3 women (^), and children (jS))
\vere present in one household. He even added to the names
of some women the symbol of birth (fjj), presumably to indicate
that a new taxpayer was soon to be expected. A revenue
authority which caused such detailed returns to be made must
surely have kept a tax roll as well.
New Kingdom (1373-722 B.C.)
The number of legal records surviving from the New King-
dom is very much greater and among these some laws are now
preserved. In the tomb of Rekhmire' at Thebes we have not
only a representation of a sitting of the court of the vezir, with
the whole corpus juris of Egypt in force at that time displayed
before the vezir on papyrus rolls, but also the text of two impor-
tant fragments of the great Code of Ceremonial at the court of
the Hng, In one of the fragments the solemn words have been