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I remember reading somewhere that along with the earthly possessions of the pharaoh, their favorite servants were also killed and entombed inside the pyramids.

Is this true?

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migrated from Dec 24 '12 at 14:56

This question came from our site for scientific skepticism.

Hello saiy2k, and very Christmas! You posed two questions here, although without any claim: "were they killed and entombed?"; "were they entombed?" The answer to the last question is yes. As you know, each pyramid consisted of an inner chamber that entombed the deceased, the servants of the deceased, and artifacts to make living in the afterlife similar to what they were used to every day. Servants, horses, and pets were buried with the deceased. On the other hand, whether they were buried alive, is still debated nowadays. No claim, no on-topic, ty, ty, ty! – Carlo_R. Dec 23 '12 at 11:16
any reason for the downvote ? – saiy2k Dec 23 '12 at 18:29
saiy2k, I'm not the downvoter. However, showing your employer that you are working towards improvement of this question can help you earn some positive votes. And do not forget to cite the claim! – Carlo_R. Dec 23 '12 at 18:36
2 This page suggests that it is indeed true that the lives of Servants of Pharaoh's were sacrificed in order to serve the kind in afterlife. but this practice prevailed only during the first dynasty... – saiy2k Dec 24 '12 at 8:27

3 Answers 3

One documented example of this practice can be found very early in the history of Egypt, in the burials of Hierakonpolis

Although all the satellite tombs have been heavily plundered and less than half the complex has been explored, enough remains of their contents to suggest that there was nothing arbitrary about their layout or their occupants. Near the front (east side) were young hunters with weapons and other gear, at the rear the women and children with ivory hair combs, semiprecious stone beads, and delicate pottery (fig. 4.10). The fine items with which they were buried already suggest that they were specially selected for the honor of accompanying their lord

Source: Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization. Edited by Emily Teeter. 2011, Oriental Institute Museum Publications, Pag. 38-39

Admittedly, it could be argued that at this time we cannot even talk about Pharaoh yet, as Egypt has not yet been united under one single ruler. However, further examples of this practice can be found in the First Dinasty in the Umm el-Qa'ab necropolis in Abydos, especially around the tombs of Aha (B10/B14/B17/B19)

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There was a few pharaohs who forced their workers killed, but the people didn't like their population being lowered, so they stopped killing the workers. When the workers died naturally, they would be buried in the pyramid to serve the pharaoh. The possible pharaohs who killed the their workers were King Aha, Djer, Djet, Merytnit, Den, Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa'a Source:

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Can you give the names of those pharaohs? – Felix Goldberg Dec 25 '12 at 22:56
As was asked of Paalamarchuk, could you provide sources and perhaps elaborate slightly on your answer? It would help you gain several up votes. – Russell Dec 28 '12 at 16:37

About 2 or 3 pharaohs did kill their servants to make the Pharaoh's life was easier in the afterlife. After that, no more servants were killed, but were carried to the pyramid and buried to serve his pharaoh. The source is

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Evidence for the population drop? – Felix Goldberg Dec 25 '12 at 22:56
This needs some source... – o0'. Dec 26 '12 at 17:21
I got this from my teacher! – danilka1 Dec 27 '12 at 0:30
No, really I did – danilka1 Dec 28 '12 at 16:31
@DanielPalamarchuk, sources are not only here to prove correctness, but also to allow for further reading. Adding the sources would only take several minutes of research, and you could probably ask your teacher for help. If you did, I'm sure you'd receive more up-votes. – Russell Dec 28 '12 at 16:36

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