Beginning of Decline (DOC) by elwatad


									Although the 5th Dynasty maintained prosperity with extensive foreign trade and military incursions
into Asia, signs of decreasing royal authority became apparent in the swelling of the bureaucracy
and the enhanced power of nonroyal administrators. The last king of the dynasty, Unas, who
reigned about 2428-2407 BC, was buried at Šaqqarah, with a body of religious spells, called
Pyramid Texts, carved on the walls of his pyramid chamber. Such texts were also used in the royal
tombs of the 6th Dynasty. Several autobiographical inscriptions of officials under the 6th Dynasty
indicate the decreasing status of the monarchy; records even indicate a conspiracy against King
Pepi I, who reigned about 2395-2360 BC, in which the ruler’s wife was involved. It is believed that
during the later years of Pepi II, who reigned about 2350-2260 BC, power may have been in the
hands of his vizier (chief minister). Central authority over the economy was also diminished by
decrees of exemption from taxes. The nomes (districts) were rapidly becoming individually
powerful, as the nomarchs—governors of the districts—were beginning to remain in place rather
than being periodically transferred to different nomes.

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