Egyptian pharaoh Pepi II smeared his slaves with honey to use as fly traps

(ORDO NEWS) — Pepi II was an Egyptian pharaoh of the Old Kingdom who came to the throne at the tender age of six.

Perhaps it was this privileged upbringing that led to him becoming one of the most demanding kings of Egypt – in addition to ordering the capture of a dancing pygmy for his amusement, he also insisted that his slaves smear themselves with honey to ward off annoying flies!

Pepi II Neferkare, who was the son of Pepi I, was a pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt and ruled from about 2278 BC.

His mother, Ankhesenpepi II, served as regent while Piopi II was still a minor. He is commonly cited as the longest-reigning monarch in history: some sources give a reign of 94 years, but other sources indicate that it was 64 years. Be that as it may, Pepi II was king of Egypt for a very long time!

Apart from his marathon reign, Pepi II is also known for some rather ludicrous acts. A surviving letter that Pepi II wrote to Harkhuf, the governor of Aswan and head of one of the expeditions sent by Pipi II to Nubia, shows that Pepi II asked “politely” to catch a dancing pygmy (a man of very short stature) and bring him back for the entertainment of the court.

Egyptian pharaoh Pepi II smeared his slaves with honey to use as fly traps 2
A string of seven golden fly amulets, 1600-1070. BC e., Egypt

Pepi II also hated flies, so he reportedly required his slaves to be smeared with honey to serve as fly traps, essentially attracting swarms of flies away from him and onto their own honey-covered bodies.

Not all Egyptians treated flies with the same contempt as Pepi II. In fact, thanks to the swiftness and unwavering tenacity of this insect, the fly has come to be highly respected, being a symbol of perseverance and perseverance. Therefore, golden flies were awarded to soldiers who showed such qualities on the battlefield.

Fly amulets were also made of gold, silver, bone, lapis lazuli, faience, carnelian and amethyst. Some of the best examples of gold fly pendants were found in the tomb of Queen Ahhotep at Dra Abu el-Naga, in the Theban necropolis.

Most likely, it was believed that wearing a fly amulet protected from insect bites or repelled flies – a much more piquant approach than smearing slaves with honey!


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