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Bocchoris the Lawgiver—or was He Really?

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image of Journal of Egyptian History

The author revises the Classical tradition on pharaoh Bocchoris (Wahkare Bakenranef of the XIVth dynasty) as the most accomplished Egyptian lawgiver. The evidence of Diodorus, on which this tradition mostly rests, is scrutinized and compared with Egyptian sources. It is argued that Egyptian legal documents do not confirm, and occasionally contradict, Diodorus' account, which should be thus treated with care. The author suggests that Bocchoris' codification may have never taken place and the tradition of his alleged accomplishments can be explained in terms of political propaganda of the early XXVIth dynasty rulers. This tradition was subsequently used by the Greeks to explain Solonic reform as borrowed from or inspired by “the wisdom of Egypt.”


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