|Tuesday, February 19, 2019
You are here: Home » Columnists » John Lucas » Stairway to Eternity
  • Follow Us!

Stairway to Eternity 

Chapter II- Part I

Memphis, the capital of the river kingdom was a relatively large town, it’s temples, palaces, houses and markets were the envy of Egypt. Here lived Snefru, pharaoh of the green valley, grandson of Djoser; the year is 2613 B.C. and Snefru has only just been crowned, making him the world’s most powerful man. There had been three kings since the death of Djoser, Snefru’s two uncles and his father.

The new pharaoh had great hopes for his kingdom; he would explore and if necessary conquer new lands to add to his rich and powerful empire. Minerals and bronze were needed so an expedition was sent to the Sinai. Only primitive tribes lived there but there were plenty of mines to be used to the full, to add glory to Egypt. The new kind had heard that across the sea to the north lay a small kingdom, weak, but rich in wood as in its mountains were forests of large trees called cedars. Hard wood, perfect for this architects to use on the places for the pharaoh’s family and officials and for the temples of the priests of Ra. Pharaoh called this kingdom ” the land of the Cedar tree” but how could he cross the sea to the little port of Byblos, only port of the cedar kingdom, his ships were good on the Nile, but how would they get on in the great north sea of Egypt?

It was decided to make larger ships based on the Nile boats; they would sail or be rowed along the coast to Byblos, to bring back the precious wood; and so came into being the first sea-going ships, making Egypt even more powerful than before. Ports were built on the coast of Egypt to serve the pharaoh’s navy.

Snefru had now ventured north to “the land of the Cedars”, east to the Sinai, south to Nubia but never west into Libya. He had heard of primitive tribes who eked out a living from the savannah and semi-desert that Libya had been turning into during the past hundred years. His nation had taken in many refugees from Libya; they had integrated with his people and helped add to the greatness of Egypt, but Snefru was inquisitive and wanted to discover new lands. So it was that in 2605 B.C. he ordered a new expedition westward into Libya.

Sesortris was the general in charge, Snefru’s fines soldier. This expedition needed to take with it may men, camels and supplies such as food and water. They would go west, as far as possible, staying reasonably close to the coast and hope to make discoveries of mines and extend Egypt’s influence. The expedition would take with it three thousand men, an enormous amount taking into account the small size of the Egyptian population; only around two thousands were fighting men, the rest wee cooks, camel drivers, supply handlers and the like. The expedition had caused a great excitement in Egypt, the whole country had heard about the preparations, including the crown prince, son of Snefru, Egypt’s future king, Cheops (Khafu).

This was a trek into totally unknown lands. At first Pharaoh did not want his son to join the expedition but on Cheops¡ instance his father reluctantly agreed to let him go with Sesortris. The boy was only fifteen years old, but in reality a young man who knew how to use a sword and a bow. Anyway he would be in the care of Sisortris so he was in the best hands. The journey and dangers would help to mature Cheops, he was after all to be the future king.

The autumn day came in 2604 B.C. when Cheops, Sesortiris and his army were ready to leave Egypt and head west into unknown Africa. One person was very unhappy to see young Cheops go; this was Nefertene, a beautiful young girl, already a woman. Her dark skin, her honey eyes and gorgeous figure were the envy of most of the daughters of Egypt’s aristocracy. She had fallen in love with Dheops at one of the many banquets that Pharaoh gave for the leaders, high priests and aristocracy. Nefertene was old enough to assist and it was there she had met Cheops and walked and talked to him in the gardens of the royal palace at Memphis. Since then they had met many times and were by now both deeply in love with each other.