Nubian Prisoners tomb relief

This tomb relief shows several Nubian prisoners with negroid features, tightly curled hair and earrings who are seated on the ground submissively as three Egyptian soldiers with batons watch over them. Depicted in sunk relief is also a scribe who is writing a report. 

A scribe is writing a report about the occurrence and is selecting two prisoners as servants for the court of Tutankhamun, as noted by the inscription. The relief was part of a larger composition with numerous foreign prisoners of war and it celebrated – for eternity – the prowess of Horemheb, the general commander of the army, who took prisoners after military campaigns.

This limestone relief with traces of painting from the Saqqara tomb of Horemheb dates to the reign of Tutankhamun. Horemheb was the commander-in-chief of the army under the reign of Tutankhamun and Ay.

Relief of Nubian Prisoners
Relief of Nubian Prisoners

Horemheb as a King

After Horemheb acceded to the throne, as a king, official action was taken against the preceding Amarna rulers. He reformed the Egyptian state and restabilized his country after the divisive Amarna Period.

Horemheb demolished monuments of Akhenaten, reusing their remains in his building projects, and usurped monuments of Tutankhamun and Ay. He is considered to have established traditional religion after the Amarna Period. He ruled for 14 years and was not related to the preceding royal family.

Horemheb usurped Tutankhamun monuments and maybe the key reason that Tutankhamun was not as well-known before the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Horemheb presumably remained childless since he appointed his vizier Paramessu as his successor, who would assume the throne as Ramesses I.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. Limestone with polychromy traces, 62.5 x 85 cm. From the Memphite tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara. Palagi Collection (Nizzoli). Now in the Archaeological Civic Museum of Bologna. KS 1887