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Weni the Elder (or Uni) was a court official of the 6th dynasty of Ancient Egypt.[1] He began his career under Teti, and served as a general under Pepi I Meryre and as governor of Upper Egypt during the reign of Merenre Nemtyemsaf I. As judge he investigated the queen who was apparently suspected of involvement in a conspiracy. While he was general, he reorganized the military into a format that was still in use in the New Kingdom.

Weni rose through the ranks of the military to become commander in chief of the army. He was considered by both his contemporaries and many Egyptologists to have been a brilliant tactician and possibly even a genius. His victories earned him the privilege of being shown leading the troops into battle, a right usually reserved for pharaohs. Weni is the first person, other than a pharaoh, known to have been portrayed in this manner. Many of his battles were in the Levant and the Sinai. He is said to have pursued a group of Bedouins all the way to Mount Carmel. He battled a Bedouin people known as the Sand-Dwellers at least five times.

While he was commander in chief of the army, he made several key reforms to the military. He began training his troops to have a pre-emptive rather than a defensive posture. Weni included Nubian mercenaries, (see also the later: Nubian pitati (archers)), in the army for the first time, and reorganized the army to control infighting amongst the troops and uncontrolled pillaging. He recorded in great detail his reorganization of the army, and his reforms lasted into the New Kingdom.

After the death of Pepi, Weni was appointed the governor of Upper Egypt. He made many infrastructure improvements, some of which were beneficial to the military. His most noted project was a canal that ran parallel to the Nile at the First Cataract.

The Tomb of Weni was lost after a French expedition's location of the famous Biography of Weni, but was then relocated in 1999 by an American archaeologist team led by Dr. Janet Richards.[2]


  1. ^ The Archaeology of Individuals at Abydos, Egypt
  2. ^ [1] Weni the Elder and His Mortuary Neighborhood at Abydos, Egypt
  • "Inscription of Uni" in Ancient Records of Egypt by James Henry Breasted, 1906, Part One, sections 291-294, 306-315, 319-324
  • "The Autobiography of Weni" in Ancient Egyptian Literature by M. Lichtheim, vol.1, pp.18ff.
  • Conspiracies in the Egyptian Palace: Unis to Pepy I by Naguib Kanawati, 2003 Routledge (UK), pp.171ff.
  • Texts from the Pyramid Age by Nigel C. Strudwick, Ronald J. Leprohon, 2005 Brill Academic Publishers, pp.352ff.
  • A History of Ancient Egypt by Nicholas Grimal, 1992 Blackwell Publishing, pp.82ff.

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