The desire of keeping the self memory revived was not limited to kings and queens of ancient Egypt but was found with the very ordinary people of that time. The hidden reason behind having a lot of graffiti in ancient Egyptian temples or elsewhere was due to believing that the “ Ren” which is the title in the Egyptian Hieroglyphics, once it is kept it can lead the soul of the dead to find and recognize the deceased. Therefore leaving someone’s name can secure his rebirth and according to the ancient Egyptian religion and book of the dead, the creation of Man by god Ra required preparing five elements to make a human created. The first was the “ Ghed” which is the body, the second was the “ Ba” which is the soul, the third was the “ Ren” which is the name , the fourth was the double “ Ka” and the fifth was the “Akh” which is the shadow. The only hope for poor people to secure their rebirth was to carve their names on temples walls or floors or to be mentioned by their nobleman or lord in his tomb which we should not blame them for. The ancient Egyptian royal families and their entourage were able to afford to protect and keep their five elements so they never encounter much of obstacles that can prevent their resurrection, almost all were able to afford the expenses of the mummification so their Ghed can last and were able build tombs with much of texts, hymns and carvings which can lead their Ba back to them, also were rich enough to leave offerings that their Ka can enjoy it and therefore it remains nearby. Even were able to design tombs and burial chambers that overlook the true north to allow their “ Akh” or shadow to remain on sun rise and on sun set and definitely their Ren was easily saved in cartouche frames or carved in stone that can survive.
Some of the ancient Egyptian kings were keen to keep and protect their ancestor’s tombs and monuments and some kings were interested to carve their own names on statues of their ancestors after saving it from thefts or after getting it restored. Their aim was to secure the ancestor’s Ren as well as their own one.
A carving “above” from tomb of prince Nekaw, son of king Essi,2500 B.C shows the servant who was entitled to look after Nekaw’s grey hound hunting dog , the servant “Ren” name is mentioned right above. As it was traditional for rich people to allow their popular servants to be described in their tombs by name and exact features to ascertain their rebirth as reward for their achievements.
The carving above represents praises for both king Thutmoses II and Queen Hatshepsut meanwhile it shows the removal of her “Ren” and her praises from the inscription for being her reign counted by the ancient Egyptians an illegitimate.
Nubian finger graffiti on an ancient Egyptian monument.
The Nubian nomadic tribes had inherited the ancient Egyptian graffiti culture. The Nubian pilgrims in their pilgrimage to Egyptian temples used to dig the sandstone with their fingers in a trial to leave their finger-prints and to collect the sandstone dust to bring to their village.