Pharaoh's general to the necropolis scribe Tjaroy, saying: I heard every thing about which you sent me, what you said about this matter of the two policemen, how they are talking about these matters. Get together with Nudjmet and Payshuweben. Send and have these two policemen brought in to the house. Get to the bottom of things quickly. If you find out that what they say is true then put them in a couple of baskets and dump them in the river at night, but don't let anyone find out about it at all.We have another letter that deals with this scandal:
On another matter: How is Pharaoh going to attack this land? Who is Pharaoh still the boss of? Three months ago I sent a barge but you have not sent me a single tiban of gold or a single tiban of silver. It is okay. Don't worry about it. As soon as this letter reaches you scrounge up a tiban of gold and one of silver and send it to me on a barge.
(P. Berlin 10487 = LRL 21)
Pharaoh's general to the agent Payshuweben, saying: I heard every thing about which you sent me, what you said about this matter of the two policemen, how they are talking about these matters. Get together with Nudjmet and Tjaroy. Send and have these two policemen brought to my house. Get to the bottom of things quickly. Kill them and dump them into the river at night, but don't let anyone find out about it at all.The two letters are almost identical for a bit but differ in places. So Payshuweben was to do the actual killing, while Tjaroy was to bring some baskets to dump the bodies into the Nile.
(P. Berlin 10488 = LRL 34)
But three people were involved and we have the third letter as well:
Pharaoh's general to the chief of the harem of Amonrasonter Nudjmet in life, prosperity and health, and the favor of Amonrasonter. I ask every god and goddess whom I pass by that you may live and be healthy and I may see you when I return and fill my eyes every day with the sight of you.This last letter has the same author and subject matter as the other two letters but is much more polite. It begins with the standard niceties. If anything, it contains more of them than the typical letter of the time. It also ends with pleasantries that seem sincere.
I heard every thing about which you sent me, what you said about this matter of the two policemen which you said. They are talking. Get together with Payshuweben and that scribe Tjaroy. Send and have these two policemen brought to my house. Get to the bottom of things quickly. Have them killed and dumped into the river at night.
Write to me about how you are doing. Be well. Be healthy.
(P. Berlin 10489 = LRL 35)
What accounts for the difference? The recipient of the third letter is a woman and the recipients of the other two are men. That accounts for some of the difference. Piankh does not have a woman get her hands dirty with any of the nasty business that he has the other men do. From her title, Nudjmet has a high position in the religious hierarchy. But this does not explain everything. As it so happens, we know from other records that Nudjmet is Piankh's mother. The other two are Piankh's subordinates. As a general he is used to giving orders and so he does.
All three letters ended up in the archive of Tjaroy. So the three individuals apparently did get together.
In an interesting twist, Nudjmet's copy of the Book of the Dead mostly survives split between three museums: P. BM EA 10541 + P. Louvre E.6258 + P. München ÄS 825. (The portion in the Munich museum was destroyed during World War II.) In Nudjmet's negative confession she includes the passages "I have not slain; I have not ordered a murder" (BD 125 A 14-15) and "I have not slain any person" (BD 125 B 5).
We sometimes wonder if the ideals of ancient Egyptian religion actually had an impact on the actual actions of individuals. In some cases it is clear that they did. In this case, we can see that they apparently did not or at least Piankh did not think they should.
And yet, if we wanted to make a case that Piankh was simply irreligious, we might make a case from the first two letters but not the third. In the third letter, Piankh certainly expresses the normal pieties. A few year later, Piankh became the High Priest of Amun and even received an oracle from the god.