Names were more important in ancient Egypt than they are now.
With a high infant mortality rate, children needed all the help they could get, so parents often chose names that delivered a wish for their well-being. The name "Nakht" was a popular one for boys; it means "strong".
For an extra level of protection, names often incorporated those of gods who would hopefully watch over the child.
For their new baby boy, Ankhsematawy and Shepenese chose a name which included a wish for his health as well as the name of a protective god. The name was "Iah-tayef-nakht", which means "Iah (moon god) is his strength".
It seems to have worked. Iah-tayef-nakht became a general in the king's army, as well as being a High Priest of the ram-headed creator god Herishef, and enjoyed the prosperity that afforded him this magnificent coffin.
Iah-tayef-nakht (or, more simply, Iahtefnakht) lived during the Third Intermediate Period's 22nd Dynasty (ca. 945–715 B.C.) and was buried at Abusir.
His coffin is now in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (AN 1909.963). Photo courtesy of Leslie D. Black.
Enjoyed this article? Want to know more about ancient Egypt?
Subscribe to the print or digital editions of Nile Magazine from the "Subscribe" page.
Enjoy your Nile time!