I often wonder how long digital copies of legal copies will last, and how many might get lost in system corruptions.
Fortunately the Ancient Egyptians didn’t use digital technology very much and so we still have quite a few of their legal judgements, wills and the like to look at.
And interesting reading they make, although there is sometimes the problem of context.
Consider this simple document in which a wife wins a dispute over her inheritance:
In Year 1, Month 2 of the Summer Season, last day. On this day, the Citizeness Isis complained against the Workman Khaemipet, the Workman Khaemwast, and the Workman Amon-nakht, saying, “Let be given to me the property of Panakht my husband.” Inquiry was made with regard to the opinion of members of the court and they said: “The woman is right.” So she was given the property of her husband; in other words, she was taken for him.
Or another in which a woman asks an oracle to settle a dispute over land:
They disputed again today over payment for the parts of the fields belonging to the Citizeness Ipi which Paneferher, son of Horsiese, her male kinsman, had sold to Ikeni. And they came before the god Hemen of Hefat and Hemen said with regard to the pair of documents: “Ikeni is right. He gave the money to Paneferher at the time. It is finished.” Thus spoke Hemen in the presence of all the witnesses.
These documents (taken from http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wardtexts.shtml) would probably not be with us without the storage systems of ancient Egypt. In 2000 or more years, will our documents still be readable?
Maybe – and of course I am not going to say that the Admiral Storage System will be here in 4010 AD – but it will be going for quite a few years, with its system of storage through which your company (but no one else) can access and read the documents when wanted.
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