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A Domain or Estate (transliteration: pr, meaning: "House") refers to an entire property or complex in ancient Egypt. This could range from private properties of noble families to royal palaces and temples (temples dedicated to gods as well as mortuary temples). Palace and temple domains were usually enclosed by walls. The use of the prefix "Royal" specifies a palace or mortuary temple domain. These 'royal domains' were placed under control of a Steward, while the domains of temples dedicated to the gods were ran by their corresponding priesthood's High Priest. Private properties of noble families were often ran by the Lady of the House, while her husband was often employed outside their home.

Palace and temple domains[]

Beside the main temple or palace structure, the enclosed domain also contained the housing of the employees, such as butlers and gardiners; and in case of a temple, priests. Domains produced their own agricultural products and herded their own cattle, some palace domains even contained a private zoo. Many wine jars are known from royal tombs with their inscriptions indicating that mortuary temple domains had their own vineyards.

These domains required lots of staff; priests, butlers, gardiners, farmers, cattle herders, scribes, weavers, winemakers, etc. High officials often held titles that put them in charge in one of these domains of overseeing these employees such as; Overseer of the Priests, Chief Butler, Overseer of the Gardens, Overseer of the Weavers, Overseer of the Cattle, Overseer of the Granary, Overseer of the Vineyards, etc. All these titles often including reference to their corresponding domain.

Royal Domains known by name[]

  • Ḥr-sḫnti-ḏw. Watched over during the First Dynasty by a man called Amka and Sekhemkasedj. This place seems to have been the most important Royal Domain of the early First Dynasty, existing into the reign of Den though it is not mentioned during the reign of Merneith his mother.[1]
  • Ḥwt ḥnn(?). Possibly overseen by Sekhemkasedj.[1]
  • Ḥr-tpi-ẖt. Possible acted as a replacement for W3ḏ-Ḥr, established by Merneith.[1]
  • Tpi-t-w. Established by Merneith.[1]
  • W3ḏ-Ḥr. Djet founded this Royal Domain. Though this domain was maintained under Merneith until the death of its Administrator Sekhemkasedj when it was replaced by a new domain, possibly Ḥr-tpi-ẖt by Merneith.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Wilkinson 2001.