Nine Bows

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Term used to refer to the enemies of Egypt. It is a general term and the number nine is not to be taken literally. For the ancient Egyptians, three was used for 'plural', and nine was therefore the 'plural of plurals'. Thus the term covers all possible enemies. Traditionally, Nubians and Asiatics always appear among the enemies. Captured enemies, with their arms tied behind their backs, are depicted on many temple walls. The official seal of the necropolis also displays these bound captives, nine in number and guarded by a jackal. The name 'bows' probably goes back to the bow and arrow used by the enemies; in a ritual designed to render the enemies harmless using magical-religious means, bows are broken. In Egyptian art the bows were frequently depicted in such a way that (a representation of) the king literally walked on them, thus under the feet of a statue of the king, on the base of a throne or, as for example with Tutankhamun, on sandals.