Famous and Bizarre Last Wills and Testaments in Ancient History

Some famous and bizarre last wills and testaments in ancient history from an Egyptian Pharaoh, Aristotle and Virgil.

THE PAST

Nek'ure Egyptian Pharaoh's son Died: c. 2601 B.C.

Last Will: Provided for the disposition of 14 towns, 2 estates; distributed to his wife, 3 children, and an unknown female. Carved on his tomb, the will is the oldest known to exist. Its opening words pointed out that King Khafre's son had made the decisions about his property "while living upon his 2 feet and not ailing in any respect."

Aristotle Greek philosopher Died: 322 B.C.

Last Will: Left 3 executors to handle his affairs until his chosen son-in-law, Nicanor, came of age. If Nicanor died prior to the time when Aristotle's daughter was old enough to marry him, Theophrastus was named as the 2nd choice. If Herpylis married--and the executors were commanded to see that she did not disgrace Aristotle's name by her choice--she was given permission to use the ancestral home at Stagyra, suitably furnished by the executors.

Virgil Roman poet Died: 19 B.C.

Last Will: Asked that his Aeneid be burned with his death, a request he later canceled. Virgil gave 1/4 of his property to Emperor Augustus, the percentage which Romans considered advisable if the remaining assets were to be distributed in accordance with the deceased's wishes. It insured the Emperor's support of the will.

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