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This article is about an aspiring scholar. You may be looking for Tefibi III, an Egyptian nomarch.
"I will be a great philosopher, just you wait."
―Tefibi to Bayek, 48 BCE[src]

Tefibi was a young Egyptian philosopher who lived during the 1st century BCE in Alexandria, Egypt.

Coming from a poor family, he spent his youth working with his mother, Tjepu, selling olives at the Alexandrian docks by Lake Mareotis. The self-educated Tefibi aspired for a greater destiny as a scholar, much to the misgivings of his mother who was more focused on their immediate circumstances and had little hope for his success. In 48 BCE, he ran afoul of the local guards and was saved only thanks to the aid of the Medjay Bayek.

Biography

Tefibi was a young Egyptian man who lived in Alexandria with his mother Tjepu. Their livelihood was a humble one, selling olive oil for a living on the southern docks of the city. Aspiring to be a scholar, Tefibi had a habit of wandering throughout the city in search of knowledge, reading papyri on his own time, much to the displeasure of his mother who saw little practical value in his intellectual pursuits. She found his dream unrealistic, both because they were poor and because they were ethnically Egyptian, and furthermore feared that he would only attract the ire of the authorities and endanger his life.[1][2]

Misadventure

ACO The Accidental Philosopher 05

Tefibi being escorted by Bayek

On this latter point, her concerns seemed validated one day in 48 BCE when the city guards claimed he stole a map from them. Not long after, he went in search of cave near the nearby lighthouse, informing his mother beforehand. During his search, however, he was injured by a crocodile on the lake, leading him to flee to a hut by the lighthouse for safety.[1]

When he failed to return home after some time, Tjepu enlisted the aid of the Medjay Bayek of Siwa to search for her missing son. Bayek followed Tefibi's trails of blood and torn clothing, eventually finding him at the hut where he still lay, weakened from blood loss. As the two made their way back to the market, Tefibi was suddenly accosted by a group of Ptolemaic soldiers, supposedly in retaliation for his earlier theft of a map. Bayek defended him against the guards, killing them all, and when Tefibi was safe, he expressed his gratitude for his rescue before returning to his mother and his studies.[1]

Stolen notes

"I did not lose it. The guards took it. That papyrus is my life, Medjay!"
―Tefibi to Bayek, 48 BCE[src]
ACO Higher Education 01

Tefibi scolded by his mother for losing his papyrus and offerings

Sometime afterwards, Tjepu handed Tefibi an offering which he placed in his roll of papyrus where had written all his important notes. Unfortunately for them, the Alexandrian soldiers had still not forgotten Tefibi's offense and stole his papyrus—incidentally along with the offering. Tjepu, refusing to believe that it had been stolen, lambasted her son for simply losing it and disrupting her business in the process, for she felt she could not sell her olives without rendering the offering. It was at this heated moment that they were once again met by Bayek who promised to return the significant items to them.[2]

True to his word, Bayek recovered the papyrus and the offering from the soldiers on a boat sailing in the lake, thus allowing Tefibi a chance at fulfilling his dream of becoming a scholar. Despite his mother's protests that the Greek scholars would never accept him among them, he was determined to go to them and prove that he was worthy of being their student.[2]

Personality and characteristics

Tjepu: "Pay attention to what you have in front of you, idiot boy! Not the mirage you see in the distance."
Tefibi: "But what a mirage, mother! The white linens of a philosopher, and with that, drachmas!"
―Tjepu scolding Tefibi, 48 BCE[src]

As a young man born to a poor olive merchant, Tefibi seemed destined for a modest life, but he constantly rebelled against such a domicile existence in pursuit of a more accomplished career among the intellectual elites of Alexandria. The adventurous boy had a passion for learning to the point that he refused to allow his circumstances to deny him a chance at higher education. Even without a formal tutor, he seized every opportunity to study the works of famous Greek philosophers, and he was acquainted with Aesop's Fables, the concept of free will, and the history of the Medjay.[1][2] Upon first meeting Bayek, he teased that he would someday write a fable recounting the story of the last Medjay.[1]

Because of his persistence, he often disappeared into the city for long periods of time in exploration of more learning material, much to the disapproval of his mother, who shared little of his optimism. She obstinately doubted his dreams as little more than fantasies which distracted him from tangible work, but he matched her stubbornness with his own. Although greater financial status was a motivation, rather than merely looking for a lazy escape from the banalities of his daily work, Tefibi was determined to translate his personal studies into concrete reality. The likelihood that he would be discriminated against by the Greek elites did not faze him, and he was determined to prove to the them that he possessed the intelligence, drive, and studiousness worthy to be accepted as a pupil and eventually a reputable scholar on his own right.[1][2]

Appearances

References

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