Execration texts

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Hieratic sherds

Execration texts, also referred to as Proscription Lists,[1] are ancient Egyptian hieratic texts, listing enemies of the Pharaoh, most often enemies of the Egyptian state or troublesome foreign neighbors.[2] The texts were most often written upon statuettes of bound foreigners, bowls, or blocks of clay or stone, which were subsequently destroyed. The ceremonial process of breaking the names and burying them was intended to be a sort of sympathetic magic that would affect the persons or entities named in the texts. The fragments were usually placed near tombs or ritual sites. This practice was most common during times of conflict with the Asiatic neighbours of Egypt.[3]


The Execration texts are an important resource for researchers in the field of ancient Near Eastern history of the 20th-18th centuries BCE[4] and Bible studies. The first group of Execration Texts were published by Kurt Sethe in 1926, known as the Berlin texts. Georges Posener published a second group of texts in 1957, known as the Brussels texts.[5][6]

The first collection are inscribed on pottery sherds, and contain the names of approximately 20 places in Canaan and Phoenicia, and over 30 rulers of the period. These texts contain what is possibly the first known mention of Jerusalem,[7] from the beginning of the second millennium BCE, the end of the Eleventh dynasty to the Twelfth dynasty.

The second group of texts are inscribed on figurines of bound prisoners discovered in Saqqara. This group contains the names of 64 places, usually listing one or two rulers. Seven known Asian countries are listed.[8] This group has been dated to the end of the Twelfth dynasty.

An additional group of texts, the Mirgissa texts, was published by Yvan Koenig in 1990.


Places mentioned in the Execration texts include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edwards, Gadd, and Hammond (1971), p.494
  2. ^ Geraldine Pinch (1995). Magic in ancient Egypt. University of Texas Press. p. 92f. ISBN 978-0-292-76559-7. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Edwards, Gadd, and Hammond (1971), p.508
  4. ^ Albright, W.F. (1969). Studies in the history of culture: the disciplines of the humanities. Ayer Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-8369-1170-1. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  5. ^ George Ernest Wright (1961). The Bible and the ancient Near East: Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright. Doubleday. p. 304. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Ben-Tor, Amnon (2006), Yaira Amit; Nadav Naʼaman, eds., Do the Execration Texts reflect an accurate picture of the contemporary settlement map of Palestine?, Essays on ancient Israel in its Near Eastern context: a tribute to Nadav Naʼaman (EISENBRAUNS): 63–87, ISBN 978-1-57506-128-3, retrieved 19 August 2010 
  7. ^ David Noel Freedman; Allen C. Myers; Astrid B. Beck (2000). Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 694–695. ISBN 978-0-8028-2400-4. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Aharoni, Yohanan (1979). The land of the Bible: a historical geography. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 144–147. ISBN 978-0-664-24266-4. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 


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