Paser Crossword Stela

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Grid example-(numbers), with separating register lines, ca. 1514.

The Paser Crossword Stela is an ancient Egyptian limestone stela, which dates from the 20th Dynasty. It was constructed by Paser, ca. 1150 BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses VI.[1]

The stele's text is a Hymn to the Goddess Mut. It is constructed to be read horizontally, vertically and around its perimeter, therefore three times. The text employs a complex arrangement of single hieroglyphss and single hieroglyphic blocks, as well as special uses of hieroglyphs, word play, and double entendres, techniques which were popular in ancient Egypt writings. The 'crossword'-style grid was originally painted blue;[2] the hieroglyphs are incised, in sunken bas relief.

The stele originally formed a 67-by 80-line vertical rectangle,[3] now much damaged, especially on its base and right side. A roughly 50- by 50-line square area survives in good enough condition to be read easily; other sections have large lacunae, but some other topics can be partially constructed to complete the themes of a Hymn to Mut.

The grid is read starting at the upper right, right-to-left in the missing corner of the stela; separator register lines are used for the grid.

Stela description[edit]

The stela is constructed from a block of limestone 112 cm tall, 84.5 cm wide, and 11.5 cm deep. A row of vertical standing gods adorn the region above the hieroglyphs in a horizontal frieze above the first horizontal row; the standing individuals presumably face the goddess Mut; the frieze only forms a short perimeter on the upper part of the stela. The stela is signed by: "Paser, True of Voice".

The stela is located in the British Museum (catalogue no. EA 194). It was discovered in the vicinity of the Temple of Amun at the Karnak Temple Complex by Giovanni Batista Belzoni.[4]

Example text, a horizontal and vertical block[edit]

A sample block:[5]

(row No
1) O29
(1) G25N5

(2) N8(3) S29V24(4) I10
(Block 5(Column 42))
(row No
2) F9 F9
(1) D10 t (2) S29V24(3) I10
(4) N35

(Block 5)
(row No
3) m(1) O34
(2) I10
(3) N35

(4) N17
(Block 5)
(row No
4) N5 t
(1) D2Z1(2) N5
(3) C2(4) G3(Block 5)
The vertical columns represented are from Columns 38-42,[6] (i.e. blocks one to five), and start the reading of the Hymn to Goddess Mut from row one downwards.

Note: Because the stela reads right-to-left, Block 5 corresponds to column 42, Block 1 to column 38.

The four horizontal rows, (Hymn 1 of 3)[edit]

The four rows are translated as follows:[7]

"...great (of) radiancy, who illumines..."
"...strength; (her) eye, it illumines..."
" the illuminator of (her?); The Two Lands (and the) Otherworld..."
" the presence of the sun-god who sees..."

The starting 4 blocks, columns 38-42, (Hymn two of three)[edit]

The starting 4 blocks of Columns 38-42 are translated as follows: -(reading downwards through the blocks)[8]

38–"...great (of) strength in the presence of..."
39–"...radiant; the eye which illumines the face..."
40–"...the sun-god illumines..."
41–"...the sun-god illumines for her..."
42–"...She(Mut) has illumined the Two Lands early..."

Hieroglyph transliterated equivalents-(approximate)[edit]

Rows one to four, columns 38-42 and their equivalents:[9]

Col 38 Col 39 Col 40 Col 41 Col 42
'3t 3Kh Determinative-
s-hdj dj
phtj jrt s-hdj dj n:s
shdj dj n:s t3wj-dw3
khft hr r' Determinative-

(Because the Gardiner's Sign List hieroglyph font only face left, the table above is the "reverse-facing direction" from the Paser Crossword Stela.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 'Crossword Stela' of Paser, British Museum.
  2. ^ The 'crossword' stela of Paser, British Museum
  3. ^ The 'Crossword Stela' of Paser, p. 84-85.
  4. ^ Parkinson, p. 84.
  5. ^ Parkinson, p. 84.
  6. ^ Parkinson, p. 84.
  7. ^ Parkinson, p. 84.
  8. ^ Parkinson, p. 84.
  9. ^ Parkinson, p. 84.

External links[edit]