User:PericlesofAthens/Sandbox Ancient Egyptian literature3

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For the other sandbox, see:

For my other sandboxes, see User:PericlesofAthens/Sandbox.

For my draft, see User:PericlesofAthens/Draft for Ancient Egyptian literature

Useful links: List of ancient Egyptian papyri, Sebayt, Medical papyri, Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts, Abydos King List, Ancient Egyptian funerary texts

Anthony Spalinger's "The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus"[edit]

  • Spalinger, Anthony. "The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus as a Historical Document" Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, Bd. 17, (1990), pp. 295-337.

Rhind Introduction[edit]

  • Page 295-296: QUOTE: "Traditionally, Egyptian documents relating to the exact sciences have received less attention than historical, economic, or literary texts owing to their specialized nature. That is to say, except for the intrinsic worth of the contents (astronomy, mathematics, medicine), most modern scholars have preferred to sidestep them, leaving in-depth studies to the few specialists in the field. The famous Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is no exception. We possess Peet's admirable edition of 1923 as well as the later compendium of Chase-Bull-Manning and now a recent overview by Robins-Schute; however, except for some specialized studies, Rhind is for the most part overlooked as a document in and of itself. True, there have been a number of very useful studies on certain mathematical problems contained in this composition (and in its relative, the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus), but it can be fairly stated that the short description of the attack on Avaris located on the verso has preoccupied the pens of scholars more than most of the mathematical problems. Although the purpose of this study is to present a careful examination of the development of the text — for example, the interrelationships among and between the various problems and their precise position within the text — one healthy by-product of this presentation may be to reawaken an interest in similar papyri, too often ignored in the bulk of Egyptological research."
  • Page 296: QUOTE: "An in-depth analysis of the organization of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus provides a self-contained study which leads to useful results concerning its organization, composition, and internal historical development...Although the plates in Robins-Schute are small, the clarity of the photographs is more than sufficient for this analysis and one must keep in mind that the handwriting is clear and beautiful, as befits a master reference work probably originally intended as a teaching manual."
  • Page 297: QUOTE: "This justly praised papyrus has been a staple in the diet of voracious Egyptologists as well as historians of the science of mathematics since its appearance in the nineteenth century. Beginning students have found their study of hieratic ably honed with the beautiful hand of the scribe of this treatise and advanced scholars interested in Egyptian scientific thought have not ceased to use this papyrus. Significant when it was first drawn up in the Hyksos period, Rhind's importance is continually revealed by the wealth of studies that have been devoted to its various aspects. By the twentieth century there appeared the editio princeps of Peet, justly praised at the time of its publication and ever-indispensable to scholars both for his masterly treatment of the problems as well as the detailed study of Egyptian mathematics. Soon after came the compendium edition of Chase-Bull-Manning, which contains excellent photographs, all of which are of prime importance for any study, palaeographical or otherwise. Now with the publication of Robins-Schute, we have excellent color photographs, all of which are useful to the scholar as well as to the interested layman, and the simple fact that Rhind graces the public galleries of the British Museum overtly reveals its value to us today."
  • Page 297-298: QUOTE: "Having had the occasion to turn to this treatise in a recent study, I felt that it would not be out of place to draw up a detailed analysis of the arrangement of the text, to emphasize its internal makeup, and to provide a helpful guide to the papyrus purely from a compositional viewpoint. This, then, is a partial fulfillment of the goal. I have avoided any discussion of the mathematical problems themselves, except, of course, when their location is discussed, errors in the writing occur, possible dating of certain portions comes under review, etc. Simply as a document, Rhind has in my opinion not received its due, and despite the obvious dependence upon Peet, the reader may find it interesting to know that Griffith's earlier studies in many ways are the framework of my survey."
  • Page 298: QUOTE: "Before proceeding with this detailed study, some background information may be of use as an introduction. It was composed of fourteen separate sheets of papyrus carefully joined and in its length and witdth fits the standard size of Middle Kingdom papyri of the first quality. Compare, for example, the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus. The latter document is poorly written, contains numerous errors in its problems, and is approximately one fourth of the Middle Kingdom standard in size. In addition, its arrangement is virtually chaotic (and I employ Peet's description), further evidence that it was a student's work and not that of a master scribe or teacher. None of the problems in Rhind but the very last are muddled or incoherent as in the Moscow manuscript. There is little doubt that we must follow Peet's and Struve's comments regarding the second mathematical 'treatise': i.e., that it appears to be a student's copy, probably based on a manual akin to Rhind. A further useful comparison may be made between Rhind and the British Leather Roll (BM 10250), first edited by Glanville. The latter presents a series of abbreviated statements of problems, not many, and those akm examples were in turn based on some type of operating reference work."

A) Title[edit]

  • Page 298-300 (diagram on 299): QUOTE: "The original arrangement of Rhind included a layout that was carefully planned...To the extreme right of the recto may be found two parallel vertical lines that cut off the text proper from the title. On the verso will be found an identical series of lines at virtually the same location from the edge. On the recto the title of the work plus introductory bibliographic comments are located before those parallel lines, but enough space has been given by the copyist that there is a reasonable margin between the extreme right-hand edge and the first column of the title. The reader of this document could then open this papyrus without being suddenly faced with the start of the text and moreover, he would be immediately be able to see the title of the work (plus useful 'historical' details) and thereby ascertain just what he had chosen. I would like to hazard the supposition that Rhind was contained with other similar manuals of a first-class nature in a scribal library, quite possibly a school for advanced accountants and technocrats, if I may use those modern-day terms. The reason for the text on the verso remains more unclear and I will treat that portion in Part D below; it is sufficient to note here that nos. 61 and 61b (I shall be employing Peet's designations) were written to the right of the double vertical lines and that these are to a large extent nothing more than a handy series of references to simple fractions paralleling those in the first part of 'Book I.' I would argue that the verso was originally laid out like the recto — these two lines being added at the same time as those on the recto. With this done, the scribe then began his introduction."
  • Page 300-301: After mentioning that each sheet is about 40 cm wide, Spalinger writes: "When completed, Rhind was composed of sixteen sheets — interestingly, the New Kingdom standard was twenty. As expected, the horizontal fibers occur on the recto and the vertical ones on the verso."
  • Page 302: QUOTE: "The title itself is written with red ink in two vertical columns; the bibliographic details employ the normal black ink but also follow the columnar pattern. It is correct that a vertical arrangement was abandoned by the close of Dynasty 12, and that the problems themselves are written in a linear fashion (from top to bottom)...Note that the additional words that present the background of the manuscript are written in black. There also appears the date of the text, the date of the original from which it was copied, and the name of the scribe. It is significant that these details were added at this point somewhat later."
  • Page 303-304: QUOTE: "The details of date of copying, etc., provide us with the well-known background to the compositions: i.e., year 33 of the Hyksos ruler Apophis. An interesting verbal formation, [...], opens this portion of the text and there then occurs the troublesome reference to the original exemplar from which Rhind was copied. Peet's interpretation was that Rhind depends upon a lost copy from the reign of Amenemhat III...of Dynasty 12. Earlier, Griffith, in a more cautious fashion, had opted for this restoration but was more emphatic in rejecting a Middle Kingdom date for the problems, owing to the presence of the quadruple hekat measure. A recent reinterpretation by myself concerning this section of the opening casts doubt upon Peet's reading of the Pharaoh's name in the lacunae since the writing in columns had been overlooked...Finally, observe that the black-inked additions extend the original length of the first column down further than the red title, and in the last column the very bottom of the scroll has been reached. In fact, the beginning of the bibliographic details, [...], skips over the red-inked conclusion of the title in column two by continuing on in the if the intent was to keep part of the title still separate. From these indications I feel that the bibliographic details were added at the conclusion of the work, as befits the scribe who drew up the text. After all, the typical conclusions to literary texts normally included the name of the copyist and were clearly written after the text was finished."

B. Book I[edit]

  • Page 304: QUOTE: "Peet's division of the text into 'Books', which was only slightly modified from Griffith, has justification not only from our present-day criteria but also from the layout of the text. Basically, the first portion of the Rhind begins with the divisions of 2 and then runs into a series of general mathematical problems, which are nevertheless concrete and representative of the practical day-to-day situations that were expected of the graduating apprentice. The large break between Book I and Book II as well as the switch from these problems to more complex ones covering measurements (volumes of pyramids, etc.) present even more conclusive support for this separation. If his rubrics of 'Arithmetic' for Book I and 'Mensuration' for Book II are not too severely criticized, then the emphasis of the two parts can be even more clearly seen."
  • Page 304: QUOTE: "The first block (see Diagram 1) covers 2, divided by 3, 5, etc. up to 15. The vertical rubric, [...] (in red ink), is only fully written at this point (to the right of the various calculations). The use of this verb emphasizes for us the oral nature of Rhind's original purpose: the teacher read out the problem and the student worked on it."
  • Page 304-319: A lot of these problems have to do with division, multiplication, and Egyptian fractions.

C. Book II[edit]

  • Page 320: QUOTE: "The large and definitive break between Books I and II was carefully set up. The mathematical problems that follow the break are quite different from those preceding, and from here on abstract introductory problems of an elementary nature are avoided. Instead, Rhind turns to the situations of volumes (nos. 41-47) and areas (48-55) and then concludes the heights (mryt) and batters (akd) of pyramids and probably a pillar or column (no. 60). In essence we are presented with concrete cases of architectural problems that the apprentice would have to work with in his forthcoming career, and Peet's title of 'Mensuration' is a reasonable heading to Book II."

D. Book III[edit]

  • Page 326-327: This "Book" is a heterogeneous compilation that has various and miscellaneous math problems, some of them similar to Book I. Some of the problems pose day-to-day problems such as silver "piece" exchange rates.

Roberto Gozzoli's The Writings of History in Ancient Egypt[edit]

  • Gozzoli, Roberto B. (2006). The Writings of History in Ancient Egypt during the First Millennium BC (ca. 1070-180 BC): Trends and Perspectives. London: Golden House Publications, printed and bound by T.J. International. ISBN 095502563X.

Introduction to First Millennium Writings[edit]

  • Page 2-3: QUOTE: "As remarked by various Egyptologists and Near Eastern historians, history writing in a 'Western form' as re-thinking and re-elaboration of events and what can be learnt from them is one of the major absentees in ancient Egypt. If a rapid survey of Egyptian historical documents is done using considered the initial definition of primary sources and history writing as given by Bengston and Van Seters as parameter, the statements made by Bull in 1955 and Redford in 1986 about the complete inexistence of Egyptian historical writing can be understood, as none of the Egyptian 'historical' texts can stand. An 'objective' history on Herodotus' or Thucydides' steps was never an aim in ancient Egypt. In spite of that, 'that the Egyptians developed no distinct historiographical genres should not be taken to mean that the ancient community along the Nile had no regard for, nor consciousness of, its past. It had, in fact, a strong sense of its own past, if not a developed idea of history'.6 In effect, ancient Egyptians recollected royal deeds and events of the past in four major groupings:"
  • Page 3 Footnote #6: QUOTE: "Quotation from Reford (1986)a, xvi-xvii)."
  • Page 3 Footnote #7: QUOTE: "For a discussion of Egyptian historical literature, I refer to Eyre (1996). Assmann (1999b, 6) regards literary texts as coming from three different sector [sic] of Egyptian cultural life: the bureaucratic archive, the cult and the realm of monumental representations."
  • Page 3-4: QUOTE: "In Egyptian royal texts such as triumphal reliefs and military stelae, the enemy is always depicted as rebellious, while the pharaoh is the one who wins whenever he comes to the battlefield. This feature has been generically called as propaganda. The term is usually interpreted in its negative aspects, as full of bombastic expressions celebrating the king and his deeds. But for an ancient Egyptian, any event was strictly bound to the concept of ritual: a king's victory against his enemies is represented as defeating the Nine Bows — his cosmic enemies. Therefore, whether he had effectively won the Nine Bows or not becomes entirely irrelevant, as the pharaoh's victories permitted the maintenance of the order of the world, represented by Maat, which the supreme god had predestined to his people. Furthermore, any narrated happening stands on a double plan in the Egyptian mental horizon. The first is linear: any royal deed follows an earlier one in a chronological scale. The second plan is instead cyclical: as the Nile inundation happens every year, any sequence of events will return again in the future. At this point, any royal victory becomes the re-enactment of a primordial victory, made by some ancestors."
  • Page 4: QUOTE: "For this reason, the Egyptian royal texts continuously repeat phrases such as: 'the similar was found in the book of the ancestors'. Any action had to lead to the 'first time', to the primordial phase of the humankind, when the gods inspired the humans. This adherence to earlier models commits the texts themselves to a homologation of clauses and topics, which are almost immutable from an inscription to the other. Moreover, any pharaoh claims to have surpassed what his ancestors had already done, and any temporal dynamicity is completely absorbed."
  • Page 4-5: QUOTE: "As any pharaoh was keen to stress, no victory was possible without god's help. For this reason royal texts conclude with the reward given to the deity, whose earthly arm is embodied by the pharaoh. For instance, the campaigns of Thutmose III in Syria/Palestine are known from the Annals the king carved on the side wall of the northern ambulatory around the barque shrine. In the initial part of the Annals (Urk. IV, 648 2-7), Thutmose III justifies his intervention as compelled by the restoration of the order: 'For it had been a period of [many] years [that Retenu has lapsed into] brigandage, while everyone was committing theft against his fellow, and [...]. Then it transpired, in later times that the garrison which was there was (now) in the town of Sharuhen, while (the territory) form Yarusa as far as the distant marshlands had broken out in rebellion against His Majesty'. The pharaoh at this point justifies his actions in Asia using the theme of the enemy as rebel to the pharaoh's power, which by the time the Annals were carved had become a literary topic. Furthermore, the ideological base of the inscription is the same as it has been already enunciated above: as violence spreads in the country, forces pharaoh to intervene in order to restore Maat."
  • Page 5: QUOTE: "This initial statement made by Thutmose III serves to introduce the long series of victorious campaigns from the twenty-second until the forty-second year, campaigns rewarded by the various tributes the Levantine kings give to the pharaoh. Recent and not so recent studies have demonstrated that inw should be considered in some cases as exchange between kings of the equal status, and not just form the subdued kings to the victorious one. For the existence of gift exchange between pharaoh and foreign kings, the later cuneiform tablets from Amarna are the best example. In them, the Mesopotamian kings are not afraid to condemn pharaoh's avarice. Most importantly, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun are Assyrian and Babylonian kings' brothers. Therefore, the equalitarian level, which is completely denied by the Egyptian pharaoh in his own texts, is with energy reasserted by his foreign counterpart."
  • Page 5-6: QUOTE: "In the specific case of Thutmose III's received gifts, the pharaoh is not the final addressee of them: the placement of his annals inside god's temple very close to the sancta sanctorum [sic] declares that the king can obtain these gifts only thanks to god's predilection. The king is the favoured; therefore god makes happen anything asked by the king himself. But the god needs his rewards too, and the inw passing through pharaoh's hands are used to embellish god's house. Moreover, the proximity of the Annals to the divine barge where the god rests — a part completely inaccessible to the public view — serves to recall the existence of the dialogue between god and king, which is completely private. If this instance may not be considered sufficient, I would like to consider a further example, the battle of Kadesh between Ramesses II and Muwatalli. The pharaoh made a great effort to celebrate the fact that he alone defeated the hordes of Hittite chariots attacking the Egyptian camp, a statement recorded in various places of Egypt (Abydos, Karnak, Abu Simbel, and the Ramesseum) as well as on papyri. As this Egyptian 'victory' is confronted with the cuneiform versions of the event issued by the Hittite king, it emerges that Ramesses II asserted victory when probably was nothing more than a draw. Considering Ramesses II as pretentious and magniloquent in his statement of victory over Muwatalli may be correct if confronted with the historical reality. But in the heat of battle, as Ramesses II calls the god to his help; the pharaoh is the legitimate son who has done benefactions to his divine father. Having listened to his son, the god cannot ensure anything less than victory. Therefore, the pharaoh has to become the winner at Kadesh; his defeat would be an offence [sic] against the deity."
  • Page 6-7: QUOTE: "Annals and royal list occupy two precise spots in any discussions of Egyptian history. While the term has already been encountered for Thutmose III's accounts of his military achievements, by annals I here intend a recollection with a lengthy description of events relative to the various spheres of royal activity (cultic, military, and civil), placed in chronological order. In ancient Egypt, the first known example is the Palermo Stone, while the other instance is the Sixth Dynasty Annals recently published by Dobrev and Baud. Both of them limit any information to the name of the king, cattle census, height of the inundation and the most relevant events. Such a mention however, is very often reduced to what can be called the label of an event and finally the level of the Nile: 'Following of Horus; creating (an image of) Min, 2 cubits, 3 palms, two-and-three-quarters'."
  • Page 7: QUOTE: "Most of the king's lists are essentially cultic. They come from temples — Thutmose III's Room of the Ancestors at Karnak, Sethi I and Ramesses II from Abydos, Ramesses II's Ramesseum and Ramesses III's Medinet Habu — and are celebrative: the ruling pharaoh is represented as offering to his predecessors, who are distant temporally, or venerable for fame or antiquity. In effect, the reverence to illustrious ancestors was probably dependent from the legitimacy they cried for: Thutmose III wanted to reassert his rights after stepmother Hatshepsut disappeared from the scene. In the case of the Ramessides (Sethi I and Ramesses II, Ramesses III), they feared to be considered as parvenus. Therefore, a desire to create links with legitimate kings was at the base of this appropriation of the past."
  • Page 7: QUOTE: "Amongst the royal material, I have mentioned the archives. The only survived royal archive is constituted by the cuneiform letters from Amarna, which I have earlier introduced. Their value in order to reconstruct the political map of Levant during the fourteenth century BC and the ideology permeating them is self evident. The main problem however, is that the documentation is unidirectional: most of the tablets come from abroad, but very few are from the pharaohs to the foreign kings. Therefore, sequences of events and reactions to single letters can be only guesswork."
  • Page 7-8: QUOTE: "The only documentary king-list survived from ancient Egypt is the so-called Royal Canon of Turin. Its precise origin and scope are open to discussion, as it is written on a reverse of papyrus reporting a discarded tax-list of Ramesside age. It is essentially a compilation of partial king-lists of different historical periods, giving royal names and regnal years, sometimes detailed to the day. Like the annals, the Royal Canon is fundamental in order to reconstruct Egyptian chronology; but no other historical flesh is inserted."
  • Page 8: QUOTE: "The same point done for the royal inscriptions is substantially valid for the private biographies. They are fundamental to reconstruct careers and genealogies, but only in a few cases give precise detailed information about events the officials directly participated."
  • Page 8: QUOTE: "About histories composed by indigenous writers, Manetho wrote his Aegyptiaca at the beginnings of the third century BC under the early stages of the Ptolemaic rule. His historical work is just survived in later works, but his dynastic divisions are still in use by Egyptologists. Anticipating here some of the conclusion to this work, when the historical material preserved by later excerptors is considered, his history looks like much more a sequence of mirabilia or memorabilia. And as it will be seen in chapter six, Manetho follows the pattern of Egyptian history already used by Herodotus a couple centuries earlier."

The Libyan Period[edit]

Libyan Period conclusions[edit]

  • Note: As Gozzolo notes on page 21, the "Libyan Period" encompasses the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt, Twenty-second dynasty of Egypt, Twenty-third dynasty of Egypt, and Twenty-fourth dynasty of Egypt when the country was controlled by a line of pharaohs from Ancient Libya (except Dynasty 21, where native pharaohs were ruled over by Libyans).
  • Page 50: QUOTE: "A quite brief summary can be offered. The element of continuity is the strongest feature of the royal text of the Libyan Period. The stability of forms is without doubt innate in certain texts such as jubilee inscriptions and triumphal reliefs. In fact, I would like to introduce the subcategory of canonisation for them, where tradition dictates very strongly the manners of presentation. Jubilee inscriptions and triumphal reliefs go back to the dawn of Egyptian civilization; the codes are indeed strong and the chance of innovation quite limited. But also the criterion of conformity is evident. For the Smendes stela, as well as the Karnak stela of Shoshenq I, some changes are indeed permitted. The concept of Maat as stabilising factor of the society however, dictates the choice and therefore limits the options for a choice."

The Nubian Period[edit]

Nubian Period conclusions[edit]

  • Note: The Nubian Period covers the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt only.
  • Page 85-86: QUOTE: "As seen above, the element of novelty transpires from the hieroglyphic format of stelae. The triumphal stela is indeed the most significant inscription of the entire corpus of Nubian royal texts, but it is not the one where a Nubian ideology translated into Egyptian formats is the most visible. This privilege belongs to Kawa V. The relevance of the king's mother, but I would prefer to see it as the relevance of the king's sister is here mentioned in reference to Taharqo's Kawa V, but is more clearly enunciated in the later Nubian inscriptions. As a preliminary hypothesis, I believe that the importance of the king's sisters were the guarantors of the covenant established by Alara. Anlamani's stela says that the king's four sisters were given as priestesses to various temples, and Aspelta stresses the same motif. The pact with the god has to be maintained by each generation of Nubian kings, because it is the basis of their power. While some of the novelties of the Nubian inscriptions are obviously mediated by features of the Libyan Period, their influence will still be visible in the following Saite Period, as it will be seen in the next chapter."

The Saite Period and the Last Indigenous Dynasties[edit]

Saite Period conclusions[edit]

  • Note: No conclusions section for this chapter.

Persian and Ptolemaic Periods[edit]

Persian and Ptolemaic conclusions[edit]

  • Page 152: QUOTE: "The Ptolemies learned the earlier lesson of the Persian kings. They understood that representing themselves as kings who followed Egyptian rules in their actions permitted them to control the country, but they also realised that their foreignness could be a heavy handicap in dealings with their local subjects and for this they needed an intermediary. These intermediaries were indeed the Egyptian temples. The Egyptian priests accepted this situation, but there was a price to pay for it and in this context is important to note that the Demotic Chronicle moral is already part of the Satrap stela. In fact, the Satrap stela was the actual contract binding together the Ptolemies and the Egyptian priests. The Ptolemies gave donations and Egyptian priesthood gave support. Such a support took a particular form, which I have labelled conformity. In fact, the royal texts of the Ptolemaic Period show a conservative attitude. No Greek themes appear and the main exception can be considered the description of the city foundations, especially if this also implies a divinisation of the city founders. Any foreign element was effectively absorbed in the structure of the royal texts."
  • Page 152: QUOTE: "The priestly decrees are the extreme point of this relation between king and priests. While the reasons why such a format was introduced in Egypt cannot be wholly ascertained, the probability that the decrees imply the unification of all the elements of the Ptolemaic society — the divinisation of the royal family is only an example — under the king is quite strong. But this again returns to the fundamental role of the Egyptian priesthood, the only social group able to speak and transcribe the various languages needed in order to reach the widest spectrum of society."


His life and work[edit]

  • Page 191: QUOTE: "Redford, discussing the Egyptian historian Manetho, says: 'In essaying the task of analysing Manetho, one is entering a 'no-man's land' whose paths are uncharted though nonetheless discussed widely in current scholarly literature. When on considers that virtually everything told about the man, including his name, is at present in the realm of the unverifiable, at least from the vantage point of external controls, one may better appreciate the absolute necessity of the inductive process of investigation.' This preamble is greatly needed; few biographical items and fragments of his work survived all of them from much later quotations. Even the name has been interpreted as the Greek version of the Egyptian Mry-n-Dḥwty,...Mniw-ḥtrw,...[a bunch of Egyptian names with funky letters I can't reproduce!]."
  • Page 191-192: QUOTE: "He probably lived under the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. The Ptolemy I date completely depends on a quotation from Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 28-30, where the foundation of the Serapis cult is associated with bringing the statue of the god from Synope. Manetho with the Greek Timotheus convinced the king that the statue was belonging to Pluto/Serapis, so the new cult was established. How long he lived is also an open question [sic] a papyrus from el-Hibeh of 241/240 BC names Manetho in a memorandum of the overseer Dorion, but whether the Manetho here is the same as the historian is completely guesswork. Most of the informants give Sebennytos in Lower Egypt as his birthplace and it seems that Manetho held a very high social position; the same later sources say that he was High Priest of Re at Heliopolis. Various works have been attributed to him: the Sacred Book, Antiquity and Religion, On Festivals, On the Preparation of Kyphi and Physiologica, all now completely disappeared. For anyone interested in Egyptian history, his Aegyptiaca, a discussion of the history of Egypt in three books, is to ancient and modern eyes the most important work. The general assumption that Manetho wrote his Aegyptiaca on Ptolemy II's order is entirely based on the fact that Manetho lived during Ptolemy II's reign and on the dedication letter to Ptolemy II attributed to Manetho in the Book of Sothis. As for the other works, Manetho's historical work in the original version has gone almost completely lost and it has been only preserved in the works of later writers."
  • Page 192-193: QUOTE: "In the first century AD, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus used some passages of Manetho's history in his apologetic work Against Apion. After a hiatus of more than a century, the early Christian chronicler Julius Africanus (ca. 220 AD) took passages of Manetho's work in order to create a world chronology. Then, at the beginning of the fourth century AD, Eusebius of Caesaria took material freely from Africanus' work in order to write his Historia Ecclesiastica, later reused by Jerome in his commentary on the Bible. An Armenian translation of Eusebius was made in the fifth century AD, while an Excerpta Latina Barbari appeared in the sixth century AD, deriving directly from Africanus. The last quotation of Manetho, following the summaries of Africanus and Eusebius was made by the Byzantine monk Georgios, named Syncellus (ca. 800 AD). What the Christian chronographers Africanus and Eusebius transmitted is the fruit of a double process: (1) an Epitome was produced some time after the appearance of Manetho's work, a Thirty-first Dynasty was added and perhaps other changes or additions made. (2) An epitome was further undertaken by a Hellenistic writer. Through these events, the list indeed suffered simplifications and omissions, which contributed to garble the list of kings. In addition, the single reigns were expanded, in order to align the Egyptian and Biblical chronologies."


  • Page 224: QUOTE: "The main question still hanging around is about what was Manetho's historical work. His king-lists follow a scheme which is known from the Turin Canon. He built up his history by collecting partial king lists and placing them altogether. Rejecting the idea of major interpolations, I am not that naïve to accept that all of what is survived of Manetho's Aegyptiaca in modern times really is original of the Ur-Manetho. In one case at least, a mistake is obviously posterior to Manetho. Josephus' Contra Apionem (fr. 50), and Theophylus Ad Autolycum (III, 9) calls Tethmosis as the one who frees Egypt. Here Tethmosis has to be intended as a reference to Thutmose III, the pharaoh winner of all. That association is obviously wrong, as more properly the name of Ahmose is given for such enterprise by Africanus and Eusebius. But I am certainly inclined to accept that most survived is Manetho's, while summaries and any most obvious mistake — such as the troublesome Eighteenth Dynasty for instance — were signs of excerptors' work."
  • Page 224: QUOTE: "Manetho also becomes fundamental for his attempt to write Egyptian history following Greek models. Manetho is in effect a bridge between two cultures. He and Hecataeus of Abdera before him had Herodotus as a model; thus the narrative form was indeed the most apt to interest the Ptolemaic court. The glossae highlight aspects which are not completely unknown to the new lords, such as the antiquity of Egypt and the chronological connections. Like Herodotus' Egyptian informers, Manetho's history was also nationalistic, as the lepers' story or the episode of Ramesses and Harmais would highlight. And the apocalyptic character of some of his information gives was a fundamental part of Egyptian culture of the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods."
  • Page 224-225: QUOTE: "From a cultural point of view, the early Ptolemies made a wide use of Egyptian tradition and used the past as a way to legitimise [sic] their power. Manetho, accepting such a conciliatory policy by the first two Ptolemies, has to be considered as a member of the elite who hoped that co-operation between Egyptian and Greeks was possible. His participation in the founding of the Serapis cult, if Plutarch's quotation can be accepted in its historical validity, should be seen as the desire to collaborate with the political establishment. But collaboration did not necessarily mean complete obsequiousness towards power: Manetho vouchsafed Egypt's antiquity as a way of establishing an equal status between the new rulers and the indigenous classes, where openness to the Hellenistic world was coupled with an indigenous awareness of Egypt. His history is part of the Ptolemaic cultural environment, when the Egyptian priests collaborated with the new rulers but at the same searched for emancipation from them."



  • Page 227: QUOTE: "The stories of the first millennium BC written in hieroglypic, hieratic or demotic represent one of the most prolific grounds for the literature of the period in question. For the purposes of my research, two different paths will be followed. The first is that of trying to place each story in its historical context; i.e. when the story was written and this sometimes entails giving a presumable date of its literary composition. The second and most important point is of sorting out from the story itself what the scribe was aiming to do by writing a certain document in a certain style. In order to give a certain structure to the material, the following subgroups have been made:"
1) Stories of First Millennium Pharaohs
2) Monumental Versions of Priestly Propaganda
3) Egypt as Conqueror of All
  • Page 227: QUOTE: "As with any classification, there is a certain arbitrariness in my divisions. The material here considered is to be found in different writings and formats and in addition some of the topics appear in more than one group, and the choice of the material excludes any mythological text. The division into groups is substantially inherent to the contents of the various texts. The first title refers to stories where pharaohs of the first millennium are mentioned, fairly often in a not very explicit way. However, such stories are a sign of the way in which ancient Egyptians considered their kings, sometimes not long after the king's death. By monumental versions, I mean inscriptions such as the Bakhtan and Famine Stelae, which Lichtheim classified as pseudo-epigrapha. These inscriptions imitate old styles, rework historical events and seek to give an appearance of antiquity. The third group looks familiar, as I have already discussed Herodotus and Manetho, who already made use of Egypt as world conqueror theme. Viewing Egypt as a world power, when it no longer was one, assumes a special meaning in the second half of the first millennium BC."

Stories of the Pharaohs of the first millennium BC[edit]

Neferkare and the General Sasenet[edit]

  • Page 228: QUOTE: "The story of Neferkare, the phenomenon of Pepi II, and Sasenet is known from three copies, the most ancient from the end of the Eighteenth or earlier Nineteenth Dynasty and the most recent and most complete one of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The more ancient texts transmit a very fragmentary introductory section, from which we learn that an unknown personage was soon to present his case in court, perhaps with the pharaoh acting to favour his courtiers against the plaintiff. Also the general Sasenet is introduced, described as having no wife. The fragment in Paris, dating to the Twenty-fifth Dynasty narrates the nocturnal encounters between Neferkare and Sasenet, with the king followed by a certain Tjety, whose role in the entire story is unknown."
  • Page 228-229: QUOTE: "The text is rich with literary references; for example, the four hours of the night spent by Pepi II with Sasenet recall the 'profound darkness' of ancient Egyptians, which was associated with the nocturnal encounter of Osiris with Re. The mythical and sexual union of Re and Osiris is indeed mocked in the story of Neferkare, which is a parody of the myth. The reasons for this tale in reference to Pepi II may be various; ancient Egyptians anyway were very keen to write down stories about the royal personalities of the Old Kingdom. In general, the choice of the pharaohs comes from particular cultural events that stroke Egyptian minds during the Late Period: Djoser was the king under whom Imhotep lived, Khufu the one who built the great pyramid, Pepi II the one who lived and ruled longer than any other pharaoh. As Herodotus notes, despotism and cruelty were features attributed to Khufu, because a big pyramid could not be built without forcing the Egyptian people to erect it. In the Neferkare story, the symptoms of internal decadence in Egypt — attested in historical documents — which appeared towards the end of Pepi II's long reign may have given rise to a completely invented story. The main outline of the Neferkare story in the established form assumed during the New Kingdom associates the documented political decadence with failing of the pharaoh's moral standards at the same time. The pharaoh was the keeper of established order in the world and any deficit in it was considered his moral fault."
  • Page 229: QUOTE: "In the Neferkare story, this moral fault assumed a very precise form in the sexual abnormality of the pharaoh. Indeed, homosexuality was abhorred by the Egyptians, who precisely referred to it as a peculiarity of Seth; it is enough to quote here the quarrel between Horus and Seth, when Seth has a sexual liaison with his nephew, who, however, finds a way to avoid complete union and in his turn and wins the dispute over Osiris' throne. Pepi II's partiality in judging and his perversion determined the collapse of the pharaonic regime and the main point of the story as a whole plays on this. This character is also associated with a stinging irony from the ancient Egyptians, who were very willing to create more earthly images of their lord."
  • Page 230: QUOTE: "In 1957, Posener remarked on the long survival of the story in Egyptian folklore, fragments of that text appearing over a span of 650 years, of which the last and most complete copy is the Louvre papyrus. In fact, this preservation and reprisal of the story may be dictated by the adoption of Pepi II's prenomen Neferkare by Shabaqo. The story was copied again as irony against a pharaoh who happened to have used the same prenomen of Pepi II. Shabaqo was the specific target, but that irony might have been directed against the entire Nubian dynasty. Any proof of it can only be circumstantial and based on later documentation. From at least Psammetichus II's reign onwards, open hostility against the Nubian pharaohs was an established fact. Moreover, as it will see below for the Setne cycle, stories and ritual are strongly characterised by hatred against the Nubians. Within this picture and placed in an eighth century BC situation, the Neferkare and Sasenet story might have resurfaced. Thus, the Chassinat papyrus would be an example of hostility to the Twenty-fifth Dynasty before the massive campaign directed against the Nubian pharaohs by Psammetichus II."

The Papyrus Vandier[edit]

  • Page 230-231: QUOTE: "The hieratic Papyrus Vandier (Papyrus Lille 139) dated between the end of the sixth and the fifth centuries BC, narrates the story of a pharaoh named SӠ-Sbk doomed to die and saved by the sacrifice of the magician and general Meryre. In fact, the papyrus says that after a painful night during which the pharaoh cannot eat nor drink, the pharaoh's magicians explain that this state will lead to the king's death within seven days:"
'He calls all his magicians. The pharaoh, life, prosperity, health, described in front of them, the event happened to him. His magicians emitted a loud cry. They told him: 'My great lord, such conditions as happened to the enemies of the pharaoh, Djedkare.' His magicians opened their books; they found that seven days were established for the end of his lifetime. No name of his magicians was known, who could ask for him (a prolongation of) the lifetime.'
  • Page 231: QUOTE: "The motif of the doomed king or prince is part of Egyptian literature: a story by that title has survived. Moreover, Herodotus' narrative of Mycerinus' deeds (II, 133) has quite astonishing similarities. For Mycerinus, the adverse oracle is caused by his good behaviour, which is against the god's will, and for this reason he is punished with a short reign. Having understood his fault, Mycerinus tries to avert what the oracle has predicted, living for pleasure by night and day. Indeed, the story as narrated by Herodotus is also derived from the tradition which created the version in the Papyrus Vandier. In Herodotus and the Papyrus Vandier, there is reiteration of the number 7 for the time left to the pharaoh. The main difference is that the figure in Herodotus' Mycerinus refers to years, while in the Papyrus Vandier it refers to days."
  • Page 231-232: QUOTE: "The pharaoh doomed to die in the Papyrus Vandier has Dd-kӠ-Rˤ as his personal name in cartouche. Struck by the coincidence between the two stories, Kammerzell wanted to correct the name of the king from Dd-kӠ-Rˤ to Mn-kӠw-Rˤ. The name is not in fact clear. The signs and appear quite neat, the visible square representing the middle sign is placed higher than and , things which lead me to suppose that a vertical stroke is missing. If so, the supposition of [...] is quite probable. The shape of the sequence [...] as given in the Vandier papyrus (recto, 1, 14 end), that Kammerzell quotes as similar to the sign in the mentioned cartouche, for me does not show that similarity which Kammerzell claims to see. By the name Dd-kӠ-Rˤ, Posener has supposed a reference to Djedkare Isesi of the Fifth Dynasty. In fact, Djedkare is also the prenomen of Shebitqo, but this interpretation has been rejected by Posener, who assumes that the historical setting of the New Kingdom contradicts any reference to the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The New Kingdom flavouring is certainly definite, Meryre is a personal name typical of the New Kingdom and the somewhat enigmatic quotation of a pharaoh Mineptah (6, 7) betrays Merenptah of the Nineteenth Dynasty."
  • Page 232: QUOTE: "However, there is a further element which seems to point to Nubian royal names. The disgraced pharaoh is named SӠ-Sbk. That name does not belong to any known historical king of ancient Egypt. As already noted by Posener, ancient Egyptian stories are located in a true, or at least verisimilar [sic] historical background, but this does not seem the case for the Papyrus Vandier. Posener's supposition that SӠ-Sbk should be considered an epithet of a pharaoh, 'son of Sobek', which later was transformed into the king's proper name, has not received further support. More recently, Jasnow has connected SӠ-Sbk with Άσυχις of Herodotus II, 136 and Σασυχις of Diodorus I, 94, who makes him one of the six lawgivers of Egypt. As this scholar has noted, however, the question of who is the historical SӠ-Sbk is not solved in any case. The interpretation by Fischer-Elfert of SӠ-Sbk that it means son of Sbk (=Shabaqo), i.e. Shebitqo, has its own attractiveness. Shebitqo has the prenomen Dd-kӠ-Rˤ as given in the Papyrus Vandier and a garbling of king's names is not so difficult to admit. In the quoted passage, Dd-kӠ-Rˤ is placed before Sa-Sobek (=Shebitqo), when in reality name and epithet refer to the same pharaoh."
  • Page 232-233: QUOTE: "I am much inclined to accept this interpretation of the theory of a historical mix-up, which shows propaganda hostile to the Nubian pharaohs two centuries after the end of their rule over Egypt. In fact, the figure of Sa-Sobek is far from positively depicted. The pharaoh is easy to anger (1, 8-9); nullifying promises he is unable to keep (1, 13-15). He is also blasphemous, because he breaks the promise given to Meryre to protect Meryre's wife and son. Meryre's wife is taken as the Great Royal Wife and his son is killed (4, 14-15, 1). Looking at the Egyptian folklore, those features apply in turn to Khufu in Papyrus Westcar and to Cheops in Herodotus. In addition, the pharaoh's marrying someone else's wife appears in the Tale of the Two Brothers, when the pharaoh marries Bata's wife. However, there is a passage that may give a glimpse of the historical situation. When the supreme god asks Meryre about the condition of the Egyptian temples, the magician is ready to answer that the temples and their incomes flourish as ever (4, 1-3). But when the same god asks about the conditions for widows, Meryre immediately replies that the situation is very bad indeed for them (4, 3-6). The prosperity of the temples is part of the Egyptian conception of Maat; it is one of the pharaoh's tasks to maintain high standards in the temples. Usually in ancient Egyptian literature, prosperity of the temples and people happens when there is a strong kingship. It is opposed to the neglect of temples and people during politically troubled times. For the association between neglect of the temple and bad times, I can quote Khakheperreseneb (I, 10) as an example: 'I contemplate what has happened, the conditions which have come about throughout the land. Transformations are taking place; it is not like last year. One year is more troublesome than the other. The land is breaking up, becoming a wasteland to me.'"
  • Page 233: QUOTE: "Thus, the dichitomy of the two elements as appears in the Papyrus Vandier is quite strange and as far as I know, not attested before. Having interpreted Sa-Sobek and Djedkare as belonging to the Nubian period, the description of the flourishing condition of the temples well match what is known of the building activities by the Nubians in Egypt. No better example of this policy can be found than the lists of donations to the temples mentioned in the triumphal stela of Piye. Of the neglect of the Egyptian people by the Nubian pharaohs, there is no proof. The great respect for Egyptian tradition deeply felt by the Nubian pharaohs, their respect to the Egyptian temples, as thoroughly demonstrated by various passages in Piye's triumphal stela, as well as the various building activities of the Nubian pharaohs at Thebes certainly contrast with their disregard of the Egyptian subjects. Therefore, I am more inclined to assume that the disgrace experienced by the Egyptian people as narrated in the Papyrus Vandier is part of the hostile propaganda against the Nubian king which appeared in the time of Psammetichus II and was then transformed into a general hostility against the Nubians."

The story of the drunken Amasis[edit]

  • Page 234: QUOTE: "The Demotic story of Amasis is on the recto of the Bibliothéque Nationale papyrus on which the Demotic Chronicle is written. The plot of the story is as follows: the pharaoh Amasis spends a night with wine and women. The morning after, Amasis has a very bad hangover and asks to be amused by a story. The Demotic story of Amasis closely recalls the one presented by Herodotus (II 173, 1): a king used to deliberating in the mornings, but devoted to the pleasure in the afternoons. Treating the king in a quite vulgar way looks as though the ancient Egyptians wanted to demean the figure of the former general, but there are a few examples in the Demotic story to show that many features of 'higher' Egyptian literature are present in the text. The quarrel between Amasis eager to drink and his courtiers introduces the Königsnovelle setting, which is typical of many royal texts. After having announced his decision, Amasis says he wants to spend the day on the lake; the pleasure of the lake is the same as Snefru desires in the Westcar papyrus; in this latter case the delights of the lake are also amplified by the vision of girls rowing the boat. Amasis drinks too much and falls into a deep sleep, but as in the Neferkare and Sasenet story, Amasis' drunkenness in enriched by literary finesses, it has mythological connections with the Book of the Heavenly Cow, in the section entitled the Destruction of Mankind, when Hathor/Sekhmet, charged with exterminating the human race, works so well that she has to be stopped by making her drink beer mixed with red ochre."
  • Page 234-235: QUOTE: "The drunkennes theme is not an end in itself but serves to introduce a novel narrated by the wab-priest of Nieth, called PӠ-nty-sdm, who introduces the story as having happened in an earlier time. The story inside the story structure completely matches the Westcar papyrus opening, where Khufu's sons tell their father stories which are set in the reign of a predecessor. In the Demotic story, the name of the pharaoh in whose reign the events take place as well as the reason why Hor, son of Siosiris, a young sailor, has gone to visit the pharaoh are lost in a couple of textual gaps. The narrative continues with the pharaoh ordering Hor to visit Naenmpanehes, but a violent storm makes the sailor curse his bad luck. The final scene is that of a wife wishing well to a departing husband and we are left wonder about the remaining part of the story. Perhaps the following part was along the lines of the Report of Wenamun or the story of the Shipwrecked Sailor, when some unfortunate events befall the main character of the story, which is left to suffer in some foreign land."
  • Page 235: QUOTE: "The picture of Amasis from the story closely matches Herodotus' Amasis. In the latter, positive and negative representation mix together, something not appearing in the demotic story, which is anyway broken. From a textual point of view, any literary devices presented in the text demonstrate that a highly skilled scribe worked on the text, able to pursue different registers. He integrated folklore into a superior level of creation and it becomes literature."

Excursus: Apries in Later Literature[edit]

  • Page 235-236: QUOTE: "The fragmentary papyrus Brooklyn 47.218.135 is dated by the editor to about the fourth century BC following the palaeographical criteria. Such date has been disputed, and a datation between 589-570 and 500 BC has been proposed. It contains a hieratic text, many topics of which refer to traditional themes of the wisdom literature in the Late Period. It is not highly improbable that the text in its actual form is an amalgam of several compositions, all combined at a later stage. This heterogeneity of the Brooklyn papyrus is particularly evident in column 1, where the grammar and writings do not conform to those of the other parts of the text. The archaising style of column 1 is also matched by the presence of a royal name under whose reign the teachings are presumably placed. In 1, 14 the king is named 'the son of Re, WӠḥ-ib-Rˤ'. As royal personal name, it is known for Apries only. It is quite probable that the context in which Apries was mentioned might refer to a divine acknowledgement of Apries' right to rule. The quotation of Apries and his ideological conceptions of kingship, which do not really attain the status of a didactic composition, should point to a date for the original version of column 1 some time during the reign of Apries. If the text is really belonging to the fourth century BC, even going back to the late sixth century BC, immediately following the fall of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, the presence of Apries' name has some important consequences. In the Elephantine stela of Amasis, Apries suffered bad propaganda after his complete defeat, undoubtedly fostered by Amasis. This bad propaganda is also reflected in Herodotus II, 161.4-163; 169, 1-5, where the war between Apries and Amasis is narrated and Apries is blamed for his arrogance and anger. As usual in Egyptian texts, the Elephantine stela propagates the version of the story which the winner Amasis wanted to proclaim and the voice of the loser Apries is completely subdued."
  • Page 236: QUOTE: "However, there are pieces of evidence which show that support for Apries, or rather an aversion to Amasis was still present in Egypt at the end of the Saite Dynasty. As I showed in the fifth chapter, at the time of his conquest of Egypt, Cambyses asserted his right to rule over the Two Lands through his connections with Apries and by attacking any memory related to Amasis. The Herodotean exposition of Cambyses' actions is inserted into a narrative devoted to Cambyses' hybris which will lead him to madness. The fact that Apries is mentioned in a wisdom text possibly to be dated contemporarily to Amasis himself shows that anti-Amasis support was less spread as the official versions attempted to point out. This statement gives support to the idea that anti-Amasis feelings were exploited by Cambyses in his attempt to create pharaonic connections for himself. The claims to legitimacy of Apries and the coup by Amasis were still contemporary material in 525 BC and even in the later Persian Period. This gives the impression that the Persian king was actively involved in Egyptian policy inn a more intelligent way than one might previously have supposed."

Monumental versions of priestly propaganda[edit]

A royal intermediate: the Shabaqo Stone[edit]

  • Page 236: QUOTE: "The slab held at the British Museum (EA 498) with a treatise called the Memphite Theology was copied under Shabaqo."

The Bakhtan stela[edit]

  • Page 240: QUOTE: "The Bakhtan or Bentresh stela, which takes its name from the place or the princess mentioned in the text, narrates events chronologically placed during the reign of Ramesses II. The date of the stela is given as approximately between the Libyan and Early Ptolemaic Period, the lower limit being set as 282-246 BC. A Libyan or post-Libyan date is confirmed by the particularity of the nw-pot sign to write the letter n in the epithet Stp-n-Rˤ and of some hieroglyphic groups, which do not appear before the reign of Sheshonq V. Cenival believes that the Bakhtan stela is a Libyan document, basing his suppositions on the representation of the lunette, which closely recalls oracular consultations of the Libyan Period — there are indeed many similarities between the iconography of the lunette of the Bakhtan stela and oracular decrees of the Libyan Period. It has been also noted that the Bakhtan stela avoids any Ptolemaic developments of the hieroglyphic language."

The Famine Stela[edit]

  • Page 247: QUOTE: "The Sehel Stela, best known as the Famine Stela, is an inscription carved on a granite boulder on the eponymous island; it deals with the donation of the territory named during the Ptolemaic Period Dodecaschoinos. The stela is dated to 'Year 18 (under the authority) of Horus Ntrht Dsr, King Ntrht, the Two Ladies, Ntrht Golden Horus Dsr', the king Djoser of the Step Pyramid of Saqqara."
  • Page 247-248: QUOTE: "As justly remarked by Goedicke, the presence of a full titulary contrasts with Old Kingdom royal texts, on which the date is followed by the Horus name only. The name Ntrht for the pharaoh builder of the Step pyramid appears in all Old Kingdom inscriptions, while the prenomen Djoser is quoted for the first time in the Westcar papyrus. In the story, Khufu asks that an offering should be given to the 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt Dsr. During the Middle Kingdom, a statue was erected by Sesostris II 'for his father, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Dsr'. The New Kingdom king-lists quote a king named as Dsr-sз (Abydos Sethi I's temple), or Dsr (Royal Canon of Turin) and the latter is also reported by the New Kingdom graffiti incised on the Step Pyramid complex. In addition, the restoration inscription by Khaemwase, Ramesses II's son, carved on the Step Pyramid, names the king as Dsr. It is only with the Late Period, however, that the names Ntrht and Dsr appear together; the first example is the statue of Iahmes (Berlin 14765) dating from the early Persian Period, with the Famine Stela as the only other example."
  • Page 248-249: QUOTE: "Despite a very slight patina or archaisms present in the inscription, it has been widely acknowledged that the Famine Stela is a fake of Ptolemaic times. Some of the writings suggest a Ptolemaic date, as Barguet has clearly pointed out. In his edition of the text, that scholar maintained that the initial date refers to the eighteen years of the reign of Ptolemy V; thus the stela should be dated to 187 BC. For this scholar, the Egyptian name dsr is simply a rendering of the Greek Θεὸς ΈπιΦανής and Ptolemy V would disappear behind the mask of a Third Dynasty king. He supports this conclusion by the following points:"
a) "Ptolemy V built a temple to Imhotep on Philae Island late in his reign, although the exact date cannot be specified."
b)"The northern part of the Dodecaschoinos was subdued to Ptolemy VI, thus the colonisation at least was likely to have started after Ptolemy V defeated Chaonnophris in 186 BC and re-established his control over Upper Egypt."
c) The troubled times during the reigns of Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V should have led to a period of famine in the country. As is known from the Memphis decree, there was a high rise of the Nile in the eighth year of Ptolemy V (197 BC); perhaps, some years later, low inundation levels brought drought and thus fewer crops.
  • Page 249-250: QUOTE: "These points are integrated in the general view that Ptolemy V chose a more philo-Egyptian policy, as appears from his coronation ceremony held at Memphis. For Barguet, his resurgence of an attitude more favourable to the locals might have led to an interest in the past. The presence of dedication inscriptions in the temple of Isis at Philae by the Meroitic kings would confirm the Meroitic control of Lower Nubia between the First and Second Cataract. Following a demotic graffito found in the temple of Assuan, the Meroitic control extended between year 10 and year 16 of a king Ptolemy, who is usually believed to be Ptolemy V. However, about Chaonnophris and his revolt, if the chronology as set up by Pestman is followed, the Greek army never lost control over Elephantine, though Chaonnophris succeeded in isolating Alexandria from the Elephantine garrison for a short spell between 197 and 191 BC."
  • Page 250: QUOTE: "Regarding the presence of famine in Egypt under Ptolemy V, Ptolemaic royal texts mention droughts to which kings have given relief, or the beneficent actions performed by them in order to avoid future famines. More specifically for the reign of Ptolemy V, a copy of a private letter in Greek from the Lycopolite nome, to be dated around 186 BC or immediately after, seems to confirm the presence of a drought, when it says: 'since the events at the time of the revolt of Chaonnophris, it happened that most people were destroyed and the land went dry'. Chaonnophris' control over the Lycopolite nome was short-lived, not lasting more than three years; thus the reference to the indigenous king might refer to this span of time. The evidence seems to corroborate the picture of the famine on the Sehel stela, in which a desolated country is stricken, where rich and poor are starving and the temples are in disarray."
  • Page 252: Gazzoli, in trying to work out a datable time frame for the Famine Stela, asserts that it could not have been made any later than the reign of Ptolemy XII, since by his reign the control of the Ptolemies did not extend further than Dabod (around Aswan, see Temple of Dabod) in the Dodecaschoinos.
  • Page 256-257: The same title (i.e. hry-ḥb ḥry-tp) given to Imhotep in the Famine Stela is also given to him in one other instance, a Greek inscription of the temple at Philae which was remained unfinished after Ptolemy V died in 180 BC and was not touched by his successors. Gazzoli states that the Famine Stela thus could have been erected at any time after this date. Gazzoli also thinks that the Famine Stela was not commissioned by the Ptolemaic court, but was the private initiative of Egyptian priests.
  • Page 259: QUOTE: "This entire mechanisation serves to proclaim the power of the universal god. In the central part of the Famine Stela, when the king consults Imhotep about the sources of the Nile, the priest informs him about the river and its source. This leads him to a description of Elephantine and its god Khmun. Talking about Khmun (col. 14), Imhotep describes the gods sunnaoi present in the temple of Khnum: Satet, Anuket and Hapy are the gods of the region. Unlike them, Shu, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Horus, Isis, and Nephtys, belong to the Heliopolitan Ennead, with the Late Period introduction of Horus instead of Seth. From this list of gods, Khnum appears in his function of local god, as well as the supreme god of the most ancient Egyptian pantheon."
  • Page 259: QUOTE: "This supremacy is also shown by the assimilation of Khnum with Re (col. 23), as well as Shu (col. 10). As the seat of the supreme god, the Elephantine region is a favoured land, a lengthy description of rocks and precious stones is given; in a few words, the city becomes the primeval mound, whence life began. The description of the abundance of the region completely reverses the description of the earlier squalor into which Egypt had fallen. After being informed, the king wants to make offerings to all the gods and goddesses of Elephantine, but the appearance of Khnum in a dream is a fundamental passage. If Imhotep had not been clear enough, the coming of the god establishes priorities and lets the pharaoh understand who must be the first and only receiver of the offers. Khnum explains that his is the god creator who has given this wealth: the Nile overflows at his behest."
  • Page 259-260: QUOTE: "This role as progenitor of humankind is demonstrated by the other gods whom Khnum mentions in the dream (cols. 18-22): Nun is the primeval chaos and Hapy, Tatenan and Shu represent the fundamental elements from which humanity was formed. Khnum asks the king to use the natural resources with which Elephantine is so well endowed to restore the temples and the god's statues so that the god will make the Nile waters rich. The god's words in the dream are far from being set in a do ut des pattern; it is natural that the progenitor god should be presented with what he has generated. At this point, the final decree is no more than an acknowledgement of the god's words and the massive list of offerings is an expression of respect from the king to the god. I can say that the detailed account of the donation serves ideologically to balance — and overcome, it should not be forgotten — what the Ptolemies had given to Isis. As we saw with the Bakhtan stela, the return to the past is nothing new for ancient Egyptians of the first millennium. Also the Stela of the daughter of Khufu — if this text is dated to the Saite Period — uses the past to confirm the renewal of a donation. These inscriptions had to state that their god was the most ancient of the region, or, better, he was the supreme god himself and all the honours were due to him. The advantage was of prestige alone, for I do not believe that the Famine Stela brought an increase in revenues to the temple of Khnum, especially if the priests were acting independently of any royal permission."
  • Page 260-261: QUOTE: "The association between a seven-year famine period and the Old Kingdom kings continues even later than the Ptolemaic Period. Papyri from Dimeh and Tebtunis in Fayum dated between the first and second centuries AD transmitted the so called 'Book of the Temple'. As for the Famine Stela, the whole story of the Book of the Temple is a reiteration of a decre established by the Second Dynasty king Nfr-kз-skr, a decree later found by Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty. The papyrus says that during Nfr-kз-skr's reign the temples declined, accompanied by a seven-year famine. The restoring of the temples and, as a result, the end of the famine, ensues once the king has obeyed the order from the gods in his dream. The final part of the Book of the Temple deals with the rituals and apparatus needed for temple foundations in Egypt. Both Famine Stela and the Book of the Temple are centred [sic] on the famine as sign of gods' anger when men lose interest in the temples [sic] wellbeing. Also the motif of the dream as the way in which the gods talk to the king, their earthly hand, is really the same for Djoser, as well as Nfr-kз-skr. These similarities between the Fayum papyri and the Famine Stela, their temporal predecessor, point out a common priestly background, i.e. the presence of the famine theme in Egyptian tradition during the Ptolemaic Period."
  • Page 261: QUOTE: "I wonder whether the presence of the famine as a topic associated with the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt had some sound historical basis. No royal and private inscriptions mention a famine before the Fifth dynasty. Only the reliefs of Sahure and Unas dated to the Fifth Dynasty show very emaciated people, now understood to be Bedouins. The only support for the antiquity of the theme comes from Manetho and his Wenephes of the First Dynasty, when the famine is mentioned (frs. 6-7). The concept of the king as protector of his subjects from starvation is indeed part of the royal ideology, which is present in the contemporaneous Palermo Stone of the Old Kingdom as well as in the Ptolemaic priestly inscriptions. Therefore, it is probable that the famine theme which appears in the Sehel stela is the convergence of this dual imagery. And as sometimes happens in Egyptian literature, the theme becomes associated with any available pharaoh of the period."

Egypt as Conqueror of All[edit]

The Setne cycle[edit]

  • Page 261-262: QUOTE: "The prince archaeologist Khaemwase, son of Ramesses II, became the main character in a series of stories in Demotic which circulated during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. In 1900, Griffith published the two major episodes, Setne I and Setne II, but other fragments have surfaced since then."
  • Page 262: QUOTE: "In the Setne I and II stories, Khaemwase is named Setne-Khaemwase, but this name is not attested for the historical Khaemwase of the Nineteenth Dynasty. The union of these two names has been explained as an erroneous interpretation of the priest title sm held by Khaemwase. In fact, the title sm was also written as s(t)m from the time of the Nineteenth Dynasty and when scribes of the Late period reworked the figure of the Ramesside prince, they transformed the title into a personal name. No documents of Khaemwase as prince to be dated to the first millennium BC are known, but the presence of a large number of monuments preserving Khaemwase's name in the Saqqara region, as well as the intense activity which went on around the Serapeum in the Late Period helped to keep his memory alive for a long time."
  • Page 262-263: QUOTE: "The figure of Setne-Khaemwase which appears from the stories is that of the learned man; he is mentioned as a priest of Ptah, a genuine title as it has been seen. In both stories he is a magician and the role of magic is self-evident. The story of Setne I is not very different from any story of adventure of the Middle and New Kingdoms. The whole story is focused on the book of Thot, the book of wisdom, which may lead to wrong uses and for this reason should be protected. The book of Thot opens the eye to the supernatural, but the supernatural should be kept separated from human beings. As manifested by the apparition of Thot to Hor, son of Paneshi in the Setne II story, it is the god himself who has to authorise the use of the book. In addition, the subsequent misadventures of Naneferkaptah and his family, followed by the revealing nightmare of Khaemwase, are close to a preoccupation with the magic element which belongs to Egyptian civilisation. Setne-Khaemwase has to challenge the guardian of the book Naneferkaptah, who personally experiences what it means to transcend the division between gods and humans, in a game of senet. This game has clear connections with the concept of rebirth after death. Setne I is a historical romance and by this term I mean a narrative concerning historical characters; however, it also attains the definition of a fairy tale. Naneferkaptah is the son of a king named Mernebtah, which ruled sometime before Khaemwase's father Ramesses II. A pharaoh named Mernebtah has never existed, unless this is a suggestion of the name of Ramesses II's son and eventually his successor Merenptah. If so, a historical incongruity is created. But, as it is easy to understand, historicity is not the point."
  • Page 263-264: QUOTE: "The 'long, long time ago' atmosphere is also present in the Setne II story. Even though the copy which has survived is dated to the first two centuries of the Christian era, the Setne II story is wholly concentrated on the role of magic. The child Siosiri reads a sealed letter brought by a Nubian messenger, who later will turn out to be the magician Hor, son of a Nubian witch,; this brings us back to the time of the pharaoh Menkheperre, son of Amun. It was in Menkheperre's time that the events narrated in the letter happened, when the defeated Nubian magician and his mother vowed not to enter Egypt for the next 1,500 years. By the reign of Ramesses II, these 1,500 years have ended. As far as is known, the only king having the prenomen Menkheperre is Thutmose III of the Eighteenth Dynasty, but nowhere in his monuments is the prenomen associated with the epithet 'son of Amun'. It has been already illustrated that Thutmose III and Ramesses II had been combined in a unique figure in the Bentresh stela. The character of the valorous conqueror strikes again. The chronology is completely ignored: the temporal distance between Thutmose III and Ramessses II does not exceed 200 years from the beginning of each one's reigns, by no means close to the millennium and a half of the story."
  • Page 264: QUOTE: "Quite recently, Nicholas Grimal has tried to demonstrate that the 1,500 years mentioned in the text should not refer to the span of time separating Thutmose III from Ramesses II. Instead, this should be considered as the time separating the period when the original version of Setne II was written — during the Saite Dynasty immediately after the reign of Psammetichus II — and the times of Sesostris I, when Nubia came under Egyptian control. For this scholar, the date of composition under Psammetichus II is given by the anti-Nubian feelings present in Setne II. Sesostris I's historical image stands in the background, as the image of the powerful conqueror, who Saite kings tried to emulate. Personally, I have to admit that some of Grimal's conclusions seem to me forced. There is no proof that the original version of Setne II may have dated to the reign of Psammetichus II, but the only sure point is that the damnatio memoriae and the degree of anti-Nubian propaganda were particularly strong during his reign. Thus, the date of Psammetichus II can be considered only a post quem one and any date after the Saite Period is possible. Also his consideration that 1,500 years represent a complete Sothic cycle may be right, but this should be considered to refer to the beginning of a new period rather than a direct inference of some historical event happening in the time of Sesostris I. I prefer Hoffman's view that the story is completely unhistorical and the names of historical personalities give a mere patina of historicity."
  • Page 264: QUOTE: "But there is also another quite evident aspect, the anti-royalist satire. Seeing the king Menkheperre brought to Nubia by a magic spell and there beaten all over was something to enjoy for every reader. In the folklore, the supernatural aspect of kingship is usually well reduced and the king appears in more minimal and human terms. Unlike the Bakhtan and Famine Stelae, with their ambition to elevate their own gods over other deities, the intention of the Setne cycle was only to give pleasure in stories where magic was the most important aspect."

Heroic Times: the Pedubastis cycle[edit]

  • Page 265: QUOTE: "The Pedubastis cycle, but perhaps it should be better called the stories relating to Inaros and his family, is known from various papyri and fragments of papyri. With only one exception, all the papyri are dated between the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. The cycle as a whole is centred [sic] on the various deeds accomplished by members of Inaros' and Pedubastis' families, although the members of the former are shown in a much more positive light than those of the latter."
  • Page 265-268: The following pages then describe the various sources of papyri which the story comes from, all of them (except for one that can't be dated exactly) dated to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods of Egypt.

Characters and historical milieu of the cycle[edit]

  • Page 268: QUOTE: "During the first millennium BC, Egyptian stories as well as Herodotus preferred Middle and New Kingdom pharaohs such as Sesostris, Thutmose III and Ramesses II to give the image of a powerful warrior. Different from them, the Pedubastis cycle develops an epopee set on the Libyan Period."
  • Page 268-269: QUOTE: "The main character of the cycle as a whole is indeed Inaros. He is the protagonist of some of the stories, though others concern members of his family. Inaros' historical identity has been a problem. Usually [sic] has been identified with the prince of Delta Libyan origin who led a revolt against the Persian dominators in 460 BC, before being defeated in 454 BC. Very recently, however, Kim Ryholt has been able to demonstrate that Inaros of the cycle was the son of Bakennefi of Athribis, and he rebelled together with Necho (I) and Pekrur against the Assyrians. His revolt was unsuccessful but inspired the authors of the stories. In fact, the real, historical Inaros disappeared from the scene and his reign was given to Nabushezibanni, the future Psammetichus I, once his father Necho I was pardoned by the Assyrian king. The fictive Inaros instead was the one who was able to win in Asia. The victories on the battlefield and most of all his death are topics joining the historical and literary Inaros. In fact, the death topic is quite compelling; Inaros is the only literary figure of Egyptian literature that is also mentioned after his death. In the cycle, Inaros is placed as a contemporary of the king Pedubastis; this is a major historical incongruity with the historical Inaros, who lived more than two centuries later."
  • Page 269-270: QUOTE: "The king Pedubastis appears in the story of the Benefice of Amun and the Contest for the Breastplate of Inaros. This king Pedubastis of the cycle rules over a country where local princes, both inside as well as outside his family, control part of the territory. The division of Egypt as presented in the cycle has indeed something feudal and the pharaoh looks like more a primus inter pares than the powerful pharaoh conveyed by Egyptian royal texts. From a historical point of view, Manetho in fact reports that the Twenty-third Dynasty was made up of four kings by Tanis, the first of whom was a certain Pedubastis (II), who ruled for 40 years and must be chronologically placed between 756 and 732/730 BC. The story of the cycle may refer to him, but a šarru Pedubastis (III) is known as having lived at Tanis in the time of the Assyrian invasion of 668 BC. If Pedubastis (III) is here intended, he would be contemporary with Inaros, following Ryholt's new datation. While no particular deeds of him are known, I believe that the conquest by Assyrians was the only reason that Pedubastis (III) was remembered by Egyptians of later periods."
  • Page 270-271: QUOTE: "The territories held by the various members of the families of Pedubastis and Inaros do not closely match what is known about the various rulers at the end of the Nubian Period. The cycle gives importance to Tanis for Pedubastis and Heliopolis for Pami, when by the time of the Assyrian invasion Sais was the most important city of the Delta. A hint of it is given in the Breastplate, as the western alliance of the exactly corresponds to the joint princedom of Sais and Arthribis held by Psammetichus I at the beginning of his expansion to the South. The events as given by the different stories may seem similar to the historical situation at the beginnings of the seventh century BC, when the division into many local princedoms might have brought about disputes and conflicts between rulers. The Benefice with the new integrations by Hoffmann is a dispute between the king Pedubastis, who wants to be acknowledged at Thebes, and an unknown priest of Buto. Traunecker wants to see in the demotic story the surviving mention of the High Priest of Amun Harsiesi of the reign of Pedubastis II, actualised by the revolt set off by the name like in 131 BC. Searching for other historical events to match the Benefice, the entente cordiale between Pedubastis and the priest of Buto may recall the seizing of power in Upper Egypt by Psammetichus I. In the Nitocris stela, the coming of his daughter to Thebes is an allusion to the acceptance of the local aristocracy and the Nubian God's Wives. But this similarity is only superficial and it is much safer to retain the description of the Pedubastis cycle as historical romance."
  • Page 271: QUOTE: "Hoffmann builds the following schema to explain the development of the Papyrus Krall (figure 19). The figure of the weak pharaoh in a divided Egypt, as the Pedubastis cycle is not shy of showing, would make a doubtful correspondence with any Egyptian ideal of kingship, though the Papyrus Vandier story, or the drunken Amasis of the Demotic story have been used as parallels for Pedubastis. In any case, Djedkare and Amasis correspond to the humanisation of the royal prerogatives typical of Egyptian folklore and literature at least from the Middle Kingdom onwards; for example, Khufu/Cheops can be quoted again. If a date just before the Ptolemaic date is confirmed for the Cambridge drawing board, it is quite probable that stories of individual characters started before they were joined up in the form presented by the Breastplate and the Benefice."
  • Page 271: QUOTE: "Following the pre-Ptolemaic date of the Cambridge drawing board, I assume that only some of the stories relative to Inaros, Inaros of Asia, for example, were created. This might have happened sometime after Inaros' death in the final part of the First Persian Domination, or else during the period between the Twenty-eighth and Thirtieth Dynasties, as sign of hostility against the Persians. Perhaps the last indigenous dynasties esteemed Inaros as their 'moral' founder. Ancient Egyptians created a world for the only historical figure able to resist foreign invasions; their Inaros goes around the world and accomplishes extraordinary deeds. In the Ptolemaic Period, attention to the Inaros stories continues, but all the stories relative to Inaros and members of his family become inserted in new developments of the cycle, partially due to the influence of Greek epic literature. In the demotic story, there was a need to create an opposition between clans and it was after the Macedonians took control over Egypt that the figure of the 'weak' Pedubastis was introduced. As Inaros was the glorious king who had resisted the Persians, Pedubastis is the one who cannot fight a foreign invader. In Ptolemaic times, it was yet remembered that there had been an Assyrian invasion and a king Pedubastis was one of those rulers who supinely surrendered to the Assyrian king. The shame of not being able to offer resistance against the invaders also became part of the literary character."
  • Page 273 (diagram on 272): QUOTE: "On these two main characters, the cycle was built. In the Ptolemaic Period, as well as the Roman Period, the story is extended and touches themes, such as love, in the cycle and arguments which go even further than the original nationalistic themes and leave the cycle free to float in different directions, with every possible level of historical incongruity. As has been already shown, the consequences for the chronological table set up by Hoffmann for the Breastplate are quite grave. There is no need to believe that some parts of the stories go back to a Libyan Period core, as no historical inference going further back than the third decade of the seventh century BC can be found."
  • Page 273: QUOTE: "Looking at the cycle from a cultural point of view, the cycle itself has great relevance during the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, when foreigners ruled over the country. The reactions to this foreign rule is indeed varied, reaching the level of rejection (the apocalyptic literature), or acceptance, as Manetho and members of the priestly class seem to aim for. In both cases, the ideal pharaoh is the one able to give the country stability, repel the enemies and, if possible, also extend Egyptian borders. In the feudalistic Egypt where the characters of the Pedubastis cycle move, they accomplish deeds which take them beyond Egyptian borders. In the Contest for the Breastplate of Inaros, Montubaal son of Inaros arrives with 40 Median cavaliers and 300 Median soldiers from the Syrian territories, followed by the soldiers (19, 15-19, 18). In fact, Montubaal is shown as ruler of a land which ancient Egyptians never conquered at all. Indeed, the entire Near East is in Egyptian hands: the Contest for the Benefice of Amun mentions 13 Asiatic (ˤmw) men accompanying the priest of Horus from Buto and together seizing the bark of Amun. In the story of the Egyptians and the Amazons, Pedekhonsu fights against the Indians, after passing through Assyria and the land of the Amazons; an Egyptian parallel to Alexander's expedition in India."
  • Page 273-274: QUOTE: "There is indeed a feeling of revanchisme in the entire cycle: Persians and Assyrian [sic] were the only foreign invaders able to conquer Egypt [sic! No mention of Hyksos or Nubians?] and in response to their victories, stories counter-narrating imaginary victories over these enemies are constructed. As the Assyrians invaded in 668 BC and the Persians in 525 BC, the Pedubastis cycle present them as defeated and subject to the Egyptian power. There is no attempt to identify these foreign populations, but the term Assyrian, Persians and ˤmw become synonyms for each other, simply denoting a quite indistinct mass of Asiatics under Egyptian control. Also Minnebi in the Breastplate comes with his army full of people from Meroe (P. Krall 24, 14), when no Egyptian pharaoh ever conquered Meroe."

Greek influence on the Pedubastis Cycle[edit]

  • Page 274: QUOTE: "The existence of Greek literature in the Pedubastis cycle has been largely assessed by Hoffmann. The Contest of the Breastplate and the story of Egyptians and the Amazons have a few features that look like Greek influences. In the Breastplate, there is the description of the conflict between Urtepammoniwt and Pami. In Homer, stripping a dead enemy's armour is meant to show the victor's superiority over the defeated. This is valid from the breastplate of Achilles' which is worn by Patroclus and is later possessed by Hector (Il. XVII, 119-120) and the dispute over Achilles' second suit of armour between Odysseus and Ajax. In both cases possessing the armour of a valid warrior is a high honour, because it is a formal acknowledgement of the valour of the one to wear it. In the Papyrus Krall, the main plot is the fight between Urtepammoniwt and Pami for the breastplate of Inaros. Urtepammoniwt breaks into Inaros' tomb and steals the cuirass with the same intent as a Trojan or Achaean warrior, to acquire prestige. The loss of Inaros' breastplate is a sacrilege which provokes Pami's reaction, but his anger is only partially provoked by the penetration of the tomb, for the loss of the armour is more than merely losing a relic, it is the symbol of Pami's right to rule which derives from possessing Inaros' belongings."
  • Note: Skipped to the end...
  • Page 279: QUOTE: "I have more than the feeling that this reprisal of Greek themes in an Egyptian background means the ability by the priestly class to create an Egyptian epopee following Greek canons. This kind of response by Egyptian scribes to Greek influences is quite understandable, at any rate. All sorts of Greek influence have been re-worked in a wider context, such as the Graeco-Egyptian culture of the Ptolemaic period and the Egyptian literary tradition chooses what fits its needs. It is the same mixed cultural environment from which Manetho himself took inspiration. Manetho tried to create a history of Egypt in a format which might interest the new rulers, but the use of the Greek language and Greek links to Egyptian history are the only concessions made to the new lords. The Pedubastis cycle pushes it even furtehr; it uses elements coming from Greek epic tradition in order to create a story featuring Greek elements in an Egyptian context. Inserting Homer into an Egyptian background does mean a situation where Greek and Egyptian cultural systems may coexist together in a mutual and reciprocal environment."

Stories-chapter conclusions[edit]

  • Page 279: QUOTE: "Some interpretations can be offered. In most of the stories, and for this aspect I can exclude the Bakhtan and Famine Stelae, there is rather heavy irony against the pharaoh. This can have different origins, such as hostility against foreign domination, as it appears with Neferkare and the Papyrus Vandier. Of course, Neferkare and Papyrus Vandier presumably come from the same tree, but their fruits come from different branches. Papyrus Chassinat directs his sharp irony towards an (almost) contemporary pharaoh — any reference to Pepi II has been lost in the passage. The Papyrus Vandier, instead, is a product of the re-elaboration by Egyptian scribes, when hatred against the Nubian pharaohs was free to use more open expressions."
  • Page 280: QUOTE: "Also the story of the drunken Amasis, despite all its literary preciousness, is indeed quite inconceivable for some other pharaohs. In fact, Amasis was not the first non-royal figure to seize the Egyptian throne. Amenemhat I, Ay, Horemheb, Ramesses I and his family until Ramesses II, were all important courtiers and generals without the honour of having been born to be kings. Looking at the figure of Amenemhat, the only one who gave rise to literary works, this king was the saviour of Egypt (Neferty) and the one who learnt to keep an eye on his courtiers to his own cost (Teachings). The main difference stays on the fact that Amenemhat's figure was further elaborated by what can be called 'higher' literature, while Amasis was the object of more 'popular' narratives. However, nothing like what was done for Amenemhat emerges for Amasis, who stands as a figure of an incomplete self-made man, in his case, a pharaoh. The other kings here studied do not shine for their virtues; instead, sometimes their weaknesses are very evident (Pedubastis). Also, when the glorious pharaohs of the New Kingdom are mentioned (Thutmose III, Ramesses II), attention is not focused on their glorious deeds and Thutmose III is even hit by sticks."
  • Page 280: QUOTE: "Using the New Kingdom literature as a paradigm, only the stories of Neferkare and the Papyrus Westcar betray a satirical and irreverent spirit against royalty, but this irony is not directed towards a pharaoh closer in time. This is not the case for the first millennium, when Nubian pharaohs and Amasis were subjected to the sharp comments by their subjects. Having seen that most of the stories known date to the Ptolemaic Period or beyond, it seems that by this time, the king as literary figure had greatly deteriorated, a probable consequence of a period when the pharaoh was no longer indigenous."
  • Page 280-281: QUOTE: "In this respect, the belittling of the royal figure means the aggrandising of that of the god. This is particularly evidenced in the Bakhtan and most of all the Famine Stela, especially if the theory that it was set up independently from any royal initiative is agreed. But the god's importance is enhanced through the concept of antiquity, which becomes an ideological buttress in supporting religious and earthly supremacy. Locating an event in a remote past (Famine) or a glorious one (Bakhtan) reinforces the concept of the god's power. They seem to say: 'If it happened under the glorious Thutmose and Ramesses, it may even happen again'. A further element is worthy of attention. For the Demotic Literature as a whole, but also for the literature in hieroglyphic and hieratic of the first millennium BC, great attention is paid to the historical coordinates. No stories are placed in an indefinite historical setting, but all of them are keen to mention the pharaoh under whom the events happened. Whether this pharaoh is almost completely invented or is a real historical figure is not particularly important. This is quite different from the New Kingdom stories, for which a historical setting is only one of the possible options."

The Apocalyptic Literature[edit]


  • Page 283: QUOTE: "The so-called Apocalyptic literature, denomination which does not really fit the contents of the texts here studied, but which is retained because it is their classical denomination, spans the period from the early third century BC until the third century AD, when the earliest (Demotic Chronicle) and the last (Oracle of the Potter) were written. The long period of gestation of these texts crosses over the chronological limits of the early Ptolemaic period which was set in the introduction. However, the existence of topics already present in Herodotus and Manetho, as well as the fact that the apocalyptic literature has its roots in the literature by and large of the last three centuries BC, if not earlier, justify its insertion here. As already mentioned in the introduction at the beginnings of this book, the scope here is to analyse how the class creating those texts used and abused real historical events in order to justify their claims and/or support their ideologies."

The Demotic Chronicle and its ideology of kingship[edit]

  • Page 283-284: QUOTE: "The Demotic Chronicle is known from a papyrus, which has lost its beginning and end, leaving five columns of text. Although called a chronicle, it does not have a continuous narrative, but is composed of a series of prophecies intermixed with oracular statements grouped in Chambers or Stanzas. In 1914, Spiegelberg dated the Chronicle to the early Ptolemaic Period following palaeographical criteria. He also based his deduction on the fact that the Demotic Chronicle is a palimpsest over an earlier Greek text, to be dated to the third century BC. A Lower Egyptian origin, particularly Memphite, has been assumed as provenance, but given the preeminence of Herakleopolis in the text, the composition was certainly influenced by the Herakleopolis priesthood. Following a recent hypothesis, the Demotic Chronicle is now seen as a heterogeneous composition referring to different events, which unites oracles written during an unspecified period."

Nectanebo's stories[edit]

  • Page 290-291: QUOTE: "The last king of the Thirtieth Dynasty, Nectanebo II, was the protagonist of two different stories which entwine each other during the Ptolemaic Period. The Dream of Nectanebo is known form a Greek papyrus dated to the early second century BC. The Egyptian features present in the text, such as the Dream as the god's proclamation and the Königsnovelle have made scholars suppose the story to derive from a Demotic original. This hypothesis has been confirmed by the recent publication of fragments from the Tebtunis temple library and dated to the late first-early second century AD. The Greek version is not complete; the writer of the text, Apollonios, did not copy the story to the end. After an initial part (col. I), which is unintelligible, col. II starts with the historical background. In the sixteenth year of Nectanebo II, the night between 21 and 22 Pharmuti (5/6 July 343 BC), a night of a full moon, Nectanebo decides to go to Memphis in order to give an offering to the god. There in the temple, he dreams that a boat made of papyrus is anchored in the port of Memphis. In this boat there is a great throne with Isis seated on it, surrounded by the other Egyptian gods. Ares/Onuris appears in front of him and complains that the king has not completed a part of his temple. Isis remains silent and the king Nectanebo awakes and asks the priest of Onuris at Sebennytos to come to him. Having reached the royal palace, the priest says that the adyton has been completed, apart from its hieroglyphic inscriptions. Then the king asks for the best carver and Peteisis asserts that he can complete the work in few days. Also convinced by other carvers, the king pays Peteisis, who goes to Sebennytos. But before starting the work, he stops to drink and meets Hathyrsepse, who is said to be the most beautiful woman on earth. Here the papyrus ends."
  • Page 291: QUOTE: "The Greek version is partially completed by the demotic fragments. The Demotic papyrus Carslberg 562 contains parts of the prologue. The initial date is given as 'year 18', among the lacunae with which the papyrus concludes when Nectanebo awakes from the dream. As noted by Ryholt, year 18 of Nectanebo is not consistent with the other papyri and it has to be assumed that the scribe writing the papyrus, who mixed up Nectanebo's date of his dream and his actual demise, became confused. The other three papyri from Copenhagen, a student exercise, add further elements to the Greek version. In the sixteenth year of Nectanebo, the king is worried about Peteisis at Sebennytos. Therefore, he prepares a fleet for war, after having made an offering to the god Haroeris."
  • Page 292: QUOTE: "Even with this integration, the story is not yet complete. The death of Peteisis — as some sort of punishment for spending his time in pleasure instead of completing what he had been paid for? — results in the work at the temple of Sebennytos remaining incomplete. The prophecy which Ryholt places at this point may be a result of this incompleteness of the temple. The god has become upset about it and takes action against Egypt. And as for the oracles of the Lamb and the Potter, a saviour is expected in due course to free Egypt."
  • Page 292: QUOTE: "It cannot be ascertained whether the Greek Dream of Nectanebo and the Demotic version were totally coincident, as neither is complete. But both versions can be considered the antecedents of the Romance of Alexander known from the Pseudo-Callisthenes. In this story, Nectanebo II flees Egypt after the invasion of the Persians (1, 3.2). He leaves a message that he will come back one day as a young man (1, 3.4). Nectanebo flees to Pella, to the Macedonian court (1, 3.3). There, he acts as a powerful magician and by a stratagem fathers Alexander (1, 7.1-7). Moreover, he prophesies his own death at his son's hands (1, 13.5). In fact, Alexander kills him by throwing him off the tower. This part of the story has an Egyptian origin, but is part of the process of making foreign conquerors indigenous. This expedient is already present in Herodotus, when the Egyptian version says that Cambyses is said to be the son of the Egyptian princess Nitetis (III, 2)."
  • Page 292: QUOTE: "The stories about Nectanebo II show many motifs which recur in the Demotic Chronicle, Herodotus and the later oracle of the Lamb and Potter. The Demotic Chronicle is indeed a close parallel for the incompleteness of the god's temple as cause of the divine anger. But the theme is indeed softened in comparison with the harshness expressed in the Demotic Chronicle. As for the story of Amasis and Polycrates of Samos in Herodotus III, 43, Nectanebo II tries to accomplish what he has been asked to do, but he fails. The reasons of such failure are not even attributable to him, as it is Peteisis' fault of not accomplishing what he was paid for. The morale is anyway is that Nectanebo is doomed to a destiny due to god's will. He understands that he cannot fight against the god's will and accepts his fate."
  • Page 292-293: QUOTE: "It was in this situation that his return was auspicated in the prophecy, in terms which were probably similar to the story of the lepers in Manetho. But the Pseudo-Callisthenes has the story being extended in a different direction. Nectanebo II as father of Alexander creates a bridge between the Egyptians and the Ptolemies. Alexander is made Egyptian and the inheritance of Amun, which Alexander stresses in his lifetime with the journey to Siwa, is partially mocked in the story of the Pseudo-Callisthenes as the desire of Olympia to see the god, in which who saw Alexander as the founder of their dynasty."

The Oracle of the Lamb[edit]

  • Page 293-294: QUOTE: "The demotic Oracle of the Lamb is known from a papyrus dated to Year 33 of Augustus. The text is divided into three columns, the first of which is severely damaged. A personage named Pasenhor is the one who listens to the prophecies from a speaking lamb. The lamb as prophet might be a transformation from an original ram god, perhaps the same Harsaphes of Herakleopolis, the 'Zion des ägyptischen Messianismus'. The lamb foretells the birth of a pair of twins from a woman (I, 3-5). The passage is badly damaged and the context in which this birth is given is not entirely clear. From I, 14 however) [sic], a negative description of the Egyptian situation is introduced. As in an upside-down world, the prophecy announces that the great man becomes the small one (I, 14) and the man who was served has to serve (I, 15), while falsehood reigns (I, 16). Amongst other fragmentary passages, it seems also that the temples are in disarray (I, 19); the coming of the Medes (=Persians) and the destruction brought by them to Egypt are mentioned (I, 22-24). It has been supposed that II, 2: 'They will come in the third month of the Peret season and in the fourth month of the Peret season' is a reference to Antiochus IV and his permancence at Alexandria in April and May 168 BC. Although less sure, the Greeks are also mentioned in this negative situation, as II, 3) says: 'They will take the White Crown of the kings out of Egypt'. Various abominations will happen in Egypt (II, 6). This negative view includes the following statement (II, 5): 'he is the one-of-the two (years), who is not ours, (he is) the one-of-the-fifty-five (years), who is ours'. The same passage is included in a more complete form in the Greek text of the Oracle of the Potter: 'and the one ruling for two years was [not o]urs. But the one (ruling) for fifty-five years {}, because [he] is ours will bring to the Greeks the evils which the lamb announced to [B]acharis (P3, cols. 1, 31-2, 34).'"
  • Page 294: QUOTE: "In recent scholarship, this passage has been used as a way of dating the Lamb, which is likely to have been composed after the war between Ptolemy VIII (170-116 BC) and the rebel king Harsiesi (131-130 BC). Therefore, the fifty-five years was a wish for the future king to rule more than Ptolemy VIII. This hypothesis is a complete rejection of the older idea that here there was a reference to the reign of Necho (I) and Psammetichus I. In order to clarify the whole passage, I have to return to the text. It states that a negative reign of two years is opposed to a positive reign of fifty-five. As I have shown for the stories of Anysis and Psammetichus I in Herodotus, the motif of the return of the Saite Dynasty in general and of Psammetichus I in particular was very deeply felt. While this applies to the middle of the fifth century BC, is also possible that the Lamb alludes to Psammetichus I as the model pharaoh. Therefore, the announced king should reign more than Psammetichus I."

The Oracle of the Potter[edit]

  • Page 297-298: QUOTE: "This text written in Greek has been transmitted in five copies of the Roman Period, datable between the second and the late third centuries of the Christian era. All the papyri are fragmentary and putting them all together helps to reconstruct the story. Koenen has dated the anti-Jewish part to about the middle of the second century BC, while the anti-Alexandrine part came between 130 BC and 116 BC, as the mention of the two rulers of the Oracle of the Lamb appears here. I have already rejected the connection with Ptolemy VIII in my previous discussion of the Lamb, but it is beyond question that the Potter is indeed a pastiche and a series of further elaborations of different stories assembled during the Ptolemaic Period. Also the recent inclusion of P4 is indeed part of this mix of different stories, only linked by a different hostility against the foreigners. The protagonist of the story, the potter, is to be identified as a personification of Khnum and as the potter shapes his ware, Khnum as 'the Lord of the potter's wheel' (nb nḥp) shaped the world. He is the prophet of the story and lives in the island of Helios, at the time of a king Amenophis (P1, 5). Amenophis is the same king who also appears in Manetho's story of the lepers and as shown in the anti-Jewish version transmitted by P4, a part of the story of the Potter derives from the same Manethonian core. The negative vision of the Amarna period which was part of Manetho is at the beginning of the prophecy of the Potter. In the introduction to the text, there is a mention of the destruction of pottery shaped by the potter (P1, 11-15) and such destruction anticipates the chaos and disruption introduced by those Typhonians (P3 6-25, cf. P2, 1-12)."

The apocalyptic literature and earlier prophecies[edit]

  • Page 301: QUOTE: "The prophetic literature is not relegated to the first millennium, but occurs also in the Middle Kingdom. The view of world turned upside-down, with the reversal of the social order, appears in the Lamentations of Ipuwer, as well as the prophecy of Neferty, the parallels of which the Lamb and the Oracle are part of the studies of Dunand and Koenen and do not need to be repeated here. The Prophecy of Neferty is placed in a past quite distant from the events themselves, during the reign of Snefru, the good king of the Old Kingdom."
  • Page 301-302: QUOTE: "As Dunand shows, there is substantial agreement between themes narrated in Neferty and the Lamb and the Potter. When Neferty creates the picture of the evil into which Egypt has fallen, the evil is said to be cleansed away by the saviour Ameny. In fact, darker is the picture, brighter is the image of salvation. This assertion is valid for Neferty, as well as the Lamb and the Potter. Also the Lamb and the Potter conform to the topics set up in the Prophecy of Neferty, with their high expectations for the new pharaoh, who will signify the return of the Golden Age. The historical dimension differentiates Neferty from the later prophecies: the Chronicle, the Lamb and the Potter instead suggest the new king, they can even give his characteristics, but at the end they are not able to name him. What for the later texts is only a hope, for Neferty are facts."
  • Page 302: QUOTE: "The other difference between the entire apocalyptic literature of the late period and the prophecy of Neferty is the presence of a theodicy which does not appear in the earlier text. Neferty does not explain the causes of the Chaos; the laws are issued, but they are not respected. The absence of a ruler throws the Two Lands in disarray, but why he is missing is not explained and the prophecy is completely devoted to the future, when Ameny will take power and restore order. The legitimacy of Ameny's taking power is not questioned, because it is to be expected that the one able to gain power and give peace is chosen by the god. The oracles of the Late Period go into a different direction. The political decline and consequent foreign rule are connected to the absence of the god. The god is absent is not really clear from the Lamb and the Potter, as they do not give the reasons for their leaving. Only the Demotic Chronicle is more precise in that, blaming the last kings for their impiety."

Apocalyptic Literature Conclusions[edit]

  • Page 302: QUOTE: "Summarising the texts studied in this chapter, it is possible to identify a few identifiable patterns in the nationalistic propaganda:"
Glorification of pharaohs immediately preceding a foreign invasion, or fighting against an invader
  • Page 302-303: QUOTE: "This process is visible in the Inaros Pedubastis cycle and returns in the glossa of Bocchoris in Manetho and in the Oracle of the Lamb. Inaros' figure is built up as the conquering warrior, a theme which was part of the group mentioned above. The burning of Bocchoris by Sabaco instead highlights the impiety of the foreign invader, who violates the legitimacy of the indigenous pharaoh."
Demonisation of any foreign invasion
  • Page 303: QUOTE: "This theme can be considered as deriving from the preceding one. It appears in the Hyksos invasion stories of Manetho and mostly in the Apocalyptic Literature (Oracles of the Lamb and the Potter). The demonisation of the foreign invasions is indeed a further refinement and extension of the New Kingdom ideology developed as a consequence of the Hyksos invasion. As the Hyksos began to be depicted as evil conquerors, the same concept was used for all the foreign invaders of the first millennium BC. The demonisation of external enemies goes together with increased hostility against Seth=Apophis as the god of foreigners, as appears in the Conflict between Horus and Seth and mythological invasions from the North. Moreover, first millennium Egyptians coupled the bad invaders with the internal disorder theme. It was unbelievable for the ancient Egyptians to accept that their country might have been conquered by foreigners, unless the political situation in Egypt was weakened by some misconduct of a bad pharaoh. This association between foreign invasion and a troubled internal situation firstly appears in Herodotus' statement about Cheops and Chephren (II, 28), but is more peculiarly associated with the pharaoh Amenhotep III, as Manetho's stories of the lepers and the Oracle of the Potter show."
The pharaoh's return
  • Page 303: QUOTE: "A pharaoh who leaves his country or a dynasty brought to an end by a foreign invasion has to come back sometime. This assumption pervades all the nationalistic propaganda, which already appears for Herodotus' Anysis, then continues in Manetho's story of the lepers and the Oracles of the Lamb and Potter, as well as Nectanebo's story. I have specifically associated the theme of the return to the Saite Dynasty as the embodiment of the dynasty per excellence in the first millennium BC, as Herodotus' informers hoped that it would come back. This wish is also part of the 55 years which a 'mysterious' saviour king was fated to rule over Egypt (Oracles of the Lamb and Potter). Together with this specific reference, the topic became associated with any pharaoh whose return was expected, such as Nectanebo (II) and Amenophis (III). Talking about foreign invasions was bearable to ancient Egyptians as long as the hope of the return of an indigenous king was still alive."
The glorious warrior of the past
  • Page 304: QUOTE: "While not really present in the apocalyptic literature, this label suits well the stories about Sesostris present in Herodotus and Manetho, but is also applies [sic] to Thutmose and Ramesses in the Manetho and Setne stories, as well as to the Bakhtan stela and the Ptolemaic literature."
Final remarks
  • Page 304: QUOTE: "For these reasons, the apocalyptic literature is not so much apocalyptic as messianic. The priestly perspective is still the main element. The destruction of a country and in this particular case, Egypt, is never an end, but only a representation of a fallen reality which will be some day restored to the pristine glory, once the original conditions of religious respects will be reinstated."

Conclusions: First Millennium Cultural History: An Outline[edit]

  • Page 305: QUOTE: "In the introduction, I have pointed out that attention should be given to delineate historical and cultural background of those texts and what they aimed for. As the various historical sources have been discussed in different part of the dissertation, the reconstruction of their cultural context will be given here. I will give an outline only, as the texts can be used are just a few [sic], and not of equally value [sic]. The material will be divided in two halves, from the Libyan till the end of the Saite Period, and from the beginning of the Persian till the Ptolemaic Period. The key of reading them is also focused on the relations between kingship and priesthood and how interacted during the millennium [sic]."
  • Page 305: QUOTE: "The period between 1070 and 525 BC substantially includes only royal texts, with two notable exceptions. Prince Osorkon's Chronicle better explains the relationship between god and king and can be used as paradigm for the religious ideology of kingship until the end of the Saite Period. The Chronicle focused focused over two particular concepts: the king has to be pure (A 19-22), and the god has to be honoured by offerings. The concept of purity is fundamental part [sic] of the priestly role, but applied to a king is indeed a novelty of the first millennium. It is found in other two occasions [sic] among the royal texts. In his triumphal stela, Piye orders that his army should be purified when they enter god's domain in Thebes (line 12). Also the fact that three Libyan kings were refused to enter into the royal palace is also explained as lack of purity (line 152). And a similar statement can be done for Nitocris stela (lines 3-4), when Psammetichus I states that he will never do anything contrary to god's will."
  • Page 305-306: QUOTE: ""

E.A. Wallis Budge's The Dwellers on the Nile[edit]

  • Budge, E.A. Wallis. (1972). The Dwellers on the Nile: Chapters on the Life, History, Religion, and Literature of the Ancient Egyptians. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc.

The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians[edit]

  • Page 235-236: QUOTE: "We owe our knowledge of Egyptian Literature to the inscriptions on pyramids, temples, historical and biographical stelae, rolls of papyri, etc.; these are written in the hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic scripts, and cover a period of about 3,500 years. The language employed is Egyptian, of which there appear to have been three dialects, if not more. The foundations of the language are African, but at a comparatively early period additions to them were made as a result of the influence of the Semites. At a later time words were borrowed form the Libyans and the peoples of the Eastern deserts, and from Arabia and the countries beyond. The style is rhythmic, rhyme being unknown; the use of parallelism of members is frequent, and is often employed with very fine effect. The Literature of Egypt may be divided into two classes, Religious and Profane, and at least three-quarters of it belong to the former class."
  • Page 236: QUOTE: "History.—No complete native history of Egypt exists, and it is probable no king was anxious to preserve a record of the doings of his predecessors. Good specimens of the historical documents are: the Annals of the campaigns of Thothmes III, copied from a leather roll, on the walls of the Temple of Amen at Karnak; the Acts of Rameses III, as found in the Harris Papyrus No. I in the British Museum; the account of the Battle of Kadesh, written by the court scribe Penaurt; the account of the Invasion of Egypt by Piānkhi the Nubian; the Annals of Nastasen describing the defeat of Cambyses (?). Good examples of biographical inscriptions of a historical character are found on the tomb stelae of Una, Herkhuf, Antef, Amasis and other feudal lords of Al-Kāb, and in other places."
  • Page 236: QUOTE: "Chronology.—The most important documents are the Stele of Palermo, the King-lists of Sakkāra, Abydos and Karnak, and the Turin Papyrus, which, when complete, contained a list of about 300 kings of Egypt, with the lengths of their reigns given in years, months and days."
  • Page 236: QUOTE: "Astronomy.—Lists of the risings of stars were kept under the New Kingdom, and at a later period lists of the 36 Dekans and the 12 Signs of the Zodiac."
  • Page 236-237: QUOTE: "Astrology.—On this subject much literature probably existed, but little of it, except the Calendars of Lucky and Unlucky Days and Hours, has survived. Much of the ancient astrological lore is to be found in the almanacks in use among the peasant population of Egypt at the present day. Mathematics (Geometry and Arithmetic) are represented by the Rhind Papyrus in the British Museum (No. 10057). Geography as a science was unknown, but we have a map of the gold-mines in the Sūdān, and a map of the sacred localities of the Fayyūm."
  • Page 237: QUOTE: "Medicine.—Several books of collections of prescriptions are known, e.g. those in London, Paris, Leyden, Berlin and California, the longest and most important being the Ebers Papyrus, but no treatise on anatomy has come down to us."
  • Page 237: QUOTE: "The Law.—Many documents of this class of literature exist, and they suggest that the Egyptians were fond of litigation. They deal with funerary endowments and benefactions, political and other adoptions, reports of law proceedings, etc.; the record of the prosecution of tomb-robbers by the Crown in the reign of Rameses IX is one of the most interesting of the last-named class of legal documents (B.M. Nos. 10053, 10054)."
  • Page 237: QUOTE: "Songs.—Fragments of a few songs of the folk-lore class have come down to us, and several Love-songs are preserved in the Harris Papyrus in the British Museum (No. 500). The latter closely resemble in phraseology the Song of Solomon."
  • Page 237-238: QUOTE: "Narratives or Short Stories.—Among these may be mentioned as of special interest: The Story of Sanehat.—Here we have the story and adventures of a young man who, for some reason not quite clear, flees from Egypt into Palestine, where he is welcomed by the natives. He marries and begets a family, and gains great renown by defeating and slaying a mighty man of war who had challenged him to combat; this part of the story resembles that of the killing of Goliath by David. At length he yearns for his native country, and finally he returns there and is warmly received by the king and his family; there he dies and is buried in a tomb provided for him by the king. In the Story of the Shipwreck we read of a man who is shipwrecked and cast up on a phantom island, where he found an abundance of fruit and fish, and having used the fire-stick he made a fire and offered up a sacrifice to the gods. In due course he met the Genius of the island, i.e. a snake nearly 50 feet long with a beard over 3 feet long. It received him in a most friendly manner, conversed with him, and eventually loaded him with gifts and sent him away on a ship which happened to visit the island. A very interesting set of Stories of Magicians is found in the Westcar Papyrus in Berlin; the contents of some of these have already been alluded to. The Tale of the Two Brothers gives us a series of very short stories which originally had no connection with each other; a brief summary is given further on in this Chapter. The Story of the Doomed Prince, which unfortunately is incomplete, shows that there is no way of escaping from one's Fate."
  • Page 238-239: QUOTE: "As Historical Romances may be mentioned the story of the quarrel between the Hyksos Rā-Apepi, king of Lower Egypt, and Seqenen-Rā, king of Upper Egypt (B.M. No. 10185), and the Capture of Joppa by an officer of Thothmes III [sic, I don't think this is a complete sentence]. The latter romance has resemblances to the Arab story of Alī Bābā and the Forty Thieves. The literature of Travels is represented by the story of Unuamen, who was sent to Syria to obtain cedar-wood wherewith to build a new barge for the god Amen. He was robbed on his journey into Syria, and on his way back found himself in Cyprus. The story is incomplete. As examples of contemplative and semi-prophetical literature we have: I. The Dialogue between a man and his soul; though he is tired of life, he nevertheless advises his hearers to 'pursue the day of happiness and forget care,'...2. The Admonitions of a Prophet, found in a papyrus at Leyden; some of his utterances have been thought to be Messianic in character. 3. The Lamentations of Khākheperrā-seneb, found on a wooden tablet in the British Museum (No. 5645). 4. The Prophecy of Nefer-Rehu, in a papyrus at St. Petersburg. 5. The Lament of the Peasant, found in papyri in Berlin. Religious Magic is illustrated by the works found in the Salt Papyrus (B.M. No. 825) and in the Harris Papyrus (B.M. No. 10051), and by the Book of Overthrowing Āpep (B.M. No. 10188)."
  • Page 239-240: QUOTE:"Legends of the Gods.—Among these may be mentioned the Legends of Rā and Isis...the Creation of the World by Khepera, the Destruction of Mankind, Horus of Edfū and the Winged Disk, Khensu-hetep and the Possessed Princess...[he goes on and on with titles that no other historian probably uses]."
  • Page 240: QUOTE: "Rituals.—The oldest of these are the 'Book of Opening the Mouth' and the 'Liturgy of Funerary Offerings,' whereby the transmutation of foods and drink took place. Of divine Rituals the longest and best known is the Daily Service used in the Temple of Amen at Thebes."
  • Page 240: QUOTE: "Books of Moral Precepts.—Several of these have been preserved, and the series now available for study enable us to follow the development of moral ideas in Egypt form about 3000 B.C. to the end of the Dynastic Period. The authors were Kagemna, a Wazīr of King Assa (Vth Dynasty), Tuauf, a royal official (VIth Dynasty), King Khati (IXth or Xth Dynasty), Amenemhat I, Sehetepabrā, an officer of Amenemhat III, Amenemapt, a minister of Agriculture, and the scribe Ani."
  • Page 240-242: QUOTE: "Religious literature.—The oldest collection of Magical-Religious texts is found inscribed in hieroglyphs on the walls of the chambers and corridors of the Pyramids of Sakkārah, which are the tombs of kings of the VIth Dynasty. These form the Heliopolitan Recension of the Book of the Dead. Another collection, containing Chapters from the above-mentioned Pyramid Texts and several others, probably of a more recent date, was inscribed in hieratic on wooden sarcophagi and coffins of the XIth and XIIth Dynasties. Fine examples of these are the sarcophagus of Amamu and the sarcophagi and coffins from Al-Barshah. The texts on these form the Recension of the Book of the Dead in use in Upper Egypt under the Middle Kingdom. Some time after the XII Dynasty the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead came into being. The oldest papyri containing it are written in hieroglyphs, e.g., the Papyrus of Nu, the Papyrus of Nebseni, the Papyrus of Iuaa, the Papyrus of Ani, etc., but under the XIXth Dynasty collections of Chapters from it were written in hieratic, and in the Papyrus of Nesitanebtashru (XXIst Dynasty) the whole work is in hieratic. The Theban Recension is illustrated by a long series of Vignettes, painted sometimes in monochrome, and sometimes in many bright colours. In the Saite Recension the Chapters are written both in hieroglyphs and hieratic, and the Chapters have a fixed order; the Vignettes are drawn in black outline. The Book of the Dead contains a large number of spells and incantations which the deceased was supposed to repeat if he found himself in trouble or danger on his journey from this world to the Kingdom of Osiris. Besides these we find in it hymns, litanies, prayers, exegetical texts, plans of the mummy-chamber, the Judgment Hall of Osiris, the Elysian Fields, with explanatory texts, drawings of the Gates and Divisions of the Underworld, the Ritual of the Lamps (Chap. cxxxvii), drawings of the Boats of Rā, and a great mixture of miscellaneous mythological texts and traditions, belonging to all periods and emanating from many different parts of Egypt. All were intended to help the deceased, and the whole book was regarded as an amulet of great power. Parts of it, e.g. the texts relating to the Judgment of Osiris, were in use in the Roman Period."
  • Page 242-243: QUOTE: "Later funerary works based on the Book of the Dead were the 'Book of Breathings,' the 'Book of Traversing Eternity,' the Book 'May my name flourish,' etc. ...At one period of Egyptian history the theologians wrote 'Guides' to the Underworld, the most interesting of these being the 'Book of Gates' and the 'Book of him that is in the Tuat.' These supplied the deceased with a full description of the places through which he would pass and the names of the beings he would meet, and gave him the words of power necessary for him to complete his journey safely. Hymns to the gods form a large section of Egyptian religious literature; the most important are the Hymns to Osiris, Rā, Rā-Harmakhis, Amen, and Thoth. The literature written in demotic is considerable, and consists of works of magic, tales illustrating the power of magicians, collections of moral precepts, various kinds of legal documents, marriage contracts, etc."

Forman and Quirke's Hieroglyphs and the Afterlife[edit]

  • Forman, Werner and Stephen Quirke. (1996). Hieroglyphs and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0806127511.

Hieroglyphic Script and Art[edit]

  • Page 10: QUOTE: "In the fight for life the Egyptian gods and goddesses became intimately involved in the fate of the deceased and join the array of resources at his or her disposal. Ra, Osiris and Horus stand with, and for, the deceased, in their complex strategy to become a transfigured spirit. Alongside these divine persons a no less prominent place belongs to one of the most remarkable inventions of ancient Egypt, the hieroglyphs, a perfect fusion of art and language."
  • Page 10: QUOTE: "The Egyptian term for hieroglyphs is 'words of god', a phrase that insists upon the unity of speech and script, of the words that we write with the words that we speak, and implicitly with the objects that those words denote. In the Egyptian view, words do much more than represent a meaning agreed upon by the community. They embody the essence of their object. For example, the word 'hippopotamus' does not merely identify an animal species; rather, it reveals the very essence of 'hippopotamus' as a god-given object within the divine order of creation. Each word carries a profound knowledge of its object, and a measure of power over it."
  • Page 10: QUOTE: "The Egyptian equivalent of the encyclopaedia contains no definitions of words in some alphabetical order, but a list of names grouped according to type. Surviving examples, mainly of the eleventh to eighth centuries BC, extend over cosmic divisions and types of divine and human beings to names of cities, fauna, flora, foodstuffs, and, in at least one case, clothing, pottery, and other man-made products. The headings to these namelists promise to confer upon the reader a comprehensiveness knowledge of his world. Words bestow a knowledge that in turn implies power, and this sacred and potent domain falls under the patronage of Thoth, embracing all compendia of wisdom from texts of healing to mathematical handbooks. By the same view of the world, knowledge is received, not invented, and not all knowledge can be acquired by human beings, or even by gods, for all knowledge would amount to the universal power that is the Lord of creation."
  • Page 10: QUOTE: "This god-given immutable order so perfectly expressed in Egyptian art and texts did arise in a specific time and place, the thirty-second century BC in the Egyptian Nile valley. The mystery of the emergence of hieroglyphic writing in Egypt is as intriguing as its beauty and, a point often overlooked, its efficiency in conveying the ancient Egyptian language."
  • Page 12: QUOTE: "Although Mesopotamian writing probably appeared earlier than Egyptian hieroglyphs, the differences between the two scripts make a direct link unlikely. If the Egyptians adopted anything, it seems to be the idea that signs could convey specific sounds and words. Possibly small objects such as seals reached Egypt indirectly from the Syrian and Arabian land and sea trading routes, and these introduced artistic motifs such as niched facades and men overpowering paired animals, as well as the idea of writing. Whatever the origin of the script, it stands distinct from Mesopotamian writing in its most characteristic feature; it retained the pictorial forms with which it was born."
  • Page 13: QUOTE: "Script and pictorial composition belong together in Egypt, because the signs are themselves small pictures. This does not mean that the signs can only represent exactly what they portray. Hieroglyphic writing in Egypt combines two uses of pictures, one to denote what they are (the depiction of a door-bolt denotes 'door-bolt', that of a mountain denotes 'mountain') and the second to denote the sound of the Egyptian word (the depiction of a door-bolt, in Egyptian se, denotes the sound s, and the depiction of a mountain, in Egyptian dju, denotes the sound dju)."
  • Page 13: QUOTE: "This enables the script to write words which cannot be represented by a simple picture, such as beauty, sorrow, evil, happiness. The sound is conveyed by signs to represent sound, and the type of word is determined by signs to represent objects, the so-called 'determinatives'. Thus the bolt s with the picture of a seated man writes the Egyptian word se 'man'. The bolt s with the loaf t (te is the Egyptian word for bread) and the picture of a seated woman writes the Egyptian word set 'woman'."
  • Page 13: QUOTE: "There is no limit to the number of possible hieroglyphs, because any object can be written simply as a small drawing of that object. Yet the number of signs widely used in texts before the Ptolemaic Period (c. 300 BC) would probably not exceed five hundred, and some Eighteenth Dynasty temple buildings bear texts using less than two hundred signs. The system functioned efficiently in particular because it did not use many determinatives to indicate type of object. Less than a hundred such signs were in common use, and most of them are instantly recognisable, such as man for men or their names, woman for women or their names, crossed circle (perhaps a settlement plan) for towns and their names, rectangle with a gap on one side (a house plan) for houses and estates, man wielding a stick for words of action or aggression, walking legs for words of movement, and so forth."
  • Page 17: QUOTE: "When the Egyptians began to write their language with the signs of the Greek alphabet, with a few additions, forming the Coptic script, they did so for religious reasons. In the fourth century AD, Christianity became the state religion, and the new sacred texts could not be written in hieroglyphs, because those were identified along with Pharaonic art as idolatrous images of false gods. The new alphabet of the Greeks saved the early Christian fathers from the Pharaonic tradition, but, in a language where many words sound similar, it made their texts much more difficult to read, a reminder of the efficiency of the hieroglyphic script."
  • Page 17: QUOTE: "Although the script may have been easy to learn, at least for a native speaker, this does not mean that everyone in ancient Egypt learnt hieroglyphs. Writing remained until modern times the preserve of a more or less restricted minority. The men who could read and write ran Egypt. However, in this respect ancient Egypt is no different from Roman, or even Victorian, Britain."
  • Page 17: QUOTE: "Literacy rates do not relate to the ease or difficulty of mastering a script. The labourers and farmers were no less excluded from literacy and power when Alexander the Great brought the Greek alphabet to Egypt in 322 BC, or when Christianity adapted that alphabet to write the Egyptian language with the Coptic script, or when the Arabs conquered Egypt in AD 640, introducing their script which is used today. Equally the examples of modern China and Japan demonstrate that high literacy rates can be achieved in some societies even where the script is considerably harder to learn than hieroglyphs. In short, the extent of literacy against illiteracy depends not on the type of script but on the cast of the particular society. In ancient times the script, like the Greek and Latin alphabets, was restricted to a tiny minority, because that minority controlled and administered its society."
  • Page 17-19 (picture of the statue of Amenhotep son of Hapu on page 18): QUOTE: "The writer in Egypt was not a servile member of staff at the beck and call of everyone around, but a participant in rule, because he wrote for the Pharaoh and his administration. This explains why the statue of the secretary belongs not to the lower stratum of officialdom but to the finest works of art produced in royal workshops. The scribal statues of Amenhotep son of Hapu brilliantly exemplify this quality. The scribal craft belongs to Thoth, and its practitioner here, Amenhotep son of Hapu, is appropriately not some humble clerk but the most powerful man in court at one of the highest peaks of Egyptian civilization, the dazzling reign of Amenhotep III. The statue illustrates the procedure and tools of writing in its most immediate form, reed upon papyrus rather than chisel upon stone. Amenhotep holds his reed brush in one hand poised to continue a text already begun and legible upon the roll of papyrus drooping over his right leg. His crouched position on the ground, probably on a reed mat, can be paralleled from tomb chapel scenes of scribes in accountancy or secretarial work, and reminds us of the general absence of chairs in African and Middle Eastern tradition."
  • Page 19: The caption for the image on the previous page (p. 18) says QUOTE: "Left The image of the scribe signified status second only to the king and gods whose order the scribal secretary served, and accordingly could be used to depict the most powerful in the land. Here the scribe is the influential minister of king Amenhotep III, a man named Amenhotep son of Hapu. The text on the base assures the reader that Amenhotep will intercede for him with the gods for any petition."
  • Page 19: QUOTE: "Papyrus paper was made from the pith of the papyrus reed, cut in strips laid in two layers at right angles and then beaten together to produce a slightly corrugated but generally smooth ivory-white surface ideal for writing. This simple but effective procedure stands out as the most brilliant Egyptian invention, outlasting the Pharaohs, their art and its gods, to die out only when oriental cloth paper replaced it in the eighth to ninth centuries after four thousand years of use by the Egyptian, Greek, Latin and then Islamic worlds. The principal pigments were soot black and, for the equivalent of underlinings and headings, red ochre. Red was used to highlight phrases for special attention, such as the totals in accounts or the dates at the start of a text, but, as a dangerous symbol of fire and blood, had to be avoided for certain words, notably names of gods and kings and the phrase 'year of reign'. As may be seen on the lap of Amenhotep son of Hapu, texts were written from right to left, a feature of most scripts to which the Greek and Latin traditions of Europe form the exception. Thus the start of the roll on this statue, already bearing columns of hieroglyphs, lies at the right end over the right leg of the scribe."
  • Page 19: QUOTE: "The main difference between the statue of Amenhotep and the daily routine of scribal practice lies in the form of the script. The statue presents the carefully retained full pictorial forms of the hieroglyphs, more or less as they were developed in the thirty-first century BC. By contrast, the daily task of writing letters, accounts and legal texts required more rapid movement of the brush, producing a simplified script which we call hieratic. Hieratic could be written calligraphically for literary manuscripts and important state documents, or more rapidly for less formal letters and accounts. In the first millennium BC calligraphic hieratic became reserved almost exclusively for religious texts such as temple library rolls or funerary papyri, while the shorthand of business affairs and letters evolved in the seventh century BC into a new, still more cursive, standard form, which we call the demotic script. All three scripts were in use when Greek writers visited Egypt, and these foreign travellers gave us the Greek terms hieroglyphs 'sacred carved signs', hieratic 'priestly' and demotic 'popular', convenient labels even if they refer strictly to the three divisions of writing after 700 BC; there is nothing priestly about a business letter in the twentieth or tenth century BC, but hieratic has become our name for the script that is less cursive than demotic."
  • Page 19-20: QUOTE: "If the evolution of cursive forms seems to our empiricist eyes quite a logical tendency, then the hieroglyphs defy our reasoning because they arrest the pictorial stage for permanent and eternal use, remaining the anchor even for the 'practical' shorthand hieratic script, in which each sign can be 'read' or transcribed into its underlying hieroglyphic form. This privileged position for hieroglyphs is particularly striking when we consider that most scribes never learnt hieroglyphs because hieratic sufficed for their daily needs. Only a select core of the elite of literate men continued beyond their training in hieratic to take on a knowledge of reading and copying the sacred originals of the script, the hieroglyphs."
  • Page 20: QUOTE: "Whereas Chinese and Mesopotamian, not to mention the alphabetic scripts of the Middle East and Europe, shed their overt pictorial forms, Egyptian hieroglyphs themselves endure as a microcosm of art. Each sign may be considered a miniature image, and each large-scale image in a pictorial composition functions as a hieroglyphic sign writ large. The early church in Egypt demonstrated a thoroughly Pharaonic attitude when it discarded both ancient writing and art at once, implicitly acknowledging that they belong inextricably together."

Pyramids, Mute and Voiced[edit]

  • Page 35 Picture Caption: QUOTE: "The valley temple of Khafra abuts onto an additional, unique feature, the great sphinx with its own temple. This is the earliest known colossus using the body of a lion, to express royal and divine force, together with the head of a human, wearing the nemes headcloth to show that this is the king of Egypt. The impact of this vast statue, on the scale typical of the Giza monuments, led New Kingdom and later rulers to address the sphinx as a form of the sun-god, Horemakhet 'Horus in the horizon', sometimes in the guise of a Western Asiatic deity, Hauron. In the Eighteenth Dynasty, king Amenhotep II had a stela inscribed with an account of his visits to the site when he practised his skills at chariot riding in the desert. His son Thutmes IV set up a stela in his turn, recording a dream in which the god promised him the throne if he would clear the sphinx of sand."
  • Page 50: After discussing the Giza Necropolis on pages 48-49, Forman and Quirke write, QUOTE: "During the next two hundred years the tombs of the kings continue to confine text and image to the cult chambers of Valley Temple, Pyramid Temple and causeway between, keeping the burial chamber and underground galleries silent. The monuments of this age centre on Abusir, where kings Sahura, Neferirkara, Raneferef and Niuserra had pyramid complexes constructed with an impressive array of materials contrasting the darker and brighter sides of the night and day journey of the sun-god...The same sovereigns added to their quest for eternity a sun-temple, with an open court backed by a massive squat stone obelisk. Like the pyramid itself this may evoke the sacred benben stone at Iunu, the manifestation of the first ground upon which the creation of the sun-god could rest amid the primeval waters of nothingness. Although this squat shape seems far removed from the elegant monolithic obelisks of later periods, we may more easily recognise the classic qualities of the superb reliefs from corridors and chambers of both sun-temples and pyramid complexes. The passageway leading up to the obelisk and sun-court of king Niuserra at Abu Ghurab is known today as the Chamber of the Seasons for its lyrical depiction of nature and natural birth and growth. While the texts in these complexes continue to be restricted to dedication texts and offering formulae, the images grant us a vision, a 'reason why', behind the building of the pyramids. It remained only to record for eternity the articulation of that vision in the words uttered at the funeral of the king and in his cult at the temple."
  • NOTE: That is a perfect lead-in to page 51! Where we get down to business with the Pyramid Texts.
  • Page 51: QUOTE: "The break happens in the reign of Unas, an otherwise little known king who succeeded the much better attested innovator Isesi. Isesi had ended the practice of constructing sun-temples, and established his funerary complex back in the southern part of Saqqara. Unas followed him with a classic pyramid, temples and causeways just south of the Step Pyramid of Netjerkhet. We can only speculate whether or not the novelty of the reign of Unas was a concept born under his predecessor. For the first time the walls within the pyramid speak, covered in finely carved columns of incised hieroglyphs inlaid in blue pigment to stand out against the clear white limestone. The texts are the Pyramid Texts, for which no ancient title is known, a corpus of arcane formulae designed to procure eternal life for the king through the motifs of Ra the sun-god and Osiris the god who is king of the dead. With these texts we move into new realms of understanding as we look at the pyramid complexes of the Old Kingdom."
  • Page 51-53 (with large pictures): QUOTE: "It would be a mistake to try already to read out of the texts for Unas and his successors of the Sixth Dynasty an original account of the Step Pyramid or the Great Pyramid at Giza. The study of the syntax may help to distinguish older from newer compositions, but remains at an early stage, particularly since such texts often assume an archaising mantle by using language as far from the vernacular as possible to increase the sacred aura of the spoken and written word. We must take the texts as they have come down to us, from the burial of the king in the specific reigns of Unas, Teti, Pepy I, Merenra, Pepy II and the ephemoral Ibi. In addition to these six monarchs of the twenty-fourth to twenty-second centuries BC, Pyramid Texts have been found in the burial chambers of queens of Pepy II, as the practice of inscribing text to secure immortality spread from the core of kingship to an innermost circle of royal favour. The texts have not been fully collected and published, and most of the chambers are more or less blighted by damage, complicating any attempt to study the original layout of the words around the underground chambers of the pyramid complex. In the single case of the oldest example, the Pyramid Texts of Unas, the tomb walls have survived all but intact, allowing us to recover a meaning from the arrangement of the different formulae around the space of burial. In the wake of pioneering research by Maspero, Sethe, Piankoff, Altenmüller and most recently Jürgen Osing, we can hope to look beyond the individual texts to rediscover the grand scheme or schemes that intended to grand king Unas eternal life."
  • Page 53-56 (images on 54-55): QUOTE: "In the Pyramid Texts we meet three lives of text simultaneously. Many passages belonged in a first life to a variety of different contexts. Some were spoken to keep danger, particularly dangerous animals and insects, away from the living. Others were hymns to the gods, sometimes as litanies in which the speaker unites a whole series of individual names in a single act of worship. Litanies along with some texts spoken at the presentation of food offerings could be embedded within the daily ritual or special rites for particular feastdays. In their second life these same texts, with others devised for the task, were spoken in the course of the burial of the king as Osiris by his successor as Horus. Now the fragments of text united in a single stream of singular purpose, reinforcing each moment of the complex procedures of mummification and the delicate operation by which the body was taken from the Nile Valley up to the desert plateau and then down into the underground chambers of the pyramid. These stages must have been present in burials of rulers since the first burial of a man claiming kingship, back in the unrecorded centuries of the fourth millennium BC, but they survive in words only from the reign of Unas, thanks to the third life of these texts, their inscriptions upont he walls of the chambers beneath the pyramid."
  • Page 56: QUOTE: "The final arrangement over the two-dimensional space of the chamber walls brings changes to the linear, one-dimensional flow of texts spoken in series across the period of time of the burial. Although the texts read in a certain sequence, they must also obey the dictates of spatial area. The texts to preserve the body against harmful creatures belong, regardless of their place in the rites of burial, at the doorway and the west and east ends of the text area, to act as sentinels posted at points where intruders might try to force entry. Similar reasoning demanded that the wall closest to the final resting-place of the dead king be inscribed with those tets in which each part of the body was assured eternal life by being equated with that of a god or goddess. Again, this moves them out of the sequence of time into a new order dictated by the space in which they are written. Also without relation to the moment of ritual at which the words were uttered, the northern wall of the burial chamber is covered with a vast tabulation depicting and recording every item of food, drink and clothing which the dead king was to enjoy for eternity."
  • Page 56-57: QUOTE: "The great offering list, spread out like a pictorial menu behind the head of the deceased, spells out the first preoccupation of the Egyptians, to secure sustenance for the body after death. The first offering would have taken place at the burial itself, and should then be repeated by the family or their substitutes the priests for the cult of the dead every day. The fragmentary archives of the Fifth Dynasty found at Abusir confirm in meticulous records the survival of the royal cult for at least a century or so after the death of the king for whom it was initiated, but even the cult of a king began to lose its support grounded in the interest of the successors on the throne and, essential for the supplies of food, in the maintenance of inalienable estates dotted through Egypt. The dead king would then depend entirely on the supernatural provision of security and sustenance, on the images and texts carved in his pyramid temple. It may be coincidence, but the earliest Pyramid Texts, those of Unas, date to about two centuries after the construction of the mightiest complexes for a cult of the dead king, the Giza pyramids. Perhaps the experience of witnessing the decline of even the most substantial cult complexes provided one among the many factors that led to the new practice of recording funerary texts for eternity. It is not solely speculation that the period of Unas saw an awareness of the need to reinforce the cults of dead kings; most of the Abusir archives for the cult of Neferirkara seem to date precisely to the reign of Isesi, energetic predecessor of Unas."
  • Page 57: QUOTE: "Aside from the texts for the body, its physical safety and sustenance, the great bulk of texts are distributed over the walls of the central chamber below the pyramid, where the descending corridor from the outside world descends to the lowest point of the darkness. From this chamber one doorway turns right (west) to the burial chamber, while a doorway opposite leads to a triple shrine for the images of the deceased. The eastern and southern walls of the burial chamber also contain part of this great series where they are not already taken for the deification of parts of the body or accompanying texts to the menu of offerings. According to the New Kingdom monuments a thousand years later, the sky-goddess Nut rested her feet to the southeast, and therefore the daily birth of the sun-god from her womb would take effect in that corner of the sky. If we overlook, as in Egypt we so often can, the intervening thousand years, we would find a further spatial reason for the layout of these texts, as their physical place on the walls of the burial chamber would reinforce the eternal rebirth of the king by the daily resurrection of his father the sun-god."
  • Page 57-58: QUOTE: "The texts spell out the exact way in which the king could raise himself to immortality with the sun and stars. Any mortal misdeeds are left behind as he is embraced by the gods...His ascension into heaven is greeted by the gods, in particular here by the gods of the most ancient centres of kingship, Pe at the northern end of the kingdom (Buto of the Greek texts), and Nekhen at its southern end (the Hieraconpolis of the Greek texts)...This passage is one of the many in which the motion of the original moments of the burial can most strongly be felt. The powers of Re and Nekhen, advancing to raise up the king so that he can achieve eternal life, follow the same movement as the men who moved forward once in history to lift up the coffin containing the mortal remains of king Unas, to bring him from the valley up to the pyramid where he intended to live forever. At one or two points the Pyramid Texts even preserve some of the 'stage directions' for the officiants in the ritual or those charged with carrying the coffin, such as 'place on the ground'. Every human action becomes the action of gods in this ritual, as many references to the gods in these texts applied directly to the men involved in the physical act of burial. Egypt is already, as in the gnostic texts of the late Roman period, the mirror of heaven."
  • Page 60: QUOTE: "The Pyramid Texts provide the earliest connected information about the unfolding of creation. In the beginning existed only the undefined expanse, Nun, expressed as water, and the sum of all future matter, Atum, meaning 'All'. Creation unfurled when Atum appeared as Ra, the sun-god, out of the waters. This appearance was recounted with the help of a variety of metaphors, among which a prominent place is given to the embodiment of the first solid land as the benben-stone, an untranslatable word connected to the root weben 'to shine'. Creation continued when Atum/Ra produced from himself the god Shu, meaning 'dry', and the goddess Tefnet, meaning 'moist' or 'corrosive', two opposing principles of life. Again the 'birth' of this divine pair could be expressed in various ways, as spitting, sneezing or masturbation. All these terms, including the use of family relations, are metaphors to convey mysteries of creation."
  • Page 60-61: QUOTE: "The texts are unambiguous. The king is sustained by the eternal offerings, flies or sails past all obstacles to the sky, thrives as surely as the creator and his creation thrive, in other words becomes immortal as a god. Thanks to the hieroglyphs the moment of utterance of each formula at the burial of the king is transported onto an eternal plane, cast in stone to repeat the words automatically as long as the stone itself endures. The very hieroglyphs with which these texts are written embody the same confidence in clean-cut blue silhouettes against the bright white walls, beneath a ceiling adorned with stars. The star as much as the sun stands out as the dominant symbol of afterlife in the Pyramid Texts, and this may explain to some extent why they continued to be used by Egyptians of later periods as much as two and a half thousand years after the death of Unas. None of the later funerary literature contains such a celestial vision of the guarantee of life after death. The only comparable stock of imagery comes in the star charts on some Middle Kingdom coffins and, indefinitely more spectacular, the astronomical ceilings of tomb chambers in the New Kingdom, those of Senenmut, first minister of Hatshepsut, and kings of the Ramesside period. Those pictorial accounts of the skies evidently did not satisfy the Egyptian fascination with the stars entirely; throughout the Middle Kingdom and later, the Pyramid Texts survived in the ritual of burial and of Osiris, god of the dead, to provide the voice of a specific belief, that the dead might stay alive just as the circumpolar stars never sink beneath the horizon of the night sky. The circumpolar star, called the 'star that cannot perish', can be regarded as a sign from nature that some matter is imperishable, a sign of hope precisely in the darkness of the night."
  • Page 61-62: QUOTE: "The contemporary monuments of the successors of Unas tell us little of their reigns. Conventional history, following the third century BC writer Manetho, make Unas the last king of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, and Teti first king of the Sixth. However this change of dynasty may derive from a simple misunderstanding, since Teti is placed at the top of a new column in one tabulated list of kings and their reigns; possibly Manetho or one of his sources took the new column to signify a substantial change, when it might merely be required by the spacing of the particular kinglist which they were consulting. Manetho also records that Teti was murdered, but again we do not know his sources for this apparent evidence of political trouble. We can only state that the kings after Unas continued to build pyramids, of unimpressive scale, with Pyramid Texts in the underground chambers as well as fine reliefs over the walls of the pyramid temples above ground. The kinglists name a king Userkara as successor of Teti, but his burial place has not been located and the only signs that he existed are some sealings and an hieroglyphic inscription of dubious authenticity."
  • Page 62: QUOTE: "The next king in the lists is more securely attested, Meryra Pepy, or Pepy I, followed by Merenra Nemtyemsaf and Neferkara Pepy, or Pepy II. The order and number of kings is not entirely certain, as we depend almost entirely on the discovery of a royal burial-place to confirm the existence and date of an Old Kingdom king, but these are the kings for whom pyramids with Pyramid Texts are known today. In the reign of Pepy II, the Pyramid Texts are used for the first time for persons other than the reigning king, albeit for the person closest to the throne, the queen. The formulae themselves remain embedded in the ideology and imagery of the sun; the deceased requires the apparel of kingship, and will fly up to heaven to join the sun-god. The texts are adopted without modification to ensure the afterlife of a mortal woman, the queen of Egypt. Pyramid Texts are found in the underground chambers of the pyramids of three queens of Pepy II: Neit, Wedjebten and Iput."
  • Page 62-63: QUOTE: "The adoption of kingly texts flows naturally from the prominence of kingship. As centrepoint of the Egyptian world, the king would be the first person for whom texts would be devised to secure eternal life. Any formula guaranteeing the eternal life of the king must stand automatically at the most powerful means of resurrection for all mortals. While the texts were spoken at burials but not inscribed for perpetual action, they may have fastened more tightly onto the specific burial of the king. However, once they were written on the walls, and stood at one remove from the recitation at the funeral of the king, they may have become more open to reuse in the burial chambers of not just the king but also his subjects."
  • Page 63: QUOTE: "The stock of texts inscribed on the walls of each pyramid shows how fluid the tradition remained, despite the new custom of inscribing texts for eternity. No two pyramids contain the same stock of texts, and many texts found in earlier pyramids were not reused in the later ones. The themes do not change, but they allowed for continual reworking and new formulations, giving rise in each new generation to a fresh body of texts. However much it may seem to the uninitiated a land of repetition, Egypt never froze its religious literature as a Scripture. Either the content or the context underwent change at every stage of the life of a text. Individual passages among the Pyramid Texts occur at later periods in new sequences, with some additions, in temple rituals or non-royal burials. These lived on alongside a new stock of formulae for eternal life, generated by the Pyramid Texts but separate from them. Unlike the Pyramid Texts in the Old Kingdom, the new texts were not for the king or his queen, but for the wider circle of subjects of the king, and were written on the walls of their burial chamber or, more frequently, their coffins, from which their modern name Coffin Texts is taken. With the Coffin Texts the union of the king with the gods suddenly becomes a permissible model for any man or woman who could afford the luxury of a burial with texts."
  • Page 63-64: QUOTE: "The two traditions, royal and elite, find a single enigmatic link, discovered only in 1978, in a most unexpected corner of Egyptian dominion, the oases of the western desert. The French excavations at Balat uncovered the burial of a man named Medunefer, apparently governor of Dakhla oasis in the reign of Pepy II. Although the wooden coffin had not survived intact, the remnants bore fragments of text which Alessandro Roccati has been able to decipher and from which he could identify several parallels to Coffin Texts. The excavation director Michel Valloggia made the interesting suggestion that the signs now legible on the wooden coffin were imprints left by a shroud that had perished. Whether the shroud or coffin was the original surface bearing the text, the most striking discovery is the presence of this type of text already before the end of the Old Kingdom. From the diminutive pyramid and single underground chamber of a king Ibi we know that the Pyramid Texts continued to be devised and inscribed for the ephemeral kings who lost control over Egypt after the long reign of Pepy II. The texts of Medunefer, out on the fringes of Egyptian rule in the western desert, demonstrate that a new tradition had been developed while the line of Memphite kings still, at least nominally, commanded Residence workshops."
  • Page 64: QUOTE: "The location of the new texts, at the farthest limits of the realm, might indicate the milieu in which the elite first found it possible to use similar texts for eternal life to those used by the king. However it might be no more than an accident of survival: Coffin Texts and Pyramid Texts may await us in unexcavated elite burials of the late Old Kingdom at Saqqara. Indeed Pyramid Texts are inscribed on the shattered fragments of wall-decoration from the tomb of a man named Ankenmeryra (meaning 'may he live for Meryra'), a name suggesting a date not long after king Meryra Pepy I. The aspiration to cross the sky with the sun-god is voiced in at least one late Old Kingdom tomb-chapel, indicating that the elite expected an immortality modelled on that of the king, even if we do not have the texts from those non-royal burials."
  • Page 64: QUOTE: "It remains difficult to date precisely material from periods of weak kingship. In Egypt there was no fixed dating point like the Christian BC-AD; instead years were reckoned by the reigning king, and the sequence of kings was crucial to calculating the passage of years. In periods of strong central power, many elite burials or offering chapels mention the reigning king, allowing us to fix the burial in time with a high degree of accuracy. When the kingship weakened, those burials had less motive to refer to the king, and without the name of a king it is that much more difficult to date a burial and the objects, and texts, in it relative to other burials, objects and texts. Recent years have witnessed considerable advances in dating by indirect means, by style or by changes in forms of material, or, in the case of texts, of signs and the spelling of words. Nevertheless dating of individual coffins and tombs remains a subject of hot debate, and never more so than in the period of the critical transition from Pyramid Texts of kings, and then of queens, to Coffin Texts of their wealthiest subjects."
  • Page 64-65: QUOTE: "Dating is complicated by the striking continuity in burial customs from three bands of political history, late Old Kingdom, First Intermediate Period, and early Middle Kingdom. The late Old Kingdom, the period of the royal Pyramid Texts, witnessed a decline in central power, although a single line of kings still resided at Memphis and, in theory, still ruled all Egypt. In the First Intermediate Period, the line of Memphite kings was replaced in the north by kings from Henensu (Heracleopolis), and in the south by the governors of Thebes. The latter claimed kingship and gradually, in part by military conflict with the north, reunified Egypt under their control. The new period of unity under the Theban kings is the Middle Kingdom. Despite the momentous changes at national level, local burial traditions ignored any interruptions to a remarkable degree. If a provincial coffin of the late Old Kingdom is placed beside one of the early Middle Kingdom, it takes a specialist to explain the subtle differences, and, in the case of some cemeteries and for poorer burials, they cannot convincingly be distinguished."
  • Page 65: QUOTE: "Perhaps then it will be some years before we can recount in detail the history of the origin of Coffin Texts, and the place and time in which they split away from the original core of Pyramid Texts. Yet we can appreciate the scale of the change even in the stark outline of a new phenomenon: where there were texts for the afterlife of the king, suddenly the scope of the written text has spread out to a wider plane, below the king. In the Old Kingdom members of the royal court clearly expected a perfect afterlife, as expressed in the painted reliefs of their offering-chapels. Yet there the wording of the afterlife is never made explicit. With the Coffin Texts the chances of afterlife as a divine being, with the gods, are offered to the human subjects of the god-king, on the model of the original royal texts for an eternal life. This one dramatic turning-point ushers in a new history, two thousand years in which first Coffin Texts, then the Book of the Dead give voice to the way in which a human being may defeat death."

Human Made Divine: the Coffin Texts[edit]

  • Page 67: QUOTE: "When the dust settled on the conflict of the First Intermediate Period, and Egypt had again a single ruler, Nebhepetra Mentuhotep from Thebes, we find the burial chamber of the king once more devoid of text, as it had been before Unas, while two distinct groups of text are found side by side in the burial chambers of the elite. One of these consists of Pyramid Texts, and they follow more or less faithfully the wording but not the sequence of formulae found in pyramids of the Old Kingdom. The second group develops a new set of themes parallel to the preoccupation of the Pyramid Texts, and contains new texts as well as variants of the old. Most of these new texts occur on coffins, and for that reason the entire group has received the modern name Coffin Texts. Less often the texts are found on other types of object, from tomb chamber walls to statues and stelae (standing stones) placed in offering chapels."
  • Page 67-68: QUOTE: "At Thebes some of the courtiers of king Mentuhotep and his successors were buried in limestone chambers with walls constructed of separate monolithic slabs, each inscribed with the same texts and images that cover the walls of the contemporary wooden coffins. In the Delta, too, burial chambers of the Twelfth Dynasty were inscribed with Coffin Texts, as was the sarcophagus found at Lisht and belonging to a high official of the early Twelfth Dynasty named Mentuhotep. The massive cult chapel halls of Djefahapy at Asyut and Djehutyhotep at Bersha, two further high officials of the Twelfth Dynasty, contain examples of the same corpus on their walls and ceilings. Yet in all cases the coffin seems to be the kernel of the new tradition. The surfaces of the stone chambers seem to emulate the layout of a wooden coffin, and even the granite sarcophagus of the high official Mentuhotep, instead of baring its magnificent and costly stone surface, is plastered and painted within in exact imitation of the wooden coffin. At first sight this primacy of the coffin may seem surprising, but a reason may be found in the early history of this second strand of texts for an afterlife. The new texts began to take shape during the late Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period, when the country lost not only its unity but also much of its wealth. In these relatively impoverished conditions, the words securing eternal life were no longer spread over the stone expanse of tomb-chapel walls, but had to be confined instead to the wooden coffin. The birthplace of the new texts justifies their modern name Coffin Texts."
  • Page 68: QUOTE: "Some of the images on the coffins begin to appear in the late Old Kingdom, when the first decorated rectangular coffins were produced. These include the typically Egyptian motif of the pair of eyes with the markings of a falcon, presenting the power, above all the power of sight, of that bird of prey...The eyes conferred on the deceased the far-sightedness of the gods of creation and power, Ra and Horus...The principal bands of text along the upper edge of the coffin, inside and out, also stem directly from Old Kingdom prototypes, and contain the most exquisitely detailed painted hieroglyphs of this and perhaps any period. Here the artist realises the full potential of his script, and transforms each sign, whatever its content, into a living creation. Even the record of a single consonant receives meticulous care in attention to outline and details, such as the wing of an owl (the owl denotes the sound m) or the body of a viper (f). Again it is the late Old Kingdom coffins that included tabulated lists of offerings, echoing the great pictorial menus on earlier Old Kingdom tomb-chapel walls and in the burial chambers of the late Old Kingdom kings amid the Pyramid Texts."
  • Page 69-70: QUOTE: "The bulk of the Coffin Texts and Pyramid Texts were written in cursive hieroglyphics in the column below the principal bands inside the coffins. It is difficult today to compare the burials of king and subjects in the case of these texts, because none have been found in any king's burial chamber of the Eleventh or Twelfth Dynasties. Possibly those chambers were entirely textless, in the new confidence of central power, harking back to the days before the Pyramid Texts. It is also possible that new texts had been inscribed on papyri or other perishable and moveable objects, and that these have simply not survived the destruction of the royal cemeteries. Even above ground, comparison between the cult of the king and that of his subjects is thwarted by the devastation of royal cult temples. Only fragments survive from the reliefs of the Theban terraced temple of Nebhepetra Mentuhotep, and the northern pyramid complexes of the Twelfth Dynasty."
  • Page 70-72 (pic of calcite jar with inscriptions on 71): QUOTE: "A few texts for the afterlife of the king survive form the later part of the Middle Kingdom, the last years of the Twelfth Dynasty and the first half of the Thirteenth Dynasty. The tips of the pyramids of Amenemhat III and an ephemeral successor named Khendjer preserve texts appealing directly for a passage through the sky in sight of the sun. When the Coffin Texts were revived after a century of absence for officials of the Thirteenth Dynasty, the text of the eastern face of the pyramid tip now surfaces among them. At least in the middle years of the Thirteenth Dynasty, then, at about the time of king Khendjer, both the king and his subjects were using at least in part the same stock of texts. This small overlap occurs at the only point where we have any knowledge at all of the texts to preserve the king in this period. The rest of the royal strategy for afterlife remains lost to us, preventing us from seeing how similar or different the sovereign kept his destiny from that of his human subjects. Yet difference is emphasised by one unique text, from the tomb of not a king but the daughter of a king. This is inscribed upon a superb calcite vessel of unusual form, designated the receptacle for cool water in the course of its texts. It secured refreshment for eternity for the owner of that tomb, the king's daughter Sathathoriunet, and is unique among all surviving burial goods. Perhaps then the survival of king and royal family were kept distinct from the methods pursued for other subjects; the tets on the pyramidia would have started life in the service of the king alone, and have been diverted for the benefit of ordinary mortals only after the end of the Twelfth Dynasty. To date there is insufficient evidence to determine the relation between king and subjects in this field. The history of the resurrection of the king and his family lies heavily obscured by the thorough destruction of their burial places."
  • Page 72: QUOTE: "The most striking difference between the mass of new texts and the old body of Pyramid Texts lies in an obsession with the dangers in the earth. Certainly the Pyramid Texts already included means of ensuring that the earth would open, that it would not keep the dead king imprisoned in its depths. Yet they aim constantly at the sky, at the sun and the stars, and their address to the earth to open itself only serves to reinforce their insistent push towards heaven. By contrast the Coffin Texts swarm with chthonic demons, with obstructive forces, often presented concretely as gates blocking the passage of the dead. There within the earth the dead man or woman must spend eternity in at least one aspect, the aspect of the physical body. The dead person is still expected to fly up to heaven, and this detached afterlife could be expressed in the word ba, a manifestation of power reserved for divine beings, and so never found among human beings in the Old Kingdom. The Coffin Texts retain with the ba the more traditional form of surviving the death, by the ka, the spirit sustained by food, and this remains more firmly attached to the body in the burial chamber below the earth. The afterlife now presents two very different faces, the celestial travels of the ba and the earthbound destiny of the corpse, sustained in the ka-spirit by the offerings of food brought to the tomb. Where the Pyramid Texts addressed eternal life in the sky, the Coffin Texts embrace beside that the darker prospect of eternal life in the earth."
  • Page 72-73: QUOTE: "Although the exact dates of individual examples remain problematic, James Allen has recently succeeded in establishing a general history for the whole class of coffins, with and without texts, over the course of the Middle Kingdom. According to this reconstruction the Coffin Texts were in use alongside Pyramid Texts by the time of reunification under Nebhepetra Mentuhotep. Renewed political unity encouraged adoption of the same texts across the land, and this trend may have intensified with the creation of a new Residence at Itjtawy at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty. At all events the classic phase for coffins inscribed with texts for an afterlife spans the middle years of the Twelfth Dynasty, from the epoch-making reign of Senusret I across the forty-five years of rule by his son Amenemhat II to the brief reign of his son in turn, Senusret II. Under the next king, Senusret III, Egypt underwent a critical transformation in every area of life. We still understand little of this change, but it affected even the texts for the afterlife; for a hundred years they seem to disappear from the burial-place, only to be revived during the Thirteenth Dynasty with a number of new compositions, written on the outer faces of the coffin rather than in its interior. It is not known how long this revival lasted; after the mid-Thirteenth Dynasty Egypt again lost her unity, and the coffins of this Second Intermediate Period preserve few texts."
  • Note: There are a couple images and image captions in this chapter that are just too good to leave out, especially in regards to Parkinson's (2002) material on literary recitation and audiences of readings. In the image caption on page 76 for the image of a model boat found on pages 76 and 77 (from different angles), it says: "During the heyday of the Coffin Texts, in the early Middle Kingdom, the elite secured a good afterlife by including among their burial equipment models of their estates. One crucial element of a wealthy estate was a fleet of Nile rivercraft, for ferrying, fishing, transport of heavy cargo, and movement of the estate owner both in life and, as here, at his last journey [i.e., the images show a dead man in a coffinette with his carved face; similar to Tutankhamun's, only not gold]. This example is from the finest surviving set, of the high official Meketra...Over the mummified body of Meketra, women acting as the goddess Isis and Nephthys mourn the dead, while a man reads out the texts on a papyrus scroll by which the deceased gains eternal life."
  • Note: Now for the other useful image (another boat with figurines) and image captions, found on page 83, QUOTE: "One of the model boats from the tomb of Meketra shows the nobleman seated beneath an elegant papyrus-column canopy, while a steward of the estate reads out to him from a papyrus roll. Although the scene is administrative in tenor, it echoes the funerary ritual where a lector-priest must recite incantations from a papyrus-roll to the benefit of his deceased master. The funerary texts themselves include the titles 'for fetching a ferryboat and crossing over in the afterlife' (CT 403) and 'for sailing to Iunu' (CT 616)."
  • Page 84: QUOTE: "Some of the Coffin Texts are not confined to the early or later part of the period, but occur throughout the three centuries of the Middle Kingdom, and beyond. Among these longer lasting works, one self-declaration stands out, a formula through which the deceased identifies himself with the creator. Already in the early Twelfth Dynasty the formulaic phrasing had attracted the attention of theologians, who inserted as time went by more and more glosses to explain particular references. The ambition of the text may be caught in the opening words of the declaration as they occur on the coffin of Sobekaa from Thebes, now in Berlin [Note, the gloss commentaries are in italics]:"
Formula for Going Forth by Day in the Underworld
by the honoured Sobekka, who says:
The spoken came into being.
Mine is All (Atum) in my existence, alone.
I am Ra in his first appearances.
I am the great god who came into being of himself,
who created his names, lord of the Nine Gods,
without opponent among the gods.
Mine is yesterday, I know tomorrow.
It means Osiris.
At my word they acted at the battle-place of the gods.
The battle-place of the gods means the West.
I know the name of that great god who is (in) it.
'I am in adoration of Ra' is his name.
I am the great benu-heron which is in Iunu,
the keeper of controls of what exists.
It means Osiris. What exists means Eternity and Everlastingness.
I am Min in his processions.
I am given the double plume upon my head.
What is the Double Plume?
It means Horus who champions his father.
It means the Double Plume Crown.
(from CT 335)
  • Page 84: QUOTE: "Rarely are we given such a detailed glimpse of Egyptian scholarship at work. Only recently has a copy from the reign of Senusret I been found without the copious glosses, many of which seem more obscure than the plain declaration of identity by the creator, among the more direct attempts by humankind to paint a verbal image of god."
  • Page 86-88: Forman and Quirke write that the most well-preserved coffins in the classic stage of Coffin Text literature (i.e. Twelfth and Thirteenth dynasties) come from the site of Deir el-Bersha. The texts on these coffins contain laments for the dead, the procedure of funerary rights that were held for the deceased, and how the deceased journeyed through the afterlife. Moreover, they show the first Book of Two Ways, which are sets of maps and text that act as a guidebook for the deceased in the underworld. The coffins include physicians as well as one of the prominent governors (i.e. nomarchs) of the region, Djehutyhotep.
  • Page 99: QUOTE: "At some point toward the middle of the Twelfth Dynasty, during the reigns of Senusret II and III, in a country moving toward ever more precise means of expression, the Coffin Texts suddenly disappear. Instead of recording even more detailed descriptions of the underworld, the coffins quite suddenly abandon all but the most essential texts. The sides continue to bear on their outer faces a prayer for eternal supplies of offerings, the share in the offerings from the king to the gods. The lid may present a single line with the appeal to Nut to spread herself over the deceased, an appeal first addressed to the sky-goddess by the king in the Pyramid Texts of the Sixth Dynasty. Within, the coffin stands void of the countless lines of text and friezes of objects which had characterised the finest coffins of the early Middle Kingdom."
  • Page 100: QUOTE: "Part of the reason for the disappearance of the Coffin Texts may lie in the change in appearance of the coffin. From the mid-Twelfth Dynasty, in burials rich enough to afford not one but two coffins, the inner coffin was shaped like a mummified body with its funerary mask. From the time that it first appeared over the head of the body in early Middle Kingdom burials the mummy-mask had been growing in length, and it was natural perhaps that it should eventually envelop the entire body as the form of the inner coffin. The mummiform coffin provides a dramatic visual aid to the task of preserving the body forever, so much so that we think of it as the typical Egyptian coffin. Yet its sides are far less suitable for the recording of regular columns of text along the inside, because the curves of the body are too faithfully observed in the Middle Kingdom. It was more practical to give up the practice of inscribing words of the funerary rituals alongside the body."
  • Page 100: QUOTE: "The reign of Senusret III brought fundamental change to the organisation of the whole country, breaking local traditions including the funerary traditions to which we owe the bulk of the surviving Coffin Texts. The king launched a concerted campaign to strengthen Egyptian control of Nubia, strengthening the chain of fortresses and the southern boundary itself, and for this momentous military operation he may well have needed to rationalise and centralise the resources of the state. Whatever the reasons, his reign witnessed tighter occupation of Nubia and cutting of a new canal at the First Cataract to facilitate river travel to the border at the Second Cataract. It also saw government titles and departments more clearly defined than at any other period of Egyptian history, strikingly devoid of the ceremonial and religious phrasing which so often obscures the function behind a particular title. Most importantly for our subject, the reign marked an end to the great cemeteries of governors and their courts in Upper and Middle Egypt. Instead the aristocracy were buried near the pyramid of their king; Detlef Franke has shown how the son of the last governor to be buried at Beni Hasan is almost certainly the man buried in a magnificent tomb of Old Kingdom style at Dahshur, the part of the Memphite necropolis where Amenemhat II and Senusret III chose to site their pyramid complexes. When the leading families moved their burial place from hometown to Residence, the local funerary workshops would have lost their link to the world of the literate elite. The world of the Coffin Texts would have come to a natural end."
  • Page 101: QUOTE: "Besides such worldly considerations there probably lies a less tangible cause for giving up a tradition of text already three centuries old. The increasing precision of the mid to late Twelfth Dynasty may have caused the Egytpians to think again about the logical consequences of placing certain texts, or more specifically certain hieroglyphic signs, so close to the body of the dead person. Although the texts celebrate the triumph of good over evil, they are forced to mention evil if only to state the fact of its defeat. It may have seemed at some historical periods too great a risk to take in the efforts to safeguard survival. If this seems implausible, we have only to consider the last echo of the Coffin Texts, a dramatic but impermanent revival a century after Senusret II, attested only in the area of the Residence cemeteries at Lisht and Saqqara, and, perhaps from the disintegrating years of the Middle Kingdom, at Thebes. In this revival the danger of signs is countered by two simple strategems, writing the texts on the outer face of the coffin sides, and mutilating the hieroglyphs of living creatures."
  • Page 101-102: QUOTE: "The custom of mutilating hieroglyphs in the late Middle Kingdom begins at the close of the Twelfth Dynasty, in the monuments for the cult of princess Neferuptah. The hieroglyphs in the form of birds or snakes have in the one case their legs removed, in the other their necks severed; these are mutilations, rather than the careful selection of harmless signs which marked the Pyramid Texts in the Sixth Dynasty royal tombs. Earlier in the Middle Kingdom the same phenomenon sporadically marks coffins from Asyut, also on coffins with texts confined to the outer faces of the coffin; it was also a feature of the limestone sarcophagi for the women buried in the temple of Nebherepetra Mentuhotep at Thebes. It is not possible to establish a direct link between the two occurrences, separated by over a century. Yet it is interesting to find not one but both special features of the later revival present on the coffins from Asyut, as if that corner of Upper Egypt nurtured ideas that came to their fullest expression over a hundred years later at the Residence itself. The script involved creating on a small scale images on the rules of a perfect harmony, giving each sign at least the potential of life. In most contexts and periods the literal consequences of this act of creation were eclipsed behind the purpose of the whole text to communicate a message, but the potential lingered in each sign. A snake drawn to the specification of hieroglyphic art could become a snake, and this conjured up a nightmare of the artist's own making, that in his endeavor to ensure the tomb owner's immortality he might be creating also a lethal enemy for the deceased. The simplest remedies were to avoid the sign altogether, or not to include the text. Mutilated hieroglyphics presented a third solution."
  • Page 102-103: QUOTE: "If the revival of Coffin Texts begins with Sesenebnef, it used the new late Twelfth Dynasty method of mutilating hieroglyphics, affecting all birds and serpents whereas the early Middle Kingdom coffins had dismembered only the horned viper, the f of the hieroglyphic script. However, like a number of examples from Asyut, the Thirteenth Dynasty coffin designers took the precaution of placing the texts on the outer faces of the coffin sides, to avoid the slightest danger that the hieroglyphs might rebel against their master. When we read the contents of his coffin, we find that these do not coincide exactly with those of the early Middle Kingdom. Instead they include a number of unique formulae and, most intriguingly, a high proportion of previously unknown texts which later surface again in the New Kingdom as part of the Book of the Dead. These two coffins bridge the gap between the funerary literature of the Middle Kingdom, extinct in the written record by 1850 BC, and that of the New Kingdom, not otherwise found before 1600 BC."
  • Page 109: QUOTE: "...Nevertheless the find sums up an epoch, in which men and women alike used the imagery of birth and its defence in their quest for eternal life. The period becomes increasingly more obscure as we move toward and past the traumatic but unrecorded moment at which Egypt lost her unity. In the middle of the seventeenth century BC the country became divided into two parts, a northeastern area under the control of heqau khasut 'rulers of foreign lands', and the old line of kings now based at Thebes with power over no more than southern Upper Egypt. In local burials at Thebes we find almost no hint of this fatal turning-point. Yet there are one or two hints that the world of the dead too was affected by the death of the Middle Kingdom. Within a century the kings of the south were able to restore the unity of Egypt and drive out the northerners. By the time they succeeded there already existed a new body of text to survive death, that known today as the Book of the Dead."

Surviving Death in an Age of Empire[edit]

  • Page 111: QUOTE: "The reconquest of the Delta by Kames and Ahmes I brought Egypt her third classic age of unity and prosperity, the New Kingdom. In this new era the successors of Ahmes I, above all Thutmes I and III, took their armies deep into Syria-Palestine, as if to ensure that never again would Western Asiatic princes like the Hyksos control a part of Egypt. In the course of this massive military intervention, following a period in which the more advanced technologies of the Levant had already been introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos, Egypt felt foreign influence as never previously in art, religion and literature. The one area which resisted the flavour of the new cosmopolitan East was the funerary domain. This may seem surprising, given Egyptian control of Nubia to the south and the wealthy Asiatic trade routes to the northeast, beside the large numbers of Asiatics in Egypt who played such a large part in New Kingdom life, ranging from the taste for colour in costume to the vocabulary of daily life and even the way in which words were spelled. Inscriptions in the burial chamber, among the most traditional recesses of the land, delayed any apparent influence from abroad a further six centuries. Rather than experiment with strategies for an afterlife, the elite put their faith in a revised and condensed version of the Coffin Texts and their last formulation in the coffins of Sesenebnef. We call this New Kingdom edition the Book of the Dead."
  • Page 111-112: QUOTE: "Book of the Dead is not a name that would have meant anything to an ancient Egyptian. In the early decades of the last century, local villagers of Gurna, on the West Bank at what had been Thebes, scoured the forgotten cemeteries around their houses to find antiquities for foreign travellers, and they noticed the 'scrolls of the dead' in many of the burials. The phrase was not a title for a particular group of manuscripts, merely a means of referring to any papyrus roll buried with a dead person. However, the overwhelming bulk of those papyri were New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period and Ptolemaic selections from a single pool of formulae derived for the greater part from the Coffin Texts. In 1842 Richard Lepsius, the founder of German Egyptology, brought some order to the confusing mass of formulae by publishing the most extensive example known to him, the papyrus of a Ptolemaic Theban named Iufankh, preserved in the Egyptian Museum of the kings of Savoy and Piedmont at Turin. He used the phrase of the Gurna villagers to entitle the manuscript Book of the Dead, and this name has ever since denoted not any papyrus found in a burial but only those with formulae from a particular stock less than two hundred in number. The papyrus of Iufankh presents a sequence of formulae which is more or less the same as that found in most other Books of the Dead after 650 BC; Lepsius numbered the formulae as chapters 1 to 165, and these numbers are still used. Before 650 BC there was less regularity, and sequences rarely follow such a set format; we also find in the earlier manuscripts some texts which do not occur later, and vice versa. In order to extend the orderliness of Late Period Books of the Dead to their New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period precursors, the Egyptologists Edouard Naville and Wallis Budge continued the numbering by Lepsius to the other formulae of the New Kingdom, reaching 'chapter 190'. Although the numbering is modern, it is kept for convenience, but the reader should remember that 'chapter 1' of the Book of the Dead is not an ancient Egyptian title, but simply a convenient way to denote a particular text."
  • Page 112: QUOTE: "The Egyptians themselves adopted a title used for some of the Coffin Texts of the Middle Kingdom, Formulae for Going Forth By Day. The dead were to go forth from the burial to secure their perfect afterlife. Like the elite of the Middle Kingdom they were equipped with formulae to receive offerings, to have power over the body itself and the elements of air, fire and water, to take the forms appropriate to immortals, to know the beings and landscape of the underworld in order to pass by them unscathed. They reinforced this tried and tested core with emphatic declarations of purity at the moment of judgment, with hymns to Ra the sun-god and Osiris king of the dead, their two main promises of resurrection, and with a greatly extended use of vignettes, the illustrations that expand and expound the precision of each formula of words. Various Coffin Texts had been given illustrations, but the Book of the Dead transforms the vignette from a marginal, even optional feature to a central feature of the manuscript. In part this may have seemed less necessary on the rectangular coffins of the Middle Kingdom, already richly laden with depictions of offerings and objects in the elaborate friezes around the upper bands of the interior. The New Kingdom tradition retained the core of text, but its presentation was quite different; instead of having the coffin inscribed, the tomb-owner commissioned or bought a special book, which in ancient Egypt means a papyrus roll."
  • Page 113: QUOTE: "The shift from coffin to papyrus took several stages, which reveal at least a part of the obscure early history of the Book of the Dead. The new stock of texts first appears on the interior walls of the coffin of a queen Mentuhotep, written not in the cursive hieroglyphs, mutilated or otherwise, of the Middle Kingdom, but in the everyday hieratic script. Her coffin was found in 1822, according to one account, and then disappeared, fortunately not before John Gardner Wilkinson, the English traveller and indefatigable recorder, had prepared a careful copy of the texts. He presented his copy to the British Museum in 1834, and it confirms that the revision of words to be spoken in burial had continued after Sesenebnef. The coffins of that lector-priest straddle the two traditions, Coffin Texts and Book of the Dead, but the lost coffin of Mentuhotep stands firmly in the new world. We do not know the exact date of the queen, but she did not belong to the royal family of Seqenenra Taa and Ahmes I, and so can be set with her coffin at least a generation earlier, perhaps c.1600 BC."
  • Page 113-114: QUOTE: "Since the Thirteenth Dynasty coffins with formulae for new life had reached only halfway to this stage, we have to look elsewhere for the moment of revision into what we call the Book of the Dead. Possibly the stock of formulae was revised already for the kings and royal family of the late Thirteenth Dynasty, a blank in the surviving record. However, it seems more likely that the Book of the Dead was born at a specific time for a reason; if there were a single moment of change, we might expect it when the kings of Egypt forsook the north and the Middle Kingdom Residence of Itjtawy, and moves south to Thebes. We call the kings of Egypt at Itjtawy the Thirteenth Dynasty, and their successors at Thebes the Seventeenth Dynasty. The Seventeenth Dynasty probably had no access to the ancient centres of learning at Memphis and Heliopolis. Deprived of those sacred libraries, they would have required a new edition of the texts for surviving death. The creation of the new stock of sacred texts would then reflect the division of Egypt into a reduced Middle Kingdom government at Thebes and a northern realm dominated by foreign rulers from West Asia."
  • Page 114: QUOTE: "The coffin of queen Mentuhotep lies almost alone in the century before the wars of Seqenenra Taa, Kames, and Ahmes I against the foreign rulers of Lower Egypt. The coffin of a king Intef contained a shroud with hieratic signs scrawled large in horizontal lines, but the surviving scraps are too small and too few to identify the text. The only other text of any length in a burial of the period is a version of a Coffin Text used in the Book of the Dead, in hieratic on the inner face of part of a coffin naming a king's son and general Herunefer. These translating fragments demonstrate that the queen Mentuhotep was not alone in having formulae inscribed in her tomb for her afterlife, but they do not take us any further."
  • Page 114: QUOTE: "The period of war between south and north, marking the beginning of the New Kingdom, has left more substantial, though still fragile, evidence of the preservation of the dead by written word. Sons and daughters of the royal family were buried in the desert wadi now named the Valley of the Queens, and their mummified bodies were wrapped in linen shrouds covered in cursive hieroglyphic texts from the Book of the Dead. The custom of placing a shroud with texts, but no vignettes, over the body survived into the reign of Thutmes III, over a century later. When that king died, his son and successor Amenhotep II had made for the burial a shroud covered in formulae from the Book of the Dead and a part of the Litany of Ra, a hymn to the sun-god in his seventy-five forms, covering all divine creation. In the same period shrouds were made with the additional feature of coloured vignettes, one for almost every formula. In the most striking case a man named Senhotep was buried within a linen covering much wider than it is tall, with an introductory vignette depicting the family in adoration. This extraordinary elongated shape, suitable neither for the narrower bands of mummy wrappings nor for the body-sized outer shroud, can only reflect the primacy of place allotted to a new surface for the formulae of eternal life, the papyrus roll."
  • Page 114: QUOTE: "The revised stock of texts was then well established in the grave by the time that the major changes in burial custom, as in the other materials of life, took hold of Egypt after the reign of Thutmes I."
  • Page 116: QUOTE: "With her husband the king dead, and her nephew a child on the throne, Hatshepsut proceeded to acquire exceptional status within the court, until she stepped beyond all bounds to be declared, perhaps in the seventh year of his reign, king of Egypt. The revolutionary breach of a cardinal rule, that the king be male as the sun-god, called for the heights of artistry to legitimate the female 'king'. In the campaign for kingly status, her sages revived texts of the Twelfth Dynasty king Amenemhat III, whose accession in the reign of his father Senusret III had been recorded as an act of divine inspiration on the walls of the then national sanctuary of Sobek at Medinet el-Fayum. From the same period Hatshepsut found the precedent of queen Sobekneferu, the first woman known to have claimed kingship as a female Horus. Coupled with the first aftershock of the conquests in Western Asia, the joint reign of Thutmes III and Hatshepsut brought changes in every branch of Egyptian life. Even the forms of scarabs, the smallest artistic products, is affected by the wave of innovation, making it easy to date a scarab to before or after the reign. This is precisely the moment at which the Book of the Dead on papyrus becomes widespread in elite burials at Thebes. It is also the moment at which two other texts, the Litany of Ra, and the Amduat, first appear in the surviving record."
  • Page 116-117: QUOTE: "The funerary texts for the first kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty are unfortunately lost, and even the tomb of Hatshepsut has not been published in full. However, her highest officials included in their tomb-chambers texts which were for the next three hundred years reserved for the burial of the sovereign. The most influential minister Senenmut had a second, more hidden tomb-chamber prepared in the immediate approach to the cult temple for queen Hatshepsut, her famous terraces on the West Bank at Thebes. The chamber before the final descent into the burial chamber bears a ceiling inscribed with astronomical charts and texts, not found again until the reign of Sety I, and then only in the monuments of the king. The only precursors for these extraordinary devices for eternal life are the inner faces of coffin lids in the early Middle Kingdom. The group aspires to immortality through the same emphasis on stars that never sink below the horizon, the circumpolar stars, as we find in the Pyramid Texts."
  • Page 117: QUOTE: "The texts and images in the tomb of the first minister Useramun occur more frequently in later reigns, although they, like the star charts, were for the rest of the New Kingdom confined to the tomb of the king. One text comprises a Litany of Ra in which the sun-god is identified and worshipped as seventy-five forms, some with obscure names but others as familiar as Horus and even goddesses such as Isis. At the heart of the series stands the otherwise unmentionable, unrepresentable image of the pig. That animal represents the unclean incarnate because it not only scavenges but, worse, devours anything it finds, thereby breaking all the borders of carnivore and herbivore, as does humankind. Here we encounter the single thread underlying all religious thought in Egypt, a belief in a single creation unravelled through a myriad single features but present in all of them. The sun-god unfurls himself into every feature of creation, but remains its visible source of energy, of heat and light, distinct and aloof from the level of the rest of existence."
  • Page 117: QUOTE: "The second text of Useramun, later exclusive to the sovereign in the later Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties, is the Text of the Hidden Chamber Which is in the Underworld, a title abbreviated after the New Kingdom to Book of What is in the Underworld, in the Egyptian language Amduat. In this series of images predominating over text, the sun-god undergoes a journey through the twelve hours of the night, in each overcoming opposition through his power, expressed as names."
  • Page 117: QUOTE: "The dead person, preeminently the dead king, was to merge with the sun-god at death, and therefore the description of the night journey and morning resurrection of Ra applied with equal force to the deceased."
  • Page 119: After skipping a lot of info about what happens throughout the different hours in Amduat, QUOTE: "Although other compositions grew out of the Amduat, and were copied in the tomb of the king from the reign of Tutankhamun onwards, they abandoned the insistent naming of each feature of the underworld. Even the style of drawing in the first copies of the early Underworld Books differs...When they came to choose their strategy for resurrection, the Thebans of the Third Intermediate Period returned to the texts and images of the Litany of Ra and the evocative sketched forms of the early copies of the Amduat."
  • Page 119-120: QUOTE: "In the burials of those other than the king after the death of Hatshepsut, the Book of the Dead stands alone as the guarantor of new life, and it offers no such confrontation with the stark outline of death and rebirth. Within the Book of the Dead, a number of new texts compensate for the considerable reduction in the total stock of formulae. The formulae for taking divine forms are among the most severely curtailed, but even here we find innovation, as in the formula for becoming a lotus, a perennial symbol of solar rebirth because the flower opens for the sun."
  • Page 120: QUOTE: "The most notable addition to the funerary texts from the Coffin Text tradition must be reckoned the judgment of the dead, above all as painted in chapter 125. The formulae that cover this stage of the entry into the underworld present the deceased in the broad hall of the two goddesses of Right, before Osiris, king of the underworld, among forty-two gods and goddesses who sat in judgment over the men and women who had died and wished to become eternally blessed spirits. Before Osiris, as chairman of the tribunal, the deceased declaimed a series of misdeeds of which he or she protested innocence; a similar procedure was repeated before the forty-two assessor deities, before each of whom the deceased had to swear his or her innocence of a particular sin. The whole declaration of purity appears in Late Period temples as the oaths taken by the priest entering his period of service, and it is possible that priestly oaths of purity provided the model for this 'Negative Confession' of the dead."
  • Page 122: QUOTE: "In conjunction with these most expressive of Egyptian moralistic texts the Book of the Dead conjures up the scene of judgment, the fulcrum of existence, in a remarkable image taken from not myth but accountancy and the marketplace. The heart of the deceased is set in the balance quite literally against an image of the Right, either the form of the goddess or her feather alone. The gods attend to the probity of the operation; Anubis and Horus set the scales in motion, and Thoth records the outcome exactly as would a scribe measuring an amount of precious or other metal."
  • Page 122: QUOTE: "The earliest manuscripts tend to omit the most colorful character in this picture, Amemet the 'Swallower' or 'Swallower of the Damned', a hybrid form ready to gulp down the heart if it proves impure against the figure of Right. The monster takes the three animals of voraciousness who could be depicted in Egyptian formal art, the crocodile for the head, lion for the forepart, and hippopotamus for the rear. Exactly the same animals in a somewhat different configuration provide the icon of the defending goddess of childbirth, Taweret. A fourth voracious creature lurks in the background of the consciousness of the artist—Reret, the female pig who can devour not only animal or vegetable manner but even, if provoked, her own children. The monstrous swallower of the dead is included in virtually every scene of judgment after a particular turning-point in Egyptian history, the reign of Akhenaten."
  • Page 122-123: QUOTE: "Jan Assmann has christened the radical departure of Akhenaten as the crisis in Egyptian polytheism, a conflict between two visions of god. In the name Ra the Egyptians perceive a physical and natural life-giving power in their experience, the sun. In the name Amun the creator turns into a hidden, invisible, but everpresent and all-knowing, all-seeing deity. At a point early in his reign Amenhotep IV decided that the name Amun could not present god, and must be removed from worship of the creator; that even the name Ra failed to hone in on the specific physical form of god in the sky; and that therefore a new cult must be installed to the Aten, the solar sphere itself. At a stroke the ancient metaphors of animal and bird become forbidden idols, and the supernatural plane is converted from a populous home of innumerable gods and goddesses into the empty prospect of a single celestial being moving visibly across the sky, devoid of any company or echo save the presence of the king on earth. Where every Egyptian had been able to approach his or her deity directly, including the deities of state, the Aten smiled only on the king and his wife Nefertiti, the double channel of all divine blessings to humankind. The name of the king could no longer include the proscribed form of expressing god as Amun, 'Invisible', and was changed to Akhenaten, servant of the Aten; the word akh cannot be rendered in a single word in our language, conjuring up the ideas of service, of peity in the Latin sense of filial duty to father, and much more of the light of transfiguration that only the sun-god can provide."
  • Page 123: QUOTE: "In this world there can be no Osiris or Isis, no Amun or Mut, and no Book of the Dead. At the special new Residence city dedicated to the Aten, Akhetaten 'Horizon of the Aten' (modern Amarna), the household shrines and tomb-chapels replace the personal contact to deities with images of the royal family worshipping and blessed by the Aten, and every person other than the king must bow low not to usurp the light granted by god to king. In the tomb of the king the scenes of night journeys disappear, yielding to some of the most intimate depictions of Egyptian art, in which a royal birth and royal death cover the walls of the chambers. Even around the canopic chest of the king the goddesses of procreation have no place, and instead the queen herself stands with arms outstretched to defend the mortal remains of her husband."
  • Page 123-124: QUOTE: "So personal and exclusive a royal cult of one god, the sun-disk, could not withstand the change of reign. When Akhenaten died, the boy-king who followed him shortly on the throne of Egypt presided over a restoration of the Amun temples, including the replacement of the statues smashed by the agents of Akhenaten, both general images of Amun and more specific figures of the fertility of man and river. The name of Amun was restored on the thousands of monuments where Akhenaten had had it erased, and the reverse programme began to remove from hieroglyphic and eternal existence the king who had disobeyed creation. In the Book of the Dead and the texts of the afterlife of the king the restoration generated a new energy. The judgment is consistently given its monster, and the papyri now begin and end with dramatic visions of worship, covering the full height of the roll, whether of the sun-god or the goddesses of birth and rebirth, Taweret and Hathor. In the tomb-chapels at Thebes and Saqqara, the funerary texts begin to intrude into the pattern of scenes, which had concentrated in the Eighteenth Dynasty on the motifs of official life and estates conducive to rebirth, such as the scenes of fishing and hunting wild birds in the marshes. In the Twentieth Dynasty cult temple for Ramses III at Medinet Habu, one of only four Theban West Bank royal temples to escape destruction, the king is depicted ploughing his fields as in the Book of the Dead chapter 110, and other texts and images from the formulae for going out by day occur for the survival of the king, in addition to less unexpected scenes of festival, ritual and triumph over the foreign enemies of Egypt."
  • Page 134: QUOTE: "Down to the end of the New Kingdom we have the royal tombs at Thebes to compare with burials of the subjects of the king. After the death of Ramses XI, with the abandonment of the Valley of the Kings, the kings were buried in the Delta, where far fewer ancient monuments have survived. With a handful of exceptions we have no information on the design and contents of a king's tomb for the entire millennium before Christ, and this deprives us of the chance to compare strategies for the afterlife of the king with those of his subjects. Yet the images and texts for persons other than the king demonstrate that, as long as the hieroglyphic tradition survived, the dead person sought eternal life by taking the status of Ra and Osiris, the gods of resurrection, and that this involved of itself taking the status of the dead king. Even when the kings themselves have disappeared from our sight, kingship remains crucial to all aspirations for life after death."

Revivals of the Past in the First Millennium BC[edit]

  • Page 137-138: Skipping the intro since they only talk about political history, not literature.
  • Page 138: During the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt, QUOTE: "The particular role of Thebes as centre to the cult of Amun brought about a separate and flourishing religious tradition at that city, in contrast not only to the northern kingdom but also to the rest of Upper Egypt. Admittedly the ground of the Delta does not favour survival of organic material such as wooden coffins and funerary papyri. Nonetheless it seems from the lack of evidence across the entire rest of the country that at this period Thebes alone produced the dazzling explosion of creativity in the workshops for the afterlife. Suddenly, as at no other moment in Egyptian history, the output of richly decorated coffins and illustrated papyri veered toward a crescendo of innovation, in which no one papyrus or coffin exactly copies another, and instead the craftsmen and designers explore every path suggested by the five centuries of New Kingdom experience in preserving life beyond death."
  • Page 138-139: QUOTE: "The new age begins without a great quantity of evidence even at Thebes. On the bridge of old to new stands a pair of papyri for survival in the innovatory style of the Third Intermediate Period. They belong to a woman named Nedjmet, who bore the title king's mother, and appears on the longer papyrus together with the general Heryhor of the late Twentieth Dynasty. It is not known exactly how Nedjmet was related to Heryhor, or who had her papyri prepared. It seems most likely that she was the wife of Heryhor, but we have no idea which king might have been her son. Heryhor himself claimed royal status during his decade and more of high office in Thebes, but Nedjmet never calls herself king's wife. One of her two papyri presents formulae from the Book of the Dead in cursive hieroglyphs. As in nearly all New Kingdom Books of the Dead, the hieroglyphs face to the right, which normally indicates that the text is to be read from right to left, but these sacred texts for the afterlife read from left to right, as if to highlight their more secret nature by reversing a cardinal rule of the script."
  • Page 140: QUOTE: "The second papyrus of Nedjmet does not begin to rival her Book of the Dead in either length or the sumptuous coloured illustrations, but is nonetheless more innovative in two important respects. First, it can be seen with hindsight as the beginning of a new tradition of funerary manuscript, of the scheme for preserving life with text, a tradition of placing not one but two papyri in the burial, and not of the same type but complementary. This practice is confined to Thebes and to the two centuries from 1050 to 850 BC."
  • Page 140: QUOTE: "The second outstanding feature of the smaller papyrus of Nedjmet is the script. The texts between the various scenes derive mainly from the Formulae for Going Forth By Day, with one extra formula 'for bringing a garland of justification on the day of the Wag-festival' (an important funerary festival for the necropolis) related to some of those formulae ('chapters' 18 and 20). Their contents seem, then, less surprising than their juxtaposition to scenes from the Underworld Books. Yet their script opens an entirely new phase in the practices of preparing for the afterlife. Previously the hieroglyphic and cursive hieroglyphic scripts alone sufficed to record for eternity the sacred formulae to enable the deceased to survive death. The few exceptional uses of the more cursive hieratic script evidently occur only where an inferior or rushed scribe went to work on a restricted passage within a predominantly hieroglyphic manuscript. Since the reign of Hatshepsut with Thutmes III, when the papyri of Hatnefer, mother of Senenmut, included a finely written hieratic papyrus, hieroglyphic had been used for all funerary texts. In reviving the careful calligraphy of the earlier New Kingdom, the early Twenty-first Dynasty craftsmen who produced the papyrus of Nedjmet set a model for the last thousand years of the tradition. It should also be noted that the quality of the hieratic texts so beautifully written out for the afterlife extends beyond the forms of the signs to the standards of text; whereas many hieroglyphic manuscripts contain formulae garbled almost beyond recognition, with numerous errors in understanding and in copying, the hieratic papyri of the Third Intermediate Period present among the most reliable versions of funerary texts known to us."
  • Page 141-142: QUOTE: "Curiously the two papyri of Nedjmet seem to stand alone in their generation, and the next group of manuscripts to survive, from the middle years of the Twenty-first Dynasty, do not select exactly the same scenes or texts or even the hieratic script so perfectly refined for her rebirth. The new stock of texts for the afterlife follow only the general principle that the burial should contain two papyri, of which one selects formulae from the Book of the Dead, while the other derives inspiration from the Underworld Books of the New Kingdom. Both manuscripts were written in hieroglyphs, and one placed in the coffin, the other in an extra piece of burial equipment rarely attested in the New Kingdom, a wooden figure of Osiris. In the Nineteenth Dynasty the Book of the Dead of Hunefer was placed in such a figure, as was that of Anhay from the Twentieth Dynasty, but otherwise the custom of concealing the papyrus within a wooden statue seems characteristic only of the Theban renaissance in the Third Intermediate Period. A further example, in the tomb of Amenhotep II, would be the oldest, as well as being the sole surviving royal papyrus of the New Kingdom, but it may date instead to the Third Intermediate Period, when the tomb of the king came to house several other bodies in the course of dismantling royal burials in the Valley of the Kings."
  • Page 142: QUOTE: "The earlier group of Third Intermediate Period manuscripts presents a standard pattern of pairing, with a Book of the Dead in the cursive hieroglyphic script and brightly coloured vignettes, and a papyrus given the title Amduat, dominated by illustrations taken not from the 'Book of the Hidden Chamber Which is in the Underworld' but from the Litany of Ra. The Books of the Dead in this phase often taken their inspiration form early Eighteenth Dynasty examples, sometimes so faithfully that only such details as the title of the owner can distinguish them form the earlier originals. Even personal names at this period hark back to the first part of the New Kingdom, testifying to the real power felt in a bygone age, when the first recorded oracles of the god Amun were delivered to confirm the legitimacy of the sovereign."
  • Page 142-143: QUOTE: "The Litany of Ra, named in Egyptian 'Book of the Adoration of Ra in the West', was often inscribed near the entrance to the royal tomb in the Ramesside period. The papyri deriving their design from this more accessible of the royal texts contain up to sixty, but not the full seventy-five, forms of the sun-god, mostly as mummiform bodies with the heads of various creatures, though some are smaller figures of other symbols and animals such as the cat or goat. In addition to the known series of forms of the sun-god the preparers of the new papyri composed new shapes, first indication of an endless inventiveness in Theban texts and, above all, images over the next two hundred years. The two papyri of a lady named Nany illustrate the new custom of pairing Book of the Dead with an 'Amduat' papyrus of Litany of Ra vignettes."
  • Page 143: QUOTE: "The burial of Nany was discovered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, excavations under Herbert Winlock, as he reported in 1930, and are now preserved in that museum. The titles of Nany include beside the usual designations of Theban noblewoman of the time, lady of the house and chantress of Amun-Ra, the unexpected title 'king's daughter'. We do not know to which king this could refer, although it may have been a Theban general and high priest of Amun who had taken royal titles, such as Heryhor. Both papyri are dominated by their paintings, with an especial emphasis on the colours yellow, for daily solar resurrection, and green, for the annual renewal of plant life."
  • Page 143: QUOTE: "The Book of the Dead of Nany presents ten formulae through vignette and text together, and a further twelve in vignette alone. Among these we find the fundamental depiction of the judgment and of the cultivation of fields, but also two vignettes not known from the New Kingdom papyri. The same spirit of experiment brings new forms to the series of figures in the Litany of Ra, where the creator takes shape in a variety of forms principally with mummiform body. Both manuscripts clearly serve one aim in obtaining for Nany her eternal life, yet they are kept physically apart on two separate rolls. Evidently the Book of the Dead, for 'Going Forth by Day', could be complemented by texts form the Valley of the Kings such as the Litany of Ra, but it could neither be replaced by, nor merged with them. These two strategies for life are intended to remain distinct from one another."
  • Page 143-144: QUOTE: "After perhaps half a century, toward the end of the Twenty-first Dynasty, a new pairing of funerary papyri began to replace the standard combination of hieroglyphic Book of the Dead with Amduat papyrus of images based on the Litany of Ra."
  • Page 165: QUOTE: "In 30 BC the last Ptolemaic dynast, Cleopatra VII, took her own life after defeat with Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium. A new ruler of the world had risen up, Octavian, named in 27 BC Augustus. Egypt returned to the status of province in a wider empire, and her traditions became still more marginal. Under the new regime her ancient texts take their last flourish of revival, just as a new creed is voiced in a neighbouring land."

The Last Flowering: Preserving Afterlife in Roman Egypt[edit]

  • Page 167: QUOTE: "The reign of Augustus did not destroy Egyptian tradition along with the Ptolemaic dynasty. Already the first century BC had brought a marked drop in the length of papyri with formulae for preserving life after death. The length of papyrus roll may seem a mundane feature in literature, but we learn much of the economic climate among those commissioning a traditional burial when we consider the general disappearance of the fuller selections of over a hundred texts. At about this time the funerary tradition underwent its last major revision, as if adapting the armoury of phrases in the Formulae for Going Forth by Day to a less abundant supply of papyrus in the funerary workshops."
  • Page 167: QUOTE: "In the new edition the deceased went into the next world not with a book of formulae, but with a passport, a travel document for free access. Such travel documents are known in the original from the far ends of Egyptian history. The Old Kingdom archive discovered in the 1980s by the Czechoslovak expedition to Abusir included the earliest surviving sheet of papyrus on which the carrier is declared entitled to enter a restricted zone. From the opposite end of time, after the Islamic conquest of AD 641 Coptic monks were given passes to allow them to travel from one monastery to another in the sensitive desert margins. In this same frame of mind the Thebans of the first century BC named their new shorter means of access to life after death the Documents for Breathing."
  • Page 167-168: QUOTE: "The earliest manuscripts may not compare in length with the older and most extensive selections of Formulae for Going Forth by Day, ye they witness a continued vitality. Other than a single papyrus said to come from Esna, a short distance to the south, only Thebes has produced examples of funerary compositions in hieratic on papyrus from the Roman period. The few papyri found in Roman period burials at Saqqara bear instead of funerary texts other compositions, notably the ritual for the Opening of the Mouth, copied out on behalf of the deceased man or woman. That ritual served to bring life to inanimate objects in human form, originally the statue and only by extension the coffin and the mummy itself. The central role of the Opening of the Mouth in Pharaonic civilisation is seen again in its latest use at Saqqara as the preferred text to attain eternal life. For Documents for Breathing Thebes appears to stand alone, much as it had in the Third Intermediate Period. As then, we cannot be sure that this geographical restrictment reflects better conditions of preservation at Thebes, and yet papyri from other periods have survived at other cemeteries, and the record may accurately reflect a preeminent role for Thebes in equipping the dead for a new life."
  • Page 168-169: QUOTE: "One of the earliest and finest Documents for Breathing is the manuscript made, perhaps in the first century BC, for a priest of Amun named Osirwer (the papyrus is now in the Louvre). The roll represents the Egyptian in a Mediterranean costume, with a garland around his head in the Greek manner. Yet he bears the Egyptian name Osirwer 'Osiris is the great (god)', and participates in scenes familiar from the earlier books of Formulae for Going Forth by Day: an opening vignette of adoration of Osiris, the hall of judgment, and the offering of incense to a goddess represented as a cow, here identified as Hathor. In the judgment scene, as had been the rule since the New Kingdom, Osiris presides over the weighing of the heart of the deceased, with Isis at his back, Thoth recording the outcome, and the monster Amemet poised ready to devour any evil soul."
  • Page 169: QUOTE: "The texts set over and between the traditional scenes belong to the new series adapted as document for eternal life. The signs are written in a carefully spaced hieratic with rounded flourishes, and their angular precision betrays the influence of the Greek and Roman world. These distinctive forms evolved as the Egyptian scribes gave up their traditional reed pen, a single stem with bruised end like a brush, and adopted the Greek writing tool, a pen made from a shorter, thicker reed with a cut nib. The change accompanied even a change in pigment, from the carbon black and red ochre of Egyptian manuscripts to the lead inks of the Greek world. These alterations in material may appear superficial, but they form part of a sea-change in the very substance of living in Egypt. Under the Romans iron tools and weapons enter the ordinary Egyptian home on a new scale, including, for the first time in the Nile valley, devices which we take for granted, most notably the lock and key. Each slight innovation joins together to create a new lifestyle, heralding the end of ways of experiencing, seeing and expressing the world. The funerary texts, among the most steadfast corners of tradition, may not switch to the new ink and pen so readily, but even they are affected by the flow of time in the very forms of the hieratic signs."

Catherine Neal Parke's Biography[edit]

  • Parke, Catherine Neal. (2002). Biography: Writing Lives. New York and London: Routledge. ISBN 0415938929.


  • Page xxi: For the very beginning of a long chronological list of civilizations which have produced biographies, Egypt appears as the first: QUOTE:
"3rd millennium to 6th century B.C.E.,"
"Egyptian, Babylonian, and Assyrian kingdoms"
"Earliest commemorative inscriptions"

Biography: An Overview of the Genre[edit]

  • Page 1-2: QUOTE: "In ancient Egypt the formulaic accounts of Pharaoh's lives praised the continuity of dynastic power. Although typically written in the first person, these pronouncements are public, general testimonials, not personal utterances. This practice continued in Babylonia and later in Assyria, where it took the form of chronicles, introducing temporality into the genre and diverging from such earlier atemporal or transtemporal formulas as, 'I am the king, I am the lord, I am the exalted, the great, the strong, I am famous, I am the prince, I am the noble, the powerful in war, I am a lion, I am a hero of youthful strength.' However much modern readers may wish to flatter themselves that biography has progressed in subtlety of technique, variety of forms, and self-awareness about its aims, methods, and responsibilities since the appearance of these ancient documents, it would be a mistake not to recognise that the primary urges to celebrate, commemorate, and immortalize, the impulse of life against death, have continued to be among the chief motives for writing lives."

Jennifer L. Koosed's (Per)mutations of Qohelet[edit]

  • Koosed, Jennifer L. (2006). (Per)mutations of Qohelet: Reading the Body in the Book. New York and London: T & T Clark International (Continuum imprint). ISBN 0567026329.

Calling Qohelet Names[edit]

  • Page 28-29: QUOTE: "Qohelet scholars who classify the book as some sort of autobiography seem to be unfamiliar with the controversies in autobiographical studies over whether any ancient text can be even spoken of as 'autobiography.' There is no consensus concerning the origin of the genre, but there is a dominant argument that situates its emergence within the modern concept of individuality; thus autobiography is made a product of European civilization: Augistine begat Rosseau begat Henry Adams, and so on. It is only during the Enlightenment that a concept of an individual and unique subject emerges, a necessary idea for the formation of autobiography."
  • Page 29: QUOTE: "Defining autobiography as a product of the Enlightenment would seem categorically to exclude the texts of the ancient Near East. But neither scholars of literary history nor scholars of the ancient world can agree if biography or autobiography as a genre existed in antiquity. The lack of consensus is illustrated most strikingly in two articles both within Jack Sasson's edited volume, Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. First, Olivier Perdu, writing an article on 'Ancient Egyptian autobiographies,' states: 'The genre of biography was not known in pharonic [sic] Egypt. Autobiographies, however, are well-attested...'73 On the other hand, an article on 'Autobiographies in Ancient Western Asia' by Edward L. Greenstein claims: 'There is no autobiography as such in the ancient world...'74 Greenstein then follows with a discussion of 'autobiographical texts' that do exist but are distinguished from 'autobiography,' which does not. Pulled out of context, these sentences above seem to be stating diametrically opposed positions. However, both authors caution against confusing ancient Near Eastern autobiographies with modern Western autobiographies, which suggests that their differences lie more in how they employ the terms than in the content of their positions."
  • Page 29: QUOTE: "In all of these descriptions there is confusion about the differences among 'biography,' 'autobiography,' 'biographical,' and 'autobiographical' that indicates an underlying confusion between literature and history, fiction and fact. The term may remain the same while the definition of the term shifts. Even when scholars speak of such texts as Egyptian mortuary texts, this confusion appears. Since the 'I' of these texts is dead, they are clearly biographical and not autobiographical by definition—unless the Egyptians had powers lost to us now, the dead do not come back from beyond the grave to speak of their lives. But even the 'biography' breaks down when the person enters the afterworld and begins to describe his or her experience in the afterlife. Needless to say, the biographer in question would have no way of knowing whether or not the biography after death was accurate."
  • Page 29 Footnote #73: Olivier Perdu, "Ancient Egyptian Autobiographies," in Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (ed. Jack Sasson; New York: Scribner, 1995), 2243-54 (2243).
  • Page 29 Footnote #74: Edward L. Greenstein, "Autobiographies in Ancient Western Asia," in Sasson ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, 2421-32 (2421).