back

Ancient Egyptian Texts:  7.29


EMBALMERS' AGREEMENTS


Text:   (A) BM 10077 A   [ TM 46059 ],   (B) BM 10561   [ TM 2739 ]
Provenance:   (A) Thebes ,   (B) Asyut
Date:   (A) January 269 B.C. ,   (B) July 157 B.C.
Script:   Demotic
Translated by:   (A) J .Korte ,   (B) A.F. Shore & H.S. Smith
Format:   see key to translations

Document A is a straightforward contract for embalming, requested by the deceased person's father.   B is somewhat more complex: a formal agreement between two lector-priests and one other lector-priest, defining procedures and provision of cloths during the mummification process. For details of this process in Ptolemaic times, see M. Cannata, "Three Hundred Years of Death", especially pp. 245-248 ( Google Books ).

The translations are taken from J .Korte in Demotic Palaeographical Database Project; and from A.F. Shore & H.S. Smith, "A demotic embalmers' agreement" ( PDF ).


[A]   Regnal year 16, month 3 of Akhet {Hathyr}, of king Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy. It is Pagonis son of Pnouphis who says to Thoteus son of Pahyris:   "You have paid me in full with the share of natron, the piece (?) of the embalmer and all things relating to the embalming of Pa-user, your son. And I will prepare him with medicines, and I will put him - not later than the 72nd day - in the hands of your choachyte, so that there is no fault of the embalmer in him, without any accusation in the world that you will have to make regarding him. If I fail to act for you according to all the words above, I will give you two deben, makes ten staters, makes two deben again, compulsorily, without delay and without any objection."   Written by: Amenothes son of Peteminis, by order of the above Pagonis, son of Pnouphis in regnal year 16, month 3 of Akhet, day 4.

[B]  Year 24, Payni day 15 of King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra his sister, the children of Ptolemy and Cleopatra the Gods Epiphaneis : Ptolemaios, the priest of King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra the Gods Philometores, being priest of Alexander and the Gods Philadelphoi and the Gods Euergetai and the Gods Philopatores and the Gods Epiphaneis and the Gods Philometores : Nikē daughter of Hieronymos being athlophoros before Berenikē Euergetis: Arsinoē daughter of Charimortos being 5 kanephoros before Arsinoē Philadelphos : Timariŏn daughter of Metrophanes being priestess of Arsinoē Philopator : Lysanias son of Hieronymos being priest of Ptolemy Soter : Ptolemaios son of Dionysios being priest of Ptolemy Philadelphos : Ptolemaios son of Herakles being priest of Ptolemy Euergetes : Sosibios son of Sosibios being priest of Ptolemy Philopator : Isias (?) daughter of Sosibios being priestess of queen Cleopatra : Thais (?) daughter of Ptolemy son of Helios being kanephoros before Arsinoē Philadelphos.

10 The lector-priest of the necropolis of To-anch at Asyut Petamenophis son of Chawesenemenope, his mother being . . ., and Onnophris son of Petamenophis, his mother being Siepmous, of the same profession, being two men say with one voice to the lector-priest of the necropolis of To-anch at Asyut Petamenophis son of Matlaios, his mother being . . . :

It is owing to you from us, we promise you and Matlaios son of Petimouthes, his mother being Tetimouthes, and Wepweteu son of Paes, his mother being Arsinoē, your brethren : the one of us who is approached concerning a dead man of Asyut - together with his brethren - from today henceforward for ever, he shall give ten cloths to his men and one cloth-of-taking-entry and one lotus;

to the man who follows him 2 cloths;
the fourth day 5 cloths;
the ... th day ... cloths;
15 the sixteenth day 10 cloths;
the thirty-fifth day 10 cloths;
the day of coffining 10 cloths;
to the man who is approached (?) to anoint him ... cloths;
  and we shall not be able ? to go to any other man on earth of them;
to the man who is brought from the town 10 cloths;
to the man who is turned over (?) on the ground ... cloths ;
and no-one shall be able (?) to do the mourning ceremonies on the 35th day or the day of coffining other than these men (?). We shall not be able to give the cloths with ? which we do the mourning ceremonies on the above days to any other man on earth, nor shall we be able (?) to go (?) to any other (?) man of them. And we shall not be able to give a cloth or an . . . garment or a cloak apart from (?) the above cloths. And we shall not be able to give a bed or a gnrt or a cushion (?) or a bier to a coffiner. And we shall not be able (?) to appoint 20 a winder, we having a lien on you to guarantee us concerning him (?); we will bring the exchange (?) of the guarantee, and he shall make an oath saying: "The cloth is my private cloth". The priest (?) of Wepwawet who shall die and the one who shall be buried, together with his 35th day ceremonies (?), shall be accorded (?) to the lector-priest in whose charge he is (?) . . . 35th day . . . Should it happen that a lector-priest share with his fellow . . . . . ., and he make his own storehouse, he shall do according to every word which is above. And we shall not be able to bring an action (?) against him. If he shall not have done according to every word which is above, he, his father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, or any man on earth of his from today henceforward for ever, he shall give 1,500 deben in copper at the rate of 24 obols to 2 kite to the burnt offerings and libations 25 of the above King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra within two days; we having a claim on you (?) in respect of him, to make him continue to act according to every word which is above, compulsorily and without delay.

We are making an oath before King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra his sister and the Gods Philadelphoi and the Gods Euergetai and the Gods Philopatores and the Gods Epiphaneis and the Gods Philometores and Isis and Sarapis and all the gods of Egypt, that we will act according to every word which is above from today henceforward for ever; if we carry out the above oath as a true oath, we shall be among the favoured ones of Pharaoh; if we carry it out as a false oath, we shall be subject to the curse of Pharaoh.

Written by Harekusis son of Imouthes, who writes at Asyut and its suburbs in the name of the priests of Wepwawet and the gods who dwell with him. 30 Signed: Petamenophis.


Attalus' home page   |   14.07.23   |   Any comments?