Ancient Egyptian Texts:  1.9


Date:   3rd century B.C.
Language:   Hieroglyphic
Format:   see key to translations

The concept of a Golden Age did not occur in Egyptian mythology until relatively late, and this short text is the clearest statement of it. The text has survived in four versions. The two earliest versions are translated here; they both come from Bab El Amara, and they are dated to the reign of Ptolemy III. The other two versions are dated to the 2nd century B.C.

The concept of a Golden Age had been familiar to the Greeks since the time of Hesiod ( Op. 109-126 ); and it was restated by Aratus ( Phaen. 96-136 ) in the 3rd century B.C.    Therefore this text may show some Greek influence.

The translation of A is taken from F. Dunand & C. Zivie-Coche, "Gods and Men in Egypt", p. 54 ( Google Books ). The translation of B is adapted from the German translation by E. Otto in "Religions en Égypte Hellénistique et Romaine" (1969), pp.93-108.

[A]   The anterior gods made the god of the horizon. Right was created in their time.
Maat came from the sky in their time. She united with those who were on earth. 
The earth was in abundance, and bellies were full. The Two Lands did not know famine. 
Walls did not crumble, and the thorn did not prick in the time of the anterior gods.

[B]   The primordial gods made the Atum and created all good things in their time.
Maat descended in their time and united with the gods.
Food was abundant in the bodies of the people;  there was no isfet in the land. 
The crocodile did not yet snatch, the serpent did not sting in the time of the primeval gods. 

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