Ancient Egyptian Texts:  1.5


Date:   1st century B.C.
Script:   Hieroglyphic
Format:   see key to translations

Worship of the goddess Hathor went back to the earliest periods of Egyptian history, but the greatest of her surviving temples, the temple at Dendera, is a relatively late construction; much of it was built during the reign of the famous queen Cleopatra VII.

The inscriptions at Dendera contain empty cartouches, without a king's name. These are shown as (. . .) in the translations.

[A]   'The Egyptian Agricultural Cycle'. On a doorpost of the temple at Dendera.
Translated by: S. Sauneron, "Une page de géographie physique: Le cycle agricole égyptien" (BIFAO, 1960)

You cause the flood flowing downriver in its season, an appropriate flood, devoid of calamities, in order to make it spread over both lands.
You cause the sky to bring forth the northern wind, in the next season, to make the flood flow back upstream and prevent the waves of the sea from engulfing it too soon.
You cause the coastal lakes [connected to (?)] the Mediterranean river mouths to build up dykes before it, preventing the Mediterranean from receiving it at once.
You cause the Mediterranean to receive it on the appropriate day without its course being held up any longer.

You cause the watered earth to close (?) over the seed when its right time has come and to gleam with all the grain it has received, which grow and mature, healthy and magnificent.
You cause the men to work in joy;
You cause them to reap it in joy;
You protect it against all inclemencies coming from the sky and against all calamities coming from the earth.

You cause the son of Re (. . .) to offer the produce of the earth, to be depicted on your great and imposing offering tables;
You receive them from his hand, favourably;
You give him in return victory and courage, power, supremacy, and many years;
You deliver to him the sovereigns of all the flat lands and all the mountainous lands, prostrate, while his mace is hovering above their heads.

[B]   'Hathor Returns to Medamûd'. In the central kiosk at the entrance of the temple at Medamûd.
Translated by: J.C. Darnell, "Hathor Returns to Medamûd" (SAK, 1995)

Come, oh Golden One, who eats of praise,
Because the food of her desire is dancing,
Who shines on the festival at the time of lighting the lamps,
Who is content with the dancing at night.
Come! The procession is in the place of inebriation,
that hall of travelling through the marshes.
Its performance is set,
its order is in effect,
without anything lacking in it.

When the royal children pacify you with what is desired,
The officials consecrate offerings to you.
When the lector exults you in intoning a hymn,
The magician reads the rituals.
When the organiser praises you with his lotus blooms,
The percussionists take up the tambourine.
The girls rejoice for you with garlands,
The women with the wreath-crown.
The Drunken celebrants drum for you during the cool of the night,
With the results that those who awaken bless you.

There dance ecstatically for you the Mentyew-Libyans in their particular clothing,
And the Nubians with their maces;
The nomads throw themselves down to you in front of you,
And the bearded ones declaim for you

The kyky-simians gives praise to you with spn-staffs,
And the kri.w-apes with ssnḏm-sticks
The griffins cover themselves for you with their wings;
The foxes raise up their heads for you.

The Reret-goddesses praise you,
Their mouths open,
Their forearms in adoration before you

[C]   'The Hymn of the Seven Hathors'. In south crypt 2 of the temple at Dendera.
Translated by: S. Cauville, "Dendara V-VI: Traduction" (2004) ; English version by Sandra Ottens

We beat the rhythm for your ka, we dance for your Majesty, we exalt you to the height of the sky; you are the lady of sistra, mistress of menit and sistrum, lady of music played for her ka; we adore your Majesty, daily from dusk to dawn.

We play the tambourine before you, mistress in Dendera . . . with hymns; you are the lady of exultation, mistress of dance, lady of music, mistress of music and lady of ballet, mistress who attaches the wreath, lady of myrrh, mistress of acrobatic dance.

We exalt your Majesty, we make adoration before your [face], we exalt your power more than that of the gods and goddesses; you are the lady of prayers, the mistress of the library, Seshat the great in the scriptorium; we appease your Majesty daily, your heart rejoices at hearing our recitations.

We rejoice at seeing you each day, regularly, our hearts are pleased at seeing your Majesty; you are the lady of the wreath, [the mistress] of the dance and lady of drunkenness without end; we play the tambourine before you, we invoke your ka, we rejoice in our actions.

[D]   'The beautiful face of Hathor'. Various locations at Dendera.
Translated by: B.A. Richter, "The Theology of Hathor of Dendera" (2016)

[45,13]   How beautiful is your face! You appear in your sanctuary, Hathor the Great, Lady of lunet, Eye of Ra. You go out in procession, Lady of Light who repels the darkness. You have brightened the Two Lands with your beauty. Ra himself is praising you, making adoration before your beautiful face. The gods are making adoration for you. The goddesses are making jubilation for you. The sky and the stars are rejoicing for you as you go forth from the horizon. The entire land praises you as far as the rising and the settings of the Aten. Millions open their arms for you, hundreds of thousands kiss the ground for you. The King of Upper and Lower Egypt (. . .) has come before you, Hathor, Lady of lunet. He makes this beautiful festival for you. He repeats it annually, for d.t-eternity.

[56,5]   Adoration to you, Golden One, Lady of lunet, the Noble and Powerful Lady in the Sanctuary of the Noble Lady, She who shines like gold in the Temple of the Sistrum, the Atenet in the Land of Atum. I adore your Incarnation with what your heart desires. I invoke your statue with the sacred texts. I exalt your ka to the height of heaven. I praise your statue to the extent of the rays of the Aten. May you come in peace. May you go in joy. Sweet is your heart in hearing the praises. Hathor the Great, Lady of Iunet, Eye of Ra, Lady of Heaven, Mistress of all the gods, the Great Uraeus, Lady of the Perwer, your beautiful face is satisfied with your beloved son, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands (. . .), for d.t-eternity.

[90,10]   Hail to you, Eye of Ra, whose manifestations are numerous, [Lady] of Names throughout the Two Lands, Bright One of brightness among the gods, one does not know her statue. Secret one of form, Hidden one of image, Powerful one of ba-power for her father, Great one in heaven, who brightens the Two Lands with her beauties, the goddess who does not have her equal, Lady of love, one rejoices at seeing her. The gods rejoice at seeing, Luminous One in the horizon, who illuminates the Two Lands with her rays, the Atenet, First daughter of the Aten, the Beautiful Noblewoman, without another except for her, without her likeness among the goddesses, the Very Beautiful One, Beautiful One of appearance in Netjeryt, Hathor the Great, Lady of Iunet, your beautiful face is satisfied with the King of Upper and Lower Egypt (. . .).

[91,6]   Hail to you, Female sovereign in the horizon, Lady to the Limit, Female Ruler of the Ennead, praise to you within the palace, Noble Lady and Mistress of the noble ladies. The gods and men praise you, the goddesses and women adore you. How beautiful is your face in the Per-wer Sanctuary! Ra rejoices being near you, the sky and the stars rejoice for you, the sun and the moon adore you, the Souls of Pe and the Souls of Nekhen are making jubilation for your ka. Thoth the great is praising your Incarnation, the Ennead of Ra is paying homage to your ka, who are the gods who come into being in the Nun, the Lords of the sanctuaries are paying homage to your name, everyone is possessing dread of you, Hathor, Lady of Tarer, your beautiful face is benevolent to the son of Ra, (. . .).

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