Ancient Egyptian Texts:  2.3


Date:   2nd century B.C.
Language:   Demotic
Translated by:   J.D. Ray
Format:   see key to translations

Hor of Sebennytos was originally a priest of Isis; but shortly after 167 B.C. he became devoted to the worship of Thoth. One of Hor's duties was oversight of the mummification of ibises, which from 174 B.C. onwards involved him in some serious disputes. Amongst the surviving documents written by Hor, several refer to his dreams; see G.Shushan, "Greek and Egyptian Dreams in Two Ptolemaic Archives" ( PDF ).

The translations are taken from J.D. Ray, "The archive of Ḥor" (1976), with one correction to B made by M. Smith in "Decorum and experience: essays in ancient culture for John Baines" (2013), pp.66-71.

[A]   O. Hor 1   [ TM 48969 ]

A memorandum before the priests from Hor, the scribe, a man of Pi(?)-Thoth in the nome of [Sebennytos. I observed the habit of spending] my days at the sanctuary of Osor-mnevis at Heliopolis (?), and likewise the sanctuary of Osor-apis at Memphis. It happened in Year 21, Pakhons, day 2, that I was in Heliopolis. [My heart (?)] said, . . . . I abandoned my papyrus-roll and my palette from my hand in Memphis [to receive instruction (?) from (?)] . . . . the priest of the chapels of Imhotep which is within Heliopolis, to cause it to be told to me in person. For I said this to myself, namely, 5 'When I came to Heliopolis in Khoiak [day . . .?], within the sanctuary of Osor-mnevis I was told in a dream to put this in writing before the great men.'

Year 23, Hathor {December 159 B.C.}. I reported to Soterion, the scribe of Pharaoh at Memphis, the matter which had come true when Antiochos {Epiphanes} was to the north of Pi-Eulaios and Egypt was torn apart. I spoke with Eirenaios, who was commander of the army and acted as representative for Pharaoh Ptolemy our lord. I caused him to realise the truth of the matters which I had discovered, 10 the fortune of Pharaoh. The lady of the Two Lands, Isis, was the one who ordained them, and the great god Thoth was the one who recorded them. I dreamt as follows: Isis, the great goddess of Egypt and the land of Syria, is walking on the face of the water of the Syrian sea. Thoth stands before her and takes her hand, and she reached the harbour at Alexandria. She said, 'Alexandria is secure against the enemy; Pharaoh is recorded within it, 15 together with his brother. The eldest son of Pharaoh wears the diadem; his son wears the diadem after him; the son of this son wears the diadem after him; the son of the son of the son of this son wears the diadem after him, for very many lengthy days. The confirmation of this: the Queen bears a male child.'

[B]   O. Hor 2   [ TM 48970 ]

Recto   From Hor the scribe, a man of the town of Isis, lady of the cavern, the great goddess, in the nome of Sebennytos. The dream which was told to me of the safety of Alexandria 5 and the journeyings of Antiochos, namely that he would go peacefully from Egypt by year 2, Paoni, final day. I reported the said matter to Eirenaios (?) , who was strategos, in Year 2, Paoni, day 11 {11 July 168 B.C.}. Cleon (?), the agent of Antiochos, had not yet 10 left Memphis. But the said matters were revealed immediately. He did not speak of them further, but he sent in the hour (?) a letter. I gave it to the Pharaohs in the Great Serapeum which is in Alexandria, in year 2, Epeiph, final day {29 August 168 B.C.}. For every matter which refers to this was compensation for you at the time in question for that which concerns me, namely, the greatness towards that which concerns the gods in your heart 15 I brought it before you, for I came to Alexandria with Diodotos the strategos, namely . . . {the rest. is erased}.

Verso   From Hor the man of the town of Isis, lady of the cavern, the great goddess, in the nome of Sebennytos . . . Eirenaios sent within the hour. Account of a letter: I gave it to the Pharaohs 5 in the Great Serapeum which is in Alexandria, in year 2, Epeiph, final day, namely, the blessings which I reported in Year 2, Paoni, day 11, when Cleon, the agent of Antiochos, had not yet left Memphis. I read out the salvation of Alexandria and every man who was within it, 10 which happened through the good disposition of the Pharaohs. None could controvert that which referred to the journeyings of Antiochos and his army, namely, that he would leave Egypt peacefully by year 2, Paoni, final day. For there was a great matter measured within the words written in the letter, at the time of paying heed to the utterance in question. There came about the counsel of Isis, the great goddess, 15 and Thoth, the three times great, in every matter which concerned these things . . . {more erasures}.

[C]   O. Hor 8   [ TM 48975 ]

Recto   Day 12, festival of Thoth. The first dream: I dreamt that a young master {overseer} was with me on a labour-gang, and had paid my exemption money. I dreamt that I absented myself, but they came after me and brought me to a halt in Sebennytos. They brought me to the place where my master was. I was very afraid. My master took me to the temple, and said to me, 'Hor, you are on trial; I shall keep silence, and you will find that this is a serious charge. You must go; you may not stand before me. 5 I am your master: Thoth. I told you before, "Do not worship any god except me."'   I replied, 'I will not do it again.'   There came a great man from the town of Pi-Boine to give him a scroll bearing the destiny of the temple of Pi-Boine. This said, 'Your will be with your word, promising to remain with him {the god} throughout your days of life. Should calamity occur as part of what is ordained, one man one fate. If he will not pledge what he wishes together with the benefit which will be performed for him 10 immediately, I shall stand against him. But you shall find that what is ordained for you is great, and the benefit likewise. You are his witness, which you shall do. For the benefit which shall be done for you is in the house of rest of Memphis, together with the benefit named.'

The second: I dreamt that I was in the necropolis of Memphis. A foul death had seized a poor man; I lifted him upon myself and brought him up to the Serapeum. I reached the processional way. 15 A ghost called out to me, 'Come to me; I have found a house which is built.'   I said to him, 'The house which is built is better than a house which lacks its roof-beams.'   He sat down in the middle of the way and said to me, 'Bring your clover, the food for the 60,000 ibises.'   I said to him, 'It is in Pi-Thoth.' 20   He said to me, 'Bring it here together with your things.'   He added, 'You shall have a living soul from the thirty-fifth day {halfway through the process of mummification}. You shall die in Memphis, and you will be laid to rest in the resting-place of the Serapeum. Hear the words which I shall say to you. Verso   Go before Thoth and say, "Come to me my great lord Thoth; beautiful is the lifetime long in festival."   Go before Isis and say, "Come to me my lady Isis; beautiful is burial within the precincts of Memphis."   Go before Osiris, and say before 5 Osiris, "Come to me my great lord Osiris; beautiful is this house upon the deserts of Memphis, beautiful is the resting-place of the Serapeum."   All these things are written for you, all of them. Behold, your heart is mighty in your fate, in every matter which shall befall you in its entirety.'

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