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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  8.4


STELA OF NASTASEN


Text:   Berlin ÄM 2268
Provenance:   Dongola
Date:   335-300 B.C.
Script:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   R.H. Pierce
Format:   see key to translations

This remarkable document gives a detailed account of the actions of a king of Kush in the 4th century B.C. Nastasen is also known as the owner of a pyramid at Nuri, where his flooded burial chamber has been partially explored by archaeologists, as described in a National Geographic feature.

Because the document is so unusual, many of the details, such as the place-names, are difficult to interpret. Despite the confident descriptions of his victories, Nastasen appears to have been one of the last kings of his dynasty. For some information on the historical background, see L. Török, "The Kingdom of Kush", pp.388-395 ( Google Books ).  

It was previously thought that Kambasawden, who is mentioned as one of Nastasen’s adversaries, should be identified as Khabash, one of the last leaders of native Egyptian resistance to Persian rule, and Nastasen’s rule was dated accordingly. The majority of scholars now reject this identification, but the date of Nastasen is still thought to be in the second half of the 4th century B.C.

The translation is taken from "Fontes Historiae Nubiorum", vol. 2, no. 84, p. 471 ( PDF ).


 
          (L-R) : Pelkha , Nastasen , Amun-Re of Thebes ; Amun of Napata , Nastasen , Sekhmakh [ detail of ÄM 2268 ]


LUNETTE

{ Title of Queen Mother }

The king's sister, king's mother, Mistress of Kush, Pelkha. She gave the diadem in Napata because her father established the shrine of the head-cloth of We-Harakhty. Playing her sistrum for you.

{ Title of the King }

The King-of-Upper-and-Lower-Egypt: "Rê-is-a-living-ka", Son-of-Rê: Nastasen.

{ Title of Human-headed Amûn }

Amen-Rê, lord of the Thrones of Two-lands {Egypt}, foremost of Karnak, given all life stability, and dominion, like Rê, for ever. Utterance: I have given you all lands, desert countries, and the Nine Bows, bound together under your sandals, like Rê, for ever.

{ Title of Ram-headed Amûn }

Amûn of Napata, who dwells in Pure-mountain {Gebel Barkal}, the great god, foremost of Bow-land {Nubia}. He gives all life and dominion for ever Utterance: I have given you all life and dominion, all stability, all health, and happiness. I have given you endless years appearing on the throne of Horus for ever.

{ Title of the King }

Giving a pectoral to his father. I had made for you a deben-weight of gold in . . . Repeat four times.

{ Title of Queen Consort }

The king's daughter, king's wife, mistress of Egypt, Sekhmakh.

MAIN TEXT

Regnal year 8, first month of Winter, 9th day, under Horus: Mighty bull, Beloved-of-the-ennead, Appearing-in-Napata, Two Ladies: Son-of-Rê: Nastasen, The Horus, the bull who tramples those who rebel against him under his sandals, great devouring lion, who establishes every land, son of Amûn; whose scimitar is great; who widens every land; son of the gods; the powerful one who . . . every land and the gods; who knows every word like Thoth does, who is one whose feet are on the move; who builds every land like Ptah does; who vivifies every eye {i.e. person} like Amûn does; son of Isis; the powerful one, whose birth the gods decided; who protects Two-lands {Egypt}; Son-of-Rê: Nastasen, the son of Amûn, who puts things in order in heaven, I have hereby informed you, I, the King-of-Upper-and-Lower-Egypt: "Rê-is-a-living-ka", Son-of-Rê, Lord of Two-lands {Egypt}: Nastasen, may he live for ever, he says:

When I was "the good son" {= crown prince ?} in Barawe {Meroe}, he 5 called to me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father, saying, "Come!" I had all the royal brethren who were in Barawe {Meroe} summoned,and I spoke to them, saying, Come, go, and look for him with me, namely, our prince!" They spoke to me, saying, "We should not go with you. It is you that are his "good son". He wanted you, to wit Amûn of Napata, your good father." I had people summoned early the next day, and I reached Asterese. I had my . . . pass the night. I heard . . . from Napata. They said, "He he shall . . . every land." I arose early at dawn, and I reached Teqi. It is the great place, the garden, in which king Piankhy Alara grew up. When my left hand was on the place . . . , this House of Amûn, they came to me, to wit all the people of the temple complex of Amûn of Napata, the people of the city, all the notables, that they might speak with me. 10 They spoke to me, saying, "He has made subject to you the rulership of the Bow-land {Nubia}, to wit Amûn of Napata, your good father," while everybody said, "Where will he moor?" I spoke to them, saying, "Go, cross the river. Pray glorify for him {= me?} Amûn of Napata, my good father. Go, be off, and make obeisance to Amûn of Napata." I went down into a river-boat to the House of Rê. I went off on a great horse and I reached the Great House. They made obeisance to me, to wit all the notables and priests of Amûn. They blessed me, to wit every mouth. I had everyone go up and opened the great portals. They made for me . . . to make my titulary . . . making Karnak and the House of Gold great. I told him, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father, my affairs, all that was in my heart; and Amûn of Napata 15 listened to my speech. He gave to me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father, the kingship of the Bow-land {Nubia}, the crown of king "Horus-son-of-his-father" {Harsiotef}, and the power of king Piankhy-Alara.

Third month of Inundation, last day. I had Amûn of Napata, my good father, appear in procession and come outside the great temple. He gave me the kingship of the Bow-land {Nubia}, Are, the Nine Bows, the Two Banks of the Nile, and the Four Corners of the Land. I spoke my good speech with him, to wit Prê; and I spoke to him, to wit Amûn of Napata, this speech: "You are the one who did it for me. You made every land and every people listen to me. You had the call go out for me from Barawe {Meroe}, that I should come to you. You made it subject to me, to wit the rulership of the Bow-land {Nubia} for men did not make me king on the day, its 24th; rather you gave me rulership." When all the powerful men and . . . men were on the road, I danced 20 before Rê. I reached the place of sacrifice. I took two head of long-horned oxen. I went up, and I sat down upon the throne of gold in the Karnak of gold, the shade, on this day. They spoke, to wit all the people, saying, "He will make things good for everybody. He gave to him, to wit Amûn of Napata, the rulership - l.p.h. - of the Bow-land {Nubia}. The Son-of-Rê: Nastasen is gone up and is seated on the throne of gold, in the shade, on this day. He will be king, dwelling and . . . in Berawe {Meroe}."

First month of Winter, 12th day. I had us go and sail downstream to Amûn of House-of-finding {Kawa}, my good father. I had Amûn of House-of-finding {Kawa} appear in procession and come outside the Great House. I spoke my good speech with him, to wit Prê, after he gave me the kingship of Bow-land. He gave to me the Two Banks of the Nile, Ale, the Nine Bows, and his powerful bow. He spoke me according as he already spoke to me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father. I went up and sat 25 on the throne of gold. I went to Amûn of Pnubs {Tabo}, my good father. Amûn of Pnubs {Tabo} appeared in procession and came outside the Great House. He gave me the rulership of the Bow-land {Nubia} and his powerful aegis. I spoke my good speech with Prê. I went up and sat on the throne of gold. I came back up to Amûn of Napata, my good father.

Second month of Winter, 19th day. [I had] Amûn of Napata [appear in procession] and come outside the Great House. I spoke my good speech with him, to wit Prê. I told him what he had said to me, i.e. all the good words of Amûn of House-of-finding {Kawa}, Amûn of Pnubs {Tabo}, and all 30 the gods. I danced, I arrived at the place of . . . , I took two head of long-horned oxen. I went down into the tabernacle, I spent four nights, and I did all the . . . for four days. I went back up, I reached the place of . . . , and I took two head of long-horned oxen. I entered the temple complex. I sat on the throne in the House-of-... of gold.

The 24th day of the month. I went up to Bastet who dwells in Tele, my good mother. She gave me life, a long beautiful old age, and her left breast. She gave it to me in the beautiful ken-ankh-garment. She gave me her powerful . . . I came back into Napata.

The 29th day of the month. I had Amûn of Napata appear in procession. He gave to me the whole heaven, the whole earth, the whole river, and all the people. I went up, and I sat on the throne of gold. I had made for you the 35 4 gardens, O Amûn of Napata, in Napata with 36 people in them. I gave you:

I had made over to you, O Amûn in Opet, in the first month of Summer, last day:

Kambasawden... came. I had a force of bowmen go from Tshare. Great slaughter. I seized all his . . . I captured all the transport ships of the chief. I inflicted a slaughter on him. I seized all his lands, 40 all domestic animals, all long-horned oxen, all herds, all that sustained eyes {i.e. people}, from Kuratape to Tarawdie. I gave him/it to that which . . . since slaughter was in it; in order to let live the people in it I made rescue for . . . I gave it in Taramnue, to wit protected long-horned oxen: 12 head, the property of Amûn of Napata, which they brought down from Napata.

Fourth month of Inundation, 26th day, the birthday of the Son-of-Rê: Nastasen: I gave it in Sakusakudie, to wit long-horned oxen: 6 head, the property of Amûn of Napata, my good father, coming from Napata.

Fourth month of Inundation, last day of the month, the day of giving it, to wit the seh-crown, to the Son-of-Rê: Nastasen. I had made over to you, Amûn of Napata, at once, barley : 12 hekat measures, and fresh netshu-plants and serek-plants from Kulatepe to Taralqe. I had made over to you, Amûn of Napata, my good father, an endowment for lamps in Taqtae. I had booty brought to you: long-horned oxen: 300 head; livestock: 300 head; men: 200. O Amûn of Napata, 45 your two arms are what did it, your awe is good. I gave you, O Amûn of Napata, all of Reteqe and Wepes in . . . Your share of the booty is: men and women, total: 110.

And another matter again: I had the archers go against the rebels of Mekhindekennete. They did battle with him. Great slaughter. I captured its chief, Ayonku. I took all the women, all the cattle, much gold: long-horned oxen: 209,659 head; livestock: 505,349 head; women: 2,236; sesame of Kutardie: 322 hekat measures. I had it given to the . . . in order to . . . every land. I had made for you, Amûn of Napata, a donation of lamps at Kutaldie, sesame: 12 hekat measures. I had made for you 2 large bronze lamps, and had them set up in the temple of Dominion {Thebes}. O Amûn of Napata, my good father, I had barley, 6 hekat measures, given to you at once in 50 Kutaldie. I had the temple of the Long-horned Bull of Gold, the image, the one of Amûn of Napata, my good father, opened.

Another matter again. I had the bowmen go against the rebels of Rebala and Akulakuro. I caused a great slaughter. I seized the chief, Luboden, all his property in abundant gold, beyond reckoning, long-horned oxen: 203,216 head, livestock: 603,107 head, all the women, and all that by which a person is kept alive. I gave him, to wit the chief, to Amûn of Napata, my good father. Your arm is strong, your counsel good.

And again: I sent many levies against the rebel country Arrasa. I caused a great slaughter. I had the chief of Mahae, Abso seized. I captured all the women, all the domestic animals, gold, weight: 1,212 debens, long-horned oxen: 22,120 head; all the women, and livestock: 55,200 head. I gave it, to wit the chief and his property, to Amûn of Napata, my good father. Your great name is good, your awesomeness is good.

Another matter again. I 55 had it, to wit the bowmen, go against the rebel land of Makhsherkharta. I caused a great slaughter. I had the chief and all that by which he sustains people and all the women seized. I took possession of it. I captured long-horned oxen: 203,146 head; livestock: 33,050 head. Amûn of Napata, my good father, your arm is strong, your great name is good!

Another matter again. I had many levies go against the rebel country of Mayokue. It resisted me, the rebel country, at the Sycomore-of-Sarsare. I caused fighting with it. I caused a great slaughter. I had its chief, Tamakheyta, seized. I caused to be plundered all their women, all the domestic animals, gold, weight: 2000 debens, long-horned oxen: 35,330 head, livestock: 55,526 head, in short all that by which people are sustained. He has given me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father, every land. His arm is strong. His awesomeness is good. 60 His great name is good like heaven. He has done all these things for me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father.

And another matter again: They overturned property of Amûn who dwells in The-finding-Aton {Kawa}, a votive offering of king - l.p.h. - Aspelta. Then many calls went out to my elite troops . . . another place . . . to punish the rebel land Mediye. They had it found, to wit property from my votive offering . . . it was he that acted for me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father. I gave it to him, to wit Amûn of House-of-Finding-Aton {Kawa}, my good father. He said to me, to wit Amûn of House-of-Finding-Aton {Kawa}, my good father: "I gave you my bow, there being might in it . . . and strength. I gave you every rebel land as prisoners under your sandals.

Yet another matter again. They took it, to wit the rebel land Mediye, namely property consisting of things that come to Bastet who dwells in Tarae, a foundation of king - l.p.h. - 65 Aspelta. They came, to wit my votive offerings. I gave them to her, Bastet who dwells in Tarae, my good mother. She gave it to me, namely her great and beautiful . . . a great, beautiful old age, . . . her beautiful awesomeness, saying, "It is your protection, it is your . . . ." . . . it was he that acted for me, to wit Amûn of Napata, my good father. . . . it was he that made my votive offering good. His arm is mighty. And as for you, O Amûn of Napata, my good father, the matter, that which you silence, does not happen. And if your . . . mouth . . ., they do not have that by which people gain sustenance under the sky.


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