Ancient Egyptian Texts:  4.25


Text:   (A) Paris (private collection?) ,   (B) Berlin 7
Date:   c. 330-310 B.C.
Script:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   A. Kuhrt and V. Razanajao
Format:   see key to translations

The 30th Dynasty of Egypt ended in 343 B.C., but these inscriptions, linked to two members of the dynasty's royal family, are usually dated somewhat later, to the early years of Macedonian/Ptolemaic rule. A is engraved on a statue of Nectanebo II's son, and B is on the sarcophagus of Nectanebo I's great-nephew. The family tree of the 30th dynasty, as far as it is known, can be found in wikipedia - note the frequent variations in the spelling of personal names.

The translation of A is taken from A. Kuhrt, "The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period", no. 78, p. 414 ( Google Books ). The translation of B is adapted from V. Razanajao, "D’Imet à Tell Farâoun : recherches sur la géographie, les cultes et l’histoire d’une localité de Basse-Égypte orientale", doc. A35, pp.108-111 ( PDF ).   See also A.B. Lloyd, in "The Hellenistic World: New Perspectives", p. 119 ( Google Books ).  


1 {Titles and epithets of owner}

[The hereditary lord], count, beloved of the heart of the ruler, servant of the king, obedient to his instruction, faithful to his master, who expresses himself judiciously, giving good counsel, honoured by the city god, loved by his father, cherished by his mother, beloved of his family . . . the palace for repose(?), a good man to his people, loyal, with a good heart, a lover of truth and abominater of falsehood, a man distinguished by god for his heartfelt devotion, fulfilling daily his god's will, eldest son of the king, his beloved, chief general of his majesty . . .

2 {Prayer}

[He says: . . . ] Sebket of Netjeru, Great Isis, Divine Mother, Mistress of Hebyt, hear my words! I am your servant. He who adores your person, my Lady, prospers! May you remember me because of the pious deeds which my father, Son of Rē, Nectanebo, performed in your house. May you reward me, queen of the gods, with a long [and joyful] life . . .

3 {Appeal to posterity}

He says: Oh wab-priest [. .. who will pass by (?)] this statue, you will thank god for its owner and will endure in life [if you say: an offering which the king gives to Osiris... ] ruler of eternity, that he may grant every good and sweet thing on which a god lives, consisting of everything which comes from his altar - for the ka of the owner of [this statue . . . ]

4 {Autobiographical section}

[He says: . . . ] in the work of the queen of the gods {Isis}. When I was among the foreigners, she caused me to gain their ruler's regard. She brought me back to Egypt . . .


1 {Titles and epithets}

The hereditary lord and count in Sile {Tjel}, ruler of foreign lands in Khent-iabet {nome XIV}, venerable with the gods, who does what men love, so that they may rest on his water, he whose heart is great, free from all fault, discreet and loud-spoken at the same time, the priest with the fighting arm, lord of triumph, who uncovers the bad, who does not have two courses in his speech, whose heart is just, the one with a happy character , who expresses himself with accuracy, the generalissimo, first officer of his Majesty, commander of commanders, Nekhtnebef, justified.

2 {Eulogy}

The hereditary lord and count in Imet {nome XIX}, in Sebennytos {nome XII}, great among . . . feast . . . whose word is of weight, in order to satisfy them with his hand (?), who gives bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a garment to the naked, the son in the place of his father, a tomb for the venerable (?), for whose good health everyone prays to the gods, who fought for Egypt, he who is in . . . (?), brazen rampart that surrounds, champion of Egypt on the day of gathering for battle (?) the one who subjugates foreign countries for the lord of the Two Lands, the generalissimo, first officer of his majesty, the prophet of Ptah who resides in Punt, Nekhtnebef.

3 {Ancestry}

The son of the hereditary lord and count, generalissimo Padiamon, justified, born to Tikhabes, justified, the daughter of the hereditary lord and count in Sebennytos, general Nesbanebdjedu and whose mother is the sister of the king Merethep, justified, herself daughter of the hereditary lord and count, the father of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheperkare son of Rē Nectanebo, justified, the generalissimo Djedhor, justified, beside the lord of eternity, may he be healthy, may he live forever!

The sarcophagus is also of some interest for its mythological scenes. The illustration above is taken from J.A. Roberson, "The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Earth", plate 35.

'This [scene] is a variant of vignette 5 of the Book of the Earth, portraying the cavern of Nun. On either side of the arms of Nun, which emerge from the register line and lift a solar disk, two large figures of Isis and Nepthys replace the usual praising figures, and are depicted while raising a disk containing a winged scarab . . . The annotation to this scene states:

Why Isis and Nephthys receive the weary ba is in order to enter in the east, when he ascends to the horizon, after having entered into the mouth and after having gone forth from the womb of Nut . . . It is as the solar child that he has gone forth.

The nocturnal domain, which the texts usually designate as the Duat, is merged here with the notion of the celestial journey of the sun through the body of his mother Nut. His entrance into her mouth and egress from her womb in the form of a child correspond to the notions underlying the Book of Nut . . .'   ( S. Zago, "A Journey through the Beyond", p. 266 ).

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