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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  5.2


EPITAPH OF KHEREDANKH, DAUGHTER OF SHEPMIN

Text:   Hildesheim PM 6352
Date:   2nd/1st century B.C. 
Language:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   K. Jansen-Winkeln & M. Panov
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription describes the carefree life of a young woman 'who loved to drink', without any suggestion of criticising her. The Kheredankh of this inscription should not be confused with Kheredankh daughter of Psherenptah.

The middle section of the translation is taken from M. Panov, "Women in the Inscriptions of the Late Period", no 7.3 ( academia.edu ); the start and end is adapted from the commentary by K. Jansen-Winkeln, "Die Hildesheimer Stele der Chereduanch" ( PDF ).


The grown-up girl, of patient (?) character and familiar ways, eloquent but restrained, capable and intelligent, popular and (?) in the mouth of everyone, of careful tongue and with friendly words, Osiris Kheredankh, justified, daughter of the 'judge', the prophet of Amun, the primeval of the two lands, the prophet of Min, the lord of Achmim, the Osiris Shepmin, justified, born of  the Lady of the House Senimouthis, who is well, says this:

O all writers, all scholars, ḥn-zꜢw, who are allowed to enter the libraries, residents  of the house of life who read the scriptures, team of the Ibis who are searching the books of life (?), servants of Thot, practitioners of the rituals, all dignitaries, lords, patricians and subjects, 5 all wab-priests, stolistai, prophets and fathers of my nome, ḥzk-priests of the nome of Abydos, administrators of the Chontamenti and expert readers of lower rank, all those living on earth, who come from Upper and Lower Egypt and will pass through this desert, who will enter the necropolis of the nome of Abydos and will pass ḤꜢpt-nb.s, all you who will see this stele next to my grave: come near so that you can read this writing that is on it, in which I say what happened to me, without listening to someone else saying it.

I was a beautiful lady in my city, and I was so beautiful of face that people rejoiced at seeing me! I was trusted by each person who saw me, both male and female. It is me who pronounced good speeches and said desirable words. Evil never left my lips and never 10 occupied my body. I was a nurse who reared little babies, nourished anyone with my goods . . . I was sitting and relaxing every day, with my associates, we drank and banqueted, our hearts were delighted with the northern wind blowing on us. I made festivals and arranged appearing both of the gods and goddesses of my region. I was mistress of beverages, who loved a merry day, pleasures proceeded in front of her every day, 15 anointed with myrrh, adorned with lotus. Flower garlands always hung round our necks, various plants were brought for us. We smelled herbs perfuming sweet, their scent was like the aroma of those carried from Punt. Singers made music for us, beautiful girls, with their heads down, sang, danced and played, making us happy every day, without cease.

It was I who gave goods to the poor. I gave bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked. Citizens prayed for my health in return for benefactions I performed for them. I was a grown-up lady with a short lifespan. The crocodile seized me and I died when I was young (?).

O all who you are living on earth, people 20 who will come to die also: Give me water as a libation - I was one who loved to drink.  Your Lord, the King of the Gods {Osiris} Wennefer, justified, the ruler of the nome of Abydos, will live for you according to how you speak of a royal sacrifice and how your arms bend with incense, libations and a sacrifice of a thousand-fold of all things for a young girl's ka; because I was one who only spent a few years conforming to my heart.   My years on earth: 20 years, 9 months and 13 days. 


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