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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  1.14


PRAISE OF THE CREATOR GODS AT MEDINET HABU


Date:   145-116 B.C.
Script:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   J.B. McClain
Format:   see key to translations

The temple of Amun Djeser-set, often called "the small temple of Medinet Habu", was originally built in the 15th century B.C. Parts of it, in particular the Bark Shrine, were restored by Ptolemy VIII. The restoration work provided plenty of space to add new inscriptions.

The temple was dedicated to Amun, but it was also associated with the Ogdoad.   The translations are taken from J.B. McClain, "The Cosmogonical Inscriptions of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and the Cultic Evolution of the Temple of Djeser-set" ( in "Perspectives on Ptolemaic Thebes", PDF ).


[A]   Amun as Creator God

{South: Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II}   Beloved of Amun-Re, king of the gods, the powerful and worthy one, chief of the gods, lord of the gods, father of the gods, whose form no other god brought into being, who came into being of himself, who made the Ogdoad entirely, who came into being and brought into being the things that are; this [great?] god who made himself into millions, who created his flesh, the wind being his breath, the Inundation being his sweat, who . . ., who made the sea and the sky, who molded his limbs from himself he having borne the decan stars in their entirety; he having made the entering in and the going forth among them; and beloved of the Gods Adelphoi, the Gods Euergeteis, and the Gods Philopatores.

{North}   Beloved of Amun-Re Djeser-set, Nun the elder one who came into being at the beginning, the bull who ejaculated Nun, who flooded the marshes, who fashioned the fashioners, who built the builders, who reckoned for himself his form in his heart, the ancestor and ancestress of the gods and goddesses; he is their father who created their [mother], the ba great of sanctity among the gods, the primaeval one who made for himself the primaeval ones, and beloved of the Gods Epiphaneis, the God Eupator, and the God Philometor.

[B]   The Ogdoad

{South}   The elder gods, the first body that came into being aforetime, who passed through the chief gates of the western netherworld when Re united with Osiris; the fathers, indeed, along with the mothers from the beginning, the primaeval ones who first came into being, the fathers of Re, the children of Tatenen, the enduring noble ones, indeed, who have planted the primordial seed with their power, who established the earth with the seed of the cropland, the great gods whom Tatenen bore in Thebes, in southern Opet, in the vicinity of the sacred netherworld in the mound of Djeme; the great Ogdoad, the mighty ones in Karnak, the council and the judges of victorious Thebes, the blessed dead who live in the mound of Djeme: may they give millions of jubilees and myriads of years to the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, heir of the Gods Epiphaneis, chosen of Ptah, who does the justice of Re, living image of Amun, along with his sister, the ruler and lady of the two lands, Cleopatra, along with his wife, the lady of the two lands, Cleopatra, the Gods Euergeteis.

{North}   The ancestors in the beginning, who came into being and brought into being that which exists, who made the light and distanced the darkness; the lords and masters of wisdom, the founders (?), the ancestor gods, the mighty ones, who protected those great of majesty, and the primaeval one who made for himself the primaeval ones, the noble fathers who brought into being the beginning, who shone in Nun when the land was in utter darkness and every existing thing was flooded, who made the light as the brilliance of their hearts, who assembled the rituals with offerings . . ., the noble and great ones of the first primaeval one, the fathers and mothers who came into being at the beginning, who bore Re and created Atum, who introduced all the transcendent images into their bodies, who opened the light after the utter darkness when they brought Nun in his cloudburst: may they give the lifetime of Re in heaven to the son of Re, Ptolemy ever-living, beloved of Ptah, along with his sister, the ruler and lady of the two lands, Cleopatra, along with his wife, the lady of the two lands, Cleopatra, the Gods Euergeteis.

[C]   Amun the king of the gods

{South: Ptolemy VIII and his two queens}   Beloved of Amun-Re, king of the gods, the powerful and noble one, chief of all the gods, the great god, lord of heaven, the earth, the netherworld, the Nun, and the mountains, lord of the thrones of the two lands, foremost of Karnak, Horus of Horuses, king of kings, the god sole in his uniqueness: he is Kematef, the father of Ir-ta, who existed when those things that exist did not exist, father of fathers and mother of mothers, who fashioned his body with his own two hands; and beloved of the Gods Adelphoi, the Gods Euergeteis, and the Gods Philopatores.

[D]   Praise of Amun

{South}   O divine-of-body, of whom there is no equal! King of the gods, he of Djeser-set, lord of the thrones of the two lands, foremost of Karnak, hidden ba, who came into being of himself, ancestor of those to whom there is an offspring, Ir-ta, the father in the beginning, . . . who brought into being the things that exist when his forms were unknown, Horus the bent one, great ba, great one of the nomes, the falcon, beside whom there is no other, Kematef, who created the things that are, though his likeness could not be perceived, who carried the phoenix on his back, who elevated the world, who brought the whole earth at his going forth from his source, who has overflowed as the great Nun, as he watched at his canal, who joined with the whole earth in his name of "eternity," his two divine eyes . . . the moon, who opened the interior, who enlightened [with] his disk, who was perfect in his body in the primordial darkness, lord of the Ennead, there being no god like him with respect to his body, whose body has been wrapped in the netherworld, in the hidden chamber, your counsels being secret, your plumes being exalted, enduring [of rituals], whose creative power is ordained.

{North}   O you who united yourself with your two lunar eyes at your time ! Let the doors open for you in the hidden chamber; let your radiance rest throughout the land, O lord and lady of the secret that is in the netherworld, for behold, Sokar is upon his sand; his heart is joyful, the uraei of Atum are in your presence, and Nut as she makes your secret offerings jubilant, O divine god, he of the bright rays, the progenitor of the gods, the father of the goddesses, primaeval one of the [two] lands, who created since aforetime, . . . who drove out the darkness, entering the brightness of He-of the-sacred-arm, who made all the things that are, who fashioned the fashioners, who engendered . . . the creator who was not created, who arose when the land was in Nun, . . . everything that is, who is come as a cobra, with whose ka there is no other, he who created the creators with the breath of his utterance, the king of the gods, the ruler of the Ennead, powerful of splendour, ruler of the standing ones, Horus of Horuses, Re of Res, who made the very beginning, who brings the end.

[E]   The Renewal of the Temple

{South}   Renewal of this beautiful monument which the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, heir of the Gods Epiphaneis, chosen of Ptah, who does the justice of Re, living image of Amun, and his sister, the ruler and lady of the two lands Cleopatra, the Gods Euergeteis, made, being the hall of the offering table of the reposing one, Amun-Re, king of the gods, he of Djeser-set, for distributing food offerings to his company, the place of distribution of offerings for the one who came into being of himself, they having provided with millions and myriads of all good things, the floodwater of the field following after them, while Nehebkau and the Ennead present what is in them. As for the Great Elder One, even as he enlarged his mummy in the netherworld, so also he opened the inundation in its time in the presence of his father: it is Amun Djeser-set, the father of fathers [who has gone forth from] Nun, who is therein along with the Ogdoad of the domain of Amun, the burial of all of them being completed therein, namely those who sleep at the mound of Djeme, the place of the father of the gods, who bore every god at the first occasion, interred in their wrappings, their members being within it, the mound of Djeme being called by the name of "this mound at which the great ba of Kematef shall come forth"; he having carried out the fashioning for himself of its (?) workmanship in its time, to be a chapel; the reward thereof being valour and victory.

{North}   Renewal of this beautiful monument that the son of Re, Ptolemy ever-living, beloved of Ptah, and his wife, the ruler and lady of the two lands Cleopatra, the Gods Euergeteis, made, being the hall of the offering table of the reposing ones of the first Ennead, and of Amun in the evening bark, when the two lights set it in the western mountain, in order to present offerings, a shrine of heaven for the sharing out of offerings to his Ennead when Amunopet the great living god reaches them every tenth day, and Khonsu-Shu in Thebes every day - they having been exempted from alimentation, offerings, and great oblations, since their previous provisionings were unknown - while the inundation is beside him, the field being therewith for the possessors of offerings, who are consecrating their offerings, which are acknowledged by the Ogdoad, so that they say, "In the mound of Djemewe shall satisfy our bodies; in this resting-place of Amun we shall live, the nest of the wind of he who is therein, and of the noble ones of the necropolis in the necropolis chamber." For Amun protected his unique one, the lord, in joy, he having overthrown his enemies, while Osiris had ... the forms of the cavern gods, so that their hearts rejoiced the reward thereof being all life, stability, and dominion.


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