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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  4.11


EPITAPH OF NESISTI


Date:   c. 250 B.C.
Language:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   E.A.E. Reymond
Format:   see key to translations

The man commemorated in this epitaph (A) was the earliest known High Priest of Ptah during the Ptolemaic era. After taking on the role in 263/2 B.C., he gained the favour of Ptolemy II by participating in the cult of the king's sisters, Arsinoe and Philotera; see G. Hölbl, "A History of the Ptolemaic Kingdom", pp.101-103 ( Google Books ). He also consolidated his family's power by forming a link through his daughter's marriage with another prominent priestly family, the High Priests of Letopolis (B). 

The English translations are taken from E.A.E. Reymond, "From the Records of a Priestly Family from Memphis", nos. 3 & 6 ( Google Books ). Several of the proper names in the translations have been adjusted here to conform with Chris Bennett's entries on Nesisti and Nefertiti. The name of the high priest has been represented in a variety of different ways by modern writers; he is called Nesisty II by Günther Hölbl, Eskōte I by Eve Reymond, and Nesisti-Pedubast by Chris Bennett.


[A]   BM 379   (epitaph of Nesisti)

. . . coming forth at appeal to benefit from [bread] and beer, oxen and fowl, funerary offerings and [all] things good, . . .  to the ka of the deceased god's father, beloved of the god, sem priest, servant of Ptah, follower of  Him-who-is-pleasant-of-scent and great-of-power, Superintendent of confidential affairs in the Domain of Ptah. . . . [prophet ?] of Ptah and the gods in the Domain of Ptah, . . . [registered ?] with the priestly orders in the Domain of [Ptah ?] . . . prophet of [the statues (?) in] the shrine of Meri-Re-Meri-Amon-Ramesses-the-Ruler-of-On in the temple of Memphis, prophet of Horus 5 [of the window-of-appearance], prophet of the gods of the window-of-appearance, minister in the record office of the Domain of Ptah for the fifteen days of the temple service of all the first priestly order, prophet of the goddess, king's daughter, king's sister Philotera, prophet of [ Hathor ] Lady of the Sycamore and the gods in the Domain of the Lady of the Sycamore, prophet of the king's daughter, king's sister, king's wife, daughter of Amon-Re, mistress of the Two Lands Arsinoē, the goddess Philadelphos, Isis, Mother of Apis, Chief of Artificers, Servant of Ptah, Nesisti, justified, called Chief Of Artificers, Servant of Ptah, Nesisti, justified, called Neferhor, son of [Anemhor] justified, born to the lady Renpet-neferet, justified.    He said:

How happy is him who nestles his heart's desire toward his god, even Ptah, distinguished from all the gods! He is carrying me over the path of him who drives unrest and violence upon my heart. Whenever I was in a turmoil in the domain of my territory, he granted that I should be protected from my adversary. No transgression (?) shall 10 . . . 

. . . No failure of mine has been found when I administered the work [in the Domain of] Ptah from the year 23 as the favourite of the king himself and also of his courtiers. 

My lord favoured me again; he placed . . . the regent in the White Walls { Memphis }. My lord favoured me again; he entrusted me with the office of the prophet of the king's sister, king's daughter Philotera. My lord favoured me again; he rewarded me with the high office of the prophet of [the king's daughter , king's sister, king's wife , daughter of Amon-Re , mistress of] the Two Lands Arsinoē, the goddess Philadelphos, Isis, Mother of Apis.

My lord favoured me again by placing me in command of confidential affairs in the Domain of Ptah as the chosen one amongst the inhabitants of the White Walls. My lord assigned me to the command of confidential affairs in Rakoti beforehand. My lord favoured me again; he appointed me Chief-of-Artificers . . . in the Domain of the Lady of the Sycamore.

The day of my being released has come. I was placed in the embalmer's workshop belonging to me. My body was arrayed through the agency of Anubis in accordance with what is done for him who enjoys the royal favour with delight . . . the son of the sem priest, hereditary prince . . . to report . . . by the favour of the king.  He conveyed my offices upon my successor together with his own offices and his duty of marching around the White Walls on the day of the Khoiak Festival. The attendants made a safeguard for me, for I was a gentle man . . . 15 . . . the raiment as the posthumous offering of all the gods and goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt. The ritual was carried out for him on the festive day. Smoke of grease was as high as the sky and funerary meal in thousands of good things. The Sanctified Land was loaded with offerings. The prophets were carrying me, the God's Fathers were raising me high. The entire city of the White Walls . . .

. . . my successor, the overseer of prophets in the Domain of Ptah, Chief of Artificers, sem priest of Ptah, was carrying out for me the ritual of libations of the Virtuous ones. I reached the City of Osiris, the District of Anubis. My ancestors acclaimed me there. My mother embraced my embodiment while welcoming . . . gladness of the king.

Hail to you! The arms of Re are welcoming him who comes in procession with funerary offerings for the king's companion in his nome. O ruler of the cities, nobleman, overseer of those ones like these ones! He has commanded the ground of the eternal repose to be made in the north of . . . very many in the northern upper necropolis of the White Walls. It is the seat of the chosen ones of the god, . . . of conduct and mysterious of plans. You are the Glorious Spirit of the Virtuous ones in the wṯs-ḥḥ necropolis of the Upper and Lower Egyptian kings, you being united without being released . . . Everlasting, Eternal, welcome, welcome. O Everlasting, welcome, welcome. O Darkness, welcome, welcome. O Rescue, welcome, welcome upon warding Rostaw (?) off the evil, even the ìḳrt necropolis enshrining the Wer-hedj. Come 20 . . . million yearly.

I came to the ancient cemetery and I came into my tomb. I sped into my graveyard . . . my being beautified has come. Ptah created for me a solemn appearance there. These things are what was made for me . . . marching around, coming forth on the festive day, . . . you shall not perish in anything. You shall not die, Osiris, servant Nesisti, justified! Your soul is in the sky together with the stars. Your [embodiment] is in the depth with . . . (?) Sokar on his festival. May you behold the sun disk when it rises from its horizon . . .

. . . great of grace, shining of dignity, royal commander, . . .

May you behold the souls praising the god in his [image] of gold, the pre-eminent in . . .

O, Nesisti! . . . of the ìḳrt necropolis in the train of the Mother at the very end of the lakes of 25 . . . 

. . . safeguard of the lords of the nfrt necropolis. May he march around remembering . . . of (?) the name with reverence.


[B]   BM 380   (epitaph of Horemhotep)

A truthful boon of the king is given to you and to the guardians of altars, the chiefs of offering tables of all the gods!

O deceased god's father, beloved of the god, sem priest, servant of Ptah, wnrw priest in Letopolis, follower of Him-who-is-pleasant-of-scent and great-of-power, lord of strength, you registered with all the first priestly order of Horus-Re in the temple in Wen-Khem, registered with all the third priestly orders of Ptah, prophet of Sekhmet in Sekhabet, prophet of the gods in the Domain of Sekhmet in Sekhabet, prophet of the gods in the Domain of Nefertem, prophet of Nefertem.

Horemhotep justified, son of the god's father, beloved of the god, sem priest, servant of Ptah, wnrw priest in Letopolis, priest of the gods in the Mansions of the White Walls, superintendent of confidential affairs in Rostau, superintendent of confidential affairs in the Great Seat, purifier of the god in the Inaccessible Chamber, prophet of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Snefru, minister in the record office for all the fourth priestly order in the temple of Memphis, prophet of the gods in the domain of Him-who-establishes-Truth, Ankh-Hapi justified, born to the Lady, the sistrum-player of Heka Nefertiti justified, daughter of the god's father, beloved of the god, sem priest, servant of Ptah, prophet of the living Apis, prince, administrator of the work in the Golden Mansion, chief of artificers Nesisti justified, 5 sister of the god's father, beloved of the god, sem priest, servant of Ptah, hereditary prince, royal companion, in charge of royal adornments Anemhor justified . . .

17 . . . The god's father, beloved of the god, sem priest, servant of Ptah, wnrw priest in Letopolis, follower of Him-who-is-pleasant-of-scent and great-of-power, lord of strength, registered with all the first priestly order of [Horus-Re] in the temple of Wen-Khmer, registered with all the [third] priestly order of Ptah, [prophet of the gods in the Domain of Nefertem, prophet of Nefertem Horemhotep, justified, born to the lady Nefertiti justified.


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