EL MARAVILLOSO EGIPTO - CORREO
Creado por juancas correo del 12 de Enero del 2008
The Instruction of Amenemope - A Critical Edition and Commentary
12 de Enero del 2008
De: Diego M. Santos
Fecha: 12/01/2008 11:04:29
Para: Amigos de la Egiptología
Asunto: Re: [AE-ES] La enseñanza de Amenope
En esta dirección podéis encontrar una tesis de doctorado de 2002 sobre las instrucciones de Amenemope, que contiene la edición crítica del texto, traducción y comentario: http://www2.powercom.net/~jrblack/diss.html
The Instruction of Amenemope:
A Critical Edition and Commentary
A Critical Edition and Commentary
Prolegomenon and Prologue
The following PDF files are a slightly modified version of my 2002 Ph.D. dissertation.
They are Copyright © 2002 by James Roger Black, and may be downloaded for private use only.They may not be commercially distributed or reproduced in quantity without written permission from the author.
The total download size is approximately 3.5 megabytes. Total print length is 700 pages.
Paper copies of the original dissertation can be ordered from
UMI's Dissertation Express, order number 3060577.
Please direct any comments, corrections, or critiques to James R. Black (email@example.com).
Section Zero: Opening Material
Section One: Prolegomenon to Amenemope
- 0 Introduction
1 Historical Context: Egypt and the Ancient Near East
2 Literary Context: Writing and Maat in Ancient Egypt
3 Chronological Context: Witnesses, Dating, and Authorship
4 Theological Context: Amenemope and the Hebrew Bible
Section Two: The Prologue of Amenemope
Section Three: Auxiliary Material
- Appendix I: Nakht and Nakhtmin
Appendix II: Parallels with the Words of the Wise
Appendix III: The House that Amenemope Built
Appendix IV: Epigraphs
Comentario: Gran documental de la Unesco Descubrir el Mundo Estambul
Egipto eternoDe: danizia
Comentario: Egipto eterno
EGYPT AND THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
Do you not know, Asclepius, that Egypt is the image of heaven? Moreover, it is the dwelling place of heaven and all the forces that are in heaven. If it is proper for us to speak the truth, our land is the temple of the world. But you should know that a time will come when Egyptians will seem to have served the divinity in vain, and all their activity in their religion will be despised. For all divinity will leave Egypt and flee upward to heaven. And Egypt will be widowed; it will be abandoned by the gods. For foreigners will come into Egypt, and they will rule it.
—Asclepius, Nag Hammadi Library
Although the civilization of Ancient Egypt was, without doubt, one of the earliest, most influential, and most enduring of the great civilizations of the ancient world, it was not exempt from the inevitable exigencies of the "time and chance" which "happen to all."1 Like the Nile, from which all Egypt's prosperity was derived and without which life itself in Egypt would have been impossible,
1 Ecclesiastes 9:11.
the culture of ancient Egypt ebbed and flowed, with periods of unity, stability, and progress interspersed with periods of division, chaos, and decay. The former, by scholarly convention, are referred to as the "Kingdom" periods—Old, Middle, and New—while the latter are simply described as "Intermediate" periods—First, Second, and Third. Each of these eras is further subdivided into numbered political dynasties (following a scheme originated by the Hellenistic Egyptian historian Manetho2); these generally succeed each other in proper sequence, although in the less-stable periods—when Egypt was carved up into petty chiefdoms—there could be multiple dynasties ruling simultaneously. This yields a chronology that looks more or less as follows:
Predynastic Period (prior to 3050 B.C.)
Archaic Period (Dynasties 1 and 2): 3050-2686 B.C.
Old Kingdom (Dynasties 3 to 6): 2686-2181 B.C.
First Intermediate Period (Dynasties 7 to 11a): 2181-2060 B.C.
Middle Kingdom (Dynasties 11b and 12): 2060-1782 B.C.
Second Intermediate Period (Dynasties 13 to 17): 1782-1570 B.C.
New Kingdom (Dynasties 18 to 20): 1570-1070 B.C.
Third Intermediate Period (Dynasties 21 to 26): 1070-525 B.C.
Late Period (Dynasties 27 to 31): 525-332 B.C.
2 Manetho survives only in fragmentary quotations and summaries in other authors. The standard edition is Manetho, LCL 350 (translated by W. G. Waddell; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1940). See also Gerald P. Verbrugghe and John M. Wickersham, Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996).
The dates given above are, of course, only approximate. In fact, there are—and always have been—a number of competing chronological systems for Egyptian history.3 We now know that many of the systems championed by earlier generations of Egyptologists placed the Archaic Period centuries or even millennia too early, and thereby caused the events of later centuries to be stretched to absurd lengths in an effort to fill the resulting gaps. The tendency in recent years, however, has been to downscale the immense time spans which
3 It would take us much too far afield even to survey, much less to resolve, the various disputes and schemas in Egyptian chronology. The interested reader may consult Frederick H. Cryer, "Chronology: Issues and Problems," CANE, 651-664, especially the bibliography at the end of the article. Other titles of interest include: G. Neugebauer, "The Origin of the Egyptian Calendar," JNES 1 (1942), 396-403); Alan H. Gardiner, "Regnal Years and Civil Calendar in Pharaonic Egypt," JEA 31 (1945), 11-28; Richard A. Parker, The Calendars of Ancient Egypt, SAOC 26 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1950); W. B. Emery, Archaic Egypt (originally 1961; reprinted London: Penguin Books, 1991), 27-30; K. A. Kitchen, Suppiluliuma and the Amarna Pharaohs: A Study in Relative Chronology (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1962); John G. Read, "Early Eighteenth Dynasty Chronology," JNES 29 (1970), 1-11; Richard A. Parker, "The Calendars and Chronology," The Legacy of Egypt, 2nd ed. (edited by J. R. Harris; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), 13-26; M. L. Bierbrier, The Late New Kingdom in Egypt (c. 1300-664 B.C.): A Genealogical and Chronological Investigation (Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1975); Ronald D. Long, "Ancient Egyptian Chronology, Radiocarbon Dating and Calibration," ZAS 103 (1976), 30-48; Richard A. Parker, "The Sothic Dating of the Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynasties," SHGRH, 177-189; Edward F. Wente and Charles C. Van Siclen III, "A Chronology of the New Kingdom," SHGRH, 217-261; David Henige, "Generation-Counting and the Late New Kingdom Chronology," JEA 67 (1981), 182-184; K. A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 B.C.), 2nd ed. (Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1986); Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt (trans. by Ian Shaw; Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992), 51-52; Peter A. Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt (London: Thames and Hudson, 1994), 9-13; Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, rev. ed. (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998); Ian Shaw, "Chronologies and Cultural Change in Egypt," OHAE, 1-16; K. A. Kitchen, "How We Know When Solomon Ruled," BAR 27, no. 5 (September/October 2001), 32-37, 58. For a daring attempt to restructure the entirety of Near Eastern chronology, see Peter James, et al., Centuries of Darkness: A Challenge to the Conventional Chronology of Old World Archaeology (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993). For an even more brazen effort, see David M. Rohl, Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest (New York: Crown Publishers, 1995), originally published in Great Britain as A Test of Time: The Bible from Myth to History (1995). As already mentioned, the present work follows the chronology laid out in Clayton's Chronicle of the Pharaohs.
earlier Egyptologists attributed to Egyptian history, and to bring those events into ever-closer contact with the contemporary cultures of Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Crete, and Greece. As a result, Egypt is no longer viewed in glorious isolation, but as an intimate participant in the cosmopolitan interplay of the Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds.4
It would be impossible in the space available to do justice to the panoramic sweep of three millennia of Egyptian history. On the other hand, the vast inventory of Egyptian gods, kings, cities, dynasties, eras, and technical terms which one encounters in the scholarly literature can easily become a labyrinth in which all efforts at comprehension are swallowed up without a trace. What follows, therefore, is not intended to provide a comprehensive history of Egypt but rather to situate Amenemope within the overall course of Egyptian civilization, with special attention to those features of each era which became permanent fixtures of Egyptian culture and thereby affect our understanding of the text.
The Predynastic Period (to 3050 B. C.)
The precise origins of Egyptian civilization are lost in the mists of prehistory, but enough data can nevertheless be gathered from archaeology and the
4 See, for example, Cyril Aldred, Egypt to the End of the Old Kingdom (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 48-49.
memories of later generations to provide some idea of what must have happened.5
The single most important component of Egyptian civilization has always been its geography, and especially its dependence on the Nile. In the oft-quoted phrase from Herodotus, Egypt is dw=ron tou= potamou=—"a gift of the River"6—and without the River and the agriculture it sustains, Egypt as we know it simply could not exist. Diodorus Siculus correctly described the Egyptians' own views on the matter, which were not that far from the truth:
When in the beginning the universe came into being, men first came into existence in Egypt, both because of the favorable climate of the land and because of the nature of the Nile. For this stream, since it produces much life and provides a spontaneous supply of food, easily supports whatever living things have been engendered. 7
5 Except as otherwise noted, the information in this section is synthesized from the following sources: Aldred, Egypt to the End of the Old Kingdom, 15-46; James Henry Breasted, A History of Egypt: From the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (New York: Scribner's, 1909), 3-36; Clayton, Chronicle, 14-20; Emery, Archaic Egypt, 30-51; Grimal, History, 17-39; William C. Hayes, The Scepter of Egypt: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953-1959), 1:3-31; Stan Hendrickx and Pierre Vermeersch, "Prehistory: From the Palaeolithic to the Badarian Culture," OHAE, 17-43; Erik Hornung, History of Ancient Egypt: An Introduction (David Lorton, trans.; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 1-4; T. G. H. James, An Introduction to Ancient Egypt (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), 37-41; A. Bernard Knapp, The History and Culture of Ancient Western Asia and Egypt (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1988), 30-36, 49-53, 61-65; Béatrix Midant-Reynes, "The Naqada Period," OHAE, 44-60; Michael Rice, Egypt's Making: The Origins of Ancient Egypt 5000-2000 BC (New York: Routledge, 1991), 1-120. For a comprehensive discussion of the Predynastic Period, see Michael A. Hoffman, Egypt Before the Pharaohs: The Prehistoric Foundations of Egyptian Civilization (New York: Dorset Press, 1979). 6 Herodotus, Historiae, 2.5. For a commentary on the source and meaning of this much-abused expression, see J. Gwyn Griffiths, "Hecataeus and Herodotus on 'A Gift of the River'," JNES 25 (1966), 57-62. 7 Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, 1.10 (Oldfather, LCL).
This was not always the case, however. After the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 B. C. the region was so wet, and the river so wild, that the Nile valley was almost uninhabitable—a fact which the Egyptians of Herodotus' own day apparently still remembered.8 Consequently, the nomadic populations of the area occupied not the valley itself but rather the highlands to the east and west of it, where they subsisted first by hunting the abundant wildlife of the savanna, and later by grazing herds of domesticated animals. But around 5000 B. C., as the global climate system shifted to the one we have today, northern Africa began to grow significantly drier; as a result, the waters of the Nile basin gradually withdrew into the valley proper, and the Nile itself began to behave less like an inland sea and more like a river. Only then did the nomads of the plateau begin to descend into the valley in significant numbers and adopt a more settled existence.
With sedentary life came a steady advance in social organization and cultural sophistication. Nomadism gave way to village life; hunting and grazing began to be supplemented with agriculture. With the latter came the need for food storage, and hence the extensive production of pottery; with reduced dependence on herd animals and an increased cultivation of flax, textile production began. Metals also began to be used—initially copper (which was cold-hammered and fashioned first into tools, and later into weapons of war), and then gold (which was turned into artworks of exquisite craftsmanship).
8 Herodotus, Historiae, 2.4-5, 2.10.
Extensive navigation began, not only upon the Nile but even along the Mediterranean coast toward Syria; and trading with distant markets soon became an important part of local economies.
On the religious front, small reed-hut shrines were being constructed for the worship of the local totemic deities; and the dead were sometimes buried in detached cemeteries on the western bank of the Nile, positioned with their faces toward the setting sun and surrounded by grave goods to see them into the next life. Perhaps most important of all, as wealth increased there came with it significant socio-economic stratification, and local power centers developed, with chieftains ruling over larger and larger territories. From these humble beginnings arose the provincial territories called spAt by the Egyptians and "nomes" by modern scholars;9 and ultimately from these arose the pharaonic kingship itself. Slowly but steadily the Egyptian culture which is so familiar to us from the historical period was beginning to take shape. Indeed, what comes through more clearly than anything else in prehistoric Egypt is that most of the cultural elements we take to be classically "Egyptian"—i. e., those things which uniquely characterized Egypt throughout its history even down to the Late Period—were already present, at least in embryo, long before the historical era began. The 9 From the Greek nomo&j, "province", a term used in the Ptolemaic era (e.g., Strabo, Geographia, 17.1.3.) and subsequently adopted by modern scholarship. By convention there were twenty-two such nomes in Upper Egypt, and twenty in Lower Egypt, although in reality the latter are of much later origin than the former. (Shaw and Nicholson, DAE, 204.) The rulers of the nomes were (and are) referred to as "nomarchs". (Herodotus, Historiae, 2.177; Strabo, Geographia, 17.1.13.) rude agriculture of the Predynastic Period evolved into the dynastic era's sophisticated system of dams, canals, levees, reservoirs, and irrigation ditches. The first efforts at pottery and textiles became large-scale industrial enterprises whose products were sold to distant lands. The first simple fishing rafts on the Nile were replaced with swift-moving, high-prowed ships powered by oars and sails, and the first tentative sea-going vessels became huge freighters hauling cedar logs from Lebanon. The simple copper tools invented in the predynastic era continued to be used throughout Egyptian history—even the pyramids themselves were crafted with them—while the extraction of gold from the southern regions became so extensive that the area came to be called Nubia, or "gold land". The early reed-hut shrines turned into mud-brick temples; the simple burials on the west bank of the Nile were enhanced with linen wrappings, wooden coffins, brick enclosures, and a greater abundance of goods, until they finally became the ornate and even extravagant tombs for which Egypt is so justly famous. And in all these areas, the predynastic Egyptians displayed not only an astonishing inventiveness and sophistication, but also the keen artistic eye, the deep engagement of the artist with his materials, the powerful expression of complex ideas through minimalist symbolism, and above all the exuberant love of living things and of life itself which were to epitomize the Egyptian character throughout its history. Another typically Egyptian feature that has its roots in the Predynastic Period is the dualism which pervades almost every aspect of Egyptian thought and can be discerned as far back as we can trace Egyptian ways of looking at the world. Whatever its origins may have been, this dualism was clearly reinforced by geography—specifically, by the peculiar configuration of the Nile River and the long, mostly straight valley which it has created for itself from the Delta in the north to the First Cataract six hundred miles to the south. From earliest times, the Nile bifurcated the land of Egypt in at least three different ways. The most obvious division was between the black land or kmt (i.e., the cultivable land laid down by the Nile's annual inundation) and the red land or dSrt (i.e., the desert which the inundation never reached). Another clear division was between the river's two banks, east and west, which together were referred to as the idbwy or "two shores". The third division would have been the hardest to discern from a local vantage point, but turned out to be the most important politically and theologically; this is the distinction between "Lower Egypt" (i.e., the marshy lands of the Delta where the Nile empties into the Mediterranean Sea) and "Upper Egypt" (i.e., everything southward from the Delta to the First Cataract). It was almost certainly this third division which the Egyptians had in mind when they referred (as they did constantly) to Egypt as the tAwy or "Two Lands". Lower Egypt, because of its proximity to the Mediterranean coast, had a culture and economy closely tied to those of Syria and especially Libya; Upper Egypt, on the other hand, had a culture and economy more closely tied to those of Nubia and Arabia. This natural geographic division between north and south was inevitably reflected in the distinctive ethnicity, language, culture, and religious practices of each region––distinctions which persist to some extent even to our own day. As the power of the local predynastic chieftains increased and their domains coalesced into larger and larger units, they did so according to this same north- south division. Ultimately (at least according to the "official history" of later times) this resulted in the rise of two competing kingdoms whose opposition to one another was symbolically expressed in the hieroglyphic signs which made their first appearance around the same time. Lower Egypt, we are told, was symbolized by the papyrus plant ( marshes; its king wore a Red Crown( ), and had his seat of government at the royal residence of Pe near the Delta city of Per-Wadjyt.10 The chief deity of Lower Egypt was the falcon-god Horus ), and its guardian spirit was the cobra goddess Wadjyt ( by contrast, was symbolized by a flowering sedge plant ( White Crown ( and had his seat of government at the royal residence of Nekhen across the Nile from the southern city of Nekheb.11 The chief deity of Upper Egypt was Seth ?), and its guardian spirit was the vulture goddess Nekhebet (?).12 10 Usually referred to by its Greek name, "Buto". The modern name for the site is Tell el-Fara`in. 11 Nekheb, which lay on the east bank of the Nile, is modern El-Kab; Nekhen, which lay on the west bank, is modern Kom el-Ahmar. ?) which grew abundantly in the delta ), was graphically represented by a bee ?). Upper Egypt, ?); its king wore a ), was graphically represented by an unflowered sedge (?), Of the two regions, Upper Egypt was always the stronger—economically, culturally, and militarily. For several hundred years in the so-called Naqada II period (3500-3200 B. C.), Upper Egyptian material culture had been slowly infiltrating both south into Nubia and northward toward the Delta, overwhelming and ultimately replacing indigenous local products with its own characteristic wares. Likewise, it was the Upper Egyptians who were obsessed with both the technology and the artistry of ships and sailing, by means of which they turned the Nile into a moving highway of commerce and colonization. It was the Upper Egyptians too who had easy access to gold, which then as now was prized both for its artistic potential and for its utility in long-distance trade. (Indeed, the ancient Egyptian name for modern Naqada was nwbt, "Gold Town.") It was Upper Egyptian villages which first became walled cities, and Upper Egyptian kings who were first buried in monumental tombs at the cult center of Abydos with extravagant inventories and expensive works of art. 12 It is questionable whether matters were ever so simply defined in the realities of the day as they were portrayed in the political propaganda of later eras. Henri Frankfort (Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), p. 20) flatly denied that there had ever been any kind of unified kingdom in the north at all, and suggested that the "Kingdom of Lower Egypt" was a purely ideological construct with no basis in fact. Michael Rice (Egypt's Making, 112) has pointed out that the Red Crown may have been used not only in the Delta, but also at Naqada, which lay to the north of Nekhen but still well within the boundaries of Upper Egypt; hence it is possible that the iconography which later came to symbolize the division of Upper and Lower Egypt, and especially the predynastic victory of the former over the latter, may originally have referred to conflicts within Upper Egypt itself, and only later was appropriated by Menes and his successors for a larger purpose. (This possibility is supported by the fact that Nekhen, the predynastic capital of Upper Egypt, was not dedicated to the Upper Egyptian god Seth but to Seth's bitter enemy Horus—hence the Greek name of the city, Hierakonpolis or "Hawk City." Seth was, however, the totemic god of Naqada.) For a similar view, see Hoffman, Egypt Before the Pharaohs, 322-324, It is therefore no surprise that when political unification finally came to Egypt, it was the result of an Upper Egyptian military force invading and conquering Lower Egypt. Since the historical records of the period are fragmentary at best (consisting mainly of ceremonial maceheads and stone palettes decorated with highly symbolic designs and primitive picture-writing), we still do not know exactly when or by whom the final unification was accomplished; most likely it was not a once-for-all event, but was carried out in stages and had to be repeated several times before it "took." There is some inscriptional evidence that a southern king named Scorpion succeeded at least in "smiting" the north, but he may not have stayed to rule. A subsequent southern king named Narmer ("Striking Catfish") not only (re)conquered the north lands but extended his rule into southern Palestine as well.13 Having put on the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, he then (at least according to one interpretation) married a northern princess—thereby positioning his own heirs as part of the northern royal line. Consequently, when his son Hor-Aha ("Fighting Horus") took the throne upon Narmer's death, he could legitimately claim both the White Crown and the Red Crown by right of succession; and taking the throne name of Men ("the Established One", Greek "Menes"), he became the official founder of the First Dynasty around the year 3050 B.C.14 13 B. Bower, "Ancient Egyptian Outpost Found in Israel," Science News 150 (5 October 1996), 215. 14 There are, of course, other ways of interpreting the data, and the battle continues among Egyptologists to this day. See, for example, Jacques Kinnaer, "Aha or Narmer: Which was Menes?" KMT, vol. 12, no. 3 (Fall 2001), 74-81. The Archaic Period (3050-2686 B. C.) and Dual Kingship Of all the inventions of the Predynastic Period, the single most important (and the one which most clearly marks the transition to the beginning of the Archaic Period of the dynastic era) was the kingship itself—and in particular, the dual kingship by which one real king ruled simultaneously over two virtual kingdoms.15 This concept was apparently the brainchild of Menes and/or his advisers, and it was responsible for the almost incredible stability and longevity of the Egyptian state and its associated way of life. As Frankfort observed: This extraordinary conception expressed in political form the deeply rooted Egyptian tendency to understand the world in dualistic terms as a series of pairs of contrasts balanced in unchanging equilibrium. .… When Pharaoh assumed dualistic titles or called himself "Lord of the Two Lands," he emphasized not the divided origin but the universality of his power. … The perfect consonance between the new political and the established cosmological conceptions gave to his creation a compelling authority. A state dualistically conceived must have appeared to the Egyptians the manifestation of the order of creation in human society, not the product of a temporary constellation of power.16 From Menes onward, the king was no longer a mere man but a divine personage, the representative (and perhaps, in some sense, even the actual 15 Except as otherwise noted, the information in this section is synthesized from the following sources: Aldred, Egypt to the End of the Old Kingdom, 46-64; Kathryn A. Bard, "The Emergence of the Egyptian State," OHAE, 62-88; Breasted, History, 36-50; Clayton, Chronicle, 20-29; Emery, Archaic Egypt, 51-111; Frankfort, Kingship, 15-23, 51-60; Grimal, History, 49-59; Hayes, ScEg, 1:35- 55; Hornung, History, 4-12; James, Introduction, 41-44; Knapp, History, 102-103,108-110; Rice, Egypt's Making, 120-145. 16 Frankfort, Kingship, 19-20. For a more recent discussion of the ideological and iconographic revolution which took place under Narmer, see Toby A. H. Wilkinson, "What a King is This: Narmer and the Concept of the Ruler," JEA 86 (2000), 23-32. incarnation) of the falcon-god Horus; his person was the fulcrum point at which the Two Lands were joined and by which the balance between them was maintained. All this was carefully signified by the triple royal name which makes its appearance during the First Dynasty: the Horus name ( symbolizing the king as the living Horus; the nbty or "Two Ladies" name ( symbolizing the protection of Nekhebet and Wadjyt, the guardian spirits of Upper and Lower Egypt; and the nzw-bit or "King of Upper and Lower Egypt" name (? united into a single composite crown ( White crowns is unmistakable.18 As the Lord of the Two Lands, the King was the undisputed owner of every inch of territory within the borders of Egypt, and the master of every living thing—human or otherwise—dwelling therein. He presided over the civil administration of the two kingdoms, each typically (although not invariably) possessing its own vizier, its own bureaucracy, and its own judiciary. If there was enough food to eat, it was because the king had provided it. If there was victory in war, it was because the king had commanded the army. If the gods smiled on Egypt, it was because the king had propitiated them on Egypt's behalf; ) symbolizing the dual kingship itself.17 Even the two crowns were ) whose derivation from the Red and 17 See Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs, 3d ed., rev. (Oxford: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, 1957; 1978 printing), 71-76; Emery, Archaic Egypt, 106-108; Rice, Egypt's Making, 103-105. Judging from its vocalization in foreign scripts, the word nzw-bit was apparently pronounced something like "insibya". (Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 51.) The other two standard components of the later royal titulary, the "Golden Horus" and "Son of Ra" names, did not appear until somewhat later. 18 Emery, Archaic Egypt, 106-105; Rice, Egypt's Making, 112-113. for he was the intermediary between gods and men, and the high priest of every cult. Like the sun-god, the king had Sia (ziA, "understanding") in his heart, and Hu (Hw, "authoritative utterance") on his lips; and like the sun-god, he wielded the Heka (HqA, "creative power" or "magic") which sustained heaven and earth.19 Above all else, it was the king's responsibility to ensure that the whole land should "do Maat". Maat (Egyptian mAat ) was the all-encompassing term for "the way things ought to be", including duty, justice, truth, morality, and consistency with the cosmic order. We will investigate Maat in greater detail later in this chapter, but for now it will suffice to repeat Frankfort's oft-quoted formulation that Maat is: a divine order, established at the time of creation; this order is manifest in nature in the normalcy of phenomena; it is manifest in society as justice; and it is manifest in an individual's life as truth.20 According to the Egyptian texts, the king's throne was "founded on Maat", and his accession represented a victory of proper order over the forces of chaos; indeed, each coronation was in effect a re-founding of the cosmos. In his role as 19 See Leonidas Kalugila, The Wise King: Studies in Royal Wisdom as Divine Revelation in the Old Testament and its Environment (Lund, Sweden: CWK Gleerup, 1980), 12-37. Hu, Sia, and Heka, along with Maat (for which, see immediately below) are often represented iconographically as deities, and as such are counted among the children of Ra. On occasion they are also identified with one another or with other deities in Ra's entourage such as Shu and Thoth. As Wilson observed, the bracketing of Hu, Sia, and Maat as attributes of the king in the Admonitions of Ipuwer implies that the ideal ruler "thus needed the ability to comprehend a situation, the authority to meet the situation by command, and the balance of equitable justice." (John A. Wilson, "The Admonitions of Ipu-wer," ANET, 443n39.) 20 Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion: An Interpretation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1948; reprinted by Harper and Row, 1961), 63. high priest of every cult, he offered back to the gods (either directly or through his appointed surrogates) the Maat upon which the gods themselves lived and by which they ruled the universe. As one New Kingdom text declared: Ra has installed the king upon the earth of the living, forever and always, To judge mankind and satisfy the gods, to implement Maat and destroy evil. He gives offerings to the gods, and benefactions to the spirits. The name of the king is in heaven like Ra, he lives in rejoicing like Ra-Heru-Akhty.21 Consequently, the king's decrees were believed to be determined by Maat;22 the duties of the vizier and the government bureaucrats below him were supposed to be discharged in conformity with Maat;23 the decisions handed 21 For the text in phonetic transcription, see Jan Assmann, Der König als Sonnenpriester (Glückstadt: Verlag J. J. Austin, 1970), p. 22, or Jan Assmann, "State and Religion in the New Kingdom," Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt, Yale Egyptological Studies 3 (edited by William Kelly Simpson; New Haven: Yale University, 1989), p. 58. The translation is my own, assisted by those of Assmann in "State and Religion" and of Stephen Quirke, The Cult of Ra: Sun- Worship in Ancient Egypt (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2001), p. 20. 22 For examples of royal decrees, see F. Ll. Griffith, "The Abydos Decree of Seti I at Nauri," JEA 13 (1927), pp. 193-208, pl. xxxvii-xliii; Kurt Pflüger, "The Edict of King Haremhab," JNES 5 (1946), pp. 260-276, pl. i-vi; William F. Edgerton, "The Nauri Decree of Seti I: A Translation and Analysis of the Legal Portion," JNES 6 (1947), 219-230; William J. Murnane, Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt, SBLWAWS no. 5 (edited by Edmund S. Meltzer; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), 212-214, 235-240. 23 For the duties of the vizier, see Norman de Garis Davies, The Tomb of Rekh-mi-re` at Thebes, 2 vols., Publications of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition 11 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1943), 1:pp. 79-94, 2:pl. XI, XII, CXVI-CXXII; R. O. Faulkner, "The Installation of the Vizier," JEA 41 (1955), 18-29; G. P. F. van den Boorn, The Duties of the Vizier: Civil Administration in the Early New Kingdom (New York: Kegan Paul International, 1988). Maat was so important to the vizier's office that he was styled as a "priest of Maat" and apparently wore a pendant of the goddess around his neck. (Shaw and Nicholson, DAE, 166; Miriam down by the courts were required to be made in accordance with Maat;24 and even the social behavior of the individual citizen was circumscribed by Maat. As a result, every Egyptian had recourse to the throne, at least in theory, for the righting of wrongs committed by others. And if such recourse should prove to be futile—either because those who were responsible for justice failed to carry it out, or because the kingship itself had collapsed—then life would, from the Egyptian perspective, no longer be worth living, because the cosmos, for all practical purposes, would have collapsed into chaos. 25 Thus the king, in his own acts as ruler and in his enforcement of justice and piety among the people, not only brought Egypt into closer conformity with the requirements of the cosmic order; he also contributed substantially to the establishment and maintenance of that order. Indeed, without the king's efforts, and the efforts of the multitudes he ruled, the sun might wander from its path, Lichtheim, Maat in Egyptian Autobiographies and Related Studies, OBO 120 (Freiburg, Schweiz : Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992), 87.) 24 For the functioning of the courts, see T. Eric Peet, "A Historical Document of Ramesside Age," JEA 10 (1924), 116-127; T. Eric Peet, "Fresh Light on the Tomb Robberies of the Twentieth Dynasty at Thebes," JEA 11 (1925), 37-55; Alan H. Gardiner, "An Administrative Letter of Protest," JEA 13 (1927), 75-78; T. Eric Peet, The Great Tomb Robberies of the Twentieth Egyptian Dynasty, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930); Alan H. Gardiner, "A Lawsuit Arising from the Purchase of Two Slaves," JEA 21 (1935), pp. 140-146, pl. xiii-xvi; J. Capart, A. H. Gardiner, and B. van de Walle, "New Light on the Ramesside Tomb Robberies," JEA 22 (1936), pp. 169-193 and pl. x-xvi; Aristides Théodoridès, "The Concept of Law in Ancient Egypt," The Legacy of Egypt, 2nd ed. (edited by J. R. Harris; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), 291-322; Schafik Allam, Everyday Life in Ancient Egypt, Prism Archaeological Series 1 (Guizeh, Egypt: Prism, 1985), 55-84; Joyce Tyldesley, Judgment of the Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2000). 25 Vincent Arieh Tobin, Theological Principles of Egyptian Religion (New York: Peter Lang, 1989), 82; Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 43-46. the very skies might fall, and the world would be returned to the chaos of the primordial waters from which it emerged.26 Seen in this light, the kingship must have been a crushing responsibility, too heavy for any normal human being to bear; but there is every indication that the early kings of Egypt shouldered it willingly and (for the most part, at least) poured themselves out in its fulfillment. As a result, with absolute power— political, military, social, economic, and religious—thus centralized in the hands of a single man whose word was inexorable law, the immense resources of the Nile valley, both natural and human, could now be exploited to the full for the first time, and the Egyptians could undertake projects which previously would have been unthinkable. The results were nothing less than astonishing: Egyptian culture very swiftly reached peaks of elegance and sophisti- cation and Egyptian art of technical perfection, which have perhaps never again been equalled. Once the Kingship appeared, Egyptian state institutions rapidly achieved a maturity and effectiveness which allowed the state to endure in the same essential form over the succeeding three millennia. These achievements, in virtually every department of the state and of life, resounded down the centuries; they were in large part the work of a succession of extraordinary men, the earliest Kings of the united land of Egypt, and their immediate colleagues and supporters. Between 3200 B. C. and 2700 B. C. they seeded Egypt deep in the fertile soil of the Valley; for another 500 years what they planted flourished wonderfully. Though the early Kings are shadowy figures, the shadows which they cast on history are very great.27 26 For the cosmic struggle which was believed to be inherent in the sun's daily circuit, and the king's role in insuring that the cycle continued uninterrupted, see Assmann, "State and Religion," 57-64; Quirke, Cult, 54-61; John A. Wilson, "The Repulsing of the Dragon and the Creation," ANET, 6-7; Jan Assmann, Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom: Re, Amun, and the Crisis of Polytheism (New York: Kegan Paul International, 1995), 51-57. 27 Michael Rice, Egypt's Making, 3. To more effectively unite the two kingdoms over which he ruled, Menes founded a new capital at the boundary where they met, just above the apex of the Delta—allegedly on ground which had been drained by diverting the course of the Nile.28 Variously called "the White Wall" and "the Balance of the Two Lands", it is known today by its Greek name of Memphis.29 Almost nothing remains of Memphis today, but for almost three millennia—until it was eclipsed by the founding of Alexandria—it was the single most important city in all of Egypt;30 and at least in theory every king, in order to rule legitimately, had to be crowned there twice—once with the Red Crown, and once with the White—in a ceremony known as the zmA-tAwy or "Union of the Two Lands."31 With the increasing power of the kingship, palaces and temples and royal tombs—which had already achieved a certain grandeur in the Predynastic Period—began to be conceived on a still larger scale, and for the first time stone work and even granite were incorporated into them alongside the older materials of mud brick and wood. Most importantly, Menes and his immediate successors in the Archaic Period introduced the basic institutions of the nation-state: a nationwide civil service system, a comprehensive system of taxation to harness the nation's large agricultural surpluses for public use, a standardized calendrical 28 Herodotus, Historiae, 2.99. 29 This is a corruption of "Men-Nefer", the Egyptian term for the Sixth Dynasty pyramid of Pepi I in the city's necropolis. 30 Shaw and Nicholson, DAE, 180-181. 31 Frankfort, Kingship, 22-23. system based on a 365-day year, a system of dating based on regnal years, and Egypt's first system of royal annals—all of which required extensive use and further development of the newly invented hieroglyphic writing. Egyptian history had begun. Oddly enough, it was in this most Egyptian of all eras, when Egypt was coming of age as a strong state with a distinctive and enduring culture, that it was also most influenced by outside forces—most notably from Mesopotamia. 32 The design of high-prowed sailing vessels, the vocabulary and techniques of agriculture and craftsmanship, the mud-brick architecture of palaces and tombs, the employment of cylinder seals, the use of artistic motifs involving hunting scenes and fantastic animals, the enclosure of the king's name in a symbolic frame, the sacrifice and burial of a king's retainers to accompany him in death—all these clearly arrived in Egypt as imports from Mesopotamia. It has even been plausibly suggested that such quintessentially Egyptian features as hieroglyphic picture-writing and belief in creation out of a primordial ocean may have come to Egypt from outside. On the other hand, it is in these very instances that we see the peculiarly Egyptian genius most clearly at work; for in each of these cases the Egyptians, after a period of initial flirtation with foreign techniques, replaced them with indigenous ones whose content was entirely different. Thus the high-prowed 32 For a detailed discussion of Mesopotamian influences in the Archaic Period and their eventual rejection in favor of native Egyptian analogues, see Rice, Egypt's Making, 34-127, 242-263. Mesopotamian boats were replaced with Egyptian vessels of a different design. The monumental mud-brick tombs based on the architecture of Mesopotamian palaces were replaced with monumental stone tombs based on the shape of Egyptian mountains. Mesopotamian cylinder seals were replaced with flat- surfaced Egyptian scarab seals. The fantastic animals of Mesopotamian imagination were replaced with fantastic animals of Egyptian design. The sacrifice of royal retainers was made unnecessary by the interment of humanoid ushabti figurines in their place. The serekh enclosure of the king's name (which was based on the facade of Mesopotamian palaces) was eclipsed by a thoroughly Egyptian twisted-rope cartouche. This, too, is a pattern which was to endure throughout Egyptian history. Egypt was never entirely insulated from outside influences; but it never entirely succumbed to them, either. The instinctive Egyptian response to new stimuli was to retain the basic idea while purging it of all foreign artistic or ideological content and making it something wholly Egyptian in form and spirit. Already by the end of the First Dynasty this process had been completed with respect to Egypt's Mesopotamian borrowings, and no further substantive influences from that quarter can be detected. 33 The kings of the two dynasties of the Archaic Period ruled for more than three centuries, and during their time Egypt showed continuous progress in political organization, craftsmanship, architecture, and the use of writing. Near 33 Rice, Egypt's Making, 127. the end of the Archaic Period, however, there was trouble of some sort. Many of the royal tombs were deliberately incinerated, royal names were effaced from inscriptions, the succession of the kings became confused; for a time Seth even replaced Horus as the tutelary deity of the royal house, and there is evidence of civil war between the followers of the two gods. Ultimately, however, order was restored; a new and even more powerful Third Dynasty came to power, and with it the Archaic Period came to an end. The Old Kingdom (2686-2181 B. C.) The rise of the Third Dynasty marks the beginning of the Old Kingdom proper, a period of such unequalled technical and artistic genius that the subsequent two and a half millennia of Egyptian culture can be viewed as little more than a prolonged decline from its summit.34 A great deal of the credit for these achievements goes to King Djoser and his architect Imhotep, who perfected the use of stone for both monumental buildings and large-as-life statuary. It was Djoser and Imhotep, in fact, who built the first large edifice in the history of the world to be constructed entirely of stone: Djoser's mortuary complex at Saqqara. 34 Except as otherwise noted, the information in this section is synthesized from the following sources: Aldred, Egypt to the End of the Old Kingdom, 65-132; Breasted, History, 74-144; Clayton, Chronicle, 30-67; Christopher J. Eyre, "Work and the Organization of Work in the Old Kingdom," Labor in the Ancient Near East, AOS 68 (edited by Marvin A. Powell; New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1987), 5-47; Grimal, History, 63-136; Hayes, ScEg, 1:59-72, 125-131; Hornung, History, 13-41; James, Introduction, 44-48; Knapp, History, 110-121; Jaromir Malek, "The Old Kingdom," OHAE, 89-117; Rice, Egypt's Making, 169-229. For primary sources, see James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents, 5 vols. (New York: Russell and Russell, 1906/1962), 1:75-173. Among other innovations, this complex contained the first Egyptian pyramid—the forerunner of a tradition which was to reach its zenith a century later with the great Fourth Dynasty pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure on the Giza plateau. In support of these monumental constructions and other extraordinary projects, the rulers of the Old Kingdom sent military and mining expeditions into Nubia and Sinai, began smelting copper on a large scale, and imported large amounts of timber from Lebanon—the latter probably paid for with gold and Egyptian manufactures. The southern boundary of Egypt was officially set at the First Cataract, and a fortress was built there to keep out the marauding tribes of Nubia. Writing also flourished, and it is from this era (as we shall see in the next chapter) that we have the first connected prose in Egyptian script; indeed Imhotep himself was later credited with writing the first work of Egyptian instructional literature. In the religious sphere, extensive mortuary texts were inscribed on the inner walls of the pyramids, and at Iunu (later called Heliopolis or "sun city" by the Greeks) the cult of the sun-god Ra began its long ascendancy; for the first time, the kings of Egypt began to style themselves not only as the living Horus, but also as the Son of the Sun. Egypt was advancing on every front; nothing seemed beyond its reach. But it was too good to last. Perhaps the common people revolted against the strain of supporting such grandiose ambitions with their taxes and their labor; perhaps an incompetent central bureaucracy allowed the reins of power to slip from its hands, where they were eagerly snatched up by a resurgent aristocracy. In any case, at the end of the ninety-four-year reign of Pepi II, the whole system collapsed. The central government evaporated, the Old Kingdom ended, and chaos descended upon Egypt. The First Intermediate Period (2181-2060 B. C.) It took a century and a half for order to be completely restored and the united monarchy reinstated.35 In the meantime, power devolved upon the nomarchs, who ruled as warlords and petty kings in their own right, while the Delta was lost to an invasion of the "Asiatics" who always seemed to be lurking just east of the Egyptian border, waiting for an opportunity. Eventually, two rival dynasties arose from the chaos: the Tenth, with its center of power in the northern city of Henen-Nesut (Greek Heracleopolis, modern Ihnasya el-Medina); and the Eleventh, with its center of power in the southern city of Iuny (Greek Hermonthis, modern Armant), capital of the nome of Waset. The two dynasties clashed repeatedly along their shared border north of Abydos, and it was inevitable that they would eventually come into full conflict as Egypt recovered from the chaos that attended the collapse of the Old Kingdom. The first kings of the Eleventh Dynasty, who all went by the name of 35 Except as otherwise noted, the information in this section is synthesized from the following sources: Breasted, History, 147-156; Clayton, Chronicle, 70-73; Grimal, History, 137-154; Hayes, ScEg, 1:135-148; Hornung, History, 42-47; James, Introduction, 48-50; Knapp, History, 121-124; Stephan Seidlmayer, "The First Intermediate Period," OHAE, 118-147. For primary sources, see Breasted, ARE, 1:179-203. Intef, sometimes styled themselves as "King of Upper and Lower Egypt" even though they actually controlled nothing more than the countryside around their capital city. But what began as aspiration slowly became reality, as one ruler after another pushed the boundary further and further north. Finally—some time after the year 2060 B. C.—Intef III's successor, Mentuhotep I, succeeded in conquering the north once again and reuniting all Egypt under his rule. With him, the Middle Kingdom began. The Middle Kingdom (2060-1782 B. C.) By comparison with the absolute divinity of the king at the height of the Old Kingdom and the absolute royal totalitarianism which prevailed in that era, the kingship of the Middle Kingdom was but a shadow of its former self. 36 The god in human form who once boasted that in the next life he would kill and eat the other gods in order to gain their power,37 now bowed before those gods in humble supplication. Nevertheless, the kingship remained the centerpiece of Egyptian civilization, and its power was still considerable. Following Mentuhotep I, two more kings reigned in succession under the same name, thereby completing the Eleventh Dynasty. Under their rule, Egypt 36 Except as otherwise noted, the information in this section is synthesized from the following sources: Breasted, History, 157-208; Gae Callender, "The Middle Kingdom Renaissance," OHAE, 148-183; Clayton, Chronicle, 72-89; Grimal, History, 155-181; Hayes, ScEg, 1:151-202; Hornung, History, 48-70; James, Introduction, 50-55; Knapp, History, 160-167. For primary sources, see Breasted, ARE, 1:204-328. 37 R. O. Faulkner, "The 'Cannibal Hymn' from the Pyramid Texts," JEA 10 (1924), 97-103;
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