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Sohag University
Faculty of Arts
Egyptology Department

Notes on the story of Sinuhe


Lines 1-6

Prepared By
Walid El Sayed Abd El Rahim
Student of Egyptology
Pre-Master degree

Supervision

Dr. Ahmad El Ansary


Associate Professor of Egyptian
Language (Philology)
Sohag university

2010-2011
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The Story of Sinuhe

The Tale of Sinuhe is considered one of the finest works of Ancient Egyptian
literature. It is a narrative set in the aftermath of the death of Pharaoh Amenemhat
I, founder of the 12th dynasty of Egypt, in the early 20th century BC. It is likely
that it was composed only shortly after this date, albeit the earliest extant
manuscript is from the reign of Amenemhat III, ca. 1800 BC.1
the story of Sinuhe (zA- nht “the Sycamore’s Son”). The story is set in the reign of
Senwosret I and is presented in the form of a tomb biography of Sinuhe, who was
a servant of the queen. At the beginning of the tale Sinuhe is on a military
campaign in the Libyan desert, led by Senwosret, who at this point is still the heir
apparent. During the campaign Senwosret’s father, Amenemhat I, dies, and
Senwosret is informed of the fact secretly by messengers from the palace. Sinuhe
overhears the message. Fearing that rival factions will kill Senwosret and his
followers, he flees to the coast of Syria. There he is adopted by a local sheikh and
eventually becomes a tribal ruler in his own right. After many years, he is
challenged to battle by the head of a rival clan. The account of their fight—which
Sinuhe wins by killing his challenger—foreshadows in some respects the Biblical
tale of David’s victory over Goliath, just as the story of Sinuhe’s long exile abroad
resembles that of Moses in the story of the Exodus. After this success, Sinuhe
begins to long for home. His situation is reported to Senwosret, and the king sends
him a letter (which the story reproduces in full) urging him to come back. Sinuhe
rejoices over the pharaoh’s invitation and returns to Egypt, though he is still afraid
of punishment for doubting Senwosret’s ability to gain control after his father’s
death. In an audience before the king, Sinuhe is championed by the queen and the
royal children. Senwosret pardons him, gives him the property and station of a
high official, and orders a pyramid built for him in the royal cemetery. The story
ends with the words “I was under the blessing of the king until the day of mooring
(i.e., dying) came.” Although it is couched in the form of a tomb biography, the
story of Sinuhe is clearly a careful literary composition. It is primarily written in
the form of “thought couplets”, and can be considered as much a poem as a prose
tale. The elegance of its language was probably one of the reasons for its
popularity: a number of the copies we possess were written by schoolboys as
scribal exercises. 2

1
- R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems. Oxford, 1999, p. 21
2
- Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000 P.285.

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Bibliography
• J.W.B. Barns. Some readings and interpretations in sundry Egyptian texts. The
Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 58:159-166, 1972.
• J.W.B. Barns. The Ashmolean Ostracon of Sinuhe. Oxford University Press,
London, 1952.
• A.M. Blackman. Middle-Egyptian Stories -- Part I. Fondation
Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, Brussels, 1932.
• W.V. Davies. Readings in the story of Sinuhe and other Egyptian texts. The
Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 61:45-53, 1975.
• R.O. Faulkner. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Griffith Institute,
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1962.
• A.H. Gardiner. Notes on the story of Sinuhe. Librairie Honoré Champion, Paris,
1916.
• A. Gardiner. Egyptian Grammar. Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
1957.
• E. Graefe. Mittelägyptische Grammatik für Anfänger. Harrassowitz Verlag,
Wiesbaden, 1994.
• R. Hannig. Grosses Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch: die Sprache der
Pharaonen (2800-950 v.Chr.). Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1995.
• R. Koch. Die Erzählung des Sinuhe. Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth,
Brussels, 1990.
• M. Lichtheim. Ancient Egyptian Literature -- Volume I: The Old and Middle
Kingdoms. University of California Press, 1975.
• A. Loprieno. Ancient Egyptian: a linguistic introduction. Cambridge University
Press, 1995.
• R.B. Parkinson. The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems 1940-
1640 BC. Oxford University Press, 1997.
• W.K. Simpson (editor). The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of
Stories, Instructions, and Poetry. Yale University Press, 1972.
Möller, G. - Hieratische Paläographie. Die ägyptische Buchschrift in ihrer
Entwicklung von der 5. Dyn. bis zur römischen Kaiserzeit, Heft,1Leipzig, 1927.

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Page in hieratic:1

Page in hieroglyphic:

1
- Möller, G. - Hieratische Paläographie. Die ägyptische Buchschrift in ihrer Entwicklung von
der 5. Dyn. bis zur römischen Kaiserzeit, Heft,1Leipzig, 1927- 6

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Transliteration:

iry pat HAty-a sAb aD-mr ity m tAw styw


rx nswt mAa mry.f Smsw sA-nhAt Dd.f ink Sms
Sms nb.f bAk n ipt nswt irt pat wrt Hswt
nswt snwsrt m Xnm-swt sAt nswt imn-m-HAt
mqA-nfrw nfrw nbt imAx rnpt-sp 30 Abd 3 Axt sw 7
ar nTr r Axt.f nswt-bity sHtp-ib-ra

Translation:

Nobleman and overlord, governor and canal-cutter, sovereign among


the Syrians,One known to the king directly, his favourite, the Follower
Sanehat .He says: I am a Follower who follows his lord, a servant of
the family-quarters of the king Of the noblewoman, abounding in
favour King's Wife of Senusret in Khenemsut King's Daughter of
Amenemhat. in Qaneferu, Neferu, lady of reverence ,year 30, month
3 of Inundation, day 7,The god ascended to his horizon, the king of
upper and lower Egypt Sehetepibra.

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Line1

iry pat HAty-a sAb aD-mr ity m tAw styw


Nobleman and overlord, governor and canal-cutter, sovereign
among the Syrians
glyphs

Ideo. HAt front,and det. HAty heart,


Forepart of
HAtj –a "high official". Lit .,one whose F3
lion
hand is in the front.,
jackeal E
Ido.,or det .sAb Worthy ,dignatry 17

hoe U6
Det.hack up, mr hack up,Phon.
mr love.
Det. irrigated land ,land , tAS Boundary. Irrigated N
land 23

Ido.and det.crocodile, msH , crocodile crocodile


I3
,phon. it in jtj sovereign
Det. In the O.K. writing in Horus ,Hr,det. Falcon of
Of gods,or of the kings.also ideo. In 1st horuse on the G7
Standard R 12
person sing with the kings.
Ideo., tA earth,land, Hence phon., Det., land Flat alluvial N16
,in Dt eternity land with
Grains of
N33
Ideo., or det., also phon., st ex. Stt the Goddess Cow s skin F29
Satis pierced by An
arrow
A1
Zi .man,occupations, personal names, first seated man,
personal sing. pronoun person
Det., female,Hmt,st,wife,Woman as suffix 1st B1
pers.,sing.,'I'my,=j
Seated woman

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Det., plurality ,ideo., or det., z Strok Z1 Z2

Ideo.,or det., in xAst hill-country, Forgen land, Sandy hill- N25


det.,desert , Also ideo.,in @A the Desert-God country over
Edge of green
cultivation

Vocabulary

iry pat Nobleman

sAB governor

aD-mr canal-cutter

ity sovereign

tAw The land

styw the Syrians

HAty-a overlord

Governor and canal-cutter: this pair of phrases is a Middle Kingdom revival


from Old Kingdom expressions of high status among administrators.

As we know that , Egyptian is able to make an adjective out of a noun by adding


an ending (masculine –j, feminine –t) to the noun: for example, njwtj and njwtt
“local,” from njwt “town.” Such derived adjectives are known as nisbes. The same
procedure is used to make adjectives out of prepositions. Most of the primary
prepositions have a nisbe form:

1. (also , , , , etc.) jmj “inherent in,” from m “in”.


2. (also , , ) jrj “pertaining to,” from r “with respect to”1
Uses of the prepositional nisbes
Like other nisbes, those formed from prepositions can be used both to modify
nouns and as nouns in their own right: for example, at Hrt “an upper room,” Hrt nbt

1
- Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000, p. 91

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“every upper one.” In both uses, prepositional nisbes often govern a following
noun, noun phrase, or pronoun, just as prepositions themselves do. This kind of
construction is usually impossible to translate directly into good English; instead,
English has to use the words “who is, who are, which is, which are” followed by
the relevant preposition, or the preposition alone: for example, nTrw imyw pt “the
gods who are in the sky” or “the gods in the sky” (literally, “the gods, the inherent
ones of the sky”); jmjw.s “those who are in it” or “those in it” (literally, “its
inherent ones”). tpj-Dw.f “he who is atop his mountain” (an epithet of Anubis). 1
Direct genitive between tAw styw

The direct genitive consists of putting two nouns after each other, with the first
noun denoting the object that is being possessed and the second the object that
possesses the first. Some examples will clarify this:
nb p.t lord of the heavens
imj-r mSa overseer of the troops (i.e. general)

Note that each noun keeps its gender and number and is not influenced by the
gender or number of the other noun.If the noun indicating the "owner" refers to
gods or to kings, it is written before the first noun, even though grammatically it
should come after. This is because, in the Ancient Egyptian mindset, anything
related to the divine and to kingship, deserved respect. In transcription, we respect
the grammatical order. The following examples demonstrate this principle:
Hw.t nTr house of god
Hm nTr servant (of) god
sA imn son (of) Amun
sA nsw son (of the) king

Indirect genitive

In the direct genitive, there is no word that links the two nouns together. The
relationship between the two nouns is implicit. In the indirect genitive, the first
noun (which still denotes the object that is being possessed) is separated from the
second by a word, which follows the gender and number of the first noun.

Singular masc., n

Singular fem., nt

1
- Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000 p,92.

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Line2

rx nswt mAa mry.f Smsw sA-nhAt Dd.f ink Sms


One known to the king directly, his favourite, the Follower Sanehat
He says: I am a Follower.

glyph

Plant regarded as typical of


Ideo. In swt the swt plant, upper Egypt probably form of M2
Hence phon.,sw, 3
M26 but without flowers
Det.,eat,wnm, "eat", sDd "relate"gr "be
Man with hand to mouth A2
silent,.mrj,love,
Ideo.,mDAT ,papyrus-roll,book, y
Papyrus rolled up ,tied and
Hence., phon.,det., writing, and thing y
sealed y1
written,sAXw write, y
Ideo., in mA sickle- shaped end, Henc
Sickle, U1
phon.,in mAA see.

Ideo., in Sms "follow ,accompany Crook,S39 with a package


T18
and derivatives. containing aknife,etc. lashed
The hieroglyphic adaptation of
The hieroglyphic adaptation of the
the hieratic abbreviation from Z7
hieratic abbreviation from of G43
of G43
Det. In O.K. gb "the gb- goose
hence semi-phon. gb in "Gb" the Pintail duck G38
earth-god", Det. In ,
,names of kind of geese.,

Vocabulary
nswt the king

mAa directly

Smsw the Follower

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sA-nht Sanehat

Sms Followe

The story opens with the titles supposed to have been attainted by Sinuhi at the end
of his career ,followed by his name and the words ''he sayes ''.1
The name occurs again in the M. E(. Pap. Kah un, 9, 11 ; Turin, 10;
Turin , 94 = Rec. de trav., 3, 122. Maspero is therefore not justified in using the
name as evidence that the tale is wholly fictitious (M. S., p. xxxv)2
The perfective sDm=f
The imperfective expresses imperfective or extended action: action that is in
some way repeated, ongoing, or incomplete. This is an aspect rather than a tense (.
Like the perfective and many other Middle Egyptian verb forms, the imperfective
is essentially tenseless. It often has to be translated by an English present tense, but
it can be used with reference to past or future actions as well.
Some Egyptologists use the terms indicative (or indicative sDm=f ) instead of
perfective and circumstantial (or circumstantial sDm=f) instead of imperfective
when referring to these forms. Although the perfective is an indicative form, most
other Egyptian verb forms are also indicative. The imperfective is frequently used
to express circumstance, as we will see below, but it has other uses as well. The
names “indicative” and “circumstantial” are therefore too broad in one case and
too narrow in the other. For that reason, this book uses the older terms perfective
and imperfective,
Dd=j “I said”—no prefixed forms .3
The negated perfective
By far the most frequent use of the perfective in Middle Egyptian—and just about
the only use of this form in most texts—is in the negation nj sdm=f. This
construction is the negative counterpart of the perfect. It is used for the negation of
past or completed action.
nj rx sw
“I do not know him.”4

ink Sms
I am a Follower. Subject + predicate

Here the Independent pronoun ink used as subject

1
- Gardiner, A. Notes on the story of Sinhui,paris,1916 p.100.
2
-Ibid, P.9.
3
- Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000, p. 267.
4
- Jams p. Allen., op.cit. p.269.270

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Independent pronouns

Form

. Hieroglyphic Translitration Translation


1st pers. sing ink
I,
2nd pers. ntk you
masc. sing.
2nd pers. ntT you
fem. sing.
3rd pers. ntf he,
masc. sing.
3rd pers. nts she
fem. sing.
1st pers. inn we,
plur.
2nd pers. ntTn you
plur.
3rd pers. ntsn they
plur.

Syntaxis and use

The independent pronoun almost always stands at the beginning of a sentence and
can often be given an emphatic meaning.

The main use of the independent pronoun is as the subject of a non-verbal sentence
where it is immediately followed by the nominal predicate. A few examples will
help clarify this:

ink HqA pwn.t, I (am the) ruler of Punt. In this sentence, ink is
the subject and HqA pwn.t, itself a direct genitive between hqA and pwn.t, the
predicate. There is no verb in this sentence. In English, we have to add the verb "to
be" to the translation.

ntk nTr aA, you (are the) great god.

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Line3

Sms nb.f bAk n ipt nswt irt pat wrt Hswt


who follows his lord, a servant of the family-quarters of the king
Of the noblewoman, abounding in favour,
glyph
Crook,S39 with a
Ideo., in Sms "follow package containing T18
,accompany and derivatives. aknife,etc. lashed

Det., backwards, ex.,


Legs wailking
ann "turn back" , be D55
backwards
reversed.

Ideo., in , hence., phone.,


in afew words reading nb Wickerwork basket V30
,lord, every,all.

Ideo. , in soul in bird form Jabiru


Hence phon.,and in group "ephippiorhynchus G29
writing bA senegalensis

Vocabulary

bAk servant

wrt Hswt abounding in favour

wrt are Adjective masc. and fem.


Adjectives are used as qualifiers of nouns. They can be in masculin and feminin, in
singular, dual and plural, just like nouns.Combining nouns and adjectives.
Adjectives always follow the nouns that they qualify, using the paradigm noun +
adjective(s).They also have the same gender and number as the nouns they qualify.

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examples :

nTr aA great god sing., masc.,

nTr.t aA.t great goddess,sing., fem.,

nTr.w aA.w great gods ,plur., masc.,

nTr.wt aA.wt great goddesses.,plurl., fem.,

When there are several adjectives to one noun, the adjectives are simply listed after
their noun: nTr.t aA.t nfr.t, the great and beautiful goddess (lit.:
goddess great beautiful).
Nouns can be combined to convey a sense of possession. This is known in
grammatical terms as the genitive. In Middle Egyptian, we distinguish between
two types of genitive: direct and indirect.

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Line4

nswt snwsrt m Xnm-swt sAt nswt imn-m-HAt


King's Wife of Senusret in Khenemsut King's Daughter of
Amenemhat.
glyph
Det. Well.ex.xnmt "well"and Hmt wife, Well full of water N41
women. Hence phon. Hm 'nHm' to take.

Ide. In pay.'wsrt' Neck,. Hence. Phon. Wsr . Head and neck of F12
canine animal
, powerful oar.
Ston jug with W9
Det. In nxmn the nxmn vase, with its handle
speciftc oil. xnmw 'Chnum'
Ide. In "seat,place". Hence phon. st ex.
Seat Q1
mAst lap , wsir "Osiris"
Ast "Isis"
Ideo. In swt the swt plant, Hence phon. ,sw, Plant regarded as
typical of upper M23
Egypt probably
form of M26
but without
flower
Det. In O.K. gb "the gb- goose hence White –fronted G38
semi-phon. gb in "Gb" the earth- goose
god",
Det. In , ,names of kind of
geese.,
For unknown reason ,phon. mn exx game board and
"remain" "the god Amun " .Imn pieces Y5

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Vocabulary

nsw
King

Wife
Hmt

snwsrt Senusret

Xnm-swt Khenemsut , name of towen .

Amenemhat , proper name.


imn-m-
HAt

King's Wife of Senusret in Khenemsut: Egyptian has no single word for queen,
using instead the compound phrase 'wife of the king'. Here the queen is identified
as wife of king Senusret I, and her special religious status in the system of kingship
is emphasised by mention of Khenemsut, the pyramid complex of that king at
Lisht.
King's Daughter of Amenemhat in Qaneferu: Senusret I was son of king
Amenemhat I, and therefore it seems from this phrase that his wife was his full or
half-sister. However, in Egyptian 'daughter' might also designate 'daughter-in-law'.
Her eternal religious role is emphasised again by mention of the pyramid complex
of the king, in this case Qaneferu, th e pyramid complex of Amenemhat I at Lisht.

m Xnm-swt
in Khenemsut .
prep.+ proper name
Prepositions:
Ancient Egyptian Language had known two kind of preposition; Simple
prepositions and Compound preposition;

Simple preposition: as example

m In, of
r To "for place"
n To "for person"

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Hr On , upon
Hna With

Compound preposition:

It consists of a simple preposition plus noun or letter; as example

m-a In the hand of


Hr-tp On the head
m-m Among
m-bAH In the presence
of

Prepositions used to make adverbial predicate in nominal sentence with adverbial


predicate (ex, 1)or adverbial phrase as a complement of sentence(ex,2);

iw.f m pr "he is in the house"

iw.f m pr hna.i "he is in the house with me"


Also to refer to stat; as in

mk sw m rSwt "Behold, he is in joy"


Preposition "n" used with suffix pronouns or nouns to refer to Dative; as in

iw di.n.i n.k mw "I had given to you water"

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Line5

mqA-nfrw nfrw nbt imAx rnpt-sp 30 Abd 3 Axt sw 7


in Qaneferu, Neferu, lady of reverence ,year 30, month 3 of Inundation, day
7

glyph

Det.,high in , kAi be high, Det., Joy , Man with borh


Hay "rejoice" arms raised A28

For unknown reason Phon., in nfr Heart and F 35


,rare ,var, , "good"and related windpipe
words.
Ideo., in niwt "village"; for the reading Village with O49
.pyr., n(iw)tyw "those belonging cross -roads
to the lower heaven" , det. Town, village,
ex wAst "Thebes" ; inhabited regon.in
Kmt "Egypt" lit. the black land.
Det., female, st Woman Hmt,
,wife, nTrt goddess; women's B1
relationships sAt daughter , her Seated woman
name Nfrt Nofret. As suffix 1st
pers.,sing.,'I'my,=j.
Ideo. In var. imAx, spinal cord, Backbone with F39
realy det. In psD back . spinal cord
issuing from it
Det. In rnpi"be young, vigorous. Palm-branch
Hence.rnp in var. pyr. rnpt, year stripped of M4
,possibly ideo., of tme also in tr time leaves
or
,season.
In var., SA"lotus pool, Pool with lotus
meadow". Hence phon. SA exx., flowers. M8
appoint,command. In group-writing or
is used S .ideo., or semi-ideo.,in
var. O.K., inundation season .
Ideo, or det. In var. ra "sun",day Sun N5
;var hrw day. Det. Sun or actions
of sun ,exx ,sun, wbn rise,
and the action o time.

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Crescent moon N11


Variant as determinative. Determinative
in iaH “moon,” also ideogram for same.
Ideogram for “month”(jbd) in dates .
Occasional variant of F42. Determinative
in wAH “carob bean,” also ideogram for
same. Determinative in šzp “palm”, also
ideogram for same.
Ideogram mD in mDw 10. V19 without
horizontal V20
cross-bar

Vocabulary

qA-nfrw Qaneferu,proper name of


town
nfrw Neferu, name of woman

nbt Lord,fem.

jmAx Reverence,hounoured.

rnpt-sp Year.

Thirty number.
30
Abd 3 Third month.

Axt Inundation.

sw Day.
Seven number.
7

rnpt-sp 30 Abd 3 Axt sw 7


This is the date, or lable, And therefore written red ink, which is called "Roubric".
The ancient Egyptian divided their year ( rnpt) into their seasons
( tr).the year began traditionally around mid-joly ,when the annual four

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month inundation of the Nile steated ,and the name of the seasons reflect the
Egyptian agricultural year : AXT '' Inundation'' (mid-joly to mid-November).
prt ''growing'' (lit. Emergence,mid-novamber to mid- march ). And
Smw ''harvest ''(mid-march to mid –joly ). Each season was divided into four
months Abd of thirty days each ,, sw .
The months also had names ,but these are rarely used in hieroglyphic texts ,
instead ,the Egyptian employed a three –part numerical system for indicating
months and day:
1. the sign (for Abd ''month'')followed by a number from 1 to 4 ;
2. the number of season ;and
3. the sign (for sw ''day'') followed by a number from 1 to30.
For example , 3 Axt 7 ''3 inundation 7.'' The word tpj ''first''
was sometimes used instead of for ''month 1,'' and the word arqy
''last'' was normally used instead of the numeral for the thirtieth day of the
month:fpr instance , tpj Smw 16 ''first of Harvest 16'' .

2prt arqy ''2 Growing last,'' the used of tpj ''first (month)''and
arqy ''last(day)''indicates that the numbers in dates were probably pronounced as
ordinals rather than cardinals :i.e., xmtnw Axt sfxnw ''third (month )of
Inundation seventh (day).1

1
- Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000 .p.104

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Line6

ar nTr r Axt.f nswt-bity sHtp-ib-ra


The god ascended to his horizon, the king of upper and lower Egypt
Sehetepibra.

Glyph

Det. for wAt “road,” also ideogram path with N31


for same. Det.road, distance,postition. Ideo. shrubs.
for wAi“tend, start” (from wAt “road”). Phono.
Hr in jn-Hrt “Onuris” (a god),
Hrw “Horus,” and Hrw r “except” (from
Hri “go far away”).
Ideo. for nTr “god.” Phon. nTr. Det. God cloth wound
.very rearely det. For a god ,ex. Gbb on pole R8
Geb.
Ideo. for var. pyr. Axt , sun rising N 27
horizon(properly the place in the sky wher above
the sun rise). mountain

Ideo. for bjt “bee; honey,” and bjtj bee or wasp L2


“hereditary king.” n-sw-bitj "king of
upper and lower Egypt ".

Phono. Htp. Reast,be pleased, Ideo. for R4


Htp “offering slab.” bread loaf on
mat
Ideo. for jb “heart, mind.” Det. in HAty heart F34
“heart.”

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Vocabulary

ar ascended

nTr The god

AHt Horizon.
Nsw-bity the king of upper
and lower Egypt.

Sehetepibra ,name
sHtp ib ra of the king.

Sehetepibra: the throne-name taken by king Amenemhat I at his accession, and


used here to identify him in preference to the ambiguous Amenemhat (there were
four kings named Amenemhat in the Twelfth Dynasty).
Appostion word in appostion my be separated from one another by other words,1
and we can see that in

Infinitive

Definition
The infinitive is a verb form used to refer to action just as action, without
reference to any tense, mood, aspect, or voice. The infinitive actually belongs to a
special class of words, known as verbal nouns, which are used to describe action
as such.English has not only the infinitive and gerund but also words such as
involvement (the action of being involved), condescension (the action of being
condescending), and taxation (the action of taxing), which are verbal nouns made
from the verb root plus different suffixes, and words such as fear, love, and hate
(the actions of fearing, loving, and hating), which are verbal nouns made just from
the verb root itself. The infinitive in English has a special form that distinguishes it
from other verbal nouns, consisting of the preposition to plus the verb root (as in to
involve, to condescend, to fear, and so forth).
Like English, Egyptian also has a number of different verbal nouns, one of which
is the infinitive. The infinitive in Egyptian often corresponds to the English
infinitive, but in other cases it is best translated by an English gerund or another

1
Gardiner, A.Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (3rd ed1957.).
Oxford: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museuem p.68

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verbal noun. Unlike the infinitive in English, the Egyptian infinitive cannot be
recognized just by its form: in many cases it looks like other verbal nouns. What
distinguishes the infinitive in Egyptian is its syntax: that is, the way it is used
grammatically . In the following sections we will look first at the form of the
infinitive (which Egyptologists have determined by examining its different uses)
and then at the various ways in which it is used.1

The form of the infinitive


The Middle Egyptian infinitive has two forms: one with the base or geminated
stem and no ending, and one with the base stem plus an ending –t. These two
forms are complementary: some verbs use the form without an ending and others
the form ending in –t. The choice of form depends on the verb class or, in some
cases, the kind of verb.2

The subject of the infinitive


Like most other verb forms, the infinitive can have a subject, which is either a
noun (or noun phrase) or a pronoun. In Middle Egyptian the subject of the
infinitive can be expressed in two ways, each of which has a similar counterpart in
English:
1)-as an agent. When the subject is a noun or demonstrative pronoun, it is
introduced by the
preposition jn “by”.
for example

nat m xd jn Hm=f
“sailing downstream by His Incarnation.”
The verb naj “travel by boat” is 3ae-inf. The expression m xd “downstream”
involves a verbal noun (not the infinitive) of 3ae-inf. xdj “go downstream”:
literally, “in going downstream.”3
When the agent is a personal pronoun, the independent form of the pronoun is
used, without the preposition jn (which is not used with personal pronouns).
example with the firstperson singular form:
Ex.
4

rwd nnk Hr jb=f


“being firm by me in his opinion,”
literally, “being-firm belonging-to-me on his heart.” Examples with a pronominal
agent are relatively uncommon.1

1 - Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000 p.163

2 -Ibid. P 164.
3 - Ibid,. p 165.
4 - Gardiner, A.Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (3rd
ed1957.). Oxford: Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museuem. p. 309

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2) by the direct genitive (for nouns or demonstrative pronouns) or a suffix


pronoun (for personal pronouns): for instance,
prt sm
“the emerging of the sem-priest”

The object of the infinitive


The infinitive of transitive verbs can have an object as well as a subject: that is, a
noun (or noun phrase) or pronoun indicating the person or thing on whom the
action of the infinitive is performed. Like the infinitive’s subject by the direct
genitive (for nouns or demonstrative pronouns) or a suffix pronoun (for personal
pronouns). This construction is used when the subject of the infinitive either is not
expressed or is expressed as an agent: for example,
gmyt =f jn Hm=f
“finding him by His Incarnation.”
the object is actually the possessor of the infinitive; English can use a similar
possessive construction with its gerund: “the finding of him by His Incarnation.”2

Negation of participle
Participle negated by using (negative verb) "tm" , it used at the form of
Active/passive participle , and mainly verb come after it at the form of Negatively
complement; as follow

tAw nb tmm xnd st


"All lands which had not treaded"

nswt-bity sHtp-ib-ra
THE KING’S NAMES
The king was not only the pinnacle of Egyptian society but also the link between
human beings and the gods, since he was human himself yet embodied a divine
power. This dual nature is reflected in many of the king’s attributes, particularly in
his official titulary, which also reflects his rule over both parts of Egypt, Upper and
Lower.
From the Fifth Dynasty onward, every Egyptian king had five official names,
though not all of these are known for every king. Here is the fivefold titulary of the
pharaoh Amenemhat III of Dynasty 12 .

1 Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000, p. 165
2
- Ibid, p. 165

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The first part of the titulary is known as the Horus name. It is the oldest of the five
names, and consists of three elements: (1) a falcon perched on (2) a schematic
rendering of the archaic palace, within which is (3) the king’s name. The falcon is
emblematic of Horus, the god of kingship.
The schematic palace is known as a serekh (Egyptian srx, from the word
srx“make known”). Its lower part represents the niched façade of early mudbrick
palaces, and its upper part is a rudimentary ground plan of the palace. Together,
the three elements are a hieroglyph meaning “The divine power of kingship
(Horus) is incarnated in the individual who resides in the palace.” The Horus name
of Amenemhat III is aA bAw, a nfr Hr construction meaning “He whose
impressiveness is great”—literally, “great of impressiveness p.66.
The second name is known as the Two Ladies. It first appears in Dynasty 1. The
“Two Ladies” (nbtj) are the vulture-goddess Nekhbet (nxbt), protector of Upper
Egypt, and the cobra goddess Wadjet (wADyt), protective deity of Lower Egypt.
Amenemhat III’s Two Ladies name is is iwat tAwy “He who takes possession of the
inheritance of the Two Lands.”
The third part of the titulary is the Gold Falcon name, also known as the Horus of
Gold. In Egyptian it is called rn n nbw “the name of gold,” and is first
attested in the Fourth Dynasty.
Gold was the traditional material of the gods’ skins. With the falcon perched on
top of the hieroglyph for “gold,” this name indicates that the king was the human
incarnation of the god of kingship, Horus. The same idea is reflected in occasional
statues of the king as a falcon; in one text Thutmose III of Dynasty 18 even calls
himself bjk n nbw “a falcon of gold.” The Gold Falcon name of
Amenemhat III, wAH anx, is another nfr xpr construction meaning “He whose life is
permanent” literally, “permanent of life.”
The last two names of the titulary are almost always written inside a ring of rope
called a “cartouche.” The Egyptian word for “cartouche,” šnw “circle,” refers
to the circle of the world , and the combination of the cartouche with the king’s
name inside it originally indicated that the king has dominion over the whole
world. Eventually, however, it became merely a device for marking a royal name;
after the Middle Kingdom, the names of queens and royal children could also be
written inside cartouches
. The fourth name is the king’s throne name, also called the prenomen. This is the
youngest of the five names, first appearing in Dynasty 5. Eventually it became the
most important of all the king’s names, and from the Middle Kingdom onward it is
often the only name by which the king is mentioned in texts. The throne name
usually honors the sun-god Re (whose hieroglyph is always written first, in
honorific transposition). It seems to have been a kind of motto by which the king

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indicated what he intended to be the major theme of his reign; in some cases,
pharaohs even adopted the throne name of an illustrious predecessor to show that
their reign would be a revival of past glory. Amenemhat III’s throne name, n(j)
mAat Ra, means “He to whom the world-order (Maat) of Re belongs”

The throne name is preceded by the title nswt-bjt, which means “he to whom
the sedge and bee belong.” The sedge and bee are emblematic of Upper and Lower
Egypt, respectively, so the title is usually translated as “King of Upper and Lower
Egypt.” But the word nswt, more fully n(j)-swt, is also the general word for “king”,
and the nisbe bjtj “he of the bee” is a general term for “ancestral king,” so the title
also identifies the king as the current incarnation of a line of royal ancestors. In
this book, it is translated “Dual King.”
The fifth part of the titulary is the Son of Re name, also called the nomen. First
attested with a cartouche in Dynasty 4, the title sA-Ra “Son of Re” establishes a
direct connection between the earthly king and Re, the ruling force in nature. The
name in the cartouche following this title is the king’s own personal name, given
to him at birth. In the case of Amenemhat III, his name, imn-m-HAt, means “Amun
in Front” and honors the god Amun of Thebes, ancestral home of the Twelfth
Dynasty. Although Egyptian texts usually referred to the king, during his life and
after his death, by the throne name, Egyptologists use the Son of Re name instead.
Since many kings were named after their fathers or grandfathers, a dynasty often
had several kings with the same Son of Re name. To distinguish these,
Egyptologists number the kings (e.g., Amenemhat III). These numbers are a
modern convention: they were not used by the Egyptians themselves Besides the
king’s official titulary, Egyptian also used a number of other titles and epithets to
refer to the king. The terms nswt “king” and Hm “incarnation” .
These words were used only for Egyptian kings; foreign rulers were called
HkA‫“ و‬ruler” (also used for the Egyptian king) or wr “great one.”
The term pr-aA “Big House” it is first used to refer to the pharaoh, rather than
the royal estate, at the end of Dynasty 18. The king was also called jty
“sire” (also spelled , a “false dual”); this word may be a nisbe from jtj
“father” (if so, it should be transliterated jtjj rather than jty). Some common
epithets of the king are nTr nfr “young god,” nb-tAwy “lord of the Two
Lands,” and nb xaw“lord of appearances.” These are often used before the
king’s cartouches, after the titles nswt biti and zA-Ra .1

1
- Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the Language and culture of hieroglyphic,
Cambridge Uni. 2000. p. 67,68.

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Bibliography
1. Gardiner, A.Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the
Study of Hieroglyphs. 3rd ed, Oxford ,1957
2. Gardiner, A. Notes on the story of Sinhui, paris,1916
3. Jams p. Allen, Middle Egyptian An Introduction to the
Language and culture of hieroglyphic, Cambridge Uni. 2000.
4. Möller,G.Hieratische Paläographie. Die ägyptische
Buchschrift in ihrer Entwicklung von der 5. Dyn. bis zur
römischen Kaiserzeit, Heft,1Leipzig, 1927.
5. Parkinson, R. B., The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient
Egyptian Poems. Oxford World's Classics, 1999.

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