Records of the Past, 2nd series, Vol. II, ed. by A. H. Sayce, , at sacred-texts.com
The hereditary prince, the man of the king in his quality of sole Friend, 1 the jackal who makes the round of the frontiers to guard the country, the sovereign of the country of the Sittiu, the veritable cousin of the king who loves his lord, 2 the servant Sinuhit says:
As for me, I am the servant of his master, the slave of the king, the superintendent of the palace, the hereditary prince honoured with the favour of the queen Usirtasen, one of the intimates 3 of the royal son Amenemhâit, in his residence. In the year XXX, the 2d month of Shaït, the 7th (day), the god entered his double horizon, the king Shotphîtrî ascended to heaven, 4 and when he had united himself with the solar disk the gods rejoiced at the event. Within the palace there was nothing but distressed and mourning people; the great gates were sealed; the courtiers
sat crouching in sign of mourning; the men were overcome by dolour and silence. Now his majesty had despatched an army to the country of the Timihu; 1 his eldest son Usirtasen commanded it, forcefully he marched, he took prisoners alive among the Timihu as well as all their innumerable cattle. The Friends of the Seraglio sent people to the region of the west to inform the new king of the regency which had befallen them unexpectedly in the Palace. 2 The messengers found him and reached him at nightfall; whereas running was not sufficiently rapid, the Hawk flew with his servants 3 without informing the army, and as all the royal sons who were in the army were in the field, none of them was summoned. Now as for me, I was there, I heard the words which He uttered on this matter, and I felt myself sinking; my heart palpitated, my arms drooped, the fear of the king smote all my limbs; I wondered as I crept along where I could find a place wherein to hide myself; 4 I flung myself into the midst of the thickets to wait (there) until they 5 had passed. Then I turned towards the south, not with the wish of reaching the palace, for I did not know whether war had broken out, 6 and without even pronouncing a wish to live after the (former) sovereign, I turned my back on the (Canton of the) Sycomore. I reached Shi-Snofru and passed the night there on the soil of the field. I started again at daybreak and joined a man who was standing in the
middle of the road; he implored my mercy, for he was afraid of me. Towards supper-time I approached the city of Khri-Ahu, 1I and crossed the water on a barge without a rudder. I quitted the country of the west and passed over the eastern territory of Iauxu to the domain of the goddess Hirit the mistress of the Red Mountain; 2 then I proceeded on foot straight towards the north, and I reached the walls of the prince, which he has constructed to repel the Sittiu and to destroy the Nomiu-Shaiu; I remained in a crouching posture among the bushes, for fear of being seen by the guard, relieved each day, which keeps watch from the summit of the fortress. I proceeded on my way at nightfall, and at dawn I reached Puteni and directed my steps to the Wady of Qimoîri. 3 Then thirst fell and darted upon me; my throat rattled and contracted and I already said to myself: "It is the taste of death," when I rallied my heart and recalled my strength; I heard afar the lowing of cattle. A Sitti perceived me and recognised from my appearance that I came from Egypt. Behold he gave me water and boiled some milk for me; I went with him to his tribe. They wished to give me a territory out of their territory, but I departed at once and hurried to the country of Edimâ. 4
When I had passed a year there, Amu-ânshi 5—he is the prince of the Upper Tonu—bade me come and he said to me: "Dwell with me; thou shalt hear the language of Egypt." He said this because he 1 new my worth and had heard of my merits, according to the testimony given of me by the Egyptians who were in the country. 6 This is what he said to me: "What is the reason on account of which thou art come hither? Is it that there has been a death in the palace of the king of the two Egypts, even of
[paragraph continues] Shotphîtrî, 1 without our having known what has passed on this occasion?" I began to celebrate the king in a poetical effusion: "When I came from the country of the Timihu and my heart found for itself a new home, if I failed, 2 it was not remorse for a fault which sent me on the paths of a fugitive; I had not been negligent, my mouth had uttered no biting speech, I had listened to no perverse counsel, my name had not been heard in the mouth of the magistrate. I know not how I can explain what has led me into this country; it is as it were by the will of God, for ever since the time when this land of Egypt was as it were in ignorance of this beneficent god [the king] the fear of whom is spread among foreign nations, like Sokhit 3 in a year of pestilence, I have declared to him my thought and replied to him: Save us! 4 Behold now his son enters the palace in his place and has undertaken the direction of the affairs of his father. He is a god who verily has no second; none is before him. He is a master of wisdom, prudent in his designs, beneficent in his disposition, at whose good pleasure one goes and comes, for by his ability he subdues foreign regions, and even when his father was still
in the interior of his palace, it was he who realised what his father had determined should be accomplished. He is a hero who verily works with his sword, a champion who has no rival; we see in him one who rushes against the barbarians and bursts upon the pillagers. He is a hurler of the javelin who makes feeble the hands of the enemy; those whom he strikes can no longer lift the buckler. He is a fearless (hero) who crushes the skulls (of his foes); none has stood before him. He is a rapid runner who destroys the coward; none is able to run after him. He is a heart resolute in its season. He is a lion who strikes with the claw; never has he surrendered his arms. He is a heart closed to pity; when he sees the multitudes he lets nothing remain behind him. He is a hero who flings himself forward when he sees resistance, he is a soldier who rejoices when he flings himself on the barbarians; he seizes his buckler, he leaps, he has never had need to repeat his blow, he slays without its being possible to turn aside his lance, and even without his stretching his bow, the barbarians fly his two arms like greyhounds, for the great goddess 1 has granted unto him to combat those who know not his name, and if he attains (the prey) he lets nothing remain. He is a favourite who has known marvellously how to acquire love; his country loves him more than itself and rejoices in him more than in its own god; men and women hasten at his summons. As king he governs since he was in the egg; 2 he himself, since his birth, is a multiplier of births, he is also an unique being, of the divine essence, by whom this earth rejoices at being governed. He is an enlarger of frontiers who will take the lands of the south, but covets not the lands of the north; on the contrary, he has acted against the chiefs of the Sittiu and to destroy the Nomiu-Shâiu. 3 Should he come here, let him know thy name by the homage thou wilt address to his majesty!
[paragraph continues] For does he not do good to the foreign country which obeys him?
The chief of Tonu answered me: "May the government of Egypt be fortunate, and may its prosperity be of long duration! While thou art with me I will do good to thee!" He set me above his children, marrying me to his eldest daughter, and he granted that I should choose for myself in his domain, among the best of what he possessed on the frontier of a neighbouring country. It is an excellent country; Aïa is its name. 1 There are figs in it and grapes; its wine is more plentiful than water; abundant is the milk, numerous the olives and all the products of its trees; there are corn and meal without limit and every kind of cattle. It was noble, indeed, what he conferred on me, when the prince came to invest me (with the government), appointing me tribal prince in the best part of his country. I had daily rations of bread and wine for each day, cooked meat, roast fowl, together with the game that I caught or that was placed before me, over and above what my dogs brought from the chase. Plenty of butter 2 was made for me and boiled milk of every sort. I passed many years (there); the children I had became strong, each ruling his tribe. When a traveller went and returned from the interior, he turned aside from his road to visit me, for I rendered services to all the world. I gave water to the thirsty, I set on his journey the traveller who had been hindered from passing by, I chastised the brigand. The Sittiu 3 who departed afar to strike and to repel the princes of the foreign countries I commanded, and they marched, for the prince of Tonu allowed that I should be during long years the general of
his soldiers. Every country towards which I marched, when I had made my invasion, they trembled on the pastures beside their wells; I seized their cattle, I removed their vassals and I carried away their slaves, I slaughtered their population; 1 (the country) lay at the mercy of my sword, my bow, my marches, my plans well-conceived and glorious for the heart of my prince. Thus he loved me when he knew my valour, making me chief of his children, when he saw the vigour of my two arms.
A hero of Tonu came to defy me in my tent; it was a hero who had no rivals, for he had destroyed them all. He exclaimed: "Let Sinuhit combat with me, for he has not yet smitten me," and he flattered himself that he would take my cattle for the use of his tribe. The prince deliberated thereupon with me. I said: "I know him not. Certainly I am not his brother, I keep myself at a distance from his abode; have I ever opened his door or cleared his fences? He is some jealous fellow who is envious at seeing me and who fancies himself summoned to despoil me of cats, of she-goats as well as of cows, and to throw himself on my bulls, on my sheep, and on my oxen, in order to take them for himself. If he is a wretch who thinks of enriching himself at my expense, not a Beduin and a Beduin skilled in fighting, then let him manage the matter with judgment! But if he is a bull who loves the battle, a choice bull who loves ever to have the last word, if he has the heart to fight, let him declare the intention of his heart! Will God forget any one whom he has always favoured until now? It is as if the challenger were already among those who are laid on the funeral couch!" I strung my bow, I took out my arrows, I agitated my dagger, I furbished up my arms. At dawn, the country of Tonu came together; it had collected its tribes, (and) convoked all the foreign lands which were dependent on it; it desired this combat. Each heart burned for me, men and women shouted "Ah!" for every heart
was anxious on my account, and they said: "Is it really a strong man that is going to fight with him? See, his adversary has a buckler, a battle-axe, an armful of javelins." When I had gone forth, and he had appeared, I turned his darts aside from me. 1 As not a single one hit (me), he flung himself upon me, and then I discharged my bow at him, when my dart buried itself in his neck, he cried and struck himself on the nose; I caused his lance to fall, I lifted up my shout of victory over his back. While all the people rejoiced, I caused his vassals whom he had oppressed to show their gratitude to Montu 2 in deed. The prince Ammi-ânshi 3 gave me all that the conquered one possessed, and then I carried away his goods, I took his cattle; that which he desired to make me do I made him do; I seized what there was in his tent, I despoiled his abode; so that the riches of my treasures increased and the number of my cattle.
Now behold what God has done for me who have trusted in him. He who had deserted and fled to a foreign land, now each day his heart is joyous. I saved myself by flight from the place where I was, and now good testimony is rendered to me here. After I had fainted, dying of hunger, now I give bread here where I am. I had quitted my country naked and behold I am clothed in fine linen. After having been a fugitive without servants, behold I possess numerous serfs. My house is beautiful, my domain large, my memory is established in the temple of all the gods. 4 And nevertheless I take refuge always in thy goodness (?):
restore me to Egypt, 1 grant me the favour of once more seeing in the flesh the place where my heart passes its time! Is there any objection to my corpse reposing in the country where I was born? To return there is happiness. I have given good things to God, doing that as suitable to consolidate… The heart of him suffers who is saved to live in a foreign land: is there an every-day for him? As for him, he hears the distant prayer, and he starts, directing his course towards the country where he has trodden the earth for the first time, towards the place from whence he is come. I was once at peace with the king of Egypt, I lived on his gifts, I performed my duties towards the "Regent of the Earth" 2 who is in his palace, I listened to the conversation of his children; ah! the youthful vigour of my limbs was his! Now old age comes, feebleness has attacked me, my two eyes no longer recall what they see, my two arms droop heavily, my two legs refuse their service, the heart ceases (to beat): death approaches me, soon shall I be borne away to the eternal cities, 3 I shall follow thither the Universal Master; 4 ah, may he describe to me the beauties of his children and bring eternity unto me!
Then the majesty of king Khopirkerî, 5 of the true voice, 6
spoke to the officer who was near him. His majesty sent a message to me with presents on the part of the king, and filled me with joy, even me who speak to you, like the princes of every foreign land; and the Children 1 who are in his palace made me listen to their conversation.
Copy of the order which was brought to me who speak to you to restore me to Egypt.
"The Horus, whose births are life, the master of diadems, whose births are life, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khopirkerî, the son of the Sun, Amenemhâit, 2 living for ever and ever!
"Order for the servant Sinuhit. This order of the king is brought to thee to inform thee of his will.
"Now that thou hast traversed the foreign countries, from Edimâ to Tonu, passing from country to country according to the wish of thy heart, behold, whatever thou hast done and has been done against thee, thou dost not break forth into blasphemies, but if thy word is repulsed, thou dost not speak in the assembly of the Young, 3 even if invited to do so. Now, then, that thou hast carried out this project which came into thy mind, let not thy heart vacillate any longer, for Pharaoh is thy heaven unto thee, he is stable, he is prosperous, his head is exalted among the royalties
of the earth, his children are in the hidden part of the palace. 1
"Leave the riches which thou hast for thyself and with thee, all of them! when thou hast arrived in Egypt, behold the palace, and when thou shalt be in the palace, prostrate thyself with thy face to the ground before the Sublime Porte. Thou shalt be master among the Friends (of the king). And from day to day, behold, thou art [ever] growing older; thou hast lost the strength of manhood, thou hast dreamed of the day of burial. Behold thyself arrived at the state of beatitude; on the night whereon the oils of embalming are applied, there are given to thee the bandages by the hand of the goddess Taït. 2 Thy funeral is followed on the day of burial, the mummy case gilded, its head painted blue, 3 a canopy above thee of cypress-wood; 4 oxen draw thee, singers go before thee, and the funeral dances are performed for thee, mourners sit crouching at the entrance to thy tomb, the prescribed offerings are presented to thee with loud voice, victims are slain for thee on thy tables of offering, and thy steles are erected of white stone, in the circle of the royal children. Thou hast no rival; no man of the people reaches thy high rank; thou art not laid in a sheep's skin when thou art entombed; 5
every one strikes the earth and laments over thy corpse while thou goest to the grave."
When this order reached me, I was standing in the middle of my tribe. When it was handed to me, having thrown myself on the stomach I lay upon the ground, I crawled upon my breast, 1 and so I made the circuit of my tent to mark the joy which I felt at receiving it: "How can it be that such an event can have happened to me, even to me who am here present, who, of a rebellious heart, have fled to foreign countries, hostile to Pharaoh? Now—deliverance excellent and lasting—I am delivered from death and thou wilt make me powerful in my own country!"
Copy of the answer made to this order by the lord Sinuhit:—
"O pardon (?) great and unheard-of for the flight which I took, even I here present, as one who knows not what he does, which thou accordest unto me, even thou, the good god, friend of the god Ra, favourite of the god Montu (?) lord of Thebes and of the god Amon lord of Karnak, son of the god Ra, image of the god Tumu 2 and of his cycle of gods, may Suptu, 3 may the god Nofir-biu, 4 may the
divine Firstborn, 1 may Horus of the Orient, 2 may the royal Uræus who is lord of thy head, the chiefs who are on the basin of the West, 3 Horus who resides in foreign countries, 4 Urrit the mistress of Arabia, 5 Nüit, 6 Horus the elder, 7 (and) Ra, may all the gods of the Delta and the isles of the Great Green 8 grant life and force to thy nostrils; may they give reins to their liberality and grant thee time without limit, eternity without measure, spreading the fear of thee throughout all the countries of the plain and the mountain, fettering for thee all the course of the sun! It is the prayer which I here present make for my lord, delivered as I am from the foreign land!
"O sage king, the sage word which the majesty of the sovereign has pronounced in his sageness, I who am here present, I fear to utter it, and it is a momentous matter to repeat it. For the mighty god, image of Ra in (his) wisdom, he has himself laid his hand to the work, and I
here present, I am of the number of the subjects whereon he has deliberated, and I have been placed under his direct inspection! Verily thy majesty is a Horus, 1 and the power of thine arms extends over all lands!
"Now, then, let thy majesty cause Mâki of Edimâ, Khonti-âush of Khonti-Kaushu, 2 Monu's of the subjugated countries, 3 to be brought: they are princes ready to testify that all has happened according to thy wish, and that Tonu has not growled against thee within itself after the fashion of thy greyhounds. For as to me who speak to you, my flight, if it has been voluntary, was not premeditated; far from plotting it, I could not tear myself from the spot where I was; it was like a trance, like the dream of a man of Athu who sees himself at Abu, 4 of a man of the plain of Egypt who sees himself in the mountain. 5 I dreaded nothing; there was no pursuit after me, my name had never been in the mouth of the herald up to the moment when fate assailed me, but then my legs darted forward, my heart guided me, the divine will which had destined me to this exile led me along. I had not carried my back high, for the individual fears when the country knows its master, and Ra had granted that thy
terror should be over the foreign land. Behold me now in my own country, behold me in this place. Thou art the vesture of this place; 1 the sun rises at thy pleasure; the water of the canals irrigates him who pleases thee; the breeze of heaven refreshes him whom thou addressest. As for me who speak to thee, I will bequeath my goods to the generations which I have begotten in this place. And as to the messenger who is come unto me, let thy majesty do as it hears; for we live on the air thou givest; thine august nostril is the love of Ra, of Horus (and) of Hathor, it is the will of Montu master of Thebes that thou livest eternally."
I celebrated a festival in Aïa to hand over my property to my children: my eldest son was chief of my tribe, all my property passed to him, and I gave away all my cattle as well as my plantations of every species of fruit-tree. When I travelled towards the south and arrived at Hriu-Hor, the governor, who was there at the head of the garrison, despatched a messenger to the palace to give information of the fact. His majesty sent the excellent superintendent of the peasants of the king and, with him, a ship laden with presents from the king for the Sittiu who came in my train to conduct me to Hriu-Hor. I addressed by his name each of those who were there; as there were servants of every kind, I received and could carry with me means of subsistence and clothing sufficient to last me until I arrived at an estate belonging to me.
When the earth revealed itself the following morning, each of them came to salute me, each of them departed. I had a prosperous journey as far as the palace; the introducers struck the ground with their foreheads before me, the [royal] Children stood in the hall to conduct me, the Friends who betook themselves to the hall of audience for the march-past set me on the way to the Royal Lodge. I found his majesty on the great platform in the Hall of Silver-gilt; 2 when I entered towards it, I sank on my
stomach, I lost consciousness of myself in his presence. The god addressed me with kindly words, but I was like a person suddenly blinded, my tongue failed, my limbs fainted, my heart was no longer in my breast, and I knew what is the difference between life and death. His majesty said to one of the Friends: "Let him be raised and speak to me!" His majesty said: "So then thou art returned! In hanging about foreign lands and playing the fugitive, age has attacked thee, thou hast reached old age, thy body is not a little worn out. Dost thou not rise? Art thou become a Sitti in duplicity, for thou dost not answer? Declare thy name." I feared to refuse, and replied thus in answer: "I am afraid; nevertheless to that which my master has asked me, this is what I reply: I have not called upon myself the hand of God, but it is fear, yea, fear which seized my heart so that I took the fatal flight. 1 Now, behold me again before thee; thou art life; let thy majesty do what he will!"
The march-past of the Children ended, his majesty said to the queen: "This is Sinuhit who comes like a rustic with the appearance of a Sitti." The Children burst into a loud shout of laughter all together and said before his majesty: "It is not he in truth, O sovereign, my master!" His majesty said: "It is he in truth." Then they took their necklaces, their wands of office, their sistra, 2 and after they had brought them to his majesty [they said]: "May thy two hands prosper, O king! Put on the adornments of the Mistress of Heaven, 3 offer the emblem of life to my
nose. Be powerful as master of the stars, traverse the firmament in the celestial bark; satiety is the image of the mouth of thy majesty. 1 Thou art set with the uræus-serpent on thy brow, and the wicked are scattered from thee; thou art proclaimed Ra, master of the two countries, 2 and men cry unto thee as unto the master of the universe. Thy lance overthrows, thy arrow destroys. Grant that he may live who is in annihilation! Grant us to breathe at our ease in the good way where we are! Simihit, 3 the Sitti born in To-miri, if he has fled, it was from fear of thee; if he has gone far from his country, it was from terror of thee; does not the face grow pale which sees thy face? does not the eye fear which thou hast arrested?" The king said: "Let him fear no longer, let him dismiss (all) terror! He shall be among the Friends of the order of the Young, and let him be placed among those of the Circle 4 who are admitted into the Royal Lodge. Let orders be given that he be provided with an appanage!"
I went out towards him in the interior of the Royal Lodge, and the Children gave me their hands, while we walked behind the P-ruti doubly great. 5 I was placed in the house of the Royal Son, where there were riches, where there was a kiosk for taking the fresh air, where there were
divine decorations and mandates on the treasury for silver, vestments of royal materials, for royal gums and essences, such as the young like to have in every house, as well as every sort of artisan in numbers. As the years had passed over my limbs and I had lost my hair, I was given what came from foreign lands, and the materials of the Nomiu-shâiu; I arrayed myself in fine linen, I bedewed myself with essences, I lay on a bed, I was given cakes to eat and oil wherewith to anoint myself. I was given a whole house suitable for one who is among the Friends; I had plenty of materials for building it, all its timbers were repaired and fruits of the palace were brought to me three and four times a day, besides that which the children gave without ever an instant's cessation. A pyramid of stone was begun for me in the midst of the funerary pyramids, 1 the chief of the land surveyors of his majesty selected its site, the chief of the architects planned it, the chief of the stone-cutters sculptured it, the chief of the works which are executed in the necropolis traversed the land of Egypt to obtain all the materials necessary for its decoration. When the necessary appointments had been made in the pyramid itself; I took peasants and made there a lake, 2 a kiosk, 3
[paragraph continues] (and) fields in the interior of the sepulchral domain, 1 as is the case with Friends of the first degree; there was also a statue carved out of gold with a robe of electrum, and it was his majesty who bestowed it. It is not a common man for whom he has done so much, and in truth I enjoyed the favour of the king until the day of death.—[The history] is completed from the commencement to the end as has been found in the book.
18:1 The Friends occupied the highest posts in the court of the Pharaoh; in the Papyrus Hood of the British Museum they are placed in the seventh grade after the king. They were divided into several groups: the "sole Friends," the "Friends of the Seraglio," the "golden Friends," and the "young," whose exact position cannot be determined. The title continued to be used in the court of the Ptolemies, and spread throughout the Macedonian world (see Maspero, Études égyptiennes, ii. pp. 20, 21).
18:2 This introduction includes among the ordinary Egyptian titles that of "sovereign of the country of the Sittiu," or nomad archers of the Sinaitic Peninsula and the adjoining desert. Sinuhit had been chief of a tribe among them, and even after his return to Egypt, continued to bear the title at the court of the Pharaoh. The fact is a new one, which deserves to be noted by Egyptologists.
18:3 Literally "he who is among those who join the dwelling-house with the royal son," that is to say, one of those who have the right of living in the same house as the royal son.
18:4 That is to say, "died."
19:1 The Berber tribes inhabiting the Libyan desert, to the west of Egypt.
19:2 On the death of the king, the Friends of the Seraglio had to undertake the duties of a regency during the absence of the heir.
19:3 "The hawk who flies" is, according to Egyptian idiom, the new king, identified with the hawk-god Haroîri, "Horus the elder," or Har-si-isit, "Horus the son of Isis."
19:4 Sinuhit avoids telling us by what accident he found himself in a position to hear, unlike every one else, the news which the messenger had brought to the new king. We do not, know whether the Egyptian law decreed death to the wretch who had committed such an act of indiscretion, even though it might have been involuntary; all we know is that Sinuhit feared for his life and determined upon flight.
19:5 That is, the king and his attendants.
19:6 This passage must allude to a civil war. In Egypt, as in all Oriental countries, a change of ruler often brings with it a revolt; the princes who have not been chosen to succeed their father taking up arms against their more fortunate brother.
20:1 Babylon, now Old Cairo.
20:2 [The Gebel Ahhmar, eastward of Cairo.—Ed.]
20:3 For the position of Qimoîri, see the Introduction.
20:5 [The first part of the name is probably to be identified with the Hebrew âyom, "terrible," whence the name of the Emim (Gen. xiv. g; Deut. ii. 11), the second part of the name being perhaps ’anash, "to punish "or "fine.—Ed.]
20:6 Probably refugees from Egypt, like Sinuhit himself.
21:1 The question of the prince of Tonu, designedly somewhat obscure, was quite natural, since we know that Amenemhâit I had fallen a victim to a palace conspiracy. Amu-ânshi asks if Sinuhit has not been implicated in some attempt of the kind and has in consequence been compelled to fly from Egypt.
21:2 The text is so mutilated here that I cannot guarantee the sense. The part of the phrase which I translate "and my heart found for itself a new home" signifies literally "my heart was renewed there for me." The heart of Sinuhit was Egyptian; by renewing itself it made him an Asiatic in the land of Tonu. Further on the hero is regarded as a Sitti.
21:3 Sokhit or Sokhmit, long confounded with Pakhit, was one of the chief goddesses of the Egyptian Pantheon. She belonged to the triad of Memphis and was entitled "the great friend of Phtah." She was a lion or a goddess with the head of a lion; with the head of a cat she was called Bastit and was adored at Bubastis.
21:4 Sinuhit here answers the question of the prince of Tonu, as to whether his exile was not due to complicity in a plot against the life of the king. His flight was a fatality and he had served his sovereign from the period when he had not yet been recognised by all Egypt, and had prayed him to save his unhappy country, distracted by civil war, as we learn from other documents. Then the better to prove that he could never have mixed in any plot, he plunges into an eulogy of the new Pharaoh Usirtasen I. The exaggeration of the eulogy becomes a proof of loyalty and innocence.
22:1 One of the titles given to Sokhit in her warlike character.
22:2 That is, since he was in the womb of his mother.
22:3 The nomad population which inhabited the desert to the east of Egypt. They are elsewhere called Hriu-Shâiu, the "masters of the sands." The name of Nomiu-Shâiu appears to signify "one who is lord of the sands."
23:1 For the locality see the Introduction.
23:2 The word has been left blank in the manuscript of Berlin. Very probably it was illegible in the original papyrus, from which the copy of the story we now possess was made, the scribe having preferred to insert nothing rather than fill up the lacuna on his own authority. My restoration is suggested by the juxtaposition of the words: "boiled milk of every sort."
23:3 Literally "the archers." It is the generic name given by the Egyptians to the nomad populations of Syria in opposition to the Montiu or agricultural population. [The latter were the Perizzites or "fellahin" of the Old Testament.—Ed.]
24:1 These are the phrases used in the official reports to describe the ravages of the wars carried on by the Pharaohs. Usirtasen III says similarly; "I have taken their women, I have removed their vassals, manifesting myself towards their wells, chasing before me their cattle, devastating their houses and setting them on fire."
25:1 The buckler was held with the left hand in front of the body which it was destined to protect, and presented up at any arrow, lance, or javelin which was directed against it.
25:2 Montu was the god of war at Thebes. He was adored at Hermonthis (now Erment) in the neighbourhood of the capital, and the Greeks identified him with Apollo; he was in fact a solar deity, and the monuments frequently confound him with Ra the Sun-god.
25:3 The final i is given in the papyrus, like the final u above.
25:4 The Egyptians of high rank obtained from the king, by special decree, permission to place in the temples statues representing themselves; they could also have a stele erected in certain celebrated sanctuaries containing their names and a prayer. This is what was meant by saying that the deceased was assured of an "excellent memorial" in the temples of the gods.
26:1 It is the king whom Sinuhit now begins to address.
26:2 Perhaps the queen, but more probably the royal uræus serpent worn on the forehead by the king, which was supposed to think and fight for him. It inspired him with its counsels and during the battle destroyed the enemy with the flame that issued from its mouth.
26:3 That is the tomb, also called the "eternal house."
26:4 Osiris, whom every dead Egyptian served and followed. The text seems to refer to a feminine "Eternal Mistress," and it is possible that a female Osiris is intended. We know too little about the religion of the period for me to guarantee the exactitude of my translation.
26:5 The praenomen of Usirtasen I. the son and successor of Amenemhâit I.
26:6 The Egyptians, like all oriental peoples, attached a great importance not only to the words which composed their religious formulæ, but also to the intonation given to each of them. For a prayer to be of avail and to exercise its full effect upon the gods, it was necessary that it should be recited in the traditional cadence. Accordingly the highest praise which could be bestowed on a person obliged to recite an orison, was to call him mâ-khrôu "correct of voice," to say that he had a "correctly-modulated voice" and knew the tone to be given to each phrase. The king or priest who filled the office of reader (khri-habi) during the sacrifice was termed mâ-khrôu. The gods triumphed over evil by the "correctness of their voice" when p. 27 they pronounced the words destined to render the evil spirits powerless. The dead man, who passed the whole of his funerary existence in reciting incantations, was the mâ-khrôu par excellence. The phrase ended by becoming a laudatory epithet which was always added to the names of the defunct and of every one in the past who was spoken of with affection.
27:1 The "Children" are either the children of the reigning king or of one of his predecessors; they were ranked in the Egyptian hierarchy immediately after the king, the regents, the queen, and the queen-mother (see Maspero, Études égyptiennes, ii. pp. 14, 25).
27:2 The name of the king is formed from the praenomen (Khopirkerî) of Usirtasen I. and the name of Amenemhâit II.
27:3 The Egyptian word properly signifies "a young man," and represented one of the degrees of the hierarchy of the court. Perhaps it was peculiar to the age of the twelfth dynasty, as I have not found it in the Papyrus Hood of the British Museum which has acquainted us with the hierarchy of Egyptian society in the time of the nineteenth and twentieth dynasties. We shall see further on that the "Young" were a subdivision of the "Royal Friends."
28:1 The beginning of the order is so obscure that I cannot guarantee my translation. I believe it means that the king declares himself satisfied with the tone of Sinuhit's letter and with the temper it betrays.
28:2 This name signifies literally "linen, bandages;" the goddess presided over the swaddling of an infant and the enshrouding of the deceased. The ceremonies here alluded to are described in a special treatise which I have published and translated under the title of Rituel de l’Embaumement (in my Mémoire sur quelques Papyrus du Louvre).
28:3 The mummy cases of the eleventh and following dynasties now in the Louvre are completely gilded, with the exception of the human face, which is painted red, and the head dress, which is painted blue.
28:4 The mummy was laid on a funerary bed surmounted by a wooden canopy during the ceremonies of interment. Rhind discovered one at Thebes which is now at Edinburgh. I myself have discovered three, one at Thebes of the thirteenth dynasty, another of the twentieth dynasty also at Thebes, and a third at Akhmîm of the Ptolemaic epoch. These are all in the Boulaq Museum, which further possesses two sledges with canopies of the twentieth dynasty, disinterred at Thebes in 1866 in the tomb of Sonnozmu. They are the sort which was drawn to the tomb by bulls.
28:5 We know from Herodotus (II. 81) that the Egyptians did not like to put wool with their dead; we know also that nevertheless a sheep's skin p. 29 was occasionally employed at burials, and one of the mummies from Der el-Bahari (No. 5289) was enveloped in a white skin still covered with its fleece (Maspero, Les momies royales in the Mémoires présentés par les Membres de la Mission permanente, i. p. 548). As the mummy is that of an unknown prince who seems to have been poisoned, we may ask whether the sheep's skin was not reserved for criminals or prisoners condemned to remain impure even in the grave. If so, we can understand the place assigned to the sheep's skin in the royal Order.
29:1 Son-to, literally "to smell the earth," the necessary accompaniment or every royal audience or divine offering.
29:2 Tumu or Atumu was the god of Heliopolis, the On of Gen. xli. 50, and chief of the divine Ennead, who had created and preserved the world.
29:3 A form of Horus. He was the god adored in the Arabian nome of Egypt, sometimes represented as a man crowned with the solar disk and bearing the title of "the most noble of the Souls of Heliopolis." He must not be confounded with the goddess Soptit, the Greek Sothis, who represented the most brilliant constellation of the Egyptian sky.
29:4 "He whose souls are good," a form of the god Tumu, better known as Nofir-tumu.
30:1 A form of Horus. Egyptian trinities consisted generally of a father, a mother, and a son. In the divine family the son was heir presumptive, like the firstborn son in the family of the Pharaoh.
30:2 Often confounded with Suptu, and often also with the god Mînu. He reigned over the deserts which extend eastward of Egypt between the Nile and the Red Sea.
30:3 The portion of the celestial waters which the bark of the gods reaches at sunset. The chiefs of the basin were the gods who presided over this mythic ocean, the gods of the dead. Every Egyptian was supposed after death to journey to Abydos and penetrate through a cleft westward of the city into the "basin of the West," where he joined the escort of the nocturnal sun in order to traverse Hades and be born again the next morning in the East.
30:4 Properly speaking, the god of the Libyans, but regarded more generally as the god of all the foreign nations which bordered on Egypt.
30:5 The name of Urrit occurs only here. Her title seems to show that she was a secondary form of Hâthor, whom different traditions of great antiquity spoke of as coming from Arabia.
30:6 The goddess of the sky. With Sibu, the god of the earth, she formed a divine couple, one of the most ancient among the divine couples of the Egyptian religion, which could not be reduced to a solar type by the theologians of the great Theban school in the age of the Ramessids. Nuit is represented as bent over the body of her husband and figuring by the curve of her own body the vault of the sky.
30:7 Haroîrû, whence the Greek Aroêris, god of Heaven, and afterwards a solar deity like Ra, not to be confounded with Horus the younger, the son of Isis and Osiris.
30:8 That is "the sea," sometimes the Red Sea, more usually the Mediterranean.
31:1 The Egyptian monarch was the incarnation of the deity, and was consequently identified with the third person of the Egyptian trinity.
31:2 Khonti-Kaushu properly signifies "he who is in Kaushu" (or Kush), and hence denotes a native of Ethiopia. The neighbourhood of Edimâ, however, rather indicates here some Syrian locality. [Compare the application of the term "Ethiopian" or "Kushite" to the Midianite wife of Moses in Numbers xii.—Ed.]
31:3 Rendered "the country of the Phœnicians" by Brugsch and others. Without entering into the question whether the Egyptian word Fonkhu really denotes Phœnicia, it is sufficient to say that the word is not really met with in this passage. But I do not know what region is intended by the phrase.
31:4 Abu was the Egyptian name of Elephantinê, opposite Assuân, Athu that of a district in the Delta. The two places, like Dan and Beersheba in the Old Testament, proverbially indicated the whole length of Egypt. The difference between a Northern and Southern Egyptian extended not only to manners but even to dialect, so that the unintelligible language of a bad writer is compared to the conversation of a man of Abu who finds himself at Athu.
31:5 Literally "in the land of Khonti." In opposition to the Kha-to or cultivated plain of the Nile, it must denote the sterile cliffs on either side of the valley.
32:1 Such curious metaphors are common in Egyptian literature.
32:2 The hall probably derived its name from its ornamentation with electrum or pale gold.
33:1 Sinuhit protests his innocence more than once. We have seen already that the circumstances connected with his flight gave reason for a suspicion that he was concerned in a plot against the king. Moreover, the treaty between Ramses II and the prince of the Hittites shows with what care the Pharaoh endeavoured to recover those of his subjects who had deserted to the foreigner. Hence the repeated attempts of Sinuhit to clear himself.
33:2 The ceremonial of the Pharaoh's court included songs prescribed beforehand as in the court of the Byzantine emperors. The Children having saluted the king, commence this part of the ceremonial; they resume their ornaments, which had been laid aside before the march-past and the adoration of the king, and along with their ornaments the sistrum on which they accompanied their song.
33:3 This seems to mean, act with clemency. Several divinities bore the title of Mistress of Heaven.
34:1 This apparently signifies that the king is sated with all good things, and consequently the equal of the gods, who never suffer from hunger. In fact, he is the god himself, and as such traverses the waters of the sky in his bark, like the Sun-god, and sums up in himself all the powers of the solar deities.
34:2 [Upper and Lower Egypt—Ed.]
34:3 This variant of the name of Sinuhit, due to the caprice of the scribe, signifies literally "the son of the North." Sinuhit is called "the Sitti" on account of his long sojourn among the Beduin. To-miri, "the land of the canals," was a name of the Delta which was also applied to the whole of Egypt.
34:4 Persons attached to the court of the Pharaoh received two collective titles, that of Shonitiu, or "people of the Circle," who surrounded the sovereign, and that of Qabitiu, or "people of the Angle," perhaps those who stood in the angles of the hall of audience.
34:5 The Ruti, or with the article P-ruti, is like Pirui-âa, "Pharaoh," a topographical name which first denoted the palace of the monarch and then the monarch himself. It is from this title that the Greek legend of Proteus king of Egypt was derived, who received Helen and Paris and Menelaos at his court (Herodot. ii. 112–116).
35:1 The facts which are mentioned here and there in the sepulchral inscriptions are here united in a continuous narrative. Sinuhit receives from Usirtasen the supreme favour, a tomb built and endowed at the expense of the Pharaoh. The site is given to him gratuitously, the pyramid constructed, the funerary feasts instituted, the revenues and endowments intended for the support of the sacrifices are levied on the royal domains; finally, the statue itself which should sustain the double of Sinuhit is of precious metal.
35:2 A lake, or rather a piece of water surrounded with a border of stone, was the indispensable ornament of every comfortable country-house. The ideal tomb being above all things the image of the terrestrial house care was taken to place in it a lake like the lake of a villa; the deceased sailed over it in a boat drawn by his slaves, or sat on its banks under the shade of its trees.
35:3 The kiosk was, like the lake, an indispensable adjunct of a garden. The bas-reliefs of Thebes represent it in the midst of trees, sometimes on the edge of the lake. Its construction was simple; a flooring raised two or three steps above the ground, four slender columns supporting a painted cornice and a slightly sloping roof, the sides open to admit the breeze, and a balustrade, breast-high, on three sides. The defunct came there like the living, to converse with his wife, to read stories or to play with the ladies.
36:1 The fields of the sepulchral domain were the property of the deceased, and furnished him with all he required. Each of them produced a special object, or the revenue derived from them was devoted to procuring for the defunct a special object of food or clothing, and bore the name of the object in question; that, for example, from which Ti derived his figs was called "the figs of Ti." The property was administered by the priests of the "double" or of the funereal statue, who were frequently the priests of the principal temple of the locality where the tomb was situated. The family made a contract with them, in accordance with which they engaged the necessary sacrifices for the well-being of the deceased in exchange for certain rents paid by the domains which were bequeathed to the tomb.