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Semitic Slaves on a Middle Kingdom Estate (3.11)

(1,238 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Accounts Commentary In active use for about 90 years, this Theban papyrus contains a series of administrative documents concerning servant laborers from the reign of Amenemhet III to that of Sebekhotep III. In the reign of the latter king, two insertions established the woman Senebtisy’s right of ownership to ninety-five household workers, whose names, nicknames, occupations and totals are listed in four columns on the verso. …

Letter III (3.1C)

(719 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; Middle Kingdom Letters Letter III (3.1C) (vo. 3)To Delta-overseer Herunefer.1 ( ro. 1) Funerary-estate worker, ka-servant Heqanakht, who speaks.2 Your condition is like living, a million times. May Harsaphes, lord of Herakleopolis, and all the gods who are (in the sky and on earth) act for you. May Ptah South of His Wall sweeten your heart greatly with life and a (good) old age. May your final honor be with the life force of Harsaphes, lord of Herakleopolis.3 ( ro. 3) Your humble servant4 spe…

Semitic Functionaries in Egypt (3.12)

(453 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Accounts Commentary Following the Hyksos Period, occasional appearances of Semitic names on funerary stelae from the Nile valley attest to the Egyptianization of resident Asiatic servants and functionaries. From the Amarna Period, a Berlin stela (14122) depicts a Syrian soldier Trwrʿ drinking beer through a bent straw with the assistance of a servant in the company of his wife, “the housewife ʾIʾirbwrʿʾ.” The high official Tut…

Papyrus Milan 6 (3.7C)

(288 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Demotic Self-Dedication Texts Papyrus Milan 6 (3.7C) There has said the female servant born within the estate, Taamon daughter of anonymous, whose mother is Baket,1 the one who says before Sobek, Lord of Tebtunis, the great god: “I am your servant together with the children of my children from today onward. And I shall give to you 2½ kite as servant-fee every month. No male or female spirit, sleeping man, ghost, drowned man, demon, ill-f…

Papyri Rollin and Lee (3.9)

(899 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary Although fragmentary, these trial records provide more detail regarding the techniques of the conspirators than the complementary summary, “The Judicial Papyrus of Turin” (see  COS COSB.3.8). The role of magic in the conspiracy is clearly evident, with the use of spells, potions and wax figures following procedures found in scrolls taken from the royal library of Ramses III. As the conspirators included a temple …

The Craft of the Scribe (3.2)

(5,210 words)

Author(s): Allen, James P.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; New Kingdom Model Letters Commentary This extended model letter was probably composed during the early reign of Ramesses II (Dyn. 19, ca. 1279–1213 bce). Its most complete copy occupies a single papyrus, now in the collection of the British Museum (EA 10247); 84 additional copies are known, all shorter or more fragmentary than Papyrus Anastasi I. The letter takes the form of one scribe’s patronizing reply to his addressee’s unwarranted cla…

Papyrus British Museum 10622 (3.7A)

(519 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Demotic Self-Dedication Texts Papyrus British Museum 10622 (3.7A) Regnal year 33, second month of winter, day 23 of Pharaoh Ptolemy (VIII)1 and Cleopatra the beneficent gods, descendants of Ptolemy (V) and Cleopatra the gods manifest, and of Queen Cleopatra his wife,2 the beneficent goddess, and of the priest of Alexander, the savior gods,3 the brotherly gods,4 the beneficent gods,5 the father-loving gods,6 the gods manifest,7 the god whose father is exalted,8 the mother-lovi…

Letter I (3.1A)

(1,571 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; Middle Kingdom Letters Letter I (3.1A) (vo. 18–19) From ka-servant Heqanakht to his household of Sidder Grove.1 ( ro. 1) To be said by ka-servant2 Heqanakht to Merisu.3 As for every part of our land that is inundated,4 you are the one who plows it — take heed — and all my people as well as you. Look, I hold you responsible. Be very diligent in plowing. Mind you that my seed-grain is watched over and that all my property is watched over. Look, I hold you responsible. Mind you about all my property. ( ro. 3)…

Demotic Self-Dedication Texts (3.EG.B.2)

(269 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts Commentary Attested from Memphis and the Faiyum during the Ptolemaic period, “self-dedication texts” date to the second century bce. The texts show similarities both to the Saïte self-sales into slavery and to earlier oracular amuletic decrees issued by temples in the name of a protective deity. Amuletic decrees of the Third Intermediate Period (Dynasties 21–22) present the god as listing a long series of individual evils from which…

Papyrus British Museum 10624 (3.7B)

(380 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Demotic Self-Dedication Texts Papyrus British Museum 10624 (3.7B) Regnal year 10, second month of winter, of Ptolemy (V),1 son of Ptolemy (IV) and Arsinoë the father-loving gods, and of the priest of Alexander, the brotherly gods, the beneficent gods, the god manifest whose goodness is beautiful, and Pharaoh Ptolemy Eucharistos,2 Zoilos son of Andron, while the lady athlophoros3 Iamneia daughter of Huper-bassas is the bearer of the prize of valor before Bernice the b…

Praise of Pi-Ramessu (3.3)

(789 words)

Author(s): Allen, James P.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; New Kingdom Model Letters Commentary The papyrus from which this letter is taken, now in the British Museum (EA 10246), is dated to the third regnal year of Merneptah, son and successor of Ramesses II (Dyn. 19, ca. 1213–1203 bce). It contains several model letters and other scribal exercises, some of which appear in other contemporary papyri. The letter translated here celebrates the charms of the Ramesside capital Pi-Ramessu (House of Ramesses), the biblical Raamses. Praise of Pi-Ramessu (…

A Report of Bedouin (3.5)

(475 words)

Author(s): Allen, James P.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; New Kingdom Model Letters Commentary This model letter is one of four unique scribal exercises compiled in a single papyrus, now in the British Museum (EA 10245). The opening protocol of the papyrus is dated to the reign of Seti II, but the regnal year mentioned in the letter translated here is probably that of his predecessor, Merneptah. The letter refers to the arrival of bedouin and their flocks from the northern Sinai…

The Heqanakht Letters (3.1)

(515 words)

Author(s): Allen, James P.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; Middle Kingdom Letters Commentary The three letters translated here provide a unique glimpse into the life of a middle-class Egyptian family of the early Middle Kingdom. They were written by a ka-servant named Heqanakht, who served the mortuary cult of an official’s tomb in Thebes, probably during the first decade of the reign of Senwosret I, second king of the 12th Dynasty (ca. 1971–1926 bce). The letters, along with a number of Heqanakht’s accounts and some scribal equipment, w…

Papyrus Rylands VI (3.6)

(387 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Saīte Demotic Self-Sales into Slavery Commentary A cultivator Peftjauawykhonsu, attested in five papyri from El-Hîbeh in Middle Egypt, sells himself into slavery in return for payment and actions performed by the priest Nessematawy “in year 2 when I was dying.”1 Subsequent documents renew the initial contract and record temporary transfers of ownership. The self-sale documents are distinct from most slave contracts, in which the slave is treated as ch…

Letter II (3.1B)

(1,413 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; Middle Kingdom Letters Letter II (3.1B) Subject: Isa 9:19; Mic 3:3; Gen 16:12 (vo. 5–6) From ka-servant Heqanakht to his household of Sidder Grove.1 ( ro. 1) A son who speaks to his mother, ka-servant Heqanakht to his mother Ipi, and to Hetepet:2 how is your life, soundness, and health? In the blessing of Montu, lord of Thebes.3 To the whole household: how are you and how is your life, soundness, and health? Don’t concern yourselves about me. Look, I am healthy and alive. ( ro. 3) Look, you are li…

The Turin Judicial Papyrus (3.8)

(2,712 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary At an undetermined point in the thirty-two year reign of Ramses III, a harem conspiracy led by a minor queen Tiye attempted to overthrow the king in favor of her son, prince Pentawere. The relative success of the plot is unclear. Pentawere was likely proclaimed ruler by this faction, since it is euphemistically noted that he was “called by that other name” (col. v.7). Ultimately the conspiracy failed, and…

A Lawsuit Over a Syrian Slave (3.10)

(900 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary Likely dating to the reign of Ramses II, this papyrus records the oral arguments before a Theban court regarding the ownership of a female Syrian slave and a second, male slave of unknown nationality. In the lost beginning of the transcript, the citizeness Irineferet was accused by a soldier Naky of purchasing these slaves with the property of another woman. The preserved portion of the text begins with t…

A Report of Escaped Laborers (3.4)

(528 words)

Author(s): Allen, James P.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; New Kingdom Model Letters Commentary Like Papyrus Anastasi III, the papyrus from which this letter is taken, now in the British Museum (EA 10244), contains a number of model letters and other scribal compositions, some of which appear in other contemporary papyri. Since several of these, including the letter translated here, mention the pharaoh Seti II (Dyn. 19, ca. 1200–1194 bce), the papyrus was probably written during his reign, but the mention of Regnal Year 33 elsewhere …