egyptian-literature

4

We’re featuring some of our amazing artists every day of the Kickstarter! Starting us off is the lovely Katy Farina (katyfarina), a freelance illustrator currently living and working out of New York City. Her greatest passion is to tell good stories that will inspire others. Other great passions include good coffee, great tea, and caring for her plants.

  • Ladies of Literature: Volume 2 Character: Bastet from Egyptian Mythology
  • Favorite childhood book: ”The Golden Compass (and the entire His Dark Materials trillogy) by Philip Pullman!”
  • Favorite work song: “Lately it’s been ‘Work This Body’ by Walk The Moon. It gets me stoked to work - both on my art and on my physical fitness!”
  • Fictional character you feel on a spiritual level: “Mimi from Digimon. Her arc and character development are super important to me. It made me realize that being sincere and honest is important in any relationship, and that being a girly-girl doesn’t make you weak.”
  • What are you working on right now: “I’m currently working on establishing myself fully as a freelance illustrator/comic artist! It’s going well, and I have a few secret projects in the works that I can’t talk about just yet. ;D”

*Katy is also offering limited commissions as a Reward Tier for the LADIES OF LITERATURE: VOLUME 2 Kickstarter (http://kck.st/1AQ6cuq)! Check it out and cop a Katy original commission before the tier runs out!

The Autobiography of Weni pt. 3(Final)

When I was chamberlain of the palace and sandal-bearer, King Mernere, my lord who lives forever, made me Count and Governor of Upper Egypt, from Yebu in the south to Medenyt in the north, because I was worthy in his majesty’s heart, because I was rooted in his majesty’s heart, because his majesty’s heart was filled with me. When I was chamberlain and sandal-bearer, his majesty praised me for the watch and guard duty which I did at court, more than any official of his, more than any noble of his, more than any servant of his. Never before had this office been held by any servant.

I governed Upper Egypt for him in peace, so that no one attacked his fellow. I did every task. I counted everything that is countable for the residence in this Upper Egypt two times, and every service that is countable for the residence in this Upper Egypt two times. I did a perfect job in this Upper Egypt. Never before had the like been done in this Upper Egypt. I acted throughout so that his majesty praised me for it.

His majesty sent me to Ibhat to bring the sarcophagus “chest of the living” together with its lid, and the costly august pyramidion for the pyramid “Mernere-appears-in-splendor,” my mistress. His majesty sent me to Yebu to bring a granite false-door and its libation stone and granite lintels, and to bring granite portals and libation stones for the upper chamber of the pyramid “Mernereappears-in-splendor,” my mistress. I travelled north with (them) to the pyramid “Mernere-appears-in-splendor” in six barges and three tow-boats of eight ribs in a single expedition. Never had Yebu and Ibhat been done `in a single expedition under any king. Thus everything his majesty commanded was done entirely as his majesty commanded.

His majesty sent me to Hatnub to bring a great altar of alabaster of Hatnub. I brought this altar down for him in seventeen days. After it was quarried at Hatnub, I had it go downstream in this barge I had built for it, a barge of acacia wood of sixty cubits in length and thirty cubits in width. Assembled in seventeen days, in the third month of summer, when there was no water on the sandbanks, it landed at the pyramid “Mernere-appears-in-splendor” in safety. It came about through me entirely in accordance with the ordinance commanded by my lord.

His majesty sent me to dig five canals in Upper Egypt, and to build three barges and four tow-boats of acacia wood of Wawat.
Then the foreign chiefs of Irtjet, Wawat, Yam, and Medja cut the timber for them. I did it all in one year. Floated, they were loaded with very large granite blocks for the pyramid “Mernere-appears-in-splendor.” Indeed I made a [saving] for the palace with all these five canals. As King Mernere who lives forever is august, exalted, and mighty more than any god, so everything came about in accordance with the ordinance commanded by his ka.

I was one beloved of his father, praised by his mother, gracious to his brothers. The count, true governor of Upper Egypt, honoured by Osiris, Weni.

youtube

1980s HP ColorPro Pen plotter writes out part of the Story of Sinuhe, using Glyph for Windows.

The passage reads:

“Regnal year 30, month 3 of Flood season, day 7: the god ascended to his horizon; the Dual King Who-Pacifies-the-Heart-of-Re ascended to heaven, and united with the solar disk, the divine flesh blending with the one who made him. The Residence was silent, hearts were in mourning; the great double portal was sealed, the court was head-upon-knee, the nobles in grief.

Now, [His Majesty] had sent [an army to the land of the Timehu, his son being captain thereof…]”

One of the slightly less glamourous looking Egyptian pyramids visible today: the Unas Pyraimd.

Despite looking like not much more than a 43m high heap of rubble today, the historical significance of this structure is great. The last of the rulers of Egypt’s 5th dynasty, Unas, had his pyramid built to the south of Djoser complex’s in Saqqara. It is dated to approximately 2340 BCE.

Within this pyramid we find the first appearance of the ‘pyramid texts’: which are of the oldest religious texts known in the world. These texts, in part, discuss the existence of Unas in the afterlife, in the community of gods.

The pyramid texts of Unas make for… interesting reading to say the least. Below are translated sections from these famous texts. 

Unas cometh forth into heaven by thee, Ra. The face of Unas is like the [faces of the] Hawks. The wings of Unas are like [those of] geese. The nails of Unas are like the claws of the god Tuf. There is no [evil] word concerning Unas on earth among men. There is no hostile speech about him with the gods. Unas hath destroyed his word, he hath ascended to heaven.” […]

Unas hath weighed his words with the hidden god who hath no name, on the day of hacking in pieces the firstborn… Unas devoureth men, and liveth upon the gods, he is the lord of envoys whom he sendeth forth on his missions. ‘He who cutteth off hairy scalps,’ who dwelleth in the fields, tieth the gods with ropes. Tcheser-tep shepherdeth them for Unas and driveth them unto him; and the Cord-master hath bound them for slaughter. Khensu, the slayer of the wicked, cutteth their throats, and draweth out their intestines, for it is he whom Unas sendeth to slaughter [them], and Shesmu cutteth them in pieces, and boileth their members in his blazing caldrons of the night. Unas eateth their magical powers, and he swalloweth their spirit-souls.” (Budge translation, via Project Gutenberg).

Photo taken by Dennis Jarvis.

“My love is one and only, without peer, lovely above all Egypt’s lovely girls. 

On the horizon of my seen, see her, rising, 

Glistening goddess of the sunrise star bright in the forehead of a lucky year. 

So there she stands, epitome of shining, shedding light, 

Her eyebrows, gaming darkly, marking eyes which dance and wonder. 

Sweet are those lips, with chatter - but never a word too much - 

And the line of the long neck lovely, dropping - since song’s notes slide that way - 

To young beasts firm in the bouncing light with shimmers that blue shadowed sidewall of hain. 

And slims are those arms, overtoned with gold, those fingers which touch like a brush of Lotus.

And - oh - how the curve of her back slips gently by a whisper of waist to God’s plenty below.” 

Love song, Ramesside period (1292-1070 BC ca.)

When The Man Tired of Life complains

His Ba is like:

The ‘Dispute between a man and his Ba’ (also knows as 'A Man Tired With Life’) is an ancient Egyptian text about a man deeply unhappy with his life. He complains and his Ba (a part of the Egyptian concept of soul) responds:

What my Ba said to me: “Cast complaint upon the peg, my friend and brother; make offering on the brazier and cleave to life, according as I have said.

Trans. Faulkner.

References to hydrocephalic skulls can be found in ancient Egyptian medical literature from 2500 BC to 500 AD. Hydrocephalus was described more clearly by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates in the 4th century BC, while a more accurate description was later given by the Roman physician Galen in the 2nd century AD. The first clinical description of an operative procedure for hydrocephalus appears in the Al-Tasrif (1000 AD) by the Arab surgeon, Abulcasis, who clearly described the evacuation of superficial intracranial fluid in hydrocephalic children. He described it in his chapter on neurosurgical disease, describing infantile hydrocephalus as being caused by mechanical compression. He states:

“The skull of a newborn baby is often full of liquid, either because the matron has compressed it excessively or for other, unknown reasons. The volume of the skull then increases daily, so that the bones of the skull fail to close. In this case, we must open the middle of the skull in three places, make the liquid flow out, then close the wound and tighten the skull with a bandage.”

In 1881, a few years after the landmark study of Retzius and Key, Carl Wernicke pioneered sterile ventricular puncture and external CSF drainage for the treatment of hydrocephalus. It remained an intractable condition until the 20th century, when shunts and other neurosurgical treatment modalities were developed. It is a lesser-known medical condition; relatively small amounts of research are conducted to improve treatments for hydrocephalus, and to this day there remains no cure for the condition. In developing countries, it is common that this condition go untreated at birth. It is difficult to diagnose during ante-natal care and access to medical treatment is limited. However, when head swelling is prominent, children are taken at great expense for treatment. By then, brain tissue is undeveloped and neurosurgery is rare and difficult.

npr.org
'The Queue' Carries On A Dystopian Lineage
Basma Abdel Aziz's new novel is set in an unspecified Middle Eastern city, where an endless line snakes back from the mysterious Gate where citizens await pronouncements from a sinister government.

@nprbooks reviews The Queue, the debut from dissident Egyptian author Basma Abdel Aziz, calling it, “an effective critique of authoritarianism…People…will always find a way to control other people in one way or another, should it suit them. Perhaps with the publication of The Queue, the lesson will begin to finally sink in.“

A love poem from an anthology of literature of Ancient Egypt

I am sailing downstream on the ferry

By the hand of the helmsman

With my bundle of reeds on my shoulder

I am bound for Ankh-Tawy

And I shall say to Ptah, Lord of Ma’at

Grant me my beloved this night

The river is wine

Ptah is its reeds

Sekhmet is its lotus leaf

Iadet is its lotus bud

Nefertum is its lotus flower

There is rejoicing in the land as it brightens in its beauty

Memphis is a bowl of Mandrakes

Laid before the god who is beauteous of face

NOVA Next: For the First Time, You’ll Be Able to Read Ancient Egyptian Literature in English

It’s easy to swing by your local library and pick up a book by Homer or Sappho—two of the greats of ancient Greece. But finding translated works of ancient Egypt isn’t as simple.

The difference between hieroglyphs and other ancient languages is that the former is often dismissed as art, not story.

Toby Wilkinson, a fellow of Clare College in the U.K., wants to change that. He’s publishing a book that, for the first time, amasses the writings of ancient Egyptians and translates it into English for the general public.

Read more