1. Presentation and content of P. Turin Cat. 1877

1.1. Description of the papyrus

The papyrus Turin Cat. 1877 consists of twelve fragments recognized so far (Figs.1-15).1 Further fragments may exist in the Turin collection. Assemblage of joining fragments has reduced the twelve to eight distinct fragments, currently mounted under different glasses. The size of the current fragments in their largest section, as mounted in the frames, is:

Fragment 1: height 17 cm, length 6.8 cm (Figs. 1,2).Fragment 2: height 5.1 cm, length 4.1 cm (Figs. 1,2). Fragment 3: height 20 cm, length 38.1 cm (Figs. 1,2).

P. Turin Cat. 1877 recto, fragments 1, 2 and 3. Scan by the Museo Egizio. https://papyri.museoegizio.it/d/133

P. Turin Cat. 1877 verso, fragments 1, 2 and 3. Scan by the Museo Egizio. https://papyri.museoegizio.it/d/133

Fragment 4 (CP116/001 + CP116/008): height 14.1 cm, length 2.8 cm (Figs. 3, 4, 5, 6; subfragments joined in Fig. 7).

CP116/001 recto, fragment 4, subfragment 1. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/001 verso, fragment 4, subfragment 1. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/008 recto, fragment 4, subfragment 2. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/008 verso, fragment 4, subfragment 2. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/001 + CP116/008 recto (left) and verso (right), fragment 4, complete. Restitution by Renaud Pietri. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

Fragment 5 (CP116/002): height 10.7 cm, length 2.8 cm (Figs. 8,9). Fragment 6 (CP116/004): height 4.4 cm, length 1.2 cm (Figs. 10,11). Fragment 7 (CP111/086): height 2.6 cm, length 2.3 cm (Figs. 12,13). Fragment 8 (CP147/034): height 2.9 cm, length 2.8 cm (Figs. 14,15).

CP116/002 recto, fragment 5. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/002 verso, fragment 5. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/004 recto, fragment 6. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP116/004 verso, fragment 6. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP111/086 recto, fragment 7. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP111/086 verso, fragment 7. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP147/034 recto, fragment 8. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CP147/034 verso, fragment 8. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

The position of the second fragment is not certain. Based on the content of the recto and the position of the fibers of the papyrus, it could be placed at the end of the second column. As for the verso, the scribal hand may correspond to that of the previous column, but the content of the column – the royal titulary of Ramses VI – suggests placement of the fragment in the middle of the second column. In this case, however, the content of the recto would24-28 be difficult to understand (see below). Fragments 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 – those with the inventory number beginning with CP – were not kept together with P. Turin Cat. 1877 until recently. Indeed, these fragments were identified by Renaud Pietri in March and May 2022, who suggested they belonged to P. Turin Cat. 1877. He also found the join between subfragments CP116/001 and CP116/008, now fragment 4 (Fig. 7).2

Fragment 4 can be placed under column II, the first of fragment 3 (see below), so that the height of the papyrus can be estimated at at least 34.1 cm, probably more if fragment 2 is to be placed in this column also.

Moreover, there would have been enough space at the top of column IV of the recto for another line of text, but this space is empty, so it seems reasonable to assume that the column begins with its first preserved line. The scribe included a date at the same position on the verso of the papyrus, which is appropriate for the beginning of a column. The content of the recto of column IV suggests that 8 lines of text are missing at the end of column III. Taking into account the restitution of column II and the content of columns III and IV, we can suggest that each column contained at least 31 lines and measured approximately between 34,1 cm and 39,2 cm in height (see below).

1.2. Provenance and studies of the papyrus

The papyrus belongs to the Drovetti collection, acquired by king Carlo Felice of Savoy in 1824. There is no indication about the text’s provenance, but it may come from Deir el-Medina like the majority of papyri from the Drovetti collection in the Museo Egizio.3 It was presented for the first time by Jean-François Champollion in 1826, in one of his letters to the Duc de Blacas d’Aulps.4 It was subsequently studied by Willem Pleyte and Francesco Rossi, who produced a facsimile and a commentary.5 A brief description is found some years later in the catalogue of Ariodante Fabretti, Francesco Rossi, and Rodolfo V. Lanzone.6 Some scholars have examined the recto. Kenneth A. Kitchen provided a29 hieroglyphic transcription and a translation of the recto in his volume of the Ramesside Inscriptions dedicated to Ramses II.7 Pascal Vernus translated the third column of the recto in his book on Athribis.8 Donald B. Redford offered a brief comment on the content of the recto in 1986.9 The verso has received little scholarly attention aside from Pleyte and Rossi’s brief description, and more recently Stéphane Polis and Nathalie Sojic’s presentation of the whole papyrus (verso and recto) in the Turin database of papyri.10 Finally, Renaud Pietri added six fragments from the Turin collection to the papyrus in March and May 2022.

1.3. Content and date of the papyrus

The recto contains an extract of a litany to Osiris (corresponding to Spell 142 of the Book of the Dead) followed by the names of kings, queens, and princesses, mostly belonging to the New Kingdom. Based on the presence of women of the family of Ramses II (e.g., his mother, his wife Nefertary, and at least four daughters), we can suppose that the recto was written during his reign. However, the handwriting would also be compatible with a later date during the Ramesside Period (see palaeography below). In this case, the original was perhaps written during Ramses’ reign and later copied. The verso contains three or four extracts from various texts, each written by a different scribe. Among these texts is an extract from the royal titulary of Ramses VI and what seems to be an administrative text that includes a date.11 This part was then probably composed after the recto, but no later than the Ramesside Period.

1.4. Palaeography of the recto of the papyrus

It seems that scribes from Deir el-Medina did not have a specific, recognizable writing style, although we can identify the hands of some famous scribes.12 The writing on the papyrus resembles literary cursive, as it is less cursive than administrative texts and lacks many of the ligatures often observed in them.13 Unfortunately, a palaeography of manuscripts from Deir el-Medina or from the Ramesside Period is still lacking,14 so I must limit myself to a comparison with signs in the second volume of Georg Möller’s palaeography15 or the magical papyri from Turin studied by Alessandro Roccati, with a palaeography by the present author16 (Table 1).17

Table 1


Palaeography of P. Turin Cat. 1877 recto, choice of signs.

This short presentation of signs seems to indicate that many are more common in the 20th than in the 19th Dynasty.18 Since, as already mentioned above, complete palaeographical data are still lacking for the Ramesside period, it appears that palaeography only is an inconclusive criterion for accurate dating of the recto of the papyrus. All it tells us is that it dates from the Ramesside Period, most likely the 20th Dynasty; however, because of the content of the text (see above), the 19th Dynasty cannot be ruled out. As for the verso, the presence of the royal titulary of Ramses VI allows us to date it during his reign.30-31

2. Translation and commentary of P. Turin Cat. 1877 recto (Figs. 16–17)

P. Turin Cat. 1877 recto, restitution with fragments 1, 2, 3 and 4. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

Fig. 17


P. Turin Cat. 1877 recto, hieroglyphic transcription, fragments 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The recto of P. Turin Cat. 1877 currently consists of four columns that contain a variant of the so-called Spell 142 of the Book of the Dead. Fragment 4 (CP116/001 + CP116/008), based on its content and the few traces left at its beginning, is certainly the continuation of the first column of fragment 3, that is, column II. In this case, this column would consist of at least 29 lines and be 34.1 cm high. It is unclear, instead, where exactly the last fragment at the end of column II (i.e., fragment 2) should be positioned with respect to the previous fragments. The content suggests a position at the end of column II, but this is uncertain and the join between the two fragments is difficult to determine. If we add this fragment to column II, then this column would contain at least 32 lines and be at least 39.2 cm in height.

Spell 142 is generally found combined with Spell 141 during the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period, although they form two separate spells from the Late Period onwards.19

Book of the Dead papyri used as parallels for the translation (corresponding to BD 142) New Kingdom Nu (18th Dynasty): P. BM EA 10477.20 Kha (18th Dynasty): P. Turin Suppl. 8438.21 Neferrenpet (19th Dynasty): P. Bruxelles MRAH E. 5043 + P. Philadelphia E 2775 + 16721 + 16722.22 Kha and P. Neferrenpet contain the main witnesses for Spell 141/142 from Deir el-Medina.23 For the New Kingdom, in addition to the papyri, the version of BD 142 of the Osireion at Abydos is also used as a parallel.24 Third Intermediate Period Nedjmet: P. BM EA 10541 + P. Louvre E 6258.25 Greenfield : P. BM EA 10554.26 Late and Ptolemaic Periods Iahtesnakht: P. Colon. Aeg. 10207.27 Iuefankh: P. Turin Cat. 1791.28 32-33

2.1. Fragment 1, column I

On the first preserved fragment, column I includes 13 lines of text. The two subfragments it is composed of were joined sometime in the last century, as Pleyte and Rossi’s 1869–1876 publication depicts the column on two separate fragments.29 The position of the fragment relative to the one with columns II–IV is uncertain; it could be placed slightly lower (as in Fig. 16), but the lacunae are two large for a confident decision to be made in this regard. In any case, based on all known versions of BD 142 from the New Kingdom, to which this papyrus dates, column I certainly comes before column II.34

I,x+1 Wsir [ ] I,x+1 Osiris [ ] (a).
I,x+2 Wsir [ ] I,x+2 Osiris [ ] (a).
I,x+3 Wsir [ ] I,x+3 Osiris [ ] (a).
I,x+4 Wsir [m] swt.f imy[wt 6A-Smaw] I,x+4 Osiris [in] (b) his places that are in [Upper Egypt].
I,x+5 Wsir [m] swt.f imy[wt 6A-mHw] I,x+5 Osiris [in] (b) his places that are in [Lower Egypt] (c).
I,x+6 Wsir [m] pt I,x+6 Osiris [in] the sky.
I,x+7 Wsir [m] swt.f [imywt RA-sTAw] I,x+7 Osiris in his places [that are in Ro-setau].
I,x+8 Wsir NDs I,x+8 Osiris Nedjes (d).
I,x+9 Wsir ItfA-wr I,x+9 Osiris Itefa-wer.
I,x+10 Wsir 4kr I,x+10 Osiris Sokar.
I,x+11 Wsir HkA Dt I,x+11Osiris ruler of eternity.
I,x+12 Wsir nb Iwnw I,x+12Osiris lord of Heliopolis.
I,x+13 Wsir <m> Rwty-ist I,x+13Osiris <in> Ruty-iset (e).

Notes on the translation

(a) Columns I and II are very similar to the version of BD 142 in the Osireion at Abydos, so that we can wonder if the missing names of Osiris at the beginning of column I are not Wsir 4kr m Pd-S “Osiris Sokar in Pedj-she” (Osireion, register II, no 29), Wsir xnty niwt.f “Osiris foremost of his city” (Osireion, register II, no 30) and Wsir m Pgs-r “Osiris in Peges-ra” (Osireion, register II, no 31). Furthermore, the same names occur in P. Nu (col. 93, 94 and 95).

(b) Traces of the preposition m are still visible in the facsimile of Pleyte and Rossi.30

(c) I have made the restitution after the version of the Osireion at Abydos (register II, no 33 for “Osiris in his places in Upper Egypt” and register II, no 32 for “Osiris in his places of Lower Egypt”), but I suggest to place Upper Egypt before Lower Egypt as it is the preferred order in this papyrus (see for example II,16-II,17 or II,22-II,23). P. Nu (col. 96) only contains the name of Osiris with “Lower Egypt.”31

(d) Or Wsir m nDsty (Wb II, 386, 1, which includes this as a name of Osiris). As highlighted by LGG II, 550, later versions seem to change this to Wsir m nst, “Osiris on the throne.”

(e) Ruty-iset is probably a toponym and seems to correspond to the current city of Abusir, as Didier Devauchelle observes.32 Another translation, adopted by LGG II, 551, prefers “Osiris, der um die Mannschaft (außen) herum ist”. Furthermore, “Osiris in Heliopolis” and “Osiris <in> Ruty-iset” are not included either in the list of the Osireion or in P. Nu, but they are in P. Berlin P 3002 (3rd register, no 11, 4th register, no 1).33 35

2.2. Fragments 3 and 4, column II

Column II spans at least two fragments: the first column of fragment 3 (column II of the currently reconstructed text), which corresponds to the upper part of the papyrus and contains 14 lines of text, and fragment 4, which corresponds to the lower part with 15 lines. To these two fragments, a further fragment with 3 lines can be added based on the fibers of the papyrus and the similar content. If we compare the upper part of this column with column IV, which probably includes the upper part of the papyrus, it appears that 2 lines at the beginning of the column are missing, so that we can estimate the column to have contained between 29 lines (without fragment 2) and 32 lines (with fragment 2).36

Fragment 2

II,1 [Wsir ] II,1 [Osiris ].
II,2 [Wsir ] II,2 [Osiris ].
II,3 Wsir m 4iA II,3 Osiris in Sia.
II,4 Wsir m BdS II,4 Osiris in Bedesh.
II,5 Wsir m 8p II,5 Osiris in Dep (Buto).
II,6 Wsir m 4Aw [Hry] II,6 Osiris in [upper] Sais.
II,7 Wsỉr m Prts (?) II,7 Osiris in Peretes (?) (a).
II,8 Wsir m 5nw II,8 Osiris in Shenu.
II,9 Wsir m 1nkt II,9 Osiris in Henket.
II,10 Wsir m tA 4kr II,10 Osiris in the Land of Sokar.
II,11 Wsir m 5Aw II,11 Osiris in Shau.
II,12 Wsir m fA 1r II,12 Osiris as He-who-carries-Horus.
II,13 Wsir m MAaty II,13 Osiris in Maaty.
II,14 Wsir m 0ni II,14 Osiris in Heni (b).
II,15 Wsir m bA [it] II,15 Osiris in Ba-[of-the-father] (c).
II,16 Wsir m rs-nt II,16 Osiris in the South Chapel.
II,17 Wsir m mH-nt II,17 Osiris in the North Chapel (d).
II,18 Wsir nb nHH nsw [nTrw] II,18 Osiris, lord of eternity, king [of the gods].
II,19 Wsir m 6Aw-wr II,19 Osiris in the nome of Abydos (e).
II,20 Wsir m ASrw II,20 Osiris in Isheru (e).
II,21 Wsir m tAw nbw II,21 Osiris in every land (e).
II,22 [Wp-wAw]t 5ma II,22 [Wepwaw]et of Upper Egypt (f).
II,23 [Wp-wAwt] MH II,23 [Wepwawet] of Lower Egypt.
II,24 [Itm] kA psDt [aAt] II,24 [Atum], bull of the [great] Ennead (g).
II,25 [Ra]-1r-Axty II,25 [Ra]-Horakhty.
II,26 [PtH Dd] Sps st [Ra] II,26 [Ptah], excellent [djed-pillar], throne [of Ra].
II,27 [Gb] rpat nTrw II,27 [Geb], prince of the gods.
II,28 [1r] nxt II,28 [Horus] the victorious (h).
II,29 [1r] sA Ast II,29 [Horus]-son-of Isis.
II,x+30 [ ] ? II,x+30 [ ] ? (i)
II,x+31 [Iwn-mwt].f ab pr-wr II,x+31 [Iunmut]ef, he who purifies Per-wer (i).
II,x+32 [1r sx]A II,x+32 [Hor-sekh]a (i).

Notes on the translation

(a) This version of the sequence is unknown, as most others have Neperet in this position (compare P. Nu, col. 105, no 2; P. Kha, third line of names, no 27, while P. Neferrenpet, l. 16, has aprt and the Osireion Npt, register II, no 13).

(b) Fragments 3 and 4 can be placed here. The reading 0ni on the two fragments seems clear enough (compare with the Osireion, register III, no 20). Furthermore, “Osiris in Heni” is the last Osirian name of BD 142 in P. Nu (col. 107) and P. Kha.

(c) The restitution is based on the version of the Osireion, register III, no 21, and P. Greenfield, 35f,2 which share a similar sequence for this passage as in37 P. Turin Cat. 1877. This name of Osiris is also present in later versions (P. Iahtesnakht 68d,25). Indeed, almost all the Osirian forms from column I are attested in the Osireion, so that the restitution seems likely, even if we cannot rule out other possibilities. Furthermore, the names of Osiris starting from this point, line II,15 to line II,21, are attested in this order in the Osireion only (except II,16 which is not in the Osireion list) as well as in P. Greenfield (35e,21-35f,5), starting from the name of line II,10 (Osiris in the land of Sokar) to II,18 (Osiris lord of eternity, king of the gods).

(d) The reading of the sign is uncertain. It could be the group for mH-nt “North Chapel” (compare with Möller II, no 452) which is present in the Osireion (register III, no 22) as well as in late versions of BD 142 (P. Greenfield, 93d,25; P. Iahtesnakht, 68d,27). It could also be a writing of (Möller II, no 165B / Sign list F26). In this case, it could refer to the (royal) Residence or simply to the interior of some building. This epithet is attested for deities in lists in temples, as in the Litany of Sokar in Medinet Habu as 4kr m Xnw pr “Sokar in the interior of the temple”34 or in a list of wdnw given to Imn m Xnw “Amun in the interior” in the Luxor temple.35 But because of the similarities of this papyrus with the Osireion and P. Greenfield, as well as the presence of the “South Chapel” in the previous line, I prefer the reading mH-nt.

(e) “Osiris in the nome of Abydos”, “Osiris in Isheru” and “Osiris in every land” are well-known in late versions of BD 142 (see P. Greenfield, 35f,10, 35f,12, 35f,13; P. Iahtesnakht, 68c,19, 68e,8 and 68e,9 and P. Iuefankh 2,4 and 3,4 for “Osiris in Isheru” and “Osiris in every land”). For the New Kingdom, only the Osireion seems to contain these names (register III, no 24, 26, 27). Thus, the Osireion and P. Greenfield have the same order as P. Turin Cat. 1877, but with a further name after “Osiris in the nome of Abydos”, that is “Osiris in Deni” (P. Greenfield, 35f,11 and Osireion, register III, no 25).

(f) From this point (II,22) to the end of the preserved column (II,29), and maybe also of fragment 2, are the names of other deities than Osiris that are preserved in versions later than the New Kingdom. The restitutions are given here following P. Greenfield (36a,5-36a,18), which has a similar structure. The versions are somewhat different in the Late and Ptolemaic periods (compare P. lah-tes-nakht, 68f,2-68f,14). As for “[Wepwaw]et of Upper Egypt” and “[Wepwawet] of Lower Egypt”, later versions have “Wepwawet of Upper Egypt, mighty one of the Two Lands” and “Wepwawet of Lower Egypt, mighty one of the sky” (P. Greenfield, 36a,5-36a,6; P. Iahtesnakht, 68f,3-68f,4). In P. Turin Cat. 1877, it seems that nothing is written after the words “Upper Egypt” and “Lower Egypt”.

(g) The restitution of “[Atum], bull of the Ennead” follows P. Greenfield, 36a,7 and P. Iahtesnakht, 68f,2, but both versions have “Atum, bull of the body of the great Ennead”, the word “body” (Xt) has been omitted in P. Turin Cat. 1877.

(h) Other later versions register “Min the king, Horus the victorious” (P. Greenfield, 36a,14; P. Iahtesnakht, 68f,11) instead of “[Horus] the victorious”. In P. Turin Cat. 1877, there is not room enough for the name of Min and his function.

(i) The following three lines belong to a fragment whose position is uncertain, making it impossible to say how many lines are missing between the two fragments. The few traces in the first line are not enough to identify a name, but the last two lines could correspond to BD 142, the version usually found in the Late and Ptolemaic Periods (P. Iahtesnakht 68f,12 and 68f,14, but without the 3nm-1r Htp of line 68f,13, see also Mosher).36 Usually these names are at the end of the spell and are not followed by Osiris’ names, which end earlier. In P. Turin Cat. 1877 however, the next column again gives the names of Osiris, followed by those of other deities. Perhaps the fragment should be placed after column III, but it seems that the end of this column contained the names of various pharaohs. Interestingly, P. Greenfield gives the following succession of names: “36a,15 Iunmutef, he who purifies Per-wer, 36a,16 Horus-son-of-Isis, 36a,17 Hor-Sekhat.” Here these names are followed by other deities, names of Osiris together with Horus (“36c,6 Horus-protector-of-his-father in all his names”), and names of Anubis (“36c,7 Anubis, foremost of the divine booth, in all his names”), which all appear in column III of P. Turin Cat. 1877. If the litany in the Turin papyrus was similar to the one in P. Greenfield, this could explain the presence of Osiris in different parts of the spell.38

2.3. Fragment 3, column III

Column III contains at least 13 lines, with the first line of the column probably preserved, based on a comparison with column IV.39

III,1 [Wsir ity] m AbD[w] III,1 [Osiris sovereign] in Abydo[s] (a).
III,2 [Wsir it]y Hr(y)-ib 6A S III,2 [Osiris sove]reign in the middle of To-she (a).
III,3 Wsir PtH nb anx m 1wt-kA-PtH III,3 Osiris Ptah lord of Life in Memphis.
III,4 Wsir nb pHty ptpt sbiw III,4 Osiris lord of strength who tramples the enemies.
III,5 Wsir 1ry-Sf m Nn-nsw III,5 Osiris Herishef in Heracleopolis (b).
III,6 Wsir kA m Km-wr Hry-ib Km-wr III,6 Osiris, bull in Kem-wer, in the middle of Kem-wer (Athribis) (c).
III,7 Wsir Htyt Wp-wA(w)t Sma III,7 Osiris the breather, Wepwawet of Upper Egypt (d).
III,8 Wsir m rnw.f nbw m swt.f nbw m bw nb nty im III,8 Osiris in all his names, in all his places, in each location in which (he) is.
III,9 1r nD it.f sA Ast iwa Wsir III,9 Horus who protects his father, son of Isis, heir of Osiris.
III,10 1r sA Wsir mAa-xrw.f m rnw.f nbw m swt.f nbw m bw nb nty im III,10 Horus son of Osiris, he who justifies, in all his names, in all the places, in each location in which (he) is.
III,11 Ast nTryt m rnw.s nbw III,11 Isis divine in all her names.
III,12 Inpw xnty sH-nTr m rnw.f nbw III,12 Anubis foremost of the pavilion in all his names.
III,13 [ ] III,13 [ ] (e).

Notes on the translation

(a) Restitutions are made according to P. Greenfield (35f,22–23), which has a very similar litany listing the same forms of Osiris (P. Greenfield, 35f,22–36a,5).

(b) The association of Osiris with Herishef in Spell 141/142 seems to be very rare. P. Greenfield gives “Osiris, lord of Heracleopolis” (94c,15). Only P. Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen II (col. 1,11)37 and the version in the Osireion of Abydos (register III, no 33) explicitly mention “Osiris-Herishef, lord of Heracleopolis”.

(c) Vernus includes numerous attestations of this form of Osiris, both in the Litanies of Osiris in the ritual context and in Spell 142.38

(d) Wepwawet should be written on another line (compare with P. Greenfield, 36a,5).

(e) Some traces are visible, but they are insufficient to suggest a restitution.40

2.4. Fragment 3, column IV

Column IV contains 12 lines with a space above the first line that allows us to infer that this fragment preserves the original beginning of the column.41

IV,1 Wsir nsw (aA-xpr-n-Ra)| sA Ra (9Hwty-ms)| IV,1 Osiris, king (Aakheperrenra)|, son of Ra (Thutmosis)| (Thutmosis II).
IV,2 Wsir nsw (aA-xpr-kA-Ra)| sA Ra (9Hwty-ms)| IV,2 Osiris, king (Aakheperkara)|, son of Ra (Thutmosis)| (Thutmosis I).
IV,3 Wsir nsw (9sr-kA-Ra)| sA Ra (Imn-Htp)| IV,3 Osiris, king, (Djeserkara)|, son of Ra (Amenhotep)| (Amenhotep I).
IV,4 Wsir nsw (Nb-pHty-Ra)| sA Ra (IaH-ms)| IV,4 Osiris (Nebpehtyra)|, son of Ra (Ahmosis)|.
IV,5 Wsir nsw (2pr-kA-Ra)| sA Ra (4(-n)-Wsrt)| IV,5 Osiris (Kheperkara)|, son of Ra (Sesostris)| (Sesostris I).
IV,6 Hmt-nTr Imn (IaH-ms Nfrt-iry)| IV,6 Divine wife of Amun (Ahmes-Nefertary)| (wife of Ahmosis).
IV,7 Hmt-nTr Mwt (6wti)| IV,7 Divine wife, (royal) mother (Tuti)| (a) (mother of Ramses II).
IV,8 Hmt-nsw wr(t) (Nfrt-iry mr(t) n Mwt)| IV,8 Great king’s wife (Nefertary)| beloved of Mut (b) (wife of Ramses II).
IV,9 sAt nsw Hm[t] (nsw) (Mryt-Imn [)|] IV,9 King’s daughter, (king’s) wife (Merytamun [ )| ] (daughter of Ramses II).
IV,10 sAt nsw Hmt nsw (Nb(t)-tAwy)| IV,10 King’s daughter, king’s wife (Nebettauy)| (daughter of Ramses II).
IV,11 sAt nsw Hmt nsw (BA-tA-anti)| IV,11 King’s daughter, king’s wife (Batanat)| (daughter of Ramses II).
IV,12 sAt nsw Hmt nsw [( )|] IV,12 King’s daughter, king’s wife [( )|] (c).

Notes on the translation

(a) The writing 6wti certainly refers to the mother of Ramses II, usually written 6wy or 6wiA (cf., for example, KRI II, 844–47; the scribe has probably written ti for y).

(b) The ligature at the end of the cartouche clearly refers to the name of the goddess Mut, as it often appears in the cartouche of Queen Nefertary – though it is normally written at the beginning of the cartouche, or at least before mr “beloved” (cf. KRI II, 848–853). Kitchen reads the group as a phonetic writing of the goddess (KRI II, 922), although it could also be a ligature of the vulture-glyph with a “t” ( ).

(c) The traces in the last line are insufficient to identify the name of Ramses II’s daughter here. Kitchen (KRITANC II, 622) surmised that it might be Henutmira.

2.5. Fragments 5-8

Fragment 5 (CP116/002) (Figs. 8,9) and fragment 6 (CP116/004) (Figs. 10,11) only contain parts of columns with the sign on the recto, while some signs are written on the verso of fragment 5 and nothing is written on the verso of fragment 6. Fragment 7 (CP111/086) (Figs. 12,13) only shows traces of signs that could may be in the first line and the name of Osiris followed by a scarab in the second. On the verso, this fragment carries part of a vertical line. As for fragment 8 (CP147/034) (Figs. 14,15), it shows the sign and few traces of the beginning of the name of Osiris , and nothing on the verso. They are certainly part of P. Turin Cat. 1877, but their exact position is hard to determine.

2.6. General comment on P. Turin Cat. 1877 recto

The recto of P. Turin Cat. 1877 lists names of Osiris that correspond to BD 141/142 – specifically the second part of Spell 142, dedicated to Osiris – in association with the names of royal ancestors and members of the royal family.

1. Names of Osiris and other deities (columns I–III)The order of names in columns I and II reflects the traditional versions of BD 141/142 (see the Osireion at Abydos, P. Nu, P. Kha, P. Greenfield, P. Turin 1791), except for the names of “Osiris lord of Heliopolis” (I,x+12) and “Osiris in Ruty-iset” (I,x+13), which generally only appear in late versions (from P. Greenfield onwards) and are rarely attested during the New Kingdom. The most similar parallel version of P. Turin Cat. 1877 is the one in the Osireion at Abydos, where the names of Osiris are almost in the same order. The New Kingdom version also omits the third column, which only appears in late versions starting in the Third Intermediate Period (compare with P. Greenfield, 35f,22–36a,17, and P. Iatesnakht, from col. 68e,20 onwards).

2. Royal names (column IV)The list in column IV gives the names of the following pharaohs in reverse chronological order: Sesostris I for the 12th Dynasty and then Ahmose to Thutmosis II (Ahmose, Amenhotep I, Thutmosis I and Thutmosis II) for the 18th Dynasty. This kind of list generally contains the second part of the 18th Dynasty (except Hatshepsut and the rulers of the A-mar-na period) and the first rulers of the 19th Dynasty up to Ramses II – as seen in the list of the Ramesseum.39 Therefore, there are most likely eight rulers missing from this list: Thutmosis III, Amenhotep II, Thutmosis IV, Amenhotep III, Horemheb, Ramses I, Sety I, and Ramses II. This would also suggest that at least eight lines are missing between the end of the previous column and the beginning of this column. As no part of the papyrus appears to be missing before the first line of column IV, I suggest that the missing royal names originally stood at the end of column III, occupying at least eight lines.

3. The fragmentary texts on P. Turin Cat. 1877 verso (Figs. 18–19)

The verso of P. Turin Cat. 1877 contains three or four different texts that have no relationship with the recto. The papyrus was probably reused after the scribe had copied the main text on the recto. As the focus of this article is on the litany on the recto, I will only provide a description of, and very short comment on, this part of the papyrus, as it could be useful for further, more detailed research.

P. Turin Cat. 1877 verso, restitution with fragments 1, 2, 3 and 4. Scan by the Museo Egizio.

Fig. 19


P. Turin Cat. 1877 verso, hieroglyphic transcription, fragments 1, 2, 3 and 4.

3.1. Text 1

The first text on the verso contains only a single line with traces of a date.42-43

Rnpt-sp 1 (?) [Abd?] prt sw 3 ? [ ] ?

Year 1 (?) [month ?] of the peret season [ ], day 3 ? [ ] ?

3.2. Text 2

Text 2 consists of two columns containing elements of a royal titulary, probably referring to Ramses VI. The two columns seem to belong to the same text, though this is not certain since each seems to have been written by a different scribe. We can compare, for example, the way that Horus is written at the beginning of each column and the type of ink used, which is darker in the left column. Fragment 4 is placed at the end of this column because of the content of the recto. Finally, the position of the fragment at the end of the second column (fragment 2) is not certain. The signs in these two columns are higher than in the other texts on the papyrus.44

Text 2, column 1

1 1r 1 Horus,
2 kA nxt aA 2 strong bull, great of
3 nxtw sanx tAwy 3 victories, who makes the Two Lands live
4 nbty 4 the Two Ladies
[ ] [ ]

Text 2, column 2

Fragment 2

The position of fragment 2 would make sense in the lacuna in line 2 because of the meaning. In this case, the complete line would be:

But there does not seem to be enough room and it would have no sense for the meaning of the recto, which is why I prefer to place fragment 2 somewhere near the end of the column, even though this position remains uncertain.

1 anx 1r kA nxt [aA nxtw] 1 May Horus the strong bull live, [great of victories],
2 wsr xpS hd [Hfnw] rnpwt 2 powerful of arm, who prevails over [the hundreds of thousands], <powerful of> years,
3 mi 6A-tnn ity Hb-sd 3 like Tatenen, sovereign of the Sed(-festival).
4 [ ] 4 [ ]
5 [ ] anx wDA snb 5 [ ] may he live, be prosper and be healthy.
6 [ ] WAst 6 [ ] Thebes.
7 [ ] 7 [ ]
8 [ ] anx wDA snb 8 [ ] may he live, be prosper and be healthy.
x+9 [ ] Hfnw [ ] x+9 [ ] the hundreds of thousands [ ].

The fragment x+9 would be better placed in the lacuna of line 2, so that the translation would be: “who prevails over the hundreds of thousands,” the Nebty-name of Ramses VI.40 Thus, the whole column gives the royal titulary of Ramses VI (Horus name, Nebty-name, and Golden Horus name). However, although such a reconstruction would theoretically work for the verso, it would not produce a coherent text for the recto; but this fragment could be part of the Nebty-name of Ramses VI repeated in the lower part of the column.

3.3. Text 3

This fragmentary text written in five lines is difficult to identify and translate because only a few traces remain legible. According to Pleyte and Rossi, who did not realize that the two fragments belonged together, the text described the construction of a tomb (because of the presence of the word xr “tomb, necropolis” on line x+4) to the west (Imntt, line x+3) of Thebes.41 The Turin papyrus database suggests that the fragment carries some kind of literary text.42 Both suggestions are possible, and if more fragments surface in the Museo Egizio’s collection researchers may be able to more confidently identify the genre of this text and offer a more coherent translation.

4. Some remarks on litanies of Osiris and royal names in the cultic context

The text written on the recto of P. Turin Cat. 1877 is a name list enumerating several forms of Osiris, other deities, and members of the royal family. The Osirian list in this text corresponds to the one found in Spell 141/142 of the Book of the Dead.43 As remarked above, the spell was usually a single one during the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period, and was then separated into two distinct spells with their own titles (141 and 142) during the Saite Period. An exception for the New Kingdom is P. Berlin P. 3002 (19th Dynasty), which only contains Spell 142.44 Thus, in this period Spell 142 could also occur alone in the Book of the Dead. Spell 141 lists the names of various divine entities, while 142 mostly contains names of Osiris, with some names of Horus, Isis, Anubis, and Wepwawet. The spell(s) is/are very well attested in funerary contexts from the New Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period, mostly on papyri and in tombs.45

Attestations of Spell 141/142 in Deir el-Medina are not frequent. Among them are P. Kha of the 18th Dynasty and P. Neferrenpet of the 19th. As said, these attestations resemble only columns I and II of P. Turin Cat. 1877. So far, it is not possible to distinguish a specific tradition of the names of Osiris in Deir el-Medina. Furthermore, the version in P. Turin45 Cat. 1877 is very similar to the one inscribed on the walls of the Osireion at Abydos. Thus, it seems that the origin of the text in P. Turin Cat. 1877 comes from the ritual context of temples.

Indeed, versions with the names of Osiris (i.e., similar to Spell 142) often appear in the context of temples. In addition to the mentioned version in the Osireion at Abydos,46 Jean-Claude Goyon indicated the Litany of Sokar in Medinet Habu.47 In his publication of P. Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen II of the fourth century BCE, Joachim Friedrich Quack also argues that the text was originally used in a temple context.48 This is also the case for the ritual performed during the Festival of Khoiak, attested in P. Louvre N 3176 S of the Roman Period.49

Two papyri published by Raymond O. Faulkner likely also stem from a temple context: the Book of Hours (P BM EA 10569, Late Period)50 and the litany in Giessen University Library Papyrus no. 115 (end of the Ptolemaic Period or early Roman Period).51 Furthermore, the Book of Hours is the only papyrus that associates Osiris’ names with kings and queens, but the latter are only referred to by the general expression “The Kings of Upper Egypt and the Kings of Lower Egypt”.52 Moreover, the demotic liturgies of P. Berlin P. 6750 and P. Berlin P. 8765 of the Roman Period also contain a version of Spell 142.53

Like Spell 142 and other texts like it, the litany of P. Turin was thus probably a wdnw (“offerings” or “litany of offerings”) used in a temple context. What is particular about this papyrus is the presence of pharaohs’, queens’, and princesses’ names in addition to those of Osiris. Name-lists of royal ancestors such as the Ramesseum list, the Abydos list, or those found in ritual papyri are common enough.54 The names of royal ancestors can vary from one document to the next, or even within the same papyrus – as in the Ritual of Amenhotep I.55 Usually Mentuhotep II was the main pharaoh for the Middle Kingdom, but in some cases Sesostris I is also be mentioned, as indeed in P. Turin Cat. 1877.56

These lists rarely mention female members of the royal family. There are of course exceptions, such as Queen Ahmes-Nefertary, wife of Ahmose,57 or women of the royal family of the 18th Dynasty, who appear in stelae, tombs, papyri, and other objects from Deir el-Medina.58 The queens and daughters of the family of Ramses II occasionally appear in temple lists, as do the sons of Ramses II, but they are not attested together in a liturgy following a litany of Osiris, as seen in the Turin papyrus.59 Therefore, it seems that priests introduced the names of the royal family on this papyrus in order to associate them with the offering ritual usually devoted to Osiris. Another interesting point is that the names of kings are prefixed by “Osiris”, while those of women are prefixed only by the title they bore during their lives. This may indicate that they were still alive when the papyrus was copied (with the exception, of course, of Ahmes-Nefertary).

The ritual on this papyrus was certainly used in a temple where royal ancestors and living members of the royal family were invoked so that they could benefit from the cult and the offerings. Kitchen wondered if this text may stem from the archives of Ramses II in Abydos.60 This could be possible because of the links between the version in the Osireion and in P. Turin Cat. 1877. Yet, the papyrus was probably found in Deir el-Medina, where other lists are known,61 and was certainly used in a Theban temple, but a common model with the Osireion‘s version is possible. At some point, probably during the Ramesside Period, it was then reused to record administrative texts and a royal titulary.


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