1 The “discovery” of the papyrus

On 8 September 1978 Alessandro Roccati identified amongst the unpublished papyri in the Museo Egizio in Turin a papyrus fragment containing an excerpt from The Teaching of Khety, also known as The Satire of the Trades.1 Some years later (14 September 1983) he identified yet another fragment with a passage from Khety close to the one on the previously discovered fragment. As Roccati realised, it was an important find, for together the two fragments constituted the second half of Khety (chapters 21–30), thus providing a welcome additional source for this portion of the text, which was less frequently copied by the ancient Egyptian scribes than the more attractive first part that describes the various laborious professions. Moreover, the manuscript provided a good, although not faultless, version of the composition, which is infamous for its unintelligibility due to the many mistakes and variants occurring in the source material. Roccati made use of the papyrus for his translation of Khety that appeared in 1994 as part of an anthology of ancient Egyptian texts.2 This, however, remained largely unnoticed by the scientific community. Roccati again pointed out the existence of the papyrus in an article published in 2000 in which he also provided a transcription of four110-111 non-continuous lines.3 This was noted by Stephan Jäger, who published a new edition of Khety in 2004. He does mention the papyrus as one of the sources of Khety, but since he had no access to the manuscript, its text is not included in his edition.4

The numbers Roccati assigned to the papyrus have been the cause of some confusion. On several occasions, Roccati refers to the papyrus in its entirety (i.e. the two fragments together) as P. Turin CGT 54017, and hence so does Jäger, following Roccati. In one of his articles Roccati lists, among various (unpublished) papyri in the Turin museum, a “P. Turin CGT 54017: Satira dei Mestieri (=pSallier II 9,5–11,5). Identificato l’8.9.1978”. Beneath this entry, however, he lists another papyrus “P. Turin CGT 54018: come il precedente. Identificato il 14.9.1983”.5 The latter can only refer to one of the two fragments identified by him, since no other substantial manuscript containing Khety has so far been discovered amongst the papyri in Turin.6 However, Roccati’s numbers are incorrect, for neither CGT 54017 nor CGT 54018 contain excerpts from Khety.7 P. Turin CGT 54019 (TPOP Doc ID 543), on the other hand, fits Roccati’s description of the papyrus nicely, and the evidence suggest this must be the manuscript he discovered in the Turin collection. Part of the confusion seems to have arisen from the fact that the papyrus consists of two fragments mounted in two separate frames (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2), both of which were identified by Roccati some years apart. In this paper I will not only provide the first hieroglyphic transcription of CGT 54019 to appear in print, and discuss variants of the text, but also contextualise the papyrus based on its colophon.

CGT 54019, recto, mounted in frame 1 (columns 2 and 3). Scan by the Museo Egizio.

CGT 54019, recto, mounted in frame 2 (column 1). Scan by the Museo Egizio.

2 Description of the papyrus

P. Turin CGT 54019 survives in two fragments that are mounted in two separate frames. The largest of the two fragments (Frame 1) measures 38 x 20 cm (Fig. 1). The smaller one (Frame 2) measures 21 x 18.5 cm (Fig. 2). The numbering of the frames is misleading, for the fragment in frame 2 actually precedes the fragment in frame 1. Hardly anything is missing between the two pieces, so that they can almost be joined directly, having become separated only by a vertical crack (for a virtual reconstruction, see Fig. 3). Similar cracks appear throughout the manuscript at regular intervals (approximately 7 cm apart), suggesting that the papyrus was rolled-up and subsequently pressed down. The papyrus has suffered further damage, resulting in a number of lacunae. The verso is blank, apart from some traces of red ink, which may be pen trials or the remnants of a doodle (Fig. 4). The recto contains three columns of hieratic text written in horizontal lines. The first column is missing approximately 2.5 cm at the beginning; the second column is preserved to its full width (23 cm); the third column has lost about 10 cm at the end, assuming it had the same width as the other two. It seems likely that the manuscript once contained the entire composition, and thus that several sheets preceded the column now numbered 1. The third column contains the end of Khety followed by a colophon. It is likely that this also constituted the end of the papyrus, as the handwriting in the third column appears denser, as if the scribe was doing his best to finish the text within the available space. While the length of the papyrus112 is thus incompletely preserved, its height seems to have survived more or less intact. The lower margin is preserved in its entirety. Assuming the top margin measured the same as the lower one (2 cm), the total height of the papyrus would have been slightly over 20 cm, which corresponds to a half-roll, a full papyrus roll mostly measuring between 41 and 43 cm in height in the Ramesside Period.8 In the top margin above the second column some traces of writing are visible that are not part of the main body of text. They might belong to a writing exercise, or perhaps to a date; such features also appear in the margins of other papyri.9

Virtual reconstruction of CGT 54019 by the author, based on scans by Museo Egizio.

CGT 54019, detail of the verso. Scan by the Museo Egizio (with colour enhancement by the author).

3 Provenance and date

Nothing is known about the origin of the manuscript. There is no information about the papyrus provided in the museum records other than its current number. Most of the Ramesside papyri in the Museo Egizio stem from western Thebes and came into the possession of the museum when Bernardino Drovetti (1776–1852) sold his first collection to the king of Sardinia in 1824. Drovetti was not only the French consul in Egypt at the time, but also a collector of Egyptian antiquities, whose agents were particularly active on the Theban west bank, most likely including the workmen’s village of Deir el-Medina.10 Other papyri now housed in Turin were excavated by Ernesto Schiaparelli (1856–1928) in Deir el-Medina. It is not known whether CGT 54019 originates from Drovetti’s collection or from Schiaparelli’s finds. However, since most of the papyri in the Turin collection seem to originate from the village of Deir el-Medina, western Thebes as a provenance is highly likely, also considering the colophon that refers to the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu (see below). It is interesting the papyrus stems from this area, since both P. Sallier II and P. Anastasi VII (the only manuscripts containing more chapters of Khety than CGT 54019) are likely to have a Memphite origin.11 The manuscript dates from the Ramesside Period, more precisely the Twentieth Dynasty. The fact that Ramesses III is mentioned provides us with a terminus post quem.113

4 Palaeography

The palaeography of the manuscript confirms its dating to the Ramesside Period (see Table 1). The scribe’s handwriting is neat, free of ligatures, round, and of average size. He had a tendency to add dots to certain signs, e.g. Ax (1,5), kA (3,9), nDm (3,5), tyw (1,4). Several signs are quite distinctive for this scribe and may help to identify other manuscripts written by the same person in the future. They are listed in Table 2. This table also includes the scribe’s way of writing the pronoun st.12 To this may be added the scribe’s peculiar spelling of the word hAb (2,7; 2,9; 3,2) and his consistent writing of (wn) as (1,2; 2,10; 3,7; see also below), an example of Late Egyptian orthography. The manuscript lacks verse points.13 This is a noteworthy feature, since the use of these “verse points” was widespread in the New Kingdom, especially in literary texts.14

Table 1


Overview of the signs showing features common in the Ramesside period.

Table 2


Idiosyncratic signs of the scribe of CGT 54019, including his distinctive writing of the pronoun st.

5 Hieroglyphic transcription and commentary

The Teaching of Khety is known for its many mistakes and variants, making it a notoriously difficult text, to such a degree that John Foster remarked: “The so-called Satire on the Trades, containing Khety’s instruction to his son Pepi, is one of the most confusing, garbled, and unintelligible literary texts to survive from ancient Egypt.”15 CGT 54019 contains some variants that are unparalleled in the other source material of Khety.16 Many of these help to114 shed light on obscure passages of the composition. The papyrus can therefore be said to provide a more legible version of the text than many other sources, although it is certainly far from faultless.

In the past, variants that occurred in manuscripts were often seen as mistakes, a corruption of the perfect text originally composed by the author. Philologists tried to identify these “errors” in order to reconstruct a hypothetical Urtext. The most recent edition of Khety by Stephan Jäger is a good example of this traditional approach. Jäger makes use of stemmata to establish a hierarchy of manuscripts and uses the results to reconstruct an Urtext.17 Cerquiglini, however, has convincingly argued that it is impossible and indeed irrelevant to retrieve an original text from supposedly faulty copies, for “medieval writing does not produce variants; it is variance,” and “every copy is alteration”, meaning that variants and mistakes are an inherent feature of textual transmission.18 Recently this approach, known as “New Philology” or “Material Philology”, has also found footing within Egyptology.19

Variants thus have a value of their own; they may offer insights into the social conditions of textual production. As early as the 1970s, Burkard analysed mistakes and variants in ancient Egyptian wisdom texts, including The Teaching of Khety. Regarding the latter, he concluded that the sources contained many reading errors (“Lesefehler”), a few memory mistakes (“Gedächtnisfehler”) and no hearing errors (“Hörfehler”). Thus, according to his analysis, the preferred method of textual transmission was copying the text from another manuscript as opposed to writing from memory (which did occasionally occur) and copying from dictation.20

True to the old philological tradition, Burkard saw many variants as mistakes, but in reality it is often difficult to identify the purpose behind a particular variant: whether it is a real error, made unconsciously by the scribe, resulting in a faulty (sometimes incomprehensible) version of the text; a “conscious” modification, for example when a scribe did not remember a particular detail and replaced it with something else;21 or a redactional variant, the scribe knowingly adapting the text, for example to facilitate the understanding of a sentence or to update the text, for instance by using Late Ramesside orthography. A further difficulty lies in discerning if the mistake or variant was made by the copyist himself or if it was already part of a corrupt textual tradition, the scribe faithfully copying the text as he knew it.22 Either way, the study of variants can reveal much about the engagement (or non-engagement) of the scribe with the text he copied.

In the following section I will comment on the variants of CGT 54019 that are unparalleled in other sources. It falls outside the scope of this paper to give a detailed analysis of every variant of the manuscript (a full new edition of The Teaching of Khety is in preparation by the present author), but the discussion below will touch upon the matters discussed above.115

5.1 Column 1: chapters 21,4–23,4

Chapter 21

[…] […]
21,4 [Sp.n] sw snD Fear [has blinded] him.
21,5 […] […]
[…] […]
21,6 [m=k nn] wn [iAw.t Sw.t] xrp[.w] [Look,] there is [no profession free of] supervisors,
[w]pw [sS ntf xr]p except for [that of scribe: he is the] supervisor.

Chapter 22

22,1 [ir] sw[t rx=k] sS.w But [if you know] writing,
xr wnn=f m nfr n=k [i]m=st then it will go well with you because of it.
nn iAw[.t] […] Hr=k There are no professions […] your face.
22,2 m=k irj [Hwr] n=i irj Look, the subordinate! [Miserable is] the subordinate to me.
nn D[d] n=f aHw.tj […] A field worker will not say to him […] (?)
[m s]Aw r Dd ir=k [Beware] of speech about you.
22,3 {r}<i>r […] [Xn]tyt r Xnw […] travelling southwards to the Residence,
m=k i.ir=k st n mrw.t=k look, you have done it for love of yourself.
22,4 Ax n=k [hrw m] [a].t-sbA [A day in school] is beneficial for you,
iw=i r nHH m kA.t Dw.w while I will be forever in mountain labour.
22,5 iw swt dd=i rx=k But while I will make you knowledgeable,
dd[…] ssnhp r bTn.w […] will cause …?… against …?…

Chapter 23

23,1 Dd[=i n=k] k[t]x.w md.wt [I] will say other words [to you],
r sbA=k r rx to teach you knowledge.
23,2 m aHa r bw [aHA].tw Hr=s Do not stand at a place where there is [fighting].
m {n}tkn n ntyw Db.t Hr sxr.w=f <Do> not <be close> to those on whose plans is a brick.
23,3 ir TAj.tw Dbt Hr i[n As-ib] If a brick is taken [by a hasty-hearted person],
nn rx.tw bw xr=f srf[…] one will not know the place where he is, being hot […] (?)
23,4 mtr xr sDmj.w Testify before the judges,
ir n=f wSb […] answer him […]

21,6 (column 1, line 2): [m=k nn] wn [iAw.t Sw.t] xrp[.w]The variant nn wn instead of nn also occurs on O. DeM 1562 and on an unpublished ostracon (O. Ashmolean HO 576). There is no apparent difference in meaning between the two constructions.23

22,1 (column 1, line 3): xr wnn=f m nfr n=k [i]m=stThe papyrus shares the phrase xr wnn=f (m) with all the other sources, with the exception of writing tablet Louvre 693, which reads wn nfr n=k st. The latter is considered the grammatically better variant, while xr wnn=f has been written under the influence of Late Egyptian.24 The variant im=st instead of st occurs nowhere else. Instead of the adjectival sentence nfr n=k st, “it is good for you”, the scribe may have had in mind the expression nfr n=k, “it is good for you”, “you are well”, in which the subject (“it”) is unexpressed.25 Because st had become superfluous,26 the scribe may have written im=st to overcome this problem. Alternatively, the scribe may have inserted im before st unthinkingly, the combination im=st being very common. Compare chapter 26,2 where the scribe has also written im=st instead of st (see below).116

22,2 (column 1, line 4): [m s]Aw r Dd ir=kThe papyrus uses the preposition r after sAw, which is not present in the other witnesses. There are various possible explanations for its occurrence here. First of all, the scribe may have added the r mechanically, having the common expression r-Dd in mind. Secondly, sAw can be constructed with the preposition r. Lastly, r.Dd may stand for i.Dd, “that which is said”.27 Whether the translation suggested above is correct depends on the meaning of the previous sentence, which is unfortunately obscure. Most translators render it along the lines of “a farmer is not called a man”,28 in which case the suggested translation would fit.29 I follow most translators in emending m sAw to sAw, assuming that the lacuna of our papyrus also contained a negative imperative like the other sources. There seems to have been confusion between m sAw and sAw, as it is used interchangeably between sources, for example in chapter 24,4 and chapter 28,5, both obscure passages.

22,3 (column 1, lines 4–5): {r}<i>r […] [Xn]tyt r XnwThe scribe seemingly starts this verse with . Because of the lacuna that follows, it is difficult to say whether this really constitutes a new variant or is simply a miswriting for as written in the other sources, although in the latter cases it is mostly preceded by m=k.

22,3 (column 1, line 5): m=k i.ir=k st n mrw.t=kThe use of the emphatic form i.ir=k, placing special emphasis on n mrw.t=k, is unparalleled in the other sources. The prothetic yod used in the emphatic form is a Late Egyptian feature.30 Instead of =k, the verb is followed by the suffix =i in all the other sources (although omitted): “Look, I have done it for love of you”. This makes more sense, as it is the father who takes his son to school in the Residence. Whether the =k should be considered a mistake or a deliberate variant can no longer be established as it depends on what was originally written in the lacuna in the previous verse.

22,4 (column 1, line 6): iw=i r nHH m kA.t Dw.wCGT 54019 differs from all the other sources in employing iw=i instead of iw, which leads to the question whether iw in the other manuscripts should be considered as iw=i with the suffix pronoun =i left out, rather than a Late Egyptian writing for r, as suggested by Jäger.31 The construction iw=i r nHH occurs more often,32 cf. also m kA.t nHH, “in ewig dauernder Arbeit”.33 The expression kA.t Dw.w does not occur elsewhere, although it is similar to other combinations referring to manual labour, such as for example kA.t (n.t) sx.t, “the work of the field”; cf. Wb V.98.8–14. As the previous sentence reads “A day in school is beneficial for you”, the condition of the son is contrasted with that of his father who may have been a commoner, as he is simply called a “man from Sile” in the introduction.34

22,5 (column 1, line 6): iw swt dd=i rx=kThe papyrus employs the word swt, “but”, which is unattested in the other known sources. Its addition may reflect an attempt by the scribe to emphasise the contrast with the preceding sentence discussed above. Despite the added word, the sentence is shorter than the corresponding verse in P. Sallier II. While the latter needs emendation to be understood, the meaning of our sentence is clear. Furthermore, this shorter variant seems to correspond with P. Anastasi VII’s version of the text. This papyrus has a lacuna before di=i rx=k that is clearly not long enough to contain P. Sallier II’s version of the text, although Jäger’s and Helck’s transcriptions suggest otherwise. The length of the verse and the remaining words are in fact comparable to CGT 54019.35 The suffix =k written as =kwj is yet another example of the various Late Egyptian spellings found in this papyrus.

22,5 (column 1, lines 6–7): dd[…] ssnhp r bTn.wThe verse uses the word ssnhp, whereas it is spelled sshp, sshAp or snhp in the other sources. Its meaning is obscure (cf. Wb IV.278.10; Wb IV.168.1–4). The use of the preposition r, which is unparalleled in the other sources, makes it impossible to consider bTn.w an object to the verb ssnhp, as most translators do.

23,1 (column 1, line 7): r sbA=k r rxThis otherwise unattested variant offers an easy comprehensible sentence, in contrast to the other sources. The verb sbA + object + r means “jem. erziehen zu …”, “jem. in einer Tätigkeit unterweisen”, in this case knowledge (“im Wissen”).36117

23,2 (column 1, lines 7–8): m aHa r bw [aHA].tw Hr=sThe sentence differs widely from the corresponding ones in the other sources. It provides an easy translation, while the other variants are difficult to understand without emendation. The occurrence of m before aHa makes it clear that this should be considered a negative imperative, as Jäger suggested.37 The phrase Hr=s, used only here, is a good alternative to the more common im, as “aHA mit Hr” means “an einem Ort kämpfen”.38

23,2 (column 1, line 8): m {n}tkn n ntyw Db.t Hr sxr.w=fThe sentence is close to the version in P. Sallier II, but is obscure as it stands and emendation is needed. The phrase ntk n ( ) is a Late Egyptian expression (Wb II.195.5) and is here a corruption for m tkn n, “do not be close to”,39 as written in P. Anastasi VII.40 The scribe of P. Sallier II repeats the same mistake later on, writing ntk n where tkn should be read.41 The second part of the sentence may be an ancient Egyptian expression unknown to us, perhaps referring to people with a violent nature.

23,3 (column 1, lines 8–9): ir TAj.tw Db.t Hr i[n As-ib]If the brick mentioned in this sentence relates to the one in the previous verse, it may be that TAj is not used here in the sense of “stealing”, as most translators understand it, but of “taking up”. The hasty-hearted person has grabbed one without thinking, seemingly with the intention of throwing it in a fight. The throwing of bricks (xAa Db.t) also features in P. Chassinat I, x+7. In this story King Neferkare, standing outside Sasenet’s house, throws a brick and stamps his foot to get the attention of his general.42

23,3 (column 1, line 9): nn rx.tw bw xr=f srf[…]This verse differs from the corresponding one in the other known manuscripts. All the elements of the sentence occur elsewhere, but not in this order. The sentence begins, as in all the other sources, with nn rx.tw. Jäger’s emendation to n rx.n.tw seems to me to be unnecessary, as the phrase can be interpreted as a negation of the subjunctive with future meaning.43 The verse is corrupt. The expression bw xr N, “da wo N. ist”, which is seemingly written here, is uncommon and only occurs in Late Egyptian.44 As a consequence, the meaning of the sentence is obscure.45118-119

5.2 Column 2: chapters 24,1–28,3

Chapter 24

24,1 [ir Sm]=k m pH.wj sr[.w] [If] you [walk] behind noblemen,
[…] […]
24,2 [ir aq=k iw nb] pr r pr [If you arrive while the master of] the house is in the house,
[…] a.wj=kj k[y] Xr[…] […] your arms, while someone else is under […]
24,3 […] […]
m [dbH x.t] r-gs=f [Do] not [ask for the things] at his side.
24,4 ir=k mi Dd.t m-m May you do according to what was said among them.
{m} sAw Ts[…] Beware of […]

Chapter 25

25,1 [Dns] im=k wr{.t} Sfj[.t] [Be weighty] in yourself, great of respect.
25,2 m Dd md[.wt n.t] HAp ib Do not tell secrets [of] the heart.
i[w HAp] X[.t] ir[.n]=f ikm Hr=w [One who hides] his inner thoughts [has] made a shield concerning them.
25,3 m Dd md.wt n prj-a[-ib] Do not speak reckless words,
Hmsi[…] [ks]m X[.t] sitting […] someone who is defiant.

Chapter 26

26,1 i[r pr]j=k m a.t-sbA If you leave the school,
m-xt smj.tw n=k mtr.t after midday is announced to you,
26,2 Sm.t ij n iwy.wt (after) coming and going in the streets,
DAis pH.wj n bw n[tk] im=st advise the end of the place where [you] are. (?)

Chapter 27

27,1 ir hAb Tw srj [m wp.t] When a magistrate sends you [with a message],
i.Dd=k sw mj Dd=f sw you shall say it as he said it.
[m] iTi im=s m rdj{.t} Hr[=s] Do [not] take away from it; do not add to [it].
27,2 [i]w xAx-ib di=f {m}hnw A quick-thinking-one causes jubilation.
ix[…] [di]=f Tz wAH-ib […] [causes] kind speech
{t}<i>w hAb.tw=f m ws[Tn] He is sent unhindered.
27,3 ib=f mH m biA.t=f nb.t He trusts in all his good character traits.
nn wn imn{=f} ir=f There are no secrets for him.
nn Tn.w r s.t=f nb[.t] There is no one promoted in any position that is his.

Chapter 28

28,1 m Dd grg.w <r> mw.t=k Do not tell lies against your mother:
bw.t [sr.w] pw it is the horror [of noblemen].
28,2 ir m-xt rdj.w x.wt After things have been given,
a.wj=kj […] r fnD=f your arms […] his nose.
28,3 m rdj Hr=st Hna […] Do not add to it with […]
[…] […]

24,2 (column 2, line 2): [ir aq=k iw nb] pr r prCGT 54019 has r pr, whereas all the other known sources have m pr=f, with similar meaning.46

24,2 (column 2, line 2): […] a.wj=kj k[y] Xr[…]The lacuna preceding a.wj=kj may once have contained xAm or xAb, “bend (the arms)”, as Jäger suggested,47 although the traces of ink are inconclusive. Before an m seems to have been written, but the supposed signs for A and xA are a little different in shape than their counterparts in this papyrus.48 The variant a.wj=kj is unparalleled in the other sources, which all have a.wj=fj. On the one hand it confirms Jäger’s emendation that a.wj=kj should be read and not a.wj=fj. On the other hand Jäger assumes that, after a.wj=kj had become a.wj=fj, the scribes added ky to account for the otherwise functionless =kj. Our papyrus, writing both =kj and ky, makes this suggestion less likely.49 While all other manuscripts have r-HA.t=k, the papyrus under discussion uses Xr[…], which has quite the opposite meaning. Unfortunately, what follows is unclear due to the fragmentary state of the papyrus.

24,4 (column 2, line 3): ir=k mi Dd.t m-mThe sentence can be read without emendation. The variant ir=k is unparalleled. It confirms Jäger’s suggestion that an imperative or an optative should be read here.50 Furthermore, the spelling of the adverb m-m ( ) is more correct than its counterpart in P. Sallier II and P. Anastasi VII ( ).

25,2 (column 2, line 4): m Dd md[.wt n.t] HAp ibThis is the only manuscript adding ib after HAp. It may be a deliberate variant by the scribe to facilitate understanding.

25,2 (column 2, lines 4–5): i[w HAp] X[.t] ir[.n]=f ikm Hr=wThe words Hr=w after ikm are clearly an addition by the Ramesside scribe, making use of the Late Egyptian suffix pronoun =w. Again, it seems that his intention was to improve the understanding of the passage.

25,3 (column 2, line 5–6): Hmsi[…] [ks]m X[.t]Nothing precedes Hmsi, whereas in all the other sources this word is introduced by the particle iw (and in one case tw=k m). This supports Jäger’s suggestion to delete the iw of the other sources. His reading of Hmsi as an imperative,51 however, cannot be confirmed due to the lacuna: it is uncertain whether or not Hmsi was followed by a suffix pronoun.

26,2 (column 2, lines 6–7): Sm.t iy n iwy.wtThe variant n iwy.wt instead of m iwy.wt is a Late Egyptian feature.52

26,2 (column 2, line 7): DAis pH.wj n bw n[tk] im=stThe variant im=st instead of st is unparalleled in the other manuscripts, cf. chapter 22,1 (see above). This version of the text is reminiscent of the construction bw ntk im, “the place where you are”,53 although due to a lacuna it is not clear whether ntk was written here or n=k as in the other sources. The meaning of the sentence is obscure.

27,1 (column 2, line 8): i.Dd=k sw mj Dd=f swAlthough the meaning of the sentence is clear, none of the sources provide a grammatically correct Middle Egyptian sentence. CGT 54019 adds yet another variant with clear Late Egyptian influence, although it is one of the more correct ones, coming closest to Brunner’s emendation of the sentence (Dd sw mj Dd=f sw).54 The words i.Dd=k can grammatically be interpreted as an emphatic form. For its use in commands, see Erman, Neuaegyptische Grammatik, 19332, §308. The prothetic yod is a Late Egyptian feature (see above). Another Late Egyptian influence relates to the dependent pronoun sw, which here refers back to a feminine word (wp.t in the preceding verse).55 Assuming Dd=f to be a relative form, the second sw is unnecessary. It is left out in the two variants that come closest to our version of the text: O. Turin 57082 (r.Dd.t=k sw mj Dd.t=f) and the unpublished ostracon Brussels E 6452 (i.Dd=k sw mj Dd=f).

27,1 (column 2, line 8): [m] iTi im=s m rdi{.t} Hr[=s]All other sources omit im=s, except O. DeM 1529, where traces indicate that the word must have stood there originally, as now confirmed by CGT 54019.

27,2 (column 2, line 8): [i]w xAx-ib di=f {m}hnwThe otherwise unattested word is not paralleled in the other sources, which have120 either hnw, “jubilation” ( ), or mhj-ib, “forgetfulness” ( ). It seems the scribe of CGT 54019 had both variants in mind. He started writing mhj-ib, before deciding to write hnw instead. Something similar may have happened on an unpublished ostracon from the mortuary temple of Merenptah, containing chapter 13,6 of Khety. Whereas the other sources have either the verb mDD or wDa, the scribe of this ostracon apparently began to write the former and midway changed his mind, continuing to write wDa instead.56 If so, it would indicate both scribes wrote from memory.

27,2 (column 2, line 9): ix[…] [di]=f Tz wAH-ibThe start of the verse differs from the other sources. It is likely the sentence parallels the preceding one. If so, the word ix[…] is to be interpreted as a noun, describing something positive.

27,2 (column 2, line 9): {t}<i>w hAb.tw=f m ws[Tn]CGT 54019 is the only manuscript which has the complete sentence. It is omitted by the other sources, except O. Turin 57082 and O. Brussels E 6452 (unpublished), where only the latter part of the verse has been preserved (m wsTn-ib and [wsTn]-ib respectively) and O. Louvre E 32896 (unpublished) and O. DeM 1576, which only preserve the beginning (hAb.tw and iw h[Ab] respectively). The latter shows that tw at the beginning of the verse should be emended to iw, in order to get a correct grammatical construction. Jäger suggested that the word wsTn-ib on O. Turin 57082 was an “Individualfehler”.57 However, CGT 54019 and the Brussels ostracon, both unknown to Jäger, clearly show this not to be the case. On the contrary, the five sources indicate that chapter 27,2 originally had a tripartite structure, like the preceding and following chapters (27,1 and 27,3). The verse ends with wsTn instead of wsTn-ib. This appears to be a scribal error. Because the next verse starts with ib (see below), the scribe omitted one of the two ib’s (haplography). This kind of mistake is common in sources copied from another exemplar, but can also occur during copying from memory.58

27,3 (column 2, line 9): ib=f mH m biA.t=f nb.tThe start of the verse ib=f mH is unattested in the other sources, with two exceptions. O. DeM 1579 has […]=f mH and it is now apparent that the word ib should be read in the lacuna. O. Brussels E 6452 (unpublished) has in line 3. It most likely concerns the same variant, so that after ib=f the word mH would have followed.

27,3 (column 2, line 10): nn Tn.w r s.t=f nb[.t]CGT 54019 differs from the other manuscripts in employing Tn.w instead of Tn=f. In contrast to the other sources no emendation is needed. The meaning of the sentence is similar to H.-W. Fischer-Elfert’s interpretation: “nicht wird er suspendiert von welcher seiner Position auch immer” (nn Tn.tw=f r s.t-f nb.t).59121

5.3 Column 3: chapters 29,1–colophon

Chapter 29

29,1 [m=k nfr hA]b=k r aSA [See, it is good that] you send (messages) often.
[…] […]
29,2 […] […]
ir=k Sm[…] while you go […]
29,3 […] […]
[…] […]
29,4 […] md.wt n.t ij<.tj> […] words of welcome.
m As [rd].w[j=kj] […] Do not let [your] feet rush […]
[…] […]
29,5 [smA m Tn.w] r=k [Associate with someone who is more distinguished] than you.
xnms=k m s DAm.w=k 60 May you befriend a man of your generation.

Chapter 30

[…] […]
30,1 [h]rw n msw<.t>=f on the day of his birth.
30,2 spr=f r arary.t He reaches the office,
onb.t […] the council […]
30,3 [m=k nn] wn sS Sw.w m wnm [Look,] there is [no] scribe devoid of eating
m x.t n.t pr-nsw a-w-[s] from the food of the palace l.p.[h.]
30,4 […] […]
[…] [Xr]-HA.t onb.t […] before the council.
30,5 {dwA.n.tw} <dwA-nTr n> it=k mw.t=k < Praise god for> your father and your mother,
Ddy.w Hr wA[.t] […] who are placed on the road […]
30,6 […] […]
[ms].w ms.w=k the children of your children.

29,1 (column 3, line 2): [m=k nfr hA]b=k r aSAWhereas the other manuscripts employ aSA, CGT 54019 has r aSA, which is an alternative way of writing the adverb.61 It makes clear aSA should be considered an adverb and not the object of hAb=k, as some scholars assume.62

29,4 (column 3, line 4): m As [rd].wj[=kj] […]The papyrus has the negation m before As, which is not present in the other sources. It confirms Jäger’s suggestion that a negative imperative should be read here.63

29,5 (column 3, line 5): [smA m Tn.w] r=kCGT 54019 has r=k, whereas the other sources have r=s(t). It supports Helck’s emendation of the text.64

30,2 (column 3, line 6): spr=f r arary.tThe spelling of the word arary.t is not otherwise attested. The other sources have aray.t / ay.t / arry.t / ary.t.65

30,3 (column 3, line 7): m x.t n.t pr-nsw a-w-[s][…]The indirect genitive n.t is spelled more correctly here than in the other sources (nty).

30,5 (column 3, line 8): {dwA.n.tw} <dwA-nTr n> it=k mw.t=kAs it stands, the verse starts with a sDm.n=f form. However, the use of the past tense does not suit the context here. Instead the signs are a mistake for122 the homophonous nTr that occurs in all other sources (dwA-nTr). The error indicates that the scribe copied the text from memory or while taking dictation.66

30,6 (column 3, line 9): [ms].w ms.w=kThe length of the lacuna makes it probable that a direct genitive was used instead of an indirect genitive as in the other sources.

6 The colophon

P. Turin CGT 54019 ends with a colophon, written after the closing words of Khety (column 3, lines 9–10):

  • iw=s pw nfr m Htp i<n> kA n […]tA [Hw.t nsw] bity wsr-mAa.t-ra mry-imn a-w-s m pr [imn]It is come,67 well and in peace. For the ka of […]the [Temple of the King of Upper and] Lower Egypt, Usermaatra Meryamun, l.p.h. in the domain of [Amun]

The phrasing of the colophon is typical for the New Kingdom.68 The expression iw=s pw nfr m Htp is followed by the standard dedicatory formula in kA n, although the scribe has curiously enough omitted the n in the word in.69 Unfortunately the name of the person to whom the text was dedicated is lost, as well as the name of the scribe himself, which usually followed, introduced by the words ir.n, “made by”. The final line only preserves a reference to the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu.70

The occurrence of a location (the temple of Medinet Habu) in the colophon is noticeable, since this is very uncommon. In fact, locations are so rarely mentioned that this aspect of the colophon has not been discussed before in the Egyptological literature on colophons. In this section I will discuss the relevant examples in order to try to reconstruct the context in which the temple is mentioned in the colophon of CGT 54019.

Locations in colophons occur in three different types:

  1. as the location where the king happened to be at the time of writing
  2. as the location where the document was written
  3. as part of the title of the scribe

Type 1 has only one example. The colophon in question concludes The Teaching of Khety on P. Anastasi VII. It reads as follows:

  • iw=s pw nfr m Htpin kA n sS [pr-HD] qA[gAbw][sS] pA-Hrj-pD.tsS iwtisS mry-rair.n sS in-nA pA nb n tA sbAy.tm rnp.t-zp 6 Abd 2 Smw sw 15iw=tw m pr-ra-msj-sw mry-imn-a-w-s-pA-kA-[aA]-n-pA-ra-Hrw-AxtjIt is come, well and in peace. For the ka of the scribe [of the Treasury] Qa[gebu and the scribe] Paheripedjet and the scribe Iuti and the scribe Meryre. Made by the scribe Inena, the owner of the teaching, in year 6, second month of Summer, day 15, while One (i.e. the King) was in House-of-Ramesses-Beloved-of-Amun-l.p.h.,-the[-Great]-Spirit-of-Pre-Harakhti.71

After the standard formulae of the colophon follows a date and the remark that the King was in Piramesse, the Ramesside capital in the Delta. Apparently, the scribe considered the event important enough to add to the colophon. It probably helped him remember the occasion when the papyrus was written. The phrase “while the King was in (iw=tw m) + location” is more often found outside the context of colophons, for example in the title of one of the Miscellanies,72 but mostly on administrative documents, from where it probably originates.73 This shows that scribes applied certain practices they used in administration also to their literary activities when deemed important.

Type 2 is also represented by a single example, namely the colophon at the end of the The Contendings of Horus and Seth. It reads: iw=s pw nfr m-Xnw wAs.t tA s.t tb, “It is come, well in Thebes, the place of tb”.74 Thus the colophon explicitly states that the papyrus was written in Thebes.

Type 3 occurs much more frequently. The relevant examples mostly name scribes (sS) or draughtsmen (sS-qd) in the “the place of Truth” (s.t-mAa.t), which refers to the Theban royal necropolis.75 The location does not indicate the place of production, but is clearly part of the title, as the examples show. A location other than the royal necropolis is found on P. Amherst 12 and 13 (Loyalist Instruction). Its colophon states that the text was made in sS wab n pr-imn,123 “by/for76 the scribe, the wab-priest of the temple of Amun”. This colophon is interesting because it shows a connection between a literary text and (a person associated with) a temple, as in CGT 54019. The same applies to the final example belonging to this category, a papyrus from Turin with the Hymn to Hapi.77 It also mentions a temple in its colophon, more specifically the mortuary temple of Ramesses IV:

  • iw=s […]n tA Hw.t nsw bity HqA-mAat-ra stp.n […]It is […]of the Temple of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Heqa-Maat-Ra Beloved-of-[…]

Although the colophon is fragmentary, it seems clear that the n, “of”, was preceded by the word sS, “scribe”, and thus that the location is part of the title.

The association with temples is also apparent in another colophon that cannot be added to one of the three categories due to its fragmentary state. It concerns the colophon of the Blinding of Truth by Falsehood.78 At some point it states iw=f […] Hw.t, “while he […] temple”. To whom the =f refers is uncertain, but it probably does not indicate the King, since in such cases iw=tw is used, as we have seen above. A little further on one reads Hw.t nsw […], “the Temple of the King […]”. The name of the King in question has been lost, but the following lacuna ends with the word imn, “Amun”, which may be the final word in the expression m pr imn, “in the domain of Amun”, a common addition in the names of royal memorial temples in the Ramesside period. Thus it seems a mortuary temple also features in this colophon.

Taking all of the above into account CGT 54019 may be added to the third category, i.e. the mortuary temple occurs here as part of a title, either of the scribe who copied the text or the person to whom the text was dedicated. This assumption is not only based on statistical grounds, but also on the close parallel with the Turin papyrus containing the Hymn to Hapi. Furthermore, the title “scribe of + mortuary temple” occurs more often. Another example of someone holding this title is Pentaweret who is called a sS n tA Hw.t nsw bity wsr-mAat-ra stp-n-ra m pr imn, thus a scribe of the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramesses II in Thebes.79

7 Social context

From circumstantial evidence, including titles of scribes like the ones mentioned above, we know that scriptoria (i.e. places connected to scribal activities) such as the House of Life or the House of Books were associated with temples.80 Nevertheless it has been proven difficult to archaeologically identify the structures where these scribal activities took place within the precincts of the temples. Literary material was found at the site of various mortuary temples on the West Bank. In the mud-brick buildings surrounding the Ramesseum fragments of literary papyri were discovered, which point to the existence of an archive or library there.81 Furthermore, excavations in the southwestern area of the temple have yielded the remnants of 17 small chambers with a forecourt attached. Many ostraca were found there, including literary ones. The excavators identified this structure as a school (a.t-sbA), possibly in combination with a House of Life,82 but this has been debated by other scholars, criticising the fact that the identification as a school is solely based on the presence of literary material at the site.83 The same applies to the mortuary temple of Amenhotep II. Two literary ostraca (one containing The Teaching of Khety, the other The Teaching of Amenemhat) were discovered near the west wall of the temple in proximity to each other, together with an administrative ostracon and several figured ostraca. For this area it has also been suggested it functioned as a school, but again the evidence is sparse.84 An ostracon containing both Khety and Amenemhat was found in the outbuildings belonging to the mortuary temple of Thutmosis III. Recent excavations have revealed yet more literary ostraca at the site, including five copies of Khety. One area in particular yielded a concentration of literary ostraca, but there is not enough evidence to identify it as a place of teaching because of the archaeological context: the area contained spoil heaps from previous excavations.85 However, it is likely that some form of training took place in and around temples, if not in the formal setting of a school, then in the form of learning on the job.86 For example, the literary ostraca that were found in the mortuary temple of Merenptah often contain texts written in twofold, one by an experienced hand, the other by a less124 skillful one, indicating that one-on-one teaching took place within the temple precinct.87 Interesting in this respect is another ostracon with a duplicate text of P. Anastasi V, 10, 3–7 (Miscellanies). It is addressed by the scribe of the temple of Amenhotep (I) Pahemnetjer (sS Hw.t-nTr n pr n imn-Htp a-w-s pA-Hm-nTr) to his apprentice or assistant (Xry-a=f), the scribe and sem-priest Paimiraperhedj.88 The term Xry-a may point to an educational context, although this does not necessarily has to be the case.89

All in all, the presence of literary material at these sites shows that literary activities were being conducted within the enclosures of mortuary temples, which probably also served as places of training for young scribes. The colophon of CGT 54019 indicates that the papyrus was written by or for a scribe connected to the mortuary temple of Ramesses III. It is likely that the temple was also the place where the text was produced. Thus within the precincts of the temple of Medinet Habu there also existed a place where (literary) texts were copied, as in the other mortuary temples discussed above.


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