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Ancient Egyptian Literature

Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume III: The Late Period

Miriam Lichtheim
With a New Foreword by Joseph G. Manning
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 2
Pages: 253
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pp5vf
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  • Book Info
    Ancient Egyptian Literature
    Book Description:

    First published in 1973 – and followed by Volume II in 1976 and Volume III in 1980 – this anthology has assumed classic status in the field of Egyptology and portrays the remarkable evolution of the literary forms of one of the world’s earliest civilizations. Volume I outlines the early and gradual evolution of Egyptian literary genres, including biographical and historical inscriptions carved on stone, the various classes of literary works written with pen on papyrus, and the mortuary literature that focuses on life after death. Introduced with a new foreword by Antonio Loprieno. Volume II shows the culmination of these literary genres within the single period known as the New Kingdom (1550-1080 B.C.). With a new foreword by Hans-W. Fischer-Elfert. Volume III spans the last millennium of Pharaonic civilization, from the tenth century B.C. to the beginning of the Christian era. With a new foreword by Joseph G. Manning.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93307-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Chronology of the Late Period
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations and Symbols
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Foreword to the 2006 Edition
    (pp. xv-xxvi)
    Joseph G. Manning

    It is now twenty-five years since the publication of the third volume ofAncient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings (AEL), and that this remains a prime source for Egyptian literature and history in the first millennium BCE is a fine testament to the scholar who produced it.¹ Each of the three volumes ofAELis a remarkable achievement in its own right; as a whole they are among the most famous volumes in English-speaking Egyptology, and they are still in regular use in courses on Egyptian history and civilization.

    Miriam Lichtheim received her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University...

  6. Introduction

    • The Uses of the Past
      (pp. 3-10)

      The last millennium of Pharaonic civilization, the time from the end of the New Kingdom to Egypt’s conversion to Christianity, is a complex period consisting of several distinct phases. In the past this long and eventful stretch of history has often been summarily treated as a phase of decline, in keeping with the tendency in much past and recent historiography of interpreting ancient civilizations in terms of “rise and decline.” Now the Late Period is being studied perceptively, and there is also a more refined understanding of the currents that transformed the civilizations of the ancient Near East into the...

  7. PART ONE: Texts in the Classical Language

    • I. Biographical Inscriptions
      (pp. 13-65)

      The dignitaries who administered Thebes and the Thebaid during the Post-Imperial epoch, under a rapid succession of kings and under the changeless governance of Amun of Thebes, are represented here byDjedkhonsefankh, Nebneteru, Harwa,andMontemhet,all four members of the clergy of Amun. The first two served kings of the Twenty-second Dynasty, while the last two held office under the Twenty-fifth (Nubian) Dynasty.

      With the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, which hailed from Sais, the center of power was once again in the north. The restoring activities of the Saite Dynasty are illustrated by the biography ofPeftuaneith, who records his work...

    • II. Royal Inscriptions
      (pp. 66-89)

      The greatVictory Stela of King Piye,on which the king narrates his conquest of all of Egypt, is the foremost historical inscription of the Late Period. It equals the New Kingdom Annals of Thutmosis III in factualness and surpasses them in vividness. It also paints the portrait of a Nubian king who was forceful, shrewd, and generous. He meant to rule Egypt but he preferred treaties to warfare, and when he fought he did not glory in the slaughter of his adversaries in the manner of an Assyrian king. Like all members of his egyptianized dynasty, he was extremely...

    • III. Two Pseudepigrapha
      (pp. 90-103)

      The two monumental inscriptions known as theBentresh Stelaand theFamine Stelaare examples of a genre that appears to have been favored in the Late Period. They are propagandistic works composed by priests that are disguised as royal inscriptions of much earlier times, the purpose of the disguise being to enhance their authority.

      A stela of black sandstone, 2.22 x 1.09 m, found in 1829 in a small, no longer extant, Ptolemaic sanctuary near the temple of Khons erected at Karnak by Ramses III. The stela was brought to Paris in 1844. The scene in the lunette shows...

    • IV. Hymns and Lamentations
      (pp. 104-122)

      The hymns translated inAncient Egyptian Literature,Vols. I and II, came from private funerary monuments—tombs, stelae, and statues—or were preserved on papyrus. By contrast, the hymns given here are inscribed on the walls of temples. That is to say, they were cult hymns that formed part of the temple ceremonial. The well-preserved temples of the Greco-Roman period, notably those of Philae, Edfu, Dendera, and Esna, are especially rich in such hymns.

      TheLamentations of Isis and Nephthys,addressed to Osiris, also came from the temple cult of the god. But the work translated here is written on...

  8. PART TWO: Demotic Literature

    • [PART TWO: Introduction]
      (pp. 125-218)

      This is a sequence of two stories built around the personality of Prince Khamwas, the fourth son of King Ramses II. The historical Prince Khamwas had been high priest of Ptah at Memphis, and in that capacity he had been in charge of the Memphite temples and cemeteries. We possess a number of objects inscribed with his name that bear witness to his activities as builder and restorer of sacred monuments. In his lifetime he also acquired fame as a very learned sage. After his death, the popular imagination shaped his memory into that of a powerful magician. And the...

  9. Indexes
    (pp. 221-228)