Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts

The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts

James P. Allen
  • Book Info
    The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
    Book Description:

    Completely revised and updated

    James P. Allen provides a translation of the oldest corpus of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the six royal pyramids of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties (ca. 2350-2150 BCE). Allen's revisions take into account recent advances in the understanding of Egyptian grammar.


    Sequential translations based on all available sources, including texts newly discovered in the last decadeTexts numbered according to the most widely used numbering system with new numbers from the latest 2013 concordanceTranslations reflect the primarily atemporal verbal system of Old Egyptian, which conveys the timeless quality that the text's authors understood the texts to have

    eISBN: 978-1-62837-116-1
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Religion

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  2. Series Editor’s Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Theodore J. Lewis

    Writings from the Ancient World is designed to provide up-to-date, readable English translations of writings recovered from the ancient Near East.

    The series is intended to serve the interests of general readers, students, and educators who wish to explore the ancient Near Eastern roots of Western civilization or to compare these earliest written expressions of human thought and activity with writings from other parts of the world. It should also be useful to scholars in the humanities or social sciences who need clear, reliable translations of ancient Near Eastern materials for comparative purposes. Specialists in particular areas of the ancient...

  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    At the end of the old kingdom, the interior walls of ancient Egyptian pyramids were inscribed with a series of ritual and magic spells, known to modern scholarship as the Pyramid Texts. These inscriptions constitute the oldest body of Egyptian religious writings; usually literary in form and language, they are also the oldest representatives of Egyptian literature. In both respects, the Pyramid Texts are primary sources for the history of ancient Egyptian thought and its relationship to that of the biblical world.

    To date, Pyramid Texts have been found in the tombs of eleven kings and queens at Saqqara, the...

  4. I The Pyramid Texts of Unis
    (pp. 17-68)

    The corpus of Pyramid Texts inscribed in the pyramid of Unis, last king of the Fifth Dynasty (ca. 2353–2323 b.c.), is the oldest, smallest, and best preserved of the Old Kingdom sources. It was also the first to be discovered and published in modern times, and its texts have received more scholarly attention than those of other sources.

    Perhaps because of its priority, the corpus of Unis’s texts was regarded as the most canonical by the Egyptians themselves. All of its spells except for PT 200 exist in copies of the Middle Kingdom and later, and these generally follow...

  5. II The Pyramid Texts of Teti
    (pp. 69-100)

    The pyramid of teti, first king of the Sixth Dynasty (ca. 2323–2291 b.c.), is similar in size to that of Unis, but its Pyramid Texts are both more extensive and less well preserved. Six of the fourteen inscribed walls in its substructure have been destroyed. These include the north and south walls of the burial chamber and antechamber, and the walls of the entrance corridor, all of which now exist mostly as disjointed fragments. The fragments have been recovered by a series of French expeditions in the last century but remain mostly unpublished.¹ As a result, the order and...

  6. III The Pyramid Texts of Pepi I
    (pp. 101-208)

    The Pyramid Texts of Pepi I, third king of the Sixth Dynasty (ca. 2289–2255 b.c.), are the most extensive of all Pyramid Texts sources. In addition to locations used in earlier pyramids, the king’s editors added texts in the outer corridor, vestibule, and ascending corridor, filling a total of 2,263 columns and lines of text, almost ten percent more than in Pepi II’s pyramid, the next largest, and three and a half times more than in Unis’s, the smallest. Pepi I’s corpus also set a new standard for the layout and content of spells, which was largely followed by...

  7. IV The Pyramid Texts of Merenre
    (pp. 209-234)

    Like those of Teti, the Pyramid Texts of Merenre, successor of Pepi I and fourth king of the Sixth Dynasty (ca. 2255–2246 b.c.), are both fragmentary and as yet incompletely published. In the substructure of Merenre’s pyramid, twenty walls are known or presumed to have been inscribed with texts, but only half of these have survived more or less intact.¹ The location and sequence of Merenre’s Pyramid Texts are therefore subject to the same uncertainties noted for Teti’s corpus.

    Merenre’s texts continue Pepi I’s practice of referring to the king by his throne name (Nemtiemzaf “Nemti is His Aegis”)...

  8. V The Pyramid Texts of Pepi II
    (pp. 235-300)

    Fifth king of the Sixth Dynasty, Pepi II ruled for nearly a century (ca. 2246–2152 bc). The substructure of his pyramid is slightly smaller than that of Pepi I but better preserved: with the exception of the south wall of the antechamber,¹ its inscribed walls have either survived largely intact or have been reconstructed to the point that their contents are known.

    As in Merenre’s texts, the king is referred to by his throne name, Neferkare (“Perfect One of the Sun’s Ka”), as well as his personal name. The two names usually appear together, with the throne name second,...

  9. VI The Pyramid Texts of Queen Neith
    (pp. 301-324)

    Daughter of Pepi I, sister of Merenre, and wife of Pepi II, Neith was the first of three queens buried beneath subsidiary pyramids around the pyramid of Pepi II. The substructure of her tomb and those of the other two queens were inscribed with Pyramid Texts, as in the king’s pyramid. The walls in the pyramids of Iput II and Wedjebetni have been reduced to a number of fragments, but those of Neith’s tomb have survived largely intact. The corpus of her Pyramid Texts, in fact, is second only to that of Unis in its state of preservation.

    The substructure...

  10. VII Pyramid Texts of Other Queens
    (pp. 325-328)

    The Pyramid Texts of other Old Kingdom queens contain in some cases spells that do not seem to have been present in other Old Kingdom corpora. Among the texts published to date, two spells (PT *774–75) from the pyramid of Queen Ankhenes-Pepi II, wife of Pepi I, and several unnumbered fragments from those of Pepi II’s queens Iput II and Wedjebetni contain enough text to make a translation of interest and feasible. These few spells are presented below.

    *774 Recitation. Raise yourself, hasten! Receive this your bread that your son and heir has fetched to you. The canals are...

  11. Index of Spells
    (pp. 375-382)