60. BAND





The Autobiography

of Rekbmel'e'.

{60. Band.

The Autobiography of Rekhmere\



The subject of this paper is the sadly battered inscription published by NEWBERRY in PIs. and VIIl of his admirable volume "'l'he Life of Rekhmara", It occupies the southern end-wall of the tomb of Tuthmosis HI's famous vizier, and comprises forty-five lines of hieroglyphs painted in green upon a plaster surface. To quote NEWBERRY's description, "unfortunately several flaws in the rock have caused pieces of the wall to fall, and much of the surface plaster has flaked away from the lower half of the inscription. No early copy of the text exists, and as far back as 1828 it seems to have been in the same ruinous condition; CHAM:POLLION, writing in that year, states that it was 'presque invisible'. Viray made no attempt to copy it, and contented himself by remarking it 'est trop effacee pour etre etudiee utilement"'. Praiseworthy as was NEWBERRY'Seffort to save the inscription from complete oblivion, his standard of accuracy here falls far short of that shown in his copies of the other long texts of the tomb: I can testify to the wonderful care that has been bestowed upon the inscriptions recording the duties and the installation of the vizier. lt- was doubtless for this reason that SETHI<: entirely neglected the tomb of Rekhmere' during his brief but extraordinarily fruitful copying campaign at Thebes in 1905. HETHE's edition of tho inscription here treated (Urkunden IV, 1071-8;") derives it." value wholly from the acute restorations which it embodies; for the rest, it depends entirely upon Nl'~WU"~RltY. During the winter of 1909-10 T devoted many hours to collating the text with the publication, and in the following season I made a fresh revision. A careful examination of the wall showed that in a large number of cases where the actual signs have perished, nevertheless the surrounding plaster has preserved their contours either entire or in part. Whether these silhouettes, as they may perhaps be called, are due to some chemical in the paint having disintegrated the underlying plaster. or whether it was the weight of the paint which has caused the plaster to flake and fall, I do not know. In my manuscript I carefully noted what signs are still wholly or partly preserved, and what signs have merely left silhouettes. In the present article, however, I shall make no serious attempt to indicate these differences. As a rule 1 shall employ cross-hatching to mark signs which are recognizable only from fra.gments; a few critical notes will deal with particular difficulties of reading. It is not without hesitation that I describe this inscription as an autobiography, for of specific events in his career Rekhmere has recorded but one, namely his promotion to the highest magistracy in the land. But there are many kinds of autobiography, and the sample before us seems a good specimen of what the Egyptians considered that an autobiography should be. The writer, whether it was Rekhmere himself or another, has evidently lavished unstinting pains upon this composition, for the text has been corrected at several points in red ink. It abounds in unusual words and phrases, and the imagery chosen is more coloured than the Egyptians were wont to use. In selecting this inscription as my tribute to the eminent scholar .


Band 60.]

A. H. GAB.DINEB;The Autobiograpby

of Rekhmer~(.


teacher and friend whom we are seeking here to. honour, I had in mind the delight, not untinged with irony, with which he is apt to welcome such flowery oases amid the desert tracts of formula and titulary that form the great bulk 0.1' thehieroglyphic texts. That I can bring no. better preserved offering I greatly regret; but Egyptian literature is a mere collection of rags and tatters, and its adepts have long since gro.wn accustomed to. be thankful fur small mercies. A few preliminary remarks are necessary before we turn to the text itself. In my collation I unfortunately failed to. indicate at all points the difference between the god-determinative and the king-determinative; these I have, notwithstanding, distinguished below, In the copy given below the original position of the signs is, as a rule, retained; but there are a few deviations due to Hill oversight on my part. It should be noted that in the original an occupies 5 em, while ~ and <:::::> o.ccupy each about 4,5 em. In my comments on the individual passages I shall occasionally quote suggestions by SETHE, sent to me in 1910, immediately after my first copying of the texts.

There is nothing very distinctive in this first section, beyond the rare words sb~ and sdg (cf. Urk. IV, 501, 5). For w' mn~ 11 smn~ sw compare mlt~ ib It smnfJ SUI in nne of the two. large stelae in the tomb of Djehuti (no. 110). The titles "steward of stewards" and "steward of [Amlin]" here given to Rekhmere' do.not appear to occur elsewhere among his titles. In juxtaposition to "houses of gold" /J1'U}'''''w (cf. Urk. IV, 1143, 9) was possibly understood as "houses of silver"; in the lacuna restore some such word as dmtj, SETHE's proposal, The principal titles and name of Bekhmere' have been intentionally erased.

(1) The hereditary and local prince, steward of stezeards; master 0/ the mysteries who enters into the sanctuary, from 'whom god has fenced awa)' nothint, nor is there aught of which he is ignora1tt in heaue« or earth or ilt any recess 0/ tke Itdherw(wld; sm-priest in the House of Flame (the national temple of Lower Egypt); wr-mrw priest in the Great House (the national temple of Upper Egypt); (2) [c01ttrolle1'] of all ceremonial robes; judge oj the Six High Courts; director 0/ every di'walt (~f the ki1tg; he was u1tz'quely useful to him who made him useful; cOIlC£l£atory il1 giving Jitdgement; foster-child of the King of Upper Egypt; follower 0/ the King 0/ Lower Egypt; attendant of Horus; (3) [Horus] in ht's house; under whose signet-ring are [united(1) and] bound together the houses of gold and tlte houses of silver(?); the steward of [Amit1l , Rekhmerl].

A. H.


The Autobiography of Rekhmer~·.

(60. Bud

b) Beg....

'n. of the autoblegraphy ru
at 41t,... "I.ul.. .._, ..,.b kl.


~::c~=-qll ~tI,i;;b.ldttl 1rll(l~~v~
.. tw



g i~

(.... I..ll._ Ji"",". J. c


4..... ..1.

1-" ~

He said: I am a noble second (only) to the kitlg,fourth (only) to the judge of the Two Comrades; one advanced (4) of place t'nprt'vate (audience): one who is praised at every hour; ...... , , : foremost in the estimai£on of the common folk. Bekhmere' dwells with satisfaction upon hi'! exalted rank and reputation. That he describes himself as second to the king is comprehensible, but the epithet "fourth of the judge of the Two Comrades" is extravagant, even for an Egyptian. The allusion is, of course, to Thoth, who settled the dispute between Horus and Seth; Bekhmere' claims to come next after these three gods, if, as is probable, "fourth" and not "third" is to be read; logically the expression should read: "fourth of the 'fwo Comrades and of their judge". Rather similar uses of the word "fourth" occur in Pyr. 316, 1458. For the lacuna SETHE suggests some such restoration as Jl~r 1tt 1'1] 11 'nlJYlv «excellent in the opinion of the living".

c) Rekhmerec,s promotion to the rank of vizier



~~~-l.==. ~~~A 1:AM fll4i,l\l't.gl-t~?.!:
,.... J,..4-. -11.1t

!.l~l~"'~.Io~~r-~ :?<'c>I.lC;7~:~(o~ ,e~ilL:i:1t1<.-.l~~;;~~e~L)\i~ 12zi~~


<':f~t(:= ~~1i~\.lL~ ~~~<'f~ :'i"I;rlt.~9l~'~41·'('...11!.~ tlF sse

1 ..


• tit ,....." .~.~I:H..,J
a.. ~J.

kl • .,. .1-4. ....

,1. ....

, .... of

/" It... t:

'I' ....... t" ~

..., ' ...t "'\.1 £

""~;rt.., ~

I-t, ...'

~.A. ~.,.[~!:!§J(ha.J(


{,... ( (..c

.1, ....

,·.t f

l1~u ,,/.4.1

rlcl.tU....IA .. /

···i -",_.

.... t,u

ft.... 0'.

It was the first time that I 'was summoned; all my b,'others toere amid the outer thousand(W), I issued forth(5) .... , clad in festive attire(~); [the mtourage rejot'ced?] ouer me; I reached tlte door of tlte Gate; the courtiers bent their backs. I found the e"lers(6) of the entrance cleart'1tg the way (for me). . My unsdos« 'l(.'a.~not as -it had beell, my appearance of yesterday had altered itself, since my z:~'suittgjcwth i,t tlt8 adormttents(7) [of the t;lzzt'er],bei11g [pr011l0ted~1 the priest of as T1"1I11t.. Thus tuas my praise established i,l the m£dst of g'Ylai and small; I looked upon everyon8 as(f) the glaze(~) if walls(8) 'wrought with Bekhmere' here refers to the great event of his life, his appointment to the offi(}6 of vizier; with ehamcteristic Oriental ostentation he dwells principally upon the effect which he produced when issuing triumphantly from the audience-chamber. /j1 -rwty: this I formerly rendered "the outer hall", thinking to have seen some example of 11 "office" without a determinative. Now I have serious doubts, Bekhmart appears to be describing events in and around the royal palace; but 1J3 means


Band 60.]

A. H. GABDIND: The Autobiography

of Rekbmere'.


specifically an office, a dz"wan, where administrative work was performed; what exactly could be meant by "the outer office" hereP For this reason I prefer to take Iji as "thousand" "multitude"; Bekhmere' goes to the royal audience-chamber, while his brothers, less honoured, remain without among the masses. The restoration of the next sentence is difficult. The lacuna is too smaIl for ~ or which would have yielded w1zlj·/roA "1 am clad". SETHE proposed


[~] ~,

but that seems out of place.

The trace after the signs ~

to me. Later on, we should probably read word Pyr. 1612.

.l_ ~ rn&l

suggests nothing

or the like, see for the

The nature of the (varr. c~) does not seem to have been clearly defined. Etymologically the word means "g<lte", and in its special significance appears to mean the "gate" just outside the palace (1), where a public court was held. MAX MULLER has collected some of the principal passages Az. 26, 90. His example from a Munich stela is instructive, since on the one hand "the treasurers of the palace" are named in parallelism with "the habitues (,t!!W) of the 'rrvt", and both are said to witness the introduction .of the owner of the stela into the palace. The mention of the "courtiers" here likewise shows the dose connection between "palace" and "Gate". The Haremhab decree juxtaposes "the words of the palace" and "the laws of the Gate", 'and Antef, "the chief herald of the "rryt" (Urk, IV, 965) doubtless had to announce the decrees of Pharaoh to the people just outside the royal residence - he is called "the speaking tongue of him who is in the castle" (ib. 968, 7). In the reign of Harnesses II a priestly court is called "the ~1tbt of the ryt of Pharaoh" (Az. 17, 72). Moreover, the "duties of the vizier" inscription emphasizes the distinction between Rekhmere'ts own administrati ve "bureau" (h?) and the 'rryt, whither he is to take special charges against officials (Urk, IV, f107, 5; 1108, 4); and it is the vizier "who appoints every appointment to (:1') the (tate" (ib. 1114, 5); other references in the same inscription speak of the "food-offerings" (drpt) of the "rryt (ib. 1115, 1), its "affairs" (mdt, 111~), 11) and it" "door-keeper" (iry-\ 1117, 1). In the Eloquent Peasant (B 1, 35) the high steward Rensi embarks on "a boat of the rryt" doubtless to go to the palace. From all these passages the close connection of gate, place of judgement and palace is apparent. Whether there is ah ellipse of ·sn in !!?m·n(slz) s?·sn or whether !!?m n is here intransitive is doubtful; the former alternative seems to me the more probable. SETlfE's restoration smsto hyt was brilliantly confirmed by my re-examination of the original; he would complete the sentence with s[t?! m ~h"l] "made clear the way which was difficult in my sight", but this seems very improbable. Whether I have done right to take SS?W· z and *m(?) t 1t sf as subjects of the following clauses in anticipatory emphasis is perhaps not quite certain. For the restoration /!:krw [IZU!

g~ ~ ~

5~ ~~ ~ ~, ~

quotes ~ I~ I ~I ~~. ~ Q~ MAR., Cat. gen. d'Abyd. 408. A verb meaning "promote" must have stood in the following lacuna, but the traces do not point to dhn. For. /J(wrw "short" see Rec, 3!l, 108; "tall (~iUl) and short (ljw<w)" here is evidently, as GUNN points out, a variation of' W1~W nr!sw "great and small"; but 1 am not clear as to whether it can legitimately refer to rank ("high and low"), rather than to age and physical stature. The last sentence is utterly obscure; it would yield some sense if for dgg· i we were to read dgg n· i "all people
{U'}'] SETHE
1) Urk. IV, 1113, 6 mentions,
7.eitsebr. f. AgYPt. Spr, 60. Band.

==[~ "l
however, a


!!:i or

the palace.


A. H. GAllDUfD: The Autobiograpby of Rekhmere'.

[60. Banel.

looked at me as the glaze of walls wrought with turquoise", £. e. looked upon me as a brilliant spectacle. A "gate of tlJn" is spoken of LEp8., Totb. 146, 26; the restoration b.?k is uncertain.

d)... The audience with Pharaoh rn 8-10).

'atf!l~ ~f(*~<D~fhr~=g\zlii<-=:r~_ ~~.!!. J) .......... 1...JI.. ...... JJ .Jo (\ ;1 -.0 ~~ _ T' _"1IIL..%:If!J:? _ ,-~'A. '-.: r,. 1 ¥ '\_,'2Jle __



"' __

. [~~~it *..

_,.l"':IY 1-"

II nd


a .. '" -+D......
t tJI


~~:!1<f~7te ~~l-:'o' t.., /4u" "_Jv.,,, -I _ A... <.! r... ( ... ~



Jlt ....

When a second [day1 had dawned [and the morrow had come, then I 'was summoned] aga£n to the presence of the good god, the king Menkheperre (may he l£ve for ever), even Horus, the strong bull appearing in Thebes. Lo, His ilfajesty knows what happens; there is indeed nothing oj which he is ig1zorant. (9) He is Thoth in every regard. There is no matter which he has jazled to discern. . [he is acquailltedl 11JZ'tht after the fashion of the Majesty of Seshat (the goddess of i writing). He cha1tges the design into its execution like a god 'who ordains and performs. His Majesty opened hz's mOZl,th,and spoke his words (l0) in my presence. On the morrow of Hekhmere'<s appointment, he was summoned to the royal presence, and some further words of advice were given to him. Before quoting these, Rekhmere' expatiates, in the time-honoured way (cf Sinuhe B, 214f.~ Urk. IV, 19), on the wisdom of tho king; probably the words ist !pm f 1'1 1prt (identically Urk. IV, 502, 16) are a generalization, and do not refer to Pharaoh's knowledge of the way in which Rekhmere'ts appointment had been acclaimed by the people. R tt" 11 seems to he known only from this passage; but cf. r tp 1l in the Gurob contract XZ. 4H, 28. For "perceive" see my Admonitions p. 107. At the end of the lacuna. one is tempted to restore lJs?W sJ'lV im f; but this assumes a preceding emphasized masculine noun to which the suffix of imf would refer. Whether I have rightly caught the meaning of Jb.Mf (see Adm. p. 77) etc. is uncertain, but tIt and b.?k,s are associated below in 1. 35; for the last words cf. ntr J?w ~pr "<1 god who ordains and it is done", Urk. IV, 351, 5. For the construction of 'Wpt see my grammar § 406; it is quite uncertain whether it is infinitive or sclmtj form.


e) Pharaoh'. words (11. 10-11).

!li q~ll~~~t;A~
• -.. La~"k. .l/tDtt..

ffi.!. ~ ~;.: di: r;l:W~JWJ~

f~~<:7'~~-c..~l :=:<=>~.lG1..A-:fl<-~~~ _Jj,q ~1iL~ rJit <afc;lrfirq S;~~~
me to

-t1~~ 11L'.L{ G1 Y l1:::q~~ni

"Behold, my eyes saul



as My Majesty(~)) knows

that tiecist'ons are 'ma,1)' alld there is 110 e11d to the111~ and that the judgement of pleas ntJ'l/er ceases. 0 that thou ma),st ad as I say; then will Justt'ce rest £tz. he'r place".

Band 60.]

A. H. GA.BDINlIB: The Alltobiography


Do not slacken.

The opening sentence is ambiguous; at first sight it. appears to mean that Pharaoh's observations with his eyes led him to deliberate with his heart how the needs which he perceived could be remedied; and the next sentence, the restoration of which is quite problematical, would contain the gist of those observations. But the transition to the second person singular would then be very abrupt. Is it not conceivable that "my heart" is here an epithet which Pharaoh applies to Rekhmere' himself? In 1. 16 Bekhmere' actually calls himself "the heart of the Lord". Only this way of interpreting the sentence does full justice to the emphatic introductory words mk is. The phrase hi r n must mean "flag", fail", ';cease" or the like. For the negation n srim·nf in generalizations see my grammar § 105, 8. SI.J111-lry, the reading of' which seems certain. must be somehow connected with the compound noun s4m-irf "man in authority", for which see ERM., Gramm." § 186, 3. In the Hittite treaty of Bamesses II., 11. 33. 36 we find ll/ bn "charge a, crime" agaiust someone. s'1/ having a meaning akin to that of Coptic coo~.:; perhaps so here.

(11) He admonished me Rebuke [evU~r.

V"" much:

"Gird thyself, be energetic(?).

1) Rekhmeri'8 fulfilment of the royal command (11. 11-13).

qi~!... ~c~~.L~£~~~ ~~;~~I?~ §.Lm~~tJjfJ$~i ~I;p~£ ;!~~7 i.,~~;;;;o"'_ *~~r--:--i..i1(~S£ 'iir<q-<'~!.~l\....i.~~.J q.!~Jt.q,{ ~~.~.l.<f1Jo':q~~*l
I c:::::;:r
& •••••

oq~~D 0 -.a."l2 G1
(' a.. t":" .... ~




"" D

..AI V \":f) '-j ,




w,.,.. (1«1"""1 ;u'$

/ .... 1,.

'1~_.;If., jdJ.v..;lu.....

~ /ut .ruli~").7~':'-' J

pa' i4


, _,,, _t

<IIoAIt, h -- , '1f.!!J"

tL 11..~t.;./4«.A./4,... s,(j(, j t'tI'Y,c!;i,

1/. •.

I .lie..

. . . . . . . . . . . . according as he had ordained. He /:ave me a staff (~f offict'a!s under my authority; there 'was none 'Iolto could brO'l.obeatme. Then J strode fot'llt, putting (12) stick on back; the do.[{s zoere not let loose; 11Iy uoice tu'ml uP) to heaven. There was none [who] rebel. The malcontent, I propitiated ht-m 'loith hz:~ des-ires, by bring£ng 10' pass that WhtreUl£11the should be pleased. IPeople saidl to me: "Come", said they, "to make flourish (13) tlu condition 0./ the two lands". Every business of weal to the body(~), J rose early 10 pe1jorm tl e7/eY1'day. For ksm see BLACKMAN, Meir I, p. 27, n. 3; another good example, CHAS8INAT, Fouilles de Qattah, p. 45. The sense is certainly stronger than "turn away", BLACKMAN'!.; rendering; "tyrannize over" or "browbeat" seems nearer the mark. The image contained in the next sentence is far from clear. The words I.JI 41' psd recur in 1. 30, where the picture seems to be that of a cowherd, Perhaps the notion to be conveyed is that Rekhmere' exerted a compelling influence over people without hounding them down. This agrees with the account given later I If his attitude towards the malcontent (btn-J.b). Hrtf is rightly quoted by GUNN (Studies, p. 9.) as an example of the "prospective" relative form. Whether w[rj:?l n It' is really the right restoration is uncertain.


A. H.


The AutobiosraPhy of Rekhmerl.

[60. Band.


-,..... ~.",.tL ..'7 ~...

:athave ~~lthe .: C=Ll~~r~~r J1 ~ it is.fj~~.to 1divide nottjdremember ~ seen verb Ifnb elsewhere. Whether right do m J;w J;ww, to
or whether we have here the verb tjdJ;, seems doubtful; in 1. 29 similar words occur, unfortunately without throwing light on the sense here. The phrase mdwy im f tjw is usually translated "he who speaks evil against him"; I believe, however, that here and elsewhere (Pyr. 16) tjw is an adverb "evilly"; otherwise how to account for the word-order and for tbe lack of the feminine ending?

I was , / [saw] his person in his (real) form; Rt the lord of heaven, the kt"ng of the two lands when he rises, the solar disk when he shows h£mselj, at whose place are [Black] Land and Red Land, the":r cht'eftains (14) inclining tlumselves to him, all Egyptians, all men of fam£ly, all the common folk Iasso£ng him who attacks h£m or d£sputes with him. My name was(?) smiter of the smiter ..... , str£king h£m who spoke evilly against him. The restoration of the word [mr.]n.1 is based upon Leyden V 1 (Dyn, XIX)

h) Rekhmeri


a beneficent ruler rn,



, ~'1.,.'

~~A J'F>.lJt If _.J l'..tr-'.~ '11 "'" 1/ ~..f.CLA: ~~~%0~

, ::;5$i_~1!.ifl~~

'.(J;\tGloqy T~~~:-:.~~~-t~~i#l<.~t~J~~t'~lb~A

*,··Y,1f/'-~ - ~-~Jl'I <::::I>'C70D~_Q.rtJ


~!!!.~~ ~,~

~ ~~ A~W¥~t<O~

»~l\f.o- ,J:1 Jf 5 04Q,&J.



(15) He appoi1tted me as the proverbial(~) stick to chastise kim wlto was . . . . . . . . .. the balance of the entire land keepl'ng arz'ghl their hearts in accordance 'with the plumb-Nne. Those who 'were '{.Iadllating of heart, lacking £n (16) straightness, them the . . . . . of Horus(~) curbed. Whosoever was laden with his sorrows was contented. . . . . . . . .. My mouth was natron, Leniency was pure £n my lips. It is difficult to render this obscure passage in a way that is at once literal and intelligible. The lacuna after mdw is smaller than marked by Nf~WBERRY; one thinks of ,'tdw i ?to "staff of old age", but it is improbable that any sign is lost. If, as I suspect, n mdt here means either "proverbial" or "famous", it may perhaps have the same meaning in Peas. B 1, 98. The verb btlntjn seems unknown from any other source, like the preceding rmrm. For the next sentence see my note JEA 9, 10, n. 4. The broken sign before 'lly can hardly he 5, for to read 11sIlty nb Npw m m3i(r)w f would involve far too flagrant a combination of singular and plural. The only possible alternative seems to be to read ~' n Hr; but what ssp n f:lr means is unknown to me. f:ls"m "natron" was used for purificatory purposes; perhaps the statement was intended tha.t Bekhmere' was candid or honest of mouth; "leniency

Band 60.J

A. H. GABDIND: The Autobiography of Rekhmerec•


was pure in my lips" might. mean tha.t it was sincerely meant, or untainted less desirable traits.

i) Rekhmerir'8 relation to the king (II. 16-19).

rl~iE> ~~i~:::q;t'<Y ~::rt~~T ~~~,~-.::~~ ql~itc:' ~!'-:~~ ~~ y ~~l.¢il~(_t~ 19"'~~/(_ta~~~-t~~ .fj~~f~ ~~lTl ~7Hl_::'~~~M~-;%.lHJ· ~ll!;f?'ilb"", ~~~Oo;;-~.\ '? ~.~'

~ ~ R""'" 'J:2~ _ ~.. J.,·IL• .t.4:_


~oJJ\tr..e J.d 9 ~ .~f\-L. '1:Z -A lj •• •~ ~ ~~:v ~ ,;,. ... ..1..
1-.... ,
.U'c_. Ii...'_ .Uc_

II -A..o, _"'/I.o


eo"4/' .. _2.. I ~

~;':~.«I~~~ ~/..;j,( ..1J':.I'~"'~




1 am the heart of the Lord, the ears and eyes of the Sm1creiglt. (17) Behold, 1 am h£s very ozo« skipper, I blOW 110tsletp by 1z£ght or day. 1 spmd my l~lf., my heart bdng occupied w,zth tht' prO'w-rofe and the stern-rope, and the ttller(t) is not absent from m" hands. I am 'l£latchfu! for any chance of stra1tdtlzg. What(~) is the king (18) of Upper Egypt? What(,O £s the king oj Lozoer Egypt1 He is a god by 'whose dealings one lives. [He is 1 the fatlle" and the mother lof all me1t]; alone by h£mse/f, 'li.!'ithout n equal. I d£d(?) not cause eoil to 07/erC01ne a me. There was(?) 110 neglect of mine £11 (19) evzl casco This interesting passage is full of rare or unknown words, the more valuable since their meaning can be approximately guessed. For the idiom (// IJ.ms see Rec. 24, 182 and below 1. 30. In my translation of the Eloquent Peasant (.lEA 9, 17, n. 10) I have rendered c43-mw as "boat-hook"; it now seems to me that the word is more probably a poetic synonym of IJ.mul "tiller", though the other alternative is a possible one. Mri is clearly connected with ~ ~~~ mryt "shore", whence the meaning "strand" is fairly obvious. ~ appears to be the later ~ ~~, which sometimes at least is an interrogative word "what i" Another alternative, suggested by SETHE, is that sp SIt should be read, nsza 11SW, bii)1 bity then meaning "every king of Upper and Lower Egypt". In the last sentences 1m sqm f should be future, as GUNN has shown (Studies, ch. 13), but from the middle of Dyn. XVIIi ...1Lonwards was apt to interchange with -A....; other not quite certain examples below n. 24. 34 (mz. qd).



C I b~


.. •., .. ~'.".'"




'''..:. A""'"





"J "'I'"

- II) ;-:-;" '




t r: J. ~ . J / I;"J./"'~ " ... I _I ..C ~.

I speak with mylmouth, I cause £1 to be known. Then others wlzo are uns« to/" their mouths) shall hear. 1 exalted Justice to the height of luaven, 1 caused her


A. B. G.umm_:

The Autobiography of Bekbmere'.

[60. Baud.

to circulate over the breadth of earth, so that she might rest t'n (men's) nostrt"ls (20) like the Ilorthwind when it has banished what was maNgnant in heart and bod)'. / judged poror and] rich (alike). / rescued the weak from the strong. / repelled the fury (21) of the ill-disposed, and quelled him who was covetous in his hour (of couetousness ). The phrase "rest in (men's) noses" is a metaphor from the breath, which the Egyptians imagined to be "placed in the nose" by the gods or the king. The section ends with some familiar dicMs.


k) Continuation of the la8t (11. 21-23) .

.~<~ '''<~~Llzil~~~i~-t;~l~
c ...

~:*ll\c'~ 41-~I'I4Q ;ri~L1ll1catc:> ".'~ ~~61~t!It1~ ~~P~~~~<}<fj~;Q ~~r-t_~~~~
!.11-.. • f:f 1fUJ"'JI;/ ~ .2)...... it "-1UM 1 Ichecked] the t'l1zpulse of him


:;6;0<° ~1f,tt~.lPbll~

'1 /'t ....t~..I/, (.&.1;.,...

-t~*~ ~tk:
'fj=~L~::: ~

Ir ....

who was tlz/urz'ated. J rrstrained weeP£ng by substt'iutt"ng a comforter(1) 1 defended the w£dow (22) who had no husband. I estaOlz'shed Ihe son alld heir on the seat of his father, I gazJt [bread to the hungry] and water to the tht'rsty, meat, ot'l and clotht'ng to him who had 11one. I revived (1) (28) the old man, g':ving [to him] my stz:ck. I caused the old women to say: "what(~) a Itapp), occasion!" The phrase m rib? wSino is difficult, and only small fragments of the sign are left; it seems impossible, however, to suggest any other reading. SrwlJ, cf Urk. V, 165, 12, and often in the medical texts, where sd'lol] used to be read. 'I'he rendering of the last words seems plausible, but I cannot defend it grammatically; PUi as an interrogative word occurs, not only in jno-tr (1'1)'), but also independently AZ. 57, 6*, and so too probably below 11.24. 84; in Sinuhe B 160 1 rendered O} ~<:::>



as "that which bas occurred is a happy event", but pw there too might

be exclamatory.

I) Hakhmere' a8 an incorruptible judga (11. 23-26).

.. ~~44~d':;J ~*Z~~ ~r !..(fl~q ~~ 7...eftc:=-¥~741?i~~~ ~<l2i~~~~jL~ ~(~tl~,i1f ._::~ ~::W~~~~'(¥WffM 1j,~tE'~~~;~4tlil~ i2 .:.=+r~~(fi%.i~i':~ -;;:~o~~
,..... .,,_. 1
t .. .lJC"i. ·~


l1~<~P.1..~ '=!~~ IIq~~ ~~~%f~


..J "JJr....

" ..I. .lIon

.. I/(M.



(0] ;;'(Q1

1 [katedW] '((Irang, .and did not do it. 1 caused the l£ar(7) to be . . . . . . . . . . 'IIpside down. / .. u1as innocent (24) before God. l'lo one who knew fsata'J concern£ng

Band 60.]

A. H. GAlU>INBB:The Autobiography of Rekbme.rec•


me: "what has he donet" / judged a great matler(7) ..... , [/ caused] both suitors to go forth £n peace. / did not [suppress(t)l justice for reward. I was 110t t'ndeed (25) deaf to the empf;!-handed; and 11I01'tmltr/ dt'd 110t talu anyont" s bribe. . . . . . . . • . . what he had to say about me, because £,1 truth, that l/te1} might be propitiated with the sm.ell of incense. Here lacunae have made much of the text incomprehensible. The first letter seems certainly X, and if IW be read, the restoration 1m,,; ls/t (cr. Urk. IV, 944, 12) is impossible, since sentences with nominal predicate cannot be introduced by tr.ii. The writing of grgyw suggests neither "liar" nor "liars": "my lies" gives no sense, and "those who lied against me" would be Krg)'w wi, if indeed l{':1{ could he used transitively in this meaning. In the lacuna O[r]w suggests itself, but I do not know what this could signify. Farther on. the restoration of the sentence 8ee1118 assured by L 34 below; 1'1} and irt» f are fairly certain. SEl'HE'S restoration WI' [kl/l/] after tW wtf· n· i is impossible, since the t is well under the ta.il ot wr. For the sense of the next sentences, see Urk, IV. 118, 16--17 (Paheri), where several of the same words occur. The restoration of It g( .... is difficult; one thinks of l:s , which is used of the perversion of justice; but it is not established that this verb can be transitive, or written gdS}.

m) Rekhmere( addresses the other dead (ll. 26-28).

~~~«~... ~,{ ~:,:,:"~.n.~,l'" ~t ~F~~ (_-!;;~!g


n ~ ~: ~I.JS __

~ c;] , "J:2'

: ~ff.l'&aV}".j/#.@,'.4%~



. 111'" ..... r == ~

A •• ~



c .. d. 'J

"" t.....

~'I J,(1'1...

..( .L

,10' r-"{;''''

i'" til\. P 1..__ ;;~it1#~411 ~;,{ ~]~tl~ ~;:liif

Ef ~..


r fA

=:::. J)

ttl t 7

1"Iluu~. ,j ,(__ ·.A ~/"'r'J._ ,(,..

r: - 16_1,,,


,,~ ..

lllaJ' your hearts prosper, so tltat ye k1l0'W, ye counseiiors 1.iJho [jua~(e wca..{·ncsst'sj, ye great, noble magistrates uj former times, . . . . . . . . . • . . 'me ill the tomb(?). flail, comrades. (27) Hearken all 0/ you. Behold, I am 'le/ithyou, it 1~\' not false. [jJ.f.r heart(n) said to 1tlC:] "Be 'l/igilallt, behold thou art the equal oj God. Be not . &zve praise to [Hz's MaJi:sty(~)J, that thy palm may be su.cces.~ful. A-fayest thouCI) ..... for him the two regimls by doz'llg Justice". The entire passage is rightly compared by SEIHE with one on the stela of Amunezeh (Urk. IV, 944, 9f.), which opens with the same words; these are a familiar way of introducing a communication of any kind, cf. wt/:.? ib .k. , Shipwr. sat/or 1-2. The restoration wit s.?rw is from Turin 15(j (stela of Beki, Mel.Ohamp., p. 547); P. Petro 11Hi A, 53. After the opening address the 2nd. pers, plural gives place to 2 nd. pers, singular; counsel is given to Bekhmere' by someone. It can hardly be the king, who seems to he referred to in the last two sentences of the passage; the restoration is suggested by the position of the stroke. Since the passage clearly contains, like the parallel passage from the tomb of Amunezeh, a statement of Rekhmere's virtuous life and qualities, it seems not impossible that it is his own heart which here speaks to him.





The Autobiography of Rekbmere .

[60. Band.

n) Rekllmeric,s delight In lIil work

(11. 28-30).

s -<,.,




• .... ,I'~ "",,,./-, .

l~~;;1~ffi(fitl~lI~ ~41I~xC-(~ ~~=n 127~~~·'~U *.~J<~
4 (,r
4 t.1.uJ.~ t~ ..

"ec:Lf~L<=>.l::~;;~i!,h i~(~j
~~~L{~ ~~ ~F~(L}~a:q

~ .












~-t"";·..,f~ ,


Wherefore was 1(1) , that 1 should do as hen} sa£d? 1 was contented and satisfied [at doing] ht'sO) bidding. 1 went (29) aboutf?) at once according to what [1(1)] heard. 1 improved every occasion . . . . .. I was the gossip of all conuersations, like. . . . . . . . . . . . (SO) 1 spent my life with my stick 011 the back, lassoing ..... cattk(~) . Owing to the lacunae and the rare words this passage bristles with difficulties. Whether the suffix in tjdf and [S?]yt f refers to the king is doubtful; it might equally well refer to "my heart", if I have rightly restored the last section. Hr·kwi and gr4· k'loi are the technical terms whereby parties to a contract express their agreement to the bargain made; for hr·kwi see Pap. Kah. 13, 26 and for grf.!..kwi see Az. 4S, SO, 26. For W/i see my Notes 011 the story of Sinuhe, p. 31. Several phrases already encountered occur in what follows: tid iJw .... wsbw in 1. 14, 'f.!.c·i 4ms·l ill 1. 17, lJt iJr psd in 1. 12 and sp'" in l. 14.

1 'made myself a skilful hU'llter, d£scerning 0/ loot . . . . .. 1 [did 1Wt trip uP(?)] on a fragmmt PH) of stone. .1 dispelled sloth. 1rebuffed the confederates of mght.[conspiracies(~)l. 1 checked the wrong-doer....... 1..... ed (S2) the guilty on 'water and 011 land. 1 tU1'ned back(~) the steps of h£m who def£ed(~) his lord oy Ius footU) and his nose. 1 [bound(?)J hzs [legs(~)]. 1zoas one 'lV/lO went away from(~) his sl:~ht(~) OIl the day of opposition. 1 did not (3a) to the doer of wrong. Here again there are difficulties in plenty, but at least the general drift is clear. After the sentence containing the obscure word IfbiJ we might possibly emend j' j']~; the position of the f demands a preceding dual.








The Autobiograpby of Rekbmerti •



I put dread £nto the multitude. I tall,ght the strallgey(~) lad his duty. I clIr6ed tlte pris01ter(~). I caused the (34) rebel to perceive hl~\'r.n'l fall. The command of the king was zit my haltd itl effect£llg his counsels. 1\''0single man said 0/ me: "u}/tat has he done r' The word !JJ'W-mr occurs (e.g.) Urk. IV, 120, 3 and appears to mean something like "multitude", "common folk".· The restoration of the phrase 4m11t ... tf is not clear; the later correction of 4m to 4mm shows the word to be a passive, not an active particip 1e; I thought of ~~ ~ "one whose city is unknown", but this does not suit the determinative of the child. The partly destroyed word after 41tt. 11· i may have been "prisoner" or the like. 'J.'he final sentence resembles closely one which we found in 1. 24. That irn-f should be written instead of lrt '1t f is a little embarrassing , but similar negligences of concord occur elsewhere. More troublesome is the negation 1m in both cases; in my comments on i I have pointed out that in Dyn. XVIII ..J\- and _'\..- begin to interchange, whence it is not quite excluded that 1111 qd may be for It tid "did not say"; on the other hand, it is just possible that tid may be a participle and w' (in 1. 24 1'1) an epithet of dd, lit. "there was no one sayer (or "knowing sayer") concerning me".

!_, [~Jt, ]


'Lll n'All ~f1
c. ••_&-

q) RekhmereCls ability and learning (ll. 84-3()).

~4l1:l. U ~~ ~ rt, ~ nn til 0 c:-:J ~";' _,.·I ~'1fW~A. rJ G".,coIIII~JI'CJ .. o p~~"'i'"'~n¥j~ ~ - _J e n jl ~ .J --fj Tr:(jl c:::J Ii ..8-:'~1\ J)t:.tI'-' m ~0 'I~_ ~I' 1~c=-·\A.J2~",= ~ - __ :l1~t' -A.: e>c:::>

s;;) -ttfJ (f;'b;"! -_ ... nfllUD.. , 0, "A.~.IDt"'~

:~~m]~i~~e~ »: t n"C7.....r~ ""'~.e;, 15


~·~L~l~:t;t~~~£~ 1\ .. "'""'- f. 0 -PI n 0 'I ~":V-tUh:p I Jtt',Q,~~ ....ef'l till 'IIIC.\. n?;t ~ ~ o: AVt..-&J.I w~j;i~! t\ .... ~~n I A.... 'lc:>:l?~"'C><::. ~tU&1~~~ r L~ rI1P",

n <=>










Vol al dl\..1

~..,. 1"

IJ., r

1 was kuO'wer of knowers ill lalll crafts. . (35) 'WhopCI:(orm. Then' was none [like (1)] me itt (pO'Wer to) make happy or miserable. Tlzere was 1tO desigJl (?/ whose executio« I was ignorant. Drawings which were perfect alld effectixJc(?) or buried(?) and old, I was [versed('l)J (Sn) i,l tlum, a1zd excelled because of it. I was clever -ill all 1IJzdertaktJtgs, deliberate -ill counsel, ready to listell. 1 'was skilled in by-g01ze affairs, and the [co1Uiitl,m(~)J0/ yesterday caused me to kno'[t1tomorrozo. The restoration of the word after mz Wll 4r is difficult. At the lower left. end of the lacuna is a trace of a sign that might he <:::> 01'~; I thought of "one like him", but it is very doubtful whether
Zeltllcbr. f. Agypt. Spr .• 60. Band.



could serve as determinative

[60. Band..

for which we should expect !Jr-!!w.i. Snrjm s~sn, cr. the epithet An;!""_'" ~ Tit .... I'~ 0 I , , "making happy what was miserable", Cairo 20588, Ie 10-11. 6J1t, see above I. 9. UjJs as an adjective is unknown to me; is it connected with I.!!s "fore-arm" in its metaphorical signification "power"~ Whether t(i)ms here means "buried" or "besmeared" I do not know; that the word has the former sense both in Coptic and earlier 1 have shown in my Hieratic Texts I, p. 27*, n. 22. flnt at the end of 1. 85 recalls the phrase rdit w IJnt "give thought to", but how to restore is obscure. The drift of the last sentence is evident, but the restoration of the phrase . . n sf is uncertain.


r) ReldlAleri

C •

treataaent of tile _ppliut

(ll. 36-39).

JEt .;-'--' :7':'~ IT i1'.17~ ~ ~il..A... .~ y ~;: -"-' ~ <t(:: ~ tl?1~~~

i1~ll-;~~ '::n-:~£~(J~:!:<
: '" tfN', "'1/if'"

iZ~rz}t~i1 ;;]:hR'A'15{_~= ~==~!i1_Af~4 _f.lt l~(~ I~':'!'/;(ii~Y141tzl~l ~~~!tl:!~~!.:'-:t~~~~ ltih~










t.....I..&NIJ~ J .. ,{"


I'D ....

'~J J II.....

A1.. 1..M ....




.. It /'"1-'


1jl~dged (87) the suppliant. I did not itlcNlle to one side. / paid /10 attention to rewards. 1 uias not angry Iwith him who came ('0] as a suppliallt. / did not re6uff(1) h£m. 1 tolerated him in his moment of pass£011. / rescued (38) the tim£d matt from the 'lJio/ent. 1 his [needsO)] 6r 6am,'Sh£nght's grievallce. /(1) rescued myself [from ] 'ill the mouth of the people, answering ez'ery word 6r relor#ngO) , [compldittg(~)l (39) the moment(?) of a feu} 'words. The writer harks back to the theme of I. Ul mlwy n, cf rdi ml in Westc. 12~4 and Pea8. B 1, 32. One is tempted to restore the next lacuna n *nd i l~] ~ sprto

or r~J ~ sjJrw. No word ~f seems to be known, and in any case the position of the supposed b would be strange; a verb *U}( determined with the nose occurs ill Anast. I, 11, 5 with an intransitive meaning, for which I have conjectured "I am agape": it is tempting, however, to read 11 'tfn, i and to regard this as a variant of the verb gnf or gin which occurs in precisely similar contexts, see my note Az. 4f), 132 and DF;V., ~1.1. 273. The last sentences of this section are full of obscurities, apart from the lacunae. &t, n wi with a lost subject, and Sd'lt, (i) wi with the first person are both possible alternatives. The restoration km' i ,U is very uncertain.

Hearken, lye] ulno art m existence, for God kntrdJeth what is in the body; lalll members [wJiit" are tN(t)] it are open before Iti",. Beltold ve, hz'Seyes perceizoe (men's)

Baud 60.]

A. H. G.AlLDnnm: Tbe Autobiograpby of BekhJll811§'.


natures £,1 the(:"".)liver(s); every keart gatkers(~) itself [10(')] It;", of itself; Ike secrets lof J are opened ttp in his si'g"'; llu silent ("Ian) .....• " Jee knowellt. IIiM, For the restoration stlmw [irf In] before nfyw ", fJpr see Urk. IV, 120, IS, a closely similar passage which continues "I speak to you, and there is no falsehood therein". That is the sense here also, but instead of directly protesting his truthfulness Bekhmere' bases his claim to a. hearing on the fact that God can discern men's true nature; the same thought Urk, IV, 751, 10-16, For the verb sd see my Admonitions, p. 81. That the liver is a source whence a man's character can be perceived is at first sight an almost comically modem thought; but it has a long history behind it, though the liver does not appear to be spoken of'in this way elsewhere ill Egyptian.

S4-yt is possibly infinitive of the well-known word for "assemble", PlJi is used medially for "opening" the bowels; perhaps there is some such metaphor here. t)

8eth.ere' calls upon the living (ll. 40-41).

1tp!~rl~L'K ~1l~~4 ~LA t:.lA ~R~~l ~l?J~:i;:: ~ft:o:..:i~t!!-i,l~ln~:!: IJGTmL~ r ~~
A···~N~"1 •• ",.


.In:-:~<~m~~~~ ~l£~ti~ ~~


I am convinced that its general sense is "to be worked out in the usual way"; IJpr is virtually the passive of irt, compare irt m ss with IJIJY m ss ("put into writing" and "be put into writing"); note further that irt m1 IJpr in Urk, IV, 121, 14 is elaborated further into 1"t mi f.!pr 111i 1llt r hjno "the doing as is done according to what is customary", the reference being to the time-honoured rite of I;tp dJ nsus. In the last sentence the position of no before, instead of after, sdmIJ' fy is peculiar, but one can hardlv render otherwise than I have done. .

jJ,fay your hearts prosper, ye who exist, I.princesj who l£ve ami are ,:n existence, every able scribe skilled £,1 the writz'11gs,who shall1't'ad in the writillgS, and (41) £llte1'j1'd 'with hi's heart, kem of tongue, open of mind, who peneb~ates words, ami whom an overseer has laught to do as should be done, delz'be1'ate a1zdpatient, bra1.. e'ill'luestt.'omizghe is a wise man whosoever shall hear what the ancestors of former limes ha'(/esaid. Wd) ib· {II see above 1. 26. For the restoration zorta (or s1'w1) cr. Urk. IV, 120, 16; 151, 11. The expression lrt mi l.!/>1" is well-known from the mathematical papyri, see PEET, PapjTUSRhind, pp, 23-24; its meaning there is rather hard to {,>'l'asp, but

The gods of your dties shall pra£se you, and tke king (42) of ht's time at ytnt1' peri(}d; ytnt shall It.and dOWltyour offices to your cltiltiren after a Itmg life, fQt.'tlHmt regret; )Ie sltall attain your tom6s 1.1/ lhe necrojJolis, those who /tile 1tp(}nearth (ji:te'nlng)


H. B..uIiu: Tienamen

ala Penoaenaamen

bei den Agyptern.

(60. Bud.

to'mouth; and your likenesses shall prosper [in tIlt place(~)J thereoj; according as ye shall sal': -For 1ms wrj.J see my Notes on the Story of Sinuhe, p. 69. At the end

ifJ 1M flllleral procession; (43) k~ne of,the };lSit-cow shall COlZVO)' you, tlu. roads ~111t1ldat~d witA thir mt/It; ye shall be united with l'OfIr sepulchral chambers whteh are tn elernzt.J1 in lite toum oj Truth, the silent land; l'our names shalt not fail (44) from mouth


~ ~, which SETHE quotes from Urk. IV, 114, 5; 1218, 13 seems too little to fill the lacuna,

y) TIle prayer for otrerl... to be recited by the passer-by (11. 4-(5). 4

-e~U.<~~~';.l*L~ ~~1i ~!.'-"'lAP<l ~<Aq[tffii ~ ·'f-.··~t_:n"ro~;t!i b~~,1f.~?<~ ~~c~~;-:-:qi;i~ b~~
. "A boon wht'ch the king gives, and Amm-ri;', Alum, 5ltu I11ld Tef(!Jlis. Ceb a1ld Nut, Osiris, Horus, Mekhantenyerty, Setekh, Isis, Mphth)'s, and Thoth the deput), of Ril: (45) £mJocation-offen11,/{s. , I all good things without C1ld: to go up to heaven; to penetrate the netherworld ilt the midst of the ul1resti1lg stars; may('!) they offer offerings of food, placed UP011 the leazles of The-'wear),-of-heart; for the soul of the pr£nce and overseer 0/ the diy, [Rekhmert], justified". In this unusually long 4ft di '1S711 formula one or two unusual expressions occur: 1t 4bswt'Sl1 is utterly obscure; for the last sentence SETHE quotes

;;lLb1ft1Tt;tlb;qt~tIfMt~t~jh;:': b L~1h~~{~'&~ S~ 1z


~~~ AJ;7. ,~r

in VIREY, Rekhmara, p. 106; the meaning of tjb_? "leaf' is well established, but what its application here is remains obscure; can it refer to the leaf-covered table of offeringai Wrd:.lb is the well-known epithet of Osiris.



Tiemamen aJs Personennamen bei den Agyptern


Menge del' i\gyptischen Personeunamen besteht wie die Personennamen a.nderer Volker - teils aus Vollnamell, teils aus Kurz- und Kosenamen, die von diesen VoUnamen abgelaitet sind. Die groJle Mehrzahl dar Vollnamen hat religiosen Inhalt. Sie aeigen meist entweder die Fonn sines Satzes (il1Ul-l#p.w "Amon ist zufrieden", rC-nfr ".R(,c ist sehon") oder einer auf den Trager des Namens sich beziehenden
1) Far dieaen A.uf.ata kODDte iab dis gesamte mir Dr Bcarbeitung ftbergebene Personennamen-Material dell Berliller "WOrterbucbes" benuben. Far mehrfache Auskunft bin ich H. h'THE8 Ztl Dank verpfliehtet.


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