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1

a
THE STELA

MENTHU-WESER

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OE ART

THE STELA
( )I

MENTHLJ-WESER
1)

I)

(2AROLINE 1. RAN()M
\SSISI ANF DLIARl MIiNI 01 CURAIOR EGYITIAN ART

N F. V V () R K
\ICM\111

THE STELA OF MENTHU-WESER

T
COPYRIGHT, U

TIlE JIETROPOLIVCI MUSLUM OP ART UE4ZMUR, 1913

HE stela of Menthu-weser (accession number i 2.184), found at Abydos, was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in 1912 through the generosity of Mr. Ed ward S. Harkness. The material is limestone and the meas urements are as follows: height, m. 1.03; width, m. 0.50; thickness, m. o.o8. More than half the stela is occupied by an inscription arranged in three horizontal and sixteen vertical lines. The characters are rudely incised and the stone-cutter has made many mistakes in working from his copy which was in hieratic writing. The occurrence of rare words and the probability of some corruptions in the text render the inscription exceed ingly difficult. A few passages baffle translation. The text is, however, of high importance for the study both of the

language and of economic conditions under the Twelfth


Dynasty. It is dated in the seventeenth year of Sesostris I, 1 that is,about 1963 B. C. Lines 419 are cast in a popular
Counting from the date 2000 B. C., fixed on astronomical evidence (with a margin of error of four years) as the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty. MEyna, Aqy%iscbs Chrotwiegis (Ob. der konigL frnun. *ad. der Wissensebaflen vom Jahre 19o4), pp.a8 and
51ff.

TI-1E SlEL\ OF ME\TIIIJ-WESER literary form of the Middle kingdom autobiography. A translation and a discussion of many of its points (if interest will be found below. ihe lower part of the stela is decorated by a relief which is excellent in technic and pleasing in its colors. Menthu weser is seated before a wellladen table of offerings. I us chair is of a design common in the Middle 1ingdom. It has a low straight back and no arms. The side rails terminate behind in the form of a conventionalized papyrus unibel. The legs are an imitation of the legs of a lion. There is a touch of barbarism in the thoroughness with which this imita Outside of Egypt the designer would have In this instance contented himself with claw feet merely. not only is the entire leg of the animal reproduced, but the tion
is

Ti IF iF1 ..\ OF

\1 ETl 1 L-WEER

calfs head of startling realism, various loaves of bread and 5 cake, a gourd, leeks, a lotus flower,t and an unidentified object. Bexider,\1enthuwescr there are three figures on the re lief, a man Nistoding in the loer right-hand corner, a \\uflLii crouching in front of him by the table, and a man standing in the upper righthand corner. The standing fIgure in the wer righthand corner presents two jars, one with nearly spherical body and short neck, the other a covered b wI. The latter may possibly have been intended for incense. Its All three men wear short skirts and two of them broad collars. Ment hu-weser has on a h mg wig. leaving the ears exposed, while the Iwo others are ihe little figure cr( uc hed beside the a ppa ren tlv shorn table wears the usual narrow, long womans garment. This c ver seemN
to

have a low handle.

carried out.

front legs of the chair are formed like the forelegs of the lion and the back legs like the lions hind legs. ihe back of the chair is covered by a thick cushion. The table consists of a central support and movable, round (?) top. The otlerings upon it are depicted with the usual disregard of relative site and include a leg joint and ribs, a
I wish to tcknoss ledge with gral i tude the help afforded mc by he pris ilege of usine Both (or granting this privilege and or discussing some of the the Berlin I)ictionarv. Ms thanks ditticultits of the text with tue. I ant greatlr indebted to Irofcssor I rman are due /lw to lrotessr Breasted for his kindness in lookinit tl;rouih mc manucript and in making Sonic C rrections and suggestions and to Dr. l-{ermann (;ra p055 or some sug \\hile ss ishing fully to acknoss ledge the stimulus nd aid thus generously given, estiOfls. I should make clear thai none of the scholars mentioned his made himself in tiny sen, a sponsor Br the translation or fr the comments on the text contained iii the doss tog pages Prob,blv of beef, tite cene if the cutting up of an ox and the carrr ing nil lie lower part of the leg is rather of leg joints being sery common on the monuments. v t delic ttc formed, more like that tI a wild animal, bitt this can be paralleled in certain ripresnttIotts ot le Hots of beef iii lie scenes mentioned.
(I

normally fastened over the shoulder by straps, which here. however, the artist has failed to indicate. The vomans wig is longer than Menthuwesers and covers her ears. In .\lenihuwesers left hand is an object for which no adequate
is

explanation has yet been found.


dea rIo the blue lot usCastalia casrrtlea. or s egetable f2) in question has ntitnerous long punted leases which I he plant terlap, a solid end, and, according to some represert.l t ions. tetto lit tlti instance, but or it si/c, one nitght be tempted to see in it a he,id of be,irdless w heat, bitt CS CO an [gvpti,In otis would hardly base road a lteitd 01 wheat s mLitit bRiter rlatiselv than lie nearls 5 hrome olijiots. I Lirthermore, on a pols 5 colfin in the \lettopolitan Mttseum fta.t t.i t ha ing a reltresent,ition of the same object, the leases has e presers el iii ir green color, I he ining. I he solid end is 5. Itit, with red ttd ire thin and to some extetti curling treguencs ss Ph ss htich this pat iicu, r tfering occurs on Ci e ttioiiitittents ot lie I thiari; .\ii,ktle Isinedims and iN, Empire indicates that it must have ciii a s rv ,,ntinon produ I lie only suggestions I Itase seett as to its idntity in contained in it lie Nil, \alles \rtiscltocke ) lie folloss ing refe retices; ST1twisusi i, Ibr far des .5/k-c, Id II, p 6, itid \svn ii, lift cI 1biI,tei, I, PR. VII, XV, XX, XXI, p. is, probably ,t kind of lettuce. f toLled piec of cloth: Olten slto.n in gr.ise-reliefs in h hand ol tIe dce..i,l.
.

TIlE STEL\ OP MENTI IL-\VESER

ll IL lEl \ OP MENlI lL-\VEER

In front

Menthu-wesers face
>.

is

the legend:

q
small

the honorable

domain-superin

tendent, \1enthuweser. Ihe legend beside the figure presenting the offerings on the table reads:
\V ,\

his fal her who made his name to father wh( >se na mc lie m:ide to live. it is In t ci, the father, who made the Mcnthu-\vccr live, and inasmuch as

live ft r him or \cc rding


I0

his

,z t

that which [hisj son, the

the first, name of the deceased I ntef I is actually rep resented here in the lower right-hand corner presenting oiler ings to the s n. this ic probaN the correct reading. Yet
it is a puzzling reversal of the natural order, and but for the relief one \ ould prefer the second translation by which the The family tree can floW son made the fathers name live.

deceased domain-superintendent I ntef, made for him, causing his name to live, and lower, in front of the skirt, born of Nefer-sekhii. 11w uppermost of the small figures, then, is Menthuwesers son, who was also a
,

be econsiructed:
N Senet fern.)

domainsuperintendent and \vh ) if the inscription is exact which may he doubted) was already dead when the stein was inscribed. There are several slight emendations neces sarv has been omitted after and after in rn-f. and the has been reversed. The position of after

Intef I

.\bkaus (feni.
fern.)

Menthu-wcser \cfer-sekhti Inief II

P1. i is due to the fact that it fitted well into the triangular area described by the skirt and the other signs of the legend. The woman beside the table is accompanied 1w the lollow
sCC

l)idit fena)

lug words: iigurc down

1J

his

beloved

daughter 1)idit, born of Nefersekhti.


is

.\bove the remaining md lo er

For a discussion of the name I ntef, see Ei1AN in ZeiLccbr. 1. d. aip/ ..S pracine, Vol. xxxix (i goi), p. i 4. Senet and Didit are very common and exclusivel feminine names, which are especially characteristic of I he .\1 iddle kingd m. Nefer-sekh ii, on the tt her 11 and, is thus far unique among known Egyptian names. lThe meaning good with respect or mv field isgood( ) is not clear. If we may to a field) )

in ribed
.

1 he last ph rase Intel, born / of enet is clear. lhe first little sentence is ambiguous. (rammaticallv it will admit of either tw iransla I i ms

r.jr

HI

h hr

pIflr

ha nj !o

\\hh
I III

.:Pi t r

/. 1ILj
nIH 1.

suppose ihe feminine ending omitted from nh, the name as a woman s name has some pout and one is reminded of the
Ihin
31 Iii
fliiifl niirnpni)nn.

,z,

\, pp

25 2

FHr

in! it

u P

jn

TI IL STELz\ (iF MEl1 IL-\\ESER sentence in the Proverbs of Ptah-hotep:


I
-

1 lIE Si EL\ OF MLNJI iL-WLEI< of the lotus flower, and the entire chair frame, except for the blocks under the feet, are yellow. Traces of blue max he detected on the womans wig, M enthu-wesers girdle and wig, and on the b 1 u petals. Other parts of the relief. as the mens skirts and the finger-nails of the figures, either were originally left, as the\ now appear. in the nat ural c br of the limest( )flC, or they have CI >mpletelv lost their c 11 rs.

a field she is, profitable for her lord. Before turning to the long inscription, the border and the LUh)rs remaining on the stela may be described ..\llernating large and small rectangles. defined by red lines, form the border at the top and sides of the stela. Of the large rectangles, every second one is c( bred red and every fourth one has a tifl\, casually executed, red circle near its center. This was intended as an indication to the painter in mapping out the arrangement of the colors. The rectangles so marked were once solid blue. In one the red circle appears dimly beneath the blue which has partly flaked off, and in the others the blue has entirely or nearly disappeared leaving the preliminary red mark. The other border rectangles, large and small, are devoid of color ..\.t the bottom of the stela, the border has three horizontal divisions, the uppermost blue, the middle one showing no trace of paint, and the lowest yellow. The hieroglvphs, however, though stained here and there, show no certain traces of any ancient color. The red flesh-tones of the men and the yellow of the nude parts of the wornans figure in the relief are well preserved. The ribs of beef and the upper part of the leg jI int on the table are red, The stern of the lotus flower is also red and there are slight remains of this color on the calfs head as well as streaks of red winding about the table support. Ihe two conical loaves, the base
NNI I ae-icife Juii /oihiri, oO 1 Iso I in IHc :sI I: p. 234, HOle i, s ie howht iii the 1\oran is not1I.
,

1?,

10,

2.

Ci. 1i

sio,

Rh On
same

he

tCe1Irreflec of

ceentiNy

the

II

Ii IL 1\l l\SRlPTION

I. i\ [LOI)LClOkY 1.lNIS cM. I)


II I

fl

i I
iL

..v.j5,

T
41.

1;

s,

N eir seven teen under iic IN IaJust\ oI I he ii fiis \n kiI-nies\ et. good g d, iiiuper-l.i-rc. living urevur. INi Majesty has gi en tu thee this graveNi cia as 2 an dtering v hich the king gives. ( )siris, great god. lurd f A h dos ma\ he L1ive mI )ri un rv oflerinus ii brem I heei-, beef, fus I g od and pure things from bags o con1etics (1 natrun clothing, \ iih d hve br the i\a I ihe hon red dcniainsuperintendent a Ment hu-\veser, horn f Ab-kaim,
.

Clii

Sixteen ir more dated gravestelae extending from the seventh to the fortvfourt h \ear I the reign of this king

Sesostris I htve Collie doW ii lii [Is.. \ list (if those knoW ii to me will he bond at the end of this essay. For an especiillv striking iistanCe of a siela given to a private individual hv 1 he king see Si TO I, Lrkiiiii/en, I, p. S
(cf. Bi \s[
in,

Rciii,ds.

THE STELA OF MENTHU-WESER The direct address Mv Majesty has given to thee, etc. is notable. The sentence may well be an excerpt from the kings letter of gift which Menthuweser quotes here with pride. is written in three ways on this stone. Cf. 11. i and 19. It commonly designates the offering-table or altar. But here, as not infrequently in the Middle Kingdom, its use is extended by metonomy to the stela before which the offering-table stood. Cf. also an occurrence in a text of the early Eighteenth Dynasty (SETIIL, Lrkztnden, iv, p. 27, 1. )
2

THE MAIN INSCRIPTION Professor Meyers view, quoted in the note cited on the preceding page, he correct, the term htp-dj-nj-zct is applied to the title of count bestowed upon a deceased person as a mortuary honor. Mortuary offerings.. from which a god lives is to be understood as the rations necessary for one god, that is, the deceased is to be treated as a god. The old translation steward for is inadequate. LI. of this inscriptiun (see below) seem to warrant main-superintendent. do
lines
2

Line 3

where the word is determined with The treatment of 1itpdjii/ct as a substantive is well known. In the Middle Kingdom the expression had long since been applied to mortuary offerings of various kinds, received from various sources. Cf. the contemporary stela C 240 in the Louvr& where the grandson of the deceased speaks:
Q I
AW

fl.

\lenthuweser (Mont is strong) is one of the common masculine names compounded with the name of the war-god Mont which are SO characteristic of the Middle Kingdom. It is only a little less frequent than Menthuhotep (Mont is satisfied). The reading rb,kc is assured by the compound name
(LANGE-ScHAEFER,

zc \

l
I
-

Grabsteine, No.

20105).

I have erected a gravestela for my grandfather as an offering which the king gives. I lere in like manner we have a grave-stela designated as a htp-dj-nj-.wt, hut the giver is not the king. Our passage carries one hack to the original and literal meaning of the expression. Another unusual instance, where the king is still the giver, is recorded in a Sixth-Dynasty tomb at Deir el (Jebrwri. t

Abkau (Bullhorns) is a comparatively uncommon name. The eight examples known to the Berlin Dictionary are of 12 the Micldle Kingdom and the transitional period immediately preceding it. Six are masculine and two feminine, the name occurring twice on one of the stelae.

I lere, if
nOte c.
Sce L.sci.Scii. si FiR, (drab1etn,, N.c. 2OOO. 20105; Pioiss FT. 105cr. do I. ii: re, II, pp.2 and , Rrc. de Ira:., Ill, pp. 5 ,, No. I\ ; (,RIFFII[i and NLOSLSRY, II Brci,I:, I, P1. 13. 1 here is another occurrence on the Cairo grave-stela No. ,6s). Iwo of the foregoing list Occur in Lit et tIN, Dotoinnane, Nos, 20f and 384.

Cs
I)

t
,,

.51

Li

\1I Dvua.1i,, i1
I. LI \ II, I
2

\VlI

Dir d (Lbrri,

and Bt

s [I , Reto,1., I,

THE SIELA OF MENTHU-WESER

II. MFNTF-IL-WESERS SPEE(2IJ (P1. 11) (a) His CARE


L4

FOR THE

LIviNG L\
J

AND THE

DEAD

z::

?i

AW

?i

J Ic

says

I was one who looked upon the sorrowful (?), one who buried the dead, one who gave to him who was not
I

me 4

rn.,i with preposition r and a following substantive is unusual, hut occurs in the Annals of Thutmose 111.13 The preposition, of course, gives a special shade of meaning which I have tried to render with look upon. The thought is: I did not pass indifferently by the sorrowful (?) man, hut

took notice of him and (one may perhaps assume further) helped him. On the meaning of md see ERMAN, Denksteine azis der thebanischen Grberstadt (Sitzungsber. der konigl. preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften, 191 i) p. 1089. Cf.

alsu
MWA

BLAcKDEN
. .

and

FRASER,

Hatnitb, io and
:*=
*

i 112.
1

The
flAwM

first passage is incomplete the second runs :


.

n
PLAII II,

and the translation given is: A heal: ing (?) cure for him who came wounded (?). The meaning wounded or ill is very naturally suggested by the con
. . . .

i:

LFP,1ls,

[)enkmler, I I 1, 3ob, 1.

2(i.

i6

TIlE MAIN INSCRIPTION text, but is hardly proved by it. Wounded as a transla tion would suit very well in our passage. mnw, krIw and dd(w) are all of like construction, imper fect active participles ?) denoting the habitual act, .1mc I take for a pseudo-participle, third person masculine singular, hut the meaning is not clear. There is, to he sure, the word evil, unholy, which occurs as early as in the Eighteenth-Dynasty inscription, British Museum 5645, I. i; and the second n of the root might be in the sign mc which here, because of the pseudo-participial ending w, would replace the simple it. But one expects rather I gave to the needy, hungry or some such statement and it seems probable that the word in question is unknown or incorrectly written. The first and third of the group of three statements in this first section of the inscription are unfamiliar. The second I buried the dead is characteristic of the period. In various Middle-Kingdom inscriptions the deceased tells 4 of burying the aged. It seems curious that Menthu wesers speech should begin as it does. Immediately (1. s) he turns to his official career and these opening sentences belong more naturally to the other asseverations of his consideration br those about him (Il. 9 t).

ft

,,

it

ct,, far instance.

lb

ic KIli N an
%i,

Vet,. It LntJ,n, 1, .Sklrs, P1 R, I

I rn tsi t, lIatrnth, II, ; Hot si t. Inc s 11.14 Id., MIII, p

Dew?,. :.

It Foil

0, 1 Oaf pIne.

___

___

___

FilE STEL\ OF MENu IL-\\ESER

TIlE MAIN INSCRIPlION of second rank. one to understand domain rather than The entire drift of the inscription leads El in the wider sense kings

kings palace. contains rare words. Biucscii. recognized a substantive and

1i II i 01

F 1(1 \1. (:\Ri T.R

JJ
i s

Wrterbuch, Vol.

2,

p.

731,

v
6

-:

9 it fl

which he derived 1mm the root

JI

defined as: der ahgeschniitene, ahgesonderte, d. Ii. distinctus, ausgezeichnete mit Bezug auf cinen Greis. Cf. the following passages from inscriptions of the Middle Kingdom : Louvre, Stela C No.
i,

is

because
-

I
0

was

md of heart to my lord and L.\No1-Scii\1


2O43,

i FR.
,

Crabs/clue,

1.

17,

1L

fl

,-

Domain, I was a powerful Second (??) in the Kings qualities were pleasing (?). one sent out because my waN a superintendent of the I )nuble Granary, I 6 northern barley. aN (me who counted the I was a superintendent of more than three () thouNand people. I was a superintendent of oxen, a superintendent of gazelles, a superintendent of asses. a superintendent of sheep. a superintendent of Nwine. delivered clothing at the Treasury. I Domain, When accounting was made with me in the Kings me. I went out fiee (:) and one thanked
Line 5

I was a favorite of his mis tress, being mdi. Cf. further Suiiit, Urki:nde;z, iv, p. 18, 1. 14. The word is determined with a knife in the other known passages, hut the papyrus roll of our inscription may also be correct, since the should be noted. meaning is abstract. The writing Ihis word is better known and the papyrus roll may be plo but the absence of U is normal nounced an error for
,

is not a normal writing br brother or for icr word. Ii ec( fld, but more nearly approaches the hi hut one is tempted may be a word of unknown meaning, I was not an official of the highest rank but to interpret: among the officials made :i special mark for might or power

for the Middle Kingdom. Superintendent of the Double Granary is hardly to It was probably a title bestowed on be taken literally. many superintendents of sections of the kings lands who

\s this passage is tiuhIcsomc I record oio tIir sUgustiofl I 1 rong ((Rn 01 his mighty, meaning that he o as a companion oI (hc expect to find fin in the plural howcs er, 15 Ri I, Jfl r dli I a: 0, II p. 2.
I ()

si is .1

0
I

tOne.

doss 01 I Inc soilj,

TIlE STEL OF MENTI lU-VESER had duties similar to those of Menthu-weser. If Menthu weser had been in actual charge of the central granary of the kingdom. this title would have taken precedence of r in line three, and we should expect to find him a much greater personage than the inscription otherwise indi cates. I lis actual duty as a tJ3 j- is stated in the next clause, as one who counted the northern barley, that is, he raised barley on the lands under his charge and performed certain clerical work in connection with its deliv ery at the central granary. Cf. Ni WRERRY, Beni Hasan, i, P1. xxix, upper register, in which grain is being carried to the top of a granary and poured into the bins. Besides two subordinate scribes, crouched in the midst of the work, is seated comfortably in and writing busily, the the background, his long mantle drawn about him, and makes certain records. Other inscriptions contain references to southern bar ley and there is surely a play on the North and South, the two halves of the kingdom, in the designation of these two kinds of grain. I have questioned three thousand because the in scription contains so many archaic forms. One may well have here the word thousand rather than three thousand. The usual idiom for more than is Perhaps an r has dropped out here, but more likely it% absence is another of the archaic features of the original text. Cf. PI:TRJIt. Abydos, ti, P1. xviii.
20

TIlE MAIN INSCRIPTION The writing a_fli : without the jsign16 and determined with a gazelle should he noted. Especially interesting, however, is the occurrence of swine among the kings herds. as they are only occasionally mentioned in Eg) ptian inscrip tions and were considered unclean. They must have been raised to a considerable extent since they furnish some of the most frequent ingredients in medical recipes. In the 7 Fourth-Dynasty tomb of Meten, a pig and an ass are the 8 two determinatives of t A tomb at El Kab contains an tul. enumeration of herds affording an interesting comparison with the royal herds under Menthu-wesers charge: 1 122 cattle, too sheep, In Theban tombs of the 1200 gazelles, 1500 swine. Eighteenth Dynasty, swine are sometimes shown treading out grain, and we have the authority of Flerodotus for their frequent employment in this way. It is possible in this in stance that the swine were utilized to tread in the seed, and to thresh the northern barley. 1 he clothing delivered at the Treasury was, of course, produced on the estate which Menthu-weser administered. The women included under his more than three (?) thous and people wove the cloth and fashioned the garments. cc. LANGE-ScJiuiJ R, GrabIdne, No. no,, 1. rat of swine, Fu, iS, 71, 6; Berlin P oj8, . a; 4,;; 6. ; 9. 6; sines bloat,
.

line

line C,

km i, 63, 16; tsines teeth, Lii iS, 54,3

L, flits, I)enkwiler, II, Pt. . 5LnIi, 1 Lthnnden, IV, p. L i5.


is

74, so, etc.

Msitguis oi NonhlsMnoN, Spiroiiaiicc,, N13BFRfl, &cau,lionc in 1k Than V.crp.li dnrinIIi Nin1erj8oS-oo, Pt. XIII, tnt,pp. i 14 And Jig. i; reference

made here to Ileradotus II,

i.

21

1FIE SFELA OF MENTHU-WESER We see here the source of the supplies referred to in such inscriptions as S/nit/ic, B 287_288,1 where the hero finds at his disposal precious things from the 1 reasurv, clothing
from the kings linen,

THE MAIN INSCRIPTION dence of the Bern flasan texts,- to have been the method of organization generally prevalent during the I welfth Dv-

or again \I\ RI LT 11

Jlastabas, I)

where the deceased tells that


ii

clothing was given him

from the Treasury. The last two sentences of this section are not wholly clear. The general meanIng seems to he when accounts were settled with me it was found that I had administered faithfully (without cheating or the like) and I was thanked and * for it. are probably in the construction of EIU1r\N, Grammatik, 3d.ed., 285. The determinative of the
verb n/ninj indicates motinn.

Cf. the thought in Sirii i,

Lrknnden, Iv, p. 77, 11. 67, I went forth therefrom in triumph, my balance (against me) was not found. So per haps here I went out free, that is, he was discharged

of further financial responsibility. that he was a strong n;ij and the statement that he was thanked for his good administration are not empty boasts. The kings gift of the gravestela is abundant confirmation of their veracity. A fact of ver special interest is that Menthuweser was respon sible directly to the central bureau of the kings domain. I Ic did not render his report to a nomarch, and the nomarch in turn to the king, as has been assumed, chiefly on the cvi
1; ki)INi

Menthuwesers claim in line

a, Die LID. Iisii ths

Lion?,,

PI

and p.

14.
22

Bai
22

Asi in,

See on this point MLyEI1, Geschzc?tv des ,Uleriums, I, Part iIisirv ?/ I vlsi, 2d ed., pp. 162 and i6j.

2,

2d ad., p.

248

and

__ ___ __

___

TIlE SIEL\ OP MENTIIU-\VESER

THE MAIN INSCRIPTION


I did not stand upon (?) 13 I was one who spoke in accordance with the deeds of princes, one free from saving I wa one who I really listened, one who did not demand (?) of my lord a reward.

c> His (iI\R\cTni As Siiowx

ix

His

RFLATI0N5

WITH

F1ILY, S1B0RDINATES, AND StPER10Rs

cTh}

q57

s I i

9 I

C. I I I

.fl
w.i

For the idiom generous cf. BL\cKDFx and FRAsER,


hiiL

Line 8

L_.._L

Hatnub, I, 8-s:
and British Museum grave-stela, No. 581 (of Middle I I am one who is Kingdom):
-

I
flnAwfl

LI

_a

k.gc
-

X Il

flfl

.\
II

ic

ii
._..C4

9
Q

fi
1

fl

.
fl1L9 2-fl
I I
-_JL. 13

I.-

generous, liberal, lord of provisions (translation nf A. 1-1. Gardiner). In the context in both these passages there is mention of food, and the words which inimediatelv follow j;ik lid hr in the text under consideration clearly have to do with food.
1hev are, however, unknown elsewhere and the construction is not evident. The meaning in the light of the statement which follows would seem to he that Menthu weser gave away food
generously.
line 9

II
ZE

LI

T ti

,MVV

LI1

1.5

Q
r .9

ZD __I fi

jn
0 S .J1
\\
V.

7L-ji

9 I was one who was generous There was no distress for the one to whom I gave (?). I apportioned the chief cut of meat to those sitting 10 at my side. I was one beloved of his relatives, one to whom (?) his family was united (?). I did not cover m face against him who was 11 in arrears with taxes). I was a father of the poor orphan child, crne who cared for (?) the widows. No man slept hungry 12 in my district. I hindered no man at the ferry. I did not speak evil (?) of a man when more powerful than he.

The translation offered for the next sentence requires a slight emendation of the text,the addition of the and the omission of the determinative after at the end of the sentence. As the and between text stands it is unintelligible. is perhaps not a portion of meat, as often translated, hut the principal cut of meat, presumably then a leg joint. The first two sentences contained in line 10 refer to Menthuwesers happy family life his good fortune in having the affection of his relatives and in being surrounded by a

ljr,e

THE STELA OF MENTHL-\VESER Ihe Coffin Texts reveal how much value was attached to this aspect of life, in that they contain a chapter entitled [niting of the Household (ht of a Man with I Jim household. 23 in the Nether World. In both sentences some emendations are necessary, In the first, one r has been added by mistake would (unless the participle is active, in which case the belongs after the determinative and be incorrect), has been omitted in the word hw, relatives, family. The following sentence is difficult as it stands. By emending the translation suggested after Mmj to the second becomes possible. The determinative of the knife for bt
,

THE MAIN INSCRIPTION


9-i

kingdom B
2,

in I

eyden

picb

A lord

of provisions, free from covering

the

face;

1. io,-
face against

thy

F the one whom thou hast learned to know


arrears of tax

fl

Eloquent Peasant, Cover not


cf. the Ameni

For bk
inscription, 1.

meaning

labor,

jIft I

17.27
meaning of

appears in the Book of the Dead, ed. BuDGE, 189 after Nu 19, 7. For the occurrence of the word on grave-stelae of the Middle kingdom, cf. British Museum, No. I 59: I was one great in his town, noble in his house, a great pillar of

Jj

>

and

Cairo, No. 1648: One who loved his brothers and sisters The Coffin Texts and who was agreeable to 21 make clear what classes of persons are included in the bt. The word denotes not merely a mans immediate family father, mother, children, and other relativeshut his family in the wider sense, including also servants, friends, slaves, and all other persons who compose his household. Menthu-weser assures us next that he was not haughty toward those humbler than himself. On the contrary, he was kind to the unfortunate. Cf. here a grave-stela of the Middle

nmhw see ERMAN, Denkst. aus der theban. Grberstadt, pp. io888c. The negative _n.. before is of course the stone-cutters error for the genitive The approximate meaning of is clear from the follow ing passage: British Museum, No. 581 (stela of the Middle I kingdom), 1. i: I am I I I one who alleviates (?) the hungry who has no property (translation of A. H. Gardiner). Two other instances of the use of this word on gravestelae of the Middle Kingdom are known to me: BoEsI, op. cit., P1. iv. II. 8, I buried the him who aged of my town and I \
On the
nm/nc ,m m

([)

and Cairo, No.2o54 ,1. 3

15,

I gave a gift to the one who begged for it, I ;;z the one whom I knew not as him whom I knew. Cf. also SETtlE, L:rknnden, IV, p. 12, Il. ii,
13,

and

15.

No man slept hungry in my district is a more pic turesque statement than the frequent I gave bread to the
23

Cf. Tiir.si LD, R1igion and Tiou.i/ in .1ncten Top!, p. and X\ Xi. p. 20. d !ra., I pp 07

280

B0ESER,

nj5.

On Lc \I

x EWIIERR\,

ci., 1]. iii, I. arid 0; ROtS I S. I)o J\/l2 Btii Hasan, I, P! \ III

It

tis Biur,

P1.

22

and p.

27

THE STELA OF MENTHU-WESER The speech of Menthuweser, while typical of its period in thought, is delightfully unusual in some of its hungry. phrases.
I
ifle 2

THE MAiN INSCRIPTION in English the relative force of w.rjr-f, literally a man,
than

whom I was

stronger. lanes
2

The freedom of the waterway was of the highest impor tance in ancient Egypt and it belonged to the virtues of a man in power not to hinder anyone in crossing from shore to shore. A personage of the early Middle Kingdom whose gravestone is preserved in Cairo (No. 20506) was even more praiseworthy than Menthu-weser, for he says: I ferried him who had no boat across in my own ferry. The verb of our text is not known elsewhere in texts earlier than the Empire. Cf. the following line on a kneeling figure in toe Louvre, A 6o: May I not he held back from the ferry of the Underworld ! is obscure. It In the next sentence the verb is possibly the same as that which occurs in the tomb of Si renpowet II : I LI I of the Middle King and on the British Museum stela No. In the first example the de dom:
---

is The sentence I did not stand upon (?) unintelligible. The last word is unknown and the verb may he used in an idiomatic sense, requiring an entirely different English translation. It seems probable that it belongs in thought with the sentences which precede rather than with those which follow. We learn now in four sentences how Menthu-weser comported himself before his superiors. The Berlin Dictionary with following person, or gives the idiom
I I

13

Tine

i.

the work of N., pmw must he some special expression, excuse, or lie, which the unrighteous official used toward his superior officer, which Menthu-weser, however, was never guilty of uttering. Further, he was not merely silent when his superiors spoke,----he listened to their words and took them to heart. To hearken was a virtue frequently extolled by the Egvp tians. 29 Cf. the Proverbs of Ptahbotep and the following state ment with regard to the official Ineni of the Eighteenth Dynasty: I was one who hearkened to that which his
Tine
Lines I3-14

Os

terminative is the same, in the second the verb governs the word for man as in our stela. The omission of the weak consonant z in our text is hardly an objection. Of the meaning no more can he said than that it is evil. The determinative of the man with the hand to the mouth sug gests, not physical violence, hut evil of a more subtle sort, wrought through word of mouth. It is difficult to render
D Moso ss, Cab?. di. ,nnnitmeiibc d inscript. di
p s-i

superior said. ,n When, however, Menthu-weser did speak, it was not to see ERl.\s. Gram make unseemly demands. On d ;uatik, 3 ed., p. 273, Anm. For the following verb, cf.
22

lEvpbe an/iou,. S,re

Tome I,

511111

ci5 i-or instance, Psi D.\VLXXLS, a]). L rkundn i, IV. p. /,2, 1. i.

cii., i6,
21)

312.

TIlE STELA OF MENTIIL-WESER

THE MAIN INSCRIPTION

Eloquent Peasant, B 2, Io4: and the following passage from another literary com
position of the Middle Kingdom:
fl:12

At the end of the sentence, where one expects

(d) 1-us r

PRIVATE PROPERTY

is peculiar. assuming normal one.

Further, the translation offered for line

14,

to he the direct object of the verb nm,

LU

nn
I
IUED,j)

1I

has the difficulty that the order of the words is thus not the

SIlfltE

<=

a 3
I I I

Tr
9
z:: czz
-

T:IX

11,

YPi\ \i Ii Jf

I was rich (?) and goodly of luxury (?), 1 sustained no loss (?) in all my property.

1 was possessor of oxen, rich in goats, possessor of asses, rich in sheep, 1 was wealthy as to barley and wheat, splendid 16 as to clothing. There was no loss in all my riches (?). I had goodly boats and was wealthy as to vineyards (?).
15

Lines 1516 contain an interesting enumeration of the private possessions of a for himself. While administering the kings property, Menthu-weser gradually accumulated wealth His herds do not include swine, but he raised He had boats of his own and lIe expressly states that he met with no
i me

wheat as well as harley. perhaps vineyards. losses.


31 \OGLI S SN(,

RM s,

0 SRDINI R, ( ciI., P1. 22. (Jespr&I pines I p nsmud ii mit iezner Seele, p
and

17, line 3 01

text.

There seems no question that the slight break is to be

THE STELA OP MENTHL-WESER restored in accordance with the word contained in line i6 and that the partially obliterated word above is with the signs written side h side. The curve of the still remains on the left and the tail of the is unmis ta ka hi e.

THE MAIN INSCRIPTION loss, the LL being an assimilation to the following personal pronoun, literally then, not was my loss in all my things. The usual form appears in line i6. I and the The stroke in stroke after the detcrrninativc in this line and eLewhere in the inscription are in of course erroneous. The horns are omitted from (see photographic P1. II), but the preceding sign ensures the reading kw. I have never before seen r, adjective, deter mined with T he writing 1i-.j is archaic. It is known in the Pyramid Texts and also in archaic texts of the Empire, for instance, at Medinet Hahu in an account of a festival of Ijn
.

Line 15

A word hdj is unknown. Perhaps a weak consonant z has been omitted in the writing and we have here to do with the word hwd which appears in the Eloquent Peasant again and again (II. B 1, 125 and 272; B 2, 28 and ioo); also as fol lows, B i, 889o: Thou greatest of the great, Thou richest (hwd) of the rich (hwdw) Who hast ever been (?) the greatest among his great ones, The richest (7wd) among his rich ones (bwdw). Cf. also Hatnub 8, Theban tomb of
-

and the following line from the (Eighteenth Dynasty) from a copy made by Professor Sethe for the Berlin Dictionary:
i
III
,

Thy storehouses are full to I overflowing. A few times in the Eloquent Peasant, and in both the other passages cited, the word is determined with the book roil alone as in our text. Our text throughout, in accordance with its archaic tendencies in the writing,

u _LL >

The determinative (see P1. 11) resembles the hieratic form of the vinetreiIis and is therefore rendered with the hieroglyphic equivalent of this in the printed word. If this be correct, we may assume that vines or vineyards is the meaning of hw. Possibly there is an intentional play of sound between this and the word for boats.

is unknown.

I me

shows a preference for over as for over Instead of one would expect pj-zct, or at least the plural strokes. Cf. line 16. The form is unusual. It is probably the word
.

Cnapni

I IN,

\..r. J,ccr

Ls \

and

I,
\o. 267.

,ARDlNI R,

op. cu,, P1. 7, P.


32

C. MLL[ P, Id/mrIp,

._:,-7---

j,

7C

4) e
THE MAIN INSCRIPTION (line i8) is addressed, in the first instance, to the class who could read, the scribes. The stone-cutters error in substi tuting for in the verbal adjective was one which could take place with special ease in the Middle Kingdom when the tendency in vertical columns written in hieratic was to make a fill the width of a column quite as com pletely as an The next phrase is difficult. Presumably it must modify or supplement all people. The letters are very small, as if they had been forgotten and then inserted after the first had been cut. If be read before as its posi

THE STELA OF MENTIIU-WESER


(e)

AIDRFSS TO PAssERs-BY
17

Ic

fl

c-:
0

1 P
I I

1 I I
7

_LL

WA tW

_D
-C

fl

l
I9

[j

I I

tion on the stone will admit, and

he read after

iiJ1Li
But as for 17 all people who shall hearken to this grave-stela, those who are among the living (f), They shall say: It is true. And their children shall say to [their] iS children: It is true, there is no lie therein. But as for every scribe who shall read this grave-stela and as for all people who shall come to it, If ye love life and hate death, 19 The First of the Westerners will love you, and he will reward you at his Stairway, If ye say: Mortuary offerings, beef, fowl, offerings, and food for the lord of this grave-stela.
Line
i

instead of preceding it, as written, we get who are among the living.

At the beginning of the line the pronoun has probably fallen out after hrdw, and the r is omitted in the writing of the latter word. j is an interesting form, being substituted for the traditional in rendering the I-sound preserved in the Coptic FOX; cf. ER1IAN, Gram matik, 3d ed., 104. is an unexplainable mistake for

line s

he understood literally. The people unable to read, who would have been numerous in those days as now, are first addressed; they must listen to the inscription as read to them. The next formula
is to 34

The verbal adjective .dm-tjw-n

The following sentences contain many small errors, for in the verbal adjective .dljfj, the omission of I in pr(1jw)n, the omission of in the pronoun following
_

mdd, and the omission of I in the writing of ml.

Cf.

--

in
i,

LANGE-ScoALFER,

Grabskmne, No.

20088

c, I. io and Rec.

de frau., III, pp.

I5

No. IV, 1.9.

35

THE STEL OF MENTHL-WESER \ 1


Line
i

has been substituted for the usual in The introduction of at his Stairway in this formula is unusual. It refers, of course, to the Osiris Sanctuary at Ahvdos, near which every devout Egyptian hoped to he buried, or at least remembered by a memorial stonethe very place in which Menthu-wesers stela was situated as it made its appeal to passers-by. The reward which Osiris would give, we may suppose to be a tomb or a monument similar to this of Menthu-weser. Cf. the following references on stelae of the Middle Kingdom to the Stairway of Osiris:
\
-

NOTES ON THE HIEROGLYPHS It is noticeable that a number of the signs are reversed: at the beginning of line 1, in lines 4, 14, 17, iS, and in the legend accompanying the little figure of Menthu-wesers son; in line 6. In the main inscription we find hut in the legends occurs twice. in line i8 is abbreviated,

fl
) 1111

Y.

-9

tJ

11 8
.-

t. 11 ere sia

Lie

[),

tomb built for thee beside the Stairway of the great god, lord of [j 37 Ahvdos; Louvre C :
AWW\ WW fl

tv

Ic

.>

ii

.J.1

a)

..

=>

9t
J

Stela

which N erected that his name might endure by the Stair 38 way of the great god and Berlin
i 191:

As regards this tomb which I have made by the Stairway of the great god, lord of life, presider over Abydos. The usual determinative of r(zc)d is /j, not E. The writing of offerings and food, each sign re peated three times to express the plural, is archaic.

presumably to accommodate it to the available space; it lacks the small water-pot (or leather pouch of colors, as the case may he) which is regularly a part of this sign A few of the hieroglyphs are unusual in form. The determinative of kr.w in line 4 is perhaps a paneled sar cophagus, very high in its proportions. Another possibility is that it represents a coffin with canopy over it, the latter being supported not merely at the corners, but by intermediate uprights and having also horizontal rails midway between the top of the coffin and the roof of the canopy; under this interpretation the omission of the sledge is unusual. The 4 granary containing three grains (line 5) is possibly due to a memory on the part of the stone-cutter of the granaries in offering-lists; these occasionally have inscribed within the
Cf.,
for instan.

PILRREI,

Grabsteine, No. 20539, re.erse, l 2, In cr. du Lu:re, II, pp. 5253. 4u. I,r. 1er dsypI. .-Illertiiiner and Gzpsabe. Berlin.
GL-5c0uFrR,

2d

ed.,

p. 92.

D vits, Deir el Gcbriari, I, P1.

_\

and II, P1. \I 1.

36

37

NOTES ON THE IIIEROGLYPHS

4 names of the grains which they are supposed to contain. The sm-sign in line ii has additional lines above and below 42 and the vertical strokes are simplified. In h3rt in line ii the fish does not have the tail curved down as frequently 43 but is drawn in a horizontal position. The boats in lines 12 4 and i6 rest on clearly defined mr-signs. Usually the indica tion of water below the boat is a narrow rectangle or mere line. The form on this stela can, however, be paralleled. An unpublished coffin of the Twelfth Dynasty in the Metropolitan Museum (No. 12.182.132) shows the same form with the addition of vertical water lines. The omission of the steering oar is not uncommon. Finally, in the prayer for offerings in line 19 the form of the wild fowl should be noted, drawn in profile, with one leg hanging down, instead of the usual trussed duck seen from below.

LIST OF DATED STELAE OF THE REIGN OF SESOSTRIS I Seventh year: Cairo, No. 205 i 8) 2. Ninth year: Louvre, C 3.46 3. Ninth year: Leyden, V 4. Tenth year: Cairo, No. 2oo26. Tenth year: Cairo, No. 205 15 6. Tenth year: Cairo, No. 20516) 7. Fourteenth year: British Museum, No. 586. 8. Fourteenth year: Berlin, No. I 192.52 9. Seventeenth year: Louvre, C i66.
10. 12.184.

Seventeenth year: New York, Metropolitan Museum,

Twenty-fourth year: Louvre, C 1.50 12. Twenty-fourth year: Cairo, No. 20542. 13. Thirty-third year: Leyden, V 3.51
ii.

Thirty-fourth year: Berlin, No. 1199.52 15. Thirty-ninth year: British Museum, No. i6. Forty-fourth year: Leyden, V 4.4
14.
L GE-ScH,kee, Grabsteine, under the numbers cited above. u Pie niees, Inscr. du Louvre, II, p. 104. Bose, op. cit., P1. VI. British Museum. A c;uide to the Egyptian Galleries (.ScuJplur Piiusri, op. cit., p. 67. Pies RET, op. cit. p. 27. Boesess, op. cit., P1. II. 52 Berlin. Ausf. Verg. der Altertibmer und Gipcab. 2d ed., P. 89. Guide to the Egypt. Galkries, p. 40. Bossios, op. cit., P1. IV.

572.

40

and P1. vi.

For instance, MURRAY, Saqqara Mastabas, 1, P1. 1. u Cf. br the normal form MOLLLR, Paldographie, I, No. 173. o. ci., No. 257. This form of the sign occurs at Beni Hasan. See NEwBERRY, Beni Hasan, 1, P1. \ Ill, line ao.

39

I I

I
i6i
03LNHId FIUW3D3U NH N33U 3AVH S3JdOD 00 )10011 SIHJ. dO