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THE PRESENCE OF MYTH IN THE PYRAMID TEXTS Jennifer Hellum (University of Auckland)

The Pyramid Texts of Unas, Teti, Pepi I, his queens Behenu1, Ankhesenpepy II2, and Mrtits3, Merenre, and Pepi II and his queens Neith, Apouit, and Wedjebteni, of the 5th and 6th Dynasties in the Old Kingdom are a handbook for the king to enter the realm of the pantheon, wherein also reside his ancestors. The content of the texts helps make certain the ascent of the king or queen into the sky to join Re and the other gods in the sun-barque. This was done through a variety of means, one of which was through the use of ritual genres, such as the opening of the deceaseds mouth, during which the deceased was offered food and clothing, and equipped with various daggers or knife-like weapons. Another means of helping with the ascent was through the use of diverse textual genres, such as mythic allusion, exhortation, and spells of protection, among others. A study of the mythic qualities of the architecture of temples and other religious establishments shows clear evidence that every part of these sacred buildings (architectural and design programs included), and by extension the entire religious process, was allusory in a mythic sense. This is something from 1 Grimal, N. and E. Adly, Fouilles et travaux en gypte et au Soudan, 2005-2007: (f) 1., Or 76 (2007) 209; Berger-el Naggar, C. and M.-N. Fraisse, Bhnou, aime de Ppy, une nouvelle reine lgypte, BIFAO 108 (2008) 1-27. 2 Dobrev, Vassil, et al, La dixime pyramide textes de Saqqra: nkhesenppy II. Rapport prliminaire de la campagne de fouilles 2000, BIFAO 100 (2000) 275-296; Grimal, N. and E. Adly, Fouilles et travaux en gypte et au Soudan, 2000-2002: (m) Saqqra, Or 72 (2003) 45; Mathieu, B. et al, Recherches sur les textes de la pyramide de la reine nkhesenppy II. 1. Le register suprieur de la paroi est de la chamber funraire (A II/F/E sup), BIFAO 105 (2005) 129-138; Mathieu, B. et al, Recherches sur les textes de la pyramide de la reine nkhesenppy II. 2. Le register infrieur de la paroi est de la chamber funraire (A II/F/E inf.), BIFAO 108 (2008) 281-291. 3 Grimal, N. and E. Adly, Fouilles et travaux en gypte et au Soudan, 2004-2005: (f) 1., Or 75 (2006) 215; Grimal, N. and E. Adly, Fouilles et travaux en gypte et au Soudan, 2005-2007: (f) 1., Or 76 (2007) 208-209.

which the Pyramid Texts were not exempt, as the corpus was a part of the design programme of the 5th and 6th Dynasty pyramid complexes4, a key part of the development of architectural and religious programmes during the Old Kingdom. Beginning with Userkaf5, the pyramids of the 5th and 6th Dynasties are considerably less architecturally complex than those of the 3rd and 4th Dynasties, and there is a remarkable consistency in the layout of the chambers of the later pyramids, unlike those of the earlier ones. The earlier pyramids of Dynasties 3 and 4 have

several chambers, usually on different levels. The most complex example of this is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which has extensive corridors on two levels, with magazines and galleries going in several directions. The 5th and 6th Dynasty pyramid chambers are placed on an east/west axis, and include only the antechamber, the burial chamber, and generally, a single storeroom or serdab. The layout of Userkaf, the first king of Dynasty 5, included the antechamber, the burial chamber, the entrance corridor, and two serdabs, present in the form of two chambers that were entered through a corridor that branched off to the east from the main corridor. The architectural notion of a serdab in the form of three chambers east of the antechamber is present from the reign of Djedkare-Isesi, the penultimate king of the 5th Dynasty; the Pyramid Texts do not appear until the reign of his successor, Unas. The change in Dynasty 5 to a simpler and more linear style of chamber arrangement may be an indication of an overall change in the focus of the religion, perhaps moving away slightly from the heliocentricity of the early 5th Dynasty. 4 See Bell, Lanny, Luxor Temple and the Cult of the Royal Ka, JNES 44 (1985) 251-294; David, A. Rosalie, The Ancient Egyptians, London, 1982, 127-129; Reymond, E.A.E., The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple, Manchester, 1969, among others. 5 Allen, James, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Atlanta, 2005, 4; See Labrousse, A. and J.-P. Lauer, Les complexes funraires dOuserkaf et de Nferhteps, Cairo, 2000; Lehner, Mark, The Complete Pyramids, London, 1997, 144.

The 5th Dynasty layout of the tombs chambers is significantly well-suited to the inclusion of the texts. From here on, to the end of the 6th Dynasty, the pyramids are equipped with three rooms running east-west, one after the other, joined by short

corridors, and a much longer corridor that runs north-south, leading to the entrance of the pyramid from the south wall of the antechamber.6 In each of the epigraphic pyramids of Dynasties 5 and 6 (i.e. those of Unas, Teti, Pepi I, Merenre, and Pepi II), the corridor descends until it reaches a waiting room or vestibule (Wartesaal or salle dattente7), through which it passes, continuing horizontally until the antechamber is reached. The corridors in every pyramid have four portcullises, with the exception of Unas, which has only three; the first is located before the waiting room and the last three are located after the waiting room and before the antechamber. The queens pyramids have only one room, the funerary chamber, reached from an entrance corridor. There is neither an antechamber nor a serdab. As a result, they conflate the texts that occupied the more extensive substructures of the pharaonic tombs.8 A certain amount of debate has been devoted to the correct order in which to read the texts.9 They can be read either from the outside in, down the entrance corridor through the antechamber to the funerary chamber or in the opposite direction, beginning in the funerary chamber. This debate originated in the belief that the texts 6 Sethe,Kurt, Die Altgyptischen Pyramidentexte. Band 3, Leipzig, 1922, 116, 120, 125, 139, 146. 7 Sethe, 1922, 133. 8 Allen, James, The Pyramid Texts of Queens Ipwt and WDbt-.n.(i), JARCE 23 (1986), 1. 9 See, for example, Allen, James, Reading a Pyramid, in Hommages Jean Leclant, eds. C. Berger, G. Clerc, N. Grimal, Cairo, 1994, 16 in particular; Altenmller, H., Die Texte zum Begrbnisritual in den Pyramiden des Alten Reiches, Wiesbaden, 1971; Barta, Winfried, Die Bedeutung der Pyramidentexte fr den verstorbenen Knig, Berlin, 1981; or Spiegel, Joachim, Das Auferstehungsritual der UnasPyramide, Wiesbaden, 1972, 18-32. For a discussion regarding the ritual use of the texts by priests and by the deceased, see H. Hays, Old Kingdom Sacerdotal Texts JEOL 41 (2009) 47-94.

were read aloud by priests performing the funerary service and burial rituals, either

coming into the pyramid down the corridor and into the epigraphic rooms, or exiting, having laid the deceased to rest, an essentially ritualistic understanding of the purpose of the corpus.10 Sethe and later Spiegel, following Sethe, postulate that the corridor texts would necessarily have been read outside and last,11 due to the physical restrictions of height. This is a suggestion not without superficial allure, but also with attendant difficulties. For example, the height of descending passage in Unas pyramid is 1.31 m,12 and that of Tetis descending passage is 1.12 m.13 Such a restricted height would cause physical difficulties for the priests, and would render the rituals undignified. The entrance corridor texts are resurrection and ascension texts, together with some ferry spells, exactly the types of text that would be essential to send the kings spirit and soul skyward. To have such texts performed outside the pyramids entrance would serve to aid in that essential ascent. However, such a hypothesis does not tackle the question of the use of the texts in the pyramid once the structure had been sealed. In order to address this, Spiegel presents a theory,14 expanded upon by Allen,15 in which the two epigraphic chambers inside the pyramids represent the journey of the king to the sky. The purpose of this journey was to bring the king into the company of the deities and his ancestors. It completed the royal cycle, and implied the divine nature of the king was one not bound by life and death. This journey went from the mundane earth in the burial chamber through the antechamber and out through the 10 Spiegel, 1972. 11 Sethe, K., Die Altgyptischen Pyramidentexte IV, Leipzig, 1922, 2-4. Spiegel, 1972, 17 12 Labrousse, Audran, LArchitecture des pyramides textes I, Cairo, 1996, 24. 13 Labrousse, 1996, 50. 14 Spiegel, 1972, 22. 15 Allen, 1994; Allen, 2005, 8-12.

entranceway. The burial chamber is equated architecturally with the duat and the antechamber with the akhet. Thus, the ba of the king wakens in the duat, flies up to the akhet, and out of the pyramids through the entranceways, which are also bound with texts until close to the entrance16. Allen has divided the corpus into two sets of

texts, one found in the antechamber, and the other in the burial chamber. Very broadly speaking, according to Allen, the set of texts in the funerary chamber consists of the Offering Ritual and the Resurrection Ritual,17 while the antechamber set of texts is intended to be used by the king in his journey through the afterlife to the akhet, towards becoming an akh, himself.18 These are less overtly ritual, with sparse or less obvious use of language, indicating actions performed by either the king or priests, clearly intended to be used in a ritualistic manner. The architecture of the chambers provides mythic space for movement into the afterlife. The generally ritual tenor of the texts in these chambers addresses the progression of the kings ka through the pyramid chambers and accounts for the ritual aspects of the texts. It makes clear the route to the presence of Re, and is efficacious in the journey to the desired goal. Reaching the goal, however, is the result of a journey that is taken through mythic and sacred space. The ritualistic aspects of the texts in the burial chamber and antechambers do not provide supernatural protection and their efficacy is limited to the movement of the king from place to place. The safe movement of the king, a different matter, must be seen to by means of supernatural and mythic aid. Despite the divine objective, the journey itself, as addressed by the ritual aspects of the texts, can be seen in a comparatively mundane light. What brings that journey into the divine is 16 The serdab is anepigraphic, and thus has no part in this architectural myth. 17 For an extensive bibliography of these comments and sources, see Allen, 1994, 5, fn. 1. 18 Allen, 1994, 23; Allen, James, The Cosmology of the Pyramid Texts, in Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt, ed., William Kelly Simpson, New Haven, 1981, 128.

the presence of elements of myth, which include the names of deities, references to their actions, and the association of the king therewith. Upon examination of the mythic content of the texts, however, it appears that

it does not hold to the architectural model, but rather, works in a more holistic fashion by creating the sacred and profoundly mythic space in which the king arises and ascends. The existence of the mythic elements creates within the pyramids chambers the effect of having the deceased king act as a participant in the myth of his ascension. Without these elements to create such a space, the ritual remains a non-religious action performed for the sole benefit of the enactors. Thus, another hypothesis for the presence and use of the texts in the sealed pyramid is here proposed, namely that of a holistic group of texts used in a Mobius-like fashion, without beginning or end, working as a simultaneous corollary to their ritual nature. The notion of reading the texts in a specific order, beginning from either the entrance corridor or the funerary chamber, is one that has meaning for the funerary ritual only; the deceased king, when he has arisen, will be enclosed in the sacred space created by the presence of the hieroglyphs on the walls, and accordingly enclosed by the myth of the royal ascension. How this works on a mythic level is the question. The texts propelled the newly risen king from the burial chamber to the antechamber and out through the exit/entrance corridor. The broad meaning of each text serves this purpose, but the mythic content of the texts does not demonstrate the same forward momentum. In fact, it appears that when examining the mythic content, as separate from the ritual content, the texts follow no order whatsoever. A good example of this is the set of three texts, PTs 316-318. These three are found in numerical order in Unas entrance

corridor. PT 318 is also found in Tetis antechamber, in two versions. PT 316 is as follows19: O Retreater, O Illuminer, the king cannot give you his magic. The king sits,

his back against the sacred place in Heliopolis. The king will be taken away to the sky. PT 317, slightly longer is: Words to be spoken: the king comes today via the canal of the inundation. Sobek is the king, great of plumage, vigilant of face, and raised of front, Abesh, who comes in splendor, the tail of the Great Goddess who is in radiance/sunshine. The king has come to his canals, which are in the foreshore of the Great Inundation to the place of peace, green of fields, which is in the Akhet. The king will make the pastures flourish on the two banks of the Akhet. The king will bring the faience of the Great Eye, which is in the midst of the field. The king will seize his throne, which is in the Akhet. Unas rises as Sobek, son of Neith. The king eats with his mouth. The king urinates and the king copulates with his penis. The king is the <possessor of> seed, who takes women from their husbands to the place, which the king loves in accordance with that which his heart desires. PT 318: Words to be spoken: A snake is the king, the bull of the gods, who swallows the Seven Uraei, whose seven neckbones were created, who commanded the enneads, who commanded the sovereign. The mother of the king is the pelican. The king came so that he might take the fingernail of myrrh, myrrh in

19 All translations are the authors own. The names of Unas and Teti have been replaced with the term the king in order to avoid specificity.

8 the fingernail. The king came so that he might take away your power, O Gods. Surround the king, so that he might harness your kas.

The mythic elements in PT 316 lie mainly in the personal names of Retreater and Illuminer, which, perforce, make them mythical beings. It is often the case in the Pyramid Texts, and other later religious corpora, that minor deities are given epithets in place of names; so we get Retreater or the one who retreats, and Illuminer or one who illuminates. Both of these epithets may be referring to the sun, the Retreater as the setting sun and the Illuminer as the rising sun. By addressing them, the king is entering into conversation with them, placing himself in the context of the myth of the rising and setting sun. The magic of the king is mentioned, and the king is shown to be more powerful than either Retreater or Illuminer, through refusing to relinquish it to the supernaturals to whom he is speaking. It is more difficult to say how the following second sentence correlates to the first: the sacred place in Heliopolis is presumably the temple to Re at Heliopolis, but what mythic connotations that may have in this context are likely beyond us. That the king, in the next sentence, is to be taken to the sky is clearly part of the resurrection of the king and his ascendance into the afterlife20. PT 317 is more complicated and shares grammatical similarities with 318. The statement Sobek is the king (pace previous translations, which are generally The king is Sobek) explicitly joins the king with a deity, in such a way that Sobek and the 20 It is perhaps germane to the discussion here to note that the verb Sdi means both to take away, using a standing man holding a raised stick as a determinative, and to suckle, with a breast determinative. As is often the case with Old Egyptian, there is no determinative shown in the original; however, to suckle would certainly fit, given the gender of the deity of the sky, Nut. Surely the notion of more than one layer of meaning for this was intentional on the part of the authors of the Pyramid Texts; indeed, such wordplay is rife throughout the corpus.

king are one. The grammatical construction21, a tripartite nominal sentence, indicates that such is intended22. Immediately upon being Sobek, the king is mythic, and as Sobek, he travels and arrives via canals or waterways of the horizon. He operates in

the sky as a deity, with the expected divine abilities and powers. The last sentences in the utterance, in which the physically natural state of the king is emphasized, do not detract from the mythic nature of the king/Sobek; rather they reinforce the dual nature of the deities, as having animal and human form simultaneously. The last text, PT 318, has similar mythic imagery. The king and a snake are bound in the same tripartite nominal construction, each embodying the other. He takes in seven uraei that then become part of him, as well, with their command of the enneads and the sovereign. Despite the physical placement of these Utterances, mythically they stand apart from each other, the only correspondence being a similar use of grammatical form that enforces the king as mythical being. While PT 317 concentrates on the king as Sobek / Sobek as king in the afterlife, it could not truly be considered a text of ascension, as it is assumed that the king has arrived in the afterlife already. Neither are PTs 316 and 318 ascension texts. In fact, these three texts have nothing, mythically, to do with one another. They have no correlation with deities mentioned, nor do they have any relationship stylistically. Thus the placement of these texts in the antechambers of Unas and Teti and the entranceway of Unas, would seem to be completely unrelated to the mythic content. The difference between mythic and ritual content is primarily the difference between the supernatural or divine and mundane actions that bring the divine into the 21 Wnis pi sbk 22 See A. Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge, 1995, 104-106 for a discussion of the bipartite and tripartite nominal sentence construction and translation.


world. It is also, in some measure, the difference between thought and action. Ritual is often understood to be an enactment of myth, the performance of which creates a surrounding sacred space, and allows for the believers to feel the presence of their divinity. In the case of the Pyramid Texts, the action of the deceased king belongs to ritual, while a divine association with that action belongs to myth. These two are inextricably entwined, and the division can be subjective; trying to separate myth from ritual is often fruitless, particularly as neither the form of the rituals is known, nor the sequences of actions that make them up. Neither do we know the bulk of the narrative myths to which the allusions refer; indeed, there is the reasonable questioning of whether the myths exist in narrative form at all, this early in Egypts history23. Ritual can be found in the Pyramid Texts in the form of rubrics, which are particularly obvious in the offering texts found in the burial chamber, and statements. In the case of rubrics, they imply the offering of certain foods or ritual items such as clothing or emblems of office. The best examples of this are found in the offering texts in the burial chambers. PT 125 from both Unas and Tetis chambers shows a particularly clear correlation between myth and ritual: Osiris Unas brings for you his white and strong teeth. 4 white onions. The teeth stand as metaphor for the onions being offered; thus the action of offering is found in the reference to onions, while the teeth are solidly within mythic parameters. They can also include further instructions on delivery and repetition of certain gestures or motions. They act as instructional guides for the reciters or readers of the texts, and are generally unambiguously action-specific. The statements, however, are not quite as obvious. 23 E.g. Baines, J., Myth and Literature in Ancient Egyptian Literature, ed. A. Loprieno, Leiden, 1996, 362-363.

11 The form of myth in the Pyramid Texts is not narrative or literary, but allusive

and, in the use of hieroglyphs, semiotic. Generally, in the Pyramid Texts, myth is found in the names of deities, in whatever association the king has with those deities, in their actions, and in the very hieroglyphs themselves. The understanding the Egyptians had of the latent power of the hieroglyphic representations, and the necessity for mutilating dangerous signs is well-known, and is found throughout the Pyramid Texts; it is exactly that perception and the symbolism inherent in the glyphs as purely representational, as opposed to deictic, figures that gives them their mythic property. Hieroglyphs hold within them a hidden and sacred meaning, when used in a religious context. They have the potential for great danger, as vivified images of men with sticks, lions, snakes, etc., but they also have the potential for healing and metamorphosis, on behalf of the king. Such glyphs as those associated with deities, and specifically for the Pyramid Texts, boat and food determinatives (among others) provide the king with transportation and sustenance. Mythic and ritual content are ubiquitous in the Pyramid Texts, with every individual text dealing in some measure with deities and their actions.24 They are present every time the name of a deity is mentioned, for example, or the king is associated with the deities and their actions. They are often found together in a text;

24 The possible exceptions to this may be those texts that appear to be glossolalic, with repetitions of sounds. These have been translated by Allen in The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Atlanta, 2005, in particular Utts. 292 (Allens W198) and 502B (Allens P408 [despite a misnumbering of the text in the concordance]), with some sense made of them; however, the repetition of plosive sounds (ks and ts) is remarkable and unique in the corpus, and seems likely to have been part of the text as an oral and written whole. Glossolalia occurs when the speaker is in a religious trance, working much the same way as the whirling of the Sufi dervishes. It is possible, however, that these texts show remnants of another language, early Northwest Semitic. For a study of this, see Richard C. Steiner, Early Northwest Semitic Serpent Spells in the Pyramid Texts, Harvard Semitic Studies 61, Winona Lake, 2011.

PT 414 73725, for example, combines the two in fairly equal parts. This particular


text is found in the corpus of Teti in the passage to the serdab26, in Pepi I in the burial chamber on the north wall27, east end, in Merenre in the burial chamber on the sarcophagus28, and in Pepi II in the burial chamber on the north wall, east end29. It is spatially associated with the texts of resurrection found in the burial chamber in Pepi I, Merenre, and Pepi II, but it is more closely associated semantically with the antechamber texts in Teti. It is clearly a ritual text, and specifically, Allen places it as part of the morning ritual30:

O, [king]. Take your dazzling garment, take your bleached garment on you, and get dressed with Horuss eye from Weaving-town, and it will make your acclaim with the gods, and you will acquire the crown through it with Horus, lord of the elite.

Here, the verbs of movement are to take (Ssp), and to get dressed (wnx) Take your dazzling garment, take your bleached garment on you, and get dressed31. The garments, from the Lower Egyptian town of the weavers32, are associated with the Eye of Horus, which lends them a divine aspect, and as a result, the garments bring 25 The traditional utterance and paragraph numbers have been used, rather than those proposed by Allen, merely for ease of access. 26 Allen, 2005, 85. 27 Allen, 2005, 112. 28 Allen, 2005, 214. 29 Allen, 2005, 261. 30 Allen, 2005, 85. 31 It should be noted that this text is also a good example of the use of word play in the form of puns, something at which the Egyptians excelled and used to magical effect in religious literature. The word for to take (Ssp) is almost the same as the word for dazzling garment (sSp). The S and the s are metathesized, but later writings of the word (WB IV 282-3) show that it became normal to write dazzling garment with the fence (O42 - sSp). 32 WB V 231.


the king to the notice of the gods and thence, to possession of the crown. The action is plainly related to a ritual in which the king is clothed, but it uses mythic associations to move the physical act of clothing from the mundane to the divine, using the Eye of Horus as the medium for the transition. Thus, the mythic content is inextricably mixed with the ritual content, which includes actions of the king, or actions the king is called upon to perform, as well as any mythic associations that may be used to enable the ritual to create sacred space. The rituals depend on the myth to operate properly33, and to place the ritual within sacred time and space. The result of the ritual is a mythic event. What makes the event mythic as opposed to merely action with back-story is the allusion to the king as a divine being, to the deities, and to events that involve the king and the deities. Without those, the resulting texts would be meaningless and ineffective for the deceased royal. The use of the mythic portions of the spells in terms of placement can be difficult, if not impossible, to discern. For example, there are numerous repetitive cycles that run through many of the spells, such as the Osiris and Seth cycle34, the Horus and Seth cycle35, and the reed-float cycles36. The placement of these spells vis 33 And herein lies the chicken-and-egg debate concerning myth and ritual which came first? See, for example, Blackman, Aylward. M., The Sequence of the Episodes in the Egyptian Daily Temple Liturgy, Journal of the Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society (1918-1919), 26-53; Eliade, Mircea, The Sacred and the Profane The Nature of Religion, New York, 1959; Fairman, H.W., Worship and Festivals in an Egyptian Temple, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 37 (1954), 165-203; Frankfort, Henri, State Festivals in Egypt and Mesopotamia, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 15 (1952), 1-12; Gaster, Theodore H., Thespis Ritual, Myth, and Drama in the Ancient Near East, New York, 1975; Hooke, S.H., ed., Myth, Ritual, and Kingship, Oxford, 1958, and also edited by Hooke, Myth and Ritual, Oxford, 1933; Reymond, E.A.E., The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple, Manchester, 1969. For a bibliography devoted solely to myth and ritual, see Alan Dundes introduction to Gaster, Myth and Story, in Sacred Narrative Readings in the Theory of Myth, Berkeley, 1984, 110-111. 34 PTs. 218162; 474942; 477957-959, among many others. 35 PTs. 260318-319; 393679. 36 PTs. 263-266 et alia.

-vis mythic content appears to be random. The reed-float cycles are particularly


useful to examine in this regard, as the reed-floats are the vehicles by means of which the king passes over the marshes that are found in the geography of the sky in the afterlife, and hence are a vital portion of the ascension myth. The mythic content in these as a group lies primarily in the insertion of the king into the company of the deities; the reed-floats are described as having been placed for certain deities, such as Horus of the Akhet37, among others, and then the kings name is given in place of the deitys, using otherwise identical language for each sentence38. Movement over the floats to a final destination is implied, and can be understood as being part of the ascension myth. The cycle is found on the west-south39 and east-north40 walls of Unas antechamber, in the passage to the antechamber in Tetis pyramid41, on the west wall of the antechamber42 and passageway43 of Pepi Is pyramid, the west-south walls44 and in the passageway45 of Merenre, and on the west gable and wall of Pepi IIs antechamber46. In fact, these texts are spread throughout all the epigraphic chamber walls. Their purpose within the larger ascension myth is plain, and thus pertinent to placement, particularly in the antechamber; however, the mythic content within each text does not have that same pertinence. Those texts that are shared by two or more pyramids are not found on the same walls, or even the same rooms,

37 PT 263337. 38 Hays, H. M., Transformation of Context: The Field of Rushes in Old and Middle Kingdom Mortuary Literature, in Dun monde lautre: Textes des pyramides et Textes des Sarcophages, Cairo, 2004, 179. 39 PT 263; Allen, 2005, 48. 40 PT 303; Allen, 2005, 56. 41 PT 264; Allen, 2005, 78. 42 PT 265; Allen, 2005, 125. 43 PT 266; Allen 2005, 165. 44 PT 473; Allen, 2005, 221. 45 PT 609; Allen, 2005, 230. 46 PT 481; Allen, 2005, 282.

leading to questions regarding the relevance of placement with regard to mythic content. Continuing to use the reed-float texts as an example, the mythic elements


within them vary considerably in number and character. Those mythic allusions that are ubiquitous in this cycle are also the most common throughout the Pyramid Texts as a whole. These include the Akhet, Horus, the sun or Re, and Hathor. There is, however, abundant mention of other deities and divine sites; in total, 108 separate entities or sites are mentioned over all the group of texts. Some of these are named in typically elliptical Egyptian fashion as He of Shezmet47, or That vase of the Suns cool water that cleanses the Nile Valley land48; others are more straightforward, such as, simply, the Akhet49, or Horus in his various forms50. Some of the corpora have a greater number of elliptical references (such as the corpus of Pepi I) and others have many fewer, such as that of Unas. While it cannot be said for certain whether these differences indicate the personal choice of the king, they may suggest a slight change in religious direction from reign to reign. The difference in quantity of mythic allusion from Teti to Pepi I, for example, is significant enough to give one pause, and although the amount tapers off in Merenres and Pepi IIs pyramids, it is still considerably more abundant therein than is found in Unas and Tetis corpora51. Mythically, the deceased is not lead from either direction in a clear and concise manner, something that would be expected from a handbook for celestial ascension. A sense of mythic continuity from text to text and chamber to corridor to 47 PT 264; Allen, 2005, 78. 48 PT 515; Allen, 2005, 158. 49 passim. 50 passim 51 Hellum, J. (2011). 'Pepi I: a Case Study of Royal Religious Devotion in the Old Kingdom', in ASCS 32 Proceedings, ed. Anne Mackay. (

chamber is often impossible to discern. The handbook was for the use of the king,


and was meant to be used as a whole with the texts serving to surround the king with magic, protection, and advice in a mythically homogenous manner. Thus, the corpus in each pyramid was, in effect, one myth, both aiding and relating the journey of the king into the afterlife. It may even be postulated that the entire corpus of Pyramid Texts functions as non-narrative, non-literary myth, through their intended end of ascension, itself a mythic act, and their use in the movement of the king through the burial chamber into the antechamber and out the entrance passages.