Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hung.

Volume 64 (3), 357–362 (2011)
DOI: 10.1556/AOrient.64.2011.3.7
0001-6446 / $ 20.00 © 2011 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest
Ägyptologisches Seminar der Universität Bonn
Regina Pacis-Weg 7, 53113 Bonn, Germany
In this short paper the possibility of a wordplay between the Egyptian words wbn ‘arise’, on the one
hand, and nbw ‘gold’, on the other, is examined. Finally, a few wordplays based on multiple me-
tatheses are investigated.
Key words: Egyptian philology, Egyptian language, etymology, wordplay, wbn ‘arise’, nbw ‘gold’.

Among the Egyptian verbs with meaning related to the course of the sun, wbn ‘arise’
may well have a paradigmatic character. Beyond the content of WB (WB vol. I, pp.
292, 9–293, 6),
the use of wbn in a solar context becomes transparent in such places
as wbn Sw (Erman 1905, p. 108) ‘someone’s sun arises’, wbn Sw (Gardiner 1935,
pp. 58–60; Borghouts 1980, p. 35; Guglielmi 1994, p. 56) ‘Sw arises’, wbn itn (KRI
vol. I, p. 207, 16; KRI vol. III, p. 174, 2; Herbin 2003, p. 108) ‘itn arises’, wbn (m) itn
(KRI vol. VII, p. 122, 4; Fischer-Elfert 1997, p. 67; Jansen-Winkeln 2007, p. 427)
‘arise as itn’, wbn Ra n mAA=X (Jansen-Winkeln 2006, p. 236) ‘sun arises in the view
of’, wbn mAw.wt Ra Hr XA.t (Goyon 1999, p. 61) ‘rays of Ra arise on corpse’, wbn pA
Sw Hr pA Dw (Hovestreydt 1997, p. 108) ‘the light arises over the mountain’, and wbn
itn m c.t Dr.ti (Jansen-Winkeln 2001, p. 133) ‘sun arises by the work of the hands’.
What is enunciated in the following lines is a facet of wbn, which, to the best of my
knowledge, has not been discussed in the past decades.
Here, the crucial point is that wbn ‘arise’ apparently builds wordplays with
nbw ‘gold’.
The emergence of the wordplay involves two metatheses.

The meaning of wbn ‘arise’ as an action of the sun has independently been emphasised by
Lacau (1971, pp. 1 ff.) and Cauville (2004, pp. 98–99).
For another wordplay with wbn ‘arise’ and bnw ‘Phoenix’ see Guglielmi, LÄ VI, p. 1290.
However, the example just mentioned is not the only wordplay constructed with bnw ‘Phoenix’, the

Acta Orient. Hung. 64, 2011
The phenomenon can be illustrated in wbn m nbw (KRI vol. III, p. 560, 3)
‘arise in gold (about Amun in his role as sungod)’,
wbn m nbw (Vandier n. d., p.
116; Faulkner 1933, p. 38) ‘arise in gold (about Hathor in her role as sungoddess)’,
wbn m nbw (Stewart 1967, p. 36) ‘arise in gold (about Re in his role as sungod)’, wbn
m nbw (Simpson 1963, p. 33) ‘arise in gold (about Horus)’, wbn m nbw (Bierbrier
1982, Pl. 5) ‘arise in gold (about Re-Harakhty in his role as sungod)’ and wbn in
nbw (Stewart 1971, p. 92) ‘arise in gold (about Mut in her role as sungod-
dess)’, where it can already be reconstructed sporadically.
The first cycle of this formula, including that wordplay, seems to be extracted
from the epigraphical material of sepulchral architecture with Theban provenance.
While the agens can vary between the sungod or other gods with sungodlike aspects,
the phrase wbn m nbw ‘arise in gold’ is engraved relatively often by the local hon-
oratories of this city in their tombs (WB vol. I, p. 293, 6; Garris Davies 1913, Pl.
XIX; Assmann 1983, pp. 131, 144, 176, 177, 299)
. The phrase wbn m nbw ‘arise in
gold (about Amun Ra-Horakhty in his role as sungod)’ can also be found on a stela
(Urk. IV, p. 937, 14) and a memorial-stone (Urk. IV, p. 1466, 6) from two further
private Theban tombs.
The vast majority of examples for the wordplay between wbn ‘arise’ and nbw
‘gold’ can be gained from temple-inscriptions of Greco-Roman times. In this late
period the idiomatic expression wbn m nbw ‘arise in gold’ was used in connection
with a great variety of gods. As for these gods, one should differentiate between Api
(Kurth 1998, p. 80), Isis (Junker 1958, p. 4; Junker–Winter 1965, p. 361), Harsomtus
(Lepsius 1904, p. 225), Hathor (Junker –Winter 1965, p. 223; Waitkus 1997, pp. 115,
143; Cauville 2004, p. 98), and other ones (Chassinat 1984, p. 41; 1928, pp. 67, 164,
189, 200; 1933, p. 42; 1987, p. 463).
My concluding remarks are devoted to the fact that wordplays based on multi-
ple metatheses were used more extensively than hitherto thought of. In addition to
the case discussed above, a few more can be enumerated. In the following I intend to
mention a couple of these examples.
First, we have the wordplay between Hapi ‘Hapi’ and baH ‘flood’ in Hapi baH tA
m nfr.w=f (Junker 1965, p. 191)
‘Hapi floods the land with his beauty’ and ii.n Hapi
r baH tA.wi (Jansen-Winkeln 2007, p. 299) ‘Hapi has come to flood the two lands’.
Although in a syntactically different function, Hapi is also used in the sentences ii
Hapi, baH.n=f Ax.t (Zivie-Coche 2004, p. 264) ‘Hapi has come, which floods the field’
and cti Hapi Hr baH Ax.t (Junker 1965, p. 333) ‘pour out Hapi and flood the field’ right
wordplay between bnw ‘Phoenix’ and bnn ‘jump’ in Goyon (1999, p. 86, col. 42 12/42 14), and the
wordplay between bnw ‘Phoenix’ and bAn ‘sleep’ in Assmann (2008, p. 378) being further ones.
For ‘gold’ as colour of the sunlight, see WB vol. II, p. 239, 9–11; Grapow (1924, p. 58);
Gardiner (1935, p. 96); Assmann (1969, pp. 248, 328; 1983, p. 343); Edel (1987, p. 129).
For in as a writing of “m” in other situations, see Macadam (1949, p. 53 8/54 20).
The parallel to Assmann (1983, p. 177) is due to Dziobek (1994, pp. 66, 67).
Writing Hp instead of Hapi attested according to WB vol. III, p. 42, for the Old Kingdom is,
by the way, also confirmed in the 25th dynasty according to Gunn – Engelbach (1931, p. 812). What
should be pointed out, is, that Hapi ‘Nil’ builds a further wordplay with Abi ‘long for’ in Posener
(1976, p. 41).

Acta Orient. Hung. 64, 2011
next to baH. As for the wordplay between Hapi and baH, the loss of “i” as weak conso-
nant at the end of the word is a plausible explanation.
Secondly, the wordplay between mrii.t ‘shore’ and Imr ‘(the land of) Amurru’
in mrii.t m pA tA n pA imr (Gardiner 1947, p. 188*)
‘shore in the land of Amurru’
even goes one step further since all three radicals change position.
The third example is the wordplay between fAi ‘carry’ and ATpw ‘load’ in fAi
Atpw (Helck 1995, p. 1) ‘carry the load (of the washerman)’, which also fits in here.
Disregarding the exceptionally common “Lautwandel” of “f” to “p”, it is clear, that
the wordplay is first and foremost influenced by the “Lautwandel” “i” to “T” (and
vice versa). As for this “Lautwandel” “i” to “T” (and vice versa) one should mention
that it occurs in several other cases as well.

The fourth example regards the wordplay between wDA ‘pectoral’ and sAw ‘pro-
tection’ in wDA n sAw ‘wDA – pectoral of protection’ (Favard-Meeks 1991, p. 107),
which essentially draws profit from the “Lautwandel” “D” to “s”. The interchange be-
tween “s” and dentals is common in other cases,
The fifth example is the wordplay between aHA ‘fight; contest’ and Hna ‘with/to-
gether with’ in aHA Hna ‘fight with (Fischer 1964, p. 70; Borghouts 1979, p. 18) /con-
test with (Goedicke 1962, p. 32x) /fight together with’ (Anthes 1964, p. 37), which
includes the known “Lautwandel” “A” to “n”. Evidently, all three radicals are rotated.
The wordplay between SiA ‘Sia’ and nic ‘call’ in nic in SiA ‘to be called by Sia’
(Urk. IV, p. 498, 4; Assmann 2005, p. 238), as the sixth example, is also founded on
the “Lautwandel” “A” to “n”.
The seventh example is the wordplay between Hna ‘together with’ und dnH
‘wing’, in DADA Hna dnH.wi (Wreszinski 1912, p. 37) ‘head (of the scarab) together
with the wings’, which is influenced by the “Lautwandel” “a” to “d”/”d” to “a”. The

The meaning of mrii.t n Imr ‘shore of Amor’ denoting the Mediterranean coast of South-
ern Lebanon has been noticed correctly already by Breasted (1962, p. 139 n. i.). Writings of ‘Amor’
in the Egyptian language cover a spectrum reaching from Im(a)r(w) in Gardiner (1947, p. 187*),
through Im(a)r in Gardiner (1947, p. 140*); and Im(aw)r in Gardiner (1947, pp. 179*, 188*, 189*);
to Imrv (?) in Smith – Tait (1983, p. 120). From this, the name of the the city Amwr in Sethe (1920,
p. 201), is certainly to be distinguished.The commonly used emendation of irm in pAnast. III, rs 5,
5 in Imr as the name of the region of “Amor” has been refuted by Edel – Görg (2005, p. 123), who
prefer to read irm ‘Aramean’. In a different context, the word Imr ‘Amor’ may have suggested a
wordplay with irp ‘wine’. The likelihood for this to be a wordplay would be significantly increased
if Gardiner (1947, p. 187*), is right with his conjecture that the “Krugdeterminativ” following Imr
was taken over from irp directly before. Regarding the Krugdeterminativ, however, also an influ-
ence from iinr ‘bowl’ in Caminos (1954, p. 119), is conceivable. The third and at the same time
most speculative option would be a connection with semitic xmr/Hmr ‘wine’; for Ugaritic xmr, see
Gordon (1965, p. 402); for Hebraic Hmr, see Gesenius (1962, p. 242). – The word Iimwarw in the
execration texts was combined by Quack (1992, pp. 75 ff.), with ‘Yamkhad’ as name for the king-
dom of Aleppo.
The best known case of a change from “i” to “T” is probably the wordplay between rmi/rmi.t
‘cry/ tear’ and rmT ‘human being’ in Otto (1964, p. 58); Zandee (1992), p. 73); Assmann (1983, pp.
217, 229, 230); Klotz (2006, p. 143). Writing rmi ‘cry’ could not be more different between rrm in
Gardiner (1932, p. 48a); Koenig (1997, Pl. 95 – H 185, 1), rmAm in Posener (1938, Pl. 4 – oDeM
1006, 4), ArmA in Thissen (1984, p. 41), and Tm in Gardiner (1932, p. 45a); Caminos (1977, p. 63).
For the change “s” to “d”, see Fecht (1981, p. 149).

Acta Orient. Hung. 64, 2011
“Lautwandel” “a” to “d”/“d” to “a” has been investigated in the past by other authors
(Verhoeven 1993, p. 353; Osing 1997, p. 229; Satzinger 1999, p. 374).
These examples will suffice for the time being, but future research would be
likely to uncover additional parallels for wordplays based on multiple metatheses.
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