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Tabula gratulatoria

Hartwig Altenmller
Tarek El Awady
Ladislav Bare
Miroslav Brta
Michel Baud
Carlo Bergmann
Vivienne Gae Callender
Petr Charvt
Filip Coppens
Hans Goedicke
Michael Haase
Julia Harvey
Zahi Hawass
Mohamed Ismail Khaled
Ji Jank
Peter Jnosi
Naguib Kanawati
Peter Kaplony
Hiroyuki Kashiwagi
Eleonora Kormysheva
Jaromr Krej
Renata Landgrfov
Jana Mynov
Karol Myliwiec
Alessandro Roccati
Jiina Rov
Jana Siegelov
Kveta Smolrikov
Hourig Sourouzian
Anthony Spalinger
Rainer Stadelmann
Noel L. Sweitzer
Izumi H. Takamiya
Betislav Vachala
Sergei Vetokhov
Hana Vymazalov
Sakuji Yoshimura
Christiane Ziegler

Nicole Alexanian
Jrgen von Beckerath
Darina Bialekov
Elke Blumenthal
Vivian Davies
Detlef Franke
Rita Freed
Fayza Haikal
Erich Hornung
Salima Ikram
Horst Jaritz
Nicole Kloth
Peter Der Manuelian
Geoffrey T. Martin
Bernard Mathieu
Christine Favard-Meeks
Dimitri Meeks
Wolf B. Oerter
Cornelius von Pilgrim
Stephan J. Seidlmayer



Studies in Honour of Miroslav Verner

on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday


Faculty of Arts
Charles University in Prague

Vassil Dobrev
Fayza Haikal
This book was published from the financial means
allocated for the research project of Ministry
of Education, Grant no. MSM-0021620826.

Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, 2011

ISBN 978-80-7308-257-4


Foreword by Z. Hawass IX
Preface XI
H. Altenmller, Verstmmelte Opfertrger auf einem Relief aus Abusir 1
T. el-Awady, The problem of BAt 25
L. Bare, A new example of the solar text (kosmographischer
Begleittext zur kultischen Sonnenhymnik from the tomb
of Iufaa at Abusir) 31
M. Brta, An Abusir mastaba from the reign of Huni


M. Baud, Un signe des temps revisit : la direction du culte

funraire royal sous la IVe dynastie, la ncropole
dAbou Rawach et la chronologie de Gza 51
C. Bergmann, On the origins of the hieroglyphic Script 65
V. G. Callender, Reflections on Princess Khamerernebty of Abusir 101
P. Charvt, Seals on the move. Notes on newly discovered cylinder
seals and sealings from prehistoric Egypt 121
H. Goedicke, Three small tokens 129
M. Haase, Dienten die oberen Schchte in der Cheops-Pyramide
zur Belftung der Grabkammer? 135
J. Harvey, Two Old Kingdom wooden statues in a private collection
in the Netherlands 157
Z. Hawass, The discovery of the Pyramid of Queen Sesheshet(?)
at Saqqara 173
M. Ismail Khaled, H. Vymazalov, The funerary domain mnat,
new evidence from the Fifth Dynasty 191
J. Jank, A very brief (negative) confession on papyri NpM 2457
and 5721 201



P. Jnosi, Some remarks on certain sarcophagi of the Fifth Dynasty 205

N. Kanawati, The memphite tomb of Qar of Edfu 217
P. Kaplony , Die Vergnglichkeit des Lebens und der Pyramiden.
Die agnostischen Harfnerlieder und ihr geistiger
Hintergrund in der Klassik der gyptischen Literatur


J. Krej, Abusir pyramid field and the Mastaba of Ptahshepses

several remarks 253
R. Landgrfov, The oldest known scene of the purification
of the king 277
J. Mynov, F. Coppens, Prostration before God and Pharaoh 283
K. Myliwiec, Old Kingdom coffins made of Cyperus papyrus 297
A. Roccati, The Inscription of Hezi once more 307
J. Rov, Jaroslav ern in Egypt


J. Siegelov, Geschenk oder Geschft? Wovon zeugt

die gyptisch-hethitische Korrespondenz 323
K. Smolrikov, Udjahorresnet and the others


H. Sourouzian, La reine et le papyrus 341

T. Spalinger, Knigsnovelle and performance 351
R. Stadelmann, Where were the queens of the Early Dynastic
Time buried 375
N. Sweitzer, Darb al-Ahmar 391
I. Takamiya, S. Yoshimura, H. Kashiwagi, Khaemwaset and
his monument at North Saqqara: A study on multiple
aspects of the first Egyptologist 401
B. Vachala, Der Brief einer gescholtenen Ehefrau
an Ihre Schwester (O Prag 1826) 423
S. Vetokhov, E. Kormysheva, Door to the Tomb of Khafraankh
reconsidered 429
C. Ziegler, Nectanebo II in Saqqara 441



Miroslav Verner is the only Egyptologist I know who did not want a Festschrift
in his honor: it took us a long time to convince him to agree to the desire of
all of us colleagues, friends, and students to thank him for his unique and
significant contributions to the field of Egyptology by publishing this volume
of essays.
I would like to say that Verners work at Abusir has immensely enriched our
knowledge of the pyramids of the Old Kingdom. His work has provided us
with important information about the economy of the royal mortuary temples
of the Old Kingdom, the architectural components of the pyramids, and the
techniques used in their construction.
Verner has trained many young Czech scholars on his digs. He should be
very happy to know that they will follow in his footsteps, not only in the field
of excavation, but also in conservation and epigraphy.
In addition to this aspect of his work, I will always be extremely grateful to
Miroslav Verner for his enormous generosity in granting my request to take
some of my best young assistants to the Czech Republic to study for their
doctoral degrees. Two of them have already come back to Egypt and are making
important contributions both to the field of Egyptology and to the Supreme
Council of Antiquities (SCA).
When I was the Director of Giza and Saqqara, I began to know Verner as
a friend and colleague, and our friendship has grown over the years. We often
have discussions on pyramids, in which we argue over many things. We sometimes disagree, but always respect one anothers opinions and enjoy our debates.
Our friendship gave me the opportunity to participate with him in the excavation
of the burial chamber of the tomb of Iufaa, a Director of the Palace during the
Late Period. We had a wonderful time together, watching the experts, Reis
Talal Kerety and Reis Ahmed Kerety, in moving heavy objects safely, so that
we could open Iufaas intact sarcophagus.
Verner is an excellent archaeologist and philologist, and his scholarship is
evident in his articles and books. It made me very happy that his popular book
on the pyramids was translated into Arabic, so that it would be available to Arabic


Through Verners leadership Czech Egyptology has been able to continue

its important work during the time of communism. It was Verners dedication
to the science of Egyptology that made him insist on the continuation of the
Czech excavation at Abusir, excavation works which have unearthed many
significant discoveries for Egyptian history and culture.
I thank him for his contribution to Egyptology, and wish him life, prosperity,
and health.
Zahi Hawass


This volume of studies in honour of Prof. PhDr. Miroslav Verner, DrSc., had
a hesitant start, due to the modesty of the dedicatee, who refused to be the
recipient of such a work and the editors were forced to inform the contributors
of that fact. Finally, however, Miroslav bowed to pressure a year or two later.
We are very grateful that he did but, by that time, a number of his friends who
had contributed articles at the initial stage of this Festschrift, had already agreed
to publish their pieces elsewhere. We are profoundly sorry that their
contributions are not amongst those in this volume, and we include their names
in the Tabula Gratulatoria.
It goes without saying that Miroslav Verners contribution to Egyptology has
been marked by a tremendous output of distinguished and important notices,
reports, essays and books that have an honoured place in numerous libraries
both private and institutional all around the world.
Less familiar to colleagues outside of Prague is the fact that, only thanks to
him, Egyptology remained functioning in Czechoslovakia over the course of
1970s and 1980s, during the time when other fields of Oriental studies were
constrained or ceased by decisions of the communist power or by emigration
of the scientists. He is also the person responsible for retaining the archaeological concession in Abusir for the Charles University in Prague which was
endangered by the then political leaders.
Beside the academic part, Miroslavs career has also encompassed a long
period as a teacher. At this stage in his career, it is noteworthy to mention that
he has taught several generations of younger colleagues many of whom are
now on the staff of the Institute and among his pupils are Czechs, Slovaks,
and Egyptians. Especially after the death of Professor ba in 1971, Miroslav
was practically the only person who was able to teach, since his superior at
the time, Dr Vhala, was only able to teach Slavonic Language studies! More
than this, however, is the fact that by his hard work and strength of will Miroslav
has fostered the growth of the Institute so that, today, it is one of the most
respected Egyptological institutes in the world.
In addition to the enormous output of his scholarly and academic work, Miroslav has reached out to the general public to inform them of new developXI


ments within Egyptology and for a number of years in the Czech Republic he
has been participating in documentary films which have supplemented his
written work. These documentaries have broadened public knowledge about
Egypt and no doubt contributed to the desire of Czechs to explore the riches
of Egypt for themselves. The films have been diverse in topic (ranging from
cultural themes through to history and new archaeological discoveries within
ancient Egypt) and they have helped to make their audiences aware of the
contributions made to Egyptology by the Czech Institute of Egyptology in
Prague. The strengthening of this institute has been a central goal in Miroslavs career as an Egyptologist, and putting his usual emphasis on the cooperative nature of the Czech work, in his own reports he never focuses on the
I of discoveries and work, but always on those of the team.
Those who have contributed papers to this Festschrift typify the wide social
network Miroslav holds within Egyptology. The collection includes work from
both hemispheres and from friends of long standing, both within Academia and
without; this is symptomatic of his popularity and perpetual curiosity. It is to
be hoped that the reader will enjoy this collection as much as we hope he
Miroslavs triple careers as an academic, archaeologist and Egyptologist has
made many demands on his time, but for those of us who have been his friends,
he has been not only helpful but patient and accessible and his ability to tell
a good story can reduce his audience to belly-shaking laughter. He wears his
scholarship lightly, but his research is renowned and broadly divisible into three
fields: his work on chronology in the Old Kingdom, hieratic graffiti and, above
all, to his work on pyramids. Because of these three separate fields in which
Miroslav has excelled, we have entitled this collection Times, Signs and Pyramids.
We hope that he approves the title.
Gae Callender
Ladislav Bare, Miroslav Brta,
Ji Jank, Jaromr Krej


Knigsnovelle and Performance

Anthony Spalinger

A. Introduction
In 1960, Georges Posener briefly alluded to a Third Dynasty performative
text in the context of his more lengthy discussion concerning royal settings
and the Knigsnovelle outlook in Pharaonic Egypt.1 It was his contention,
subsequently partly refined, that in the Third Dynasty the first evidence in
written and pictorial representation that reflected a ritual performance of the
king could be seen in the fragmentary blocks of Djoser at Heliopolis. Here, one
found the all too common phrase I give to you, rdj.n=j. William Stevenson
Smiths publication of these Heliopolis blocks, now located in Turin, provided
the necessary evidence for Poseners contention.2 This material reveals early
data concerning Djosers Heb Sed festival. On one block, the ruler is shown with
at least one royal wife whereas on another we see the seated king with his
clenched hands held to his breast.3 The accompanying hieroglyphs are in
columns, an expected means of presentation; none of the texts are very long.
Although the nature of the depictions remained a key in the discussion of
Egyptian art history for a lengthy time, it was Pascal Vernus who subsequently
placed great emphasis upon the linguistic data of these reliefs.4 The ritual
use of the sDm.n.f was his theme, one that encompassed a breakthrough

Georges Posener, De la divinit du Pharaon (Paris 1960), 15. I must thank Dr. Deborah Sweeney
for many invaluable comments on this work. Research for this study was kindly supported by
the Czech Ministry of Education, Research Grant No. MSM 0021620826 (Institute of Egyptology,
Charles University, Prague). I am especially grateful to Prof. Miroslav Verner for his kind
2 William Stevenson Smith, A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom
(London 1949), 133138. For background information see now Ilaria Incordino, Il significato
dei sanctuary nei bassorilievi regali della III dinistia, Aegyptus 85 (2005), 18597. She discusses
the ritual scenes of three Third Dynasty rulers.
3 Ibid., 136.
4 Pascal Vernus, Ritual sDm.n.f and Some Values of the Accompli in the Bible and in the Koran,
in Sarah Israelit-Groll (ed.), Pharaonic Egypt, The Bible and Christianity (Jerusalem 1985),
307316. See as well ric van Essche, Dieux et rois face face dans les inscriptions monumentales
ramessides, BSEG 21 (1997), 6379, and Alessandro Roccati, Dalla scritto al testo, in Lucia
Morra and Carla Bazzanella (eds.), Philosophers and Hieroglyphs (Turin 2003), 181195.



with respect to the performative nature of this grammatical unit and which also
permits us, with no hesitation, to argue for the original structure of subsequent
literary creations in hieroglyphic; namely, the Knigsnovelle.5 To return to the
main theme of this presentation, Vernus position was oriented to the connection
between text and image. Specifically, he emphasized the complete agreement
between utterances using the sDm.n=f and actions which are shown.6 We must
allow the presupposition that the interactions or, to be more exacting in outlook,
the visual representations of an actual event, are not that simple to explain.
Vernus saw this aspect, but his clarification of the intimate relationship between
text and image proceeded beyond that which is usually explained by art
historians:7 that is to say, with a discussion of an actual act whether or not
personally fulfilled by the Pharaoh is not of prime importance. Thus, in these
reliefs, the significance of the concretized event had been given a new
For the moment, let us ignore the philological analysis of the ritual
sDm.n=f and instead turn to the historical setting of the text plus image. Although
it is true that no pictorial representation is needed to convey the performance
of a kings I give to you dedicatory phrase, this small written passage
nevertheless communicates an expected role that the speaker enacts. Hence,
and this is the nexus of the argument, we are placed within the realm of
a physical setting in which certain acts have, are, and will be performed. True,
they are being done just now, if we accept Vernus reasonable explanation

On performance in Egyptian art, iconography, etc., see the study of John Baines, Public
Ceremonial Performance in Ancient Egypt, Exclusion and Inclusion, in Takeshi Inomata,
Lawrence S. Coben (eds.), Archaeology of Performance, Theaters of Power, Community, and Politics
(Lanham 2006), 261302.
6 Ritual sDm.n.f, 308.
7 The last major study of Henry George Fischer, Lcriture et lart de lgypte ancienne, quatre
leons sur la palographie et lpigraphie pharaoniques (Paris 1986) can be mentioned in this
context because of the excellent detail provided by the scholar and his avoidance of simplification.
For specificity, I refer to his earlier analysis, The Orientation of Hieroglyphs. Part I, Reversals
(New York 1977) where he observes the outward facing king who moves from the rear of the
temple as though defending the divine Lord of Maat from the forces of chaos. The return,
with prisoners, is again in the direction of the god. The same rule holds for hunting scenes, cf.
all of section 19 on pages 4147.
Add Benot Lurson, La lgitimation du pourvoir royal par lobservance des rites osiriens: analyse
dune squence de scnes de la grande salle hypostyle de Karnak, Acta Orientalia Belgica 15
(2001), 303332 and La conception du dcor dun temple au dbut du rgne de Ramss II:
Analyse du deuxime registre de la moiti sud du cour ouest de la grande sale hypostyle de
Karnak, JEA 91 (2003), 107124. His main study connected to ritual scenes is Lire limage
gyptienne, les Salles du Trsor du Grande Temple dAbou Simbel (Paris 2001). The reader should
realize that I have not exhausted all of the bibliography on this subject.
8 A classic study on the role of the king as sun priest and the actual performer of the rites is
that of Jan Assmann, Der Knig als Sonnenpriester, ein kosmographischer Begleittext zur
kultischen Sonnenhymnik in thebanischen Tempeln und Grber (Glckstadt 1970).





of the performance nature expressed by image and text, especially through

the verbal form and the associated depiction. At the same time, the visual
impact, be it ever so small, cannot be overlooked. The next logical conclusion,
dependent upon the Vernus study, is that at an early time in Egyptian
monumental representations, small texts accompanying static and well-defined
images of a royal deed were the norm. As is almost self-evident, a performance
rite is not placed in an eternal synchronous present. 9 The extralinguistic
aspect of the ritual is connected to the performance which, I would add, actually
took place. With the sDm.n=f (and its later diachronic successor, Subject + Hr
+ Infinitive) the reader and onlooker bear witness to the very act in which
a statement equals reality. A god hands over to the Pharaoh life and prosperity
on one hand, or Upper and Lower Egypt on another. Either is the event. We
observe the act, and so we are placed in the equivalent position of a witness
observing the final signature of a legal testament (a last will, for example) or
being present at a court martial.
Both text and scene are self-enclosed. In other words, there is neither
a detailed narrative account, nor is there a series of snapshots presenting
a scenic and developed story.10 Indeed, there cannot be a story if we understand
the latter to be composed of a temporal row (past to present and even to future
or vice versa, or even, as in our modern era, all mixed up). The verbal-image
combination combines to produce reality, as Vernus states, but we remain
witnesses of a single event.11 Ludwig Morenz has claimed that the Djoser

Vernus, Ritual sDm.n.f and Some Values of the Accompli, 309. The reader should be aware
that subsequent to Vernuss study there was a spate of short articles on the Edfu material and
the performative sDm.n.f , Franoise Labrique, Le sDm.n.f rituel Edfou, le sense est roi, GM
106 (1988), 5363, Dieter Kurth, Zum sDm.n.f in Tempeltexten der Griechisch-Rmischen
Zeit, GM 108 (1989), 3144, Pierre Derchain. propos de performativit, pensers anciens
et articles rcents, GM 110 (1989), 1318, and Dieter Kurth, Noch einmal zum sDm.n.f in
Tempeltexten der Griechisch-Rmischen Zeit, GM 113 (1989), 5565. I follow Vernus and
Labrique and cannot but comment that these short reactions to a major premise, which is
immediately realized to be a turning point in the field, are typical in natural sciences. They are
also common elsewhere. One can now read the comments of Eric Doret, From Middle Egyptian
to Late Egyptian, LingAeg 6 (1999), 197. This is a study which may help to explain some of
the anomalies brought forward in this rather unceasing discussion. In a similar context, cf. Vernus,
tudes de philologie et de linguistique (III), RdE 35 (1984), 159188. We can also add Michle
Broze, La creation du monde et lopposition sDm.f sDm.n.f dans le temple dEsna, RdE 44
(1993), 310 who, fortunately, escaped the perennial scholarly trap of noch einmal.
10 This aspect of narrative Egyptian art will be more developed in a lengthy study which is in
preparation entitled Icons of Power, Approaches to Drama. For the moment let me refer to
the standard work of G. A. Gaballa, Narrative in Egyptian Art (Mainz am Rhein 1976). I am
purposely not discussing earlier representations of royal rituals (e.g., the Scorpion Macehead,
Narmer Palette and Macehead, Den smiting enemies on a label). For the moment, the reader
may turn to Morenz studies cited later in this analysis. An iconic study of Egyptian narrative
art is sorely needed.
11 Vernus, in, Pharaonic Egypt, The Bible and Christianity, 308.



scenes show a remarkably developed textuality.12 I must demur with this

position if only because I feel that the word remarkable is too dramatic.
Notwithstanding the apparent expansion of hieroglyphic writing on stone to
represent an event, the context is rather limited. Note the restricted use of
writing as well as the similarly constrained use of pictorial evidence. Granted
that the Memphite area is the zone in which this development can be seen, surely
this is explicable solely on the basis of the role of the archaic state of early
Egypt? The connection to royalty is similarly understandable. After all, the
pharaoh was the motor force of the state. The use of writing and pictorial
representation, although significant because of its first occurrence on stone,
remains under the rubric of sacralization.13 Most certainly, Morenzs emphasis
upon the Djoser shrine is significant. We are placed within a typical cultic
setting of ancient Egypt, one in which the use of carved symbols that could
express words and sentences is one significant aspect of the entire ritual scene,
notwithstanding the visual impact of the picture.
Morenz also turned to a seal inscription dated to the reign of Peribsen, and
of the king himself, because it provided an even earlier occurrence of the
sDm.n=f verbal formation.14 Clearly, this tiny account is not overtly performative
in nature but rather narratively historical in a general sense: The Golden One
has united The Two Lands for his son, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Peribsen. To be sure, this is a banal message. But from simple things, like the
proverbial acorn, monumental codices of literature will henceforth grow.
However, at this point we have entered into the historical development of
writing and linguistics, a subject that, though immensely important, is but
a supporting actor in our discussion.


Ludwig Morenz, The role of the Memphite area in the development of Egyptian writing, in
M. Brta, F. Coppens, and J. Krej (eds.), Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2005 (Prague 2006),
351. Tefnin provides some overviews on this subject in Image et histoire. Rflexions sur
lusage documentaire de limage gyptienne, CdE 54 (1979), 218244, lements pour un
smiologie de limage gyptienne, CdE 66 (1991), 6088, and Discours et iconicit dans lart
gyptien, GM 79 (1984), 5571.
13 Here I follow the interpretations of Vernus, Les espaces de lcrit dans lgypte pharaonique,
BSFE 119 (1990), 4143. Cf. Assmann, Ancient Egypt and the Materiality of the Sign, in Hans
Ulrich Gumbrecht and K. Ludwig Pfeiffer (eds.), Materialities of Communication (Stanford
1994), 2023. Add Alessandro Roccati, Hieroglyphs. Concerning Royal and Private Texts,
JEOL 3536 (19972000), 2732. Vernus later survey of this aspect is presented in his Essai sur
la conscience de lhistoire dans lgypte pharaonique (Paris 1995), 163165, but add his La
naissance de lcriture dans lgypte ancienne, Archo-Nil 3 (1993), 75108. His position is that
the image convokes the essence of that which it represents, it reproduces, and Supports de
lcriture et fonction sacrilisante dans lgypte pharaonique, in Roger Laufer (ed.), Le texte et
son inscription, (Paris 1989), 2526. Cf. his earlier study Des relations entre texts et representations
dans lgypte pharaonique, in A. M. Christin (ed.), critures II (Paris 1985), 4570.
14 Morenz, in, Abusir and Saqqara in 2005, 349350. The form is sDm.n.f.





The sDm.n=f, which Antonio Loprieno signals as originally being a preterite

form, quite possibly possessing the temporal and aspectual references of
a present perfect rather than a past perfective, predates the overt performative
use of the Djoser example.15 Whether it, as well, may be seen to belong to the
paradigm of the present, as Loprieno maintains, is an intriguing question. In
fact, the crucial phrase on the Peribsen seal literally reads: The Golden One
(in topicalized location) unites/has united the Two Lands for his son, the King
of Upper and Lower Egypt, Peribsen. Hence, with Loprieno, we can argue that
this solitary example predating Djoser is, in English, simple present or present
perfect. If, in fact, it is the former, then a performative act might be argued. In
fact, the connection of a god to a king, again indicating a sacral aspect, fits well
within the analysis of Vernus concerning the original sacral nature of the use
of hieroglyphs. On the other hand, it seems clear that the event that has been
recorded, a most traditional one, is a once held action of the monarch and,
properly speaking, would only be performative at the onset of Peribsens reign.
According to Vernus, the ancient texts that we have already met, such as
Djosers, are intimately associated with the gods.16 In particular, the restoration
of the world, its basic correct state Maat expresses that concept perfectly
must be mimetically represented by writing that contains its inherent sacral
concept. He lists four marks of such an attitude: support, image, the hieroglyphic
writing system, and (later) the langage de tradition. The ideological
substructure must be present. In particular, one can note the Djoser reliefs, as
well as the more frequently mentioned Pyramid Texts. With regard to the latter,
nothing is more self-evident than this earliest use of writing for religious
literature. The latter is a corpus of eternally preserved (especially from decay!)
spells that are sacred texts par excellence. Subsequent to the Late Old Kingdom


Naturally, a present perfective is past in relation to the present. Cf. Antonio Loprieno, Ancient
Egyptian, A linguistic introduction (Cambridge 1997), 77. The following quote is from the same
page. James P. Allen calls the formation a Perfect in his Middle Egyptian, An Introduction
to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs (Cambridge 2000), Chapter 18. For Loprieno, with
Middle Egyptian the sDm.n=f was a perfective form (Ancient Egyptian, 78). In Old Egyptian,
as is well known, the First and Third Persons operate differently to provide a past indicative
(Loprieno, Verbal Forms and Verbal Sentences in Old and Middle Egyptian, GM 102 [1988],
62). Specifically, the former requires the Stative whereas the latter employs the sDm=f. This is
due, as he remarks, to the higher topicality of the First Person and, as a result, is more likely
to become the Figure of the narrative, the central entity governing its development. Hence,
he concludes, this is why we find a perfective form in the Stative and a preterite form in the
sDm=f (and later in the iw sDm.n=f). Cf. also Elsa Oral, Fracture dactance et dynamique
morphosyntaxique, le renouvellement du perfectif en ancien gyptien, Bulletin de la Socit
de linguistique de Paris 102 (2007), 365395. In this analysis the author unites the Stative
and the Perfective sDm=f and discusses split ergativity. She also proceeds to cover the later
Perfective sDm.n=f and the morpheme jn.
16 For this analysis, see Vernus article in, Le texte et son inscription, 2834.



(but also keep in mind the Pyramid Texts), the images may be lacking. If so,
the hieroglyphs still remain to sacralize the account, whatever it may be. Hence,
the sacralized monuments aim to reproduce a reality (an event), and so may
be seen to be narrative in ovo, but they also proclaim that aspect.
We are thus approaching a point of departure in which the word takes
precedence over the combination word plus image. For the moment, however,
let us retrace out steps and refer once more to the research of Morenz. Recently,
he has argued the following historical scenario:17
1. Fourth Millennium B.C. monumentalization through images.
2. Fourth-Third Millennium B.C. pictures and short accompanying texts
(Narmer Palette and his Mace Head tableaux)
3. Dynasty I monumental reliefs on rock with image and short accompanying
texts (Gebel Sheikh Suleiman example plus Narmer Palette).
4. Dynasties III stone temple reliefs with pictures and small associated texts
(oldest example from Gebelein)18
5. Dynasty III monumentalizing of texts in temples (Heliopolis Djoser
6. Dynasty V the large corpus of Pyramid Texts.
The detailed study of the Djoser reliefs that Morenz covered can be left out of
discussion in this paper owing to the orientation of this discussion; namely,
the development of the Knigsnovelle. Nevertheless, he has provided a very useful
historical survey of the growing use of hieroglyphic writing and the absence,
by the late Fifth Dynasty, of any accompanying image with the Pyramid Texts.
Considering the earlier cases of the famous Narmer Palette, the Scorpion Mace
Head, and the label tags of the Archaic Age, we may set up his chart within
a slightly different scenario:
1. Pure image; no accompanying text (Predynastic Period; especially palettes).
2. Image plus symbols that accompany the picture (they are symbolic
explanatory images and may be called, if one wishes, ideograms; end of
the Predynastic Period; Scorpion Mace Head).
3. Image plus readable signs (evidence of writing; transitional phase that leads
immediately to the unified archaic state of Egypt; Narmer Mace Head).19
4. Image plus accompanying descriptive text (Morenzs fourth phase)


Morenz, Die Gtter und ihr Redetext, Die ltestbelegte Sakral-Monumentalisierung von
Textlichkeit auf Fragmenten der Zeit des Djoser aus Heliopolis, in Horst Beinlich et al.
(eds.), 5. gyptologische Tempeltagung. Wrzburg, 2326. September 1999 (Wiesbaden 2002),
18 Morenz, Zur Dekoration der frhzeitlichen Tempel am Beispiel des archaischen Tempels von
Gebelein, in Rolf Gundlach and Matthias Rochholz (eds.), gyptische Tempel Struktur,
Funktion, Programm (Hildesheim 1994), 217238.





5. Image plus accompanying descriptive text , but by this time the latter has
become more detailed or lengthy (Morenzs fifth phase).
6. Stone carved lengthy texts (Pyramid Texts; Morenzs sixth and final phase).
At this point I shall cut off, owing to the rise of the tomb biography in the
middle of the Old Kingdom (end of the Fourth Dynasty early Fifth Dynasty).
Here, one can perhaps turn to the research of Jan Assmann concerning the The
Tomb as Schooltext.20 Our concern lies elsewhere, however, although any
detailed study of tomb biographies and their associated images must be
considered in relationship to our subject. But to reinforce my preliminary
observations, let me outline the development.
A clear expansion of hieroglyphic writing had occurred. The royal sector
demanded an overt use of sacral writing from the incipient unification phase
of Egypt onwards. By the Fifth Dynasty we have reached a period of time
in which religiously oriented events and spells have gained a degree of
independence from the visual aspect. In many ways this change is the reverse
from the present day era where we have seen, to no small extent, the replacement
of the written word by visual means. First with movies and later by means of
television and the computer, our civilization has moved many would say
degenerated into a culture that responds to the image or picture rather than
intellectualising the text. Sidestepping this pregnant issue of modes of
communication which are increasingly relevant to our modern society, it can
be maintained that both directions of change imply different viewpoints of
The invention of writing, and with it the rise of a scribal class, is one of the
major changes that archaic states accomplished. This development inevitably
released a series of societal transformations, not the least of which was the
establishment of a divide, almost impossible to cross, between the literate
mandarin sector of the nation and the rank and file primary producers and

Conveniently, see Whitney Davis, Masking the Blow, The Scene of Representation in Late
Prehistoric Egyptian Art (Berkeley1992). One might want to consult Orly Goldwasser, The
Narmer Palette and the Triumph of Metaphor, Ling Aeg 2 (1992), 6785. Melinda Hartwig
has presented a useful study of the key objects in Between Predynastic Palettes and Dynastic
Relief, The Case of Cairo JE 46148 and BMA 66.175, in Eva-Maria Engel and Jochem Kahl
(eds.), Zeichen aus dem Sand, Streiflichter aus gyptens Geschichte zu Ehren Gnter Dreyer,
(Wiesbaden 2008), 195209. She refers to Morenz empirical study of ancient Egyptian
Bildnarrativik, Grenze und Verwendungskontext archaischer Prunk-Objeke in gypten,GM
206 (2005), 4959, in which he discusses the development from the votive palettes and
maceheads to relief work, such as at Gebelein in the Second Dynasty (Morenz, Zur Dekoration
der frhzeitlichen Tempel, cited in note 18 above).
20 Assmann, Schrift, Tod und Identitt. Das Grab als Vorschule der Literatur in gypten, in Aleida
Assman, Jan Assmann, and Christoph Hardmeier (eds.), Schrift und Gedchtnis, Beitrge zur
Archologie der literarischen Kommunikation I (Munich 1983), 6493.



landowners. Excluding the thin sector that ruled, the development of

a corporation of scribes meant that one major split in the seemingly unified
group of non-rulers had come into existence. This socio-historical alteration,
is rarely discussed, but needs amplification here, as it is neglected by many
scholars when covering the issue of early literacy.
John Baines, for example, quite rightly points out that our knowledge of the
state administrations literary output is incomplete.21 It is clear that the loss of
numerous papyri have hindered our understanding of the originals of the hieratic
script and its earliest uses. Contrary to Baines, I do not see that hieratic was
created in the middle of the First Dynasty. Its cursive representation of images,
the latter almost perfectly rendered in the hieroglyphic script, cannot but
convince the most cautious of us that the Egyptian cursive hand, just as the
monumental script, should be placed at the time of the unification of Egypt if
not earlier.22 How could the earlier Nilotic kingdom or kingdoms have organized
their economic basis without some type of developed means of writing?23 We
must keep in mind that even our hieroglyphic data are limited, and despite the
research of the German Archaeological Institute at Abydos, much research
needs to be done in this discipline.
If an evaluation about the origin of Egyptian writing seems to be distant from
the main theme of the paper, I must plead guilty. The aim of this discussion,
nevertheless, must encompass the sacral aspect of the hieroglyphic writing,
one in which, to be sure, hieratic writing participated. Unlike Vernus, however,
I do not see the origins of bookkeeping, economics and the like as part and parcel
of a sacred aspect to daily life. Let us take a middle road and conclude that there
were two intimately connected trajectories to the script, one (hieratic) dependent
upon the other, (hieroglyphic), but swiftly developing its own program of writing.
The hieratic method of written expression, administrative in nature, could easily
be utilized, as it depended upon mere lists of items: type, number, quantity and
quality. Moreover, names and titles, as Baines states, can be found on sealings
and tags.24 Yet, as it now has become arguable, there was originally a dependence


Baines, Writing and society in early Egypt, in John Baines, Visual and Written Culture in Ancient
Egypt (Oxford 2007), 117145. He covers the Djoser Heliopolis fragments as well as
Peribsens seal.
22 Contrast Vernus analysis, Les premires attestations de lcriture hiroglyphique, Aegyptus
81 (2001), 1335 with G. Dreyers, Das prdynastische Knigsgrab U-j und seine frhen
Schriftzeugnisse (Mainz 1998). Vernus has provided a useful reevaluation of the data first
studied by Dreyer. Add now Oral, crire une langue orale au dbut de lhistoire, lancien
gyptien entre grammaire et culture, in: Pascal Boyeldieu, Pierre Nougayrol (eds.), Langues
et cultures, terrains dAfrique. Hommage France Cloarec-Heiss (Leuven and Paris 2004),
23 A remarkable, rapid political and social change must lie at the heart of the invention of writing
in Egypt.





upon oral-formulaic recitation, performative speeches, and royal addresses.

Over time, and the Third Dynasty seems, at present, the best time frame within
which we can locate the growing number of written textual forms, the original
method of communication had become somewhat expanded through its
monumentalization and the codification of writing.

B. The Knigsnovelle or Royal Novel

Any discussion of this form of presentation must conclude that it involves a royal
discussion. Adriaan de Buck was the first to pinpoint some of the basic
characteristics of royal speeches.25 Concentrating on Thutmose IIIs account to
his troop at the opening of the Aruna Pass, he laid emphasis upon the literary
setting in which the ruler was placed. The king announces a plan to his military
chiefs and then listens to their response. He follows this response with his own,
an audacious decision with which his advisors must agree. Then follows the
historical account. The literary aspect of this small section in Thutmoses Annals
is known to us all, and there is little doubt that the presentation is, at the
minimum, a rewording of the actual event for later presentation on the walls
of Amuns Karnak Temple. (Indeed, it can be argued that a hieratic copy must
have circulated at the time when these events were recorded, and quite possibly
it served as the basis for the final, carved version of the Annals.)
Behind de Bucks inaugural work, there had been the influence of Johann
Huizinga and especially Andr Jolles, whose Einfache Formen greatly
influenced others, among them, Alfred Hermann.26 The approach of the latter
scholar is not difficult to outline. Hermann followed Jolles in assuming that one
could delineate, in general, simple categories of literary presentation. In other
words, exactly as Max Weber did with his successful use of pure forms
(charismatic leader versus institutionalized bureaucrat head; prophet or
revolutionary versus diplomat; etc.), Jolles, and after him Hermann, worked
on a presupposition that one could isolate a written form and describe is
contents, purpose, history, and the like.
According to Hermann, who preferred a descriptive analysis of the various
cases in which the Knigsnovelle could occur, some relatively self-evident
characteristics of the form could be listed. (Note that he never argued for the Royal


Baines, in, Visual and Written Culture in Ancient Egypt, 128129.

Adriaan de Buck, Het Typische en het Individuelle bij den Egyptenaren (Leiden 1929).
26 The connection between de Buck, Huizinga, and Jolles, if not all three, with Max Weber, needs
to be investigated by a future scholar. For the moment, I follow my remarks in Ramesses Ludens
et Alii, in P. Kousoulis (ed.), Studies on the Ancient Egyptian Culture and Foreign Relations
(Rhodes 2007), 7186. The seminal work is Alfred Hermann, Die gyptische Knigsnovelle
(Glckstadt, Hamburg, and New York: J. J. Augustin, 1938).



Novel to be a genre.) Noteworthy, though not stressed by him, was the overriding
situation of monumentalization.27 Hermann established the basic parameters of
the newly designated form, among which he covered the depiction of an event
and its details, such as the occasion or event which was to be narrated. Since the
pharaoh stood in the middle of the action as commander and decided what
would be done, the new term, Royal Novel, was considered to be appropriate.
Hermann also did not neglect the literary qualities of these texts, indicating that
there was an intimate connection between the announcement (sr) of the
monarchs plan (sxr) and the existence of any contradiction on the part of his
non-royal associates. In addition to the Megiddo report at Aruna, he discussed
the introduction to the Kamose war narrative.28 The flexible nature of the
presentation is noteworthy of more commentary.29 Dream accounts, discussions,
building programs, war councils, and even work projects could be included
within Hermanns schema. That the reports were relatively short was never of
any importance to him, possibly owing to Hermanns concentration upon demand
(of pharaoh) and completion (of deed). Yet this aspect of brevity within the
Knigsnovelle is, in my opinion, one of the prime determinants of the form. The
event occurs once and is historically conditioned; time and place are usually given.
There is no description of the actions that involve, for example, the building of
a temple. Only the completion of the task mattered. Where there is any
disagreement and we find it only in two war accounts (Kamose and Thutmose
III at Aruna) the decision of the king resolves the contradiction.30 Then the events
proceed. Hence, it is probably because of this divergence from the norm
established by Hermann that we may feel that those two accounts remain outside
of the classical Knigsnovelle presentation.


I discuss this situation in Chapter II of my Aspects of the Military Documents of the Ancient
Egyptians (New Haven and London 1982).
28 A. Labrousse and A. Moussa, La chauseee du complex funraire du roi Ounas (Cairo 2002),
cover the reliefs of the Unas causeway in detail. Their analysis, nonetheless, is essentially a basic
descriptive one. The triumphal aspect of the themes is discussed on pages 1924 and
subsequently the two authors devote much attention to episodic themes. The overriding
connection of icon and narrative is not part of their study. Tarek El Awady covers all the
evidence from the Old Kingdom causeways on pages 115118 of his Abusir XVI. Sahure
The Pyramid Causeway, History and Decoration Program in the Old Kingdom (Prague
29 Two recent compendia are those of I. Shirun-Grumach, Offenbarung, Orakel und Knigsnovelle
(Wiesbaden 1993), and Beate Hofmann, Die Knigsnovelle, Strukturanalyse am Einzelwerk
(Wiesbaden 2005).
30 I am aware of Ramesses IIs strongly worded statements at Kadesh, but these were given after
he discovered that the Hittites were close by. The Bulletin is our closest account from that
campaign wherein some type of Knigsnovelle account may be dimly seen, if at all. I am also
ignoring Piankhys account of war, a very different matter as it contains quite a number of
literary influences.





Thus all falls upon one event taking place in one location and at one time.
We are given a snapshot of a lengthy historical event, one that encompassed
preparations for a council/discussion followed by the decision-making of
the king. Expected eulogies are often included, a factor that cannot be
overlooked.31 If Hatshepsuts Punt oracle may be included under this widely
encompassing rubric, as some may like to do, there remains no contradiction.
The basic structure of the form is the same. But often avoided in discussion is
the performative nature of the account. The king is, in fact, operating as the
decision maker. The author sets him into a performative setting. Pharaoh hears
and decides. His orders are what matter, and the reader is intrinsically placed
into a temporal setting when the instruction takes place. For example, that
Sesostris Is plans for the Heliopolis building work came to fruition is merely
a coda to the account of the Berlin Leather Roll.32 In this text one will find a fullydeveloped eulogy to the king, an aspect which I briefly touched upon, and for
which Assmann provided a major contribution to that genre by means of an
analysis of the nominal forms present therein.33
A eulogy, if it was presented to the pharaoh by his underlings, must belong
to an official ceremony in which the king was present and during which he
announced a plan and expected its completion to be successful. That is to say,
a eulogy implies an oral performance for the king by his underlings. True, one
can argue that such literary encomia were merely added into a historical
account in order to provide the embellishment necessary for the enhanced role
of the monarch. No matter how altered, improved, or refined such high sounding
addresses may appear to us, there remains the strong probability that something
of the sort was said to the king before and after the official ceremony. One can
see this in such unexpected time frames as the Second Intermediate Period, but
there are some data from the First Intermediate Period that can also be proffered.34


Hermann, Die gyptische Knigsnovelle, 26, add Claudia Maderna-Sieben, Ausgewhlte

Beispiele ramessidischer Knigseulogien, in R. Gundlach and U. Rler-Khler (eds.), Das
Knigtum der Ramessidenzeit, Voraussetzung Verwirklichung Vermchtnis (Wiesbaden
2003), 7798, and A. Spalinger, New Kingdom Eulogies of Power. A Preliminary Analysis, in
Nicole Cloth, Karl Martin, and Eva Pardey (eds.), Es werde niedergelegt als Schriftstck, Festschrift
fr Hartwig Altenmller zum 65. Geburtstag (Hamburg 2003), 415428.
32 A. Spalinger, Drama in History. Exemplars from Mid Dynasty XVIII, SAK 24 (1997), 269300.
33 J. Assmann, Eulogie, Knigs-, in W. Helck and E. Otto (eds.), Lexikon der gyptologie II
(Wiesbaden 1977), 40 (the first known case, in the time of Sahure, note his mention of the
Knigsnovelle). Add his gyptische Hymnen und Gebete 2, (Freiburg 1999), 16 and 59 (charts),
6369 (performative aspect of hymns), and 511539 (examples of royal eulogies).
34 A. Spalinger, Chauvinism in the First Intermediate Period, in H. Vymazalov and M. Brta
(eds.), Chronology and Archaeology in Ancient Egypt. (The Third Millennium B.C.) (Prague
2008), 240260. The data of the little-known king Montuhotepi of Dynasty Thirteen (Pascal
Vernus, La stele du roi Sekhemsankhtaour Nefrehotep Iykhernofret et la domination Hykss
[Stle Caire JE 59635], ASAE 68 [1982], 129135) is important in this matter as the stela



The second major study of the Knigsnovelle was by Loprieno.35 It is fair to

state that his work covered the intricacies of the form as well as the symbolic
role of the king, the centre of the action. Granted that Egyptian texts of all
periods and genres, , are loaded with references to the king and his deeds,
as Loprieno states. Yet the protagonistic nature of the pharaoh, the Being of all
Creation, remained the starting point of his analysis. Loprieno dealt with the
difficulty in comprehending the multi-faceted nature of the Knigsnovelle, insofar
as dissimilar textual productions seem to have been a result of the form. His
conclusion was that the format presented an episode in the kings life and not
a lengthy narrative of his deeds. It concerned a specific aspect of a kings life
that encompassed his relationship to mankind and history. Furthermore, this
format reflected an inquiry into the royal sphere which was an inquiry into
the kings position towards mankind and history.36 With Hermann, then,
Loprieno maintained the historical background of these accounts. Excluding
extensions of the form, (such as those concerned with mythological backgrounds
such as The Destruction of Mankind), this monumental textual format,
first clearly seen in the militarily oriented account of the Ballas Inscription of
pharaoh Nebhepetre Montuhotep (II), a militarily oriented account, what
remains for modern appreciation is the characteristic nature of the literary
production. (Other early examples of this format were discussed by Juan
Carlos Moreno Garca.37) Loprieno viewed the Knigsnovelle as a horizontal,
diastratic set of formal patterns that covered the entire spectrum of Egyptian
writing.38 Most certainly, it was not a genre. The form of its publication, mainly
on stone,39 and its location, which implies some public audience, cannot be
As a brief summary, we can list some of the common ingredients of the

includes a eulogy to him and the historical issue is war. It is clear from the account that the
kings ritual triumph was being celebrated. The latter event, comprising progress back home
and the related ritual and commemorative events (such as encomia to the ruler), is discussed
in the forthcoming study, Egyptian New Kingdom Triumphs. A First Blush. A preliminary
version of this was presented at the University of Swansea, on the 22nd of November 2008
for the conference Rituals of Triumph in the Mediterranean World from Antiquity to the Middle
35 Loprieno, The Kings Novel. in Antonio Loprieno (ed.), Ancient Egyptian Literature, History
and Forms (LeidenNew YorkCologne 1996), 277295. The following quote is from page 278.
36 Loprieno, ibid., 28690
37 J-C. Moreno Garca, tudes sur ladministration, le pouvoir et lidologie en gypte, de lAncien
au Moyen Empire (Liege 1997), Chapter VI and pages 8086 in particular.
38 Ibid., 295.
39 The Berlin Leather Roll is a later Eighteenth Dynasty copy of a well-dated text of Sesostris I,
set, not by happenstance, on the anniversary of his accession to the throne of Egypt. Cf. my
Drama in History. Exemplars from Mid Dynasty XVIII.





1. There is usually a date.

2. There is an address by Pharaoh.
3. There may be one response by his officials.
4. Eulogies are standard; they are recited by the kings officials.
5. The setting is clear. As time is given so is place.
6. The king remains as the primum mobile of the entire account.
7. The decision of the Pharaoh need not be presumed before the action starts.
It is, however, stated at some point.
8. The kings command is carried out. Details are lacking as they are not
9. The final result is presented in a very abbreviated format.
10. The event is set at one place; the functions of all participants are performative.
11. There is basically only one snapshot, narratively speaking.

C. One Early Precursor to the Knigsnovelle

The question now arises it is the most important one in this paper namely,
what was the origin of this form? The Knigsnovelle must have been dependent
upon some public event, one that had to be presented with a rigorous sense of
decorum. Indeed, if publicized, it was subject to authorial supervision and, of
course, the expressed acceptance of the living Egyptian ruler. Originally oral in
nature, the Knigsnovelle would have moved beyond a scenario that purported
to be a reproduction of a real event. It became written down and, most certainly
by the late Eleventh Dynasty, it was literary. The narrative content of the presumed
earlier format would have been limited or static, if that is a preferred term
just as the later written versions were. Hence, we should look for a scene in which
the king is present and ordering something, subsequently commissioning it to
be fulfilled. Officials should be present. They should speak to their monarch and
he should either reply to them or announce a plan to be effected by his own
independent agency. Since the assumed prototype was pictorial, it would have
consisted of one image and not be a record of a series of narrative snapshots as,
for example, we see in later New Kingdom war reliefs, among other pictorial
records of that date.40
Fortunately, such an example is at hand: from his recent excavations at the
Sahure causeway of the Fifth Dynasty, Tarek El Awady published an astounding
series of unsuspected pictorial evidence which, combined with small
accompanying texts, allows one to postulate the visual origins of the Knigs-


In order to limit the discussion to the main theme of the origins of the Knigsnovelle I am
purposely not attempting to explain the rise of narrative art in Egypt by concentrating upon
the Old Kingdom and earlier.



novelle.41 Some of those reliefs have already been published whilst others are
now to be found in the recent final edition of El Awady.42 There is a rather
expansive scene on the northern wall of the causeway of which only two blocks
remain. On them is a depiction of the pharaoh trapping birds with the use of
clap nets (see Fig. 1). El Awady, who has provided the necessary background
to the iconography of the image, emphasized Sahures garment, the pleated kilt
with triangular panel.43 In addition, the king takes with him a typically long
walking stick or staff, which he has placed under the expected right armpit
the dominant position so that whereas his two hands are free to pull a long
rope connected to the clap nets. The accompanying short inscription44, in
fourteen columns, indicates that Sahures rope was attached to ten separate
nets. There is also an artificial covert behind which the king and his associates
hide. In other words, pharaoh is the centre and primeval mover of the
It goes without saying that the scene parallels in thought and deed that of
the famous fishing and fowling account on a Eighteenth Dynasty papyrus

41 The

final edition can be found in T. El Awady, Abusir XVI, 215231. Earlier, see his Pyramid
Causeway in the Old Kingdom, Evolution of the Architecture and Definition of the Relief
Decoration Program, (Ph.D. Dissertation: Charles University of Prague [Prague]), 276328.
There is more than one depiction of Sahures fishing and fowling exploits. El Awady notes that
the main one, depicting the monarch closing ten nets by himself, is a large image that originally
covered many blocks on the lower part of the causeway, northern side. Two are extant. I am
omitting his description of the fecundity aspects connected to the royal suite that accompanied
their ruler. Likewise, the transfer of the spoils as well as additional fishing scenes are ignored
here. The entire show thus covers more than one snapshot, but the narrative account plus
depiction is a single unity. I would like to thank Prof. Miroslav Verner for allowing me to see
this unpublished work and the proofs of the final publication. My heartfelt thanks go, as well,
to all the members of the Czech Institute of Egyptology at Prague.
42 In addition to the final edition referred to in the last note, see, Z. Hawass and M. Verner,
Newly Discovered Blocks from the Causeway of Sahure, MDAIK 52 (1996), 177186 (including
a second example of the famous famine scene previously known from the causeway of Unas),
El Awady, The royal family of Sahura. New evidence, in Brta, Coppens, and Krej (eds.),
Abusir and Saqqara in the Year 2005 (Prague 2008), 190218, King Sahura with the precious
trees from Punt in a unique scene!, in Brta (ed.), The Old Kingdom Art and Archaeology,
Proceedings of the Conference Prague, May 31June 4, 2004 (Prague 2006), 3844, Ausgrabungen
am Aufweg der Sahure-Pyramid, Eine neue Darstellung von der Punt-Expedition, Sokar 14
(2007), 2024, and Kawedja, an overseer of expeditions, in Chronology and Archaeology in
Ancient Egypt, 162169.
43 For all of this data, see El Awadys Sahure The Pyramid Causeway.
44 For a similar short royal text, see the study of E. Meltzer on Amunhotep III, The Commemorative
Scarab, A Gem of Text, BES 10 (19891990), 9194.
45 R. Caminos, Literary Fragments in the Hieratic Script (Oxford 1956), 121 and pls. 17.
A detailed analysis of this material will now be found in S. Quirke, Egyptian Literature 1800
BC, questions and readings (London 2004), 206217, where he includes the kings hunting
accounts = Caminos pages 2239 and Pls. 816). Richard B. Parkinson, Poetry and Culture
in Middle Kingdom Egypt, A Dark Side to Perfection, (LondonNew York 2002), 226232 and




Fig. 1




published by Ricardo Caminos. 45 Moreover, it provides a remarkable

coincidence with one small portion of the Annals of Amenemhet II, a point
to which we shall return later. It is sufficient at this point to state that Stephen
Quirke noted an unexpected and unexplained echo or antecedent to the
Caminos material in the Twelfth Dynasty account.46 I shall not overburden this
study with numerous historical analyses. Such actions of the pharaoh hunting,
fishing, and fowling belonged to his performance-ridden, ludic and regal-divine
role that he was expected to fulfil.47 There is an explanatory text in the causeway
reliefs whose small length should not surprise us. At this period of time, lengthy
royal monumental hieroglyphic accounts of the kings deeds were not part and
parcel of the standard repertoire. A fortiori, it was in the Middle Kingdom that
such compositions began to be developed extensively. This inscription provides
a simple narrative description of a Knigsnovelle account. There are two actors:
king and officials. The latter acts as a group, of course. Tiny speeches occur
and each column either ends a sentence or a clause.48

311312 covers the Fishing and Fowling literary texts. I differ with his analysis of them as
a retreat into a more personal, private countryside atmosphere. The role of pharaoh and
the necessary acts of renaissance, fecundity, and physical success limn a different perspective,
one that is connected to a specific public role of the god-monarch. True, the king is relaxed
and happy, but the account is by no means trivial or simplistically pastoral. We must return
to E. Hornungs Pharao Ludens perspective, Pharao Ludens, Eranos Jahrbuch 51 (1982),
479516. I also see much more, than Parkinson does, of the dynamic nature of Egyptian
46 Quirke, Egyptian Literature, 206 with his Narrative Literature, in Loprieno (ed.), Ancient
Egyptian Literature, 271, add Parkinson, Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt, 312 note
17. Assmann, Gibt es eine Klassik in der gyptischen Literaturgeschichte?, in XXII Deutscher
Orientalistentag 6 (Supplement to ZDMG), (Wiesbaden 1985), 3552 and page 48 in particular,
set up the possibility that these Caminos fragments may belong to the corpus of Eighteenth
Dynasty literature. As this may very well become a contested issue, I prefer to avoid the
potential scholarly wrangles on the issue. Most certainly, the evidence from Amenemhet
IIs Annals and now the Sahure reliefs allows one to place the origins of such sporting (say
now, ritual) hieratic texts back into the Old Kingdom. Baines is equivocal concerning the
original dating of the Caminos fragments, Classicism and Modernism in the New Kingdom,
in Loprieno (ed.), Ancient Egyptian Literature, 161 note 20. Incidentally, Assmann suggested
Dynasty XVIII as a possibility, he did not argue apodictically for this later dating. The standard
edition of those Annals is H. Altenmller and A. Moussa, Die Inscription Amenemhets II.
aus dem Ptah-Tempel von Memphis, SAK 18 (1991), 148.
47 The scholarly research is summarized by W. C. Hayes contribution, The Sporting Tradition,
in Chapter IX of Cambridge Ancient History III.13 (Cambridge 1973), 333338. Subsequently,
there appeared the works of W. Decker, Die physische Leistung des Pharaos, Untersuchungen
zu Heldentum, Jagd, und Leibesbungen der gyptischen Knige (Cologne 1971), Sport und Spiel
im Alten gypten (Munich 1987), and Pharao und Sport (Mainz am Rhein 2006). For the ludic
role of Pharaoh see my study in, Studies on the Ancient Egyptian Culture and Foreign Relations,
7186 as well as Hornung, Pharaoh Ludens, in Eranos Jahrbuch 51 (1982), 479516.
48 A transcription plus commentary will be found in the Appendix.





(1) The king himself His majesty caused that one summon for him
(2) the district administrator of the king, Tj, the overseer of the fowling pool, Tj,
(3) together with/and the overseers of the fowlers.
(4) Then his majesty said to them: make for me ten nets.
(5) Catch/Tie them together with a single rope.
(6) Then they said to his majesty that they had
(7) not ever seen the like another time
(8) would indeed be an occasion! All men said this
(9) individually for/because they never saw the like
(10) in this land since the primeval time. His majesty said:
(11) As my nose is refreshed with life and as I exist, my majesty has (now)
caused that one make
(12) numerous nets in order that my majesty may catch/tie them
(13) [all together (?) with] a single rope. This was difficult in their mind
(literally: heart)
(14) [because ?] him/his.
The astounding parallel to the short Amenemhet II account should alert us
to the importance of literary artists in ancient Egypt who worked with short
hieroglyphic texts.49 In this case, a different version of one Old Kingdom ritual
account has been independently reproduced later within a lengthy royal
narrative. The Twelfth Dynasty report of the king reads as follows. (I follow
Altenmllers recent discussion):50
Repose of the king in the palace of the Southern Lake Land <in> the domain
of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Cheperkare.
Snaring/trapping51 by his majesty, himself, of a (bird) net of twelve cubits
in the extent of its span, with his nobles.
Bringing [4000] ducks.
[Snaring/trapping by his majesty (with)52]
ten nets of six cubits in the extent of their span in a single net (and tied up with)
with a single rope53 in accordance with the prediction (sr) made by his majesty
concerning it.

In this context I can mention the surprising literary qualities in the recent Middle Kingdom
Khnumhotep II text published by Allen, The Historical Inscription of Khnumhotep at Dahshur,
Preliminary Report, BASOR 352 (2008), 2939.
50 Altenmller and Moussa, Die Inschrift Amenemhets II. aus Memphis, 1718 and 33 (where
the ritual nature of the account is indicated), and Quirke, Egyptian Literature 1800 BC, 206.
The up-to-date study of this text will be found in Hartwig Altenmller, Der Knig als Vogelfnger
und Fischer, in Engel and Kahl (eds.), Zeichen aus dem Sand, 318.
51 I am assuming that the king would never weave a net.
52 This follows Altenmllers restoration in Der Knig als Vogelfnger und Fischer, 2 note 5.
53 It is nevertheless possible that we might read, in a single catch, with a single rope.



Never had the like occurred under the ancestral gods.

Delivery (jnw) of He of the Two Lords Fisher and Fowler in twelve (sic.) nets
for supplies; fowl 11,350
Delivery (jnw) of ; fish 459.
In both the Sahure and Amenemhet accounts ten (twelve) nets are made for
the king and he goes out in order to perform the ritual duty of fishing.54 Indeed,
El Awady has mentioned the description of the fishes, a salient fact that the
original reliefs purposively indicate. Furthermore, the nets, the transfer of the
catch into cages, and the associated fowling activities of Sahure, (herons, pintail
ducks, wigeons, and gallinules are present) are described as being present in
the Twelfth Dynasty account. (Not surprisingly, the Goddess of the Field, Sekhet,
is also present, as are fecundity figures.)
One need not argue that here we have an archive in the Old Kingdom that
was culled for Amenemhet II in order to provide a section for his Annals. The
event was a ritual one. Being standard, it had to follow a set pattern established
in bygone times. Hence, I do not find the discrepancies as well as the parallels
between both texts startling. What is surprising, however, is the form in which
Sahure is presented and the subsequent Middle Kingdom hieroglyphic
transmission of the same event.
Sahure provides us with one scene which. It is reasonably detailed and
overtly set into a temporally frozen time frame. There is no true narrative. We
witness by sight the event of a royal performance. (Note the opening focus
upon the actor, pharaoh, via the expected phrase, the king himself.) This
fishing event took place publicly, and the kings officials (later in the TwelfthDynasty they are termed Smsw) are present. The dialogue is tiny in comparison
to later hieroglyphic Knigsnovellen, but nevertheless it is present. The
Amenemhet II account, as befits a written presentation, explicitly sets the king
in his regional palace at the Southern Lake in the Fayum, just as the later


For the hippopotamus rites of the Old Kingdom, which are also related to water (the Nile with
its lagoons), see Altenmller, Nilpferd und Papyrusdickicht in den Grbern des Alten Reiches,
BSEG 13 (1989), 921. The concept surrounding this ritual hunting was followed up in his
Papyrusdickicht und Wste. berlegungen zu zwei Statuenensembles des Tutanchamun,
MDAIK 47 (1991), 1120. On the hunting of the white hippopotamus, we can also refer to W.
Kaiser, Zwei weitere hbHD.t-Belege, in Peter Der Manuelian (ed.), Studies in Honor of William
Kelly Simpson II (Boston 1996), 451459, and Altenmller, Das Fest des weisen Nilpferds und
das Opfergefilde, in Catherine Berger, Gisle Clerc, and Nicolas Grimal (eds.), Hommages
Jean Leclant I (Cairo 1994), 2944, where it is argued to be Lower Egyptian in origin. See
now V. Mller, Nilpferdjagd und gekpfte Feinde zu zwei Ikonen des Feindvernichtungsrituals,
in Engel and Mller (eds.), Zeichen aus dem Sand, 477493. Altenmllers study, Der Knig
als Vogelfnger und Fischer, 1118, also covers the religious significance of such fowling and
fishing acts.





Caminos fragments locate these public demonstrations of might, power, and

fecundity in the same region. (By doing this, the account of fishing and fowling
can be perfectly understood as potential data for a Knigsnovelle account.)
Those later, post-Old Kingdom, Knigsnovelle records must provide a specific
physical setting because they had no accompanying picture. From Sahure to
Amenemhet II (and thus also to the Caminos group) we have moved quite
beyond the sacralization of historical events about which Vernus and Morenz
have contributed their scholarly opinions.55 The development of writing, which
provided an expansion of hieratic reports rather than utilizing only hieroglyphic
ones, is yet a further point that indicates the literary basis of the later reports.
On the other hand, Amenemhet IIs Annals, undoubtedly preexisting in
hieratic form, were recorded on a stone stela erected in the local Ptah temple
at Memphis. Therefore, that lengthy report, just as the Middle Kingdom
monumental Knigsnovellen, was presented without images.

D. Result
Let us now summarize our data. Ignoring the still inconclusive scholarly work
concerned with narrative in Egyptian art, we were able to fix our attention upon
one object, the Sahure Net Episode.56 In examining this episode, complicated
aspects of the development of time in images, the use of iconic representations
and even the presence of serial temporality witness Seti Is war reliefs at
Karnak and, in a more primitif manner, the Late Old Kingdom material could
be disregarded. By isolating everything save one image plus text all other
interrelated concerns could be removed from consideration. The thrust of the
argument had to be made as clear and distinct as possible. The Knigsnovelle
originated in royal performance activities; call them rituals if you wish. They
were publicly enacted by the reigning king. The Canal Opening of King

C. Eyre presented the classic dichotomy, Is Egyptian Historical Literature Historical or

Literary? , in Loprieno (ed.), Ancient Egyptian Literature, 415433. The case is fundamentally
hermeneutical, and depends upon which tree one wishes to climb, along which limb one prefers
to advance, and from which second tree one wishes to descend. Eventually the roots of both
are attained, but history is necessary for an understanding of literature; the reverse is not always
the case.
56 In his Sahure The Pyramid Causeway, Chapter III, El Awady provides a helpful summary
on pictorial narrative in the royal relief program. He places some emphasis on the phrase it
never happened since the beginning of time, an important passage that stresses the uniqueness
of the narrated event. (That it is banal is a different matter.) For a recent discussion, see John
Tait (ed.), Never Had the Like Occurred, Egypts View of its Past (London 2003), passim,
especially the editors Introduction on pages 113. El Awady attempts to come to grips with
the uniqueness of an event (i.e., something contingent) and the problem of narration. As is
evident from this study, I am sidestepping the Old Kingdom pictorial Knigsnovelle and its
relation to history over time.



Scorpion, depicted on his mace head, must be an even earlier monumentalized

version of a fecundity ritual. Albeit in a different guise, the Fifth Dynasty Sahure
net episode also reflects a ritual involving rejuvenation, rebirth, fertility, and
virility. By the reign of Sahure a small written description was included, one
that was necessary because the account needed more than a solitary image for
explanation. Speeches occurred, and if they are stilted and formal in aspect,
we should not be alarmed. All ritual and ludic rites depend upon set pieces for
the actors to perform.
Consider, for example, the Incense Tree Episode of King Sahure.57 The same
formal structure exists. The event is set at one place and in one time. As befits
the ruler, he is not merely in the centre of the activity: he himself is the sole
actor. In one depiction we see pharaoh handling the trees with an adze. This
is a preliminary visual account in which Sahure seems to be pruning them, or
at lest beautifying his own arbour of newly acquired trees from the far away
land of Punt. In a second depiction, Sahure is seated on the throne and, if we
follow the editor of these blocks, extracts frankincense from the anD tree. As
befits the royal command, these trees were transplanted to the kings palace.
What is different from the net and harpoon activity is the progressive nature
of the narrative. Here, although set within a static snapshot format, the oneimage Knigsnovelle has been expanded into at least two separate depictions.
There is, in fact, historical temporality present. But this should not surprise us.
Sahures own reliefs of the Libyan war and his ship expeditions provide the
empirical proof that by the Fifth Dynasty a series of narratively organized
reliefs became part of the royal decorative program.58 Yet among that vast
creation of images were single ones, those devoted to one part of a story
including a discussion between king and officials, and it is with these that we
have been occupied in this paper.
In the Old Kingdom relief of Sahure and the nets we can view, with benefit
of hieroglyphic and hieratic evidence, an early royal activity centred upon the
fecundity of the land and the Pharaohs role in preserving, maintaining, and
continuing that benefit. Moreover, we can now see why it was of great
57 El

Awady, King Sahure with the precious trees from Punt in a unique scene, in The Old
Kingdom Art and Archaeology, 3844.
58 The reader will observe how, once more, I am forced to return to the questions of narrative art
in Egypt, and in particular its use in the Old Kingdom if not earlier. I am afraid that concentrating
upon the Narmer Palette has done little to resolve this problem. El Awady summarizes the
pertinent data in Sahure The Pyramid Causeway, Chapter III. He follows Gaballa who set
up the reasonable first-level analysis of selected scene episodes and multiple-scene episodes.
These terms are, however, merely descriptive and not explanatory. Of course, Knigsnovelle
texts were carved mainly on stelae. Hence, the surface area was very limited with respect to
any desired pictorial representation. (Hatshepsuts Punt Record is a good counter-example.)
Yet does not this avoidance of images reflect upon the development of the form?





importance to Loprieno to indicate the historical nature of the Knigsnovelle

format. Its loose structure, the fact that it was most certainly not a genre, and
the central role of the pharaoh are not explained away, but elucidated further,
when this earlier antecedent is analyzed. Not every scene of Pharaoh need be
in this format. At the beginning of this discussion did we not turn first to ritual
scenes of Djoser, where the importance of the performative sDm.n=f was stressed?
Most certainly, those images and accompanying texts belong to a different
sphere of activity than that which we find in the Knigsnovelle. The contrast is
useful to list.
Table 1

Religious Ritual


King + Officials

King + God


King > Officials

King > God

Officials > King

God > King

(or vice-versa)

Present Very Often

Virtually Never Unless

in Address of King


Explicitly Determined

Implicitly Determined

(by Text and/or Scene)

(by Location in Temple)

or Explicitly determined
(by Text and/or Scene)


Often but not Always

Usually Never

By no means does this abbreviated list exhaust the different natures of the
contrastive possibilities, although their mutual resemblances stand out. The
historical orientation of the Knigsnovelle is very pronounced when one
recognizes the usual absence of any detailed follow-up description in the latter.
We can also see how the Knigsnovelle could be expanded to include at least
one subsequent temporal point; namely, the completion of the kings order. Yet
one can rapidly ascertain the joint lack of a progressive temporally advancing
narration, whether in pictures or in words. In ritual scenes that have associated
texts, one faces the interaction of history and myth. There, it can be argued that
time is an Aorist if only because the given act is a reactualization of a primordial
event.60 But the essence of the Knigsnovelle is a report, one not too dissimilar
to a White Paper. It presents what the king wishes, but adds the results of his
59 I

do not mean a date set upon a festival or anything lunar: I am referring to a specific regnal
year, month, and day.



command, and it is publicized. Finally, even if we do not know the ancient

Egyptian name of this form of construction, perhaps we do now know how to
proceed in analyzing it.61


(1) nswt Ds=f rdj Hm=f njs.t(w)62 n=f

(2) aD-mr zAb &j jmj-r zS &j63
(3) Hna jmjw-r wHa
(4) Dd.jn Hm=f n=sn jr n(=j) jAdt mDt
(5) sxt sn m-a Hw wa
(6) Dd.jn=sn xr Hm=f jwt64 zp
(7) mA=sn mjtt kj zp
(8) Hm65 zp Dd nn rmTt nb


A. Loprieno, Temps des dieux et temps des hommes en ancienne gypte, in Vinciane PirenneDelforge, hnan Tunca (eds.), Reprsentations du temps dans les religions, Actes du Colloque
organis par le Centre dHistoire des religions de lUniversit de Lige (Geneva 2003), 123141,
especially pages 129132.
61 Lewis Caroll, The Annotated Alice: Alices Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking
Glass, with an Introduction and Notes by Martin Gardiner (New York, 1960), 218219, referring
to the man in white paper (who is Disraeli in Sir John Tenniels accompanying wood
62 Thus the common verb of command is presented by njs. This may be found in the well-known
Middle Kingdom literary cases of pWestcar, Sinuhe as well as the Thirteenth Dynasty Neferhotep
Stela, also the Eloquent Peasant can be added. (Inter alia, see Rainer Hannig, gyptisches
Wrterbuch II.1 [Mainz am Rhein 2006], 1205.) All of these examples are of a literary nature,
Neferhotep providing a Knigsnovelle account as well, but the importance of the word is
straightforward. It is used by the Pharaoh in a context that is typically imperious. The convocation
demanded by Snefru in Neferty, however, is different. Cf. Poseners comment in Littrature et
politique dans lgypte de la XIIe Dynastie (Paris 1956), 29 and 147148, with H. J. Polotsky,
Egyptian tenses, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 2 (1965), 3. Yet the section
is oriented to the Knigsnovelle format as Posener realized many years ago (pages 2931 of
his study).
63 Surely two different men are present. The first is considerably superior to the second. For all
of the titles see Dilwyn Jones, An Index of the Ancient Egyptian Titles, Epithets and Phrases
of the Old Kingdom (Oxford 2000), 104 (no. 421) and 205206 (no. 767). Note that there is
a man in charge of the pool and an additional one who takes care of the fowlers. Not merely
is there an administrative ranking present but, more importantly, the designated area is
reserved perhaps under an injunction of tapu ? and not a public zone. Since pharaoh is
present, we may conclude that the fishing and fowling region is part of the kings sporting
64 E. Edel, ltagyptische Grammatik II (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1955), 543 546
10531054, and J. P. Allen The Inflection of the Verb in the Pyramid Texts (Malibu 1984),
313314 461 and 504 719.C (jwt seems to be the nominal form of nj). Can the literal
meaning be not an occasion is that which they saw the like?





(9) ... wa nj mAA=sn mjtt

(10) m tA pn Dr pAwtj dD.jn Hm=f
(11) Hn fnD(=j) m anx wnn(=j) rdj.n 66 Hm(=j) jrt/jr.t(w)
(12) jAdwt SA(w)t r sxt=s n Hm(=j)
(13) ... [m-]a Hw w StA nn Hr jb=sn
(14) =f

Turin Reliefs
With the kind assistance of Dr. Jaromir Malek and Elizabeth Fleming I append
the following references to photographs of the Djoser fragments studied here.
1) Geb seated: Turin Sup. 2671/20 (= Raymond Weill, Monuments nouveaux
des premires dynasties, Sphinx 15 (1911): 14 [fig. 6]; Stevenson Smith,
A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom, fig. 50 [6]
on page 135): Anna Marie Donadoni Roveri (ed.), Dal museo al museo: Passato
e futuro del Museu Egizio di Torino (Rome; 1989), 1920 [1] figs. 7 and 8;
Donadoni Roveri et al., Il Museo egizio di Torino: Guida alla lettura di una
Civilt (Novara; 1988), fig. on page 63 [upper right]; Heinrich Schfer, Der
Reliefschmuck der Berliner Tr aus der Stufenpyramide und der Knigstitel


, MDAIK 4 (1933): Pl. II [a]; and Enrica Leospo in Donadoni

Roveri (ed.), Civilt degli Egizi (Turin 1989), fig. 302.
2) Another fragment with Geb seated and part of text: Turin Sup. 2671 (=
alternative reconstruction to Weill, Monuments nouveaux des premires
dynasties, 14 [fig. 6]; W. Stevenson Smith, HESPOK, fig. 50 [6] on page 135):
Donadoni Roveri (ed.), Dal museo al museo, 1920 [1] figs. 7 and 8.
3) Lower part of a seated king with three royal women, Turin Sup. 2671/21 (to
the reference of Weill, Monuments nouveaux des premires dynasties,
16 [fig. 10]; W. Stevenson Smith, HESPOK, fig. 48 [right] on page 133):


The meaning of the particle is discussed by Elmar Edel, ltagyptische Grammatik I, 421 839.
In the given context, the purport is that yet another occasion of this event, so far singular,
would be remarkable. See now Oral, Les particules de lancien gyptien lgyptien classique
(Cairo 2009) Chapter 10. I must thank Dr. Oral for allowing me to see an advanced version
of this important volume. She notes, at first, the orientation to the future, an aspect that is
directly involved here. In addition, Oral stresses the coordinate-additive character of the
particle. This, as well, applies to our simple case. There is no doubt in my mind that the
concept of enhanced prominence, deeply researched by Oral, applies perfectly here.
66 El Awady, Sahure The Pyramid Causeway, 218 note 1206 refers to Edel, ltagyptische
Grammatik I, 293 603 when arguing that rdj is an imperative. But Allen, The Inflection of the
Verb in the Pyramid Texts, 103 192 notes that in the Pyramid Texts only dj is employed with
a plural imperative, and the evidence is solitary. I prefer to read, My majesty has (now)
caused (performative?) that one make



Donadoni Roveri (ed.), Dal museo al museo, 1920 [1] fig. 5; and Leospo, in
Donadoni Roveri (ed.), Civilt degli Egizi, fig. 301.
4) Fragment with text, including part of the name of Netjerikhet Djoser, in
Turin Sup. 2671: Donadoni Roveri (ed.), Dal museo al museo, 1920 [1] fig.
6; and Donadoni Roveri et al., Il Museo egizio di Torino: Guida alla lettura
di una Civilt, fig. on page 63 [lower right].





Studies in Honour of Miroslav Verner

on the Occassion of His Seventieth Birthday
Vivienne Gae Callender, Ladislav Bare,
Miroslav Brta, Ji Jank,
Jaromr Krej (editors)

Autoi pspvk
Hartwig Altenmller, Tarek El Awady, Ladislav Bare,
Miroslav Brta, Michel Baud, Carlo Bergmann,
Vivienne Gae Callender, Petr Charvt, Filip Coppens,
Hans Goedicke, Michael Haase, Julia Harvey,
Zahi Hawass, Mohamed Ismail Khaled, Ji Jank,
Peter Jnosi, Naguib Kanawati, Peter Kaplony,
Hiroyuki Kashiwagi, Eleonora Kormysheva,
Jaromr Krej, Renata Landgrfov, Jana Mynov,
Karol Myliwiec, Alessandro Roccati, Jiina Rov,
Jana Siegelov, Kveta Smolrikov, Hourig Sourouzian,
Anthony Spalinger, Rainer Stadelmann, Noel L. Sweitzer,
Izumi H. Takamiya, Betislav Vachala, Sergei Vetokhov,
Hana Vymazalov, Sakuji Yoshimura, Christiane Ziegler
Vydala Filozofick fakulta Univerzity Karlovy v Praze
nm. Jana Palacha 2, 110 00 Praha 1
Kniha vychz s finann podporou MMT,
grant MSM 0021620826
Oblka, grafick prava a zlom Oleg Man
Vydn 1., Praha 2011
Tisk Serifa, s. r. o., Jinonick 80, 115 00 Praha 5
ISBN 978-80-7308-257-4