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WENAMUN AND HIS LEVANT – 1075 BC OR 925 BC?

By Benjamin Sass

The ‘Report of Wenamun’ is known from a single in which I submit an alternative ‘when?’, ‘why?’ and
copy. Coming from an illicit excavation, reputedly at ‘what Levant?’.6 Not an Egyptologist myself, I have
el-Hiba, the two-page papyrus was bought by Goleni- been treading unfamiliar ground: My thesis hinges
scheff in Cairo in the winter of 1891–921 and pub- on the understanding that the range of Wenamun’s
lished by him a few years later (1897; 1899).2 In 1909 language is wide enough to include the early 22nd
it was acquired by the Russian government and is now dynasty, a premise for which I can claim no expert-
in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow (inv. no. 120). The ise of my own. By following HELCK (see Section
papyrus begins with an exact date at the 20th–21st- 2.1and note 25) I hope to have overcome this; yet,
dynasty transition. The text relates Wenamun’s voy- as noted, views on Wenamun vary much.
age from Thebes to Tanis, the Levant, and perforce
Alashia, and his misfortunes en route in that period 1. FROM LITERARY TO ADMINISTRATIVE, AND BACK

of Egyptian decline. Two of the places in which the Literary. Whereas Golenischeff thought it a true
story unfolds are Dor, inhabited by one of the Sea report, most authors after him, from MÜLLER (1900)
Peoples, the Tjeker, and Byblos. Most authors consid- onwards, considered Wenamun to be the literary
er the text to be incomplete.3 A jotting on the reverse reworking of an administrative report, if not a piece
of the papyrus still eludes full understanding.4 of fiction pure and simple.
Scholarly assessment of the text varies. Not only Non-literary. A change came half a century after
did views on Wenamun’s nature oscillate – from liter- the discovery of the papyrus, when ČERNÝ
ary to administrative and back to literary; opinions (1952:21–22) raised two points in favour of an
on its age, both the palaeographical dating of the administrative document – the non-literary lan-
writing down of the present copy and, more impor- guage and the direction of writing across the fibres.
tant, the linguistic dating of the composition, differ For several decades Černý had a large following, and
considerably. Likewise, the suggestions concerning as one result Wenamun was being cited by many as a
the story’s purpose are diverse and contradictory.5 primary historical source.
But as a literary text should not Wenamun have a Literary after all. Not everyone was convinced by
discernible message, which in turn would reflect the Černý’s points in the first place,7 and at least since
circumstances of the age in which the text was com- HELCK 1986 these points were increasingly challenged:
posed? The question of the time of writing can per- That the language of the story is, or – as many would
haps be approached in this roundabout way. These have it – emulates, that of a Late Ramesside adminis-
were the thoughts that led me to the following lines, trative text (HELCK 1986:1215, quoting ČERNÝ),

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The Tale of Woe and Amenemope are said to have belonged For additional bibliography see SWEENEY 2001:15, note
to the same lot (first mentioned in GOLENISCHEFF 101, and the Munich University website, http://www.
1893:88). The circumstances of the discovery and subse- aigyptos.uni-muenchen.de/lars/html/start.htm.
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quent history of the three papyri were summarized by My warm thanks go to Michael Birrell, Israel Finkelstein,
CAMINOS (1977:1). Situated 50 km south of the Fayum, Ayelet Gilboa, Deborah Sweeney and Stefan Wimmer,
el-Hiba was an important centre during the Third Inter- who kindly advised me on various points. GILBOA also
mediate Period, the northernmost Theban-controlled gave me an advance copy of her paper with Ilan Sharon,
city, and it continued in existence until the Coptic peri- (2001), and SWEENEY the section on Wenamun, when it
od (GRAEFE 1977; JANSEN-WINKELN 2001, 156–157). From was still in press, from the introduction of her 2001 book.
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the New Kingdom only stray finds are known. E.g. BLUMENTHAL 1973:11: “… one may doubt that Pap
2
For B/W Photographs see GOLENISCHEFF 1897 and Moscow 120 is a copy of an authentic voyage report, …
KOROSTOVTSEV 1960, a colour photograph in MATOÏAN which Wenamun had to submit to his superiors; the styl-
1998:18. ization after the model of … stories of the Ramesside
3
HALLER (1999) differed. period and the artistic quality of the text suggest a com-
4
GARDINER 1932:76; GOEDICKE 1975:8–9 with previous ref- position with view of a literary public.”
erences; photographs in GOLENISCHEFF 1899:102;
KOROSTOVTSEV 1960:last (unnumbered) plate.

there is likewise no consensus on the pur- as it were. CAMINOS (loc. YURCO 1999:719–720. On The following are some views on when Wenamun was the other hand students of the Ancient Near East composed: and of Egypto-Levantine connections. 12 + + As noted. WARD Twenty-second Dynasty cannot wholly be ruled out. is considered a literary device. the “Petersb Lit Brief”. but it is not similar to alternately dated to the 21st and 22nd dynasty. though 10 E.” . strictly from the palaeographical standpoint … the MILLARD 1998:173. Tale of Woe.” 1999:843. A PLETHORA OF OPINIONS ASSMANN late (1996:78) + (1991:311) Any chronological discussion of Wenamun involves JANSEN-WINKELN three dates: + (+) 1994:26416 • The time in which the story is set – the late 20th EYRE (1996:432) late dynasty. e. XX. … The usage has parallels among literary In the Wb.10 HELCK (1986:1216)15 early WINAND (1992:passim) + 2. QUACK 2001:172 late • The time when the text was composed – in agree- ment with the language. extension this refers to Wenamun (cf.2). In this administrative-vs. BRISSAUD emope and Wenamun. it may small library (see note 1). BAINES (1999:211) 17 not early • The time when the existing copy was written EGBERTS 2001:495 “presumably early” down – the dating of the script.9 Wb. abounding in those any particular genre for Wenamun.g. (1947:28) (1932:XI) torical source of the late 20th dynasty. CAMINOS 1977:4. MOERS 2001:263 late late 8 11 See also BAINES 1999:212 on literary and non-literary For those still regarding Wenamun as a true report texts employing narrative conventions. MARKOE 2000:passim. late early GARDINER often still treat Wenamun practically as a primary his.1 Published views on Wenamun’s date not of a ‘governmental’ archive. 176. mentioned in the papyrus. By that of normal business documents. … The manner of inscription does not point to “The handwriting is clear and fine.8 The non-literary language. Weigh. whereas there is ing all characteristics and peculiarities of the text no agreement on the two latter dates among the BAINES (1999:215–216 and passim) concluded that it authors who understand Wenamun as fiction. 13 papyri.” All the same Černý’s superfluous dots and dashes which become frequent authority remains such that the dispute has not yet been only after the close of Dyn.-literary dispute it is also worthy of note that Wenamun reputedly formed part 2. it was HELCK’s Lexikon article (1986) GARDINER (1932:XII)13 + ? that tipped the scales back in the literary direction: CAMINOS (1977:3) 14 + + in recent years most Egyptologists have come to regard Wenamun as a work of fiction. coincide. MAZAR 1992:305–306. 12 ing as it stands.g. but direction of writing relative to the fibres of the as to the composition of Wenamun. Amen- interested in the early history of Tanis. others are mentioned in note 10 herein. The same may hold true for those calligraphic affinity” between the Tale of Woe.” 14 laid entirely to rest: BAINES (1999:note 81) listed three On the Tale of Woe: “The script is post Ramesside. KITCHEN 1996:XVI–XVII. cant administrative pieces such as the tomb robbery note 1. but rather of a Palaeography is helpful to a limited extent. composed BAINES (1999:210) + + after the events it relates. Coming back finally to the date the writing down of the Golenischeff copy. … authors. cit.11 As is a “simulated report”. it can furnish papyrus – in an appendix BAINES (1999:232–233) only a terminus ad quem: has demonstrated how irrelevant for determining 21st dynasty 22 nd dynasty the genre of the text this particular point of ČERNÝ’s MÖLLER (1909:29) + argumentation is. The first of these is undisputed. and that “the three texts are … 1996:133–134. LEAHY 2001:260. WEIN.) went on to say that “There is … great STEIN 2001:286. as well as note 14 herein). i. pose of the story (see Section 2. its value as a historical source rather limited (see also end of Section 4). sometime during the Twenty-first Dynasty. is as well as non-literary manuscripts.e. thirsting as 20th dynasty 21st dynasty 22nd dynasty they are after every scrap of written information. noted. very much of the same age.248 Benjamin Sass should not mask Wenamun’s literary nature. still less to signifi. the language and the late 20th dynasty date obviously 9 “[Černý’s] description of the papyrus layout is mislead.

What resonates through the ‘Misfor- tion by way of the numen ‘foreign lands’. in the late Dyn. 3. claimed by Wenamun is null in the real world. instance.2 Published views on Wenamun’s purpose. which cannot but reflect on the status of the deity. “A satire that shows Amun’s claimed power is (2) Helck: Whereas I generally follow him here. 2. Wenamun and his Levant – 1075 BC or 925 BC? 249 Is the above variety of opinions on Wenamun’s The attitude towards royalty date due to considerations other than linguistic.18 the views on tion of disrespect in a different light – it should indi- what it must have been (or on its absence) vary wide. The following sample is arranged by year of pub. no message (BLUMENTHAL I could not agree more. not unique to Wenamun. Theban anti-Tanite polemic of the to the opposite conclusion – that Amun’s power as late 20th dynasty (EYRE 1996:432). not (5) Eyre: The title-less reference to Herihor. Moreover – see Section 3 – 2. tunes of Wenamun’ is plainly Egypt’s international pose common to most Egyptian travel stories weakness – I return to this issue in Sections 3 and 4 – (MOERS 1995:913). likely to be tailored to the cir. paraphrased in BAINES HELCK’s assertion that the text’s message was 1999:230). I begin with some of the pub. See also notes 25 and 27 herein. null” (OSING 1987:39. and always specified? For evidently the language permits Smendes and his queen. one that need not A different approach led GREEN (1986:note 5 and pas. cate that Wenamun was composed in the mid to late ly. this is only one of the story’s motifs. show that human beings cannot serve Amun as 15 18 “The ‘Report of Wenamun’ …. A means to examine the Egyptians’ self-percep. cer- 6. 17 19 “I would place the composition in the 21st dynasty. On the later composition 1. yet my dating and its ration- 1973:16). to the text’s period of origin” (ibid. 20 dynasty.:note 68). 4). picture of kingship (elsewhere also of the gods) is cumstances of its day. came 5. In such Theban dissidence and anti-Tanite polemic at the an event what might point to a more exact date is time of the late 20th dynasty. (6) BAINES (1999:230). For probably not very near to the imagined historical con. “… to show that human beings cannot serve tainly outside Egypt. moral that is disputed. tion of the political independence of the Theban Wenamun’s leaving his credentials at Tanis with regime and the priesthood of Amon at that date. A date after the reign of Smendes seems most contemporary king and his dynasty are dismissed con- plausible.” . ian tales (see note 21). (7) BAINES (1999:note 68) saw this demonstra- As Wenamun has no express message.” Smendes and Tentamun also fits best with the 21st (EYRE 1996:432). when the said royals were lication. Dissidence. Entertainment. takes a time some 150 years earlier as its setting. assumed the message of the same motif was “… to with the above ordinals in brackets. 21st dynasty (see note 17). be stated explicitly. when the country was formally divided politi. “Some devaluation of kingly status… is pertinent (see point 5 above). These seven views are examined next by subject. the text. “Amun’s might beyond the borders of Egypt”20 is 4. yet at most this is part of the picture 7. untenable. it is the rule in Late Egypt- lished opinions. Similarly EGBERTS 2001:496. since the latter is neither mentioned as king temptuously as merely human – a polemic in justifica- nor given a salient or particularly respectful treatment. ical intent reveal itself clearly…” (BLUMENTHAL 1973:15). ale differ from those of BAINES (see Sections 3. cally so that the northern leaders might require some token to be deposited with them. For not always does the pedagog- 16 “Dynasty 21(–22)”. (3) Osing. written in the 22nd The trend is general: “For Late Egyptian stories the dynasty.” interpreters take a moral for granted. like nearly everyone before him. story as satire.19 But an unorthodox Wenamun’s message. XX Story of Wenamun. “In the extreme the romance can be dissident. was assumed to signify a certain time-range (see further note 25). on the other hand. probably not or message even the main one. a pur. already considered passé. It is only the definition of such a sim) to a similar view. He regarded this motif in the Amun as befits him” (BAINES 1999:230). “An illustration of Amun’s might beyond the bor- The role of Amun ders of Egypt” (HELCK 1986:1216).

20th or 21st dynasty and with such a censorious mes- soning (BLUMENTHAL 1998:175). This is not obvi- Wenamun’s genre.” (BLUMENTHAL 1973:17). whose test will expense of the highest gods. Like. Wenamun’s Late ian gods. by confronting it with the ‘bad’ motif of Egypt’s late But these are not unique to Wenamun. some even clash with one or more of the Egyptian literature is hardly ever set in its own day. It follows that Wenamun – if dated in the late note 18). befit ness.:16). on the other hand. main motif. .” (1957:138–139. ating as it were through the ‘Misfortunes of Wen- (1) Blumenthal: I am coming finally to Wenamun’s fit.24 If. Now most authors who referred to subscribe to Blumenthal’s view of most Late Egyptian Wenamun’s motif of Egyptian weakness founded their stories as entertainment pur. already Posener: “… one may E.e. aug- ideological obligation” (ibid.g. 3. BLUMENTHAL (1973:note When Egypt is weak. was mentioned in passing by QUACK (2001:172). that initially kindled my interest: What led the ting classification as Unterhaltungsliteratur. This following requirements: message is then to be understood by implication: • To be reasonably evident in the story. I hope that the mes. unorthodox picture of the king and also of the gods sketched by the texts”. and in the next section • To match the circumstances of a particular point propose to take it a step further. 24 nary citizens by making a show of the defects of the Indeed it was categorized as such by EYRE (see note 19). stantiated. dynasty emerges as the only time-slot when the Estab- sage proposed for Wenamun below at least meets the lishment may be behind the above message. Other (4) Moers’ ‘self-perception’ point is plainly pertinent. The next sections develop the perception of ing. the 22nd author or his patron aimed at. and the “renunciation of This is Baines’ wording (cf. presumed miss. Wenamun as a loyalist story of the 22nd dynasty. For wise BLUMENTHAL: “The reader has great fun at the the moment this is a working hypothesis. BAINES 1999:211 on Wenamun. I agree with this. The story has two long-recognized main motifs – the among others. If it was composed in the 22nd dynasty. or messages. excluding Wenamun). was a happy one or not. once a specialist 22 “… the interpretation of a text has to set out from the cares to look for them.23 story’s components.250 Benjamin Sass befits him”. in time.” (1973:10. as befits him • To fit the story whether its end. 25 great of the land … [and] the weaknesses of the Egypt.25 As 21 23 On the genre at large cf. The text novelist to dilute the ‘good’ theme of Amun’s power clearly abounds in ironical. BLUMENTHAL 1973:13. Ramesside linguistic stage will have to be simulated. On other tales see suppose that the author seeks but to delight the ordi. they are 20th dynasty weakness? I think that from the tension shared by the entire genre. reverber- below). i.22 or a specific. moral of Egyptian stories is as a rule implicit (see as noted. citing Posener) underlined “the uniformly as befits him. Kingdom elements in the language. devoid of any mes. any suggested assuming as I do that Wenamun carried a message date for Wenamun’s composition should be consid- after all – will have to take into account that the ered in tandem and agree with its suggested message. Wenamun’s “post-Ramesside linguistic stage” ed. Until now this was hardly attempt- characteristics of its literary class. Only when Egypt is strong can human beings serve Amun • Not to contradict any component of the story. But I find it hard to mented slightly. in order to make sense.21 while obviously absent between these two arises a clear message: from official inscriptions. suitable point in ous: As HELCK and several others have pointed out. Any alternative to the above – Furthermore. including Wen. • Not to contradict the genre. the ‘consensual’ whether any inferred message is indeed the one the options are explored first (see Appendix). point 6 above). be the presence or absence of inadvertent post-New amun). conclusions from it on the assumption that the story sage – see Section 5 and Appendix. partial perception be avoid. amun’. in the late 20th or 21st dynasty. time. indeed burlesque traits. … for only in this ed: underlying HELCK’s Lexikon article (1986) but not sub- manner can a one-sided. Yet in Wenamun it is probably not a eternal power of Amun and Egypt’s weakness abroad. and more a means than an end (see It was in fact this latter intriguing leitmotif. was composed in the course of this period of weak- Not all of these seven goals. with the resulting hazard of circular rea. The message as shown long ago by BLUMENTHAL (1973:11–12). If because of this sage – will have to be classified as a piece of dissident impediment we shall never know with certainty literature. human beings cannot serve Amun 142.

weakness of the Land of Egypt. is set a century and a half earlier. mili. Thus perceived the misfortunes endured by Wen- mum effect. considering Wenamun an actual A 22nd dynasty date for Wenamun would be of relevance report. an influence that. (past) weakness. as is held by many. if it can be contrasted with the glorious is sung without words. As I see it. was reputed find-spot. ‘what a subtle literary counterpart to Sheshonq’s official Levant?’.C. for Egyptian participation in the battle of Qarqar in 853 BAINES see point 6 in Section 2. Returning once more to the ‘when?’. won back Egypt’s holdings in Asia. presumed on the background of Sheshonq’s Palestinian cam. 76) in the Levant. 31 the palaeographical dating.29 ‘laments’. VERHOEVEN 1999:255–256 with mentioned in it. his by and already BLUMENTHAL 1973:13. receives the foreign reverence. whereas Sheshonq’s praise remedied. it did not occur to him that there was a message to the modest corpus of hieratic literature of the Third to be sought or that the text may be later than the date Intermediate Period (cf. carved on the wall at Karnak and directed at a historical source for Thebes. ‘why?’ Form-wise – applying the categories of BLUMEN- and ‘what Levant?’. Wenamun and his Levant – 1075 BC or 925 BC? 251 noted. On these singularities cf. 28 It was GOEDICKE (1975:7–9) who suggested that the 149–150.2.2) and – would take up elements of past chaos and decline for there could be a connection – he offered no particular political purposes – to underline the need of firm king- historical setting for the composition of the story. en route. as well as New Kingdom pieces of litera- And the god once again as a matter of course ture. Goedicke had his Admonitions is justified or not. near amun. 33 ‘Report of Wenamun’ can hardly postdate the early See also Section 1 with note 10. for the story’s singularities vis-à-vis the earlier liant campaign. 22nd dynasty. 27 HELCK (1986) was the first to place Wenamun’s composi.28 be impertinent to the story’s main motif – Egypt’s Why? Underlining Egypt’s pre-campaign power. Egypt’s control in the Levant whose language was claimed by QUACK (2001:172) to ended shortly after Sheshonq’s return home. Emphasizing this woe. the deriding refer- amun sets sail he knows that he is thrown on his own ence to royalty – all transpire as essential for the resources. he cannot expect Egyptian backup. as a suitable point in time for the Goleni. 32 he let it slip because. Wenamun. present: The long spell of weakness is finally over. When Wen.26 THAL (1998:181) – the story belongs to the class Entertainment: tales.32 rights. Yet he may have misinterpret. as is well known. 1996:248–251.30 If so. When and why? Wenamun – literature in the ception and self-portrayal: laments – or a late variation service of Sheshonq I on the ‘laments’ theme. the be “hardly before the 21st to 22nd dynasty”. BLUMEN- the 22nd dynasty. the the beginning of this period of decline. 29 If. the questions addressed are ‘when?’. work’s mainstream political message. which fulfils its role in either case. yet for the type ‘laments’ is documented otherwise. a period of renewed Egyptian interest THAL (1973:15 and note 148) and HELCK (1992. notes 2–5). lessness on the Levantine coast the story. Yet that the ‘empire’ did not come to an .. has no implications here. Tanis and the Lev- the king of gods. for maxi. could indicate unbroken influence in the Levant. This. 229) guess was the former. in a bril. BAINES 1996:172–174. In times of stability and prosperity this literary topos ed the work’s message (point 2 in Section 2. together with not seen in such light at all by Lichtheim. In a sense. the ‘Report of Wenamun’ may be Before proceeding to my last question. message-wise to Political self-per- 4. warned against attempts to interpret a story whose end scheff copy of Wenamun to have been made from the is missing. point to the early days of BAINES’ (1999:215. 30 it as political propaganda. perhaps no express When? Wenamun was composed in the 22nd dynasty27 moral is to be sought in Wenamun’s end. ant in the early 11th century.33 My expectations are 26 In seeking the linkage between Wenamun’s message abrupt end is hinted by statues of Osorkon I (924–889) and the circumstances of the time when the story was and II (874–850) found at Byblos in addition to one of composed I was inspired by works of Goedicke.1) and to regard turies to come. lasted for cen- tion in the 22nd dynasty (see Section 2. ground it is probably no accident that the laudation ful situation makes ample sense if it has since been of the god is spelled out. a Ramesses-like Pharaoh who. This may pertain to the Tale of Woe as well. together with the and Baines. if accepted. Whether Helck’s pessimism concerning late 20th dynasty original. HELCK Sheshonq (see also note 39). let me address the value of Wenamun as report. ship – see for instance LICHTHEIM 1975:134–135. B. el-Hiba (see note 1). finger on the story’s message in its historical setting. missing: Whether that end was happy or not31 may paign. for the former two see notes 27 and 28. could account Sheshonq. the sug- on the throne of Egypt Amun has now placed gested late Sitz im Leben. and revenue. with ups and downs. On this back- tary or diplomatic. the irony with which the text is saturated.

2001: Tables 1A and 1B.252 Benjamin Sass low: whether. To be sure. After. These are Phase 10 in Area known as Tjeker. November 2001). also as an early 22nd E. is not necessarily to be Until not long ago everyone would have answered sought in the earlier ‘Tjeker’ level – 14C dates “till without hesitation: 1075 BC. in particular has only quite recently been addressed. ing detail about the 11th century city. glacis. Phoenicianized dynasty story could Wenamun paint a plausible por. fere with the dating of Wenamun to Sheshonq: It is But skepticism concerning the United Monar. can be shown to fit the late tenth century no hardly be noticed. the Old Testament tells us (1 ‘brick building’ and earliest Phoenician Bichrome Kings 4: 11) that Dor had become capital of the and Cypro-Geometric wares. to quote LICHTHEIM (1976:197). that is at the time of Solomon. that served as background for the story. as I hope to 34 The latter possibility has already been raised more than the seventh century – long after the initial Aegean ele- a century ago by MÜLLER (1900). Yet its catego. and the analogy of the Tel chronization has yet to be worked out (Ayelet Gilboa. Nor does what we know of this city inter- certainly out of power. or the city’s ruler at the been called in question long ago. with its ‘monumental stone building’. Rather. comm. Miqne inscription is revealing: ‘Philistine’ personal and pers. such as the Tjeker able late-tenth-century data. then the the late 20th dynasty.37 with its enormous wall. GILBOA and SHARON.the exact syn- in the early first millennium. a contempo. In the latter case Omrides – let alone Israelite tenth-century control he will have to be fitted in between or. to quote HELCK (1986:1216). publication of still lower 14C dates from the relevant ed features. what emerges from is thus impossible. What Levant? According to this option the Dor of Badil. could not have been much later than It could as well be the city of late Iron I – 14C dates the mid-21st dynasty. of the coast. all authors. cit. that at Dor may suggest that this designation was still current coexisted (in part?) with Megiddo VIA . Thus trait of Egypt and the Levant at the time of the late the archaeological picture at Dor does not stand in 20th dynasty.” In this Dor strata (GILBOA and SHARON 2001: 1345–1347). Indeed nothing was found at the site that ancient texts. 36 Wenamun’s Dor and Byblos – 1075 BC or 925 BC. the difference would at Dor. contemporary with Sheshonq. rary of Sheshonq. First came the low Palestinian chronology for late “22nd dynasty details transposed into the time of Iron I and early Iron II (FINKELSTEIN 1996). divine names were in use among the Ekronites as late as . mix Wenamun would not differ from countless Dor. The Tjeker of Dor could easily less well. could remotely be interpreted as Solomonic GILBOA Finding the true date of everything in the story and SHARON 2001: 1348. Phase 7 in Area G and Phase 9 in Area D2. until c. Stern’s excavation is an urban. after all. are likely to pass unnoticed. for in either case. including the ethnic designation. 975–880 BCE”. or indeed a Byblian the existence of a proper Israelite state before the king contemporary with Sheshonq.! At any rate the Levant 975 BCE (at least)”. impossible to decide whether Zakarbaal is just a chy narratives is mounting. Their historicity has plausible name made up. 900 BC. if not eliminated. verisimilitude will have been the way of dating Wenamun to Sheshonq: Any miss- among the author’s aims in any case. These are and the non-epigraphic archaeological evidence can. Under such found in both strata. invent. were Byblos. or early tenth century. circumstances the Tjeker. 37 priest of Dor [WSS 29] is too late to be of relevance). the marked continuity B1. 10–9 in Area G. 35 36 No inscriptions were found in the pertinent Dor strata Whether the ruler’s name was made up or is real like (the unprovenanced 8th century Hebrew seal of a that of the city we do not know. as well as entirely false. “c. ments had disappeared from the city’s material culture. casting doubt on time of the late 20th dynasty. have retained elements of their old-country identity. 38 not show until when were the inhabitants of the city GILBOA and SHARON.? described in Wenamun. according to and possibly one of the largest harbours of its time.34 is of little relevance. loc. centre that flourished from Iron I into Iron II. Phases 13–12 in Area B1. Egyptian pottery was fourth district of the United Monarchy. All the same.38 wards.35 5. ‘bastion’. The bearing of doing away with the the text is “wholly fictitious” or “the imaginative United Monarchy on the archaeology of the Levant and humorous literary reworking of an actual in general and – for the present purpose – on Dor report” that has not survived. the author rization as a 22nd dynasty work will be bolstered if could have supplemented with more readily avail- any detail in Wenamun’s Levant.

human beings cannot serve Amun as befits The ‘nihilistic’. before new. The finds (2) that Egyptian stories as a rule are not set in the from Byblos (see end of Section 5) likewise do not present. the Egyptians for the first time since the mid that the Levant of Wenamun does not stand in the 20th dynasty felt themselves masters of an empire way of dating the story to that time. The low exhausted before either a dissident or a ‘message- chronology for the Iron I–II transition. ‘Egypt’s weakness’ is not a direct “When Egypt is dissent. of what to me seems the only time-frame suitable paign and the resumption of Egypt’s special ties with for such a message. an archaeological pic- have been contrasting the treatment of Egyptians in ture of remarkable continuity from Iron I to Iron II Byblos in the previous century and a half with his emerges at Dor. variant of ‘laments’ despite its amusing aspect. the notion of the unorthodox What Levant? Until a few years ago it was impos. Sheshonq I. among them JANSEN-WINKELN Pharaohs. Wenamun and his Levant – 1075 BC or 925 BC? 253 demonstrate elsewhere (SASS forthcoming). In this Blumen- are commonly considered coeval with the two thal had no few followers. no one in Egypt could tell the difference. a com. the Egyptological literature of a few of the stories as 41 “… and what unequivocal moral had Horus and Seth. the eve of Sheshonq’s campaign. and secondly to demonstrate Byblos. In other words.41 or as word of the opposition?42 According to mon device whose purpose it is to laud the stable. the reign of again. the date mentioned in the papyrus. mon to many Late Egyptian stories (see Section 2. either logic.40 a Tendenzschrift of near the beginning of Egypt’s period of decline. the special ties of old were revived based on what the region was like 150 years later. In other words. I stantiate HELCK’s view of Wenamun as a literary work wish to recapitulate my three main points: with a message (yet quite a different one from the When? Set in the 20th–21st-dynasty transition. ultra low 14C dates from Dor. In the foregoing it was my hope to further sub- which in turn reflects the time of composition. On that to accommodate Wenamun’s Levant other than circa account should not the ‘consensual’ options be 1075. At that out the most plausible message on the background moment. In this Wenamun may be a late turn out to be in the minority – a striking conclusion. tales with a mainstream message would prosperous present. (see note 41) is rigorously applied. Abibaal and Elibaal.39 If the late-tenth-century com. 42 far too high. if Wenamun’s present when. shored up by less entertainment’ interpretation is offered for any 39 The latter two. to provide entertainment and amusement… Some pro- . the the 22nd dynasty. To this end I sought firstly to point story was composed some 150 years later. This dating of the Byblian kings seems to me (1994:427) and ASSMANN (1996:78). the message is better understood by implica.” (BLUMENTHAL 1973:16). If Blumenthal’s ‘common denominator’ argument vide only a terminus post quem for the Byblian kings. of the texts. as one possible result of Sheshonq’s description of the Levantine coast circa 1075 BC was Levantine policy. or unorthodox tenor is indeed com- him”. ment. But does this justify the wholesale cat- beings serve Amun as befits him”. Once the interpretation of its finds is freed from the position of Wenamun is accepted. Conclusions itants of Dor might well have preserved their Tjeker Accepting (1) that Wenamun is a piece of literature. The Phoenicianized inhab- 6. Wenamun? …only one genuine common denominator On a specific reference to Wenamun as dissident see remains [for the Late Egyptian stories]: the intention note 19. loyalism weak. may change this. on between that city and Egypt. in any case the Egyptian royal names pro. can human with note 21). solely as entertainment but that it carries a message. aspect fulfilling exactly the same purpose(s) in all sible from a Palestinian archaeologist’s point of view the stories was perhaps pushed too hard. the classification in 40 See note 27. or oppositional would again pertain to the entire genre. their names written in alphabetic script pagandistic purpose evidently forms the basis of none on statues of Sheshonq and Osorkon found in the city. The hard times in egorizing of these stories as message-less entertain- which Wenamun is set are a thing of the past. Why? The message arising from the tension between the motifs ‘eternal power of Amun’ and Appendix: Late Egyptian stories – entertainment. the author will Davidic-Solomonic dictate.2 tion – “Only when Egypt is strong. and (3) that Wenamun was composed not preclude a dating of Wenamun around 925 BC. following Sheshonq’s Palestinian cam. message proposed by Helck). identity into the first millennium BC.

87–89 schen Literatur. New York GOEDICKE. aries. Golénischeff sur ses dernières 1998 Prolegomena zu einer Klassifizierung der ägypti. Royal cities of piatilietiia ego pervoi lektsii. E. and BARD. 415–434 1999 Literatur und Politik im pharaonischen und FINKELSTEIN. 13-go noiabria the Biblical world. beyond. in: LOPRIENO EYRE. that not always respect the categories into which in which case entertainment and dissent.44 the provocative wrap. 59–82 1996 Is Egyptian historical literature “historical” or “lit- ASSMANN.” BLUMENTHAL (1998:182) too emphasized the after all. R. 1991 Stein und Zeit. 1975 The report of Wenamun. in: C.). 173–183 egiptianina Unu-Amona v Finikiu. alternative view. (eds. Jerusalem. proves captivating and instructive at the same time. vol. ishcheva. 177–187 tember 1996 in Leipzig. in: LOPRIENO 1996. Golen- 7th International Congress of Egyptologists. 110–149 1872–1897 (A Hieratic papyrus from the collec- tion of W. GOODNICK WESTENHOLZ (ed. Brussels 1996 Classicism and modernism in the literature of the 1947 Ancient Egyptian Onomastica I. present-day scholars (each somewhat differently) seek ulated. 495–496 1996 Kulturelle und literarische Texte. Oxford Phoenicia. 29 May sary of his first lecture. BLUMENTHAL. Munich Oxford. multifunctionality of the texts and their fluid bound- 44 To be understood in an allegorical or hyperbolic way. CH. I. Or criticism. for the twenty-fifth anniver- ture delivered at University College. happen to be one and the same. tion of the voyage of the Egyptian Wenamun to 1977 A tale of woe. Viktora Romanovicha Rozena. gious. BAINES. 209–233 2001 Early Iron Age radiometric dates from Tel Dor: preliminary implications for Phoenicia. RT 15. Precisely the latter could be a literary device. An inaugural lec. El-muzaf- BRISSAUD. London. The triumph: ČERNÝ. 3. BLUMENTHAL 1999. ko dniu dvadtsati- in: J. political or reli. the said aspect all the better! Bibliography ASSMANN. GOLENISCHEFF. Baltimore 1973 Die Erzählung des Papyrus d’Orbiney als Liter.). H. in: anonymous (ed. in: LOPRIENO 1996. soderzhashchii otchet o puteshestvii 3–9 September 1995. London New Kingdom. W. 5. 1932 Late-Egyptian stories. J. Levant 28. Proceedings of the 1897 Gieraticheskii papirus iz kollektsii V. Ägypten. 1343–1351 1998 Encyclopedia of the archaeology of Ancient Egypt. and BLUMENTHAL. Petersburg. Cambridge. Cairo GARDINER. London St. A. Oxford encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. EGBERTS. is proposed here for Wenamun.S. K. (1996:432) made a similar point: “In neither case is . aturwerk. découvertes. PH. J.) erary”?. 1996. Mensch und Gesellschaft im alten 2001 Wenamun. J. in: ASSMANN and GILBOA. and SHARON. Golenischeff. Radiocarbon 43. Collected papers of the students of Professor Baron Vik- 1952 Paper and books in Ancient Egypt.254 Benjamin Sass Ancient Egyptian story?43 The unorthodox aspect may refer to a disreputable past. 1–17 1893 Lettre de M. if a story ping in which a loyalist message. EYRE to divide Egyptian literature. BdE 127. 13th November 1872–1897).). I.A. Leuven. tor Romanovich Rozen. J.A.–10. containing the descrip- CAMINOS. E. firiyya: Sbornik statei uchenikov professora Barona 1996 Tanis (Tell San el-Hagar) the golden cemetery. Sep. ZÄS 99. EYRE (ed. 45–52 43 This is not to exclude that some Late Egyptian story or propaganda necessarily a distortion of literary pur- other was written with only entertainment in mind pose. Surely. 157–174 1999 On Wenamun as a Literary Text. 1947. the latter sim. What is more. A. was marketed. ptolemäischen Ägypten: Vorträge der Tagung 1996 The archaeology of the United Monarchy: an zum Gedenken an Georges Posener. OLA 82.H. A.

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