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Prophecy of Neferty

This literary composition in Middle Egyptian, probably dating to the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC), is set in the court of king Sneferu (reigned about 2650 BC). A lector-priest named Neferty is summoned to entertain the king with his fine language. Sneferu himself writes down the words of Neferty, who describes a future in which Egypt is overrun by foreigners and strife, until a king Ameny comes from the south to restore order. The historical setting is a literary device familiar from other Middle Egyptian works, such as the Tales at the court of king Khufu (preserved on one manuscript only, Papyrus Westcar). The dramatic juxtaposition of chaos and restored order is another literary device recurrent in Middle Egyptian literature, notably in the genre of Lamentations, such as the Lamentations of Ipuwer (also known from just one manuscript, Papyrus Leiden I 344). The composition emphasises the glory of king Ameny, possibly one or all of the four kings of the Twelfth Dynasty named Amenemhat, or a king of the Thirteenth Dynasty; most plausibly the reference is to king Amenemhat I, who seems to have consolidated the reunification of Egypt achieved under the Eleventh Dynasty. However, with this as with other compositions, it should be noted that the exact date and authorship were not recorded on any surviving sources.




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