Homepage Timeline Maps A-Z index Learning

Book of the Dead Chapter 113 (picture)

Two features of the early Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) 'Coffin Texts' taken up and worked over in the Book of the Dead manuscripts are the Formulae for knowing the powers of certain cities, and the Formulae for assuming the shape of a divine being animal, or bird. The Middle Kingdom versions of the first group are among the earliest narrative passages in Egyptian religious literature, and provide reasons from myth for the naming or existence of places or things. In the manuscript of Hepres, UC 71000, the powers of cities and transformations occur in one block together, with Chapters 114, 112 and 113 (from 'Coffin Texts' number 156, 157 and 158 respectively) followed by the formulae for taking the form of a serpent (Chapter 87, without known antecedent) and a serpent (Chapter 88, from 'Coffin Texts' 969 and 991). Other transformation formulae are found in this manuscript, perhaps separately, in the group 124-83-84

r n rx bAw nxn
iw.i rx.kwi StAw nxn
Hr pw nw pw ir.n mwt.f r.f
Dd sHwy m int n.n sbk nb pHw
HAm.f st gm.n.f srwd.n st mwt.f r st iry
Dd.in sbk nb pHw Dar.n.i gm.n.i bw tktk.sn
Xr Dbaw.i Hr spty mw
HAd.n.i st m HAd pHwy
xpr HAd
Dd.in ra iw tr rmw r-m sbk Hna gm awy n Hr n.f m tA-rmw
xpr tA-rmw pw
Dd.in ra tA-S tA-S Hr HAd pn inn drty n Hr n.f
wn Hrwy.fy m abd mddiwnt m tA-rmw
aHa.n Dd.n ra di.i nxn n Hr r st awy.fy
wn.tw Hr Hr drty.fy m nxn xrp.i n.f xnri imyw.sn m abd mddiwnt
Dd.in Hr di n.i Hm dwA-mwt.f qbH-snw.f Hna sAw st Xt.i pw
ir m wnn rdi.sn im Xrw ist nxn ntr
Dd.in ra imi r.k st im m snkt irw n.sn irt n imyw nxn
kA… sn r wnn Hna.k
Dd.in Hr iw.sn Hna.k wn.sn Hna.i
sDm swty nx.f bAw nxn dd n.i
iw.i rx.kwi bAw nxn Hr pw dwA-mwt.f qbH-snw.f

Formula for knowing the powers of Nekhen
I know the secret of Nekhen
It is Horus, it is what his mother did to him.
Saying (by Ra): Gather and bring us Sobek lord of the marsh
To fish for and find it, and his mother made them grow in their place.
Then Sobek lord of the marsh said: I sought and found the place they scattered
Under my fingers on the banks of the water,
I snared them in the back snare.
This is how the snare came to be.
Then Ra said: How then are fishes for Sobek, and discovery of arms for Horus for himself in the land of fishes?
That is how the land of fishes came to be.
Then Ra said: Land of the lake, land of the lake, on this snare that brought the hands of Horus to him
Open his two faces on the Month and Half-month in the land of fishes.
Then Ra said: I am giving Nekhen to Horus at the place of his arms
that the face be opened at his hands in Nekhen;
I direct (there be) for him a company of its inhabitants on the Month and Half-month.
Then Horus said: please give me Duamutef and Qebehsenuef and guard them
It is my troupe.
As for their being given there under the deity of Nekhen,
Then Ra said: Give them then there, by night
and be done to them what is done to those who are in Nekhen,
Let them come to terms to being with you.
Then Horus said: they are with you, they will be with me,
as Seth hears his groaning at the powers of Nekhen given to me.
I know the powers of Nekhen: it is Horus, Duamutef, Qebehsenuef


Copyright © 2002 University College London. All rights reserved.