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The Teaching of King Amenemhat I

iw ir.n.i n.i pr sXkrw m nbw
hAwt.f m xsbd
sArwt m HD
sAtw m mnhAt
aAw m Hmt
qAryt m Hsmn
ir n Dt Hryt HH Hr.s
iw.i rx.kwi m-Dr ink nb iry r-Dr

Section 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15


its ceilings in lapis-lazuli, [its walls in silver, its floors in hard stone,]
its doors in copper,
its bolts of bronze,
[made for eternity, equipped for everlasting life.
I know this, as it is I who am] its Lord of All.

Commentary to the translation. Detailed points

Note the ambiguity in the term: it could be the palace or the eternal cult-centre at intended place of burial. The control marks at the pyramid of Amenemhat I, at Lisht, indicate that the monument was not started until year 20 of his reign. This question becomes embroiled in the problem of the date of composition, the apparent reference to coregency, and the debate over the beginning of that coregency. Is the use of 'house' deliberately ambiguous?
Does the singular 'house' subsume the full range of regal building activity under Amenemhat I throughout Egypt? (see map in Gestermann, Louise, Kontinuität und Wandel in Politik und Verwaltung des frühen Mittleren Reiches in Ägypten, Wiesbaden 1987, for distribution of surviving monuments)

Gold … lapis-lazuli … silver … hard stone … copper …bronze
Note the symbolism of materials in a society closer to the earth than (post-) industrial society can be. Listings of material can seem trite to post-industrial readers, but there are numerous examples from other pre-industrial literatures.

Lord of All
Echo of section 1



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