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The Teaching of King Amenemhat I

sDr.k sAw n.k ib.k Ds.k
Hr-ntt nn wnn mr n s
hrw n qsnt
iw di.n.i n SwAw sxpr.n.i nmH
di.n.i pH iwty-n.f mi nty-wn

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


For a man has no servants
On the day of woe.
I gave to the destitute, and raised up the orphan.
I promoted the man with nothing as much as the man of means.

Commentary to the translation. Detailed points

This is a different word to the dependants or staff in section 2: it appears in Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) documents and inscriptions with the general meaning of workers on an estate, regardless of juridical status (some are allotted from the central state, others are attached by inheritance on the local estate). The fullest discussion of the word is the chapter in Berlev, Oleg, Trudovoe Naselenie Egipta v epokhu Srednego Tsarstva (Working Population of Egypt in the Middle Kingdom, in Russian), Moscow 1972.

I gave to the destitute
This passage is used to illustrate linguistic extension, by Mark Collier, in Loprieno, Antonio (ed.), Ancient Egyptian Literature, History & Forms, Leiden 1996, 539 with n.23


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