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The Teaching of King Amenemhat I

nhs.n.i n aHAw n Haw.i
gm.n.i Hwny-r-Hr pw n mnf
ir Ssp.i Ast xaw m drt.i
iw di.n.i xt Hmw m-a bAbA[.tw]
nn swt qn grH nn aHA waty
nn xpr sp mar m-xmt n mkw

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I found it was a body blow by a soldier.
If I had swiftly taken weapons in my hand,
I would have turned the wretch back in confusion,
But there is no night champion, no-one who can fight alone.
There can be no success without a protector.

Commentary to the translation. Detailed points

I awoke to my bodyguard.

I would have turned the wretch back in confusion
The phrasing here is sexual, as implied by the phallus sign after 'wretch': the 'turning back' and the core meaning of 'wretch' as 'reversed' suggest the ritual intended insult of a threatening enemy as a penetrated helpless male. Humiliation of an enemy in this manner is attested in the late Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC) manuscript recording the sexual advances by the elder Seth against the young Horus (UC 32158). In the Semna Boundary Stela of king Senusret III, the regal decree depicts southern enemies in similar terms, intended as abusive.

The theme of the prowess of the king, in his valiant deeds, echoes through the Teaching and marks a stark contrast to the fate of the murdered ruler.


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