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History of the Library: a group of late Eighteenth Dynasty literary manuscripts

In the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, and the British Museum, are preserved fragments of magnificent literary books of the late Eighteenth Dynasty, about 1350 BC. There is little information on their provenance; their content refers in part to northern themes, centred on the Fayum, but there is a reference by one modern owner to their acquisition at Thebes. As objects of daily life, they might have been placed in the tomb in either Thebes or Saqqara at that date, but there is no archaeological context recorded for the group.

The manuscripts are in Moscow where not otherwise stated:

  1. eulogy of the king (identified by first editor as separate compositions 'Sporting King', 'Fishing and Fowling', and a mythological narrative)
  2. copy of the Tale of Sanehat (Sinuhe)
  3. copy of the Teaching of Ptahhotep (substantial fragments in British Museum, ESA 10509)
  4. copy of the Teaching for king Merykara

As there is no context for the acquisitions, it is not possible to determine whether other manuscripts might have been in the same group.


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