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The Teaching of King Amenemhat I

r-sA msyt pw xAw xpr
Ssp.n.i wnwt nt nfr-ib
sDr.kwi Hr Hnkyt.i bAg.n.i
SAa.n Haty.i Sms qd.i
ist spXr xaw nD
r-Hr.i ir.kwi mi sA-tA n smt

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

Translation (here the sound - 205 Kb)

I took an hour of rest.
I lay on my bed, for I had grown weary.
My heart began to follow sleep.
Suddenly weapons of counsel were turned against me.
I was like a snake of the desert

Commentary to the translation. Detailed points

The meal is specifically the evening meal: Egyptian divisions of the day were in liturgical practice twelvefold 'hours', probably on the pattern of months, but in other contexts the broader threefold division according to meal-times.

I was like a snake of the desert
At least by the New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BC), this may have carried the resonance of an incantation to 'take the form of a snake', included in the funerary literature (Book of the Dead). Although that incantation is not attested before the New Kingdom, other funerary compositions first appear in non-funerary manuscripts concerned with healing. Possibly such an incantation already existed in the Middle Kingdom (about 2025-1700 BC). However, here the episode shows the vulnerability of the king, rather than a superhuman ability to escape into the earth.



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