The Instruction of Amenemope: biblical literature: Proverbs: a piece of Egyptian writing, The Instruction of Amenemope, which has been dated within the broad. There are some features of its content and style that appear to follow the ” Instruction of Amenemope” (ca. B.C.); an ancient Egyptian piece of. Amenemope Instructions in Living Below are selected instructions about life, a guide for well-being, and some advice on official duties as well as some of the.

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The translation of The Instruction of Amen-em-apt is part of my Ancient Egyptian Readingsa POD publication in paperback format of all translations available at maat. These readings span a period of thirteen centuries, covering all important stages of Ancient Egyptian literature. Translated from Egyptian originals, they are ordered chronologically and were considered by the Egyptians as part of the core of their vast literature.

The study of the sources, hieroglyphs, commentaries and pictures situating the text itself remain on the website at no cost. The person of Amen-em-apt and his time.

The text of the Instruction of Amen-em-apt. The earliest reference to it in print was a vague remark by Lepage Renouf soon after.

As late as when the papyrus was first presented to insttuction publicdid the official publication appear in the second series of Amenmeope famous Facsimiles of Egyptian Hieratic Papyri in the British Museumwhere the text is photographed plates 1 – 14transcribed into hieroglyphs from the original and translated.

In his amenemlpe, Sir Ernest drew attention to the resemblance of some passages to sentences in the Book of Proverbs! Budge’s transcription was deemed by Griffith “generally very correct” p. Another authoritative translation of the period was that done by Erman InLange published Das Weisheitsbuch des Amenemopebut he lacked access to the original Budge Papyrus and its facsimile had led to misreading. Griffith based his work on amenmeope examination of the papyrus and he verified the old readings and obtained new ones.

He pointed to certain imperfections in the facsimile. Unfortunately, a coherent translation remained far from realized. As the verbal system of Egyptian to name one of the important grammatical discoveries instruxtion refined after the second World War, the philosophy of Amen-em-apt remained obscure. Lichtheim and Brunner produced new translations, which allow the depth of this wisdom to finally surface.

It is the oldest extant metric poem with numbered chapters. The text is arranged in separate lines of poetry, which is unusual the oldest example dates from the XIIth Dynasty.

There is no rhyming or definite measures, but poetry is realized by parallelism, allowing the lines to run through in couplets, grouped in larger divisions like the triptych and quatrain.

Parallelism occurs in several forms: The text is carefully composed and unified. This through the use of thirty numbered chapters and the presence of three basic themes: As the much older Instruction of Ptahhotepthe instruction is complete.

The Instruction of Amenemope

Small portions of it were found on a papyrus in Stockholm, three writing tablets in Turin, Paris and Moscow, and an ostracon in the Cairo Museum. This variety points to its popularity. Could it be that Senu was part of the general “restoration” efforts of the “Ethiopian”, “Nubian” Dynasty cf. Pharaoh Shabaka and the Memphis theology? So following temporal layers may be discerned: The translation of the text of our sage proved to be difficult.

For Griffiththis was due to the artificial mode of expression, using rare and poetical words and idioms. Concise phraseology and few insteuction connectors, short and disconnected sentences, inexact spelling and scribal errors point to the possibility of many errors. Half a century later, Lichtheim added that many allusions escaped her.

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The present translation is that of a amenemops and a dedicated amateur of things Egyptian. For the love of it, I have tried to stay close to the original, explaining difficult passages in footnotes. No doubt those more learned in Egyptian may have reasons to smile. Plow your fields and You will find what You need, You will receive bread from your own threshing-floor.

The sage of our instruction is called Amen-em-apt, son of Kanakht, may have been a contemporary of Amenhotep, son of Hapu. He could also have been a literary figure used by a wise Ramesside scribe. Except for “overseer of fields” 1: His titles seem paraphrases in literary, poetical form. Let us analyze our sage’s poetical name: It appears that several wise amenemopr of Egypt bore this name: The name “Amen-em-apt”, isntruction with the determinative of “place” O1is suggestive of the controller of the measure and recorder of the markers on the borders of the fields mentioned in the prologue.

In the New Kingdom, “Hor-em-maakher” or “Horus of the Horizon” Harmachiswas identified with the sphinx at Giza, looking toward the eastern horizon. The name dates as far back as the XIIth Dynasty, and seems to appear in the Saite period as well as in early Ptolemaic amenemopee. The reign of Amenhotep III was a period of stability and peace, the foundations of which had been laid by Tuthmosis IV, who had brought to end insteuction of military conflict between the two great powers of the era, Egypt and the kingdom of Mitanni, that struggled concerning control over northern Syria.

Instructiion court of Amenhotep III became an international center visited by ambassadors of many nations. Luxurious living in a setting of peace reached its climax under Amenhotep III.

He never set foot in his Asiatic empire but acquired princesses for his harem and lavished gold on his allies. The age of empire did not focus on power, wealth and luxury only. The intellectual horizon had also amenfmope.

Curiosity and tolerance for foreigners rose. Scribes had to be bilingual and foreign languages were fashionable. Especially religious thinking had been affected by this internationalism.

The temple of Luxor, the double temple of Soleb and Sedeinga Nubia and the mortuary temple at the West bank of Thebes destroyed by an earthquake, leaving the tons Colossi of Memnon, suggesting the original size of the building and Pharaoh’s megalomania all witness that Amenhotep III was one of the greatest builders Egypt had known. He strove to surpass his predecessors in number, size and splendour of his buildings. He also used unusual building materials like gold, silver, lapis lazuli, jasper, turquoise, bronze and copper and noted the exact instruchion of each, in order to capture akenemope weight of this monument”.

The instructio of Amenhotep III saw four decades of prosperity uninterrupted by war ; for the people of Egypt it was a time of unparalleled security and optimism – a golden age presided over by a golden king.

To Amenhotep’s grateful subjects it must have seemed that this success proved that he was at one with the gods instrudtion.

Amenhotep Amenemkpe celebrated his Sed-festival in inwtruction thirtieth regal year. Many dated inscriptions are preserved on vessels from his palace at el-Malqata, on the West bank of Thebes. He celebrated two repetitions of this festival before amenemopd death. Japanese excavations uncovered a podium for a throne. It has thirty steps, which stand for the amenemoep years that had gone by. The festival was clearly a repetition of the coronation.

During the festival, Amenhotep III endeavored to gather all the deities of the Two Lands to perform its ceremonies in front of the shrines containing their various divine images He is also seen worshipping and offering to himself as a god! In the last decade of his rule the king even officially identified himself as the sun god the Aten. What we know of Amenhotep III proves that he was not an “enlightened” ruler, but that he instead stayed deeply rooted in traditional piety.


Although the New Solar Onstruction was active around him, he prevented this single god Re from gaining the upper hand. Large scarabs connect him with numerous deities. Written by Senu, son of the divine father Pemu. Hymns to Amun – by entering its “shrine”, the heart mind, desire, will is brought before the god, enabling the latter to dwell in the person – although this instruction also develops old themes such as good discourse cf.

When needed, as in the assassination narrative of the Instruction of Amenemhatit turns into prose or becomes poetical, as in the hymn to the creator-god in the Instruction addressed to Merikare.

Amenemope Teachings – The Gold Scales

But these features are not the reason for the excellence of Amen-em-apt’s wisdom teaching. The description of the book in the Preface promises both success in life and moral welfare to the obedient listener ; instryction other Egyptian teachings the practical overshadows the spiritual, but in Amenophis’ teaching religion and morality are the chief motives.

All Egyptian wisdom instructions envisioned an “ideal man” Lichtheim, p. Already amennemope the wisdom discourse of Ptahhotephe lacked all martial characteristics. The Egyptian sage was a man of peace, constructive and generous with his wealth. If the Old Kingdom sage was still very aware of Pharaoh and his position in society, Amen-em-apt is content with a humble position and modest material means.

Instead, inner qualities are promoted: Man walks in amsnemope outer world and finds that fate and destiny, i. People may say what they like ; at the end of the day the oracle of the deity decides. Imstruction sage accepts this wholeheartedly, for he knows that the plans of the deity are not to be crossed. The shrine of his heart is instruftion temple of the “inner” deity, and his ways are thus in accord with the plans of the deity.

He has mastered the “inner” conflict between his passions and his mind, namely between the icons of emotions and the symbols of proto-rational cognition, between “belly” and “heart”. This Platonic division “avant la lettre” cf. Plato’s two horses and ameneope later Stoic “apatheia” is the fundamental existential tension and if badly managed the first cause of moral evil, namely a twisted mind, heated passions and unwholesome actions that make one strand in life and prepare for oneself the wrath of the deity in the afterlife.

God abhors falsehood, heatedness and dishonesty. All of this, of course, in the ante-rational mode of cognition. Re, the Eye of Re, Thoth, Khnum, Shay, Renenet, the Aten, the Uraei-serpents, the Apophis snake, Maat, as well as unspecified divine activities giving, building, planning, directing, etc. Thoth is invoked several times the Ape, the Moonand the question is asked where the deities as great amehemope he are!

Insstruction is not a monotheist, but a henotheist. God is One in essence but millions in manifestation. The Divine powers are specialized manifestations of the same One god, and a “Solar” signature may be attributed to his company: The compositional excellence of this company, in tune with the “New Solar Theology” of its time, but not balancing to any un-Egyptian exclusivity, gives this instruction a literary unity which underlines the henotheist choice of our sage.

Monotheism can not be read into this, for sage Amen-em-apt still thinks constellational, albeit in an exclusively Solar fashion. Moreover, this amfnemope is an integral and meaningful part of the literary structure of the text.