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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 2


EPITAPH OF TAYIMHOTEP

Original text: BM 147
Date: 42 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

  Translated from the French translation by G.Maspero (1880).

For a summary of what is known about Tayimhotep (whose name is sometimes spelt as Taimhotep, or Tjaiemhotep), see the genealogy compiled by Chris Bennett.


O doctors, priests, leaders, nobles, ordinary men, all you who enter this burial chamber, come, listen to what is recorded here. The 9th day of the fourth month of Akhet, in the 9th year of Ptolemy the New Dionysus {9 Choiak = 17 December 73 B.C.}, was the date of my birth. On the [22nd] day of the third month of Shemu, in the 23rd year {22 Epeiph = 25 July 58 B.C.}, my father gave me to be the wife of the high priest Pa-Ptahpi {Psherenptah}, son of Pedubast. The high priest was very sad, because although I was pregnant by him three times, I did not give birth to a son, only daughters. Therefore along with the high priest, I prayed to his majesty the all-powerful god, the beneficient, the giver of sons to those who do not have any, Imhotep son of Ptah. He took heed of our pleas, because he grants the wishes of those who pray to him. His majesty the god visited the dwelling of the high priest in a dream, and said to him: "If you make for me a perfect building in the sanctuary of Ankh-Tawi, the mysterious place where the shapes are hidden, I will reward you with a male child." When he awoke from this dream, he went off to the sanctuary of the august god, and revealed the whole matter at once to the prophets, the chiefs of the mysteries, the priests and to the sculptors of the hall of gold. He sent them to make a perfect building in the sacred sanctuary, and they made it just as he had sworn to do. Then he addressed the august god; he made a great offering of all the finest things; he paid the sculptors of the god, and he delighted their hears with all sorts of things. In recompense for this, I conceived a son and gave birth to him on the [15th] day of the third month of Shemu, in the sixth year of queen Cleopatra {15 Epeiph = 15 July 46 B.C.}, in the first hour of the day. On the day of "the feast of offerings which are put on the altar" of the august god Imhotep, the boy was given the name of Imhotep, with the surname Pedubast, and everyone rejoiced. The [16th] day of the second month of Pir, in the [10th] year {16 Mecheir = 15 February 42 B.C.}, was the day when I arrived in the tomb; my husband the high priest Psherenptah placed me in the necropolis. He accorded me all the customary rites, which were performed in a perfect fashion; he buried me with an excellent burial; and he laid me in his chamber, at the back of Rakoti.

O brother, husband, uncle, priest of Ptah, cease not to drink, to eat, to be drunken, to make love, to make the day joyful, to follow your heart day and night; suffer not grief to enter your heart. What are the years, how many soever they be, which a man lives upon the earth? The West Land is a land of sleep and of deep darkness, a place whose inhabitants lie still. Sleeping in their form of mummies, they awake not up to see their brothers; they perceive not their father nor their mother; their heart forgets their wives and their little ones. The earth gives fresh water to them that are upon it, but for me the water is foul. The water runs to every man who is upon the earth, and to me it is foul, even the water close at hand. I know not any more where I am, since I came into this great darkness. Give me running water to drink, saying to me, "Take not your libation vessel away from the water." Set me with my face to the north wind by the side of the water, and let the coolness thereof ease my heart of its pain.

When he, who is called "Complete death comes", has summoned everyone into his presence, they come to him, terrified in their hearts through fear of him. No-one amongst the gods and men dares to look him in the face, and before him the great are no different from the humble. He does not save anyone who loves him, he takes away the child from its mother in the same way that he takes away the old man. Anyone who meets him on the way feels dread and everyone begs him for mercy, but he does not turn his face towards him. He does not show mercy, because he does not listen to anyone who beseeches him; he takes takes no notice of anyone who gives him presents of all kinds of cakes. You who come to this funerary mountain, offer me sustenance, offer me the vapour of incense, and a libation at all the feasts of Ament!

Epitaph of her husband Psherenptah   (inscription 3)


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