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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  7.28


CONTRACT AND CESSION CONCERNING BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS AT HAWARA


Text:   P. Carlsberg 37a, b
Provenance:   Hawara
Date:   March 220 B.C. 
Script:   Demotic
Translated by:   E. Lüddeckens
Format:   see key to translations

These two documents are unusual, both in their subject matter and in their phrasing, which makes translation somewhat uncertain. To call on a god for an oracular response in order to rebut a complaint is very unusual, if not unique, in Egyptian demotic documents.

The translation is adapted from E. Lüddeckens , "Demotische Urkunden aus Hawara", documents IVa+b ( Google Books ). For more information about funerary practices at Hawara, see M. Cannata , "Three Hundred Years of Death", chapter 4 ( Google Books ).


[A]   Regnal year 2, first month of winter season {Tybi} day 23 of Pharaoh Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy and Berenice, the Beneficent gods; when the priest of Alexander and the Sibling gods and of the Beneficent gods was Pytheas, son of Apollodorus, while Themista, daughter of Callimedes, was basket-bearer {kanephoros} of gold before Arsinoe, the Brother-loving. Thus said the God’s Seal-bearer and embalmer ʿNh-Mr-wr, son of P-sij, his mother being Hr-ʿnh, to the woman Ta-sij, daughter of the shepherd and servant of Suchos [Dd-hr], her mother being Ta-bj:

It is my duty to you to agree with you before Tesenuphis, the god of the Suchos-village Pr-nȝ-hl.w in the area south of the Moeris Canal in the district of Arsinoe. I have to call before Tesenuphis, the god, in your presence, concerning the embalming of P-sij, son of Pȝ-nfr-hr, his mother being Ta-swr, who died, and whom you had embalmed by the God’s Seal-bearer and embalmer P-n-ʿIs.t, son of P-sij, his mother being Ta-sij, on the "Island of the Dog", and whom you had brought to Hawara. I will take him to the tomb of Dd-hr, the son of P-sij, your father, in the necropolis of Hawara, embalmed as he has been put into my care embalmed. I shall call before Tesenuphis the god, in regard to the said embalming- from regnal year 2, which makes regnal year 3, first month of the winter season {Tybi} day 26 onwards - until the day that Tesenuphis desires to cause me to call before him, so that he will call back to my voice; and I shall not cease to call out in relation to the above embalming until the day when Tesenuphis the god will choose to hear my voice, without removing me from his presence until he has permitted me to call out for him. If it happens that I refuse to call out on his behalf, according to what is written above: "I have not allowed any wrong to be done in the said embalming in my name, nor have I myself done wrong in the said embalming", or if it happens that I call before Tesenuphis, without his coming to me, concerning the said embalming, saying that I have done no wrong and that I have not caused wrong to be done to her; then I will give you 10 pieces of silver, makes [50] staters, [makes] 10 [pieces of silver] in staters again within 10 days of my refusing to call, as I should do, or of my calling, as I should do, without his coming to me, dutifully and promptly. Anything and everything that belongs to me presently and that I will yet acquire is the pledge of all the above things. It is you or your representative who is authorised in relation to all matters, which you will charge against me in the name of all of the above. And I will provide them at your behest dutifully and without delay.

Written by Pȝ-tj-WsIr (?), son of Hr-hb.

[B]   Regnal year 2, first month of winter season {Tybi}, day 26 of Pharaoh Ptolemy son of Ptolemy [and] Berenice, the Beneficent gods; when the priest of Alexander and the Sibling gods and of the Beneficent gods was Pytheas, son of Apollodorus, while Themista, daughter of Callimedes, was basket-bearer {kanephoros} of gold before Arsinoe, the Brother-loving. Thus said the woman Ta-sij, daughter of the shepherd and servant of Suchos Dd-hr, her mother being [Ta-bj], to the God’s Seal-bearer and Embalmer ʿNh-Mr-wr, son of P-sij, his mother being Hr-ʿnh:

I am far from you concerning the complaint which I brought against you with the words : "I entrusted to you the . . . of Suchos P-sij, son of P-nfr-hr, his mother being to Ta-swr, my husband, who died and has been embalmed by the embalming, which I had the God’s Seal-bearer and embalmer P-n-ʿIs.t, son of Pa-sij, his mother being Ta-sij, perform for him on the Island of the Dog." I will bring him to you to the grave of the shepherd and servant of Suchos Dd-hr, son of Pa-sij, his mother being rV-stmʿ (?), my father, which is in the necropolis of Hawara, having been embalmed, after you were accused of wrong-doing concerning his embalming; and after I caused you to send me a document-of-calling made in the presence of Tesenuphis [the god] [regarding] the said embalming, saying: "I have done no wrong concerning the said embalming, I have not allowed wrong to be done concerning the said embalming"; and after you had called before Tesenuphis the god [in regnal year] 2, the first month of the winter season {Tybi}, day 26 [because of] the said embalming; and after it had happened that you ascertained before Tesenuphis that you had done no wrong, and that you had not allowed any wrong to be done, in relation to the said embalming. I have returned to you the document which you made for me concerning the said calling. I have nothing in all the world to demand of you in relation to the said document. I have nothing in all the world to demand of you in the name of all things that have been spoken against you because of the said embalming and any complaint that I have brought against you because of it. I will not sue you, I will not allow you to be sued for the said embalming from today onwards. If I accuse you and if any man in the world accuses you in relation to the said embalming, I will be far from you or will cause those people to be far from you. And I will give you 20 pieces of silver, makes 100 staters, makes 20 pieces of silver in staters again, on a day within 30 days of coming to you for the above embalming; which I shall do or that any man of the world will do, dutifully and without delay. I have an obligation to you, to cause anyone to be far from you regarding the embalming, again dutifully and promptly. Anything and everything which is currently mine and which I will acquire in future is the pledge of all the above. It is you or your representative who has authority in respect of all matters which you shall charge against me in relation to all of the above, and I shall dutifully and promptly do them at your bidding.

Written by Pʿ-tj-Wsir (?), son of ʿHr-Hb.


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