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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  5.7


EPITAPH OF TAHEBET


Text:   Lady Meux 52   [ TM 89845 ]
Date:   c. 230-220 B.C.
Language:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   E.A.W. Budge & M. Panov
Format:   see key to translations
   

This stele comes from Akhmim. The translation is mostly taken from E.A.W. Budge, "Some account of the collection of Egyptian antiquities in the possession of Lady Meux", pp.123-128 ( archive.org ); he does not provide a complete translation, but he summarises the sections that have not been translated. More recently, a few sections have been translated by M. Panov, "Women in the Inscriptions of the Late Period", no 7.4 ( academia.edu ).   The inscription does not tell us the names of Tahebet's husband and children; her own name is written as Ta-hebt by Budge, and as Tahebit by Panov.

 


[A]     { Above the scene of Tahebet adoring the gods: }

Osiris Tahebet, justified, daughter of Hormes, justified, and of Khartet-Amsu, justified. 

Says Osiris, dweller in Imentet, Wennefer, the great god, the prince of eternity.

Says Harmachis, the great god, the lord of heaven.

Says Atum, the lord of the lands of Annu { Heliopolis }. 

Says Ḥeru-netch-ḥrȧ-f. 

Says Isis, the mighty lady, the divine mother.

Says Nephthys, the divine sister.

 

[B]     { The text begins, lines 1-3: }

May Osiris, the dweller in Imentet, the great god, the lord of Abydos, and Seker-Osiris, within Apu { Panopolis } and Harmachis-Atum, the lord of the lands of Annu { Heliopolis } and Ḥeru-netch-ḥrȧ-f, and Isis, the great lady, the divine mother in Apu, and Nephthys, the divine sister, and the great cycle of the gods who dwell in Apu, give sepulchral meals, oxen, fowl, incense, libations, unguents, linen bandages, and all good, pure, and pleasant things which the heavens give, and the earth brings forth, and the Nile bringeth forth from his storehouse, and the sweet breeze of the north wind, to the ka of the lady honourable before Osiris, who dwells in the underworld, the great god, the lord of Abydos, Tahebet, the daughter of Hormes, justified, and of the lady Khartet-Amsu, justified.

[C]     { The deceased lady then says, lines 4-11:  }

Hail, Ra-Harmachis, the lord of rays, who shines in the eastern horizon of the sky, may you shine in the face of Osiris Tahebet, justified.

Tahebet sings hymns of praise to Ra when he sets. Grant that the soul of Osiris Tahebet may come forth with Ra into heaven; may it be ordained for her to come into his boat when it goes in among the stars which never rest in the heavens.

The lady Tahebet then praises her lord of eternity, saying:

Hail to you, Harmachis-Kheperȧ, the self-created one! You are doubly beautiful when you shine in the horizon, you illuminate the world with your beams, and the gods rejoice when they see you in your heavens. The goddess Nut is on your brow, and the crowns of the south and north are upon your head; the goddess takes up her place upon your forehead. Thoth is established upon your prow to destroy all your enemies in the underworld. Let me come forth to meet you and to see your beautiful form. I have come to you, for I want to be with you, and I want to see your disk every day. Let me not be held back, let me not be repulsed, let my limbs be renewed by the sight of your splendours even as are the noble ones who are favoured by you, for I am one of those who venerated you upon earth. Let me arrive at the land of eternity, let me attain unto the nome of everlastingness. Guide me, O Ra, and give the sweet breath of life to me.

[D]     { lines 12-14

Following this petition is an address by Tahebet to every priest, and scribe, and official, who will go into the mountain, who will pass near this  grave, entreating them to make mention of her name so that it may be proclaimed before the great god, the lord of the underworld, for the person whose name is mentioned will live.

I will guide you on the path of life, the path following the god. The one whose heart leads him on this path is praised by the god.

[E]     { Of herself she then says, lines 15-22: }

I was honest and not prejudiced towards any particular side. It was I who gave bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and stretched out the hand towards everyone. I was one revered of my father, praised of my mother, amiable to my brothers, friendly towards the citizens of my town. I nourished the hungry with my goods whenever the Nile flood was low. I gave regular offerings for the living souls, providing for them after their spirits had gone to heaven.

From the days of childhood I have walked in the path of the god, upright as Ra. I have praised and adored him, and ministered to the priests his servants, without wishing anything for myself. I produced goods from my own treasury, in order to endow the temple staff with my own property, because I was a good lady ...

Having rendered all praise and glory to her god, she prays that he will establish her children in their places together with those who live for ever and ever. When talking about her children, Tahebet speaks of a divine gift, she compares her son with the personification {ḥm} of Shu and her daughter with that {ḥmt} of Tefnut.


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