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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Inscription of Una
Egyptian Literature
 
        
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith
  
  [It is interesting to compare the inscription of Piankhy with an example of the historical texts of the Old Kingdom. Only two are known of any considerable length, and the following is one of them. The biographical inscription of Una, administrator of Upper Egypt, takes one back to 3000 B.C., when almost the only great monuments in Egypt were the pyramids, to the number of which each successive king added.
  The inscription was found on a slab in the great cemetery of Abydos, and is now in the Gîzeh Museum. The style is somewhat arid, but attracts by its primitive and simple character.]

[Una’s youth under King Teta, founder of the VIth Dynasty.]

  [UNA saith] I was tying the girdle, 1 under the majesty of Teta. My grade was that of superintendent of stores, and I acted as overseer of the garden of Pharaoh.
  1
 
[Una appointed pyramid priest and then judge by Pepy I. He assists at trials in the royal harîm.]

  [I was] chief of the debat [?] city … under the majesty of Pepy: his Majesty put me into the position of royal friend and superintendent of the priests of his pyramid city. 2
  2
  Behold I was … and his Majesty appointed me judge, and his heart was satisfied with me more than with any of his servants: I heard cases alone with the chief justice and vizier in every secret proceeding [of the palace?]… in the name of the King, of the royal harîm and of the six great houses, 3 because the King’s heart was satisfied with me more than with any of his officers, of his nobles, or of his servants.  3
 
[Royal present of a sarcophagus, etc., from the limestone quarries of Turra.]

  [Command was given] by the Majesty of my lord to bring for me a sarcophagus of white stone from Ra-au, and his Majesty caused the divine treasurer to cross over [the river] with a band [of soldiers and artificers] under him to bring for me this sarcophagus from Ra-au. 4 He returned with it in the great transport ship of the Residence, together with its lid, and a false door with the lintel, jambs, and foundation block: never was this or the like done to any servant. But I was successful in the heart of his Majesty, I was rooted in the heart of his Majesty; and the heart of his Majesty was satisfied with me.
  4
 
[Appointment as principal judge in the trial of the queen.]

  Now when I was judge, his Majesty made me a sole friend and superintendent of the garden of Pharaoh, and I instructed [?] four [?] of the superintendents of Pharaoh’s gardens who were there. I acted according to his Majesty’s desire in performing the choosing of the guard [?] 5 and making the way of the king and marshaling the nobles [at the court]; I acted altogether so that his Majesty praised me for it more than anything.
  5
  When an accusation was brought in the royal harîm against the chief royal wife Aamtesi as a secret affair, his Majesty caused me to enter to it and hear the case alone, without there being any chief justice and vizier, or any officer there but me only, on account of my success and rooting in the heart of his Majesty and of his heart being satisfied with me. I drew up [the report] in writing, alone with one judge. Behold, my office was that of superintendent of Pharaoh’s garden: never before did one of my grade hear a secret process of the royal harîm; but his Majesty caused me to hear it, because of my success in the heart of his Majesty above any officer and any noble and any servant of his.  6
 
[Una commander-in-chief of all the native and foreign forces in an expedition against the Eastern Bedawin.]

  When his Majesty chastised the Aamu-Herusha 6 and his Majesty made an army of many tens of thousands out of the whole of the Upper Country, from Abu 7 in the south to Aphroditopolis [?] in the north, and out of the Lower Country, from the whole of the two sides, 8 out of Sezer and Khen-sezeru, 9 negroes from Arertet, 10 negroes from Meza, negroes from Aam, negroes from Wawat, negroes from Kaau, and foreigners from the land of Temeh; 11 his Majesty sent me at the head of this host. Behold, even the ha-princes, even the royal chancellors, even the royal friends of the court, even the nomarchs and governors of fortresses of the Upper Country and the Lower Country, the royal friends superintending the frontier, the superintendents of priests of the Upper and Lower Countries, and the superintendents of domain lands, in command of the contingents from the Upper and Lower Countries, and from the fortresses [?] and cities that they ruled, and of the negroes of these tribes—I it was who planned their procedure, although my grade was that of superintendent of the garden of Pharaoh, on account of the preciseness of my disposition: in such a way that no one of them encroached on any of his fellows, that no one of them took bread or sandals from the wayfarer, that no one of them stole dough from any village, and that no one of them took a goat from any people. I directed them to the Island of the North, the Gate of I-hetep, the Uart [?] of Horus Lord 12 of Truth. And behold, although I was of this grade … I reviewed the number of these troops which had never been reviewed by any servant.
  This host returned in peace: it had harried the land of the Herusha;
this host returned in peace: it had trampled on the land of the Herusha;
this host returned in peace: it had overthrown its inclosures.
this host returned in peace: it had cut down its figs and vines.
this host returned in peace: it had set fire to all its [camps?];
this host returned in peace: it had slain the troops in it in many tens of thousands;
this host returned in peace: it had [carried off people] from it, very numerous, as prisoners alive:
and his Majesty praised me for it more than anything.
  7
  His Majesty sent me to direct [this] host five times, and to smite the land of the Herusha at each of the revolts with these troops, and I acted so that his Majesty praised me for it more than anything. And when it was reported that there were warriors of this tribe in the “Wild-Goat’s Nose,” I crossed over in boats with these troops, and landed on the coast 13 of Thest, on the north of the land of the Herusha: and behold, when this host had marched by land, I came and smote them all down, and slew every warrior of them.  8
 
[Una made governor of the whole of Upper Egypt by the next king, Merenra Mehti-em-saf.]

  I was carrier of the chair and sandals at the court, and the king Merenra my lord, who lives [for ever], appointed me ha-prince, governor of the Upper Country, from Abu in the south to Aphroditopolis [?] in the north, because of my success in the heart of his Majesty, and my rooting in the heart of his Majesty, and because the heart of his Majesty was satisfied [with me]. And while I was carrier of the chair and sandals, his Majesty praised me for my watchfulness and body-guardianship which I displayed in ushering in nobles [?], which exceeded that of any officer, noble, or servant of his. Never before was this function discharged by any servant.
  9
  I performed for him the office of governor of the Upper Country to satisfaction, so that no one there encroached upon his fellow for any work: I paid [?] everything that is paid to the Residence from this Upper Country twice over, and every hour’s service that is given to the palace in this Upper Country twice over; and discharged my office in such a way that it established a standard of duty 14 in this Upper Country. Never was the like done in this Upper Country before. I acted altogether so that his Majesty praised me for it.  10
 
[Una commissioned to obtain monuments for Merenra’s pyramid from Abhat, and granite from the region of Elephantine.]

  His Majesty sent me to Abhat to bring the sarcophagus called “Box of the Living Ones,” with its cover, and an obelisk, and the costly furniture for my mistress 15 [?] the pyramid Kha-nefer of Merenra. His Majesty sent me to Abu 16 to bring the granite stela and its base, and the granite doors and jambs, and the granite doors and bases of the over-ground temple of my mistress [?] the pyramid Kha-nefer of Merenra. I came down the river with them to the pyramid Kha-nefer of Merenra with six broad boats, three transports, three eight-oars, in one expedition: never was this done, Abhat and Abu [done] in one expedition, in the time of any of the kings. Everything that his Majesty had commanded me came verily to pass just as his Majesty ordered me.
  11
 
[An altar from the alabaster quarry of Het-nub.]

  His Majesty sent me to Het-nub to bring a great table of offerings of the alabaster of Het-nub. I brought him down this table of offerings in seventeen days, quarrying it in Het-nub, and causing it to float down in this broad boat. For I had cut for it a broad boat of acacia-wood, sixty cubits long, thirty cubits broad, and built it—all this [?] in seventeen days, in the third month of harvest, 17 when behold there was no water on the junctions [?] of the channel, 18 and I moored at the pyramid Kha-nefer of Merenra in peace. All things had come to pass according to the command which the Majesty of my lord had given me.
  12
 
[A commission to ease the navigation in the region of the cataract, and increase the facilities for procuring granite.]

  His Majesty sent me to cut five channels in the South, and make three broad boats and four transports of the acacia of Wawat. Behold, the rulers of Arertet, Wawat, Aam, and Meza were bringing wood for it. All were made in one year, floated, and laden with very great blocks of granite for the pyramid Kha-nefer of Merenra; moreover, I myself gave service to the palace in the whole work of these five channels, 19 on account of my abundance and my wealth [?], and of the loftiness of the mighty spirit of King Merenra, living for ever, beyond that of any god, and because all things came to pass according to the command which his Ka ordained.
  13
 
Note 1. The first words are lost. The girdle was probably assumed at about the age of twelve. [back]
Note 2. As a rule, each king seems to have built his pyramid in the desert behind his principal residence. The latter was often founded by the king, but might serve for some of his successors, who would then build their pyramids near his. The pyramid field of Memphis is very ancient, and many of the earlier kings must have resided there; but curiously enough the name Mennefer, Memphis, is taken from that of the pyramid of Pepy I., here referred to. [back]
Note 3. Perhaps schools of law, etc. [back]
Note 4. These quarries, at the modern Turra, have been the source of fine white limestone down to the present day. They were exactly opposite Memphis in the eastern hills. [back]
Note 5. Probably this means the arrangement of a body-guard or performance of the ritual for the King’s amuletic and religious protection. [back]
Note 6. “The Asiatics who dwell upon the sand”—i.e., Bedawin. [back]
Note 7. Elephantine. [back]
Note 8. The Eastern and Western borders of Lower Egypt. [back]
Note 9. These names probably mean “the halting-station for the night,” and “the bedchamber of halting-station for the night”; evidently garrisoned posts on the main desert routes. [back]
Note 10. Arertet, Meza, Aam, Wawat, Kaau, were all in Nubia, and at no great distance from Egypt. The Meza were afterwards regularly drawn upon for soldiers and police. The Kaau are more generally called Setu. [back]
Note 11. I.e., the land of the Libyans. [back]
Note 12. “Horus Lord of Truth” was the Ka name of King Sneferu [the first king of the IVth Dynasty, not much less than 4000 B.C.]. Probably this expedition went toward the Sinaitic peninsula. [back]
Note 13. Sea-coast, perhaps of the Red Sea. [back]
Note 14. Lit., “made the officership making the standard.” [back]
Note 15. Or “for the mistress of the pyramid”; i.e., for the queen buried in her husband’s pyramid. [back]
Note 16. Elephantine. [back]
Note 17. The month Epiphi. [back]
Note 18. The Nile being low. [back]
Note 19. Apparently the passage of the Nile was blocked for boats at five different places about the first cataract, and Una had cleared the channel at his own expense as a free service to the King. [back]
 
 
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