Reference > Fiction > Nonfiction > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Stela of Piankhy
Egyptian Literature
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith
  [The following inscription, one of the longest in existence, covers both faces and the sides of a large stela of black basalt in the Museum at Gîzeh. It was found in the temple of Gebel Barkal, beyond Dongola in Nubia. Here was one of the capitals of a native Ethiopian dynasty, and in the temple dedicated to Amen a number of historical stelæ were set up by different kings, of whom Piankhy (about 800 B.C.) was the earliest. Not improbably he was descended from the priest kings of the XXIst Egyptian dynasty (at Thebes, about 1000 B.C.); at any rate, the name which he bore occurs in that dynasty, and his devotion to Amen agrees with the theory. We learn from the stela that by some means he had obtained the suzerainty over Upper Egypt, which was governed by local kings and nomarchs; while Lower Egypt was similarly divided but independent. Among the princes of the North land the most powerful was Tafnekht, probably a Libyan nomarch of Sais who had absorbed the whole of the western side of Lower Egypt. The stela relates the conflict that ensued when Tafnekht endeavored to unite Lower Egypt in a confederacy and invade the Upper Country. This gave Piankhy, who knew his own strength, an opportunity of which he was not slow to avail himself. The Delta was protected from invasion by its network of canals, and by its extensive marshes. But when the armies and navies of the local kings had been drawn into Upper Egypt and there repeatedly defeated, weakened and cowed, the princes of the North Land were at the mercy of the victorious Ethiopian, who was rewarded for his activity and skill in strategy with an abundance of spoil and tribute, probably also with the permanent subjection of the country.
  The inscription is in a very perfect state; with the exception of one lacuna of sixteen short lines the losses are very small. The narrative is far more artistic and sustained than was usual in records of any considerable length. The piety of the Ethiopian and his trust in his god Amen are remarkably indicated; and some passages cannot fail to remind us of the Biblical records of certain Jewish kings and of the prophecies concerning Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus. There is nothing that suggests the bloodthirstiness and wanton cruelty of the contemporary kings of Assyria. Altogether, when the time and circumstances are taken into account, the impression left is one very favorable to Piankhy. If he seems to insist overmuch on his Divine mission, this exaggeration is perhaps due to the priests of Amen who drafted the document, desirous of thereby promoting the honor both of their god and of their king.
  There are numerous indications in the signs composing the inscription that the text was written originally in a cursive character, and afterwards transcribed into hieroglyphics for record on stone.]


YEAR xxi, month Thoth, 1 under the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Meriamen Piankhy, living forever:—
[Attention demanded.]

  Command: My Majesty saith, Hear how I have done more than the ancestors! I am a king, the figure of a god, the living image of Tum, who came forth from the body fashioned as a ruler, whose elders feared him,… whose mother recognized that he would reign [while he was yet] in the egg; the good God, beloved of the gods, Son of the Sun, working with his hand, 2 Meriamen Piankhy.
[The narrative. Report of Tafnekht’s invasion received: the king’s joy thereat.]

  There came one to tell his Majesty, whereas the ruler of the West, the nomarch and chief in Neter, Tafnekht, was in the [Harpoon] Nome, in the Nome of the Bull of the Desert, in Hap, in…, in An, in Per-nub, and in Mennefer, 3 he took unto himself the entire West from the sea-coast to Athet-taui, and went south with a great army; the two lands were united in following him, the nomarchs and the rulers of fenced cities were as hounds at his feet. No fortress was closed [against him]; the nomes of the South, Mertum, and Per-Sekhem-Kheper-ra, the Temple of Sebek, Per-Mezed, Tekanesh, 4 and every city of the West, opened their gates in fear of him. He turned back to the Eastern nomes; they opened to him even as the former. Het-benu, Tayuzayt, Het-seten, Per-nebt-tep-ah. 5 Behold [he hath crossed over to] besiege Henen-seten, 6 he hath ringed it about, 7 not allowing outgoers to go out, not allowing incomers to enter, by reason of the daily fighting. He hath measured it out on every side, each nomarch gauging his own [length of] wall, that he may post each one of the nomarchs and the rulers of fenced cities at his section.”
  Now [his Majesty heard these things] with good courage, laughing, and with joy of heart.  4
[Anxiety of the King’s governors in Upper Egypt at Tafnekht’s progress. Loss of Hermopolis.]

  Behold these chiefs, nomarchs, and captains of the host who were in their various cities sent to his Majesty daily, saying: “Hast thou ceased [from action] until thou forgettest the South Country, the nomes of the royal domain? 8 Tafnekht is pushing forward his conquest, he findeth not any to repel his arm. Nemart [the ruler in Hermopolis] and nomarch of Het-Ur 9 hath breached the fortress of Neferus, he hath ruined his own city for fear lest he [Tafnekht] should take it, and then lay siege to another city. Behold, he hath gone to be at his [Tafnekht’s] feet; 10 he hath refused allegiance to his Majesty, and standeth with him [Tafnekht] like one of [his retainers. He hath harried] the nome of Oxyrhynkhos, 11 and he giveth to him 12 [Tafnekht] gifts, as his heart inclineth, of all things that he findeth [therein].”
[Piankhy orders the governors to besiege Hermopolis.]

  Then his Majesty sent a message to the nomarchs and the captains of the host who were in Egypt, the captain Puarma, with the captain Armersekny, with every captain of his Majesty who was in Egypt, saying: “Make haste in striking, join battle, encircle [Hermopolis], capture its people, its cattle, its ships upon the river. Let not the fellâhîn come out to the field; let not the plowman plow; lay siege to the Hare-city, 13 fight against it daily.” Thereupon they did so.
[Piankhy dispatches an army from Ethiopia, bidding them fear not to fight, for Amen is their strength; and to do homage unto the god at Thebes.]

  Then his Majesty sent an army to Egypt, urging them very greatly:—“[Spend day and] night as though ye were playing drafts, so that ye fight according as ye see that he hath arrayed battle at a distance. If he say the infantry and cavalry have hastened to another city, why then remain ye until his army come, and fight even as he shall say. And if his allies are in another city, hasten ye to them; and the nomarchs, and those whom he bringeth to strengthen him, the Tehenu 14 and his chosen troops, let battle be arrayed against them. One of old saith:—‘We know not how to cry unto him, It is the enlistment of troops and the yoking of war-horses, the pick of thy stables, that giveth victory in battle. Thou knowest that Amen is the god that leadeth us.’ 15
  “When ye reach Thebes, the approach to Apt-esut, 16 enter ye into the water, wash ye in the river, dress on the bank of the stream, unstring the bow, loosen the arrow. Let no chief boast as possessing might, there being no strength to the mighty if he regard him [Amen] not. He maketh the feeble-handed into strong-handed; a multitude may turn their backs before the few; one man may conquer a thousand. Sprinkle yourselves with the water of his altars; kiss ye the ground before his face; say ye to him, ‘Give unto us a way that we may fight in the shadow of thy strong arm. The band that thou leadest, it cometh to pass that it overthroweth that which hath overthrown many.’”  8
  Then they cast themselves on their bellies before his Majesty [saying], “It is thy name that giveth us strength of arm, thy wisdom is the mooring-post 17 of thy soldiers; thy bread is in our bellies on every road, thy beer quencheth our thirst; it is thy valor that giveth us strength of arm; one is fortified at the remembrance of thy name! while the host is lacking whose captain is a vile coward. Who is like unto thee in these things? Thou art a mighty King that worketh with his hands, master of the art of war!”  9
[The Ethiopian army, after leaving Thebes, defeat the van of Tafnekht’s fleet.]

  They went down-stream; they reached Thebes; they did according to all the things said by his Majesty.
  They went down-stream upon the river; they found many ships coming up-stream, with soldiers, sailors, levies of troops, every mighty man of the North land, furnished with weapons of war to fight against the host of his Majesty. There was made a great slaughter of them, the number thereof is not known; their troops were captured with their ships, they were brought as live prisoners to the place where his Majesty was. 18  11
[Proceeding to attack Heracleopolis, they are met on the river by the confederates under Tafnekht, and defeat them.]

  They went to Henen-seten, arraying battle. The nomarchs with the kings of the North land were informed [thereof]. Now the King Nemart with the King Auapeth; the chief of the Me, 19 Sheshenk of Busiris, with the chief of the Me, Zed-Amen-auf-ankh of Mendes, and his son and heir, who was captain of the host of Hermopolis Parva; the host of the Erpa Bakennefi, with his son and heir, chief of the Me, Nesnakedy in the home of Hesebka; and every chief wearing the feather 20 who was in the North land, with the King Usorkon who was in Bubastis and in the land of Ra-nefer: every nomarch, and the governors of fenced cities in the West and in the East and in the islands in the midst, assembled with one purpose, as following the feet of the great chief of the West, ruler of the fenced cities of the North land, priest of Neith, mistress of Sais, and Sem-priest of Ptah, Tafnekht. 21
  When they went out against them, a mighty overthrow was made of them, greater than anything, and their ships were captured upon the river; the remainder crossed over and moored on the west side, in the neighborhood of Per-peg.  13
[In a second battle, fought by land on the opposite shore, the enemy is overthrown; most escaped northward, but Nemart returns to Hermopolis, having eluded the besiegers (i.e., the army of the loyal governors). Hermopolis is more closely besieged.]

  When the land lightened very early, the soldiers of his Majesty crossed over to them. One host met the other. Then they slew many men of them, and horses without number, in the charge [?]. Those who remained fled to the North land with lamentations loud and sore, more than anything. 22 Account of the overthrow made of them: men, persons…. 23 [But] the King Nemart went up-stream to the South when it was reported to him, “Khmenu 24 is in the midst of enemies; the soldiers of his Majesty are capturing its men and its cattle.” Then he [Nemart] entered into Unu, while the soldiers of his Majesty were at the port of the Hare-city. Then they heard of it; they surrounded the Hare-city on its four sides; they allowed not goers out to go out, nor enterers in to enter in.
[The King, enraged at the escape of the enemy, vows that after the New Year he will go to Thebes, and having discharged a pious duty there, take the war in hand himself.]

  They sent to report to his Majesty, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Meriamen Piankhy, Giving Life, of every defeat they had made, and of all the victories of his Majesty. Then his Majesty raged at it like a leopard:—“Shall one grant unto them that there be left a remnant of the soldiers of the North land to permit a goer out to go out from them, to say, ‘He commandeth not to make them die until they be utterly destroyed’? As I live, as I love Ra, as my father Amen praiseth me, I will go north myself to ruin that which [Nemart] hath done; I will cause him to withdraw from battle forever. Verily, after performing the ceremonies of the New Year, I will sacrifice to my father Amen in his beautiful festival, when he maketh his fair manifestation of the New Year. He will lead me in peace to see Amen in the good feast of the festival of Apt; I shall bring him forth gloriously in his divine form unto Southern Apt, in his goodly feast of the feast of Apt at night-time, 25 in the feast established in Thebes, the feast which Ra instituted for him originally. And I will bring him forth gloriously to his own house, to rest upon his throne, on the day of making the god to enter. 26 On the second day of Athyr 27 I will cause the land of the North to taste the taste of my fingers.”
[To retrieve their reputation, the army assaults and captures three cities; but the King is not appeased.]

  Then the soldiers who were remaining in Egypt heard the rage that his Majesty was in against them. Then they fought against Per Mezed 28 in the nome of Oxyrhynkhos; they took it like a flood of water. They sent a message to his Majesty, but his heart was not appeased thereby.
  Then they fought against Tatehen, 29 the very strong; they found it filled with soldiers, and every strong man of the North land. Then there was made a battering-ram for it; its walls were breached and a great slaughter was made of them, the number thereof is not known, including the son of the chief of the Me, Tafnekht. 30 Then they sent word to his Majesty of it, but his heart was not appeased thereby.  17
  Then they fought against Het Benu; its citadel was opened and the soldiers of his Majesty entered into it. Then they sent word to his Majesty, but his heart was not appeased thereby.  18
[The King comes to Thebes, and thence proceeds to Hermopolis. He chides his troops.]

  On the ninth day of Thoth, 31 came his Majesty down the river to Thebes; he completed the feast of Amen in the festival of Apt. His Majesty floated down to the city of the Hare. 32 His Majesty came out of the pavilion of the boat; horses were yoked and chariots mounted. The fear of his Majesty reached unto the ends of Asia; 33 his terror was in every heart. Then his Majesty came forth disposed to hate his soldiers, raging at them like a leopard: “Doth it yet remain for you to fight? This is slackness in my business: the year is completed to the end in putting terror of me in the North land.” 34 They made a great and grievous lamentation, like one beaten. 35
  He pitched his tent in the Southwest of Khmenu. It [the city] was besieged every day. There was made an earthwork to cover the wall; there was erected a wooden tower to raise the archers shooting arrows, and the slingers slinging stones, slaying the people thereof every day.  20
[Hermopolis, vigorously attacked, is brought to great straits. It treats with the King, and Nemart’s wife prays the Queen to intercede for them.]

  The third day came; Unu was abominable to the nose, evil in its smell. Then Unu threw itself on its belly, praying before the face of the King; messengers came out and entered with all things good to behold; gold, every precious mineral, stuffs in a chest. The diadem was on his [Piankhy’s] head, the uræus was giving forth its terror; there was no ceasing for many days in praying to his divine crown. His [Nemart’s] wife, the royal wife Satnestentmeh, was caused to approach, to pray the royal wives, the royal concubines, the royal daughters, the royal sisters. She cast herself upon her belly in the chamber of the women, before the face of the royal wives: “Come ye unto me, O ye royal wives, daughters, and sisters, that ye may pacify Horus, 36 lord of the palace. Great is his mighty spirit! How grand is his right of victory! Let….” 37
[Presumably the Queen intercedes; Nemart comes out to Piankhy, surrenders, and brings tributes.]

  “Who is it that hath led thee? 38 Who is it that hath led thee? Who is it that hath led thee? Who is it that led thee? [Thou hast missed] the road of life. But shall the heaven rain with arrows? I am [satisfied when] the South is in obeisance, and the North lands [cry], ‘Put us in thy shadow.’ Behold, it is evil … with his offerings. The heart is a rudder that wrecketh its owner in that which concerneth the will of God; it looketh on flame as ice…. not a prince; see who is his father. Thy nomes are full of children.” 39
  Then he cast himself upon his belly before his Majesty [saying]: “Come to me, Horus, lord of the palace! It is thy mighty will that doeth this unto me: I am one of the servants of the King that pay dues to the treasury…. Count their dues: I have paid to thee more than they.”  23
  Then he offered to him silver, gold, lapis lazuli, malachite, bronze, and minerals of all kinds in great quantity. Behold, the treasury was filled with this tribute. He brought a horse in his right hand, a sistrum in his left, a sistrum of gold and lapis lazuli.  24
[Piankhy enters Hermopolis and sacrifices to Thoth. Finding the horses in the rebel King’s stables starved, he is wroth with Nemart and confiscates his goods.]

  Behold, his [Majesty] was brought forth gloriously from his palace, and proceeded to the house of Thoth, lord of Khmenu. He sacrificed bulls, oxen, and fowl to his father Thoth, lord of Khmenu, and the gods in the House of the Eight. 40 The soldiers of the Hermopolite nome rejoiced and sang; they said: “How beautiful is Horus resting in his country, Son of the Sun, Piankhy! Celebrate for us a Sed festival, 41 even as thou hast protected the Hare-name.”
  His Majesty proceeded to the house of the King Nemart, he went to every apartment of the palace, his treasury and his storehouses; he caused to be brought to him the King’s wives and the King’s daughters; they praised his Majesty with things that women use; 42 but his Majesty would not amuse himself with them. His Majesty proceeded to the stables of the horses, the stalls of the foals; he beheld that they were starved. He said:—“As I live, as I love Ra, as my nostril is refreshed with life! very grievous are these things to my heart, the starving of my horses, more than any ill that thou hast done in the fulfilling of thine own desire. The fear which thy surroundings have of thee, beareth witness to me of thee. Dost thou ignore that the shadow of God is over me, and he doth not fail in any undertaking of mine? Would that he who did this unto me were another, knowing me not, [then] I would not censure him for it! But I, when I was born from the womb, when I was formed in the egg, the deed of God was in me; and as his Ka endureth, 43 I do nothing without him! He it is who commandeth me to act.”  26
  Then he counted his [Nemart’s] goods to the Treasury, his granary to the sacred store of Amen in Apt-esut. 44  27
[The King of Heracleopolis, the siege of which had been raised by the King’s troops, brings presents and promises tribute.]

  The ruler of Henen-seten, Pefauibast, came with tribute to Pharaoh: gold, silver, every kind of mineral, and horses of the chosen ones of the stable. He cast himself on his belly before his Majesty, and said, “Salutation to thee, Horus, mighty King, bull overthrowing bulls. Duat 45 drew me down, I was overwhelmed in darkness, for which light hath been given unto me.
  “I found not a friend on the day of trouble, who would stand in the day of fight, except thee, O mighty King! Thou hast drawn away the darkness from me, and I will be thy servant with all that pertain to me. Henen-seten shall pay tribute to thy storehouse, thou the image of Harakhti, chief of the Akhmu Seku. 46 While he exists, so long shalt thou exist as King; if he be not destroyed thou shalt not be destroyed, O King Piankhy, living for ever!”  29
[El Lahûn, prepared to oppose the entry of the King, yields without fighting: the treasuries are confiscated.]

  His Majesty went north to the opening of the canal near Rahent; 47 he found Per-sekhem-kheper-ra with its walls raised high, its citadel closed and filled with every valiant man of the North land. Then his Majesty sent to them saying: “Ye who live in death, ye who live in death, miserable ones, wretched ones living in death! If a moment passeth without opening [to me], behold, ye are reckoned as conquered, and that is painful to the King. Close not the gates of your life so as to come to the execution block of this day. Do not love death and hate your life;… [embrace] life in the face of all the land.”
  Then they sent to his Majesty to say: “Behold, the shadow of God is upon thy head; the son of Nut 48 gives to thee his two hands. What thy heart desireth is accomplished immediately, as that which issues from the mouth of a god. Behold thou it! Thou wast born as a god, and thou seest us in thy two hands. Behold thy city, its forts [are open; do as thou wilt with it]; enterers enter in and goers out go out: let his Majesty do as he pleaseth.”  31
  Then they came out with the son of the chief of the Me, Tafnekht. The host of his Majesty entered into it; he slew not one of all the people whom he found. [The chancellors came], with the royal seal-bearers to seal its goods, assigning its treasuries to the Treasury, its granaries to the divine offerings of his father Amen Ra, lord of the thrones of the two lands.  32
[Likewise with Mêdûm and Athet-taui.]

  His Majesty floated down-stream, he found that Mêdûm, the Abode of Seker, lord of making light, had been shut up; it could not be reached, it had put fighting into its heart. [But they feared] terror [seized] them; awe closed their mouths. Then his Majesty sent to them saying: “Behold ye, there are two ways before you, choose ye as ye will: open, and ye live; close, and ye die. My Majesty passeth not by a city closed.”
  Then they opened immediately. His Majesty entered this city; he offered [an oblation] to the god Menhy in Sehez. He assigned its treasury and granaries to the divine offerings of Amen in Apt-esut.  34
  His Majesty floated down-stream to Athet-taui; he found the fortress closed, the walls full of valiant soldiers of the North land. Behold, they opened the forts, they cast themselves on their bellies [singing praises before] his Majesty. “Thy father hath destined for thee his heritage as lord of the two lands; thou art in them, 49 thou art lord of what is upon earth.”  35
  His Majesty proceeded [to the temple] to cause to be offered a great offering to the gods who are in this city, of bulls, fat oxen and fowls, and everything good and pure. Then its treasury was assigned to the Treasury, its granaries to the divine offerings [of Amen].  36
[To Memphis he offers a free pardon, but the city prepares to fight.]

  His Majesty went north towards Anbuhez. Then he sent to them, saying, “Do not close, do not fight, O Residence originally of Shu! 50 Let the enterers enter and the comers out come out: let none going be stopped. I will offer sacrifice to Ptah and the gods who are in Anbuhez; I will worship Sokaris in the Secret Place; I will behold Res-Anbef. 51 I will go north in peace [for his Majesty loveth that] Anbuhez be safe and sound, and that [even] the children weep not. Ye saw the nomes of the South: not one [soul] was slain therein except the rebels who had blasphemed God. Execution on the block was done to the rebellious.”
  Then they closed their forts; they caused soldiers to go out against a few of the host of his Majesty, consisting of artisans, of chief builders, and pilots [who had gone towards] the quay of Anbuhez.  38
[Tafnekht himself visits Memphis in the night, encourages the troops, and departs, promising to return when he has arranged matters with the allies.]

  Now that chief of Sais came to Anbuhez in the night, urging its soldiers, its sailors and all the best of its troops, in number eight thousand men, urging them greatly, greatly. “Behold, Mennefer is full of soldiers of all the best of the North land, barley and durra, and all kinds of grain, the granaries are overflowing, and all kinds of weapons of [war. There is a] wall built, a great battlement made with cunning craft. The river bounds the eastern side, and no way of attack is there. The stalls remain full of fat cattle, the treasury is furnished with all things: silver, gold, copper, bronze, stuffs, incense, honey, ointment. I will go, I will give things to the chiefs of Lower Egypt; I will open to them their nomes. 52 I shall be [away traveling] three [?] days until I return.” He mounted a horse, he called not for his chariots, he went north in fear of his Majesty.
[Piankhy finds Memphis strongly fortified and the high Nile risen to its walls. The army proposes to bridge it, or attack the city it by elaborate approaches.]

  When the earth lightened and it was the second day 53 his Majesty came to Anbuhez. He moored upon its north side, he found the water risen to the walls and ships moored at [the quay of] Mennefer. Then his Majesty saw that it was mighty indeed, the wall raised high with new building, the battlement manned with strength; no way of attacking it was found. Each person fell to saying his say among the hosts of his Majesty of every rule of warfare, and every man said, “Let us lay siege to [Anbuhez]; behold, her soldiers are many.” Others said: “Make a causeway unto it; let us raise the ground to its wall; let us construct a wooden work, let us set up ships’ masts, let us make its edges of poles. Let us divide it with these things 54 on every side of it, with embankments and … upon its north side, in order to raise the ground to its wall that we may find a way for our feet.”
[The King determines to assault it immediately; he seizes all the boats at the quay, where the houses were comparatively unprotected, and landing his men in them at that point captures the city.]

  Then his Majesty raged against it [the city] like a leopard, he said:—“As I live, as I love Ra, as my father Amen who formed me praiseth me, these things have happened unto it by the command of Amen. These things are what men say: ‘[The North Country] with the nomes of the South they open to him [Tafnekht] from afar; they had not placed Amen in their hearts, they knew not what he had commanded. [Then] he [Amen] made him [Piankhy] in order to accomplish his mighty will, to cause the awe of him to be seen.’ I will take it like a water flood; [this] hath [my father Amen] commanded me.”
  Then he caused his ships and his army to set out to attack the quay of Mennefer. They brought back to him every ferry-boat, every cabin-boat, every dahabiyeh, and the ships in all their number that were moored at the quay of Mennefer, the bows being moored in its houses [on account of the height of the water. 55 Not] the least of the soldiers of his Majesty mourned. 56  42
  His Majesty came to direct the ships in person in all their number. His Majesty commanded his soldiers: “Forward to it! Scale the walls, enter the houses upon the bank of the stream. If one of you enters upon the wall there will be no stand against him [for a moment], the levies [?] will not bar you. Moreover, it is feeble that we should shut up the South Country, moor at the North land, and sit still at ‘the Balance of the two lands.’ 57  43
  Then Mennefer was captured as by a flood of water; men were slain within it in great numbers, and were taken as prisoners to the place where his Majesty was.  44
[In Memphis Piankhy sacrifices. The neighboring garrisons flee; three Northern chiefs and all the nomarchs submit in person; the treasures of Memphis are confiscated.]

  When the [land lightened] and the second day came, his Majesty caused men to go to it to protect the temples of God for him, to guard the sanctuary of the gods from the profane, 58 to sacrifice to the royal circle of gods of Hetkaptah, 59 to purify Mennefer with natron and incense, to put the priests on the place of their feet. 60 His Majesty proceeded to the house of [Ptah]; his purification was performed in the Chamber of Early Morning, 61 and all the things prescribed for a king were accomplished. He entered the temple, great offerings were made to his father Ptahresanbef, of fat bulls, oxen, and fowl, and every good thing. His Majesty proceeded to his house.
  Then all the villages that were in the region of Mennefer heard, namely, Hery the city, Penynaauaa, the tower of Byu, and the oasis of By; they opened their gates, they fled in flight; one knoweth not the place to which they went.  46
  Came Auapeth with the chief of the Me, Akaneshu, with the erpa Pediast, with all the nomarchs of the North land, bearing their tribute, to see the beauties of his Majesty.  47
  Then were assigned the treasuries and the granaries of Mennefer, and made into the second offerings of Amen, of Ptah, of the circle of the gods in Hetkaptah.  48
[Piankhy crosses over to Babylon, and worships there.]

  When the land lightened and the second day came, 62 his Majesty proceeded to the East, and made a purification to Tum in Kheraha, 63 [and to] the circle of the gods in the house of the circle of the gods; namely, the cave in which the gods are, consisting of fat bulls, oxen, and fowls, that they might give Life, Prosperity, and Health to the King Piankhy, living forever.
[He proceeds along the Sacred Way to Heliopolis, visiting the holy places, and enters the sanctuary of Tum in Heliopolis, etc. King Usorkon submits.]

  His Majesty proceeded to Anu 64 on that mount of Kheraha, upon the road of the god Sep, to Kheraha. His Majesty proceeded to the camp which was on the west of the Atiu canal; he was purified in the midst of the Cool Pool, his face was washed in the stream of Nu, in which Ra washes his face. He proceeded to the sand-hill in Anu, he made a great sacrifice on the sand-hill in Anu, before the face of Ra at his rising, consisting of white bulls, milk, frankincense, incense, all woods sweet-smelling. He came, proceeding to the house of Ra; he entered the temple with rejoicings. The chief lector praised the god that warded off miscreants 65 from the King. The rites of the Chamber of Early Morning were performed, the cloak was put on, he was purified with incense and cold water, flowers for the Het Benben 66 were brought to him. He took the flowers, he ascended the staircase to the great window, to see Ra in the Het Benben. The King himself stood alone, he put the key into the bolt, he opened the double doors, and saw his father Ra in the Het Benben. He sanctified the Madet boat of Ra, the Sektet boat of Tum. 67 The doors were shut, clay was applied and sealed with the King’s own seal; and the priests were charged, “I, I have examined the seal; let none other enter therein of all the kings who shall exist.”
  Then they cast themselves on their bellies before his Majesty, saying, “Unto eternity, Horus 68 loving Anu shall not be destroyed.” Returning thence, he entered the house of Tum, and followed the image of his father Tum Khepera, chief of Anu.  51
  Came the King Usorkon to see the beauties of his Majesty.  52
[Piankhy goes to the vicinity of Athribis and receives the homage of all the Northern princes and nobles. Pediast of Athribis invites him to his city.]

  When the land lightened on the second day, 69 his Majesty went to the quay, and the best of his ships crossed over to the quay of Kakem. 70 The camp of his Majesty was pitched on the south of Kaheni, on the east of Kakem. These kings and nomarchs of the North land, all the chiefs who wore the feather, every vizier, all the chiefs, every royal acquaintance 71 in the West and in the East, and in the islands in the midst, came to see the beauties of his Majesty. The erpa Pediast threw himself on his belly before his Majesty, and said: “Come to Kakem, that thou mayest see the god Khentkhety; that thou mayest khu [?] the goddess Khuyt; that thou mayest offer sacrifices to Horus in his house, consisting of fat bulls, oxen, fowls; that thou mayest enter my house, open my treasury, and load thyself with the things of my father. I will give thee gold unto the limits of thy desire, malachite heaped before thy face, horses many of the best of the stable, the leaders of the stall.”
[Piankhy goes to Athribis and worships the local god. Pediast sets the example of giving up his goods without concealment.]

  Proceeded his Majesty to the house of Horus Khentkhety, and caused to be offered fat bulls, oxen, ducks, fowl to his father Horus Khentkhety, lord of Kemur. Proceeded his Majesty to the house of the erpa Pediast; he presented him with silver, gold, lapis lazuli, malachite, a great collection of every kind of thing, and stuffs, and royal linen in every count, 72 couches covered with fine linen, frankincense, and unguents in jars, stallions and mares of the leaders of his stable. He [Pediast] cleared himself by the life of God 73 before the face of these kings and great chiefs of the North land:—“Each one of them that hides his horses, that conceals his goods, let him die the death of his father. Thus may it be done to me, whether ye acquit thy humble servant in all things that ye knew of concerning me, or whether ye say I have hidden from his Majesty anything of my father, gold, jewelry, with minerals and ornaments of all kinds, bracelets for the arms, collars for the neck, pendants [?] inlaid with minerals, amulets for every limb, chaplets for the head, rings for the ears, all the apparel of a king, every vessel of royal purification in gold, and every sort of mineral; all these things I have offered before the king, stuffs and clothes in thousands of all the best of my looms. I know by what thou wilt be appeased. Go to the stable, choose thou what thou wilt of all the horses that thou desirest.” Then his Majesty did so.
[The princes of Lower Egypt return to their cities to fetch further tribute. A revolt at Mesed is promptly suppressed and the city given as a reward to Pediast.]

  Said these kings and nomarchs before his Majesty, “Let us go to our cities, let us open our treasuries, let us select according to the desire of thy heart, let us bring to thee the best of our stables, the chief of our horses.” Then his Majesty did even so. List of their names:
  The King Usorkon in Per Bast and the territory of Ranefer;  56
  The King Auapeth in Tentremu and Taanta [?];  57
  The nomarch Zedamenafankh in Mendes and the Granary of Ra;  58
  His son and heir, the captain of the host in Hermopolis Parva, Ankhhor;  59
  The nomarch Akanesh in Thebneter, in Perhebyt, and in Smabehed;  60
  The nomarch and chief of the Me, Pathenf in Per-Sepd and in the Granary of Anbuhez;  61
  The nomarch and chief of the Me, Pamai in Busiris;  62
  The nomarch and chief of the Me, Nesnakedy in Heseb-ka;  63
  The nomarch and chief of the Me, Nekhthornashenut in Pergerer; 74  64
  The chief of the Me, Pentuart;  65
  The chief of the Me, Pentabekhent;  66
  The priest of Horus, lord of Letopolis, Pedihorsmataui;  67
  The nomarch Hurobasa in the house of Sekhemt mistress of Sa, and the house of Sekhemt mistress of Rohesaut;  68
  The nomarch Zedkhiau in Khentnefer;  69
  The nomarch Pabas in Kheraha and the house of Hapi.  70
  With all their good tribute [consisting of] gold, silver, [lapis lazuli], ma[lachite], [couches] covered with fine linen, frankincense in jars, [and all things that pertain to a man great] in wealth, rich in horses….  71
  [After] these things came one to say to his Majesty: [“Whereas the nomarch and captain of the] host [… hath thrown down] the wall [of … and] set fire to his treasury, [and fled away] upon the river, he hath fortified Mesed 75 with soldiers, and hath….”  72
  Then his Majesty caused his warriors to go to see what took place therein, as an ally of the erpa Pediast. One came to report to his Majesty saying, “We have slain all the people that we found there.” His Majesty gave it as a present to the erpa Pediast.  73
[Lastly, Tafnekht begs for mercy: ambassadors receive his presents and submission to the King, and he is pardoned.]

  Then the chief of the Me, Tafnekht, heard it; 76 he caused a messenger to go to the place where his Majesty was, begging his mercy, saying:—“Be gracious! I have not seen thy face in the days of shame; I cannot stand before thy flame; I am terrified at thy awe. Behold, thou art Nubti in the Land of the South, Mentu, the mighty bull. 77 In all these matters to which thou hast given thy attention thou hast not found thy humble servant until I reached the island of the sea. I am afraid of thy mighty spirit according to that saying, ‘The flame is my enemy.’ Doth not the heart of thy Majesty cool with these things that thou hast done unto me? Verily I am in misery. I am not smitten according to the account of the wickedness. Having weighed with the balance, having reckoned by the ounce, 78 thou multipliest it unto me thrice; having carried away the seed, thou sweepest up [the remnant] at the same time. Do not cut down the grove to its root. As thy Ka endureth, thy terror is in my body, thy fear in my bones; I have not sat in the room of carousal, 79 the harp hath not been brought to me. Behold, I eat the bread of hunger, I drink water in thirst, since the day that thou learnedst my name. Pain is in my bones, my head is unshaven, my clothes in rags, in order that Neith may be made gracious unto me. Long is the course that thou hast brought to me; turn thy face unto me now. A year hath cleansed my Ka and purified thy servant from his wickedness. Let my goods be taken to the Treasury, consisting of gold with every sort of mineral, and the best of the horses accoutred with everything. Let a messenger come to me in haste, that he may drive fear from my heart. Let me go out to the temple in his sight, let me clear myself with an oath by God.”
  His Majesty caused to go the Chief Lector Pediamennestaui, and the captain of the host Puarma. He [Tafnekht] presented him [Piankhy] with silver, gold, stuffs, every valuable mineral. He went out to the temple, he praised God, he cleared himself with an oath by God, saying: “I will not transgress the command of the King. I will not reject the words of his Majesty; I will not sin against a nomarch without thy knowledge; I will act according to the words of the King; I will not transgress what he hath commanded.” Then his Majesty was satisfied therewith.  75
[Crocodilopolis and Aphroditopolis having submitted, the whole country is at the feet of the conqueror, who loads his ships with the tribute and departs homeward.]

  One came to say to his Majesty: “The temple of Sebek, they have opened its fort, Metnu hath cast itself upon its belly, there is not a nome that is shut against his Majesty in the nomes of the South, North, West, or East. The islands in the midst are upon their bellies with fear of him, and are causing their goods to be brought to the place where his Majesty is, like the serfs of the palace.”
  When the land lightened, very early 80 came these two rulers of the South and two rulers of the North, wearing uræi, 81 to smell the ground to the mighty spirit of his Majesty. Behold, moreover, these kings and nomarchs of the North land came to see the beauties of his Majesty; their feet were as the feet of women, 82 they entered not to the King’s house, for that they were impure and eaters of fishes, which is an abomination to the King’s house. Behold, the King Nemart, he entered to the King’s palace, for that he was pure, he ate not fishes. They stood upon their feet, but the one of them entered the palace.  77
  Then the ships were loaded with silver, gold, bronze, stuffs, all things of the North land, all products of Kharu, all woods of the Divine Land.  78
  His Majesty went up-stream, his heart enlarged, all about him were rejoicing; West and East, they rose high, rejoicing around his Majesty, singing and rejoicing; they said:—“O mighty King! O mighty King! Piankhy! O mighty King! Thou hast come, thou hast ruled the North land. Thou makest bulls into women. Happy is the heart of the mother that bore a male child, that was impregnated with thee amongst the mountains. Praises be given unto her! the cow that hath borne a bull! Thou shalt be to eternity, thy victory remaineth, O Ruler, loving Thebes.”  79
Note 1. The first month of the inundation season and of the Egyptian year. This is the date of the first events recorded, not of the dedication of the stela: the “command” is parenthetical. [back]
Note 2. The same expression occurs further on, and evidently refers to the personal activity of the king. [back]
Note 3. Neter was probably Iseum in the center of the Delta, and so a nomarchship quite separate from Tafnekht’s extensive territory in the west. The list following the name of Tafnekht seems to name localities representative of the VIIth(?), VIth, Vth, IVth(?), IIId(?), and Ist nomes in Lower Egypt, in their proper order; the last, Mennefer, being Memphis. These would form literally the whole western side of Lower Egypt “from the coast to Athet-taui.” Athet-taui (Lisht ?) was a city marking the boundary of Upper and Lower Egypt. [back]
Note 4. Mêdûm, El Lahûn, Crocodilopolis in the Faiyûm, Oxyrhynkhos, Diknâsh, all—except perhaps the last—in order from north to south. [back]
Note 5. He crossed over to the east bank and went northward, the cities on his road throwing open their gates to him. With the exception of the last, Per-nebt-tep-ah [Aphroditopolis], the modern Atfih opposite Mêdûm, they are difficult to identify positively. [back]
Note 6. I.e., Heracleopolis Magna, a very powerful city on the edge of the western desert, left in the rear on Tafnekht’s expedition up the river. Its king was named Pefaui Bast. Its modern name is Ahnâs. [back]
Note 7. Lit., “he hath made himself into a tail-in-the-mouth.” [!] [back]
Note 8. The precise extent of Piankhy’s dominion at this time is uncertain. [back]
Note 9. Hûr, opposite Beni Hasan. [back]
Note 10. The notion intended to be conveyed is that of a dog at heel. [back]
Note 11. Oxyrhynkhos itself was already in the hands of Tafnekht; the Hermopolite nome, including Hûr, Nefrus, etc., lay immediately south of it. [back]
Note 12. The pronoun “he” is used much too freely in this inscription: occasionally it is impossible to decide to whom it refers. [back]
Note 13. Hermopolis. [back]
Note 14. Libyans, mercenaries or otherwise. The XXIId Dynasty was probably Libyan, and as will be seen from subsequent notes, Libyan influence was still strong in the time of Piankhy. [back]
Note 15. This would seem to be a quotation taken from some address to an earlier king. Thothmes III., for instance, attributed his successes to Amen. [back]
Note 16. The great temple of Amen at Karnak. [back]
Note 17. Our equivalent term would be “sheet-anchor.” [back]
Note 18. In Ethiopia. [back]
Note 19. The title “chief of the Me” seems to mean “captain of the Libyan troops.” The list contains the names of princes of Lower Egypt only, with the exception of Nemart of Hermopolis Magna, in Upper Egypt. [back]
Note 20. The feather was a Libyan badge of rank. [back]
Note 21. Tafnekht is here given most of his principal titles, including the sacerdotal ones of high priest of Neith in Sais, and of Ptah in Memphis. With the rise of Sais, Neith had become the leading deity of Lower Egypt, ranking even above Ptah. The priests at Gebel Barkal doubtless took a special pride in the overthrow of the protégé of Neith and Ptah by Piankhy, the worshiper of Amen. [back]
Note 22. Or “beaten sorely and grievously.” [back]
Note 23. Here should be the numbers of the slain. [back]
Note 24. “Khmenu,” “Unu,” “Hare-city,” are all names of Hermopolis Magna, the capital of Nemart’s petty kingdom. [back]
Note 25. Evidently a torchlight procession from Karnak to Luxor (Southern Apt). [back]
Note 26. The return procession to Karnak. [back]
Note 27. The third month of the season of inundation. Of course a year would then have elapsed, since the date given in the first line of the inscription. [back]
Note 28. Oxyrhynkhos. [back]
Note 29. Tehneh (?) [back]
Note 30. Tafnekht, stripped of his grandeur after his defeat at Heracleopolis, is reduced to the rank of “Chief of the Me in Sais.” [back]
Note 31. The first month of the season of inundation, and of the Egyptian year. [back]
Note 32. Hermopolis. [back]
Note 33. To be taken of course in a general sense, referring to the majestic and terrible aspect of the King. [back]
Note 34. I.e., “It has taken a full year,” etc. [back]
Note 35. Or, “They were sorely and grievously beaten with blows.” [back]
Note 36. I.e., the King. [back]
Note 37. Here there is a lacuna of sixteen short lines in the inscription. [back]
Note 38. Apparently Piankhy is addressing Nemart. [back]
Note 39. The meaning is not clear; but there seems to be a reference to the diminution of the adult population by prolonged wars. [back]
Note 40. Khmenu means eight. Thoth, in late times at any rate, combined the powers of the eight gods who accompanied him. He was sometimes called “twice great,” sometimes “eight times great” = 23, an arithmetical term especially indicated by the Greek name [Greek]. [back]
Note 41. A “jubilee” after a thirty-years’ reign; the expression is therefore equivalent to wishing the King a thirty-years’ reign. The soldiers represent the King as the god Horus come to claim his own land. [back]
Note 42. Music, dancing, etc. [back]
Note 43. An oath. [back]
Note 44. Karnak. [back]
Note 45. The underworld. [back]
Note 46. The stars of the northern hemisphere; see Maspero’s ‘Dawn of Civilization,’ p. 94. By Harakhti, the sun is probably meant. [back]
Note 47. The mouth of the barrier, i.e., the entrance into the Faiyûm. The name El Lahûn is derived from Rahent; and the city Per-sekhem-kheper-ra, “The house of Usorkon I.,” must have been at or close to the modern village of El Lahûn. [back]
Note 48. Set, the god of physical strength. [back]
Note 49. Athet-taui (Lisht ?) was the boundary of Upper and Lower Egypt, and probably lay in both of them. “The gods who are in this city” of the next paragraph are doubtless kings of the XIIth Dynasty as presiding deities of the place, this royal Residence having apparently been founded by Amenenhat I. [back]
Note 50. Ra, the first King of Egypt, was fabled to have resided at Heliopolis: Shu his son and successor at Memphis. The city is called sometimes Anbu-hez, “white wall,” sometimes Men-nefer, after the pyramid of Pepy I. [back]
Note 51. “South of his wall,” an epithet of Ptah, god of Memphis. [back]
Note 52. It is difficult to see what is meant by this. Possibly Tafnekht was proposing to bribe the Northern chiefs into continuing the war, by giving up his recently acquired claims as suzerain. [back]
Note 53. Or “very early.” [back]
Note 54. Perhaps “Let us put these things at intervals.” [back]
Note 55. The boats were floating on a level with the top of the quay. [back]
Note 56. I.e., no single one of the assailants was injured in the slightest degree. [back]
Note 57. Meaning of course “at the boundary between Upper and Lower Egypt.” [back]
Note 58. By waving the wand of sanctification therein. [back]
Note 59. The sacred name of Memphis, supposed to be the origin of the name [Greek]—“Egypt.” [back]
Note 60. I.e., to re-establish the order of the temple services, etc. [back]
Note 61. A chamber set apart for the sacred toilet. [back]
Note 62. Or “very early.” [back]
Note 63. Kheraha was on the site of old Cairo, known to the classical authors as Babylon. The cave mentioned is not now known. [back]
Note 64. On, Heliopolis. Here was a sacred well of water (“The Cool Pool”), supposed to spring from Nu, the primeval waters in heaven and earth, and not to be derived from Hapi or the Nile. Tradition relates that it was at this same well, still pointed out at Matariyeh, that the Blessed Virgin washed the Child on her arrival in Egypt. [back]
Note 65. Or “mishaps.” This seems to have been a sort of Te Deum. [back]
Note 66. The Benben was a pyramidal stone, sacred to Ra or representing him. It was shaped like the top of an obelisk. [back]
Note 67. The boats in which the Sun god traversed the heavens during forenoon and afternoon respectively. [back]
Note 68. I.e., the King. [back]
Note 69. Or “very early.” [back]
Note 70. Athribis. [back]
Note 71. The land was divided among kings, nomarchs, and, apparently, Libyan chiefs entitled to wear a feather. The kings had their viziers; the nomarchs and chiefs had their subordinate chiefs, etc. “Royal acquaintances” were persons related to the royal families. [back]
Note 72. I.e., the linen was of various degrees of fineness, or as we also say technically, of various “counts”; meaning that there are so many threads more or less in any given square of stuff. [back]
Note 73. An oath. [back]
Note 74. First we have two kings, six nomarchs and high Libyan chiefs; after these, two under-chiefs are mentioned, and then four nomarchs in the first and second nomes of Lower Egypt, which are separated as having belonged to Tafnekht’s kingdom. [back]
Note 75. Site unknown. [back]
Note 76. Tafnekht was on an island in the Mediterranean, and therefore heard the news of the surrender of the Northern princes only after some time had elapsed. [back]
Note 77. Nubti = Set, the god of valor. Mentu was the god of battle. [back]
Note 78. “Kedt-weight,” really 140 grains. [back]
Note 79. Lit., “beer-room.” [back]
Note 80. Or “on the second day.” [back]
Note 81. As symbols of regal power. [back]
Note 82. Perhaps this means ceremonially unclean. [back]

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