By F. W. Read and A. C. Bryant, B.A.

[Extracted from PSBA, 23 (1901), 160-87.]




The very valuable and interesting mythological text which is the subject of this paper, is engraved on a slab of black basalt now in the British Museum (Southern Egyptian Gallery), where it is numbered 135. The slab measures 54 inches by 36 inches, and is stated to have been presented to the Museum by Earl Spencer in 1805; we have not been able to trace its previous history. The inscription itself states that it was set up in the temple of Ptehu at Memphis, and it may thus be regarded as one of the very few relics of that ancient and important centre of religious thought.

Notwithstanding the interest attaching to it on this and other grounds, it has hitherto hardly received the attention which its importance deserves. A copy was published by Sharpe in his Egyptian Inscriptions (1st Series, 36-38). This, however, is inaccurate and defective in the extreme, and a translation which he gives elsewhere of a small portion of the text is even more unfortunate (Egyptian Mythology, 14). Sir Peter Renouf translated portions of the text which are given almost perfectly by Sharpe. (See Hibbert Lectures (1879) 150, for part of line 5, and 220 for parts of lines 6-9, 11, and 12.) A few sentences may also be found in Brugsch, Dictionnaire Hieroglyphique, V, 3, 271; VI, 487; Dictionnaire Geographique, 118, 754; and De Rouge, Melanges Archeologiques, I, 20, 21.

An interlinear Latin translation (with notes) was made by Goodwin and published by Chabas in the Melanges Egyptologiques (3rd Series, I, 247); but it is hardly up to his usual level. It suffers besides from the radical defect of being wholly based on Sharpe's misleading copy. Many of the emendations are, it is true, distinguished by great critical acumen, and accurately restore the original text, but others are not so happy; and in many cases he has failed to notice that the text on which he was working was corrupt.


It is, moreover, unfortunate that copies of the volume in which the translation is published are very scarce, so much so that the Library of the British Museum does not possess one, although the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities does.1

The copy of the text here given is the result of most careful and repeated examinations of the slab, which, however, does not stand in a good light, and is too cumbersome and firmly fixed to be easily removed. A squeeze would have been worse than useless. This means of reproduction was employed by Sharpe, with the result that mere flaws and breakages in the stone appear in his copy as hieroglyphic characters. It is quite possible that in a very fewand only a very fewcases a doubt as to our reading may be felt by other observers, and it is also possible that they may be able to add to what we have deciphered. To facilitate this, we have thought it best to insert every character that we could find, which may, besides, have the advantage of enabling scholars elsewhere to identify fragments of other copies which may have been overlooked. We have also numbered the lines continuously from right to left, which will be found more convenient for reference than Sharpe's clumsy arrangement. In preparing our translation we have made full use of the work of our predecessors, and must particularly acknowledge our indebtedness to Goodwin. We have, however, felt frequently compelled to dissent from his rendering even in passages which are correctly given by Sharpe. For comparison we have added a copy of Goodwin's translation, in which the words based on errors in Sharpe are indicated by italics. The curious mixture of Latin and English is accounted for by the fact that some part of the translation is to be found in his remarks on the text, and these are in English.

The actual inscription in the possession of the British Museum dates, as is stated in the first horizontal line, from the reign of a king whose personal name is erased, but whose throne name was [cartouche]. Although several kings of this name are known to the monuments, there is only one of them whose titles correspond fully with those on the slab, and this is, of course, Sabaka, of the [p.162] 25th Dynasty, circa 700 B.C.2 In fact, the outline of part of the is still visible in the left hand cartouche.

The original text of the inscription, however, belongs to a very much earlier period than that of Sabaka, having been merely copied afresh [glyphs] by his orders from a tablet set up by his predecessors [glyphs] which in the course of time had become [glyphs] "worm-eaten" [glyphs].3 An inspection of the slab confirms this statement, for the text is frequently interrupted by blank spaces, where there has evidently never been any writing at all; in one case a whole line is left entirely blank. This can only be explained by supposing that the older inscription was so badly preserved that in some places it quite baffled the ingenuity of the copyist. So far as he could understand it, however, he performed his task with great fidelity and accuracy, and there can be little doubt that we have the actual words, for the most part in the actual spelling of the ancient text. Sometimes the words and signs are closely crowded together; at other times we find them spread widely apart.4 The reason for this is, without doubt, that the scribe wished to make each column in his copy correspond with a column in the original; but when he happened to have miscalculated the spacing of the words in any column, instead of inserting or omitting phonetic complements or determinatives, which would have been the most natural way of restoring the balance, he preferred to cramp his writing or to space it out excessively as the case might be, so that every character of the original should be reproduced without alteration. The misplacing of columns 5 and 6 (see note 14) conclusively proves that the copy was made line for line. That the scribe neglected to make the temptingly obvious restoration indicated in our remarks on line 51 (see p. 169), also goes to show the scrupulous accuracy with which he executed his copy.

If then we can rely on the inscription set up by order of Sabaka accurately reproducing the original text, it may not be impossible to determine roughly by internal evidence when that older text was [p.163] first written. The following appear to be the most important points:

I. The syntax is good; thus, for instance, the relative prepositions [glyphs] and [glyphs] are not infrequently used, and always with grammatical correctness. The feminine and plural forms of adjectives are also used in agreement with their substantives. It is true that the crude forms of both prepositions and adjectives are sometimes found where an inflected form would be appropriate. But this does not affect the grammatical accuracy of the text; the inflected forms alone were specialised, the crude forms were universal.

2. The text is characterised by an extraordinary absence of determinatives, so that it is extremely difficult to give a satisfactory translation of some passages.

3. The phonetic value of the sign [glyphs] instead of [glyphs]. This spelling is constantly found in the Pyramid Texts. The very curious form [glyphs] nostrils5 (line 9) may also be paralleled in the Pyramid Texts, e.g., U. 219, T. 33, and P. 566.6 The use of [glyphs] in words which in later times are written with [glyphs] is very common in these inscriptions.

4. The old forms [glyphs] and [glyphs] are invariably used in place of the later [glyphs] and [glyphs]. The hawk of Heru also invariably appears as in the Pyramid Texts, without the vertical stroke over the back, which is regularly used later.

5. Dr. Fritz Hommel, in the Zeitschrift fur Aegyptische Sprache, XXX, 9, has called attention to the fact that the Pyramid Texts make a distinction between [glyphs] and [glyphs]. In every case in which an independent word quoted by him occurs in our text this distinction is rigorously observed, irrespective of symmetry in writing. Possibly the erroneous [glyphs] for [glyphs], in line 4, may be due to [p.164] a confusion with [glyphs] "in it." In the cases of the causative prefix I and the pronominal suffixes [glyphs] and [glyphs] the scribe is not quite so accurate. The proportion is about four true forms to one false. Even if all the forms are correctly copied from the original inscription, these numbers indicate a high degree of antiquity; but it is not improbable, in view of the few cases in which [glyphs] is used, and the fact that the customary forms of the suffixes would be more vividly present to the mind of the scribe than those of words generally, that he did not follow his copy. It would appear that even in Pyramid times the confusion between [glyphs] and [glyphs] was already beginning, as we find, e.g., that T. 75 has [glyphs], where U. 196, N. 229, and N. 607 have I.

6. Our text agrees with the Pyramids in not giving the plural suffixes the determinative of plurality. This would seem to indicate considerable antiquity, as some fairly old texts that have retained [glyphs] write [glyphs].

On a review of the whole case, it appears that our text certainly dates from the time of the Old Kingdom, and perhaps from the 5th Dynasty.

It would probably be difficult to find another inscription which has been mutilated at so many different times and from such different motives. The earliest erasure was doubtless that of the name of Sabaka. This would presumably be effected by one of the rulers of Memphis under the suzerainty of Assyria. Next came the obliteration of the name of Suti. It has been suggested by Tiele that the hatred of this god reached its height under Persian influence However this may be, our text makes it certain that his name was not erased till a comparatively late period of Egyptian history. At the beginning of line 55, the person who hacked out the figure of Suti has also ingeniously altered the text by providing the sign [glyphs] with a beak, and so making it appear somewhat like [glyphs]. This literally mechanical method of editing no doubt satisfied the theological prejudices of the editor; it is unfortunate, however, that it makes nonsense of the legend to which it was applied. The most extensive damage of all has been done in much more modern times, [p.165] though it is impossible to say exactly when. The slab has evidently been used as a lower mill-stone. For this purpose, a rectangular piece has been cut out of the centre, from which deep grooves radiate in all directions. The preservation of the text at the top and sides of the slab is due solely to the fact that the upper millstone was not large enough to reach those parts. As far as it extended everything has been obliterated, except a few characters here and there.

The first vertical line of the text commences abruptly with the statement that "he came as a bringer of protection," and this led Goodwin to infer that some account of the life of Ausari must have preceded. We think, however, that the words, "Thus Ausari came," are intended as a gloss on the abrupt opening sentence; and in this view our first vertical line may well represent the commencement of the original text. The fact that the inscription is bounded on the right by an unbroken line, while it is not so on the left, would also seem to indicate that Sabaka's scribe regarded the text as perfect on the one side and not on the other.

*  *  *  *  *  *

It seems clear that in lines 1-4 we have a mythological account of the daily journey across the sky of the sun personified as Ausari. He first comes "from the Fortress of the Chief," which Goodwin identified with great probability with the Fortress of Ant'. We do not think that this and the other localities mentioned are to be looked for in Egypt. The Fortress of Ant't would appear to be the place from which the sun rises. In U. 29S, 299 (see also T. 146, 147; M. 199; and N. 542, 543) we read:

"It is Anpu who is chief of the Residents in the West  it is Ant't who is chief of the Nomes of the East." Anpu, the well known god of the West, or region of sunset, is thus contrasted with Ant', the god of the East, or region of sunrise. It is true that "the building of the Fortress of the Chief" is mentioned in line 40, but the place whence the sun rises being once conceived as a Fortress, it would of course have to be built. Ausari then crosses over the sky and reaches the earth again and enters "the sanctuaries of the lords of eternity." We are distinctly told that he passes "on the roads of Ra" (the sun-god), so that the meaning seems to be beyond doubt. [p.166] Then follows the story of the submersion or drowning of Ausari. This legend is very rarely referred to in Egyptian literature, and Renouf's conjecture (Hibbert Lectures (1879), 114, 115) that it was peculiar to the north of Egypt, because there only the sun appears to set in the sea, is a highly probable one. That the events were believed to have occurred in the north is evident from line 55. Ausit and Nebithait as goddesses of the solar light, are naturally present at the submersion.

The solar view of the text is strongly supported by the Pyramids. It is said: [glyphs]. "Unas comes forth upon that ladder which his father Ra makes for him. Heru and Suti seize upon the hand of Unas; they conduct him to the Tuat" (U. 493; N. 946). There would seem to be no room for doubt that what is referred to here is the daily journey of the sun, and the whole passage is strikingly parallel to our text. Unas (= Ausari) comes forth on a ladder which Ra makes for him, just as Ausari goes on the roads of Ra. Heru and Suti seize upon Unas as Ausit and Nebithait seize upon Ausari. In the above text Unas is conducted to the Tuat; in our text Ausari is drowned. In one case he sets into the earth, in the other into the sea. The following will show the very close (almost verbal) agreement of the two texts: [glyphs].

We next have a very interesting account of the creation according to Egyptian beliefs. It is neither complete nor consistent with itself, and contains some repetitions; very possibly it is a composite document. The creation generally appears to be attributed to P'tehu; but in the list of the bodily functions in lines 8 and 9 the [p.167] associate gods are introduced in a somewhat strange way. After an account of the making of "the dexterity of the hands and the walking of the feet," we are told that "the associate gods created the sight of the eyes, the hearing of the ears, and the breathing of the nostrils." We do not know why these functions were classified in this particular way, but as they all have their seat in the head, there seems to have been an attempt at logical arrangement on the part of the writer.

The mythological doctrine contained in the sentence: "His associate gods in his presence are the teeth and lips, the joints and hands of Tmu, for these became the associate gods," is identical with that in the 17th chapter of the Book of the Dead: [glyphs]. "It is Ra creating his limbs, which became those gods who are with Ra" (L. T. 17, 4).7

*  *  *  *  *

The left hand portion of the slab reproduces at least three (and probably more) independent texts. The few phrases which have escaped destruction at the commencement of this part of the inscription, suggest a somewhat later recension of the text on the extreme right of the slab. Too little remains to enable the arrangement to be made out, but it is certain that there could have been no agreement with the latter beyond the point at which the account of the submersion of Ausari ends at the top of line 4. From this it may be argued that what follows in line 4 is a distinct text, though we are not prepared to commit ourselves to this view.

So far the matter is comparatively simple; we now arrive at a more difficult portion of the inscription. Here, as we think, are two originally independent texts, artificially intertwined to produce a deceptive appearance of unity. We need not be surprised at finding religious texts treated in this way. Writings relating to the same subject tend to be brought together, no matter how gross the contradiction between them, as witness the various sections of Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead,8 and (a still closer parallel) the Elohistic and Jehovistic documents of the Hexateuch. Our texts refer to the rule of the gods on earth, and their possession of the two crowns of South and North, and the corresponding titles of [p.168] Seten and Nat. According to the longer of the two texts, Suti was Seten and Heru was Nat; according to the other, Heru was Seten Nat, as he is also in line 1 of our inscription. These two theories are to be traced constantly in the Egyptian records. The longer, and without doubt the older, account occupies parts of lines 47, 48, 51, and 52, and the whole of lines 53-56. According to this very interesting text, the rival claims of Heru and Suti were settled by a treaty which was brought about by the intervention of Sebu, who also guaranteed its execution. Sebu may be supposed to have acted either as head of the family or as earth-god; we think the latter. In the Pyramid Texts he is emphatically the earth (see notes 25 and 27); and it is significant that while the later text lays stress on his relationship to Heru, nothing of the kind appears here. Sebu summons Heru and Suti to appear before him; they take up their positions on two adjacent hillocks and solemnly fix their boundaries, both using the same formula. Sebu then appoints Suti to be Seten (king of the South) and Heru to be Nat (king of the North); and the account is fitly concluded by the presentation of offerings to Sebu by the great company of the gods. A reference to the translation will show that we have here a continuous and consistent story.

The second and later account is wedged in between two fragments of the first, occupying parts of lines 52-49, which are to be read from left to right, and not vice versa, like the rest of the inscription. Here we are told how Sebu gave his inheritance to Heru, "who is the son of his son, the first-born of his body." He becomes the ruler of the earth, and the double crown (Urit-hekaiu, the great one of magical virtues) flourishes upon his head. Here, again, is a rational and consistent story, but one quite incompatible with that into which it has been interpolated.

The question arises whether the scribe produced this strange combination ignorantly or intentionally, and we are forced to the conclusion that he did so intentionally. The fact that one story is written in a different direction from the other is in itself suspicious, for, while it is well known that there were scribes who could not distinguish the end of a text from the beginning, the general character of the work shows that a scribe was not of that class. If he knew the true direction of one story, he must have known equally well that of the other. A little consideration will show us his mode of working. On looking at the upper parts of lines 51-53, we see that [p.169] they are arranged in the form of a tablea favourite device with Egyptian scribes of all periods. In column 51 Sebu addresses Heru and Suti; in the next column he addresses Heru alone; and in the next Suti alone. After each speech there is a blank, and then two compartments are formed by horizontal lines drawn across the columns. In line 51 the upper compartment is blank, but was without doubt intended to contain the figures of Heru and Suti; the lower compartment contains the corresponding emblems of North and South. In the next column the upper compartment contains the figure of Heru and the lower the emblem of the North; and in the last column the corresponding positions are filled by Suti and the emblem of the South. We think it is clear that in the original text the tabular arrangement did not extend below the third horizontal line, as the narrative runs on logically and naturally after the lower compartment in line 53. But here the redactor saw his opportunity. Why not insert in the column devoted to Heru a text to the glory of that god? This being decided on, the interpolated text must run to the right, since there was no room for it on the left, and by consequence the part of the first narrative that preceded the speeches of Sebu must be separated from them by the space necessary to contain the interpolated text. That these three lines were not originally arranged in a tabular form in their lower parts is still evident, notwithstanding the efforts of the scribe. Had they been so, lines 51 and 53, as well as line 52, would have contained something appropriate to the gods mentioned in them; but it is only in the latter linejust at the very point where, for other reasons, we have fixed the commencement of the interpolationthat there is any special relation between the god addressed in the upper part of the line and the matter in the lower part.

There still remain small portions of the text to which it is difficult to assign definite positions. The upper portions of lines 45-50 are of but little importance, and we have not attempted to translate them; they show marked affinities with the interpolated "Heru" story below, but make no connected sense. Line 59 has been attached to the first story, and line 60 to the second, as their language seems to connect them respectively with these two texts, but no certain opinion can be formed regarding such mere fragments as these. Line 57 we have placed at the end of the translation; it appears to belong to quite a different text from the other matter in this part of the slab.


The nome [glyph] An, in which the boundary of the two earths is said to be, was the 22nd (supplementary) nome of Lower Egypt, situate on the east bank of the Nile, opposite the Memphite nome (Brugsch, Dict. Geog., 11 7-1 20). Here was the "mountain in the midst of the earth" on which the treaty was made. The boundary thus defined is practically the same as that symbolically indicated in line 48, where we are told that "the two pillars of the gateway of the House of Ptehu (i.e., Memphis) are Heru and Suti."

The town Sesesu, in which Suti is said to have been born must have been in the south of Egypt, as Suti's territory extends from it to An, just as Heru's territory extends from the sea in the north, where his father was drowned, to An. Brugsch expresses the opinion that it was in the Fayum (Dict. Geog., 752-754, and 717, 718). The town is, however, found in parallelism with the land of the South (Pleyte, Lettre M. T. Deveria, 11, 12).

The Papyrus Sallier IV contains a different and much later account of the agreement between Heru and Suti. This very interesting document, which has been translated by Chabas, is a calendar showing the lucky and unlucky days, with notes of the mythological events believed to have occurred on each day. Under the date 27th Athyr we are told that the Kamit (i.e, the black or cultivated land) was given to Heru, and the Teserit (i.e., the red land or desert) was given to Suti. Then on the 29th Athyr the White Crown is given to Heru, and the Red Crown to Suti; and on the 27th Choiak T'ehuti transmits his august Red Crown to Heru.9 This extraordinary jumble is consistent neither with our text, nor with itself, nor with ordinary Egyptian ideas. That the kingdoms of the two gods should be the Black and the Red Lands is quite alien from the usual ideas of the Egyptians in regard to sovereignty. No doubt Egyptian kings are occasionally said to rule over these two territories, but this has nothing whatever to do with the dualism which runs throughout royal and divine titles. In the Sallier Papyrus, however, it is distinctly made to take the place of the usual division into South and North; and, to add to the confusion, Heru gets the White or Southern and Suti the Red [p.171] or Northern Crown, which is the exact opposite of the regular arrangement. Then the transmission of the Red Crown to Heru is in flat contradiction to the previous statement, though in accord with our text, and with the view of Heru as god of the North, which appears to have been generally accepted in Egypt. It is known that the conflict between Heru and Suti was sometimes regarded as symbolising the conflict which continually goes on in Egypt between the cultivated land and the desert, and presumably the division indicated by the Sallier Papyrus was suggested by this view. The Red Crown was no doubt considered appropriate to the Red Land. The word [glyphs], "red," is used as the name of both, as it is also for that of red objects generally.

There are a number of common Egyptian expressions which occur here in an unusual form. In such pairs as "Seten Nat," "Vulture and Uraeus," "Heru and Suti," and "South and North," the words usually appear in a fixed order, so that the word relating to the South precedes that relating to the North, with the single exception of "Heru and Suti." In this last case Heru, the god of the North, precedes Suti, the god of the South. In our text we can see the influence which these pairs have on each other when they occur together. In lines 51-53 Heru and Suti retain their usual relative positions, and South and North are inverted to correspond. In line 55 Heru is deprived of his precedence in order that Seten Nat may appear in their usual order. If lines 51-53 stood alone, the arrangement might not unreasonably be explained by supposing that the gods were mentioned first in their usual order, and that what followed was brought into agreement. But in the face of line 55 this explanation cannot stand. There the scribe could have placed Heru first without difficulty; that he did not do so must be attributed to his determination not to disturb the traditional order of Seten Nat. These facts seem to point to Seten Nat and similar pairs having grown up independently of Heru and Suti, and been brought into connection with them later. Had not Heru and Suti been firmly established as a divine pair, in which Heru had precedence, it is certain that they would have had to conform to the otherwise universal arrangement. As it is, they never do so except to avoid disturbing the positions of the still more sacred Seten Nat.

Perhaps we should see here an instance of the process by which, according to the speculations of Professor Petrie, different gods were [p.172] introduced into Egypt by different races, though it does not seem possible to accept the details of the process indicated by him. According to the view prevalent in Egypt, the south was regarded as being in front, the north behind, the west on the right hand, and the east on the left. This corresponds to the position of a people entering Egypt from the north, and to such a people it seems reasonable to ascribe pairs of the Seten Nat class. We should then attribute Heru and Suti to a people entering Egypt from the south, which would naturally regard the north as being in front. On the puzzling question of "the Set and Horus discordance," our text seems to negative Professor Petrie's theory. His view is that Ausari and Suti were in conflict before Ausit and Heru were associated with Ausdri. When Ausit was married to Ausari it became the duty of her son Heru to fight Suti (Religion and Conscience, 57). Now, our text mentions the death of Ausari and his relationship to Heru, side by side with the conflict between Heru and Suti, and yet without the slightest suggestion that Suti was responsible for the death, or that Heru was at enmity with him on that account. Only one conclusion seems possible. The Osirian myth and that of the conflict between Heru and Suti must have existed separately at first, and been fused later by fixing upon Suti the murder of Ausari.



1. Live Heru, the Traverser of the two earths, (1) the Vulture and the Uraeus, (2) the Traverser of the two earths, the conquering Heru, the Traverser of the two earths, the king of the South and North, Neferkara, son of the Sun, (Sabaka), beloved of Ptehu of the South of the [lit. his] Wall, living like the Sun for ever.

Live Heru, the Traverser of the two earths, the Vulture and the Uraeus, the Traverser of the two earths, the conquering Heru, the Traverser of the two earths, the king of the South and North, Neferkara, son of the Sun, (Sabaka), beloved of Sekru of the South of the [lit. his] Wall, living like the Sun for ever.

2. His Majesty engraved these writings afresh in the temple of his father Ptehu of the South of the [lit. his] Wall, because his Majesty found that which (3) his predecessors had made, and which (3) the worms had eaten. It was unknown from beginning to end [p.173] afresh satisfactorily as at first [?], for the sake of establishing his name by setting up a [lit. his] votive tablet in the temple of his father Ptehu of the South of the [lit. his] Wall throughout eternity. This (3) did the son of the Sun, (Sabaka), for his father Ptehu-Tatenenhe, the giver of life for ever, made it.


1. He came as a bringer of protection, (4) he fraternised with the gods; Tatenen and Ptehu the lord of years. Thus (5) Ausari came from the earth, from the Fortress of the Chief, from the northern part of the earth. He brought then his son Heru, manifested as Seten and Nat in the hand (6) of his father Ausari, with the gods who were before him and the gods who were behind him.

2. They crossed over, each in proper time, (7) and thus they brought him to the earth; he entered into the secret pylons, (8) into the sanctuaries of the lords of eternity, in the track of The-Riser-from-the-horizon, (9) that is, on the roads of Ra, into the great resting-place

3. of the activity of Ausari. (10) He plunged in the [lit. his] waters. Ausit and Nebithait were looking on; they beheld him, they worked [?] upon him when Heru gave orders to Ausit and Nebithait in T'etu. They laid hold on Ausari, they conducted his submersion

4. and they succeeded in it. (11) Thereupon all the gods and their doubles (12) made offerings to him. (13) ................................................................................................................(14)

6. The gods brought (15) an offering of all good things. Now T'ehuti the wise [he] is more powerful than the other gods. Now Ptehu was satisfied after his making of all things, all the divine names. Then he formed the gods, he made the towns, he designed the nomes, he placed the gods in their shrines.

5. He made their company flourish; he prepared their shrines, he set up their images, to give peace to their hearts. Thereupon the gods entered into their images, into all the wood, into all the stone, and into all the metal; all things flourished where he went. (16)

7. All the limbs moved when he uttered the word of wisdom, [p.174] which came forth from the tongue and worked a blessing upon all things. The speech caused [lit. became] the making of men and the creation of the gods for Ptehu-Tatenen-Sepu. (17.) The gods were created and all things came forth from him; both supplies and food and also

8. the will [glyphs] and the power of command [glyphs]. Then were made loaves out of measures of corn; (18) there were made all food and all supplies by that word ; there were made love and hate. Now was ordained life for the righteous (19) and was ordained death for the unrighteous. (19) Now were made all work and all power; the dexterity of the hands, the walking of the feet;

9. and the associate gods created the sight of the eyes, the hearing of the ears, the breathing of the nostrils; they sent up that which gave pleasure to the father. There was ordained the utterance of every decision by the tongue, which repeats the deliberation of the heart. Now the creation of all the gods, that is to say, Tmu and his associate gods, was when proclamation was made of all the divine names in his wisdom.

10. His associate gods in his presence are [as] the teeth and lips, the joints and hands of Tmu, for these (20) become (the associate gods). The associate gods of Tmu are [as] his joints and [as] his fingers. The associate gods, moreover, (21) are his teeth and lips, by that decree of Mat which names all things. Su and Tefnut came forth through him;

11. Heru was created by him, T'ehuti was created by him, that is, by Ptehu. Fortitude of heart and vigour of hand were created (by him) His activity is within every body and within every mouth, of [all] the gods, of [all] mankind, of [all] quadrupeds (22) and reptiles. Activity and thought and the power of commandeverything which he wills

12. come forth from the heart and come forth from the tongue [as] an emanation of Tmu. Exceeding great is Ptehu (all the gods and) their doubles, strength in [?] .......................

Heading of lines 13, 14, 15, and 16. Ptehu in his divine forms. (23)

13. Ptehu the great one. Heart and tongue .... Ptehu ........ to the nostrils of Ra every day ...................


14. Ptehu of the earth. (24) The mother giving birth to Tmu (and his associate gods) ................

15. Ptehu of heaven. The emanation of Tmu ...................

16. Ptehu in the great resting-place .................

39. Sebu (said to) T'ehuti ..............

40. to [?] the building ot the Fortress of the Chief .................

41. The Fortress of the Chief in [?] (the northern part of the earth) ........................

42. Ausit and Nebithait said to Ausari: "Oh! come to us, bring thou (the heir)" ..........

43. Heru said to Ausit and Nebithait: "Go, lay hold on (him) ................." ............ they brought him to ......

44. the earth. (25) Ausari plunged in the [lit. his] waters; Ausit and Nebithait were looking on. They (conducted) his submersion.

45.10 Ap-uat gave birth to Ausit and Nebithait in T'etu.

46.11 Ap-uat Ausari in the house of Sekru.

47.12 The union is in the house of Ptehu, that is, in the house of his two earths, in which is the boundary of South and North. It is the earth .......

48.13 As which became united, (26) for the two pillars of the gateway of the House of Ptehu are Heru and Suti. The united ones made peace; they fraternised completely: they made a treaty.

51. Sebu said to Heru and Suti: "There shall be an arbitration between you."

52. Sebu said to Heru: "Come from the place where thy father was submerged."


53. Sebu said to Suti: "Come from the place where thou wast born." A mountain in the midst of the earth (27) joins the portion of Heru to the portion of Suti,

54. at the division of the earth. Now Heru and Suti each stood upon a hillock; they made peace, saying "The two earths meet in An, for it is the march of the two earths." "The two earths meet in An, for it is the march of the two earths."

55. He protected their treaty (28). He appointed Suti as Seten in the southern earth, extending from the place where he was born (29), that is, from Sesesu. Now Sebu [he] appointed Heru as Nat in the northern earth, extending from the place where his father was submerged.

56. The gods made offerings to him when he arbitrated between Heru and Suti.

59, It is the land of South and North; these united ones are manifested as Seten and manifested as Nat.

52.14 Now Sebu gave his inheritance to Heru, who is the son

51.15 of his son, the first-/>or;i of his body.

50.16 So Heru was chief of the land. Such was the union of this land of Mat in the great name of Tatenen of the South of the [lit. his] Wall, lord of eternity.

49.17 The double crown flourishes upon his head, for it is Heru who is manifested as Seten Nat, the uniter of the two earths, at the fortress in the place where the two earths are united.

60. It is Ptehu who is INIat in the great name of Tatenen (30).

57. ........... begat him. It is Tmu who created his associate gods.


(1) The Traverser of the two earths, [glyphs]. We are not aware that this epithet occurs elsewhere than in the titles of Sabaka, where it appears to be always written without determinative. There are two different verbs [glyphs] with the respective meanings of [p.176] "to traverse" and "to make bright." From the second of these are derived [glyphs] olive tree, and [glyphs], eye. The phrase might therefore mean either "The Traverser of the two earths," or "The Shiner of the two earths." This title, like those of Egyptian kings generally, is doubtless solar in its origin, and might therefore be appropriately translated in either way. But the fact that the verb [glyphs], to traverse, is in more common use, and the similarity of the title of Ausari, [glyphs] "divider of the two earths" (Lepsius, Todtenbuch, CXLII, 5), has induced us to prefer the former.

(2) The Vulture and the Uraeus. The bowls in this title, as well as in the parallel title [glyphs], are not to be read as the word [glyphs], lord. Multitudes of examples show that the bowl is merely an ornamental support; see, for instance, Petrie, History of Egypt, I, 62, and line 49 of the text. The title is generally held to indicate dominion over the South and North; but Renouf maintains that it refers to sovereignty over the East and West. (See Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch., XVI, 53.)

(3) That which, and which, this, g. These three passages are instances of the use of g as a demonstrative. All three sentences are constructed as follows: g+ predicate [glyphs] subject. The first two are connected by [glyphs], the use of which as a conjunction is well known in writings of the late period.

(4) As a hringer of protection, [glyphs]. The sense appears to be that Ausari manifested himself on earth as a beneficent divinity. The word [glyphs], or [glyphs], is of frequent occurrence in funereal inscriptions with the sense of protection; the various deities who are associated with the care of the dead are said to come to the Ausari, [glyphs], "for his protection." The phrase [glyphs] is synonymous with [glyphs], and [glyphs], all of which are likewise of frequent occurrence in the funereal texts, signifying "to make or exercise protection."


(5) Thus [glyphs]. A comparison of passages in this text shows generally introduces a sentence, which is sometimes an expansion and sometimes a summary of a preceding statement.


A somewhat similar use of [glyphs] is found in the "Tale of the Two Brothers" (Select Papyri, Part II, Plates IX-XIX). In 7. 9, and 8 we read: [glyphs].18 "He was weak, he became faint; so that his elder brother grieved his heart exceedingly." In 9, 7, 8: [glyphs] made for him a companion to dwell (with him): now, she was more beautiful in her limbs than any woman in the whole earth." In 14, 3: "He drank it, so that his heart was in its place." It will probably be admitted that if [glyphs] really begins a sentence in each of these cases, it must have some such meaning as we assign to it. But does it? In regard to the first example, it seems impossible to take any other view. "He became faint" can hardly take an object after it any more than "he was weak," which certainly has none. In the second instance, some authorities translate [p.178] [glyphs] by ''To dwell with him." This we should expect to find written [glyphs] "sitting with his wife," i, 6, 7). [glyphs] means simply "to dwell," as is proved by the immediately preceding expression literally something like "house-companion," or, as we have rendered it above, "a companion to dwell (with him)." In the third example, it is no doubt possible to take [glyphs] as double subject, and [glyphs] as object, but this would be a very unusual construction; and in view of the precisely similar form of this and the two other sentences, it seems best to regard all three as containing the introductory demonstrative [glyphs].

(6) In the hand [glyphs]. Goodwin's translation in do/no is indefensible in view of the frequent occurrence of this phrase in places where the meaning is obviously "hand."19 In many passages Ra, who is practically identical with Heru, is said to come forth from the horizon in the hand of a deceased king, who is of course identified with Ausari (T. 178, see also M. 160 and N. 651).

(7) They crossed over, each in proper time [glyphs]. Each of these words is well known by itself, but it is somewhat difficult to gather the exact meaning of the sentence as a whole. Apparently the first line of the inscription described the rising of the Sun-god and his entourage of deities from the earth; and the second line goes on to state that they crossed over the sky in an orderly procession to the earth again in the West.

(8) He entered into the secret pylons [glyphs]. This sentence is very closely paralleled by one in the Book of the Dead: [p.180] "He enters and he comes forth at the secret gates." (Texts La, Pc, and Af in Naville, Todtenbuch, II, Kap. XV B.)

(9) The-Riser-from-the-horizon [glyphs] appears to be a title or epithet of the Sun-god. [glyphs] "Hail to thee, Riser from the horizon," (Lepsius, Todtenbuch, 15. 8.)

(10) The activity of Ausari [glyphs] (Lepsius, Todtenbuch, 8, 2, 3), a somewhat corrupt passage, thus translated by Renouf: "I am that Osiris, the Lord of the Amenta, and Osiris knoweth his day, and that it is in his lot that he should end his being, and be no more." In a note on the passage he remarks: "'end his being' more strictly, 'bring to an end his activity': [glyphs] 'Being' (though inevitable in a modern language) is much too abstract a word for these ancient texts. [glyphs] implies 'motion, activity.' (Egyptian Book of the Dead, 17, 18). See also his article on 'The Myth of Osiris Unnefer," Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch., VIII, 111-116.

(11) They succeeded in it [glyphs] literally "they came thereto." The primary meaning of [glyphs] is to "turn," and hence "to become" or "to come round." From this is derived the sense of coming to or from anything, as here, and in line [glyphs] "thus Ausari came."

(12) All the gods and their doubles [glyphs]. This phrase is the equivalent of [glyphs] or [glyphs] which is of frequent occurrence in the Pyramid Texts (e.g, P. 102, M. 89, N. 96, P. 61, M. 82, N. 89, M. 129). Goodwin, not unnaturally, understood [glyphs] as the beginning of a new paragraph, but the Pyramid Texts show that this particle, or rather its [p.181] representative [glyphs] is not used in this way. In M. 129, [glyphs] clearly ends a section. In U. 62, 63, we have a formula consisting of two parts, the second of which ends with [glyphs]: and in a variant quoted by Maspero from the coffin of Mentuhetpu, where the parts are reversed, the word [glyphs] adheres to its own part of the formula notwithstanding the changed position. Farther, in N., where the formulae are written in vertical columns with a blank space after each, the blank falls between [glyphs] and the beginning of the next formula (315-317). Cf. Erman, Grammar., 120.

(13) The sense intended to be conveyed by the remainder of this line is far from clear, and we therefore leave it untranslated. Possibly the copyist has blundered in some way and placed the words in wrong order.

(14) It appears almost certain that lines 5 and 6 have been transposed by the copyist. If we take the text as it actually stands, the word [glyphs] in line 6 is without any sign of the plural, and [glyphs] in line 5 has a quite inexplicable determinative [glyphs]. If, on the other hand, we read [glyphs] shrine; "he made flourish," &:c., the passage at once becomes clear. The first half of line 5 and the latter half of line 6 contain a number of verbs, each connected with the pronominal suffix [glyphs] by the particle [glyphs], If these lines are read as they stand, the two passages are disconnected, but if the order is reversed they form a connected whole. It is further to be noticed that in the actual state of the text the [glyphs] is introduced abruptly, and it is difficult to say to whom it can refer, but in the reconstructed text it presumably refers to Ptehu. The general sense, moreover, is obviously improved by the emendation.

(15) Brought [glyphs]; probably equivalent to [glyphs] of which the variant [glyphs] is found in the Pyramid Texts (U. 296, P. 601, N. 534).

(16) Where he went [glyphs], literally "on his journeys."


(17) Ptehu-Tatenen-Sepu [glyphs]. The meaning of the last word is very doubtful. Perhaps, however, it is the same [glyphs] one of the names of Ausari, frequently used in connection with the northern Annu (Lanzoni, Dizionario di Mit. Egiz., 1045).

(18) Loaves out of measures of corn [glyphs] is probably the same as loaves [glyphs] is perhaps connected with [glyphs] "vessel" or "measure" (E. de Rouge, Dict., quoted in Pierret, Vocabulaire. 675).

[glyphs] portion, [glyphs] and [glyphs] measure of capacity (Levi, Vocabulario, IV 280, V, 30). [glyphs] appears to be the same word as  "corn " (L. I)., II, 147a; Birch, Dict, in Bunsen's Egypt's Place, V. 485).

It must be confessed that these words cannot be identified with certainty, nor is the general sense precisely what one would expect to find in such a context. It is, perhaps, not altogether unreasonable to suppose that the Egyptians believed the art of bread making to have formed part of the primeval revelation to man, in which case the first bread making, though not strictly an act of creation, might well be described along with the creation of food.

[glyphs] literally "bearers of satisfaction" and "bearers of wickedness."

(20) These [glyphs]. Perhaps a scribe's error, but more probably an archaic form of the demonstrative pronoun [glyphs].

(21) Moreover [glyphs]. Probably equivalent to [glyphs] phrase primarily means "in face of," whence may be derived the sense of "together with, moreover."

(22) Quadrupeds [glyphs]. These signs are partially destroyed, but in view of the context the reading is practically certain. The word is no doubt the same as [glyphs]


(23) Ptehu in his divine forms [glyphs], evidently a mistake for [glyphs].

(24) Ptehu of the earth [glyphs] seems to be a variant of the word [glyphs] to which Birch assigns the meaning [glyphs] "countries" (Dict., 454). It occurs in the following passage: [glyphs] which is the beginning of the title of a list of countries conquered by Seti I. A further variant appears to be [glyphs], which Brugsch, however, translates by "Jagdrevier," but this is not supported by the passage above quoted (Mariette, Abydos, I, 40A; Brugsch, Dict. VI, 678). Our rendering of the text is supported by the fact that in the two following titles Ptehu is described as "of heaven" and "in the great resting-place." The "great resting-place" is a name for the underworld (see lines 2 and 3), and Ptehu would thus be described as inhabiting all three divisions of the universe.

(25) The earth. The text has [glyphs], a scribe's error for [glyphs]. The emendation is an obvious improvement and is supported by the partly parallel text at the beginning of the inscription. The words remaining at the bottom of line 43, together with [glyphs], are identical with a passage in line 2; the words which follow [glyphs] are substantially the same as those near the top of line 3; and those unobliterated in the lower part of line 44 reproduce those at the end of line 3.

Similar mistakes are to be found in the Pyramid Texts. In [glyphs] we read: "That which Teta abominates is the earth; Teta does not enter into Sebu." The parallel text in U. 447 gives [glyphs] in the place of [glyphs]; the latter is obviously correct, and, as Maspero remarks, the error is easily accounted for by the close resemblance of the two characters in hieratic, as it is probable that all inscriptions were engraved from hieratic originals. In N. 682 also we have [glyphs] for [glyphs].

(26) United [glyphs]. This word is probably the same as [p.184] the [glyphs], of the Pyramid Texts, and the [glyphs] the Dead; the sense appears to be "tie," "bind together." The latter form is used (L. T. 23, i, 2) of the muzzle or bands on the mouth of the deceased.

(27) In the midst of the earth. Goodwin translated amatus a Seb, and this is a perfectly possible rendering. In view, however, of what follows, we prefer to take these words as descriptive of the position of the spot at which the solemn compact between Heru and Suti was made. In the passage quoted from the Pyramid Texts in Note [glyphs] obviously means "enter into the earth."

(28) He protected their treaty [glyphs] is apparently an archaic form of [glyphs] in M. 206 takes the place of [glyphs] in N. 667. Its existence does not appear to have been noted prior to the publication of the Pyramid Texts. The sense is clearly "protect": [glyphs], "Ra purifies Pepi Neferkara; he protects him from the evil which is done against him" (N. 656; see also T. 342 and M. 170). It is said of Nut: [glyphs] "thee, she unites herself to thee, she embraces thee, she raises thee up" (M. 138, 139, N. 647).

The root idea of [glyphs] is to circumscribe, fix, determine (Renouf, Egyptian Book of the Dead, 78); hence model, plan, rule, law. The determination here referred to is the agreement or treaty made by Heru and Suti; and this treaty Sebu protects or carries into effect by bestowing the crowns of the two regions on the two combatants. The crowns were called [glyphs] "feat of magical spells" (see line 49 of our text and M. 129); And possibly the possession of them was considered to magically secure the sovereignty to the owner.

(29) The place where he was born. The inscription actually reads: [p.185] [glyphs], which Goodwin translated (in) loco nude vemssei, evidently identifying [glyphs] with the well known group [glyphs]. 

If the text is correct, it must no doubt be understood in this way; but we suspect an error. In the latter part of this line the words relating to Heru are the same as those in line 52 with the necessary change of person; and it seems probable that those relating to Suti were originally the same as we find in line 53, with the like change of person. Moreover, this emendation is supported by grammatical considerations.

The word [glyphs], though sometimes spoken of as an adverb meaning "there," is really a preposition governing the suffix [glyphs] or understood, literally "in it." Now, this suffix must refer to an antecedent noun, and as the text stands there is no such noun to which it can refer. We therefore conclude that [glyphs] is a mistake.

(30) Tatenen. The text has [glyphs], but in view of the close similarity between line 60 and part of line 50, it seems clear that we ought to read [glyphs] as Goodwin suggested.

Goodwin's Translation.

(The italicised words represent errors in Goodwin's text, see Intro.)


(2) Scripsit rex scripturam banc de novo in domo patris Ptah Memphitici, cum invenissec earn rex factam a veteribus, exesam a vermibus gratia firmandi nomen suum, stabiliendi constitutiones suas in domo patris Ptah Memphitici in longam aeternitatem.. Factum a filio Solis Shabaka ad patrem Ptah Tata(nen), qui dat vitam aeiernam.


(1) Accedit ad palatium, consociatur deis Tatanen, Ptah domino annoium; ille (est). Erat Osiris in terra de Castello Ant in parte boreali terrse hujus. Accesit ad eum quidem filius ejus Horus, ornatus australi diademali, ornatus boreali diademati, in domo patris Osiridis cum deis qui ante eum et qui circum eum.


(2) Curant .... continuo euni, ducunt euni ad terrain; accedit ad porticus stabiles, ciua sunt in adytis dominorum reternitatis adversus? ortum in viis solis in occidente,

(3) loco quo fuit ut Osiris mergeretur in aquis, conspicientibus Iside (et) Nephthye. Videntes illas eum, adjuvant eum. Dicit Horus ad Isidem (et) Nephthin in Tattu ut prehendant Osirideni, ut salvent (eum) ne mergatur.

(4) Fiunt illa obedientes ei. Offerunt illi dei omnes dona sua. Tunc oblaia est domino caii et terrse, area Ptah ; coujecta est cisterna deorum de domo Ptah, domini vitce, domini ....; facta est Ankh-ta-ta prope earn.

(5)20 Salutdt ille societateni eorum, praiparat ille domus eorum; statuit ille corpora eorum: illi conciliant eum; veniunt dei in corporibus suis, cum ligno omni, cum lapide omni, cum sacello omni, rebus omnibus vigentibus; qui circum eum sunt

(6) dei, offerentes res quascumque, bona sunt. Thoth prudens, nobilissimus nnilto deorum, ille propitiat Ptah cum faciat res omnes, divina verba omnia. Tunc quoque creavit deos, fecit civitates, instituit provincias, posuit deos secures in cellis.

(7) Floret domus omnis cum jubet ; verba sapientiae exeunt a lingua (ejus); fit benedictio in res omnes die dicendi quod fiant. Nondum fecerat deos Ptah-ta(nen). Tunc fuit ut creati sint dei; exeunt res omnes ab illo, tani oblationes quam cibus in

(8) corde ac etiam lingua; ille fecit opera gravia? ferri ac etiam metalli? fecit cibos omnes, oblationes omnes. Divinum decretum hoc factum est ad amicos (et) inimicos; ille dat vitam justis, dat mortem injustis. Facit opera omnia, instrtimenta omnia, fabricationem manuum, gressionem pedum,

(9) nativitatem societatis deorum, visionem oculorum, auditum aurium, inspirationem per nasum venti; dant hcec voluptatem patri suo. Facit ut exeat decretum quodcumque a lingua, sapiens id sit. Creati sunt dei omnes (sed) nondum societas deorum ejus. Tunc facta est proclamatio divinorum verborum omnium sapientise.

(10) Societas deorum ejus coram eo in (juassatione nervorum, extensioiie manuum. Tum Horus fit societas deorum, Tum per nervos ejus per digitos ejus; societas deorum trigiuta) Inscribitur in rcgione hac Mat nomen rerum omnium exeuntium a Shu (et) Tefnet in ilia;


(11) est quid hujus, est quid iliius, secundum voluntatem Ptah; lit virtus in corde, vigor in manu, in stomacho omni, in ore omni deorum omnium, hominum omnium, auiinalium omnium viventium et intelligentium et loquentium; quidquid placeat cuique.

(12) quidquid est in corde, quidquid est in lingua, in portione Tum. Maximus ille Ptah ..........

Heading of lines 13, 14, 15, and 16. Ptah in the divine forms.

(13) Ptah the old.

(14) Ptah king of the land?

(15) Ptah-Nun, i.e., Ptah in the form of a water-god,

(16) Ptah in the ancient seat.

(43) Saith Horus to Isis and Nephthys ............... ducunt eum ad (locum)

(44)21 quo mergeretur Osiris in atjuis suis, conspicientibus Iside 22

(50) Stet Horus super terram, conjunget terram hanc Mat in nomine prisco Tatanen Memphitice ............

(51) Address of Sob to Horus and Set: the south and the north to the first son of his body.

(52) Address of Seb to Horus: I per locum demersionis patris itui in eo. In boreali regione ille est. Seb dat hereditatem suam Horo filio.

(53) Address of Seb to Set: I per locum nativitatis tuse. Est in australi mons, amatus a Seb, conjungens portionem Hori ad portionem Set.

(54) Cum divideret terras, ille (Seb) Horus (et) Set steterunt super stationem, conventum facientes: Terra de An terminus terrae est, Terra de An terminus terras est.

(55) Die compriniendi rixas eorutn, ponit Set regem in terra strali, in loco unde venisset23 in Sasasou ille est. Seb ponit Horum regem in terra boieali, in loco quo mersus est pater ejus.

(56) Offerunt illi dei omnes cum contenderet cum Set.

(57) Generatus est ille a Tum, creatore societatis deorum.

(59) Terram australem borealem conjunxit hie, ornatus australi corona, ornatus boreali corona.

(60) Ptah hie est Mat in nomine prisco . . . .....


1 It may be of interest to mention that, when we first contemplated the publication of the text, Sir Peter Renouf wrote to us: "I am extremely glad that you have thought of giving a correct text and a new translation of the tablet in question I once intended to do this work myself, but gave up the intention to do so in consequence of other occupation."
2 See E. Brugsch and Bouriant, Le Livre des Rois, 113; Lepsius, Konigsbuch, XLVII.
3 See second horizontal line.
4 It has not been thought necessary to reproduce in our copy these purely mechanical defects.
5  Incorrectly given by Goodwin as [glyphs].
6 The Pyramid Texts are referred to throughout in accordance with the system introduced by Schack-Schackenbourg in his Index zu den Pyramidetitexten. U = Unas; T = Teta; P = Pepi I; M = Merenra; N = Pepi II (Neferkara).
7  See Renouf, Egyptian Book of the Dead, 43, 44,
8 Renouf, Egyptian Book of the Dead, 220-1.
9 Papyrus Sallier IV (Select Papyri, Bart I, plates CXLIV-CLXVIII), [glyphs]. Chabas, Le Calendrier des jours Jastes et Nefastes, 52, 53. 62.
10 The translation commences at [glyphs] (see Intr. ).
II As to the arrangement of lines 49-60, see Intr.
11 The translation commences at [glyphs] (see Intr.).
12 The translation commences at V (see Intr.).
13 The translation commences at M (see Intr.).
14  The translation commences at [glyphs] (see Intr.).
15 The translation commences at [glyphs] (see Intr.).
16 The translation commences at [glyphs] (see Intr.).
17 The translation commences at [glyphs] (see Intr.).
18 The papyrus has [glyphs] an obvious error.
19 See the Stela of Heni-em-heb, line 2 (British Museum, 551, Egyptian Vestibule), and U. 291, 294; also U. 493, and N. 946.
20 As to the arrangement of lines 5 and 6, see Note 14.
21 As to the word [glyphs] with which this line commences, see Note 25.
22 As to the arrangement of the following lines, see Intro.
23 See Note 29 on the translation of [glyphs].