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Interpretating a New Kingdom Stela

 
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cookies
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:47 am    Post subject: Interpretating a New Kingdom Stela Reply with quote

Hello.

I am doing a small paper, for college, on a piece from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. I've picked this one. The stela depicts the scribe Iri on the bottom register, and Ahmes and Ahmes-Nefertari on the upper register with an offering table. It is dated to the New Kingdom, probably late XVIII dynasty, long after said King/Queen were alive, so they're probably deified.



What the catalog does not say is what sort of stela this is. My impression (comparing it to other stelae) is that it's a votive stela. Does this seem like a reasonable assumption? My argument is based on looking at other stelae (comparing the stela with similar pieces is one of the goals of the paper), described as votive stelae, and arguing that the composition is very similar, plus the text. However, I haven't found a decent typology of Egyptian stele that would let me ground myself a little more, and relate this stela to a wider context. Is there any material that goes a little more in-depth into stelae in general, particular votive ones? I'm also thinking of relating it to the rise of Personal Piety in the New Kingdom, so any sources on that would also be appreciated.

Now... the hieroglyphs are translated in the catalog. The upper ones refer to the king and queen, obviously. The ones on the bottom are translated this way (They're in Portuguese, so it's a translation of a translation, but I think I've got it right.): "Giving praise to the victorious king, kissing the ground for the divine wife. I praise your beautiful face so that you will be kind to me every day. He says: Have you Re, who knows what is inside the body, who judges the state of hearts, who comes to the voice of those who call on him and turns to those who follow him?"

One of the pieces I am comparing it to ( This one. ) has the 'justified' part translated as 'deceased'. I was under the impression that the use of 'justified' did not necessarily mean the person in question was dead, however?

Also, I am having some trouble interpreting the second part, which begins "Have you Re..." I'm interpreting as a continuation of the hymn/request/prayer: You, the King/Queen, have Re inside you, and therefore can see what's in my heart, and will you attend to my prayers? Does this make sense? And is it a known formula from elsewhere, or does the use of Re in this context relate to some aspect of Re I'm not clear on?

I apologize for the lengthy post, but I thought it better to throw out all my questions in the same place, for context. Thanks in advance for any help or advice!
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*cough*

Interpreting. My head gets fuzzy when I translate.
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neseret
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Interpretating a New Kingdom Stela Reply with quote

cookies wrote:
Hello.

I am doing a small paper, for college, on a piece from the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. I've picked this one. The stela depicts the scribe Iri on the bottom register, and Ahmes and Ahmes-Nefertari on the upper register with an offering table. It is dated to the New Kingdom, probably late XVIII dynasty, long after said King/Queen were alive, so they're probably deified.



What the catalog does not say is what sort of stela this is. My impression (comparing it to other stelae) is that it's a votive stela. Does this seem like a reasonable assumption? My argument is based on looking at other stelae (comparing the stela with similar pieces is one of the goals of the paper), described as votive stelae, and arguing that the composition is very similar, plus the text. However, I haven't found a decent typology of Egyptian stele that would let me ground myself a little more, and relate this stela to a wider context. Is there any material that goes a little more in-depth into stelae in general, particular votive ones? I'm also thinking of relating it to the rise of Personal Piety in the New Kingdom, so any sources on that would also be appreciated.

Now... the hieroglyphs are translated in the catalog. The upper ones refer to the king and queen, obviously. The ones on the bottom are translated this way (They're in Portuguese, so it's a translation of a translation, but I think I've got it right.): "Giving praise to the victorious king, kissing the ground for the divine wife. I praise your beautiful face so that you will be kind to me every day. He says: Have you Re, who knows what is inside the body, who judges the state of hearts, who comes to the voice of those who call on him and turns to those who follow him?"

One of the pieces I am comparing it to ( This one. ) has the 'justified' part translated as 'deceased'. I was under the impression that the use of 'justified' did not necessarily mean the person in question was dead, however?

Also, I am having some trouble interpreting the second part, which begins "Have you Re..." I'm interpreting as a continuation of the hymn/request/prayer: You, the King/Queen, have Re inside you, and therefore can see what's in my heart, and will you attend to my prayers? Does this make sense? And is it a known formula from elsewhere, or does the use of Re in this context relate to some aspect of Re I'm not clear on?

I apologize for the lengthy post, but I thought it better to throw out all my questions in the same place, for context. Thanks in advance for any help or advice!


I always found that the easiest thing to do was to take a rough translation before you (the Portugese one) and see if you can locate all the elements within the text yourself.

From left to right, col. 1 and 2 state basically what the Portugese says:

Giving praise
to the victorious king,
Bowing before the Wife of the God,
I praise your beautiful faces,
so that you will be kind to me every day.


This middle column partially identifies the stela owner as a scribe, but I don't see the "Have you.." with Re. Could you possibly mean here

Are you not like Re
who knows what is inside the body,
who judges the state of hearts,
who comes to the voice
of those who call on him
and turns to those who follow him?


This is just a rough review, so you need to check every phrase carefully with the works of Gardiner or Allen, but the construction I'm giving seems a bit more on point.

This appears to be a votive (supplication) stela.

As for the /mAa xrw/ on the BM stela: this appears behind Neferabu's head on the stela (front view). It would appear that the stela was probably prepared when Neferabu was alive, but the /mAa xrw/ was placed at a later time, after Neferabu died.

Sometimes, when one sees the /mAa xrw/ appear somewhat separately like this, its meaning moves from being a votive (supplicating) to a commemorative (memorial) stela.

Reference:

Allen, J. P. 2000. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gardiner, A. H. 2005 (1957). Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs. Oxford: Griffith Institute.

HTH.
_________________
Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Doctoral Candidate
Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Interpretating a New Kingdom Stela Reply with quote

neseret wrote:
Sometimes, when one sees the /mAa xrw/ appear somewhat separately like this, its meaning moves from being a votive (supplicating) to a commemorative (memorial) stela.


Interesting... another thing to look for when I see stelae!
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cookies
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Interpretating a New Kingdom Stela Reply with quote

It does help, neseret.

The translation of 'Are you not like Re' does seem to make more sense, it's why I wondered if the 'Have you...' was some sort of formula. It's not quite as jarring in Portuguese, but it still seemed a little off. It could be an artifact of translating a translation.

Regarding the BM stela, that also helps explain their choice of 'deceased'.

Thank you.
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