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The Maxims of Ptah-Hotep

 
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Cleopatra21
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 8:27 pm    Post subject: The Maxims of Ptah-Hotep Reply with quote

Has anyone read the Maxims of Ptah-Hotep? I think it's amazing. His advice is simplistic yet very strong and clear. What he says on speech is remarkable.

“Be silent rather than scatter your words. When you speak, know that which can be brought against you. To speak in the council is an art, and speech is criticized more than any other labor; it is a contradiction which puts it to the proof.”

What he advised in ancient times still follows today.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had not read them, but here's a copy of the text from University College, London

Quote:
The Teaching is set at court, with the highest official ('vizier' in Egyptological translation), a man named Ptahhotep, requesting retirement from the king. The official paints a bleak picture of old age, evidently to convince the king that retirement is necessary, and asks that he be replaced in office by his son as 'staff of old age', a term also found in a late Middle Kingdom legal document to denote a son taking the office of his father, presumably on condition that he continues to support the father (UC 32037). This term, the Middle Egyptian syntax and the late Middle Kingdom date of the two earliest surviving manuscript copies, point to a Twelfth Dynasty date of composition.

The king consents to the request of Ptahhotep, with the observation that the young cannot be born with wisdom - by implication they need the experience given by advanced age. The Teaching presents then both a positive and the dramatised negative aspects of growing old in ancient Egyptian society.


That's a rather early text. The 12th dynasty gave rise to several pieces of great egyptian literature from what I understand (Story of Sinuhe, prophesies of Neferti? I'm going from memory so I may get the titles wrong..)
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's also a copy of the wisdom of Ptahhotep on the nefertiti.iwebland site

This version is more one flowing text. On the same site it mentions that Ptahhotep was Vizier under Djedkare Isesi ("Assa") of the 5th dynasty.

I think this text comes from a papyrus, so it can be that This was written up during the 12th dynasty??

It is an interesting text, and as Cleopatra21 mentions it seems rather timeless good advice (well, the parts I've read anyways Very Happy )
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Psusennes
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are just fantastic! This might sound kinda' lame, especially around Christmas, but we can learn a lot from our ancestors. I own a nice copy with the Egyptian on one side and the Hieroglyphs on the other.
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