Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: The stela of Besmut, a Late Period official
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Stela of Besmut
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The stela of Besmut, a Late Period Theban official
Cairo stela 2747

Right side, above the image of the deceased
 
Words to be said by Atem, master of the two lands, the Heliopolitan, lord of the sky,
(by) the Osiris, the divine father, the wab priest of Re, of the terrace of the temple of Amen, Besmut, true of voice.

 
Left side, above the image of the deceased
 
Words to be said by Re-Harakhte, great god, lord of the sky.
Words to be said by the Osiris, the divine father, Besmut, true of voice, born of Asetitu.
- Open a new window with the hieroglyphic text.
 
-Atem: Atem and Harakhte were aspects of the Re, evening and midday sun respectively.
-Heliopolitan: from Heliopolis, cult centre of the sun.
-the Osiris: the deceased
-divine father: a title borne by all consecrated priests.
-wab priest: in the Late Period a honorific title given to any priest.
-terrace: one doesn't really know what this refers to. According to P.Posener it is the space used for the observation of the sky above the innermost part of the temple. Gardiner thought of it as roof.
-true of voice: also translated as justified, the deceased after he was found to be pure of sin in the judgment of the dead
 
Right side, below the image of the deceased and Atem
 
1 Adoration of Atem (on the part) of the Osiris, the divine father, the wab priest of Re of the terrace of the temple of 2 Amen, chief of the first phyle the wab priest of Amenet, the one who is in the middle (of Karnak), he of the first and of the third phyle, Bes3mut, true of voice, son of him who bore the same titles, the prophet of the august emblem of Amen, 4 Ankhefenkhonsu, true of voice, son born to Bes5mut, true of voice, born (by) Asetitu true of voice, 6 born in the year 28 of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Psammetic I 7 true of voice, who has reached 99 years.
He says: "Greetings to you, Atem,
8 the god who sinks into the beyond in order to illuminate the Duat for the one whose heart is not beating any more."
 
 
 
The image on the right shows the deceased addressing himself to Atem wearing the double crown.
 
-phyle: the priests were grouped into four phyles, doing temple duties in turn.
-son of him who bore the same titles: Offices were generally passed on to one's children.
-in the year 28 of ... Psammetic I: 628 BCE
Besmut lived through the reigns of 5 kings:

Psammetic I (Wahemibre Psamtik) (656-609)
Necho II (Wahemibre Neko) (609-594)
Psammetic II (Neferibre Psamtik) (594-587)
Wahibre (Haaibre) (Apries) (587-569)
Ahmose II (Khnemibre) (Amasis) (569-526)
 
Left side, below the image of the deceased and Re-Horakhte
 
1 Adoration of Re (on the part of) the Osiris, the divine father, the wab priest of the temple of Re, 2 of the terrace of the temple of Amen, chief of the first phyle, wab priest of Amenet, 3 chief of the first phyle and the third phyle, he of the monthly service of the temple of Amen, chief of the third team, Bes4mut, true of voice, son of the prophet of Amen at Karn5ak, the prophet of the august emblem of Amen, the wab priest of Re of the terrace of the temple of Amen, the wab priest, 6 the wab priest of Amenet who is in the middle of Karnak, 7 chief of the first phyle and the third phyle, chief of the hairdressers of the temple of Mut, lady of Isheru, the chief of barbers of the temple of Khonsu, the very great first child of Amen, 8 Ankhefenkhonsu, true of voice, born of the lady Asetitu.
 
 
 
The image on the left shows the deceased addressing himself to Re-Horakhte.
 
Besmut's ancestors included at least three individuals by the same name. His father's name, Ankhefenkhonsu, was also a name traditional in the clan. They were a priestly family serving Amen-Re at Thebes.
[Image: family tree of Besmut]

Ramadan el-Sayed, A propos de l'activité d'un fonctionnaire du temps de Psammétique I à Karnak, BIFAO 78 (1978) p.459-476 [1]

 


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-Ramadan el-Sayed, A propos de l'activité d'un fonctionnaire du temps de Psammétique I à Karnak, BIFAO 78 (1978) p.459-476 (in pdf format)
 

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