Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: The inscription of Hor-nefer
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[Image: Hor-nefer]
Statue of Hor-nefer
Late Period
Most of the inscriptions are on the statue's back
Source of the excerpt: BIFAO 54, plate 2 [1]
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The inscription of Hor-nefer
ca. 300 BCE

[Text: Hornefer 1]
1 The king's scribe in Upper Egypt, his confidant of every day, spending all day (searching) and being awake all night searching for what is useful to the sovereign, expert in the art of understanding (or choosing ?) a magical formula and to penetrate (or apply) the scriptures better than (?) ////// 2 incorruptible where the business of the king is concerned, - so that this one has raised him among his personnel; the scribe of the library; the scribe of Amen, of the first phyle; the Sn scribe of Nefer-hotep - -his confidant of every day: Wild [1]: lit. "filling his heart with himself every day"
-incorruptible: Wild: lit. who does not mingle the gifts, i.e. does not appropriate presents destined for somebody else.
Various pharaohs fought battles against this (cf. The Great Edict of Horemheb
-library: Wild: lit. "the place of writings"
-Nefer-hotep: The great god of Hu or Hut-Sekhem (Diospolis Parva), 7th Upper Egyptian nome
[Text: Hornefer 2]
3 The prophet of Khonsu who governs at Thebes, the prophet of Amenopet-of-the-Halfway-Station(?), the governor of Mut of the second and third phyles, the prophet of the (goddess) Ba-nub of Baket (?), the prophet of S-sDm-st, the head of the Elder[s] of the Porch (?), who satisfies the mother of Montu and of Tanent (?), lord[s] of Hermonthis (?) ///////// 4 the prophet of Menhu(y) with many knives, the prophet of Hemen, lord of sxt-m-rt (?), the prophet of Hor-Behdety who massacres the foreign countries, the prophet of Osiris, Horus, Isis and Nephthys, lord[s] of Diospolis Parva, the prophet of Nefer-hotep, great god //////5 the prophet and nourisher of Khonsu-the-Child, the very great, the first-born of Amen. -Amenopet: Amen of the Harem, worshiped at Luxor an ithyphallic form of Amen associated with Min.
-Halfway-Station: a sanctuary where the god could rest on his procession.
-Ba-nub: lit. Soul-of-Gold
-head of the Elder[s] of the Porch: courts of law were situated by the entrance of temples, above all during the Late Period. The "elders" were apparently the judges. [2]
-Tanent: female consort of Montu.
-Menhu(y): falcon-headed god, originally from Esna (3rd Upper Egyptian nome).
-Hemen: god often associated with Horus, such as Horakhte-Hemen of Hefat (in the 3rd Upper Egyptian nome)
[Text: Hornefer 2a]
Hor-nefer, son of the similar (i.e. holder of the same titles) king's scribe (and scribe) of Amen, the prophet of Hathor, Lady of the Acacia, Pahib, born by the lady Kerhib. -of the Acacia: Wild situates the domain of the Acacia between Dendera and Qus.
[Text: Hornefer 3]
////// 6 I do not distance myself from your throne. I live from seeing you every day. I was born with my heart thirsting (?) for your renown, (as) you are greater than the gods and goddesses. I am faithful, everywhere, since childhood and until my glorification. I rest in (?) ////// 7 Your food stores grow in profusion. You have called me as your great prophet while I was (still) young [and I have continued as such] until old age. The four privileges which you have accorded me, may you also accord them to [my] children, by raising [them (?)] to the offices //////. -I am faithful: Wild: lit. "I walk on your water (= in your wake)
-everywhere: Wild: Lit. "in the whole world"
-four privileges: according to Wild the four privileges were: 1.a long life, 2.satisfying material circumstances, 3.good surroundings and descendants, 4.a beautiful burial. By the Late Period the phrase had become set, expressing the most desirable blessings.
[Text: Hornefer 4]
8 ////// [O living ones] who are on earth and generations who are to come after them and who will see this statue, - may you think all the time of praising god when you see it and remove from it all evil beings, by offering ////// 9 ////// temple of Mut, to worship the mistress of the gods and goddesses, - say this (or say for me): May you live like Re, may you be rejuvenated like Osiris, may you come alive again every day! May you breathe the incense and smell the terebinth! May you hear the chanting and the rejoicing, every day! (Because) I am a man who merits being given offerings, a re-animated one (?) and an jmAxw who merits that the god be praised on his behalf. (Really), I have achieved /// years //////
-temple of Mut: at Karnak
-come alive again every day: Wild: Lit. "Repeat life"
[Text: Hornefer 5]
10 His beloved wife Ta-ukesh (t-wkS), daughter of Hep-en-renep (Hp-n-rnp). His father //////. ////// 11 The king's scribe (and) [scribe] of the god - or the royal scribe (and prophet - Pasheri (p-Srj)-[en]-Min, son of Hor-nefer. The scribe of the king (and) [scribe] of the god - or the royal scribe (and) prophet - Nakht-Hep (nxt-Hp). /////// 12 daughter //////, priestess of aS-sDm-st Ta-di(t)-Nefer-hotep (t-dj-nfr-Htp), daughter of the royal scribe and prophet of Khonsu-the-Child Hor-nefer, (and) who was born by Ta-ukesh (?) Hor-nefer's family tree
 
[Text: Hornefer's family tree]

Henri Wild, Statue de Hor-Néfer au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne [1]
BIFAO 54 (1954) pp.173-222

The inscription cannot be accurately dated. Similarities with texts of known age led Wild to date it to the reign of Alexander the Great or the early Ptolemies.

 


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-[1] Henri Wild, Statue de Hor-Néfer au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne
-[2] Serge Sauneron: La justice à la porte des temples (à propos du nom égyptien des propylées).
 

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© April 2006

 

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