Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: Letter from count Iru to General Merrenakht
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Letter from count Iru to General Merrenakht

Count, Keeper of the King's Seal, Sole Companion, Sealer of the God, Iru, (to) the Sole Companion and lector priest Sobekhotep, <son of> Khnumhotep, overseer of the troops, Merrenakht.
I have dealt with the message about the business because of which you have sent the Sole Friend and overseer of the house Hetep, lest I do something which you dislike.
- Sixth dynasty hieratic papyrus found at Elephantine
-Count: Egypt. HA.tj-a, variously translated as count, prince, mayor, nomarch
-Sole Companion: of the King. honorific
-overseer of the troops: Egypt. jmj-r-mSa, also translated as general, leader of the expedition etc.
-I: literally Your brother there, a euphemism used between people of similar social standing used throughout this text.
-you: lit. Your Scribe, used throughout this text.
If you have sent (word) to me that If you will make public the robbery, which has been committed against me, then everything is all right. But if you have done this to stop the fighting, because you see the two foreign lands ////// I shall perceive whether you love the count, keeper of the seal of the king of Lower Egypt /// Sebni more than me. -me: lit. your brother there, cf. I above.
-all right: lit. in (its) place.
-///: Porten et al.: Sole Companion and overseer of prophets [1]
-the two foreign lands: Medja and Wawat in northern Nubia.
-Sebni: a possible relationship with Pepinakht Heqaib's son Sebni has been suggested.[2]
It is preferable to wish for truthfulness than crookedness ////// this rising to all the transgressions of this count. He does not enjoy the fruits of his (own) possessions.
You have testified on my behalf before the king's court, accordingly you are as one in the matter not to let go on the robbery the count has commited against the land.
Furthermore, the Sole Companion and overseer of the house Hotep has seen, that I do not rise for the troops of Medja and Wawat because I do [not] do what you do not like.
Count, Sole Companion and overseer of the prophets of Re, Irw.
-preferable: Egyptian nfr, good
-truthfulness: Egyptian mAa-xrw, true of voice, in the context of the transfigured dead generally translated as justified or the like.
-/// this rising to: Porten et al.: This is certainly a case for attending to [1]
-enjoy the fruits lit. eat
-king's court: lit. court of Horus
-robbery: Manassa suggests that Sebni interfered illegally in the affairs of Lower Nubia.[2]
-for: Porten et al.: against
-Count, Sole Companion and overseer of the prophets of Re, Irw: Porten et al.: Iru (to the) Count, sole companion and overseer of prophets, Re–Re being an abbreviation of Merrenakht.

After a transliteration and German translation by I. Hafemann on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website => Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Briefe => Briefe des Alten Reiches und der 1. Zwischenzeit => Verwaltung/Alltag => Briefe aus dem Elephantine-Archiv => pBerlin 8869 => Brief des Iru an Mer-re-nacht über ein Verbrechen


[1] Bezalel Porten, J. J. Farber, Cary J. Martin, Simon Hopkins, Ramon Katzoff, The Elephantine Papyri in English, Brill 1996, pp.32-34
[2] Colleen Manassa, "The crimes of Count Sabni reconsidered" in Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 2006, vol. 133, no2, pp. 151-163

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