Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: Letter of Panbesa
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Letter of Panbesa

The clerk Panbesa salutes his lord, the clerk Amenapt. Long live the King! This is sent for the information of my Lord. Again I salute my Lord.
I proceeded to Pe-Ramessu Meiamen. I found it flourishing in good things without a rival, like the foundations of Thebes //////// the abode of felicity. Its meadows are filled with all good things, it is well provisioned daily. Its pools (are filled) with fish, its ponds with fowl; its fields are verdant with grass, the
ates-flower is in its ////////; the tenraka-plant whose taste is like honey is in the fields of the tubs. Its threshing floors are full of barley and wheat /////// toward the sky; bunches of leeks in the beds; gourds in the arbour; anhamaa-fruit, tephu-fruit, called //////////, teb-fruit from the arboretum; sweet wine of the produce of Egypt which is superior to honey.
- -Pe-Ramessu Meiamen: city in the eastern Delta, founded by Ramses II.
-ates-flower: many of the plants and fish whose names appear in this letter have not been identified.
-tubs: S. Birch suggested that these were watering machines.
-anhamaa: Birch: Sometimes written "anruhama" or "aluhama"; supposed grapes or raisins.
Red utu-fish from the river of /////// lilies; baran-fish from the river Haruma; barai-fish mixed with baka-fish ////// fish from the river Puharta atu-fish //////// from the river ////// hanata-fish from ////// of Aa-nechtu.
The pool of Horus furnishes salt, the Pahura lake furnishes nitre; its ////// for the going and coming. There is a supply of provisions there daily.
-Puharta: Goodwin: the Euphrates
-Aa-nechtu: Aa-nekhtu, Goodwin: the frontier fortress
-Pahura lake: Goodwin: One of the natron or bitter lakes near the Isthmus of Suez
-nitre: used in embalming
-the going and coming: Goodwin: of boats
-a supply of provisions there daily: according to Goodwin referring to the market.
Gladness dwells within it, none speaks scorn of it. The little ones in it are like the great ones. (They say:) Come let us celebrate its heavenly festivals and the season feasts. The papyrus marsh is adorned with menhu-flower, the pool of Horus with the asi-flower; there are sabara-flowers from the arboretum, festoons from the vineyards ////// fowls in flocks, to adorn //////////. The sea abounds with baka-fish and atu-fish. It //////// their boundaries. The virgins of Aa-nechtu are well apparelled every day; sweet oil is on their heads, with new curls. They stand at their doors, their hands adorned with nosegays, with bouquets of Pa-Hahthor, garlands of the lake Pahura, on the day of the arrival of Ra-user-ma Sotep-en-ra, the war god of the world, the morning of the feast of Kahaka; all assemble one with another to recite their petitions. -menhu: Birch: A flower of red and violet color. Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: mnH: papyrus plant
-asi-flower: Birch: Apparently another kind of water plant.
-Ra-user-ma Sotep-en-ra: Usermaatre Setepenre. Ramses II (c.1279-1212)
There are sweet drinks in Aa-nechtu; its liquors are like sugar, its syrups like the taste of caroobs surpassing honey. Beer of Kati comes from the port; wine from the vineyards; sweet refreshments from the lake Sakabaima; garlands from the arbours. The sweet singers of Aa-nechtu are of the school of Memphis; joy remains there prolonged, unceasing. Ra-user-ma Sotep-en-ra, the war-god of the world, Ramessu Meiamen, is its god. -are of the school of Memphis: Birch: The "Memphitides puellae" of the Latin authors, such as Petronius: Memphitides puellae, sacris deum paratae

pAnastasi III, 19th dynasty
C. W. Goodwin, Letter of Panbesa, in S. Birch ed., Records of the Past, Vol.6


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