Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egyptian texts: The autobiographical inscription of general Psamtik
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The autobiographical inscription of general Psamtik

1 The nobleman, prince, governor of Upper Egypt, head of the transferral of offerings, supervisor of the Gate of the foreign lands of the South, governor of the nomes of the South, companion and first great favourite of the lord of the Two Lands, king's confidant having precedence over (all the other nobles of) Upper Egypt, ////////////////// - The statue on which this inscription is found, dates from the Saite Period (7th/6th century BCE).
-head of the transferral of offerings: an office associated with the governorship of the South (Clère)
-the Gate of the foreign lands of the South: Elephantine
2 of the king more than all his (other) courtiers due to the perfection of his word, a leader son of one of foremost of noblemen, owner of Lower Egyptian barley, rich in wheat, great dignitary in the district of Tchar, the general Psamtik, owner of privileges //////////////// [He says:] ////////////////
3 ///////////// of the fore room (?). I have rewarded His priests, I have rewarded His prophets and I have gladdened all His workers. I have brought improvements to His city, accompanied by my (?) faithful servants of Upper Egypt with their boat–(to wit:) I have done wo[rks (?)] //////////////////
-Tchar: TAr perhaps Tjaru, Sile in the northeastern border region. Clère thinks it refers to a region a bit further to the West, in the 16th nome of Mendes.
-general: im.j r' mSa, lit. supervisor of the troop, a title known since the Old Kingdom, mSa referring also (at times with different determinatives) to ship crews, expeditions, workforces etc.
-of the fore room (?): or perhaps in the storeroom (Clère)
-His: the god's. The name of the god must have been in the destroyed passage.
4 I have erected a double gate, the wall of which was very straight and which was enlivened on all its sides by numerous trees; I have caused this city to be surrounded by a canal built with bricks, when it found itself with a numerous neighbourhood, and the whole of Upper Egypt was envious (?) of it. I have caused high land [to be irrigated] //////////////////// Many of these claims are very similar to those made by the First Intermediate Period nomarch Kheti, son of Sit buried at Assiut. Clère thinks that rather than having simply copied Kheti's inscription, Psamtik was inspired by it.
-numerous: apparently better overflowing–according to Clère the canal and a dyke around the town were built in order to protect it from inundations which rose too high by draining the water away.
-envious: Clère's interpretation. Others have translated the term as hostile or proud
-high land: land lying too high to be flooded by the Nile. Irrigation water had to be raised by mechanical means.

Source: Jaques J. Clère, Autobiographie d'un général gouverneur de la Haute Égypte à l'époque saïte, BIFAO 83 (1983) pp.85-100

 


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