Ancient Egypt: The Shabaka Stone
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The Shabaka Stone
The living Horus; Who prospers the Two Lands; the Two Ladies: Who prospers the Two Lands; the Golden Horus: Who prospers the Two Lands; King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Neferkare; the Son of Re: Sha[baka], beloved of Ptah-South-of-his-Wall, who lives like Re forever.
This writing was copied out anew by his majesty in the house of his father Ptah-South-of-his-Wall, for his majesty found it to be a work of the ancestors which was worm-eaten, so that it could not be understood from the beginning to end. His majesty copied it anew so that it became better than it had been before, in order that his name might endure and his monument last in the House of his father Ptah-South-of-his-Wall throughout eternity, as a work done by the son of Re [Shabaka] for his father Ptah-Tatenen, so that he might live forever.
The Shabaka Stone was dedicated by the Kushite pharaoh Neferkare, i.e. Shabaka (711-697). The stela is 92 x 138 cm in size. The text is arranged in 62 vertical columns and 2 horizontal rows across the top. Twenty-three of the columns have been worn away.
The text is much older than this stone version, probably dating to th New Kingdom.
The centre of the Ptah worship was at Memphis, hence this mythology is referred to as Memphite mythology.
/// [King of Upper and Lower Egypt] is this Ptah, who is called the great name: [Ta-te]nen [South-of-his-Wall, Lord of eternity] ///. /// [the joiner] of Upper and Lower Egypt is he, this uniter who arose as king of Upper Egypt and arose as king of Lower Egypt. /// /// "self-begotten," so says Atum: "who created the Nine Gods."
[Geb, lord of the gods, commanded] that the Nine Gods gather to him. He judged between Horus and Seth; he ended their quarrel. He made Seth the king of Upper Egypt in the land of Upper Egypt, up to the place in which he was born, which is Su. And Geb made Horus King of Lower Egypt in the land of Lower Egypt, up to the place in which his father was drowned which is "Division-of-the-Two-Lands." Thus Horus stood over one region, and Seth stood over one region. They made peace over the Two Lands at Ayan. That was the division of the Two Lands.
The Heliopolitan Ennead
his father: i.e. Horus's father, Osiris
Geb's words to Seth: "Go to the place in which you were born."
Seth: Upper Egypt.
Geb's words to Horus: "Go to the place in which your father was drowned."
Horus: Lower Egypt.
Geb's words to Horus and Seth: "I have separated you."
/// Lower and Upper Egypt.
Then it seemed wrong to Geb that the portion of Horus was like the portion of Seth. So Geb gave Horus his inheritance, for he is the son of his firstborn son.
Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "I have appointed Horus, the firstborn."
Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "Him alone, Horus, the inheritance."
Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "To his heir, Horus, my inheritance."
Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "To the son of my son, Horus, the Jackal of Upper Egypt /// Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "The firstborn, Horus, the Opener-of-the-ways."
Geb's words to the Nine Gods: "The son who was born /// Horus, on the Birthday of the Opener-of-the-ways."
Then it seemed wrong to Geb... : The tribulations of the gods about the inheritance of Osiris are described with great gusto in the Contendings of Horus and Seth.
Then Horus stood over the land. He is the uniter of this land, proclaimed in the great name: Ta-tenen, South-of-his-Wall, Lord of Eternity. Then sprouted the two Great Magicians upon his head. He is Horus who arose as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, who united the Two Lands in the Nome of the Wall, the place in which the Two Lands were united.
Reed and papyrus were placed on the double door of the House of Ptah. That means Horus and Seth, pacified and united. They fraternized so as to cease quarrelling in whatever place they might be, being united in the House of Ptah, the "Balance of the Two Lands" in which Upper and Lower Egypt had been weighed.
Ta-tenen: Father of the gods, an aspect of Geb, often identified with Ptah, the Memphite creator god.
the two Great Magicians: Lichtheim: The crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt
the Wall: Memphis
Reed and papyrus: Symbolizing Upper and Lower Egypt
Balance of the Two Lands: Memphis is the southernmost city of Lower Egypt, on the border between Lower and Upper Egypt.
This is the land ////// the burial of Osiris in the House of Sokar. ////// Isis and Nephthys without delay, for Osiris had drowned in his water. Isis [and Nephthys] looked out, [beheld him and attended to him]. Horus speaks to Isis and Nephthys: "Hurry, grasp him ///."
Isis and Nephthys speak to Osiris: "We come, we take you ///."
////// [They heeded in time] and brought him to [land. He entered the hidden portals in the glory of the lords of eternity]. //////. [Thus Osiris came into] the earth at the royal fortress, to the north of [the land to which he had come. And his son Horus arose as king of Upper Egypt, arose as king of Lower Egypt, in the embrace of his father Osiris and of the gods in front of him and behind him.]
There was built the royal fortress [at the command of Geb ///]. Geb speaks to Thoth: ////// Geb speaks to Thoth: //////. //////. [Geb] speaks to Isis: ////// Isis causes Horus and Seth to come. Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: "[Come] /////////."
Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: "Make peace //////."
Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: "Life will be pleasant for you when //////."
Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: "It is he who dries your tears //////."
The Gods who came into being in Ptah:
Ptah-Nun, the father who [made] Atum.
Ptah-Naunet, the mother who bore Atum.
Ptah-the-Great is heart and tongue of the Nine [Gods].
[Ptah] ///////// who bore the gods.
[Ptah] ///////// who bore the gods.
[Ptah] ///////// Nefertem at the nose of Re every day.
Sokar: Falon headed god of the necropoleis of the region of Memphis.
Sokar and Seti I
Source: Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Egypt
the royal fortress: Memphis
Nun personified the primordial waters, Naunet was his female counterpart
Nun supporting the Solar Barque
Source: Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt
Nefertem: Identified with the blue lotus and the sun god rising from it. At Memphis he was associated with Ptah and his consort Sekhmet.
There took shape in the heart, there took shape on the tongue the form of Atum. For the very great one is Ptah, who gave [life] to all the gods and their kas through this heart and through this tongue, in which Horus had taken shape as Ptah, in which Thoth had taken shape as Ptah.
Thus heart and tongue rule over all the limbs in accordance with the teaching that it (the heart, or: he, Ptah) is in every body and it (the tongue, or: he Ptah) is in every mouth of all gods, all men, all cattle, all creeping things, whatever lives, thinking whatever it (or:he) wishes and commanding whatever it (or:he) wishes.
His (Ptah's) Ennead is before him as teeth and lips. They are the semen and the hands of Atum. For the Ennead of Atum came into being through his semen and his fingers. But the Ennead is the teeth and the lips in this mouth which pronounced the name of every thing, from which Shu and Tefnut came forth, and which gave birth to the Ennead.
An alternative reading of this paragraph: Heart took shape in the form of Atum. Tongue took shape in the form of Atum. It is Ptah, the very great, who has given [life] to all the gods and their kas through this heart and through this tongue, from which Horus had come forth as Ptah, from which Thoth had come forth as Ptah.
came into being through his semen and his fingers: Atem fertilized himself by masturbation.
this mouth which pronounced the name of every thing: M. Lichtheim: Though not phrased as an outright repudiation of the Heliopolitan doctrine, according to which Atum created the gods through onanism, the Memphite theology attempts to supersede it by teaching that Ptah created the gods through commanding speech
Sight, hearing, breathing - they report to the heart, and it makes every understanding come forth. As to the tongue, it repeats what the heart has devised. Thus all the gods were born and his Ennead was completed. For every word of the god came about through what the heart devised and the tongue commanded.
Thus all the faculties were made and all the qualities determined, they that make all foods and all provisions, through this word, to him who does what is loved, to him who does what is hated. Thus life is given to the peaceful and death is given to the criminal. Thus all labor, all crafts are made, the action of the hands, the motion of the legs, the movements of all the limbs, according to this command which is devised by the heart and comes forth on the tongue and creates the performance of every thing.
Thus it is said of Ptah: "He who made all and created the gods."
And he is Ta-tenen, who gave birth to the gods, and from whom everything came forth, foods, provisions, divine offerings, all good things. Thus is recognized and understood that he is the mightiest of the gods. Thus Ptah was satisfied after he had made all things and all divine words.
life is given to the peaceful and death is given to the criminal: In the judgment of the dead the heart of the deceased is weighed against the feather of Maat, the goddess of the right world order. If found too heavy, the sinner's heart is devoured by the demon Ammut.
He gave birth to the gods,
He made the towns,
He established the nomes,
He placed the gods in their shrines,
He settled their offerings,
He established their shrines,
He made their bodies according to their wishes.
Thus the gods entered into their bodies,
Of every wood, every stone, every clay,
Every thing that grows upon him
In which they came to be.
Thus were gathered to him all the gods and their kas,
Content, united with the Lord of the Two Lands.
The Great Throne that gives joy to the heart of the gods in the House of Ptah is the granary of Ta-tenen, the mistress of all life, through which the sustenance of the Two Lands is provided, owing to the fact that Osiris was drowned in his water. Isis and Nephthys looked out, beheld him, and attended to him. Horus quickly commanded Isis and Nephthys to grasp Osiris and prevent his drowning (i.e., submerging). They heeded in time and brought him to land. He entered the hidden portals in the glory of the lords of eternity, in the steps of him who rises in the horizon, on the ways of Re the Great Throne. He entered the palace and joined the gods of Ta-tenen Ptah, lord of years.
Thus Osiris came into the earth at the Royal Fortress, to the north of the land to which he had come. His son Horus arose as king of Upper Egypt, arose as king of Lower Egypt, in the embrace of his father Osiris and of the gods in front of him and behind him.
M. Lichtheim: Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1, pp.51-55
Osiris was originally a corn god. Little earthen statuettes were made which contained grains of corn which sprouted and covered the statuette with their greenery.
... attended to him: He was brought back to life by the magic of Isis.
Source: Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt
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