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Ancient Egyptian texts: Stela of King Smendes
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Stela of King Nesbanebded (Smendes I)
commemorating the re-opening of the quarry at Gebelein

1 & 2 (Titulary of Nesbanebded)
3 Now his majesty being in the city of Haiku-ptah, his august residence, victorious and strong as Ra, [in order to perform his devotion to Phtah] 4 the master of Ankhtoui, to Sokhit, the great beloved one of Ptah, [to Tumu-Khopri], to Montu, and to the circle of nine gods who reside in Hait-saru, while his majesty was seated in his audience-chamber [a messenger came to declare before] 5 his majesty: "It is the arm of southern water, situated on the border of the Apit of the South, dug by king Thothmes III, which proceeds [to ruin, for it is being drained away, and] 6 forming a great torrent which deeply channels (the ground) as far as the great opisthodoma of the temple extends to the back [of the building."
- This stela was discovered by Georges Daressy at Dababieh, a few kilometres south of Thebes.
-Smendes I:Nesbanebded Miamun (Hedjkheperre-setpenre) (c. 1070 - 1043). He was the founder of the 21st Tanite dynasty and contemporary of Herihor.
-Haikuphtah: H.t-kA-ptH, i.e. Memphis, whence was possibly derived the Greek name of Egypt, Aigyptos.
-Ankhtoui: Ankh-tawy Quarter in Memphis where the temples were located.
-Tumu-Khopri: Atem-khepri, the rising sun.
-Montu: Theban god of war.
-circle of nine gods: the Ennead. Theoretically nine gods, generally referring to all the local gods.
-Hait-saru: Hait-sa-re The Castle-of-the-Son-of-Re, ancient Re temple at Heliopolis
-Apit of the South: Opet, i.e. Thebes.
-Thothmes III: Thutmose III Menkhepere (c. 1504-1450)
His majesty said] 7 to them: "These words which you utter before me, there has been nothing in my time which has happened like them without my being informed of them [and without my having] 8 remedied the mischief which they describe. If then this arm of water which nourishes the quarter during the (proper) season of the year [has done this mischief, it has happened} 9 without my knowledge, and all this has taken place apart from the sovereign." -remedied the mischief which they describe: Maspero: lit. [not] reconstructing that violence
His majesty then caused [workmen to be summoned] 10 (and) with them 3000 men selected from the serfs of his majesty, and his majesty gave commandment before them that they should hasten to the [country of the south, to look for a quarry in the] 11 mountain. Now the workmen of his majesty, from among those who are always at bis feet, despatched a number of [persons who knew the country, in order to] 12 examine [the mountain. Now no one had] worked in this quarry since the time of long-past generations, until the present period of Aniti. [So they remained there, and restored ?] 13 the chapel of the goddess Monit, the lady of Zoriti, then they executed that command which his majesty had established [about replacing those whom the work had] 14 worn out in the limbs, each month. When the orders of the king arrived, urging the prosecution of the works which, he had commanded [the people of the country assembled without limitation] 15 of number, even the infants on the breast of their mother ran to cut [the stone for the "buildings of his majesty. -serfs of his majesty: Maspero: signifying "king's men" from whom compulsory labour was extracted in all departments of agricultural service, tillage, irrigation, cleaning out canals etc.
-who are always at bis feet: Maspero: always at his disposal
-Aniti: The two mountains, in Arabic Gebelein
-Zoriti: Town about a dozen kilometres south of Thebes
-even the infants on the breast of their mother: There were no child-minders. Unless a drafted mother had a daughter big enough to look after her babies, she had to take all her children with her to the quarry.
Never] 16 had anything happened like it in the time of (our) ancestors. Then his majesty came in his turn, like Thoth [who benefits by his acts, and gave rewards to the workmen] 17 for their cleverness, by way of recompense for their energy and courage, lifting himself up on the throne of the Horus [of the living, even he king Nsbindidi who gives life like Ra for ever]. -his majesty came in his turn: The king resided at Memphis and ordered the repair work to be done in Upper Egypt. He was thus in charge of the whole country.
-Nsbindidi: Smendes I Nesbanebded

G. Maspero, A Stele of King Smendes
A.H. Sayce ed. Records of the Past, Vol. V,
S.Bagster and Sons, London, 1891

 


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