Geographical sites:

  • Elephantine (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #786021)
    Pleiades_icon Elephantine settlement Geocontext: Geziret Aswan
    Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 80 inset Elephantine
  • Egypt (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #766)
    Pleiades_icon Aegyptus province, region Geocontext: Egypt
    Description: The Roman province of Egypt (Aegyptus) was established in 30 BC after the defeat of Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra VII at the Battle of Actium.


Text #8995

Mandelkehr. The 2300 BC Event. Series: The 2300 BC Event. Vol. 1
[pp. 64--65]

At the beginning of the reign of Pepi II in the middle of the Sixth Dynasty, Redford reports that things were apparently going well - unobstructed travel, excellent trade with outlying areas, large private tombs, good quality of artifacts. By the last quarter of his reign, however, the picture changed dramatically - expeditions to mines and quarries suspended, caravans intercepted, royal administration lapses into inactivity, impoverishment, and usurpment of royal and noble titles. Later records are vague on rulers. The evidence strongly indicated general impoverishment of both the people and the government. […]

Bell reports that the specter of famine first appears at the end of the Fifth Dynasty on a well-known relief from the causeway of the pyramid of Unas, the last ruler of that dynasty. The relief depicts a group of emaciated people, evidently dying of hunger.1 The incidence of famine apparently increases in the late Sixth Dynasty (2345 BC to 2181 BC) and early FIP (First Intermediate Period).2 Fagan3 calls out Ankhtifi, a provincial governor in upper Egypt at 2210-2185 BC, who prided himself on being the first ruler to distribute famine supplies, indicating that famine conditions may have existed for some time before his authority. On his tomb was written “All of Upper Egypt was dying of hunger, to such a degree that everyone had come to eating his children, but I managed that no one died of hunger in this nome (province). I made a loan of grain to Upper Egypt … I kept alive the House of Elephantine during these years, after the towns of Hefat and Hormer had been satisfied. … The entire country had become like a starved (?) grasshopper, with people going to the north and south [in search of grain], but I never permitted it to happen that anyone had to embark from this to another nome.”4 Bell also discusses famine being so sever that cannibalism was practiced.5

By the cessation of the Sixth Dynasty, corresponding to the end of the Old Kingdom, Egypt slipped into a sharp decline that literally amounted to a Dark Age. This interval between the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom is referred to as the First Intermediate Period (FIP).

  1. B. Bell: “The Dark Ages in Ancient History, 1. The First Dark Age in Egypt”, American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 75 (1981), pp. 5, 8, 9. [OF]

  2. D. B. Redford: Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, (Princeton University Press, 1992), pp. 61, 62. [OF]

  3. K. W. Butzer: “Sociopolitcal Discontinuity in the Near East C. 2200 B.C.E. Scenarios From Palestine and Egypt”, in H. N. Dalfes, G. Kukla, H. Weiss (eds): Third Millennium BC Change and Old World Collapse, (Springer, 1994), p. 254

  4. B. Fagan: Floods, Famines and Emperors, (Perseus, 1999), p. 90. [OF]

  5. Ibid, pp. 5, 8, 9. [OF]

Text #8997

"Ipuwer Papyrus", in Wikipedia.

The Ipuwer Papyrus is a single papyrus holding an ancient Egyptian poem, called The Admonitions of Ipuwer or The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All. Its official designation is Papyrus Leiden I 344 recto.

The Ipuwer Papyrus describes Egypt as afflicted by natural disasters and in a state of chaos, a topsy-turvy world where the poor have become rich, and the rich poor, and warfare, famine and death are everywhere. One symptom of this collapse of order is the lament that servants are leaving their servitude and acting rebelliously. There is a dispute around interpretations of the document as an Egyptian account of the events described in the Exodus.

The date for the composition of this document is unknown. The papyrus itself (Papyrus Leiden I 344) is a copy made during the New Kingdom of Egypt[1] (18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties, c.1543-1064 BCE). The dating of the original composition of the poem is disputed, but several scholars have suggested a date between the late 6th dynasty and the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1850 BCE-1600 BCE).

Both the Exodus and Thera interpretations (which can be combined with each other, and sometimes are) interpret the poem to record a historical event, which is disputed by some Egyptologists.

The association of the Ipuwer Papyrus with the Exodus as describing the same event is rejected by most Egyptologists. … While Enmarch himself rejects synchronizing the texts of the Ipuwer Papyrus and The Book of Exodus on grounds of historicity, in The reception of a Middle Egyptian poem: The Dialogue of Ipuwer he acknowledges that there are some textual parallels “particularly the striking statement that ‘the river is blood and one drinks from it’ (Ipuwer 2.10), and the frequent references to servants abandoning their subordinate status (e.g. Ipuwer 3.14–4.1; 6.7–8; 10.2–3). On a literal reading, these are similar to aspects of the Exodus account.” … Commenting on such attempts to draw parallels, he writes that “all these approaches read Ipuwer hyper-literally and selectively” and points out that there are also conflicts between Ipuwer and the biblical account, such as Ipuwer‍ ’​s lamentation of an Asiatic (Semitic) invasion rather than a mass departure. 1

  1. R. Enmarch: The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All, The Griffith Institute, Griffith Institute Publications, Oxford 2005

Text #8998

"Prophecy of Neferti", in Wikipedia.

The Prophecy of Neferti is an Ancient Egyptian discourse text set in the reign of the 4th dynasty Old Kingdom king Snofru (c.2550 BC), but was actually written during the early 12th dynasty (c.1991 – 1786 BC). The text is a pseudo-prophecy, i.e. one written after the event. It was published by Vladimir Golenishchev and stored in the Hermitage Museum. …

In Neferti, King Snefru holds court and a sage is introduced to entertain him with ‘choice words’. The sage, called Neferti, asks him whether he wishes to hear about the past or the future, and the king chooses the future. Neferti then goes on to describe at some length a vision of a future Egypt riven with chaos, where all social and natural norms are inverted. Towards the end of the text, Neferti predicts the advent of a future king, called Ameny, who will restore order to the country.

The text has often been interpreted as a classic piece of Egyptian royal propaganda, since the saviour king ‘Ameny’ is generally interpreted as an oblique reference to the name of the first king of the 12th dynasty, Amenemhat I. Amenemhat I was not closely related to his predecessor, and his reign began in unsettled conditions. The Prophecy of Neferti can therefore be read as a political justification for his new dynasty.1

  1. Simpson, William Kelly. (1972). The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, and Poetry. Edited by William Kelly Simpson. Translations by R.O. Faulkner, Edward F. Wente, Jr., and William Kelly Simpson. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

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