Egyptian Language, Texts

English Texts (in alphabetical order)

    Kaster, Joseph: The Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, Barnes & Noble Books, hardcover, 1993, 305 pages.

      A varied selection of Egyptian writing with enough notes and introductory material to make sense of it all. Organized by topic rather than by date, this book presents a good overview of Egyptian thought and culture. Translations are readable and not stilted.


        I. Introduction
          1. What Was Ancient Egypt? Egypt's Place in the History of Civilization
          2. Decipherment of the Hieroglyphics and the Progress of Egyptology
          3. The Course of Egyptian History
          4. Religion
          5. Literature
        II. Gods and Kings
          6. The Creation
          7. Ra, Isis, and the Mystery of the Divine Name
          8. The Goddess Hathor: Mankind in Peril of Destruction
          9. The God of Wisdom and Learning: Thoth
          10. The Great Royal Myth of Egypt: Osiris, Isis, Set, and Horus
          11. Amen: An Upstart Who Rose to Supreme Power and Became Ra
          12. Atenism and the "Amarna Revolution"
          13. The Divine Conception of the King-Queen Hatshepsut and of King Thothmes III
        III. Man and the Supernatural World
          14. The Book of the Dead
          15. Incantations of Healing Magic
          16. The Interpretation of Dreams
        IV. Wisdom Literature in Ancient Egypt
          17. Instructions and Maxims
          18. Social Upheaval and World-Weariness
          19. The Goodness of Life: Lyric Poetry and Song
        V. Tales of Ancient Egypt: Magic, Adventure, and Humor
          20. The Contendings of Horus and Set
          21. King Cheops and the Magicians
          22. The Tale of the Two Brothers
          23. The Shipwrecked Sailor, or the Isle of the Serpent
          24. The Story of Sinuhe the Egyptian
        Appendix: How to Become an Amateur Egyptologist

    Lichtheim, Miriam: Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, University of California Press, paperback, 1975, 245 pages.

      A large selection of texts with concise notes and introductions. The translations are very exact and very literal and most of them include the line or column numbers from the original texts, making it easy to compare against the hieroglyphs. In fact, I often use this book to help puzzle out the meanings of complicated texts.

      There is a companion volume of New Kingdom texts, which I expect is equally as good, though I have not personally used it.


          Literary Genres and Literary Styles
        Part One: The Old Kingdom
          I. Monumental Inscriptions from Private Tombs
            Inscriptions of Princess Ni-sedjer-kai
            Inscription of Hetep-her-akhet
            Inscription of Nefer-seshem-re called Seshi
            Stela of Ni-hebsed-Pepi from Naqada
            The Autobiography of Weni
            The Autobiography of Harkhuf
          II. A Royal Decree
            Charter of King Pepi I for the Chapel of his mother
          III. From the Pyramid Texts
            Unas Pyramid Texts: Utterances 217, 239, 245, 253, 263, 270, 273-274, 304, 309, 317
            Teti Pyramid Texts: Utterances 337, 350, 373, 402, 403, 406, 407
            Pepi I Pyramid Texts: Utterances 432, 440, 442, 446, 454, 486, 517, 573
          IV. A Theological Treatise
            "The Memphite Theology"
          V. Didactic Literature
            The Instruction of Prince Hardjedef
            The Instruction Addressed to Kagemni
            The Instruction of Ptahhotep
        Part Two: The Transition to the Kingdom
          I. Monumental Inscriptions from Private Tombs
            Stela of Count Indi of This
            The First Part of the Autobiography of Ankhtifi
            Stela of the Butler Merer of Edfu
            Stela of the Treasurer Iti of Imyotru
            Stela of the Steward Seneni of Coptus
            Stela of the Soldier Qedes from Gebelein
            Stela of the Treasurer Tjetji
          II. The Prayers of a Theban King
            A Stela of King Wahankh Intef II
          III. The Testament of a Heracleopolitan King
            The Instruction Addressed to King Merikare
        Part Three: The Middle Kingdom
          I. Monumental Inscriptions
            Rock Stela of Mentuhotep IV
            Building Inscription of Sesostris I
            Boundary Stela of Sesostris III
            Stela of Intef Son of Sent
            Stela of Ikhernofret
            Stela of Sehetep-ib-re
            Stela of Horemkhauf
          II. A Spell from the Coffin Texts
            CT 1130 and 1031
          III. Didactic Literature
            The Instruction of King Amenemhet I for His Son Sesostris I
            The Prophecies of Neferti
            The Complaints of Khakheperre-sonb
            The Admonitions of Ipuwer
            The Dispute between a Man and His Ba
            The Eloquent Peasant
            The Satire of the Trades
          IV. Songs and Hymns
            Three Harpers' Songs
            A Cycle of Hymns to King Sesostris III
            A Hymn to the Red Crown
            A Hymn to Osiris and a Hymn to Min
            The Hymn to Hapy
          V. Prose Tales
            The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor
            Three Tales of Wonder
            The Story of Sinuhe