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Ur-Ninurta (1.177)

(559 words)

Author(s): Alster, Bendt
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary This composition is best known from a tablet found at Tell Ḥarmal (Baghdad), with two small duplicating fragments from Nippur and two of unknown provenance. The main source is written in a very difficult syllabic orthography, which makes the interpretation of a non–stereotype composition such as this one very difficult. The translation provided here is therefore very tentative. …

Instruction of Amenemope (1.47)

(5,172 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary With this long work, the Instruction genre reaches its culmination. Its worth lies not in any thematic richness, for its range is much narrower than, for example, that of the Instruction of Ptahhotep. Its worth lies in its quality of inwardness. Though it is still assumed that right thinking and right action will find their reward, worldly success, which had meant so much in the …

Instructions to the Royal Guard (Mešedi Protocol) (1.85)

(4,425 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary The royal bodyguard of the Hittite court are denoted by the Akkadogram MEŠEDI. One extant tablet contains instructions for them, primarily detailing their duties as they assume responsibility for the king’s safety from the palace staff and as they escort him while he travels. Areas of responsibility are clearly delineated among the officials who see to guarding the palace and the…

Merikare (1.35)

(4,346 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Instructions Commentary The text is preserved in three fragmentary papyri which only partly complement one another. They are Papyrus Leningrad 1116A, dating from the second half of the 18th Dynasty; P. Moscow 4658, from the very end of the 18th Dynasty; and P. Carlsberg 6, from the end of the 18th Dynasty or later. Unfortunately, the most complete manuscript, P. Leningrad, is also the most corrupt. The numer…

Instructions to Commanders of Border Garrisons (Bel Madgalti) (1.84)

(2,980 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary An essential element in Hittite administration of provinces was the auriyaš išḫaš, literally “lord of the watch tower/ guard post,”1 often written with the Akkadogram BEL MADGALTI. This was the officer in charge of garrisons and administration in sensitive frontier provinces of the empire. The Hittite term is often translated “border governor”; Hoffner has proposed “margrave,” which implies the idea of governors assigned to fr…

Amenemhet (1.36)

(1,724 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Instructions Commentary When first studied, the text was regarded as the genuine work of King Amenemhet I, composed by him after he had escaped an attempt on his life. The currently prevailing view is that the king was in fact assassinated in the thirtieth year of his reign, and that the text was composed by a royal scribe at the behest of the new king, Sesostris I. The attack on the king’s life is told in a deliberately veiled manner; yet there are sufficient hints in th…

Dua-khety or the Satire On the Trades (1.48)

(2,454 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary Like the other Instructions, this work has a prologue and an epilogue which frame the actual teaching and set its stage. A father conducts his young son to the residence in order to place him in school, and during the journey he instructs him in the duties and rewards of the scribal profession. In order to stress the amenities and advantages that accrue to the successful scribe, …

Shuruppak (1.176)

(1,024 words)

Author(s): Alster, Bendt
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary In addition to the standard version of this composition, dating around 1900–1800 BCE, an Early Dynastic version dating as early as 2600–2500 BCE, and two partly preserved Akkadian translations, one dating around 1500 BCE, and one dating around 1100 BCE, are known. The excerpts translated here are from the standard version, attested in approximately 80 fragments from Nippur and Ur…

Hippiatric Texts (1.106)

(1,831 words)

Author(s): Cohen, Chaim
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary The Ugaritic hippiatric texts, dating from the fourteenth to the twelfth centuries bce, have been known to the scholarly world since 1934, when the first two fragmentary copies (here referred to as B,C) were published by C. Virolleaud. Only in 1968, however, when the best preserved copy (here referred to as A) was first published in Ugaritica V, did it become clear that all three texts we…

Instructions to Priests and Temple Officials (1.83)

(4,206 words)

Author(s): McMahon, Gregory
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary This text is preserved in at least eight copies, several of which have been reconstructed through multiple joins of tablet fragments. The tablets are to be found in both the Istanbul and Ankara tablet collections. The copies date to the Empire period, but the text itself seems to go back to the pre–New Hittite period, before the reign of Šuppiluliuma I. The main text is KUB 13.4, a large well preserved four column tablet with the tops of colu…

Instruction of Any (1.46)

(3,379 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary The Instruction of Any has long been known through a single manuscript: Papyrus Boulaq 4 of the Cairo Museum, which dates from the 21st or 22nd Dynasty. Of the first pages only small fragments have remained, and the copy as a whole abounds in textual corruptions due to incomprehension on the part of the copying scribe. The introductory sentence of the work is preserved on a table…