North Africa

Egypt Literature Part II

According to watchtutorials.org, an essay of popular poetry can be seen, as we said, in the short songs with which the workers accompanied their labor; like, for example, that of the shepherd, when he pushes the flock on the soft fields to sink the seed, or of the threshers who urge the oxen, or of those who lift the sedan chair. From the age of the Empire we have received rich collections of love poems; the trees and flowers of the garden where they are entertained sometimes take part in the sweet conversations held by lovers. The poem that an unknown author composed about the heroic deeds of the young Rameśśêśe II in the bloody battle of Qidša against the Hittites belongs to the great epic: the king found himself alone in the face of his enemies and worked wonders of valor; after two days they were defeated. In many passages of the poem sublimity is reached. The glory of Tḥutmóśe III is celebrated by the god Ammon himself. A composition in five songs exalts the power of the pharaoh Zenwq̂śre III, the consolidator of the Nubian conquest; but it is rather an ideal image of a sovereign that it gives us, devoid of personal hints. Beautiful poems were also written for the elevation to the throne of Merneptáh and Rameśśêśe IV of the 20th dynasty. Even if we limit ourselves to a simple list, we will go too far. A curious hymn to the war chariot of the pharaoh, where all the parts are mentioned and the eulogy is said of each. A 19th dynasty Leiden papyrus sings Thebes and his god; still others, the city of Rameśśêśe at the extremity of the Delta, the one mentioned in the book of Exodus. At the table, perhaps among cheerful brigades, he modulated himself on harp a song that solicited to rejoice, to put the embassy as a band. We also read similar ones in the tombs, a joyful reminder to visitors. One, full of skepticism about the beyond, about the usefulness of the tombs, preaching mad joy, was read by the harpist depicted in the tomb of a pharaoh of the eleventh dynasty. On the contrary, there are some pious who praise the land where everyone must go.

To the didactic genre, so to speak, we must ascribe various compositions. While knowing little about the Egyptian school system, it is natural to think that young scribes, in their early years, limited themselves to learning writing and practicing calligraphy. Perhaps they should have memorized as many words as they could: there is a kind of nomenclator, composed by a certain Amenemq̂pe son of Amenemq̂pe, in which the parts of the universe, the social hierarchy, names of cities, names of loaves, are listed in order. of meat, fish, etc. (Hood papyrus, Golenišev papyrus in Moscow, Gardiner papyrus from the Ramesseo school); there are ostracas with exercises on foreign names, knowledge of which was necessary for civil servants. Then, in the rhetoric class, to polish the style and form the culture, they applied to the study of great literary works. The epistolary genre was highly cultivated. Letters were placed as a model in praising the school or the office of scribe, explaining the drawbacks of chasing girls and beer, where one gets excited at work by day and night, is painted because it is harmful to become an officer, priest, farmer. There are also letters that concern administrative subjects and serve to shape the bureaucratic style. Some schoolchildren’s notebooks, as we might call them, offer us interesting collections of such writings. We also have in a London papyrus of the reign of Rameśśêśe II the echo of an ink battle between the scribe Ḥôr and his colleague Amenemq̂pe. These, in one or more letters addressed to the first, he had treated him like a donkey and had challenged his academic degree. The one replies, in twenty-eight pages, that the donkey is he, who can’t even write, he doesn’t know the calculations, he doesn’t know the geography of Syria, proving all this with abundant examples; a real slut! Many authentic letters came from all ages; a good group was discovered in Illāhūn in Fayyūm, another in Thebes. There are about ten aimed at the dead. Because of that strong instinct that makes the relationships knotted in life persist even after death, the deceased are consulted in case of illness or difficulty, so that they help those who turn to them. proving all this with abundant examples; a real slut! Many authentic letters came from all ages; a good group was discovered in Illāhūn in Fayyūm, another in Thebes. There are about ten aimed at the dead. Because of that strong instinct that makes the relationships knotted in life persist even after death, the deceased are consulted in case of illness or difficulty, so that they help those who turn to them. proving all this with abundant examples; a real slut! Many authentic letters came from all ages; a good group was discovered in Illāhūn in Fayyūm, another in Thebes. There are about ten aimed at the dead. Because of that strong instinct that makes the relationships knotted in life persist even after death, the deceased are consulted in case of illness or difficulty, so that they help those who turn to them.

Egypt Literature 2