AELT 8: Abstracts

AELT 8 OXFORD

ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS

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Retrograde Writing in the Old Kingdom

Christelle Alvarez (Lincoln College, Oxford)

This paper will investigate evidence for retrograde writing, that is, texts organized with the hieroglyphs facing against the direction of reading. The starting point of the presentation will be the case-study of a miscopied section of a text in the pyramid of king Qakare Ibi (8th dynasty) and the possible impact of retrograde models on scribal practice. The discussion will then move to a wider consideration of retrograde evidence and the uses to which this style of inscription, which had existed for centuries before the late Old Kingdom, was put.

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The jmAx-status—Language and Concepts

Violaine Chauvet (University of Liverpool)

Holding jmAx-status (being jmAxw) is one of the most common, therefore vital, aspects of elite funerary identity in the Old Kingdom. Helck’s (MDAIK 1956) article, which deconstructed the social and economic dimension of the jmAx-equation—one placing the tomb owner in a socially sanctioned patron-client relation with the king/god, who in turn provides financially for him—remains influential. Yet, the broadly adopted French translation ‘pensionné’ for jmAxw, as well as the view that the king was provider of the tomb of officials ‘jmAxw before him’ (Jansen-Winkeln, BSEG 1996) demonstrate an oversimplification and a dangerous distortion of key concepts over time.

This paper discusses the impact of ‘translation’ (modern language specific construct) on our understanding of the jmAx-status, and explores possible ‘trans-lation’ (natural equivalent) of the concept in terms of funerary beliefs and practices.

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The Etymology of the Divine Name +Hw.ty: Divine Onomastics in Light of the Comparative Method

Julien Cooper (The Queen’s College, Oxford)

The origin of the name +Hw.ty has long been a desideratum in Egyptian lexicography. The word is generally associated with an enigmatic noun meaning ‘ibis’ but there is little evidence for the existence of such a word in Egyptian. Like other divine names, +Hw.ty has provided many difficulties in translation, mainly due to the lexical form being dissimilar to any productive root in the Egyptian lexicon. So too the etymology of Wsir has been extensively debated and even foreign origins have been proposed for this theonym. Where the name of a deity cannot be reduced to Egyptian lexical roots, the only etymological recourse is to analyse Afroasiatic lexical roots in order to investigate the name, as is commonly espoused, for instance, in the etymology of the god Ptah (from the Semitic root PtH ‘to open’). While most etymological discussions are considered lexicographic minutiae in scholarly Egyptology, a collective approach to the study of divine names will reveal how important etymological study is to the conception of divine cults and the essence of a numen. This paper will propose a new etymology for Thoth and discuss the manner in which divine names were formed in Egyptian culture.

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Editing Short Inscriptions: How to?

Jenny Cromwell (University of Copenhagen)

The Coptic textual corpus from Wadi Sarga includes, in addition to papyri and ostraca, short inscriptions written on amphorae and other vessels. As part of a forthcoming volume on the ceramic material from the site, I will be editing the inscriptions that appear in this group. At present, this constitutes ca. 50 incised short inscriptions on bowls. The main question now is how best to integrate the editions of these short texts into the rest of the volume. In this paper, I will give a brief overview of the material and will then set out some possible ways to incorporate the editions, in order to make the publication useful—and usable—by those interested in both (or either) the texts or the material aspects of the items.

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Some Thoughts on the Newly Discovered Text CS from Quarry P at Hatnub

Roland Enmarch (University of Liverpool)

This presentation will give a preliminary account of a newly-discovered text from Hatnub quarry P, which is the main extraction site in the region for alabaster (a.k.a. travertine/calcite), and from which come the large majority of long-known Hatnub texts. The ‘new’ text, provisionally designated CS 6 (cirque sud 6), is an addition to the ‘nomarchal’ corpus of Hatnub texts, commemorating the families of Hare Nome nomarchs Ahanakht I and Neheri I. Executed, like them, in red pigment on the inner rock wall of the quarry, CS 6 comprises a standing figure surrounded on all sides by traces of approximately 40 columns of (now very poorly preserved) hieratic text. CS 6 commemorates a nomarch, either a [Djehuti]nakht or [Aha]nakht, and the so-far legible sections contain a long series of biographical moral claims.

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 ‘You Are a Name as You Are a Body’—Reference and Sense in Old Kingdom Names

Julia Hamilton (The Queen’s College, Oxford)

This paper presents work-in-progress on personal names as connotative devices – ‘vehicles for the expression of a cultural attitude vis-à-vis the entity [they] represented’ (Loprieno 1995, 18), drawing upon Old Kingdom examples from the Teti Pyramid Cemetery, Saqqara. A long-standing position in the philosophy of language is that proper names have no descriptive meaning, only lexical meaning (Mill 1843); however, this is untenable for ancient Egyptian names. The connection between a name’s referent and a name’s meaning was certain: knowing proper names of things in the world was ‘to know all that exists’ (P. Golenischeff in Gardiner 1947 II, pl. VIIa), and the erasure of a personal name, or bearing one with negative connotations, had real consequences in life and the afterlife. I will consider whether Frege’s theory of reference (Bedeutung) and sense (Sinn) is useful for untangling the layers of meaning in names, and how reading inscribed names in their material context, together with other forms of self-presentation and identification, adds to their sense.

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‘Go to Sleep, or You’ll Wake Up Mr and Mrs Neferhotep’: Lullabies in Ancient Egypt

Ben Hinson (Magdalene College, Cambridge)

Socialisation begins at birth. Most socialisation, especially in early life, occurs at the household or familial level; unfortunately, most archaeological evidence for socialisation concerns older children, as they become incorporated more into active social life. However, this need not mean that the socialisation of infants is completely inaccessible. To demonstrate this, this paper presents some preliminary ideas for a study of ancient Egyptian lullabies, as a means of accessing how social norms and values were inculcated within members of society from birth, by mothers and other caregivers within a domestic setting.

By nature, lullabies are an oral genre, which occur in an informal and unpredictable setting, namely the child getting to sleep. By extension, we would not expect traces to survive. However, as occurred in Mesopotamia, elements of lullabies may be incorporated into, and remain preserved in, other genres—most often magical or medical texts aimed at children, wherein the soothing, rhythmic nature of lullabies remained an important aspect of their use. As a preliminary overview, this paper discusses some aspects of accessing lullabies. It begins by discussing lullabies as a genre—their features, purpose and messages. It then discusses genres within which lullabies might reasonably have been adopted, and considers this through stylistic and linguistic features, as well as problematising this approach. Finally, it considers other supplementary evidence which may help access the performative side of lullabies—who performed them, how, and where.

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The Use of the Terms qrrt and TpHt in the Book of Caverns:

A New Approach to the Regional Hierarchy and Division of the Hours

Dawn Power (University of Liverpool)

The Book of Caverns, which is normally grouped into the genre of the so-called Underworld Books, appears in various tombs of the New Kingdom Ramesside Kings. The discourse of these texts was to aid the king on his journey through the Underworld. The text itself did not contain an original title, and as such the book takes its name from the term qrrt, which is translated as cavern and often appears within this text. However, there is another term in the text, namely TpHt, which can also be translated as cavern but also as cave or hole. Due to two terms appearing in the text that can both be translated by the same word, two questions then arise: 1) why was one term chosen over the other to represent the title of the text, and 2) what are the various uses for the two terms within the text? By looking not only at the lexicography of the two terms but also at how and where they appear in the text, it is possible to answer these questions and further to understand the bi-partite usage of the term TpHt within the text.

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 Demotica Eileithyiopolitana: Issues in the Recording of a Corpus of Late and Graeco-Roman Graffiti

Luigi Prada (University College, Oxford)

In February 2016, on the invitation of field-director Vivian Davies, I joined in the field the team of the British epigraphic mission to Elkab. My task includes the identification, recording, and editing of a large number of Late and Graeco-Roman graffiti, primarily in Demotic, that are scattered through various areas of the site. These areas are: the New Kingdom necropolis; the hemispeos in the Wadi Hilal; and the New Kingdom temple further up the same wadi. The material includes painted (dipinti) and scratched graffiti, and is almost entirely unrecorded. In this paper, I will offer a brief overview of it, focusing then on a number of case-studies to discuss the technical and methodological problems involved in their recording and editing.

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Integrating the Past with the Present:

Experimenting with Modern Pragmatic Frameworks and Late Egyptian

Kim Ridealgh (University of East Anglia)

This workshop will explore how frameworks and approaches from Modern Pragmatics can help support and develop analysis of Ancient Egyptian texts. During the workshop different pragmatic approaches will be discussed via case studies found in Late Egyptian, these will include Discourse Analysis, Conversation Analysis, Politeness Frameworks, Facework and Rapport Management. Overview of the different approaches will be given and discussion on the benefits and challenges of using such approaches will be encouraged. A key point to be discussed will be the influence of social hierarchy and power on language usage in texts and the prominence power has in modern linguistic frameworks, which is not always transferable to the ancient world, as in modern, living languages, power is often fluid and negotiable in conversation. This is not the case in the ancient world, where social power and, in most cases, social distance was a fixed dynamic. Utilising modern linguistic, especially pragmatic, approaches and frameworks is essential in developing further our analyses of ancient Egyptian texts and the social relationships embedded in them.

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Where to Write

John Tait (UCL)

This presentation asks where Egyptian writing with pen and ink took place. Graffiti aside, the specific location in which a surviving example was executed cannot normally be identified, although in a few instances the question has attracted considerable attention. Find-spot and place of writing are always of significance, and discussion of them can readily be linked with major concerns in our discipline(s). Sadly, find-spots are all too often unknown or uncertain, although sometimes, more often with recently excavated material, a useful archaeological provenance can be given. Yet, when place of writing can be deduced at all, it will usually be seen offered in rather broad terms (“Western Thebes”, “Gurob”). The focus here is on (a) much more locally, the precise space in which the writing took place; (b) more generally, what sort of place was used for writing.

 

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