Interacting With the Dead

As early as the Old Kingdom (ca. 2686-2160 BCE), Egyptians inscribed appeals to the living on the walls of their tombs asking future visitors to pronounce their name and to recite an offering formula on their behalf. It was by these acts of continued remembrance that the dead were sustained in the afterlife. We invite you to read this appeal to the living and to actively commemorate the two ancient Egyptian individuals stewarded by the Archaeological Museum. While we do not know exactly what ancient Egyptian sounded like, the transliteration below is how Egyptologists vocalize the ancient language. Since the Egyptians did not write vowels, it is convention to place an “e” sound between consonants.

Excerpt from the speech of Thothrekh, son of Petosiris. From the tomb of Petosiris at Tuna el-Gebel, door of the pronaos, ca. 300 BCE. Hieroglyphic transcription after M. Gustave Lafebvre, Le tombeau de Petosiris (Le Caire: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, 1924), pg. 27, no. 56 and Nadine Cherpion, Jean-Pierre Corteggiani, and Jean-François Gout, Le tombeau de Pétosiris à Touna el-Gebel: relevé photographique. Bibliothèque générale 27. (Le Caire: Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 2007), pg. 80, scene 64.

Excerpt from the speech of Thothrekh, son of Petosiris. From the tomb of Petosiris at Tuna el-Gebel, door of the pronaos, ca. 300 BCE. Hieroglyphic transcription after M. Gustave Lafebvre, Le tombeau de Petosiris (Le Caire: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1924), pg. 27, no. 56 and Nadine Cherpion, Jean-Pierre Corteggiani, and Jean-François Gout, Le tombeau de Pétosiris à Touna el-Gebel: relevé photographique. Bibliothèque générale 27. (Le Caire: Institut français d’archéologie orientale, 2007), pg. 80, scene 64.

 

Transliteration of the text above.

Translation:

O living ones who are upon the land who will come to this necropolis,

All who will come to offer things upon this burial site:

May you pronounce (my) name while presenting offerings!

Thoth will praise you because of (it).

It is a gift to act for one who cannot act.

It is Thoth who will repay the deed of one who acts for me.

[One who praises my ka-spirit,] his ka-spirit will be praised.

One who does evil against (me), [evil] will be done against him.

I am a person whose name should be pronounced!