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TitleA Second Amuletic Passport for the Afterlife
TagsAncient Egypt Religion And Belief Ancient Egyptian Religion Osiris Papyrus
File Size1.3 MB
Total Pages9
Table of Contents
                            p. [93]
	p. 94
	p. 95
	p. 96
	p. 97
	p. 98
	p. 99
		Front Matter
		The Treasurer of the King of Lower Egypt Meru [pp. 1-8]
		Le transport fluvial de charges lourdes dans l'Égypte antique [pp. 9-31]
		It's about Time: Ancient Egyptian Cosmology [pp. 33-71]
		A Stela of the Reign of Tutankhamun from the Region of Kurkur Oasis [pp. 73-91]
		A "Second" Amuletic Passport for the Afterlife. P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b [pp. 93-99]
		Kabbale et Mystique. A propos d'un livre récent [pp. 101-106]
		Richtungsbezüge in ägyptischen Sakralanlagen – oder: Warum im ägyptischen Tempel das Sanktuar hinten links in der Ecke liegt (Teil I) [pp. 107-151]
		Die lateinische Übersetzung des Steins von Rosetta. Zur Bearbeitung antiker Textquellen in der Philologie der Neuzeit [pp. 153-168]
		Gapping bei nicht-ersten Satzkernen im Mittelägyptischen [pp. 169-191]
		Journey to the Resurrection. Chapter 105 of the Book of the Dead in the New Kingdom [pp. 193-210]
		Zu einer Genealogie aus der frühen 22. Dynastie [pp. 211-223]
		"Schlichten" und "Richten". Über die altägyptischen Termini wpj und wḏꜥ [pp. 225-233]
		Vier späte Leinenamulette für Mumien im Kunsthistorischen Museum Wien und im Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia [pp. 235-260]
		N.y-Ppy: A New Vizier of the Sixth Dynasty? [pp. 261-268]
		An Unpublished Stela from the Ancient Cemetery of Thinis [pp. 269-273]
		The Mounds of the Nile Delta [pp. 275-281]
		Das "Gesicht" des Orakelgottes [pp. 283-288]
		The Troubled Careers of Amenhotep and Panehsy: The High Priest of Amun and the Viceroy of Kush under the Last Ramessides [pp. 289-306]
		Eine Marburger Totenstele mit Anruf an die Lebenden [pp. 307-315]
		Back Matter
Document Text Contents
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A ?Second" Amuletic Passport for the Afterlife.

P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b*

Mark Depauw

(Tafel 9)


Publication of P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b, a Demotic funerary papyrus from Thebes, probably

dating to the 2nd century AD. Its owner, Theonas son of Agathe, is known from P. Cairo 31172, of which

a new transliteration and translation are provided. The existence of two short funerary papyri with different

texts for the same deceased suggests that one was meant to be placed under the head, whereas the other

was to be put under his legs. As many other late abbreviations of the so-called 'documents of breathing',
these papyri seem to defy further categorization. Rather than with a letter, a passport such as P. Sydney

Nicholson Museum 346 b should be compared with an amulet, to be shown to Osiris before entry into the

underworld. As such this papyrus may shed light on the discussion concerning the authorship of the 'divine


In the middle of the 19th century, Sir Charles Nicholson (1808-1903) collected a large group
of antiquities through acquisitions from European dealers and by two journeys to Egypt in

1856 and 1862. In the enlightened belief that in Australia this collection would ?possess a

value and an interest far beyond what would belong to them in European States", he

donated his acquisitions to the University [of Sydney], where they became the basis of what
is now the Nicholson Museum1.

The Demotic funerary papyrus published in this article bears no. 346 b in the museum's

inventory and is described under the same number in the 1858 catalogue by J. Bonomi as

?A nearly square piece with Enchorial writing 7 inches by 6'2, which fits its current dimen

sions of 17.5 cm high and 15.5 cm wide (fig. 1). The papyrus is quite dark brown, especially
the section to the right of the sheet-join, which is clearly visible 5.5 cm from the left edge
and causes an overlap between the two sheets of 1.5 cm. The text was written with a Greek

style pen on the papyrological recto, the fibres parallel to the writing and perpendicular to

I should like to thank K. Sowada, curator of the Nicholson Museum, for her hospitality when in Sydney
as well as for permission to study the original and to publish the result of my research. The existence
of Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b was known to me by photographs sent in 1975 by the then curator
Alexander Cabitoglou to the late M. Muszinsky. These were shown to me by W. Clarysse, who also
made a first transliteration of the text which has formed the basis for my research. The publication has

benefitted greatly from comments and suggestions during its presentation at the 2001 Demotic Summer
School in Trier and from a reading by M. Smith. I should like to thank M. Coenen for information on

late hieratic funerary texts as well as C. Leitz and his team for information from the forthcoming
?Lexikon der agyptischen GStter und G6tterbezeichnungen".

C. Nicholson, Aegyptiaca, 1891,116. For a history of the museum's collections, see A.D. Trendhall,
The Nicholson Museum, in: Art and Australia 5, 1967, 528-537.

[J. Bonomi], Catalogue of Egyptian and Other Antiquities collected by Sir Charles Nicholson, 1858,
50, no. 346b. It is included under the same number 346 in E. Reeve, Catalogue of the Museum of Anti

quities of the University of Sydney, 1870, 31 and in C. Nicholson, Aegyptiaca, 1891, 69.

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94 M.Depauw SAK 31

the kollesis. The ink has quite faded in some places, but the signs are clearly recognizable

except for where blotches of ink have made the text illegible. The verso is not accessible
because of the way the papyrus is mounted, but is presumably blank.

Fig. I: P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b

Transliteration and Translation

1) tl?.tr tly.t^s m-blh pi nb ntr.w The document to be taken before the lord of the gods

2) Wsir ntr cl Wsir n Dmc Wsir Osiris the great god, Osiris of Jeme, Osiris

3) ntr cl nb 'Ibt Wsir pi ntr cl n Gb} great god of Abydos, Osiris the great god of Koptos,

4) Wsir hw.t-bnbn m 'Iwnw-wr Osiris of the house of the benben-stone in Heliopolis,

5) Wsir Gb}e hnt hw.t-nb Wsir Osiris of Koptos who is in the house of gold, Osiris,

6) sp-2 Pr-Cl c.w.s. r nhh dt 'Inp Osiris pharaoh l.p.h. forever and until eternity, Anubis

7) si Wsir 'Iy-m-htp m 'Imn-htp wr si son of Osiris, Imhotep and Amenhotep the great, son

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2003 P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b 95

8) Hcpy hw.t-... nb st} Hapy of the house of..., lord of the crypt,

9) mtw^w dy cnh ply^fby sc dt so that they will give life to his ba until eternity:

10) Tyflwns pi sr n l[g]crfh[e] Theonas the son of Agathe.

Line Commentary
Line 1: (a) sc.t is just the general word for a piece of papyrus cut from a roll. As such

?document" is a more appropriate translation than ?letter" See below general commentary,

(b) For the ?gerundivum" r tly.t^s, see W. Spiegelberg, Demotische Grammatik, 1925,

Line 2: In Dmc the scribe has left some space between the D and mc. A similar distance

between the first sign and the rest of the word is found in 1. 6, in the writing of 'Inp.
Line 3: For Gbt, compare the clear writing in 1. 5.

Line 4: (a) For hw.t-bnbn, see M. Smith, The Liturgy of Opening the Mouth for

Breathing, 1993, 65, note a to B 5/13. (b) The unexpected addition wr in 'Iwnw-wr may

serve to distinguish Heliopolis from the other, much closer Lwnw , i.e. Hermonthis. The

latter is often called 'Iwnw-$mc or Lwnw-Mnf.

Line 5: For the reading nb in hw.t-nb, see Glossar, 214. For Osiris of Koptos who is in

the house of gold, see C. Traunecker, Coptos. Homme et Dieux sur le parvis de Geb,

OLA 43, 1992,96.
Line 6: (a) The reading sp-2 is certain in view of the parallelism with P. Cairo 31172,1.

7 (see below general commentary), (b) Osiris is not commonly called Pr-Cl. The only ex

ample listed by the forthcoming ?Lexikon der agyptischen Gotter und Gotterbezeich

nungen" is one in the mammisi of Armant4. Add P. Petese 2/14, where Pr-Cl Wsir-Wn-nfr
is mentioned5, or mummy label Berlin 13522 with Pr-Cl c.w.s. Wslr pi ntr cl6. For Osiris as

king, compare J.G. Griffiths, s.v. Osiris, in: LA IV, 1982, col. 627 (IV); P. Kaplony, s.v.

Konigsring, in: LA III, 1980, col. 613.
Line 7: (a) For the preposition m meaning ?together with", see M. Smith, The Mortuary

Texts of Papyrus BM 10507, Catalogue of Demotic Papyri in the British Museum 3, 1987,

99, n. b. (b) The epiteth wr preceding the filiation is normally found after Imhotep rather

than Amenhotep7. In Thebes Imhotep is often accompanied by the local divinised physician
Amenhotep. Their funerary character seems a Roman development8.

See P.W. Pestman, The Archive of the Theban Choachytes (Second Century B.C.). A Survey of the

Demotic and Greek Papyri contained in the Archive, Studia Demotica 2, 1993, 315-316. 4
Mammisi Armant: LD IV, 6If.

K. Ryholt, The Story of Petese Son of Petetum and Seventy other Good and Bad Stories (P. Petese)
CNI Publications 23/ The Carlsberg Papyri 4, 1999, 14.

G. Moeller, Mumienschilder, Demotische Texte aus den Koniglichen Museen zu Berlin 1, 1913,
fasc. 1, 4; fasc. 2, 17 (no. 46).

See D. Wildung, Imhotep und Amenhotep. Gottwerdung im alten Agypten, MAS 36, 1977, passim. 8
Ibid., 199-248 for Imhotep in the company of Amenhotep, and p. 248 for their funerary character.

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96 M. Depauw SAK 31

Line 8: (a) The name of the father of Amenhotep, Hapu, is written unetymologically as

if it were the god Hapy. The normal writing is that as Hp ?Apis". (b) It is tempting to

suggest that there is a reference here to Athribis (Hw.t- (tl-hry-) lb) as the place of birth of

Amenhotep9, but the group following hw.t is illegible to me. A curtailed writing of tflw (?)
seems unlikely, and the resemblance with some writings of Hr in Hathor's name is also

insufficient10, (c) Glossar, 530 has an entry stt as writing for st ,,Grundstuck", but in this

case clearly stl ?tomb, crypt" is meant11. The Coptic word arrx or qrro ?cellar" indicating

a subterranean chamber is probably derived from it12, and the t probably indicates that the
final t was pronounced. ,JLord of the crypt" is a common epiteth (e.g. of Sokar), in this case

stressing the funerary character of (Imhotep and) Amenhotep.
Line 10: Tyclwns is clearly a Greek name, perhaps ?eovaq / ?ecovaq rather than

Aiovfiq13. I have interpreted the following/?; sr n ?the son of as a replacement of ms n

?born of to introduce the name of the mother, the reading of which, 'AyaGri, is certain

because of the parallel with P. Cairo 31172 1. 2 (see general commentary below)14. The

entire group Pl-sr-n-lgthe can also be the patronymic, but **Fevay&6'n is unattested15. The

name 'AyccOri or 'AY&6e is uncommon and the earliest example known hitherto apparently
dates to the Byzantine period16.

General Commentary

From the early Roman period onwards all kinds of funerary and mortuary compositions are

written in Demotic. Some of these are very elaborate, e.g. the Rhind funerary papyri, while

others are very short. Many of them come from Thebes, and in this case the initial position
of Osiris of Jeme and the presence of the divinised physician Amenhotep leave no doubt
about the place of origin. Palaeography, onomastics, and contents suggest a date in the 1st

or, more likely, 2nd century AD.

Date and provenance are confirmed by a second papyrus inscribed for the same person.
It is preserved in the Cairo museum, and has been edited by Spiegelberg in his ?Catalogue

General" publication as no. 3117217. Not only is the handwriting of this text identical to that
of P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b, it even has the same sheet-join visible on the left

Wildung, Imhotep und Amenhotep, 295. 10
See the writings of Hw.t-Hr in W. Erichsen, Demotisches Glossar, 1854, 286.

M. Depauw, The Archive of Teos and Thabis from Early Ptolemaic Thebes, P. Brux. dem. inv. E.

8252-8256, Monographies Reine Elisabeth 8, 2000, 202-204. 12
Crum, Dictionary, 595a; Westendorf, Handworterbuch, 560; Cerny, Dictionary, 255. 13
Compare DN 17, 1256 Tywns. For c\ ?great" rendering Greek o or co, compare Coptic o ?great". 14
Compare DN 2, 96 clgthe.

For names of the type Pl-sr(-n)- with matronymic, see DN 4, 260-273, e.g. Pl-sr-klllwd. t or Pl-sr-n-tl

sr.t-Hr-wdl. For a similar problem, see J. Quaegebeur, Mummy Labels: An Orientation, in:
E. Boswinkel/ PW. Pestman (eds), Textes grecs, demotiques et bilingues, P.L.Bat. 19, 1978, 249. 16
See F. Preisigke, Namenbuch, col. 3-4. D. Foraboschi, Onomasticon Alterum Papyrologicum. Supple

mento al Namenbuch di F. Preisigke, Testi e Documenti per lo Studio deU'Antichita 16, 1971, 17. 17
W. Spiegelberg, Die demotischen Denkmaler (30601-31270; 50001-50022) II. Die demotischen

Papyrus, Catalogue General des Antiquites Egyptiennes du Musee du Caire, 1906-1908, 282, pi. 112.

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2003 P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b 97

side of the papyrus. This shows that both documents were not only written by the same

scribe with the same pen, but very likely even on the same sheet. The width of the roll (or
height of the sheet) can be reconstructed as 34.5 cm, rather wide in comparison with the

Ptolemaic average18.
Because of the close connection between both papyri, I provide a new transliteration and

translation of P. Cairo 31172, which has received little attention since its editio princeps in

1) Wsir hn} imnj, Wn-nfr pi ntr cl pi nb n Osiris the foremost of the Westerners, Onnophris
the great god, the lord of

2) 'Ibt Tywnspl sr n clgcthe mtw Abydos. Theonas the son of Agathe, may

3) ply^fby sms r Wsir mtw^fhpr hn his ba follow Osiris and may he become one of

4) nl hsy.w n Wsir mtw&ftly mw hr the praised ones of Osiris and may he receive

water on

5) tl htp m-sl Wsir n pi sy m-sl the offering table after Osiris of the lake and after

6) Wn-nfr rnpt n cnh r-ir^fhrpl tl Onnophris. Years he lived on earth:

7) 80. t (?) rpy^fsp-2 r nhh rpyply^f 80 (?). May he rejuvenate, may he rejuvenate,
may his

8) by sc nhh dt ba rejuvenate until eternity and forever.

In 1. 1-21 interpret Osiris and Onnophris as invocations rather than as epithets of the deceased. In 1. 7 I
have opted to read the age of Theonas as 80.t rather than Spiegelberg's 60 (?). A reading 50.t is also


The contents of P. Cairo 31172 clearly supplement that of P. Sydney Nicholson Museum
346 b. Both are abbreviated examples of what is often called a sc.t n snsn ?document of

breathing", and as the titles of some papyri indicate, most likely one (?the first") was meant
to be placed under the head of Theonas' mummy, while the other (?the second") was to be

put under his legs19. In this case it is uncertain where which document should be located.

Other, earlier examples of multiple funerary texts written for a single person include

combinations of a Book of the Dead and a Book of Breathing made by Isis, as well as what

looks like a personal library consisting of the longest known Book of Traversing Eternity,
a Book of Breathing made by Isis, a First Book of Breathing, and a Second Book of

Breathing20. Perhaps contemporary are two mutually identical abbreviated funerary papyri

Assuming that Spiegelberg's dimensions of 0.18

x 0.17 are correct and refer to width and height of the
document respectively. For the evolution of the width of papyrus rolls, see M. Depauw, The Royal
Format of Early Ptolemaic Demotic Papyri, in: K. Ryholt (ed), 7th International Conference of
Demotic 1999, 85-100.

For a survey of Egyptian titles, see M.A. Stadler, The Funerary Texts of Papyrus Turin N. 766: A
Demotic Book of Breathing, in: Enchoria 25, 1999, 104, n. 188 and Enchoria 26, 2000, 114-119, with
reference to M. Coenen, Books of Breathings. More than a Terminological Question?, in: OLP 26,
1995, 34-38.

See M. Coenen, On the Demise of the Book of the Dead in Ptolemaic Thebes, in: RdE 52, 2001, 80-84

and FR. Herbin, Le livre de parcourir l'eternite, OLA 58, 1994, 7 (P. Leiden T 32 is a Book of

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98 M.Depauw SAK 31

(each 35 (!) cm high) written for the same woman, one to be put under the head, the other

under the legs21.

The text of the Cairo document is similar to a group of funerary formulae found on

papyri and coffins, normally dated to the 2nd century AD22.These texts provide the name of

the deceased at the beginning, followed by wishes for the afterlife. Often the age of the
owner is specified.

P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b on the other hand consists of a single, but rather

lengthy sentence: ?The document to be taken before Osiris (and various other gods) so that

they will give life to his ba forever", followed by the name of the deceased at the end. In
this case the core of the document is an enumeration of all of the gods who should assure

an eternal afterlife. Because of this litany-like list of gods followed by a conjunctive, the

Sydney papyrus resembles P. Turin N. 76623. Like that text, however, it is no typical
example of a specific category of funerary compositions, and perhaps in this late stage it is

better to be sceptical of these categorizations altogether24.

All shorter funerary or mortuary texts are sometimes called ?letters of recommendation

for the afterlife"25. The term ?letter", however, should be avoided for all funerary documents

of this type, even if they are written on strips of papyrus (sc.t) with ?epistolary" dimensions,

and although these are occasionally folded as letters. For in contrast with e.g. oracle

questions and letters to gods, the texts written on these strips do not assume epistolary
fiction: they never suggest to be a message sent between a sender and the spatially separated
addressee. The text on the reverse is no exterior address specifying to whom the letter

should be handed over, but rather a title or a short summary, sometimes with ritual

guidelines. There are never any epistolary formulae providing the names of sender and

addressee, and indeed these categories seem problematic, despite the occasional assertion

that the document was written by Thoth himself

Traversing Eternity, P. Louvre N 3291 is a Book of Breathing made by Isis; P. BN 151a First Book

of Breathing (for the head); P. Louvre N 3285 a Second Book of Breathing (for the feet), all in
M. Coenen's terminology; the name of the owner's mother is different in P. Louvre N 3285 (infor
mation M. Coenen)). 21
P. Firenze 3669 and 3670: A. Pellegrini, Due papiri funerari (sic) del Museo egizio di Firenze, in:

Sphinx 8, 1904,216-222. 22
See W. Spiegelberg, Aegyptische und griechische Eigennamen aus Mumienetiketten der romischen

Kaiserzeit auf Grund von grossenteils unveroffentlichtem Material, Demotische Studien 1, 1901, 9-13,
where 3 papyri and 1 coffin have been transliterated synoptically; add J. Quaegebeur, P. Brux dem. E.
8258. Une lettre de recommandation pour l'au-dela, in: S. Israelit-Groll (ed), Studies in Egyptology
presented to Miriam Lichtheim II, 1990, 776-795 discussing the dating of these texts to the second

century AD with further examples; see now C. Riggs/ M. Depauw, ?Soternalia" from Deir el-Bahri,
including two Coffin Lids with Demotic Inscriptions, in: RdE 53, 2002, forthcoming. 23

Recently re-edited by Stadler, in: Enchoria 25-26,1999-2000,76-110; 110-124,123-124. Compare also
R. A. Caminos, A Passport to the Beyond: Papyrus British Museum 10194, in: E. Kormysheva (ed),
Ancient Egypt and Kush. In Memoriam Mikhail A.Korostovtsev, 1993, 104-123, the first section of
which resembles P. Sydney Nicholson 346 b, the second P. Cairo 31172. 24
Stadler, in: Enchoria 26, 2000, 114-119.

Quaegebeur, in: S. Israelit-Groll (ed), Studies Lichtheim II, 789-791.

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2003 P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b 99

Rather than with letters, the documents can be compared with amulets, which are issued

by an often anonymous but hopefully competent or authorised author to protect its owner

against potential problems. This better explains why Thoth is said to have written the

document, and it also accounts for the directions where to place the papyrus on the body of

the deceased, who is the beneficiary of these funerary ?amulets". Like an official

notification it should be valid for everyone and in all contexts, for which reason often no

specific addressee is mentioned. It can be addressed, however, to those who are thought to

be especially competent in the matter. For this reason P. Sydney Nicholson Museum 346 b

is explicitly directed to Osiris and some of his divine colleagues in the underworld.

That the document should be presented to Osiris and his acolytes reminds one of the

discussion whether the so-called ?divine decrees", beginning wd-ntr ir (n) Wslr, were issued

by Osiris ox for Osiris. On the basis of the parallelism with documents less explicit than this

one, J. Quaegebeur opted for the latter, suggesting that the decree was written by Thoth for

Osiris on the anonymous authority of who can be unveiled as the oracular god Amun-Re26.

At least two aspects of his theory remain highly hypothetical, but the Sydney papyrus seems
to confirm his idea that the decree was for Osiris rather than by him. The only way to save

Osiris' authority in his underworld realm is to detach the ?divine decrees" from the other

sources and consider both as examples of separate traditions, an alternative which is perhaps

equally plausible in view of the time gap between them27. The recently published funerary
papyrus of Imouthes (Meir, 4th century BC) which contains a more elaborate version of the

?decree" does not really provide a solution, since there it is issued anonymously for the

entire underworld: wd.tcl.t ir r sp.t Tgr.t. Perhaps it is best to leave the matter there, or with

the words of the editor Goyon:

?ni royal ni divin, le decret ou ordonnance reutilise par les copistes recents avec un

pseudo-titre, refait pour la circonstance, est, en fait, emis

et on ne sait par qui, sinon

tous les noms divins (enumeres a la colonne 2, 3 sq.): Ptah, Re-Harakhtes, Atoum,

Amon-Re et Noun

assurement au profit d'Osiris, mais a I 'egard (r) du nome dTgeret,
autrement dit des 'puissances' de FAu-dela d'Occident ou Osiris se regenere en Re.

Toute querelle devient done inutile sur le fait de savoir, du moins dans la version de

papyrus de New-York, si tel ou tel dieu est l'auteur du rescrit. Le probleme des

modifications profondes a 1'esprit et a la lettre du texte, apportees a l'epoque ptole

maique (date moyenne du corpus des steles) par des scribes sacerdotaux thebains, ne

peut etre aborde ici, mais nul doute qu'une solution simple pourra etre avancee, une fois

le document publie dans son integralite et, par la, susceptible d'etre mieux reconnu"28.

J. Quaegebeur, Lettres de Thot et decrets pour Osiris, in: JH. Kamstra et al. (eds), Funerary Symbols
and Religion. Essays dedicated to Professor M.S.H.G. Heerma van Voss (...), 1988, 105-126. 27

H. De Meulenaere, Le decret d'Osiris, in: CdE 63, 1988, 234-241; L. Kakosy, Three Decrees of Gods
from Theban Tomb 32, in: OLP 23, 1992, 311-328.

C. Goyon, Le papyrus d'lmouthes fils de Psintaes au Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York

(papyrus MMA 35.9.21), 1999, 18.

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