On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.
STELA GEBEL BARKAL JE 48863, the Stela of Tanutamun, was not only one of the first recorded instances of a dream stela—thus, its rather dreamy French title, Stele du Songe—but was also one of the first stelae I translated in its entirety, from the first titulaire du roi (and trust me, I was never any good with king names), to the last congé est donné aux princes. Erected in Nubia during Dynasty XXV, the text was inscribed on sandstone, hence the rounded, somewhat cartoonish-looking transcription of the original (found above). My original notes, transliteration, and translation are hardly worth mentioning let alone reproducing, save that the text itself is a good study in Second Tense Prospective verbs, and the problem as to which adverbial phrase is being emphasized in this once controversial verb. Suffice it to say, adverbial emphasis pertaining to a once controversial Middle Egyptian verb is perhaps one of the most esoteric problems a person can have.