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.
I figured I’d start with the Papyrus Westcar because, 1. I’m very rusty, and it’s very simple, 2. this portion makes liberal use of my favorite verbal construction, the sentence particle ‘h’.n (roughly translating to and sounding like, “And then…”), and, 3. an earlier section contains the first recorded instance of a joke (the Egyptians weren’t particularly well known for their humor, so I won’t include it). Continue reading