Τρίτη, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2016

Τranslated Ancient Egyptian texts reveal family disputes and domestic concerns, just like modern times


translated-ancient-egyptian-texts-toby-wilkinson_1A part of the 'Book of the Dead' funerary text.
In contrast to their ancient Greek and Roman counterparts, the ancient Egyptian texts are generally not accessible to the public, on account of lack of translated works. But a Cambridge academic and Egyptologist, Toby Wilkinson has sought to redress this ‘historical’ issue, with his compiled work that translates many of the hieroglyphic writings (from rock faces and papyri) into modern English. In that regard, while ancient Egypt tends to fuel our reveries of massive pyramids, monumental temples and ostentatious pharaohs, Wilkinson’s work reflects the more relatable ‘humane’ side of affairs in the ‘land of the Nile’. Simply put, beyond grand facades, his translations mirror how the ancient Egyptians viewed life and expressed their insights (and tribulations) through their rich tradition of writing for over 3,500 years.

As Wilkinson made it clear –
What will surprise people are the insights behind the well-known facade of ancient Egypt, behind the image that everyone has of the pharaohs, Tutankhamun’s mask and the pyramids.
For example, one of the translation collections, titled aptly as The Will of Naunakht, tells the story of an elderly Egyptian woman and her will. Reflecting the relatively high social and economic status of most free women in Egyptian society, Naunakht decided how not all of her eight children would be recipients of her estate. In other words, some of the children were disinherited due to their lack of caring shown to her in her old age. From the historical angle, Naunakht probably lived in Thebes during the late New Kingdom period, and she was married twice – first to a scribe and then to a tomb worker. Her last will was drawn in November of 1147 BC. A part of it proudly reads –