Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ipuwer Papyrus

We find additional details of Ipuwer Papyrus – a surviving Egyptian scribes (Papyrus Leiden 334) 

The door keepers say: “Let us go and plunder.”
Indeed, the face is pale, what the ancestors foretold has arrived; the land is full of confederates, and a man goes to plough with his shield. (2:19:25)
Indeed, the plunderer everywhere, and the servant takes what he finds. 

Indeed, the Nile overflows yet none plough for it. Everyone says, “We do not know what will happen throughout the land.”

Indeed, poor men have become owners of wealth and he who could not make sandals for himself is now a possessor of riches. (2:19:50)

Indeed, noblemen are in distress, while the poor men is full of joy. Every town says, “Let us suppress the powerful among us.”(Let us suppress the powerful among us. Liehtheim: “Let us expel our rulers.”) (2:20:08)

Indeed, great and small say: “I wish I might die.” Little children say: “He should not have caused me to live.” And the servant abandons his household and men will say: “Cakes are lacking for most children; there is no food. What is the taste of it like today?”

Indeed, magnates are fighting over the spoil of the robber, and all his property is carried off. Indeed, men eat herbage and wash it down with water; neither fruit nor herbage can be found and is taken away from the mouth of the pig. No face is bright because of the hunger.

Indeed, everywhere barely has perished and men are stripped of clothes, spice and oil; everyone says: “There is none.” The storehouse is empty and its keeper is stretched on the ground. Indeed, the writings of the scribes of the cadastre are destroyed and the corn of Egypt is common property.

Indeed, the laws of the Council chamber are thrown out; indeed, men walk on them in public places and poor men break them up in the streets.

Behold, he who could not build a boat for himself is now the possessor of a fleet; their erstwhile owner looks at them, but they are not his.

Behold, he who slept wifeless through want [finds] riches, while he whom he never saw stands making dole. 

Behold, he who had no property is now a possessor of wealth and the magnate praises him.

Behold, the poor of the land have become rich and the erstwhile owner of property is one who has nothing.

Behold, he who had no loaf is now the owner of a barn and his storehouse is provided with the goods of another.

Behold, the chiefs of the land flee; there's no purpose for them because of want.

Behold, no officers are in their right place like a herd running at random without a herdsman.

Behold, he who had no yoke of oxen is now the owner of a herd and he who could find for himself no ploughman is now the owner of cattle.

Behold, he who had no grain is now the owner of granaries, and he who had to fetch loan-corn for himself is now one who issues it.

Behold, he who had no dependents is now an owner of serfs and he who was a magnate now performs his own errands.

Behold, he who once recorded the harvest now knows nothing about it while he who never ploughed for himself is now the owner of corn; the reaping takes place but is not reported. The scribe sits in his office but his hand are idle in it. Indeed, gates, columns and walls are consumed by the fire.

Indeed, towns are destroyed and upper Egypt has become an empty waste. Indeed the builders of pyramids have become cultivators and those who were in the sacred bark are now yoke to it. Gold is lacking and materials for every kind of craft have come to an end. What can we do about it? All is ruin!

Indeed, laughter is perished and is no longer made; it is groaning that is throughout the land, mingled with complaints.

Behold things have been done which have not happened for a long time past; the king has been deposed by the rabble. The statues are burned and their tombs destroyed.

Behold, the land has been deprived of the kingship by a few lawless men. How comes it that every man kills his brother? The troops whom we marshaled for ourselves have turned into foreigners and have taken to ravaging. Lower Egypt weeps; the king’s storehouse is the common property of everyone. All is ruin!