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Glossary

  • Autobiography

    a commemorative tomb inscription, in which the deceased man addresses the passer-by with an idealized description of his virtues, as manifested in his life and career (see p. 21)

  • cubit

    a unit of measure, equal to 52.3 cm

  • Delta

    the ‘Papyrus land’ or Lower Egypt, the northern part of Egypt, marshy and fertile

  • Dual King

    a title, literally perhaps ‘He of the Reed, He of the Bee’, which refers to two aspects of the kingship that were paired with Upper and Lower Egypt, so that it is often rendered ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’. It introduces the royal prenomen (throne name)

  • electrum

    a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, highly prized

  • Golden Horus

    the third element of the royal titulary; it refers to the king as the triumphant god Horus

  • Horus

    the first element of the royal titulary, acclaiming the king as the royal god

  • the justified

    literally ‘true of voice’, an epithet referring to judgement after death, thus indicating the person as ‘deceased’. Often applied by copyists to names of characters from the past, regardless of whether it would have featured in the original manuscript

  • (l.p.h.!)

    an abbreviation for ‘May he live, be prosperous, and healthy!’—an invocation of well-being for superiors, especially the king—written after names. It is partly a graphic convention, applied differently by different scribes

  • Lower Egypt

    the northern part of Egypt, the Nile Delta

  • Majesty

    literally ‘Person’, a term referring to the physical presence of the king

  • nomes

    the administrative districts or provinces of Egypt

  • ostracon

    a flake of limestone used as a writing surface

  • P.

    Papyrus, followed by a name or museum number

  • recto

    the ‘front’ of a papyrus sheet or roll (and of a writing board)

  • Red-king

    the king of Lower Egypt, distinguished by the red crown

  • Residence

    the capital or royal residence, which in the Twelfth Dynasty was at Itj-tawi, probably near modern el-Lisht, south of Memphis

  • Son of Re

    a title of the king, prefacing the nomen (birth name), and alluding to his divine lineage

  • Truth

    a schematic translation of Egyptian Maat; its range of meanings includes truth, right, justice, equity, reciprocity, and social and cosmic order (see p. 13)

  • Two Ladies

    the patron goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt, who appear on the royal diadem; a royal title, introducing the second element of the titulary

  • Two Banks/Lands

    Egypt: the strips of land on either side of the Nile, the two halves of the country

  • Upper Egypt

    the southern part of Egypt, the Nile Valley

  • uraeus

    an image of a serpent worn on the royal brow, a protective symbol to strike down the king's enemies

  • verso

    the ‘back’ of a papyrus sheet or roll (and of a writing board)

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