Pyramid Texts

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Pyramid texts are inscriptions inside the pyramids of the 5th and 6th dynasty Pharaohs, and of their wives. They mostly take the form of spells or "utterances" to protect the Pharaoh's body and help him toward his afterlife in the heavens.

The Pyramid of Unas (d. c. 2345 BC)

  • Re and Thoth, take me with you, that I may eat of what you eat, that I may drink of what you drink, that I may live on what you live on, that I may sit on what you sit on, that I may be strong through that whereby you are strong, that I may sail in that in which you sail.
  • Thou purifiest thyself in the dew of the stars.
    • Utterance 214; Samuel A. B. Mercer (trans.) The Pyramid Texts (1952). [1]
  • Atum, bring me up to you, encircle me inside your arms. There is no star-god without his companion: I am your companion.
    • Utterance 215; James P. Allen (trans.), Peter Der Manuelian (ed.) The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (2005) p. 31.
  • How beautiful is thy face, when it is peaceful, new, young, for a god, father of the gods, has begotten thee!
    • Utterance 220; Samuel A. B. Mercer (trans.) The Pyramid Texts (1952). [2]
  • Opened are the double doors of the horizon; unlocked are its bolts.
    • Utterance 220; James Henry Breasted Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt (1912) p. 114.
  • Clouds darken the sky,
    The stars rain down,
    The Bows [a constellation] stagger,
    The bones of the hell-hounds tremble,
    The porters are silent,
    When they see king Unis,
    Dawning as a soul,
    As a god living on his fathers,
    Feeding on his mothers.
    • Utterance 273; James Henry Breasted Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt (1912) p. 127.

The Pyramid of Teti (d. c. 2333 BC)

  • Stand at the gates that bar the common people!
    The gatekeeper comes out to you,
    He grasps your hand,
    Takes you into heaven, to your father Geb.
    He rejoices at your coming,
    Gives you his hands,
    Kisses you, caresses you,
    Sets before you the spirits, the imperishable stars.
    • Utterance 373; Miriam Lichtheim Ancient Egyptian Literature Vol. 1 ([1975] 2006) pp. 41-42.

The Pyramid of Pepi II Neferkare (d. c. 2184 BC)

  • He flies who flies; this king Pepi flies away from you, ye mortals. He is not of the earth, he is of the sky…This king Pepi flies as a cloud to the sky, like a masthead bird; this king Pepi kisses the sky like a falcon.
    • Utterance 467; James Henry Breasted Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt (1912) p. 109.
  • Thou art the Great One in Abydos, thou art the Morning Star which appears in the eastern part of heaven, to which Horus of the Tuat has given his body. O great and exalted one among the imperishable stars, thou shalt never perish.
    • Utterance 509; E. A. Wallis Budge Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection ([1911] 1973) p. 159.

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