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TheTeachings of Ptahhotep – Full Text English Translated

THE INSTRUCTION OF PTAH-HOTEP

The Ethics of Argument–Manners for Guests–From Father to Son–A Just
Judge–The Treatment of Servants–Duties of the Great–The Test of
Friendship–The Beauty of Obedience–One Generation to Another–Whom
the King Honoureth

 

The Instruction of the Governor of his City, the Vizier, Ptah-hotep, in
the Reign of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Isôsi, living for ever,
to the end of Time.

 

A. The Governor of his City, the Vizier, Ptah-hotep, he said: ‘O
Prince, my Lord, the end of life is at hand; old age descendeth [upon
me]; feebleness cometh, and childishness is renewed. He [that is old]
lieth down in misery every day. The eyes are small; the ears are deaf.
Energy is diminished, the heart hath no rest. The mouth is silent, and
he speaketh no word; the heart stoppeth, and he remembereth not
yesterday. The bones are painful throughout the body; good turneth
unto evil. All taste departeth. These things doeth old age for
mankind, being evil in all things. The nose is stopped, and he
breatheth not for weakness (?), whether standing or sitting.

‘Command me, thy servant, therefore, to make over my princely authority
[to my son]. Let me speak unto him the words of them that hearken to
the counsel of the men of old time; those that {42} hearkened unto the
gods. I pray thee, let this thing be done, that sin may be banished
from among persons of understanding, that thou may enlighten the lands.’

Said the Majesty of this God:[1] ‘Instruct him, then, in the words of
old time; may he be a wonder unto the children of princes, that they
may enter and hearken with him. Make straight all their hearts; and
discourse with him, without causing weariness.’

 

B. Here begin the proverbs of fair speech, spoken by the Hereditary
Chief, the Holy Father,[2] Beloved of the God, the Eldest Son of the
King, of his body, the Governor of his City, the Vezier, Ptah-hotep,
when instructing the ignorant in the knowledge of exactness in
fair-speaking; the glory of him that obeyeth, the shame of him that
transgresseth them.

He said unto his son:

 

1. Be not proud because thou art learned; but discourse with the
ignorant man, as with the sage. For no limit can be set to skill,
neither is there any craftsman that possesseth full advantages. Fair
speech is more rare than the emerald that is found by slave-maidens on
the pebbles.

2. If thou find an arguer talking, one that is well disposed and wiser
than thou, let thine arms {43} fall, bend thy back,[3] be not angry
with him if he agree (?) not with thee. Refrain from speaking evilly;
oppose him not at any time when he speaketh. If he address thee as one
ignorant of the matter, thine humbleness shall bear away his
contentions.

3. If thou find an arguer talking, thy fellow, one that is within thy
reach, keep not silence when he saith aught that is evil; so shalt thou
be wiser than he. Great will be the applause on the part of the
listeners, and thy name shall be good in the knowledge of princes.

4. If thou find an arguer talking, a poor man, that is to say not
thine equal, be not scornful toward him because he is lowly. Let him
alone; then shall he confound himself. Question him not to please
thine heart, neither pour out thy wrath upon him that is before thee;
it is shameful to confuse a mean mind. If thou be about to do that
which is in thine heart, overcome it as a thing rejected of princes.

5. If thou be a leader, as one directing the conduct of the multitude,
endeavour always to be gracious, that thine own conduct be without
defect. Great is Truth, appointing a straight path; never hath it been
overthrown since the {44} reign of Osiris.[4] One that oversteppeth
the laws shall be punished. Overstepping is by the covetous man; but
degradations (?) bear off his riches, for the season of his evil-doing
ceaseth not. For he saith, ‘I will obtain by myself for myself,’ and
saith not, ‘I will obtain because I am allowed.’ But the limits of
justice are steadfast; it is that which a man repeateth from his father.

6. Cause not fear among men; for [this] the God punisheth likewise.
For there is a man that saith, ‘Therein is life’; and he is bereft of
the bread of his mouth. There is a man that saith, ‘Power [is
therein]’; and he saith, ‘I seize for myself that which I perceive.’
Thus a man speaketh, and he is smitten down. It is another that
attaineth by giving unto him that hath not; not he that causeth men
dread. For it happeneth that what the God hath commanded, even that
thing cometh to pass. Live, therefore, in the house of kindliness, and
men shall come and give gifts of themselves.

7. If thou be among the guests of a man that is greater than thou,
accept that which he giveth thee, putting it to thy lips. If thou look
at him that is before thee (thine host), pierce him not {45} with many
glances. It is abhorred of the soul[5] to stare at him. Speak not
till he address thee; one knoweth not what may be evil in his opinion.
Speak when he questioneth thee; so shall thy speech be good in his
opinion. The noble who sitteth before food divideth it as his soul
moveth him; he giveth unto him that he would favour–it is the custom
of the evening meal. It is his soul that guideth his hand. It is the
noble that bestoweth, not the underling that attaineth. Thus the
eating of bread is under the providence of the God; he is an ignorant
man that disputeth it.

8. If thou be an emissary sent from one noble to another, be exact
after the manner of him that sent thee, give his message even as he
hath said it. Beware of making enmity by thy words, setting one noble
against the other by perverting truth. Overstep it not, neither repeat
that which any man, be he prince or peasant, saith in opening the
heart; it is abhorrent to the soul.

9. If thou have ploughed, gather thine harvest in the field, and the
God shall make it great under thine hand. Fill not thy mouth at thy
neighbours’ table….[6] If a crafty man be the {46} possessor of
wealth, he stealeth like a crocodile from the priests.

Let not a man be envious that hath no children; let him be neither
downcast nor quarrelsome on account of it. For a father, though great,
may be grieved; as to the mother of children, she hath less peace than
another. Verily, each man is created [to his destiny] by the God, Who
is the chief of a tribe, trustful in following him.

10. If thou be lowly, serve a wise man, that all thine actions may be
good before the God. If thou have known a man of none account that
hath been advanced in rank, be not haughty toward him on account of
that which thou knowest concerning him; but honour him that hath been
advanced, according to that which he hath become.

Behold, riches come not of themselves; it is their rule for him that
desireth them. If he bestir him and collect them himself, the God
shall make him prosperous; but He shall punish him, if he be slothful.

11. Follow thine heart during thy lifetime; do not more than is
commanded thee. Diminish not the time of following the heart; it is
abhorred of the soul, that its time [of ease] be taken away. Shorten
not the daytime more than is needful to {47} maintain thine house.
When riches are gained, follow the heart; for riches are of no avail if
one be weary.

12. If thou wouldest be a wise man, beget a son for the pleasing of
the God. If he make straight his course after thine example, if he
arrange thine affairs in due order, do unto him all that is good, for
thy son is he, begotten of thine own soul. Sunder not thine heart from
him, or thine own begotten shall curse [thee]. If he be heedless and
trespass thy rules of conduct, and is violent; if every speech that
cometh from his mouth be a vile word; then beat thou him, that his talk
may be fitting. Keep him from those that make light of that which is
commanded, for it is they that make him rebellious.[7] And they that
are guided go not astray, but they that lose their bearings cannot find
a straight course.

13. If thou be in the chamber of council, act always according to the
steps enjoined on thee at the beginning of the day. Be not absent, or
thou shall be expelled; but be ready in entering and making report.
Wide[8] is the seat of one that hath made address. The council-chamber
acteth by strict rule; and all its plans are in accordance with method.
It is the God that {48} advanceth one to a seat therein; the like is
not done for elbowers.

14. If thou be among people, make for thyself love, the beginning and
end of the heart. One that knoweth not his course shall say in himself
(seeing thee), ‘He that ordereth himself duly becometh the owner of
wealth; I shall copy his conduct.’ Thy name shall be good, though thou
speak not; thy body shall be fed; thy face shall be [seen] among thy
neighbours; thou shalt be provided with what thou lackest. As to the
man whose heart obeyeth his belly, he causeth disgust in place of love.
His heart is wretched (?), his body is gross (?), he is insolent toward
those endowed of the God. He that obeyeth his belly hath an enemy.[9]

15. Report thine actions without concealment; discover thy conduct
when in council with thine overlord. It is not evil for the envoy that
his report be not answered, ‘Yea, I know it,’ by the prince; for that
which he knoweth includeth not [this]. If he (the prince) think that
he will oppose him on account of it, [he thinketh] ‘He will be silent
because I have spoken.'[10]

16. If thou be a leader, cause that the rules {49} that thou hast
enjoined be carried out; and do all things as one that remembereth the
days coming after, when speech availeth not. Be not lavish of favours;
it leadeth to servility (?), producing slackness.

17. If thou be a leader, be gracious when thou hearkenest unto the
speech of a suppliant. Let him not hesitate to deliver himself of that
which he hath thought to tell thee; but be desirous of removing his
injury. Let him speak freely, that the thing for which he hath come to
thee may be done. If he hesitate to open his heart, it is said, ‘Is it
because he (the judge) doeth the wrong that no entreaties are made to
him concerning it by those to whom it happeneth?’ But a well-taught
heart hearkeneth readily.

18. If thou desire to continue friendship in any abode wherein thou
enterest, be it as master, as brother, or as friend; wheresoever thou
goest, beware of consorting with women. No place prospereth wherein
that is done. Nor is it prudent to take part in it; a thousand men
have been ruined for the pleasure of a little time short as a dream.
Even death is reached thereby; it is a wretched thing. As for the evil
liver, one leaveth him for what he doeth, he is avoided. If his
desires be not gratified, he regardeth (?) no laws.

{50}

19. If thou desire that thine actions may be good, save thyself from
all malice, and beware of the quality of covetousness, which is a
grievous inner (?) malady. Let it not chance that thou fall thereinto.
It setteth at variance fathers-in-law and the kinsmen of the
daughter-in-law; it sundereth the wife and the husband. It gathereth
unto itself all evils; it is the girdle of all wickedness.[11] But the
man that is just flourisheth; truth goeth in his footsteps, and he
maketh habitations therein, not in the dwelling of covetousness.

20. Be not covetous as touching shares, in seizing that which is not
thine own property. Be not covetous toward thy neighbours; for with a
gentle man praise availeth more than might. He [that is covetous]
cometh empty from among his neighbours, being void of the persuasion of
speech. One hath remorse for even a little covetousness when his belly
cooleth.

21. If thou wouldest be wise, provide for thine house, and love thy
wife that is in thine arms. Fill her stomach, clothe her back; oil is
the remedy of her limbs. Gladden her heart during thy lifetime, for
she is an estate profitable unto its lord. Be not harsh, for
gentleness mastereth her more than strength. Give (?) to her that for
which she sigheth and that toward which her {51} eye looketh; so shalt
thou keep her in thine house….

22. Satisfy thine hired servants out of such things as thou hast; it
is the duty of one that hath been favoured of the God. In sooth, it is
hard to satisfy hired servants. For one[12] saith, ‘He is a lavish
person; one knoweth not that which may come [from him].’ But on the
morrow he thinketh, ‘He is a person of exactitude (parsimony), content
therein.’ And when favours have been shown unto servants, they say,
‘We go.’ Peace dwelleth not in that town wherein dwell servants that
are wretched.

23. Repeat not extravagant speech, neither listen thereto; for it is
the utterance of a body heated by wrath. When such speech is repeated
to thee, hearken not thereto, look to the ground. Speak not regarding
it, that he that is before thee may know wisdom. If thou be commanded
to do a theft, bring it to pass that the command be taken off thee, for
it is a thing hateful according to law. That which destroyeth a vision
is the veil over it.

24. If thou wouldest be a wise man, and one sitting in council with
his overlord, apply thine heart unto perfection. Silence is more
profitable unto thee than abundance of speech. Consider {52} how thou
may be opposed by an expert that speaketh in council. It is a foolish
thing to speak on every kind of work, for he that disputeth thy words
shall put them unto proof.

25. If thou be powerful, make thyself to be honoured for knowledge and
for gentleness. Speak with authority, that is, not as if following
injunctions, for he that is humble (when highly placed) falleth into
errors. Exalt not thine heart, that it be not brought low.[13] Be not
silent, but beware of interruption and of answering words with heat.
Put it far from thee; control thyself. The wrathful heart speaketh
fiery words; it darteth out at the man of peace that approacheth,
stopping his path.

One that reckoneth accounts all the day passeth not an happy moment.
One that gladdeneth his heart all the day provideth not for his house.
The bowman hitteth the mark, as the steersman reacheth land, by
diversity of aim. He that obeyeth his heart shall command.[14]

26. Let not a prince be hindered when he is occupied; neither oppress
the heart of him that is already laden. For he shall be hostile toward
one that delayeth him, but shall bare his soul {53} unto one that
loveth him. The disposal of souls is with the God, and that which He
loveth is His creation. Set out, therefore, after a violent quarrel;
be at peace with him that is hostile unto [thee] his opponent. It is
such souls that make love to grow.

27. Instruct a noble in such things as be profitable unto him; cause
that he be received among men. Let his satisfaction fall on his
master, for thy provision dependeth upon his will. By reason of it thy
belly shall be satisfied; thy back will be clothed thereby. Let him
receive thine heart, that thine house may flourish and thine honour–if
thou wish it to flourish–thereby. He shall extend thee a kindly hand.
Further, he shall implant the love of thee in the bodies of thy
friends. Forsooth, it is a soul loving to hearken.[15]

28. If thou be the son of a man of the priesthood, and an envoy to
conciliate the multitude,….[16] speak thou without favouring one
side. Let it not be said, ‘His conduct is that of the nobles,
favouring one side in his speech.’ Turn thine aim toward exact
judgments.

{54}

29. If thou have been gracious at a former time, having forgiven a man
to guide him aright, shun him, remind him not after the first day that
he hath been silent to thee [concerning it].

30. If thou be great, after being of none account, and hast gotten
riches after squalor, being foremost in these in the city, and hast
knowledge concerning useful matters, so that promotion is come unto
thee; then swathe not thine heart in thine hoard, for thou art become
the steward of the endowments of the God. Thou art not the last;
another shall be thine equal, and to him shall come the like [fortune
and station].

31. Bend thy back unto thy chief, thine overseer in the King’s palace,
for thine house dependeth upon his wealth, and thy wages in their
season. How foolish is one that quarrelleth with his chief, for one
liveth only while he is gracious….

Plunder not the houses of tenants; neither steal the things of a
friend, lest he accuse thee in thine hearing, which thrusteth back the
heart.[17] If he know of it, he will do thee an injury. Quarrelling
in place of friendship is a foolish thing.

{55}

32. [Concerning continence].

33. If thou wouldest seek out the nature of a friend, ask it not of
any companion of his; but pass a time with him alone, that thou injure
not his affairs. Debate with him after a season; test his heart in an
occasion of speech. When he hath told thee his past life, he hath made
an opportunity that thou may either be ashamed for him or be familiar
with him. Be not reserved with him when he openeth speech, neither
answer him after a scornful manner. Withdraw not thyself from him,
neither interrupt (?) him whose matter is not yet ended, whom it is
possible to benefit.

34. Let thy face be bright what time thou livest. That which goeth
into the storehouse must come out therefrom; and bread is to be shared.
He that is grasping in entertainment shall himself have an empty belly;
he that causeth strife cometh himself to sorrow. Take not such an one
for thy companion. It is a man’s kindly acts that are remembered of
him in the years after his life.[18]

35. Know well thy merchants; for when thine affairs are in evil case,
thy good repute among thy friends is a channel (?) which is filled. It
is more important than the dignities of a man; and {56} the wealth of
one passeth to another. The good repute of a man’s son is a glory unto
him; and a good character is for remembrance.

36. Correct chiefly; instruct conformably [therewith]. Vice must be
drawn out, that virtue may remain. Nor is this a matter of misfortune,
for one that is a gainsayer becometh a strife-maker.

37. If thou make a woman to be ashamed, wanton of heart, one known by
her townsfolk to be falsely placed, be kind unto her for a space, send
her not away, give her to eat. The wantonness of her heart shall
esteem thy guidance.

 

C. If thou obey these things that I have said unto thee, all thy
demeanour shall be of the best; for, verily, the quality of truth is
among their excellences. Set the memory of them in the mouths of the
people; for their proverbs are good. Nor shall any word that hath here
been set down cease out of this land for ever, but shall be made a
pattern whereby princes shall speak well. They (my words) shall
instruct a man; how he shall speak, after he hath heard them; yea, he
shall become as one skilful in obeying, excellent in speaking, after he
hath heard them. Good fortune shall befall him, for he shall be of the
highest rank. He shall be gracious to the end of his life; he shall be
{57} contented always. His knowledge shall be his guide (?) into a
place of security, wherein he shall prosper while on earth. The
scholar[19] shall be content in his knowledge. As to the prince, in
his turn, forsooth, his heart shall be happy, his tongue made straight.
And [in these proverbs] his lips shall speak, his eyes shall see, and
his ears shall hear, that which is profitable for his son, so that he
deal justly, void of deceit.

38. A splendid thing is the obedience of an obedient son; he cometh in
and listeneth obediently.

Excellent in hearing, excellent in speaking, is every man that obeyeth
what is noble; and the obedience of an obeyer is a noble thing.

Obedience is better than all things that are; it maketh good-will.

How good it is that a son should take that from his father by which he
hath reached old age (Obedience).

That which is desired by the God is obedience; disobedience is abhorred
of the God.

Verily, it is the heart that maketh its master to obey or to disobey;
for the safe and sound life of a man are his heart.

It is the obedient man that obeyeth what is said; he that loveth to
obey, the same shall carry out commands.

{58}

He that obeyeth becometh one obeyed.

It is good indeed when a son obeyeth his father; and he (his father)
that hath spoken hath great joy of it. Such a son shall be mild as a
master, and he that heareth him shall obey him that hath spoken. He
shall be comely in body and honoured by his father. His memory shall
be in the mouths of the living, those upon earth, as long as they
exist.[20]

39. Let a son receive the word of his father, not being heedless of
any rule of his. Instruct thy son [thus]; for the obedient man is one
that is perfect in the opinion of princes. If he direct his mouth by
what hath been enjoined him, watchful and obedient, thy son shall be
wise, and his goings seemly. Heedlessness leadeth unto disobedience on
the morrow; but understanding shall stablish him. As for the fool, he
shall be crushed.

40. As for the fool, devoid of obedience, he doeth nothing. Knowledge
he regardeth as ignorance, profitable things as hurtful things. He
doeth all kind of errors, so that he is rebuked therefor every day. He
liveth in death {59} therewith; it is his food. At chattering speech
he marvelleth, as at the wisdom of princes, living in death every day.
He is shunned because of his misfortunes, by reason of the multitude of
afflictions that cometh upon him every day.

41. A son that hearkeneth is as a Follower of Horus.[21] He is good
after he hearkeneth; he groweth old, he reacheth honour and reverence.
He repeateth in like manner to his sons and daughters, so renewing the
instruction of his father. Each man instructeth as did his begetter,
repeating it unto his children. Let them [in turn] speak with their
sons and daughters, that they may be famous in their deeds. Let that
which thou speakest implant true things and just in the life of thy
children. Then the highest authority shall arrive, and sins depart
[from them]. And such men as see these things shall say, ‘Surely that
man hath spoken to good purpose,’ and they shall do likewise; or, ‘But
surely that man was experienced.’ And all people shall declare, ‘It is
they that shall direct the multitude; dignities are not complete
without them.’

Take not any word away, neither add one; {60} set not one in the place
of another. Beware of opening…[22] in thyself.

Be wary of speech when a learned man hearkeneth unto thee; desire to be
stablished for good in the mouth of those that hear thee speaking. If
thou have entered as an expert, speak with exact (?) lips, that thy
conduct may be seemly.

42. Be thine heart overflowing; but refrain thy mouth. Let thy
conduct be exact while amongst nobles, and seemly before thy lord,
doing that which he hath commanded. Such a son shall speak unto them
that hearken to him; moreover, his begetter shall be favoured. Apply
thine heart, what time thou speakest, to saying things such that the
nobles who listen declare, ‘How excellent is that which cometh out of
his mouth!’

43. Carry out the behest of thy lord to thee. How good is the
teaching of a man’s father, for he hath come from him, who hath spoken
of his son while he was yet unborn; and that which is done for him (the
son) is more than that which is commanded him. Forsooth, a good son is
of the gift of the God; he doeth more than is {61} enjoined on him, he
doeth right, and putteth his heart into all his goings.

 

D. If now thou attain my position, thy body shall flourish, the King
shall be content in all that thou doest, and thou shalt gather years of
life not fewer than I have passed upon earth. I have gathered even
fivescore and ten years of life, for the King hath bestowed upon me
favours more than upon my forefathers; this because I wrought truth and
justice for the King unto mine old age.

 

IT IS FINISHED

FROM ITS BEGINNING TO ITS END

EVEN AS FOUND IN WRITING.

Ancient Books · Books · Literature

Palermo Stone – English Text Translation

The Palermo stone exists in fragments (1 in Palermo, Sicily,
4 in Cairo and 1 in London). It has short, year by year
accounts of major events, mostly ceremonies, festivals and
rituals. A palm branch arches over each register
representing a year. The translation of each register
therefore should start with the year of… which will be
omitted.

 

2nd Row: Part of the reign of a king, most possibly Djer (1st
Dynasty).
Register 1: wD(yt) Hrw ms(w)t inpw,
Processional Tour (lit. journey) of Horus, Birth of Anubis
(“birth” here and below probably refers to erecting a
dedicatory statue or making a standard which after a ritual
believed to become alive).
Register 2: Abd 6 hrw 7, 6 months and 7 days (time
period in the year left because of the death of the king).
Register 3: Abd 4 hrw 13 zmA tAwi pXr HA inb,
month 4 and day 13 (time of the new king’s ascension to the
throne), Uniting Upper and Lower Egypt (represented by
their heraldic plants around the sign zmA unite), the
festival “Going around the Wall”. (Both “coronation”
ceremonies legitimize the new ruler’s assumption to the
throne).
Register 4: wD(yt) Hrw HAb dSr,
Processional Tour of Horus, Desher-Festival.
Register 5: ms(w)t zAwi biti, birth of two
royal children of Lower Egypt..
Register 6: 1 wD(yt) Hrw kAp […] Processional
Tour of Horus, royal nursery […].
Register 7: Hwt-nTr sxm-nTrw HA HAb-zkr,
[designing] the temple” Might of the Gods,”attendance of
the Festival of Seker.
Register 8: wD(yt) Hrw ms(w)t sSAt, Processional
Tour of Horus, Birth of Seshat.
Register 9: xa(t) (n)swt ms(w)t mnw, Appearance of
the King of Upper Egypt (a ceremony or a festival), Birth of
Min.
Register 10: wD(yt) Hrw, ms(w)t inpw,
Processional Tour of Horus, Birth of Anubis.
Register 11: zp tp Dt-HAb, first time of the DjetFestival.

 

3rd Row: Part of the reign of a king, most possibly Den (1st

Dynasty).
Register 1: 2 aHa Hwt-nTr HkA zAw,
attendance (lit. standing) at the temple of Heka in Sais.
Register 2: sqr iwntiw, smiting the Bedouin3
.
Register 3: xawwi4
nswt-biti HAb-sd, Dual
Appearance (in glory) of the King of Upper and Lower
Egypt, Heb-sed.
Register 4: imnt mHtt S(mA)w iAbt rxyt nbt,
[numbering] all the people of west, north, south and east.
Register 5: zp 2 Dt-HAb, 2nd time of the Djet-Festival.
Register 6: Hwt-nTr swt-nTrw HA HAb-zkr,
[designing] the temple “Thrones of the Gods”, attendance
of the Festival of Seker.
Register 7: pD sSnw Hm-sSAt aA wr Hwt-nTr
swt-nTrw, Stretching the Cord (in foundation ceremony) by
the Seshat-priest for the great door of the temple “Thrones
of the Gods.”
Register 8. wpt S(i) Hwt-nTr swt-nTrw
stt db, opening the lake of the temple “Thrones of the
Gods”, harpooning a hippopotamus (possibly a ritual).
Register 9: aHa nni-(n)sw(t) xm inb HriS.f,
attending the stone shrine of Herishef (Plutarch’s Arsaphes,
creator ram-god) of Heracleopolis Magna.
Register 10: na(t) saH-(n)swt hwt wr-kA, tour
to Sahnesut, smiting of Werka. (The name of the town wr-kA
is a nfr-Hr construction, “great of spirit”.)
Register 11: ms(w)t sd, Birth of Sed (jackal-god,
early form of Wepwawet). (As noted above, “birth” points
to making the standard.)
Register 12: xa(t) biti zp tp pHrr Hpw,
Appearance of the King of Lower Egypt, the first running of
the Apis Bull.
Register 13: ms(w)t sSAt mAfdt, Birth of Seshat and
Mafdet (protective feline-deity).
4th Row: Recording the events during the reign of
King Nynetjer (2nd Dynasty):
Register 1: xa(t) (n)swt pD sSnw Hwt Hrw-rn,
Appearance of the King of Upper Egypt, Stretching the
Cord for the temple Horus-Ren.
Register 2: wD(yt) Hrw zp 4 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 4th time of the census (lit. enumeration).
Register 3: xawwi nswt-biti [A]pd anx Hpw,
Dual Appearance of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt,
running of the (living) Apis Bull.
Register 4: wD(yt) Hrw zp 5 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 5th time of the census.
Register 5: xa(t) biti zp 2 HAb-zkr, Appearance of
the King of Lower Egypt, 2rd time of the Festival of Seker.
Register 6: wD(yt) Hrw zp 6 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 6th time of the census.
Register 7: zp tp Hr-pt-dwA ad Sm-ra
ad mHw, first time of the festival “Horus of Heaven”
hacking up the towns Shemra and Mehu.
Register 8: wD(yt) Hrw zp 7 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 7th time of the census.
Register 9: xa(t) biti zp 2 pHrr Hpw,
Appearance of the King of Lower Egypt, 2nd running of the
Apis Bull.
Register 10: wD(yt) Hrw zp 8 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 8th time of the census.
Register 11: xa(t) biti zp 3 HAb-zkr, Appearance
of the King of Lower Egypt, 3rd time of the Festival of Seker.
Register 12: wD(yt) Hrw zp 9 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 9th time of the census.
Register 13: xa(t) biti mAaw (n)sw(t) Dt-HAb nxbt,
Appearance of the King of Lower Egypt, the King offering
to the goddess Nekhbet, Djet-Festival.
Register 14: wD(yt) Hrw zp 10 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 10th time of the census.

5th Row: Recording the events in the reign of King
Khasekhemwy and King Djoser (3rd Dynasty).
Register 1: wD(yt) Hrw zp 6 Tnwt, Processional
Tour of Horus, 6th time of the census.
Register 2: xawwi nswt-biti qd inr nTrt mn,
Dual Appearance of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt,
stone building of “Enduring Goddess.”
Register 3: wD(yt) Hrw zp 7 Tnwt nby,
Processional Tour of Horus, census of the gold(smiths).
Register 4: ms(w)t xa-sxmwi, birth of Khasekhemwy.
Register 5: wD Hrw zp 8 Tnwt nby,
Processional Tour of Horus, census of the gold.
Register 6: zp 4 in(t) mH bAkt inb dwA-Df(A),
4 times bringing to completion the work of the wall of
Duadjefa.
Register 7: Abd 2 hrw 13 xawwi nswt-biti
zmA tAwi pXr HA inb, 2nd month and 13th day, Dual
Appearance of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Uniting
the Two Lands, the festival “Going around the Wall.”
Register 8: xawwi nswt-biti (n)swt
ib(w) snwt, Dual Appearance of the King of Upper and
Lower Egypt, [introduction]of the King to the refuge (of
purification) “Shrine.”
Register 9: wD(yt) Hrw ms(w)t mnw, Processional
Tour of Horus, Birth of Min.
Register 10: xawwi nswt-biti pD sSnw HwtnTr
qbH-nTrw, Dual Appearance of the King of Upper and
Lower Egypt, Stretching the Cord for the temple
“Refreshment of the Gods.”

6th Row: Recording the events in the reign of King Sneferu
(4th Dynasty).
Register 1:

mH bAk(t) mr(w) dwA-tAwi mH 100 dpt
16 (n)swt dpt 60 ad tA-nHs int anx-sqr 7000 iwA-awt 200,000
qd inb SmAw tA-mHw snfrw Hwwt int dpt 40 mH aS,
completion of work of a 100-cubit meru-wood dua-taui boat,
60 royal boats of type-165
, hacking up the land of the
Nubians bringing 7000 captured prisoners, 200000 cattle,
building a wall Upper and Lower Egypt “Enclosures of
Sneferu,” bringing 40 boats filled with cedar-wood
Register 2:
irt Hwt 35 Szp mr(w) 122 mH bAk(t) aS dwAtAwi
mH 100 dpt mr(w) mH 100 dpt 2 7 Tnwt
building of 35 enclosures, receiving 122 bulls, completion
of work of a 100-cubit cedar-wood dua-taui boat, 2 100-
cubit meru-wood boats, 7th time of the census.
Register 3:
saHa HDt snfrw tp r sbxt (r)sw nt snfrw tp r sbxt mHtt irt aAw
aH-(n)swt aS zp 8 Tnwt, erecting the “White Crown of
Sneferu on the Top of the Southern Gateway”and the “Red
Crown of Sneferu on the Top of the Northern Gateway,”
making cedar-wood doors of the King’s palace, 8th time of
the census.

Ancient Books · Books · Literature

Code of Urukagina Text – English translation

“THE PRACTICES OF FORMER DAYS”

Since time immemorial, since the seed corn (first) sprouted forth, the head boatman had the boats in charge for his own benefit, the head shepherd had the asses in charge for his own benefit, the head shepherd had the sheep in charge for his own benefit; the head fisherman had the fishing places in charge for his own benefit. The incantation-priest measured out the barley rent (to his own advantage)….

The [temple] oxen of the gods plowed the gardens of the ensi; the gardens and the cucumber fields of the ensi were in the best fields of the gods; the asses and oxen of the priests were taken away (by the ensi). ne barley rations [income] of the priests were administered by the men of the ensi….

In the garden of a humble person a priest could cut a tree or carry away its fruit. When a dead man was placed in the tomb, it was necessary to deliver in his name seven jars of beer and 420 loaves of bread. ne uh-mush priest received one-half gur [about fourteen gallons] of barley, one garment, one turban, and one bed. ne priest’s assistant received one-fourth gur of barley…

The workingman was forced to beg for his bread; the youth was forced to work in the a-zar-la.  The houses of the ensi, the fields of the ensi, the houses of the Enzi’s wife, the fields of the Enzi’s wife, the houses of the Enzi’s children, the fields of the Enzi’s children – all were joined together side by side.  Everywhere from border to border there were the priest-judges [mash- kim] ….Such were the practices of former days.

“HE FREED THE INHABITANTS OF LARASH”

When the god Ningirsu, the warrior of the god Enlil, granted the lugal-ship of Lagash to Urukagina, picking him out of the entire population, he [Ningirsu] enjoined upon him (the restoration of) the divinely decreed way of life of former days. He [Urukagina] carried out the instructions of his divine lugal, Ningirsu.

He removed the head boatman in charge of the boats. He removed the head shepherd in charge of the asses and sheep. He removed the head fisher- man from the fishing places. He removed the bead of the storehouse from his responsibility of measuring out the barley ration to the incantation-priests…. He removed the palace official in charge of collecting the il-tax from the priests.

The houses of the ensi and the fields of the ensi were restored to the god Ningirsu. The houses of the ensi’s wife and the fields of the ensi’s wife were restored to the goddess Bau. The houses of the ensi’s children and the fields of the ensi’s children were restored to the god Shulshaggana.

Everywhere from border to border no one spoke further of priest-judges (mashkim).

When a dead man was placed in the tomb, (only) three jars of beer and eighty loaves of bread were delivered in his name. The uh-mush priest received one bed and one turban. The priest’s assistant received one-eighth gur of barley….

The youth was not required to work in the a-zar-la; the workingman was not forced to beg for his bread. The priest no longer invaded the garden of a humble person.

He (also) decreed:  If a good ass is born to a client and his overseer says to him, “I will buy if from you,” then if be wishes to sell it he will say, “Pay me what pleases me”; but if he does not wish to sell, the overseer must not force him. If the house of a powerful man is next to the house of a client, and if the powerful man says to him, “I wish to buy it,” then if he wishes to sell he will say, “Pay me in silver as much as suits me,” or “Reimburse me with an equivalent amount of barley”; but if he does not wish to sell, the powerful man must not force him.

CONCLUSION

He [Urukagina] freed the inhabitants of Lagash from usury, burdensome controls, hunger, theft, murder, and seizure (of their property and persons). He established freedom (of a type).  The widow and orphan were no longer at the mercy of the powerful: it was for them that Urukagina made his covenant with Ningirsu.

Ancient Books · Books · Literature · Sumerian Literature

Le Istruzioni di Shuruppak – Testo integrale in Inglese

1-13 In those days, in those far remote days, in those nights, in those faraway nights, in those
years, in those far remote years, at that time the wise one who knew how to speak in elaborate
words lived in the Land; Curuppag, the wise one, who knew how to speak with elaborate words
lived in the Land. Curuppag gave instructions to his son; Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu gave
instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: you should pay attention!
Zi-ud-sura, let me speak a word to you: you should pay attention! Do not neglect my instructions!
Do not transgress the words I speak! The instructions of an old man are precious; you should
comply with them!
14You should not buy a donkey which brays; it will split (?) your midriff (?).
15-18You should not locate a field on a road; ……. You should not plough a field at (1 ms.
adds: a road or) a path; ……. You should not make a well in your field: people will cause damage
on it for you. You should not place your house next to a public square: there is always a crowd (?)
there.
19-20You should not vouch for someone: that man will have a hold on you; and you yourself, you
should not let somebody vouch for you (1 ms. adds:: that man will despise (?) you).
21You should not make an inspection (?) on a man: the flood (?) will give it back (?) to you.
22-27 You should not loiter about where there is a quarrel; you should not let the quarrel make
you a witness. You should not let (?) yourself …… in a quarrel. You should not cause a quarrel;
……. …… the gate of the palace ……. Stand aside from a quarrel, …… you should not take (?)
another road.
28-31You should not steal anything; you should not …… yourself. You should not break into a
house; you should not wish for the money chest (?). A thief is a lion, but after he has been caught,
he will be a slave. My son, you should not commit robbery; you should not cut yourself with an
axe.
32-34You should not make a young man best man. You should not …… yourself. You should not
play around with a married young woman: the slander could be serious. My son, you should not
sit alone in a chamber with a married woman.
35-38You should not pick a quarrel; you should not disgrace yourself. You should not …… lies;
……. You should not boast; then your words will be trusted. You should not deliberate for too long
(?); you cannot bear …… glances.
39-41You should not eat stolen food with anyone (1 ms. has instead: a thief). You should not
sink (?) your hand into blood. After you have apportioned the bones, you will be made to restore
the ox, you will be made to restore the sheep.
42-43You should not speak improperly; later it will lay a trap for you.
44-46You should not scatter your sheep into unknown pastures. You should not hire someone’s
ox for an uncertain ……. A safe …… means a safe journey.
47You should not travel during the night: it can hide both good and evil.
48You should not buy an onager: it lasts (?) only until the end of the day.
49You should not have sex with your slave girl: she will chew you up (?).
50You should not curse strongly: it rebounds on you.
51-52You should not draw up water which you cannot reach (1 ms. has instead: grasp): it will
make you weak. 1 line unclear
53 You should not drive away a debtor: he will be hostile towards you.
54-57 You should not establish a home with an arrogant man: he will make your life like that of a
slave girl. You will not be able to travel through any human dwelling without be being shouted at:
“There you go! There you go!”
58-59 You should not undo the …… of the garden’s reed fence; “Restore it! Restore it!” they will
say to you.
60 You should not provide a stranger (?) with food; you should not wipe out (?) a quarrel.
61-62 My son, you should not use violence (?); ……. You should not commit rape on someone’s
daughter; the courtyard will learn of it.
63-64 You should not drive away a powerful (1 ms. has instead: strong) man; you should not
destroy the outer wall. You should not drive away a young man; you should not make him turn
against the city.
65-66 The eyes of the slanderer always move around as shiftily as a spindle. You should never
remain in his presence; his intentions (?) should not be allowed to have an effect (?) on you.
67 You should not boast in beer halls (1 ms. has instead: breweries) like a deceitful man: (1
ms. adds: then your words will be trusted.)
68-72 Having reached the field of manhood, you should not jump (?) with your hand. The warrior
is unique, he alone is the equal of many; Utu is unique, he alone is the equal of many. With your
life you should always be on the side of the warrior; with your life you should always be on the
side of Utu.
73-75 Curuppag gave these instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu, gave these
instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura.
76-82 A second time,Curuppag gave instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu
gave instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: you should pay
attention! Zi-ud-sura, let me speak a word to you: you should pay attention! Do not neglect my
instructions! Do not transgress the words I speak! (1 ms. adds the line: The instructions of an
old man are precious; you should comply with them! )
83-91The beer-drinking mouth ……. My little one ……. The beer-drinking mouth ……. Ninkasi …….
5 lines unclear
92-93Your own man will not repay (?) it for you. The reed-beds are ……, they can hide (?)
slander.
94-96The palace is like a mighty river: its middle is goring bulls; what flows in is never enough to
fill it, and what flows out can never be stopped.
97-100 When it is about someone’s else bread, it is easy to say “I will give it to you”, but the time
of actual giving can be as far away as the sky. If you go after the man who said “I will give it to
you”, he will say “I cannot give it to you — the bread has just been finished up”.
101-102 Property is something to be expanded (?); but nothing can equal my little ones.
103-105 The artistic mouth recites words; the harsh mouth brings litigation documents; the sweet
mouth gathers sweet herbs.
106-108The garrulous (1 ms. has instead: liar) fills (?) his bread bag; the haughty one brings
an empty bag and can fill his empty mouth only with boasting.
109 Who works with leather will eventually (?) work with his own leather.
110The strong one can escape (?) from anyone’s hand.
111-114 The fool loses something. When sleeping, the fool loses something. “Do not tie me up!”
he pleads; “Let me live!” he pleads.
115-117 The imprudent decrees fates; the shameless one piles up (?) things in another’s lap: “I
am such that I deserve admiration”.
118 A weak wife is always seized (?) by fate.
119-123 If you hire a worker, he will share the bread bag with you; he eats with you from the
same bag, and finishes up the bag with you. Then he will quit working with you and, saying “I
have to live on something”, he will serve at the palace.
124-125 You tell your son to come to your home; you tell your daughter to go to her women’s
quarters.
126 You should not pass judgment when you drink beer.
127 You should not worry unduly about what leaves the house.
128-130 Heaven is far, earth is most precious, but it is with heaven that you multiply your goods,
and all foreign lands breathe under it.
131-133 At harvest time, at the most priceless time, collect like a slave girl, eat like a queen; my
son, to collect like a slave girl, to eat like a queen, this is how it should be.
134-142 Who insults can hurt only the skin; greedy eyes (?), however, can kill. The liar, shouting,
tears up his garments. Insults bring (?) advice to the wicked. To speak arrogantly is like an
abscess: a herb that makes the stomach sick. 1 line is unclearMy words of prayer bring
abundance. Prayer is cool water that cools the heart. Only (?) insults and stupid speaking receive
the attention of the Land.
143-145 Curuppag gave these instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu, gave
these instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura.
146-152A third time, Curuppag gave instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu
gave instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: you should pay
attention! Zi-ud-sura, let me speak a word to you: you should pay attention! Do not neglect my
instructions! Do not transgress the words I speak! (Some mss. add the line: The instructions
of an old man are precious; you should comply with them! )
153You should not beat a farmer’s son: he has constructed (?) your embankments and ditches.
154-164You should not buy a prostitute: she is a mouth that bites. You should not buy a houseborn
slave: he is a herb that makes the stomach sick. You should not buy a free man: he will
always lean against the wall. You should not buy a palace slave girl: she will always be the
bottom of the barrel (?). You should rather bring down a foreign slave from the mountains, or you
should bring somebody from a place where he is an alien; my son, then he will pour water for you
where the sun rises and he will walk before you. He does not belong to any family, so he does not
want to go to his family; he does not belong to any city, so he does not want to go to his city. (1
ms. adds 2 lines: He cannot knock at the door of ……, he cannot enter …….) He will not ……
with you, he will not be presumptuous with you.
165-167My son, you should not travel alone eastwards. Your acquaintance should not …….
168-169 A name placed on another one ……; you should not pile up a mountain on another one.
170-171Fate is a wet bank; it can make one slip.
172-174The elder brother is indeed like a father; the elder sister is indeed like a mother. Listen
therefore to your elder brother, and you should be obedient to your elder sister as if she were
your mother.
175-176You should not work using only your eyes; you will not multiply your possessions using
only your mouth.
177 The negligent one ruins (?) his family.
178-180The need for food makes some people ascend the mountains; it also brings traitors and
foreigners, since the need for food brings down other people from the mountains.
181-182A small city provides (?) its king with a calf; a huge city digs (?) a house plot (?).
183-188…… is well equipped. The poor man inflicts all kinds of illnesses on the rich man. The
married man is well equipped; the unmarried makes his bed in a haystack (?). He who wishes to
destroy a house will go ahead and destroy the house; he who wishes to raise up will go ahead
and raise up.
189-192By grasping the neck of a huge ox, you can cross the river. By moving along (?) at the
side of the mighty men of your city, my son, you will certainly ascend (?).
193-201When you bring a slave girl from the hills, she brings both good and evil with her. The
good is in the hands; the evil is in the heart. The heart does not let go of the good; but the heart
cannot let go of the evil either. As if it were a watery place, the heart does not abandon the good.
Evil is a store-room ……. (1 ms. adds: 2 lines unclear)May the boat with the evil sink in the
river! May his waterskin split in the desert!
202-203A loving heart maintains a family; a hateful heart destroys a family.
204-207To have authority, to have possessions and to be steadfast are princely divine powers.
You should submit to the respected; you should be humble before the powerful. My son, you will
then survive (?) against the wicked.
208-212You should not choose a wife during a festival. Her inside is illusory (?); her outside is
illusory (?). The silver on her is borrowed; the lapis lazuli on her is borrowed (1 ms. has
instead the line: ……; the jewellery on her is borrowed, the jewellery on her is borrowed). The
dress on her is borrowed; the linen garment on her is borrowed. With …… nothing (?) is
comparable.
213-214 You should not buy a …… bull. You should not buy a vicious bull; …… a hole (?) in the
cattle-pen …….
215 One appoints (?) a reliable woman for a good household.
216-217You should not buy a donkey at the time of harvest. A donkey which eats …… will ……
with another donkey.
218-219 A vicious donkey hangs its neck; however, a vicious man, my son, …….
220 A woman with her own property ruins the house.
221A drunkard will drown the harvest.
222-234 A female burglar (?) …… ladder; she flies into the houses like a fly. A she-donkey …… on
the street. A sow suckles its child on the street. A woman who pricked herself begins to cry and
holds the spindle which pricked (?) her in her hand. She enters every house; she peers into all
streets. …… she keeps saying “Get out!” She looks around (?) from all parapets. She pants (?)
where there is a quarrel. 2 lines unclear
235-241Marry (?) …… whose heart hates (?). My son, …… 4 lines unclearA heart which
overflows with joy …….
242-244Nothing at all is to be valued, but life should be sweet. You should not serve things;
things should serve you. My son, …….
245 You should not …… grain; its …… are numerous.
246-247 You should not abuse a ewe; otherwise you will give birth to a daughter. You should not
throw a lump of earth into the money chest (?); otherwise you will give birth to a son.
248-249 You should not abduct a wife; you should not make her cry (?). The place where the wife
is abducted to …….
251 “Let us run in circles (?), saying: “Oh, my foot, oh, my neck!”. Let us with united forces (?)
make the mighty bow!”
252-253 You should not kill a ……, he is a child born by ……. You should not kill …… like ……; you
should not bind him.
254 The wet-nurses in the women’s quarters determine the fate of their lord.
255-260 You should not speak arrogantly to your mother; that causes hatred for you. You should
not question the words of your mother and your personal god. The mother, like Utu, gives birth to
the man; the father, like a god, makes him bright (?). The father is like a god: his words are
reliable. The instructions of the father should be complied with.
261 Without suburbs a city has no centre either.
262-263 My son, a field situated at the bottom of the embankments, be it wet or dry, is
nevertheless a source of income.
264 it is inconceivable (?) that something is lost forever.
265…… of Dilmun ……
266-271 To get lost is bad for a dog; but terrible for a man (1 ms. has instead: An unknown
place is terrible; to get lost is shameful (?) for a dog). On the unfamiliar way at the edge of the
mountains, the gods of the mountains are man-eaters. They do not build houses there as men do;
they do not build cities there as men do. 1 line unclear
272-273 For the shepherd, he stopped searching, he stopped bringing back the sheep. For the
farmer (?), he stopped ploughing the field. 1 line unclear
274-276 This gift of words is something which soothes the mind ……; when it enters the palace, it
soothes the mind ……. The gift of many words ….. stars.
277 These are the instructions given by Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu.
278-280 Praise be to the lady who completed the great tablets, the maiden Nisaba, that
Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu gave his instructions!

Ancient Books · Books · Literature · Sumerian Literature

Instructions of Shuruppak – Full Text English Translation

1-13 In those days, in those far remote days, in those nights, in those faraway nights, in those
years, in those far remote years, at that time the wise one who knew how to speak in elaborate
words lived in the Land; Curuppag, the wise one, who knew how to speak with elaborate words
lived in the Land. Curuppag gave instructions to his son; Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu gave
instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: you should pay attention!
Zi-ud-sura, let me speak a word to you: you should pay attention! Do not neglect my instructions!
Do not transgress the words I speak! The instructions of an old man are precious; you should
comply with them!
14You should not buy a donkey which brays; it will split (?) your midriff (?).
15-18You should not locate a field on a road; ……. You should not plough a field at (1 ms.
adds: a road or) a path; ……. You should not make a well in your field: people will cause damage
on it for you. You should not place your house next to a public square: there is always a crowd (?)
there.
19-20You should not vouch for someone: that man will have a hold on you; and you yourself, you
should not let somebody vouch for you (1 ms. adds:: that man will despise (?) you).
21You should not make an inspection (?) on a man: the flood (?) will give it back (?) to you.
22-27 You should not loiter about where there is a quarrel; you should not let the quarrel make
you a witness. You should not let (?) yourself …… in a quarrel. You should not cause a quarrel;
……. …… the gate of the palace ……. Stand aside from a quarrel, …… you should not take (?)
another road.
28-31You should not steal anything; you should not …… yourself. You should not break into a
house; you should not wish for the money chest (?). A thief is a lion, but after he has been caught,
he will be a slave. My son, you should not commit robbery; you should not cut yourself with an
axe.
32-34You should not make a young man best man. You should not …… yourself. You should not
play around with a married young woman: the slander could be serious. My son, you should not
sit alone in a chamber with a married woman.
35-38You should not pick a quarrel; you should not disgrace yourself. You should not …… lies;
……. You should not boast; then your words will be trusted. You should not deliberate for too long
(?); you cannot bear …… glances.
39-41You should not eat stolen food with anyone (1 ms. has instead: a thief). You should not
sink (?) your hand into blood. After you have apportioned the bones, you will be made to restore
the ox, you will be made to restore the sheep.
42-43You should not speak improperly; later it will lay a trap for you.
44-46You should not scatter your sheep into unknown pastures. You should not hire someone’s
ox for an uncertain ……. A safe …… means a safe journey.
47You should not travel during the night: it can hide both good and evil.
48You should not buy an onager: it lasts (?) only until the end of the day.
49You should not have sex with your slave girl: she will chew you up (?).
50You should not curse strongly: it rebounds on you.
51-52You should not draw up water which you cannot reach (1 ms. has instead: grasp): it will
make you weak. 1 line unclear
53 You should not drive away a debtor: he will be hostile towards you.
54-57 You should not establish a home with an arrogant man: he will make your life like that of a
slave girl. You will not be able to travel through any human dwelling without be being shouted at:
“There you go! There you go!”
58-59 You should not undo the …… of the garden’s reed fence; “Restore it! Restore it!” they will
say to you.
60 You should not provide a stranger (?) with food; you should not wipe out (?) a quarrel.
61-62 My son, you should not use violence (?); ……. You should not commit rape on someone’s
daughter; the courtyard will learn of it.
63-64 You should not drive away a powerful (1 ms. has instead: strong) man; you should not
destroy the outer wall. You should not drive away a young man; you should not make him turn
against the city.
65-66 The eyes of the slanderer always move around as shiftily as a spindle. You should never
remain in his presence; his intentions (?) should not be allowed to have an effect (?) on you.
67 You should not boast in beer halls (1 ms. has instead: breweries) like a deceitful man: (1
ms. adds: then your words will be trusted.)
68-72 Having reached the field of manhood, you should not jump (?) with your hand. The warrior
is unique, he alone is the equal of many; Utu is unique, he alone is the equal of many. With your
life you should always be on the side of the warrior; with your life you should always be on the
side of Utu.
73-75 Curuppag gave these instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu, gave these
instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura.
76-82 A second time,Curuppag gave instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu
gave instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: you should pay
attention! Zi-ud-sura, let me speak a word to you: you should pay attention! Do not neglect my
instructions! Do not transgress the words I speak! (1 ms. adds the line: The instructions of an
old man are precious; you should comply with them! )
83-91The beer-drinking mouth ……. My little one ……. The beer-drinking mouth ……. Ninkasi …….
5 lines unclear
92-93Your own man will not repay (?) it for you. The reed-beds are ……, they can hide (?)
slander.
94-96The palace is like a mighty river: its middle is goring bulls; what flows in is never enough to
fill it, and what flows out can never be stopped.
97-100 When it is about someone’s else bread, it is easy to say “I will give it to you”, but the time
of actual giving can be as far away as the sky. If you go after the man who said “I will give it to
you”, he will say “I cannot give it to you — the bread has just been finished up”.
101-102 Property is something to be expanded (?); but nothing can equal my little ones.
103-105 The artistic mouth recites words; the harsh mouth brings litigation documents; the sweet
mouth gathers sweet herbs.
106-108The garrulous (1 ms. has instead: liar) fills (?) his bread bag; the haughty one brings
an empty bag and can fill his empty mouth only with boasting.
109 Who works with leather will eventually (?) work with his own leather.
110The strong one can escape (?) from anyone’s hand.
111-114 The fool loses something. When sleeping, the fool loses something. “Do not tie me up!”
he pleads; “Let me live!” he pleads.
115-117 The imprudent decrees fates; the shameless one piles up (?) things in another’s lap: “I
am such that I deserve admiration”.
118 A weak wife is always seized (?) by fate.
119-123 If you hire a worker, he will share the bread bag with you; he eats with you from the
same bag, and finishes up the bag with you. Then he will quit working with you and, saying “I
have to live on something”, he will serve at the palace.
124-125 You tell your son to come to your home; you tell your daughter to go to her women’s
quarters.
126 You should not pass judgment when you drink beer.
127 You should not worry unduly about what leaves the house.
128-130 Heaven is far, earth is most precious, but it is with heaven that you multiply your goods,
and all foreign lands breathe under it.
131-133 At harvest time, at the most priceless time, collect like a slave girl, eat like a queen; my
son, to collect like a slave girl, to eat like a queen, this is how it should be.
134-142 Who insults can hurt only the skin; greedy eyes (?), however, can kill. The liar, shouting,
tears up his garments. Insults bring (?) advice to the wicked. To speak arrogantly is like an
abscess: a herb that makes the stomach sick. 1 line is unclearMy words of prayer bring
abundance. Prayer is cool water that cools the heart. Only (?) insults and stupid speaking receive
the attention of the Land.
143-145 Curuppag gave these instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu, gave
these instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura.
146-152A third time, Curuppag gave instructions to his son. Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu
gave instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: you should pay
attention! Zi-ud-sura, let me speak a word to you: you should pay attention! Do not neglect my
instructions! Do not transgress the words I speak! (Some mss. add the line: The instructions
of an old man are precious; you should comply with them! )
153You should not beat a farmer’s son: he has constructed (?) your embankments and ditches.
154-164You should not buy a prostitute: she is a mouth that bites. You should not buy a houseborn
slave: he is a herb that makes the stomach sick. You should not buy a free man: he will
always lean against the wall. You should not buy a palace slave girl: she will always be the
bottom of the barrel (?). You should rather bring down a foreign slave from the mountains, or you
should bring somebody from a place where he is an alien; my son, then he will pour water for you
where the sun rises and he will walk before you. He does not belong to any family, so he does not
want to go to his family; he does not belong to any city, so he does not want to go to his city. (1
ms. adds 2 lines: He cannot knock at the door of ……, he cannot enter …….) He will not ……
with you, he will not be presumptuous with you.
165-167My son, you should not travel alone eastwards. Your acquaintance should not …….
168-169 A name placed on another one ……; you should not pile up a mountain on another one.
170-171Fate is a wet bank; it can make one slip.
172-174The elder brother is indeed like a father; the elder sister is indeed like a mother. Listen
therefore to your elder brother, and you should be obedient to your elder sister as if she were
your mother.
175-176You should not work using only your eyes; you will not multiply your possessions using
only your mouth.
177 The negligent one ruins (?) his family.
178-180The need for food makes some people ascend the mountains; it also brings traitors and
foreigners, since the need for food brings down other people from the mountains.
181-182A small city provides (?) its king with a calf; a huge city digs (?) a house plot (?).
183-188…… is well equipped. The poor man inflicts all kinds of illnesses on the rich man. The
married man is well equipped; the unmarried makes his bed in a haystack (?). He who wishes to
destroy a house will go ahead and destroy the house; he who wishes to raise up will go ahead
and raise up.
189-192By grasping the neck of a huge ox, you can cross the river. By moving along (?) at the
side of the mighty men of your city, my son, you will certainly ascend (?).
193-201When you bring a slave girl from the hills, she brings both good and evil with her. The
good is in the hands; the evil is in the heart. The heart does not let go of the good; but the heart
cannot let go of the evil either. As if it were a watery place, the heart does not abandon the good.
Evil is a store-room ……. (1 ms. adds: 2 lines unclear)May the boat with the evil sink in the
river! May his waterskin split in the desert!
202-203A loving heart maintains a family; a hateful heart destroys a family.
204-207To have authority, to have possessions and to be steadfast are princely divine powers.
You should submit to the respected; you should be humble before the powerful. My son, you will
then survive (?) against the wicked.
208-212You should not choose a wife during a festival. Her inside is illusory (?); her outside is
illusory (?). The silver on her is borrowed; the lapis lazuli on her is borrowed (1 ms. has
instead the line: ……; the jewellery on her is borrowed, the jewellery on her is borrowed). The
dress on her is borrowed; the linen garment on her is borrowed. With …… nothing (?) is
comparable.
213-214 You should not buy a …… bull. You should not buy a vicious bull; …… a hole (?) in the
cattle-pen …….
215 One appoints (?) a reliable woman for a good household.
216-217You should not buy a donkey at the time of harvest. A donkey which eats …… will ……
with another donkey.
218-219 A vicious donkey hangs its neck; however, a vicious man, my son, …….
220 A woman with her own property ruins the house.
221A drunkard will drown the harvest.
222-234 A female burglar (?) …… ladder; she flies into the houses like a fly. A she-donkey …… on
the street. A sow suckles its child on the street. A woman who pricked herself begins to cry and
holds the spindle which pricked (?) her in her hand. She enters every house; she peers into all
streets. …… she keeps saying “Get out!” She looks around (?) from all parapets. She pants (?)
where there is a quarrel. 2 lines unclear
235-241Marry (?) …… whose heart hates (?). My son, …… 4 lines unclearA heart which
overflows with joy …….
242-244Nothing at all is to be valued, but life should be sweet. You should not serve things;
things should serve you. My son, …….
245 You should not …… grain; its …… are numerous.
246-247 You should not abuse a ewe; otherwise you will give birth to a daughter. You should not
throw a lump of earth into the money chest (?); otherwise you will give birth to a son.
248-249 You should not abduct a wife; you should not make her cry (?). The place where the wife
is abducted to …….
251 “Let us run in circles (?), saying: “Oh, my foot, oh, my neck!”. Let us with united forces (?)
make the mighty bow!”
252-253 You should not kill a ……, he is a child born by ……. You should not kill …… like ……; you
should not bind him.
254 The wet-nurses in the women’s quarters determine the fate of their lord.
255-260 You should not speak arrogantly to your mother; that causes hatred for you. You should
not question the words of your mother and your personal god. The mother, like Utu, gives birth to
the man; the father, like a god, makes him bright (?). The father is like a god: his words are
reliable. The instructions of the father should be complied with.
261 Without suburbs a city has no centre either.
262-263 My son, a field situated at the bottom of the embankments, be it wet or dry, is
nevertheless a source of income.
264 it is inconceivable (?) that something is lost forever.
265…… of Dilmun ……
266-271 To get lost is bad for a dog; but terrible for a man (1 ms. has instead: An unknown
place is terrible; to get lost is shameful (?) for a dog). On the unfamiliar way at the edge of the
mountains, the gods of the mountains are man-eaters. They do not build houses there as men do;
they do not build cities there as men do. 1 line unclear
272-273 For the shepherd, he stopped searching, he stopped bringing back the sheep. For the
farmer (?), he stopped ploughing the field. 1 line unclear
274-276 This gift of words is something which soothes the mind ……; when it enters the palace, it
soothes the mind ……. The gift of many words ….. stars.
277 These are the instructions given by Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu.
278-280 Praise be to the lady who completed the great tablets, the maiden Nisaba, that
Curuppag, the son of Ubara-Tutu gave his instructions!