THE tombs, temples, and religious literature of all periods of the history of Egypt proclaim with no uncertain voice that the ancient Egyptians believed in the resurrection of the dead, and that they possessed an innate conviction that the souls of the blessed renewed their existence in the world beyond the grave under circumstances and conditions which gave them happiness and prevented them from dying a second time. The consistent, persistent, ineradicable and unalterable belief in immortality is the chief fundamental of the Egyptian Religion, and the attainment of everlasting life was the end to which every religious ceremony was performed, and every funerary text written.
Now, although in the Dynastic Period the Egyptians
believed that the dead rose again because Osiris rose from the dead, and that it was indeed he "who made mortals to be born again," 1 and who bestowed upon the "re-born" new life, with new powers, spiritual, mental, and material, they spared no pains in performing the works which they thought would help themselves and their dead to put on immortality and to arrive in the dominions of him who was the "king of eternity and the lord of everlastingness." Every tradition which existed concerning the ceremonies that were performed on behalf of the dead Osiris by Horus and his "sons" and "followers" at some period, which even so far back as the time, of the IVth Dynasty, or about B.C. 3800, was extremely remote, was carefully preserved and faithfully imitated under succeeding dynasties, and for long after Christianity was established in the northern part of the Nile Valley, and Egypt was filled with Christian monks.
The formulae which were declared to have been recited during the performance of such ceremonies were written down and copied for scores of generations, and every pious, well-to-do Egyptian made arrangements that what had been done and said on behalf of Osiris should be done and said for him outside or inside his tomb after his death. No ceremony, however trivial, was considered unimportant, and no
form of words was thought useless. New ceremonies and words might be added, for it was held possible that they might become a means of salvation, but nothing might be omitted intentionally. The natural result of this religious conservatism was that as centuries rolled on the significance of several funerary ceremonies was forgotten, and the meanings of many liturgical phrases were understood with less and less exactness, until at length they became mere collections of words, which conveyed little to the minds of those who heard them.
Now the oldest religious ceremonies and formulae known to us were invented in connection with the presentation of offerings to the dead. In the Pre-dynastic Period men buried offerings of food, unguents, &c., with their dead, believing that, in some mysterious way, such material gifts would assist their relatives and friends to maintain their existence in the Other World. When this custom first arose cannot be said, but it was certainly general in the late Neolithic Period, and it continued to flourish for several thousands of years. Indeed it is probable that modified forms of it exist at the present day among the pagan, Christian, and Muhammadan inhabitants of the Nile Valley. We cannot tell now what ideas existed in the minds of those who gave offerings to the dead as to the way in which such gifts benefited the dead. There is little doubt that at first they believed that the life which was led by the departed in the Other World closely resembled life in this world, and it may be reasonably
assumed that they thought that the food which they placed in graves with the dead was actually consumed. They must have known that their funerary offerings would last in the ordinary way but a short time, and it seems as if it was only intended to supply the needs of the departed on their journey to the place of departed spirits.
On the other hand, the fact that personal ornaments were buried with the food, and flint weapons of war and the chase, suggests that the living intended them to be used by the dead for an indefinitely long period. The primitive Egyptians appear to have thought that inanimate things possessed spirits like human beings, and if this be so it is probable that they also believed that the spirits of human beings in the Other World fed upon the spirits of the offerings made to them in this world by the living. This being so it would be necessary to renew the supply of offerings of food at regular intervals, so that the spirits of the dead might be prevented from suffering from hunger and thirst, and from dying a second time through exhaustion. There was also another side to the question of an important character. The souls of the dead who lacked food would, it was thought, be driven by hunger to the villages wherein they dwelt during their life, and would eat up such food as they found there, or, in the event of finding nothing suitable for their wants, would cause sickness, disease, and trouble. To avoid such a calamity it was necessary to make offerings at their tombs, and to propitiate them with suitable gifts
at regular intervals. Thus the giving of sepulchral offerings profited both the dead arid the living.
Among the Egyptians of the Dynastic Period the presentation of offerings to the dead was regarded as one of the chief duties in life of the religious man, and it will here be well to illustrate their views on the subject by references to texts of several periods. In the second section of the great text in the Pyramid of Unas 1 the "Chiefs" are called upon to give to king Unas in heaven the loaves of bread, cakes, and drink-offerings which he had offered to them upon earth, and Ra himself orders those beings who preside over the products of the year to give Unas wheat, barley, bread, and beer from the supplies which they had collected "For, for Unas to be hungry and not to eat, and to be thirsty and not to drink, is an abomination to him" (l. 195). In the text of king Teta 2 the writer addresses hunger and adjures it not to approach Teta, but to depart to the god Nu, for Teta suffers not hunger like the god Shu, nor thirst like the goddess Tefnut, because the hunger which is in the belly of Teta, and the thirst which is on his lips, are destroyed by the four children of Horus, Hap, Tuamutef, Qebhsennuf, and Amset. In a paragraph immediately following allusion is made to the fate which befell the souls of the departed who were not provided with sepulchral offerings, and it is quite clear that the Egyptians thought they were
driven by hunger and thirst to wander about the desert and eat filth and drink polluted water. Small wonder, then, is it that hunger and thirst were held in abomination by departed spirits.
In the text of Pepi I. the king is told that he shall receive each day a thousand loaves of bread, a thousand vessels of beer, a thousand oxen, a thousand geese, a thousand sweet things of all kinds, and a thousand changes of linen, 1 but probably we are not intended to interpret this statement too literally, for such a series of large gifts suggests that these offerings were derived from the supply of the gods who were Pepi's brethren in heaven. In another passage some god is entreated to give bread and beer to Pepi of the bread and beer which are everlasting. 2
All the above extracts are taken from texts which are cut on the walls of the chambers of the pyramids of kings Unas, Teta, and Pepi, under the Vth and
[paragraph continues] VIth Dynasties, but if we look at the inscriptions on the mastaba tombs of earlier dynasties we shall find the same ideas expressed everywhere. Thus on the walls of the tomb of Seker-kha-baiu, which can hardly have been built later than the IVth Dynasty, and may well belong to the IInd or IIIrd Dynasty, lists of offerings are found, e.g., wine of various kinds, sweet beer, cakes of various kinds, fruit, such as raisins, mulberries (nebes), figs, &c., unguents and scented oils, heads of bulls and birds, and various kinds of garments, ceremonial apparel, &c. In one relief the list of offerings appears in a tabular form, and under the name of each offering is the character "thousand," which indicates that the deceased prayed that the various kinds of food, drink, and clothing might be given to him by the thousand. 1
On a wooden panel from the tomb of Hesi, which probably dates from the end of the Archaic Period, we find a portion of an inscription in which the deceased prays for incense and for libations of cool water, wine, unguents, bulls, oxen, &c., by the thousand. 2 On a panel of a relief from the tomb of Hetep-her-s two tables laden with offerings are represented; on the one are fruit and flowers, and on the other joints of meat and loaves of bread and cakes, and on three lower tables, of similar shape, are two dead geese and the head of a bull. This tomb was built in the reign of
Khufu. 1 In the tomb of Ptah-kha-mert is a tabulated list of offerings ninety-six in number, 2 and in the tomb of Ankh-ma-ka, who lived in the reign of User-en-Ra, (Vth Dynasty) are two tabulated lists of offerings, the one containing ninety-six objects, and the other one hundred and four. 3 From the reliefs which decorate the walls of several of the tombs of the Vth and VIth Dynasties it is certain that in addition to the bread, fruit, wine, beer, &c., which were offered to the dead, living animals were brought to the tombs and offered up as sacrifices on their behalf. In the tomb of Ptah-shepses 4 we see among those who bear gifts to the tomb ministrants leading goats, gazelle, calves, and sheep, and in one of the lower registers is depicted the slaughter of two bulls, from each of which a fore-leg is being cut off.
If we compare the lists of offerings given in the various tombs it at once becomes apparent that each list only contains a selection of names of objects; that the man who drafted the inscriptions for the mason to cut on the walls usually included only the most important names, and that the number of these depended upon the space which he had at his disposal. In the case of king Unas the various objects named as offerings are more than one hundred and forty in number, and in the pyramid of Pepi II. the number is still greater.
Now in addition to supplying us with the names of the objects which pious men were expected to bring
to the graves of their dead, the inscriptions on the mastaba tombs and other monuments of the Ancient Empire also tell us the names of the chief festivals of the year, during which they were expected to present their offerings. On the sarcophagus of Khufu-ankh (IVth Dynasty) the following festivals are mentioned:--
1. Festival of the New Year.
2. Festival of Thoth, (19th day of Thoth).
3. Festival of the beginning of the year.
4. Festival of Uak, (17th or 18th of Thoth).
5. Great Festival, (4th of Mekhir).
6. Heat Festival, (in the month of Mekhir).
7. Appearance of Menu Festival, (30th day of Pashons).
8. Festival of Uah-akh, (preparing the fire-altar).
9. Festival of Satch.
10. Festival of the beginning of the month.
11. Festival of the beginning of the half month.
12. Every festival on every day for ever 1.
Passing now to the period of the XIIth Dynasty, we find that lists of offerings similar to those on monuments of the Vth and VIth Dynasties are not unknown, and a good example of such is given in the tomb of Amen-em-hat at Beni Hasan. Here on one of the walls is a picture of the deceased seated, with tables and stands loaded with offerings before him, and in the upper registers is a tabulated list containing the names of one hundred and twenty-one offerings. 2 This may for convenience' sake be called the Great List of Offerings. Elsewhere are given three copies of a list containing the names of twenty-two offerings, 3 this may be called the Little List of Offerings. A Great List, containing the names of fifty-four offerings, and a Little List, containing the names of twenty-two, are also found in the tomb of Khnemu-Hetep. 4 The list of the festivals given in the latter tomb is long, and contains the following:--
1. Festival of the New Year.
2. Festival of Thoth.
3. Festival of Pert Menu.
4. Festivals of Pati, 12 in number.
5. Great Festival.
6. Festivals of Great Heat and Little Heat.
7. Festivals of the month, 12 in number.
8. Festivals of the half-month, 12 in number.
9. Festival of Aha.
10. Festivals of Sat, 12 in number.
11. Festival of Khen.
12. Festival of the Nile Flood.
13. Festival of the rise of Sothis.
14. Festival of the rise of Sem.
15. Festival of Khet kerh.
16. Festivals of the 6th day of the month, 12 in number.
17. Festival of [Shetchet] sha.
18. Festivals of the Five Epagomenal Days.
19. Good Festival of him that is on the hill, i.e., Anubis.
20. Festival of Uak.
2 1. Festival of Thoth.
22. Great Festival and Little Festival of . . . . . .
23. Great Festival and Little Festival of the Year.
It will be noticed that in the above list some seventy-three festivals are mentioned. The 1st, 6th, 15th, and one other day in each month were fixed festival days, and, if to these we add the other 25 festival days, we find that on an average every fifth day was a day of festival. We are, then, justified in assuming that offerings were made to the dead by well-to-do people about once a week, and at some seasons of the year oftener. In the lists of Festivals given in documents of later periods 1 several other Festivals are mentioned, and during the most flourishing periods of Egyptian history the offerings in the tombs of kings and wealthy folk were renewed, wholly or in part, daily. Thus to feed the spirits of the dead who belonged to him was as much the duty of a pious man as to feed the living who depended upon him, and there is no doubt that, when the country was in a settled state, a regulated portion of the produce of each man's estate was set apart for the dead.
From several Chapters in the Theban Recension of
the Book of the Dead many illustrations of the great importance attached to sepulchral offerings may be obtained. In Chapter I. the deceased beseeches the gods "who give cakes and beer to the perfect souls" to give him cakes and beer at the "two seasons," i.e. morning and evening, daily. In Chapter LII. he prays that he may not be made to eat what is an abomination to him. "Filth is an abomination unto me, and let me not be obliged to eat of it instead of the funerary cakes which the Kau (or, Doubles) eat. Let it not touch my body, let me be not obliged to take it in my hands, and let me not be obliged to walk thereon." And in answer to a question as to what be would live upon before the gods, he replies, "Let me live on the seven loaves and cakes which are brought before Horus" and Thoth, and let me eat my food under the sycamore tree of Hathor. Give me authority over my own fields in Tattu, and over my own crops in Annu. Let me eat bread made of white barley, and drink beer made from red grain." In another place he says, "I live upon what the gods live upon, and I eat of the cakes which are in the hall of the lord of sepulchral offerings," (Chap. LIII.).
In the Papyrus of Nebseni, Chapter CLXXVIII., is a version of a text to which reference has already been made, but in its later form it is so instructive that one or two passages may well be quoted from it. In it Nebseni is made to say: "The Eye of Horus hath been presented unto thee, and it feedeth
thee with the food of offerings. O Osiris, let him not suffer thirst before his god, let him suffer neither hunger nor thirst, and let the god Ahu carry them away, and let him do away with his hunger, O thou that fillest, O thou that fillest hearts. O ye Chiefs who dispense cakes, O ye who have charge of the Water-flood (i.e., the Nile), command ye that cakes and ale be given unto the Osiris Nebseni, even as Ra himself commanded this thing. Moreover, Ra hath commanded those who are over the abundance of the year to take handfuls of wheat and barley and to give them unto him for his cakes, for behold, he is a great bull. . . . They shall give cakes and beer unto the scribe Nebseni, and they shall prepare for him all good and pure things this happy day, things for journeying, and things for travelling, things of the Eye of Horus, things of the Boat, and all things which enter into the sight of the god.... The Eye of Horus hath ordained these things for the scribe Nebseni, and the god Shu hath ordered that whereon he shall subsist, both cakes and beer. . . . The Company of the gods hath offered incense to the scribe Nebseni, and his mouth is pure, and his tongue which is therein is right and true. That which the scribe Nebseni abominateth is filth, and he hath freed himself therefrom even as Set freed himself in the city of Rehiu, and he set out with Thoth for heaven. . . . Sepulchral meals have been given unto him by the lord of eternity, who hath ordered these things for him."
[paragraph continues] In Chapter CLXXX. the deceased says: "My offerings are in heaven in the Field of Ra, and my sepulchral meals are on earth in the Field of Aaru."
It is unnecessary to multiply extracts from the religious texts of later dynasties, for, so far as the importance and necessity of providing the spirits of the dead with meat and drink are concerned, the same ideas recur, expressed in almost the same words, century after century, and dynasty after dynasty, until the worship of Osiris came to an end throughout the country of Egypt. It will be seen in another part of this book that the list of offerings which were made to Unas, a king of the Vth Dynasty, about B.C. 3300, is repeated without many variants in the tomb of Peta-Amen-apt, who flourished under the XXVIth Dynasty, some twenty-seven centuries later. Professor Maspero has shown that there are several mistakes in the texts in the Pyramid of Unas, due partly to the ignorance of the masons who cut the inscriptions on the walls, and partly to the fact that the scribes who wrote the drafts for them did not always understand the passages which they were transcribing. The variants in the text of Peta-Amen-apt may be the result of the difficulties experienced by the scribes of his time in understanding some portions of the text, but there is certainly no ground for thinking that they are due to any authoritative change in the readings of the Ritual of Funerary Offerings.
All the facts we now have tend to show that at some
very early period in the history of Egypt the priests drew up a List of the offerings which it was thought right to offer to the dead, and that they composed a series of formulae which were to be repeated by the officiating priests when they presented the offerings to the dead. This List, with the formulae, was handed down from generation to generation, and was extant in the Roman Period.
In primitive times it is tolerably certain that when the living made offerings to the dead, their sole idea was to provide the spirits with nourishment sufficient to enable them to reach the place where the spirits dwelt in the Other World. As time went on, however, it was thought that the giving of food, and drink, and apparel to the dead, would benefit those who gave them when it was their turn to depart from this world, and proof of this is found in a text cut on the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I., a king of the XIXth Dynasty. On this fine monument we have an illustrated copy of a "Guide" to the Other World, in which the state and condition of those who dwell there are. described. This "Guide" is divided into twelve sections, and the texts tell us what beings live in each, how they live, and how they employ their time. The general deduction to be made from them is that under the XIXth Dynasty the Egyptians believed that the bodies, souls, and spirits of the wicked were destroyed, that those of the good were rewarded with everlasting life and great felicity, and that the offerings made by men in this world went c
before them and awaited them in that which was to come.
In the Second Division of the Other World (i.e., the Tuat) we find a class of beings called "Heteptiutuau-Ra," and the accompanying description says: "These are they who praised Ra whilst they were upon earth. They cast spells (or, used words of power) on [the fiend] Apep. They presented their offerings, [and] they made offerings of incense to their gods after their offerings." The text continues: "They have gained possession of their libations, they receive their meat-offerings, and they eat their offerings in the Gate of him whose name is hidden." And each night when Ra passed through that Division of the Other World he said to them, "Your offerings shall be yours, ye shall have possession of your libations, your souls shall never be hacked in pieces, and your food shall never fail, O ye who have praised [me] and vanquished Apep for me."
Now, in addition to helping the souls of the dead to reach their appointed place, offerings were made at the tombs at regular intervals with the express object of bringing, the souls of the dead back to this earth to eat the offerings there with the living. The sweet smell of the incense burnt was thought to be grateful alike to the gods and to the souls who were with them, and freshly killed meat, newly baked cakes, fresh fruit, flowers and vegetables, and wine and beer were held to be irresistible attractions to the souls of the departed as they travelled
about daily in the country. It is known from many texts that souls journeyed from one great sanctuary to another in Egypt, and that they assisted at all the great national festivals, and expected to receive their due share of the offerings which were brought to the altars. From the Papyrus of Nu (XVIIIth Dynasty) we learn that the deceased expected a house to be provided for him on this earth after his death, to which men and women were to bring offerings and oblations daily. And Osiris ordered that beasts for sacrifice were to be brought to him by the south wind (i.e., cattle from Dar Fur), and grain by the north wind, and barley from the ends of the earth. 1
In the papyrus of Takhart-p-seru-abtiu, 2 of the Roman Period, the deceased is addressed in these words: "Thou journeyest upon earth, thou seest those who are therein, thou inspectest all the arrangements in thy house, and thou eatest bread there. . . . Thou journeyest "to the city of Nif-urt at the festival of things on the altar, the night of the festival of the Sixth Day, the Festival of Anep. Thou goest to Nif-urt at the Festival of the Little Heat, thou goest to Tattu during the Festival of Ka-hra-ka, on the day of setting up the Tet." The same views are very clearly expressed in the Book of Traversing Eternity," 3 and we read there
that the deceased makes use of his power and freedom in the Other World to explore heaven, earth, and the deep. He visits all the great shrines of Osiris and Ra, holds converse with the gods of every portion of heaven, makes himself acquainted with all their mysteries, and day by day becomes more and more like them. To establish and maintain communication with the spirits of the dead was the heart's desire of pious Egyptians in all ages, and they thought that there was no more certain way of bringing this about than by making offerings to them. By eating the same food as beatified beings, and by drinking the same drink, mortals, they thought, acquired something of the nature of immortals, and the communion of the righteous on earth with the blessed in heaven was effected.
In the foregoing remarks it has been said that funerary offerings were made to the "souls" of the dead, but it must be remembered that the word "souls" (or "spirits") is only used for convenience' sake, and that gifts of food and drink were made in reality to the "Kau" or "Doubles" of the dead. The Ka of a man was his individuality, or personality, to which the Egyptians assigned an independent existence; it took his bodily shape, with all its characteristics, and, when necessary, the form of a mummy. When the body of a man to whom it belonged died, the Ka took up its abode in the portrait statue of the deceased which was provided for it, and well-to-do families were in the habit of appointing
priests of the Ka whose duty it was to recite the prayers on behalf of the Kau of the dead, and to attend to the supply of offerings for them. The Ka possessed freedom to move whithersoever it pleased, and it could travel from one end of Egypt to the other, or take up its abode with the gods, or re-unite itself with the mummified body to which it belonged, or remain separated from it. The Ka was provided with a chamber, or special resting-place, in the tomb, and it rejoiced in the smell of the incense which was burnt there, and partook of the meat and drink offerings which were presented to it.
The common Egyptian word for "offering" is HETEP, and its primary meaning seems to be "something given by one being to another with the view of peacemaking or propitiation," in fact, a peace-offering. The word is no doubt connected with hetep, "to be at peace, to be contented, to be satisfied, to be at rest," etc. Hetep is often written with the determinative of "bread," and in the XVIIIth Dynasty the plural is frequently followed by determinatives meaning "cakes," "cattle," "geese," "beer," or "wine". Thus it is clear that the ordinary objects which were offered as-funerary gifts are referred
to. Hetep is also one of the words used for the object on which offerings were placed, i.e., altar, which, though usually made of stone, was sometimes made of wood.
Yet although hetep certainly means "offering," it is difficult not to think that in the earliest times the word must have possessed some other signification. If we look at the earliest funerary texts, which are found on the mastabas at Sakkarah, we find that many of them begin with the signs suten hetep ta. Now suten is the common word for "king," hetep we have already seen means "offering," and ta means "to give," and it seems at first sight as if the group of signs must mean something like "May the king give an offering." Frequently, however, these signs are followed by Anpu hetep ta 1 i.e., "May Anubis give an offering," What the king is expected to give is not said, but Anubis is asked, or called upon, to give "a burial in Amenti," and "to provide the deceased with bread, beer, and cakes at the
"festival." Elsewhere we find that the king is asked for the hetep, and Anubis for the burial, and Osiris is to give the offerings of bread, beer, and cakes. 1
But it is not said of what the hetep which the king is asked to give is to consist. In another text the king is called upon to give hetep, and Anubis to give the burial as before, and Osiris of Tattu to make the deceased to advance happily over the beautiful roads of the Other World, and Khenti Amenti is to provide him with the funerary offerings. 2 Still there is no explanation of what the king's hetep is to consist.
From many passages in texts of the Ancient Empire it is clear that offerings of food were given to the dead, chiefly by Anubis. Thus in Teta, line 387, it is said, "Anpu Khenti Amenti giveth thee an offering, thy thousands of bread cakes, thy thousands of vessels of beer, thy thousands of vases of oil, thy thousands of oxen, thy thousands of changes of apparel, thy "thousands of bulls; one cuts the throat for thee of the Smen goose, one shoots for thee the Therp goose."
In Pepi I., line 83, we have: "SUTEN TA HETEP. May Anubis give an offering: thy thousand bread-cakes, thy thousand vessels of beer, thy thousand vessels of purifying fluid which cometh forth from the Usekh chamber, thy thousand pleasant things, thy thousand oxen, thy thousand things to eat, thy gifts of thy heart. The palm tree followeth thee, and the mulberry tree presenteth its head for thee in that which Anubis doeth for thee."
In the Vth and VIth Dynasties Osiris is sometimes regarded as the giver of gifts of food, 1 and at a later period he generally takes the
place of Anubis in the performance of this office. In the text of Teta, line 140, Seb, or Keb, is said to give an offering to the king in his every form and in his every place, but when it is remembered that Seb was the great Earth-god, and the lord of all its products, this is not surprising. A few lines further on (line 150) we have: "SUTEN HETEP TA. May Seb give an offering to this Teta. May he give to thee offerings of all kinds in sets of four, and a setting forth in abundance of bread-cakes and vessels of beer, and bread of all kinds which thou lovest, and which are fair for thee before the God."
In Pepi II., line 680, we have the passage: "SUTEN TA HETEP. May Seb give these chosen haunches of beef and pert-kheru offerings to all the gods, so that they may cause every good thing to happen to Pepi Nefer-ka-Ra." This passage is of considerable interest, for in it the words SUTEN TA HETEP occur, although
the offerings are to be made by Seb, not to a dead man, but to the gods. In a tomb at Sakkarah 1 we have the usual suten hetep ta, followed in the second line by suten hetep ta pert kheru, from which it might be gathered that the hetep which the king was asked to give consisted of pert kheru.
Now it is quite clear that kheru means "offerings" because the signs are followed by the determinatives of bread, beer, or wine, and cakes. This fact was pointed out by Dr. Birch as far back as 1858, 2 and Egyptologists generally have accepted his rendering of the words pert kheru. Professor Maspero has treated the words with his usual skill in his article "Sur l'Expression ma-khroou," 3 and shown that the primary meaning of pert kheru is the appearance of offerings which "come forth at [the sound of] the voice," and gives the reasons for his opinion thus. The ministrant who performed the ceremony of making funerary offerings called out the names of the objects which were to be offered from a list which he had with him. Having called out a name his assistants brought the object referred to and set it before the statue, or mummy, of the deceased. As each object was presented,
the ministrant recited over it a short formula which contained words similar in sound to the name of the offering, in fact he played on the words, or punned. By means of these formulae the offerings were consecrated, and then they "came forth" on the table of offerings, or on the altar of the god, who was supposed to give a portion of them to the dead. As this "coming forth" only took place after the words had been uttered by the ministrant, the offerings became known as pert kheru, or "things which come forth at the voice."
On the other hand pert kheru, or pert er kheru, may have another meaning, as we see from a passage in the Biography of Paheri (l. 42). This official addresses those who live upon earth, and declares that they shall hand on their exalted positions and dignities to their children, provided that they say on his behalf, "SUTEN TA HETEP!" according to the things which are written in the Books, and "PERT ER KHERU," according to the saying of the men of olden time, "like unto the PERRT" (i.e., the things which come forth) from the mouth of "the god."
From this we see at once that the words suten ta hetep
have become a mere formula, and that this formula was to be recited because it was found in the sacred books. Next, it is clear that the words pert er kheru (i.e., "things which come forth at the word") were also a formula, which was to be recited because the men of olden time had been in the habit of reciting it. But the text goes on to say that the pert er kheru were to be "like the perrt from the mouth of the god," and its meaning is plain. When the god of creation made the world and the things in it, he merely uttered the names of the things which he wished to make, and these things came into being. Paheri wished the people whom he addressed to say pert er kheru ma perrt em re en neter, so that the things which came forth might be like the things which appeared after the god had uttered their names. In other words, the mere utterance of the words of the formula by the living would cause offerings of every kind to appear in abundance, just as the utterance of the words suten ta hetep would produce a "royal offering." It was unnecessary to place offerings in the tomb, for these would appear as a matter of course as a result of the recital of the formulae.
The meaning of pert kheru has also been discussed by Mr. Griffith, 1 who thinks that pert kheru and pert er kheru undoubtedly represent the old form of kheru. Other authorities who accept the general
meaning of "offerings" for pert kheru are Virey, 1, Amélineau 2 and Erman 3.
It now remains to consider how the words suten hetep ta, were understood by the Egyptians. It is true that they occur on almost every sepulchral monument known to us, but there are cases in which they are omitted. To one of these Mr. Griffith has called attention, namely the inscription of Methen, which begins with the words Anpu hetep ta, "May Anpu give an offering," and makes no mention of the hetep of the king. Another is found in the work of Mariette, Les Mastaba, p. 116, where we have "May the great god give an offering," and no mention is made of the king. Both examples come from monuments which are not later than the IVth Dynasty, and it is clear that there was a time in Egypt when men invoked the god and made no mention of the king. It is quite possible, and very probable, that the king sent gifts or offerings when his friends among the nobles, or highly meritorious officials, were laid to rest in their tombs, and a proof of this is perhaps furnished in a text published by Mariette (op. cit., p. 396) where we have the following:--
"May the king give an offering! May he give 1000 loaves, 1000 [vessels of] wine (or beer), 1000 oxen (or, bulls), 1000 geese, 1000 swathings, 1000 [vessels of] oil, 1000 linen garments."
On the other hand, it is possible to regard suten hetep ta merely as a formula of pious import, which is not intended to be understood literally, and to translate it by "may one give." The Egyptians were an eminently practical people, and, however great and powerful they thought their kings, they must have perceived that it was impossible for them to send funerary gifts to the tombs of each and all their subjects. It may be argued that the king was held to be god as well as man, and that he was therefore able to supply every dead person with offerings, like Seb, or Anpu, or Osiris, or Khenti Amenti, but there seems to me to be no evidence in the texts which would support this view. Moreover, there
is a passage in the text of Pepi II. which makes it impossible. In line 680 a prayer is made that Seb will give pert kheru to all the gods, provided that they give to the king all good things, and make "this pyramid, this work," endure for ever. So long as the gods do this, provision shall be made for them, they shall be adored, they shall possess both soul and vital power, "there shall be given unto them a hetep ta suten of cakes, bread, beer, oxen, geese, linen garments, and unguent, they shall receive their divine offerings, choice animals and geese shall be slain for them, festal (?) offerings, shall be made for them, and they shall take possession of the Urerit crown like the Great and Little Companies of the gods. In this passage, it seems to me, the words must mean something like a "royal offering," and Professor Maspero's rendering "offrande royale," or "proscynème royale," is no doubt correct, 1 that is to say, it represents the meaning which the Egyptians attached to them in the time of king Pepi II.
The almost universal occurrence of suten hetep ta before
the prayer to Anubis and other gods for funerary offerings proves that these words were believed to benefit the dead in some way, but it seems that their exact meaning was forgotten in very early times, and that their appearance on sepulchral monuments of the later periods is due entirely to the respect shown by the Egyptians for ancient tradition, and to their religious conservatism. With the dynastic Egyptians they expressed, I believe, the hope that the offerings made at their tombs would, in number and abundance, resemble those made to a king, in fact, a "royal offering," and many Egyptologists have translated them by these or similar words. Thus Birch rendered suten hetep ta by "royal oblation"; 1 Bergmann by "eine königliche Opfergabe"; 2 Dümichen by "königlich Gnade (wie es ein König thut, wie es eines Königs, würdig est)"; 3 Brugsch by "die Königliche Gabe eines Opfertisches"; 4 Baillet by "don de royale offrande"; 5 Maspero 6 and de Horrack by "royale offrande"; 7 Pierret by "oblation"; 8 &c. As an alternative rendering Brugsch gives, "der König gewährt einen Opfertisch," 9 and Birch gives, "act of homage"; 10 and Ledrain, 11 and Piehl give
[paragraph continues] "Proscynème 1 (προσκύνημα). The view recently put forward that we must translate by "May the king give an offering," is practically a revival of Brugsch's rendering, "der König gewährt einen Opfertisch," which was published in 1868.
It is well known that among all African peoples, when a man of importance dies, all his kinsfolk and friends send gifts to swell the amount of food which is intended to be consumed at the funeral feast. In primitive times in Egypt, the king also probably sent gifts of food when his officials were buried, and at a later period it is possible that certain portions or articles of food were described as the "royal offering," whether they were given by the king or not. In fact, no funeral feast was considered to be complete without its "royal offering." This view seems to me to be supported by a vignette on plate xii. of Dümichen's Grabpalast, Abth. ii., which contains the version of the Book of Opening the Mouth found in the tomb of Peta Amen-apt. In this we see a ministrant "preparing the royal offering," whilst the Sem, priest stands behind him sprinkling water from a libation vase. Here there is no mention of the king giving the offering, and it is clear that the "royal offering" was only one of many which were given to the dead.
2:1 Book of the Dead, Chapter CLXXXII., line 16.
5:1 Maspero, Pyramides de Saqqarah, p. 20.
5:2 Maspero, op. cit., p. 97.
6:1 Maspero, op. cit., line 46.
6:2 Ibid., line 390.
7:1 Mariette, Les Mastaba, pp. 76-79.
7:2 Ibid., p. 82.
8:1 Mariette, Les Mastaba, p. 90.
8:2 Ibid., p. 119.
8:3 Ibid., p. 215.
8:4 Op. cit., p. 383.
10:1 Brugsch, Kalendarische Inschriften, p. 235.
10:2 Griffith and Newberry, Beni Hasan, pt. i., pl. xvii.
10:3 Ibid., pll. xviii., xix. and xx.
10:4 Ibid., pll. xxxv., xxxvi.
12:1 See the lists given by Brugsch, Kalendarische Inschriften, p. 237 ff.
18:1 Book of the Dead, Chapter CLII.
18:2 British Museum, No. 10,112.
18:3 Ed. Bergmann, Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Bd. 86, Heft 2-3, Vienna, 1877.
21:1 See Mariette, Les Mastaba, pp. 108, 115, &c.
22:1 Mariette, op. cit., p. 118.
22:2 Ibid., p. 230.
23:1 Mariette, op. cit., p. 407.
25:1 Mariette, op. cit., p. 176.
25:2 Mémoire sur une patère Égyptienne, p. 72.
25:3 Études de Mythologie, i., p. 113.
27:1 Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch., 1896, p. 199.
28:1 Tombeau de Rekhmara (Mémoires, v., 101, note 7).
28:2 Un Tombeau Égyptien (Revue de l'histoire des Religions, 1891).
28:3 Egyptian Grammar, p. 50*.
30:1 See also his renderings of Teta, l. 150, and Pepi I., l. 83.
31:1 Egyptian Texts, p. 30.
31:2 Recueil, ix., p. 35.
31:3 Der Grabpalast des Patuamenap, i., p. 6.
31:4 Wörterbuch, p. 1007.
31:5 Recueil, xii., 53.
31:6 Teta, l. 150; Pepi II., l. 683.
31:7 Chabas, Mélanges, Sér. iii., tom. 2, p. 204.
31:8 Vocabulaire, s.v.
31:9 Wörterbuch, p. 1008.
31:10 Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch., viii., p. 148.
31:11 Recueil, i., p. 92.
32:1 Recueil, i., p. 133.