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Encyclopedia > Story of Wenamun

The Story of Wenamun (alternately known as the Report of Wenamun, The Misadventures of Wenamun, or [informally] as just Wenamun) is a literary text written in hieratic in the Late Egyptian language. It is only known from one incomplete copy discovered in 1890 at al-Hibah, Egypt, and subsequently purchased in 1891 in Cairo by the Russian Egyptologist Vladimir Goleniščev (Caminos 1977:1). The papyrus is now in the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, and officially designated as Papyrus Pushkin 120. The hieratic text is published in Korostovcev 1960, and the hieroglyphic text is published in Gardiner 1932 (as well as on-line). Literature is literally acquaintance with letters as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning an individual written character (letter)). The term has generally come to identify a collection of texts, mainly novels, drama and poetry. ... Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Champollion. ... Ebers Papyrus detailing treatment of asthma. ... 1890 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... al-Hibah (alt. ... 1891 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Although technically in Giza, The Great Pyramids have become a symbol of Cairo internationally Cairo (Arabic: القاهرة; transliterated: al-Qāhirah) is the capital city of Egypt (and previously the United Arab Republic) and has a metropolitan area population of approximately 15. ... An Egyptologist is any archaeologist or historian who specialises in Egyptology, the scientific study of Ancient Egypt and its antiquities. ... Vladimir Semyonovich Golenishchev (Владимир Семенович Голенищев) (30 January 1856 - 5 August 1947) was one of the first and most accomplished Russian Egyptologists and Assyriologists. ... Papyrus plant Cyperus papyrus at Kew Gardens, London Papyrus is an early form of paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that grows to 5 meters (15 ft) in height and was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt. ... Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetaev (1847-1913) The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (Russian: Музей изобразительных искусств им. А.С. Пушкина) is the largest museum of European art in Moscow, located in the Volkhonka street, just opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. ... Moscow (Russian: Москва́, Moskva, IPA: (help· info)) is the capital of Russia, located on the river Moskva. ... Hieroglyphs on an Egyptian funerary stela Hieroglyphs at the Memphis museum with Ramses II statue on the back. ...

Contents


The text

The text is set in a "Year 5", generally taken to be Year 5 of the so-called Renaissance of Pharaoh Ramesses XI, the tenth and last ruler of the Twentieth dynasty of Ancient Egypt; this was equivalent to Ramesses XI's 19th regnal year. Egberts (1991) argues, however, that the story is set in the 5th regnal year of Smendes I, the Delta-based founder of the 21st Dynasty. As this latter view assumes the High Priest Herihor followed Piankh (their relative order is normally reversed), it has not found wide acceptance among Egyptologists. Pharaoh (Hebrew פַּרְעֹה (without niqqud: פרעה), Standard Hebrew Parʿo, Tiberian Hebrew Parʿōh, Arabic فرعون) is a title used to refer to the kings (of godly status) in ancient Egypt. ... Menmare Ramesses XI (sometimes written Ramses XI or Rameses XI; reigned 1102 BC – 1073 BC or 1070 BC) was the tenth and final king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. ... Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Twentieth Dynasty. ... Map of Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization along the Lower Nile, reaching from the Nile Delta in the north as far south Jebel Barkal at the time of its greatest extension (15th century BC). ... Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. ... NASA satellite photograph of the Nile Delta The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. ... Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Twenty-First Dynasty. ... Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and high priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) in the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI. Herihor advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI and was integral to restoring order by ousting Pinhasy, viceroy of... Piankh, son-in-law of Herihor and his heir to the Theban throne of High Priests of Amun. ... An Egyptologist is any archaeologist or historian who specialises in Egyptology, the scientific study of Ancient Egypt and its antiquities. ...


In the first part of the narrative, Wenamun (also called Wen-Amun or Wen-Amon) dates his departure from Thebes as "Year 5, fourth month of the third season, day 16." Year 5 most likely refers to the fifth year of the Renaissance era, which began in the nineteenth year of the reign of Ramesses XI (1099-1069 B.C.E.). We are thus fairly certain that Wenamun's journey is set in the years 1075-1073 B.C.E., if we use the low chronology, or 1095-1093 if the high chronology is used. The middle of the fourth month in the third season corresponds to approximately 20 April, which is a reasonable time of year to begin an expedition. Two important places in antiquity were called Thebes: Thebes, Greece – Thebes of the Seven Gates; one-time capital of Boeotia. ... Menmare Ramesses XI (sometimes written Ramses XI or Rameses XI; reigned 1102 BC – 1073 BC or 1070 BC) was the tenth and final king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. ... Look up April in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


As the story begins, the principle character, Wenamun, a priest of Amun at Karnak, is sent by the High Priest of Amun Herihor to the Phoenician city of Byblos to acquire lumber (probably cedar wood) to build a new ship to transport the cult image of Amun. After visiting Smendes(Nesbanebded in Egyptian) at Tanis, Wenamun stopped at the port of Dor ruled by the Tjeker prince Beder, where he was robbed. Upon reaching Byblos, he was shocked by the hostile reception he received there. When he finally gained an audience with Zakar-Baal, the local king, the latter refused to give the requested goods for free, as had been the traditional custom, instead demanding payment. Wenamun had to send to Smendes for payment, a humiliating move which demonstrates the waning of Egyptian power over the Eastern Mediterranean. After a wait of almost a year at Byblos, Wenamun attempted to leave for Egypt, only to be blown off course to Alashiya (Cyprus), where he was almost killed by an angry mob before placing himself under the protection of the local queen, who he called Hatbi. At this point the story breaks off, though presumably Wenamun did eventually return to Egypt after his various adventures. Amun (also spelt Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imenand, and spelt in Greek as Ammon, and Hammon) was the name of a deity, in Egyptian mythology, who gradually rose to become one of the most important, before disappearing back into the shadows. ... Obelisk at Karnak temple El-Karnak is a small village in Egypt, located on the banks of the River Nile some 2. ... The term High Priest may refer to particular individuals who hold the office of ruler-priest in local regional or ethnic contexts. ... Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and high priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) in the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI. Herihor advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI and was integral to restoring order by ousting Pinhasy, viceroy of... Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coastal plains of what are now Lebanon and Syria. ... Byblos (βύβλος) is the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal (earlier Gubla); Its present day Arabic name is Jbeil (جبيل) Ancient history It was known to the ancient Egyptians as Keben and Kepen (probably pronounced */g-b-l/). The Greeks apparently called it Byblos because it was through Gebal that bublos... Species Cedrus deodara Cedrus libani    var. ... In the practice of religion, a cult image is a man-made object that is venerated for the spirit or daemon that it embodies. ... Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. ... or Tanis (Τάνις), the Greek name of ancient Djanet (modern صان الحجر Ṣān al-Ḥaǧar), is a city in the north-eastern Nile delta of Egypt (30°58′N 31°52′E). ... An erection of the penis occurs when engorgement of venous blood in two tubular structures at the bottom of the penis, the corpora cavernosa, results from a variety of stimuli. ... The Tjekker were one of the Sea Peoples who raided Egypt and the Levant during the 13th and 12th centuries BCE. They raided Egypt repeatedly before settling in northern Canaan. ... Beder is a Tjeker leader and ruler of Dor mentioned in the Story of Wenamun. ... Zakar-Baal (also known as Zeker-Baal or Zeker-Baal) was the king of Byblos (or Gebal), a Phoenician city on the northern Levant coast, during the 11th century B.C.E. His reign was contemporary with pharoah Ramesses XI of Egypt (1099-1069 B.C.E.). Historical Sources... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... Alashiya was an important state during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. ...


Analysis

It was once widely believed that the Story of Wenamun was an actual historical account, written by Wenamun as a report regarding his travels. However, literary analysis conducted by Egyptologists since the 1980s (Helck 1986) indicates that it is a work of historical fiction, a view now generally accepted by most professionals working on the text. For details, see Baines 1999; Scheepers 1992; Egberts 2001; Sass 2002; Schipper 2005. The late Jaroslav Cerny found that the text had no corrections, and was apparently written without any interruptions, such as those which would be caused by simultaneously composing the document. In general, the literary character of the text is summed up by Egberts (2001:495) as being apparent from the sophisticated plot, the rhetoric and irony of the dialogues, the imagery, and the underlaying reflection on political, theological, and cultural issues. Specific grammatical features also point to the literary nature of the text. Moreover, the palaeography of the text points to a 22nd Dynasty date for its composition (Caminos 1977:3; Helck 1986:1215), as well as a number of anachronisms more reflective of a post-20th or 21st dynasty time frame (Sass 2002; Sass specifically states it was written during the reign of Shoshenq I). Literary criticism is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. ... The 1980s decade refers to the years from 1980 to 1989, inclusive. ... A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, where the time the action takes place in predates the time of the first publication -- distinguish and contrast the genre of alternate history. ... // Plot in literature, theater, movies According to Aristotles Poetics, a plot in literature is the arrangement of incidents that (ideally) each follow plausibly from the other. ... Rhetoric (from Greek ρήτωρ, rhêtôr, orator) is one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (the other members are dialectic and grammar) in Western culture. ... Irony is best known as a figure of speech (more precisely called verbal irony) in which there is a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or a writer says, and what is understood. ... The term dialogue (or dialog) expresses basically reciprocal conversation between two or more persons. ... Imagery--words that create a picture. ... Palaeography (British) or paleography (American) (from the Greek palaiós, old and graphein, to write) is the study of ancient and medieval manuscripts, independent of the language (Koine Greek, Classical Latin, Medieval Latin, Old English, etc. ... Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Twenty-Second Dynasty. ... An anachronism (from Greek ana, back, and chronos, time) is something that is out of its natural time or appears to be. ... nomen or birth name Shoshenq I (Egyptian ššnq), also known as Sheshonk I (for discussion of the spelling, see Shoshenq), was a Meshwesh Libyan king of Egypt and founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty. ...


The text also ends abruptly, possibly showing that the person writing the text down was only interested in the first part of the narrative, and stopped when he realized that he had continued too far into the return journey. Finally, at the end of the text, in a slightly larger hand, the syllable (copy) is written, showing that it is not the original.


It is quite possible that the copy which we have may date as much as one-hundred and fifty years later than the original. The reasons for this assumption are as follows. The first reason is that the post-script is used. This is otherwise only used in the twenty-second dynasty (945-715 B.C.E.). The other reason is the locale in which the document was discovered--the Upper Egyptian town of el Hibeh. This town only gained any degree of importance under the reigns of Shoshenk I and Osorkon I. There was also apparently a renewed interest in the affairs of the Levant during the twenty-second dynasty. nomen or birth name Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I (Egyptian Å¡Å¡nq), also known as Sheshonk I (for discussion of the spelling, see Shoshenq), was a Meshwesh Libyan king of Egypt and founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty. ... Sekhemkheperre Osorkon I was the second king of Egypts 22nd Dynasty and ruled around 922 BC-887 BC. He succeeded his father Shoshenq I who died within 2-3 years of his successful Biblical campaign against both Israel and Judah. ... The Levant Levant is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ...


The author of Wenamun possibly wrote the original manuscript as an administrative document, a report of his journeys. However, the man who had the document copied over a century later most likely had a different reason. When theorizing about the purposes of the copyist, it seems to be all-too-common to forget about the reverse side of the papyrus. This concerns, as near as we can tell, the "sending of commodities by Ni-ki.. through the agency of Ne-pz-K-r-t for unspecified payment." It could be that this is a summarization of an attempt to perform a mission similar to that of Wenamun in this later time. "The Journey of Wenamun to Phoenicia", then, may have been copied as a preparation for this later trip. Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coastal plains of what are now Lebanon and Syria. ...


Importance of the document

The Story of Wenamun is an unparallelable source for learning of conditions in Egypt, as well as in Palestine. One can also see from this document, as from no other of the period, common attitudes toward religion (especially the cult of Amon), the state of Mediterranean shipping practises, and even the attitudes of foreign princes to Egyptian claims of supremacy in the region. Even the supremacy of the pharaoh in Egypt is placed under our scrutiny. The current pharaoh, Ramesses XI, is never even mentioned during Wenamun's journey! Thebes, Wenamun's hometown, is under the control of Herihor--the High Priest of Amon. The authority Wenamun goes to see in the delta is Smendes, who resides at Tanis, and bears the never-before-seen title "organizer-of-the-country". It is worthy of note that neither Smendes nor Herihor bear any royal title whatsoever. Map of the British Mandate of Palestine. ... Amon can refer to: Amun, Egyptian god, also known sometimes as Amon In the Bible, the governor of Samaria in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 22:26; 2 Chr. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... Pharaoh (Hebrew פַּרְעֹה (without niqqud: פרעה), Standard Hebrew Parʿo, Tiberian Hebrew Parʿōh, Arabic فرعون) is a title used to refer to the kings (of godly status) in ancient Egypt. ... Menmare Ramesses XI (sometimes written Ramses XI or Rameses XI; reigned 1102 BC – 1073 BC or 1070 BC) was the tenth and final king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. ... Two important places in antiquity were called Thebes: Thebes, Greece – Thebes of the Seven Gates; one-time capital of Boeotia. ... Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and high priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) in the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI. Herihor advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI and was integral to restoring order by ousting Pinhasy, viceroy of... Amon can refer to: Amun, Egyptian god, also known sometimes as Amon In the Bible, the governor of Samaria in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 22:26; 2 Chr. ... Hedjkheperre Setepenre Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. ... The word Tanis has a number of meanings: Tanis Diena - A Latvian pig festival Tanis, Egypt - An archaeological temple site Tanis Half-Elven - A character in the Dragonlance novels & game products Tanis, a commune of the Manche département, in France Tanis, a character in an early episode of Star... Hedjkheperre Setepenre Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. ... Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and high priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) in the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI. Herihor advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI and was integral to restoring order by ousting Pinhasy, viceroy of...


Overall, the Story of Wenamun presents to us what could possibly be the most vivid and descriptive narrative of pre-classical times. Surprisingly, it is also remarkably accurate. Quite probably, the accuracy of this document is based on the fact that it was never intended to be more than a description of his trip, which was to be read through and filed away, then forgotten about. Perhaps this is the most outstanding difference between "The Journey of Wen-Amon to Phoenicia" as opposed to "The War Against the Peoples of the Sea" (c.1177 B.C.E.), or the information found on the "Harris Papyrus" (c.1153 B.C.E.), both of which were written during the time of Ramesses III. Osirid statues of Ramses III at his temple at Medinet Habu. ...


Whereas there could be no valid reason for this author to exaggerate the grandeur of Egypt, or the loyalty (or disloyalty) of a particular prince to Herihor, Smendes, or even to Ramesses XI, the purpose for the last two documents was to summarize (and gloat over) the reign of a pharaoh, as well as to list his wealth and achievements for all of Egypt, as well as the entire world, to see, for all eternity. While there are many differences, the similarities (to be discussed later) should not be surprising, seeing that they date only fifty-four years apart, and were found in the same region of Egypt. Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and high priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) in the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI. Herihor advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI and was integral to restoring order by ousting Pinhasy, viceroy of... Hedjkheperre Setepenre Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. ... Menmare Ramesses XI (sometimes written Ramses XI or Rameses XI; reigned 1102 BC – 1073 BC or 1070 BC) was the tenth and final king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. ...


Because the text is based on a historical framework, it remains highly useful to historians for the study of the late New Kingdom and early Third Intermediate Period who often treat the text as a primary source of the late 20th Dynasty. (It should be noted that the Story of Wenamun was discovered with another historical fiction, the so-called Tale of Woe [Papyrus Pushkin 127], which takes the form of an imaginative letter as a vehicle to convey a narrative; see Caminos 1977 for discussion of both works.) The New Kingdom is the period in Egyptian history between the 16th century BCE and the 11th century BCE, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt. ... The Third Intermediate Period refers to the time in Ancient Egypt from the death of Pharaoh Rameses XI in 1070 BC to the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I, following the expulsion of the Nubian rulers of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty. ... A primary source is any piece of information that is used for constructing history as an artifact of its times. ...


References

  • Baines, John R. 1999. "On Wenamun as a Literary Text". In Literatur und Politik im pharaonischen und ptolemäischen Ägypten: Vorträge der Tagung zum Gedenken an Georges Posener 5.–10. September 1996 in Leipzig, edited by Jan Assmann, and Elke Blumenthal. Bibliothèque d'Étude 127. Cairo: Imprimerie de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire. 209–233.
  • Caminos, Ricardo Augusto. 1977. A Tale of Woe from a Hieratic Papyrus in the A. S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Oxford: The Griffith Institute.
  • Egberts, Arno. 1991. "The Chronology of The Report of Wenamun." Journal of Egyptian Archæology 77:57–67.
  • ———. 2001. "Wenamun". In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, edited by Donald Bruce Redford. Vol. 3 of 3 vols. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 495–496.
  • Gardiner, Alan Henderson. 1932. Late-Egyptian Stories. Bibliotheca aegyptiaca 1. Brussel: Fondation égyptologique reine Élisabeth. Contains the hieroglyphic text of the Story of Wenamun.
  • Goedicke, Hans. 1975. The Report of Wenamun. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Helck, Hans Wolfgang. 1986. "Wenamun". In Lexikon der Ägyptologie, edited by Hans Wolfgang Helck and Wolfhart Westendorf. Vol. 6 of 7 vols. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. 1215–1217
  • Коростовцев, Михаил Александрович [Korostovcev, Mixail Aleksandrovič]. 1960. Путешествие Ун-Амуна в Библ Египетский иератический папирус №120 Государственного музея изобразительных искусств им. А. С. Пушкина в Москве. [Putešestvie Un-Amuna v Bibl: Egipetskij ieratičeskij papirus No. 120 Gosudarstvennogo muzeja izobrazitel'nyx iskusstv im. A. S. Puškina v Mockva.] Памятники литературы народов востока (Волъшая серия) 4. [Moscow]: Академия Иаук СССР, Институт Востоковедения [Akademija Nauk SSSR, Institut Vostokovedenija].
  • Sass, Benjamin. 2002. "Wenamun and His Levant—1075 BC or 925 BC?" Ägypten und Levante 12:247–255.
  • Scheepers, A. 1992. "Le voyage d'Ounamon: un texte 'littéraire' ou 'non-littéraire'?" In Amosiadès: Mélanges offerts au professeur Claude Vandersleyen par ses anciens étudiants, edited by Claude Obsomer and Ann-Laure Oosthoek. Louvain-la-neuve: [n. p.]. 355–365
  • Schipper, Bernd Ulrich. 2005. Die Erzählung des Wenamun: Ein Literaturwerk im Spannungsfeld von Politik, Geschichte und Religion. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 209. Freiburg and Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Freiburg and Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 3-525-53067-6

Websites

  • The Report of Wenamun: English translation of the text
  • Wenamun Bibliography
  • Wenamun's Journey
  • Hieroglyphic transcription of the Story of Wenamun

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Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Story of Wenamun (1580 words)
The Story of Wenamun (alternately known as the Report of Wenamun, The Misadventures of Wenamun, or [informally] as just Wenamun) is a literary text written in hieratic in the Late Egyptian language.
Egberts (1991) argues, however, that the story is set in the 5th regnal year of Smendes I, the Delta-based founder of the 21st Dynasty.
As the story begins, the principle character, Wenamun, a priest of Amun at Karnak, is sent by the High Priest of Amun Herihor to the Phoenician city of Byblos to acquire lumber (probably cedar wood) to build a new ship to transport the cult image of Amun.
LIBRARIES (999 words)
In its original form the story may actually have been Sinuhe's autobiography, which he would have dictated to a scribe to be carved on the walls of his tomb as Egyptian noblemen almost invariably did.
The events described in the story take place after Amenmhet's death and are connected with the machinations between Sesostris and one of his brothers over accession to the throne, in which Sinuhe becomes involved.
The extant stories have come down to us in twenty-six papyrus rolls and a large number of ostraka: complete copies of 'The Story of Sinuhe' are to be found in six papyrus rolls, and fragments of it on eleven ostraka.
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