Susanllewellyn's Blog

November 14, 2009

Office hieroglyphs (20)

Two and a half months since I paused, halfway through the offering formula!  I’m surprised you’re still here.  I’ve been off to Egypt and back in September, and writing (and giving) lectures on Egypt and Africa and Black Pharaohs for Black History Month in October, and time has just whizzed by for me.  Meanwhile, you’ve been sitting there twiddling your mummified thumbs.  It must have seemed like an eternity.

I am very sorry.  How about if I give you

line 3

transliteration line 3

khet nebet nefret wabet ankhet netjer im; everything good and pure by which a god lives.

Anything, in fact, that the most discerning of gods would demand to be served, poured, wafted or sprinkled around his altar .  As you’ll recall, the deceased person has already been offered bread, beer, meat, fowl, alabaster and cloth at his or her offering table.  The third line of the offering formula is a catch-all clause, to make sure the deceased lacks nothing he or she may want in their eternal dining room.  After all, you don’t want to spend eternity making lists of everything you wish you’d ordered, trying to kick yourself for not thinking of it before (and getting even more frustrated because your legs are bandaged together).  So they had line three as a kind of divine etcetera, etcetera, etcetera – very The King and I or, in this case, The God and I.

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