Monday, October 8, 2007

The Instruction of Kagemni ca. 2613 BC

"...the timid man flourishes, praised is he who is upright, open is the chamber to the silent, spacious is the seat of a man of cautious word. Sharp are the knives against the one who forces his way, that he not pass, save in his due season.

If you sit in the company of others, resist the food you desire, restrain your heart, gluttony brings disregard. A handful of water quenches the thirst, a mouthful of herbs brings strength to the heart. A good act takes place of what is good, yet just a little takes place of much.

Repulsive is the voracious, should time pass and he forget who's house he entered. If you sit with a glutton, eat when his appetite has passed. Should you drink with a drunkard, drink when his heart is glad. Do not help yourself to meat from the table of a glutton, accept his offering do not refuse it on courtesy.

He who is blameless of taking more than is his, no word can prevail against. The shy face and impassive heart, the struggle is kinder than his mother, all are beholden to him. Let your name be spoken though your lips remain closed.

When you are called forth be not great of heart because of your strength among piers lest you be denied. One sees not the future and how god punishes.

The Vizier had his children brought forth after he had acquired the knowledge of men their presence having come upon him. He said to them " All that is written in this book do as I have told you, do as has been set for you". Then they laid on their stomachs before him and recited out loud that which had been written down. Their hearts were filled with good above anything in the entire land. They rose up and sat down in accordance.

His majesty the king of upper and lower Egypt Huni came to the west and his majesty Sneferu ascended the throne of his father in all his beneficence in the entire land. Kagemni made overseer of the city and Vizier."


The Documentary Sources of Egyptian History- James Breasted

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