The fragments of the hieratic papyrus at Turin

by John Gardner Wilkinson


Wilkinson, John Gardner. 1851. The fragments of the hieratic papyrus at Turin. London: Richards.


I have explained in the text how attention was first called to the Turin Papyrus of Kings by the invaluable researches of Champollion, and how it was afterwards arranged by Dr. Seyffarth in the manner in which it now stands in the Turin Museum. But as some misconception has arisen respecting the condition of the fragments before and after they were seen by Champollion, I think it right to give the information which I have been enabled to gather upon this point through the kindness of Signor Baracco, the sub-director of that museum.

He states that “Champollion, having visited Turin in 1824, saw the fragments for the first time; when taking them from the box, where they were mixed with those of other papyri, he selected the largest pieces that contained kings’ names, to the number of about twenty, and carefully transcribed them. This examination he repeated twice during his residence at Turin, and succeeded at length in collecting upwards of forty fragments. Two years afterwards, in 1826, Dr. Seyffarth went to Turin, and having undertaken to examine the contents of the box, occupied three months in arranging the fragments: taking every small piece, one by one, and examining carefully its colour, thickness, fibres, and writing. He was also fortunate enough, while doing that, to find several little pieces, which were wanting to complete the large fragments before selected by Champollion, and which had escaped his notice; and having then pasted them all down in the way they now stand, he made a kind of register of the whole papyrus, in twelve columns, of which he allowed Champollion to take the copy afterwards found among the papers of Salvolini.”

This, it seems, has led to an accusation against the late directors of the Turin Museum, of having subtracted or withheld some pieces of the papyrus, which Champollion was not allowed to see ; but it is only right to give the reply of Signor Baracco to this statement, who has evidence to show that Champollion had free access to everything in the Turin Museum; that he may be considered the principal inspector of the Egyptian part of that collection; and that no monument was unpacked except in his presence, nor put aside without his examining it.” What object they could have had, in concealing some minute particle of the papyrus, does not certainly appear; and common sense, as well as justice, would lead us to conclude that, having from the first put the whole of the unexamined fragments into the hands of Champollion, they could have no motive or opportunity of with holding any one from him.

That some pieces have been so well united by Dr. Seyffarth that they almost appear as if never broken, cannot certainly be an argument against the proper junction of the fragments, but should rather be a proof of his care in their restoration; and the omission of the marks of some of those fissures, will not dispose many persons to doubt the accuracy of Dr. Lepsius’ copy, to which I am happy to afford my testimony. How much I have been indebted to that accuracy, I have mentioned in the text; where I have also explained my reason for publishing the present copy of the papyrus—the want of the inscription at the back, so necessary for verifying the juxtaposition of the fragments. The only corrections I have made in the front, are, the wings of a wasp in No. 88, which give another king of the same dynasty; and also in No. 86, shewing that the top of the reed is not part of that in No. 87 ; part of another unit at the end of the numbers in No. 98; and some others of little importance.

A Committee of Subscribers has united with me to carry out this object; but the immediate publication of the Papyrus is owing to the liberality of the Duke of Northumberland, and I have much pleasure in acknowledging the very obliging manner in which he urged its publication, and prevented my incurring any expense beyond that of being one of the subscribers.


The importance of any document likely to throw light on the history of Egypt, and the succession of the Pharaohs, makes it desirable that every facility should be afforded for ascertaining the proper arrangement of the fragments of the Turin papyrus.

This papyrus, when brought to Turin, was in numerous small pieces; it formed part of the Drovetti collection purchased by the Piedmontese government; and when first seen by Champollion in 1824, was mixed with various fragments belonging to other papyri. Having all been turned out from the box that contained them upon a table, Champollion selected those with kings’ names, and had already transcribed rather more than forty fragments before any other persons turned their at tcntion to them. Mr. Seyffarth, however, having gone to Turin in 1826, applied himself diligently to the contents of the box, and by a careful examination of the fibres, and by the fortunate discovery of some other pieces, was enabled to put all the fragments together in the way they now stand in the Turin museum. Some, which were found to correspond, were at once joined together, and the rest were arranged temporarily, in such a manner that, if at any future period their real position became known, they might be transferred to their proper places. The care with which Mr. Seyffarth executed his task cannot be too highly praised; and so accurately have many of the fragments been found to fit, that the fractures are often scarcely perceptible without careful examination, which accounts for some of them not having been marked by Dr. Lepsius in the copy he has published;—an omission which has led M. Champollion-Figeac[1] to doubt the accuracy of that copy :—and as the fragments were broken into more pieces, when seen by his brother in 1824, than are indicated there, he is even inclined to question the authority of the papyrus in its present restored condition. But sufficient may be ascertained, by the examination of the fibres, to show when the junction is really correct; and no more doubt need be entertained, respecting the union of many of the pieces in this, than in any other restored papyrus. And as some misconception has arisen respecting the arrangement in Dr. Lepsius’ copy, it is only right to state that no part of it is his own; he has merely given the fragments in the exact order in which they were pasted down by Dr. Seyffarth, and he is not therefore responsible for the improper position of any one of them, as some have been led to suppose.

The great point was to ascertain, for certain, which of the fragments had been properly joined; and in order to facilitate this, it was necessary that a fac-simile should be made of all of them, with their exact outlines, which was accordingly done by Dr. Lepsius, and published in his Auswahl ; but as both sides of the papyrus bore an inscription, it was equally important for the arrangement of the parts that both sides should be copied and made public ; and it is in order to supply the omission of the inscription at the back that the present copy of the papyrus has been made. This, and the necessity of knowing which fragments really corresponded (whenever that could be ascertained), induced me to visit Turin in 1849; and permission to make tracings of both sides of the papyrus was immediately granted me, with that liberality for which the museum of Turin has always been so distinguished. It was, however, suggested (though there was not the least wish to withdraw that permission) that if I felt satisfied with the fac-simile made by Dr. Lepsius, it would be an advantage not to expose the papyrus again to the action of tracing; and accordingly a copy of Dr. Lepsius’ plates having been kindly given me by the director, Cavaliere Barruchi, I proceeded to examine the outlines of the fragments, and the inscription upon them. Having gone over all the characters one by one in that fac-simile, I found every reason to be satisfied with the accuracy of Dr. Lepsius; which I have much pleasure in having this opportunity to acknowledge. There were indeed only two or three places where I had occasion to add any remnants of characters, which he had omitted; I have also indicated some more of the principal fissures; and the only additional matter of importance given by me consists in the copy of the inscription at the back, which is certainly’very necessary in order to determine the juxtaposition of the parts. Whenever I have been able to ascertain, by the assistance of a lens, the undoubted junction of the fibres of the papyrus, I have indicated it by marking them with lines drawn over the fissure; when uncertain, I have left them without any remark; when I have had reason to doubt their junction, or correspondence with, a neighbouring fragment, I have noticed it in writing; and the same when I have ascertained that the fibres do not correspond in size, or general appearance.

And here I ought to state that, as there has been some difficulty in making the fissures at the back and front exactly correspond in the printing, they have been often omitted, and the correspondence, or non-correspondence, of the fibres has not there been noticed; reference must therefore always be made, for this and other particulars, to the front of the copy.

The same also for the correspondence of the fragments in the other set of plates; where I have transferred the hieratic into hieroglyphics, in order to facilitate the comparison of the names on the papyrus with those found on the monuments. And there, in order not to mislead, I have often avoided giving the hieroglyphics, when the substitute for the hieratic character was not quite certain ; or if a conjecture has been offered, it has been marked by broken lines drawn over it. I must also add that those I have given are open to any correction that may be required; and are offered without any pretension to maintain their accuracy, in opposition to the opinion of others; my object being merely to give a copy of the two sides of the papyrus, and such data respecting the junction of the fragments as may be of use in the study of this interesting record.

In the arrangement of Plate 1, some of the fragments, as Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, have been placed differently from those in Dr. Lepsius’ copy, partly in order to bring them more easily into the same plate, and partly because their position is uncertain; and indeed it must be borne in mind that the whole of the fragments (excepting those shown to correspond with their neighbours) are quite open to any arrangement it may be found reasonable to give them. The correspondence of the fibres is certainly the best and most infallible guide; and it is this which I have particularly endeavoured to ascertain; and whenever I have been satisfied respecting the junction of any parts it has been indicated; or if some are left without any remark, it is because it appeared better not to hazard a doubtful opinion, which might tend to mislead. The next important aid is to be obtained from the form and the sense of the characters at the back and front.

Nor is it object to offer any opinion on the succession of the kings, whose names occur upon it; but, by giving an accurate facsimile of the two sides of the papyrus, to place before every one, interested in the question, the whole of the evidence to be obtained for ascertaining the real position of the fragments.

It is certainly an authentic and valuable record ; and is more important from its treating of the earliest periods of Egyptian history, before the second Remeses, the third king of the nineteenth dynasty; whose name in the inscription at the back shows that all those kings were his predecessors; and, in all probability, that the document was written during his reign.

The first succession of kings consists of the gods, who are also said by Manetho to have preceded Menes, and the other mortal kings who reigned in Egypt; and the last names that remain in fragment No. 11 are of Seb (Saturn), Osiris, Seth (Typhon), Horus (the elder, or Aroeris, the brother of Osiris), Thoth, Thmei, and Horus (the younger, the son of Osiris and Isis). The first three agree well with his list, and Horus is the last of the gods he mentions; nor is it unlikely that the occurrence of Horus the elder, and of his nephew, Horus, the son of Osiris, led to the omission of the two intervening names of Thoth and Thmei, the name of one Horus having been mistaken for the other by his copyists. Manetho, according to Eusebius, says: “The first god (who ruled the country) was Vulcan (Pthah); after him came Helios (Re, the Sun); then Agathodeemon (Hor-Hat, or perhaps Noum?); then Saturn (Seb); then Osiris; then Typhon (or Seth), his brother; and the last of them was Horus,the son of Osiris and Isis. The royal authority then continued through a long succession to Bites, or Bytis, occupying 13,900 years; and after the gods, heroes reigned 1255 years ; then other kings, 1817 years; then other thirty Memphite kings, 1790 years; then ten Thinite kings, 350 years ; then came the reign of the Manes and demigods for 5813 years,—the total of years being 11,000. And all the years allowed by the Egyptians for the reigns of gods, heroes, and Manes, were 24,900 years.”[2]

The notion of Eusebius, that the years were lunar months, is quite untenable: Vulcan might have reigned 9000 years, the real sum, as easily as 727¾ ; and there would be then no necessity for reducing the 350 years, assigned to the ten Thinite kings, to below 30, which would be at the improbable average rate of about three years for each reign.

Syncellus again, on the authority of Manetho, gives the reigns of the gods thus:

[Omitted: a table of Gods.]

Or, reckoning only the sum of the six gods, 11,985 years; and that of the nine demigods, 2,641 years.

The first seven names agree with the authority of Manetho, as given by Eusebius, where Horus is mentioned as the last of the “gods”; but the remaining eight are scarcely reconcilable with probability, since the great gods, “Ammon”, and “Jupiter”, follow those of the third order. Another version of the above list places a god between Osiris and Typhon; but his name and the number of years are lost. The years being calculated, according to Eusebius, as “lunar years of thirty days each”, I have given, in the separate column, the original numbers, from which they must have been reduced, beginning with the known number of Vulcan’s reign, 9000 years, and ending with the 309 of Horus, which last accords so nearly with the length of his reign in the papyrus.

It would be vain to attempt to reconcile the dates given by Manetho’s copyists, or to suppose that any reliance can be placed upon them respecting the reign of the gods, since the years of the kings’ reigns, even in the later dynasties, seldom agree exactly with those on the monuments. This should indeed be borne in mind, in all attempts to fix any reigns in the papyrus from the number of years, when the kings’ ovals are lost; and it is sufficient, generally, to consider the years in the lists at most as only approximate dates. Even as late as the 26th dynasty, Eusebius gives to Psammitichus forty-five; Africanus, fifty-four years; and great discrepancies are found in their lists in the very names of the kings of the 18th dynasty.

On the papyrus, the number of years of the gods’ reigns has been lost, except after the name of the elder Horus, which is followed by “300 years”, and of Thoth, which has apparently “7,226 years”; the former agreeing very nearly with the reign of Horus in the restored list of Syncellus. Horus the younger is evidently the last of these gods in the papyrus, since the next line begins with a red character, which shews the commencement of a new dynasty.

It has been shewn that Manetho reckons the reigns of all the gods, heroes, and Manes, at 24,900 years; but the confused and irregular position of mortal kings,between the heroes and Manes, renders the sum of 11,000 very doubtful. Nor is it easy to discover who this Bites (or Bitys) was, who is said to have preceded them. He is probably the same whom Jamblichus calls a “prophet of King Ammon”, and may therefore be connected with the last of the supposed demigods, Jupiter, or Amun.[3] But the sum of 13,900 years, for the succession ending with Bites, makes, with the 11,000 after Bites, the total of the rule of the gods, or 24,900 years; and argues that the reign of the seven gods occupied part of, or perhaps all, those 13,900 years; and, allowing for the three deities, Thoth, Thmei, and the younger Horus, supplied by the papyrus, we may conclude that the reign of the ten gods occupied the whole of the 24,900 years. For as the papyrus gives to Thoth a reign of 7,226 years (?) and Horus, like his namesake, for whom he was mistaken, had probably the number of 300 years,—there remain only 5,080 to complete the whole sum, which may not unreasonably be given to the reign of Thmei:

The rule of the seven gods, according to

Manetho’s list, reckoned at . . .12,294 years
Thoth, in the papyrus, apparently . . .7,226 years
Thmei . . .5,080 years
Horus the younger . . .300 years
24,900 years

If, again, we take the sum in the papyrus to Horus to be about 23,200 years, we may reckon the rule of Thmei at 3,380 years. If so, the whole rule of the gods was 24,900 years; and we then get rid of the Manes and heroes,—beings unknown in the Egyptian mythology. No mention, indeed, seems to be made of them in the papyrus. On the contrary, the “reigns to Horus”, in fragment No. 1, are reckoned at about 23,200 (?) years,—the tens and units being erased,—and the name of Menes immediately follows in the next line; and the line before has also the name of Horus, followed by 13,420 (?) years,—the units being lost,—which may possibly be reckoned to the elder Horus: Thoth, Thmei, and the younger Horus, corresponding to the supposed demigods. And if the 23,200 years do not agree with the 24,900 of the total rule of the gods, nor the 13,420 with the 13,900 assigned to the first succession ending with Bites, this may be explained by the uncertainty of Manetho’s numbers.

I must not, however, omit to state, that Champollion read the number after the name of Thoth, “3,226” (not 7,226, as I suppose it to be) ; and he thought he could perceive “3,140 years” after that of Thmei, as well as “400” after that of Horus (the younger ; but I will leave to others to decide, from what remains of the hieratic, how far those, and the other numbers he ‘assigned to all these deities, are borne out by the papyrus.

The fragment No. 1 should probably be arranged after No. 2, and begin the succession of mortals with Menes and his successor, Athothes,—the two first kings of the first dynasty of Thinites. But of the arrangement of the papyrus, I shall speak more fully presently.

Seyffarth supposes the breadth of the papyrus, when entire, to have been fourteen inches, and to have contained twelve columns, each consisting of from twenty-six to thirty lines; and therefore, deducting for those lines without names, from 300 to 350 kings’ ovals; the remains, or positions, of about 200 of which are still traceable. Indeed it is probable that the number 330, in the fourth line of fragment No. 1, is that of the kings whose names were men tioned in this document. They agree with the number given by Herodotus, which appears to date to the era of Menophres (one of several kings, to whom the name of Moeris has been applied), the same as Sethi (or Osirei) I, and the father and immediate predecessor of Remeses II, in whose reign his papyrus was written.

The number of kings, conjectured by Seyffarth to be between 300 and 350, agrees very well with that of the kings in Manetho, before the nineteenth dynasty; who vary in the lists given by Africanus and Eusebius, from 440 to 301 and 315; as these do sufiiciently well with the 330 kings of Herodotus, to shew that he had in view the same number of reigns; but the supposed breadth of the papyrus, fourteen inches, seems too much, as they seldom exceed twelve. It appears from the column IV (in plate 2), which gives the whole of its series of names one below the other, that the breadth was not more than thirteen inches, and that it contained at most twenty-two lines; for in some parts, as in column III, the number of lines varied in a similar space, and that part could only have contained twenty-one lines: the same again in column VI, where eight lines are equal to nine of column IV; while, on the other hand, nine lines of column IV, or eight of column VI, are nearly equal to ten of column IX, and very nearly to twelve lines of column XI.

If the column VII contained the fragments 72 (76 and 79), 77, and 78, one below the other, the breadth could not have been less than 16½ inches with twenty-seven lines; but the Nos. 76, 77, 78, and 79, are probably out of their places, and may not come properly under No. 72.

Before noticing the arrangement of the fragments, I shall introduce the names of the kings, and the dynasties, given in the lists copied from Manetho, down to the 19th, when the Papyrus was written; and from these it will be seen, both by the lengths of the reigns and the sums of the dynasties, that implicit reliance cannot be placed on their numbers, and that it is too much to expect them to agree exactly with the Papyrus, which also admits many names of kings unnoticed in them.

The early dynasties of Manetho are as follow:

[Omitted: 15 pages of tables listing the dynasties of Manetho.]

Taking the number 2,121 as the real sum of these, and 2,300 years for the eleven first dynasties (2,121 + 2,300), we have 4,421 years from the accession of Menes to the end of the nineteenth dynasty.

It is, however, well known that many of these dynasties, before the eighteenth, ruled contemporaneously, as is shewn by the mention of kings on the monuments ruling at the same time; and the mode of numbering them, the consecutive arrangement of those from the same part of the country, and the contemporaneousness of others, have been very ingeniously and satisfactorily explained by Mr. Stuart Poole, in his Horae Egyptiacae; where he acknowledges that it was first suggested to him by Mr. Lane. That arrangement may be seen in the following table, which he has obligingly communicated, and which I have the more pleasure in inserting, as I agree with him in the contemporaneousness of the kings, and in the general mode of arranging those of the same line.

Respecting the construction of the table, he observes: “The relative positions and the lengths of most of these dynasties are founded upon some kind of monumental authority. The rest I have placed within approximative extremes. There are several points of exact contemporaneousness, as in the second and fourth and fifth dynasties, again in the fifth and fifteenth, and in the ninth and eleventh; and these, with other evidence of the same nature, enable us to adjust the general scheme of all the dynasties. I think it probable that the ninth dynasty and the eleventh commenced some time after the sixth, and Papa may therefore have been, for part of his reign, contemporary only with Thinites and Elephantinites of little power. This would account for his name being found throughout Upper Egypt, as well as at Mount Sinai.” [See Table.]

There is some difliculty in arranging the kings of the seventh and eighth dynasties of Memphites, as the Shepherds had obtained possession of Memphis; but we may suppose that those kings retained the name and claimed the rights of sovereignty, though dispossessed of their capital; and if king Papi (Papa) or Mai-Re of the sixth, ruled all Egypt, we may suppose that his authority was paramount, while an inferior king (or kings) reigned in some other part of the country, of the fourteenth Xoite dynasty, the position and names of the kings are uncertain; but it is evident that the thirteenth ruled contemporaneously with the Shepherds till the accession of the eighteenth, and that there was no other seventeenth dynasty but that of the Shepherds. Indeed, the introduction of two different families of kings, into the same dynasty, is opposed to Manetho’s system of arrangement; and it even appears, that when another family of kings of the same line came to the throne, they often formed a new dynasty.

[Omitted: Eratosthenes tables of kings ]

Though the names in Eratosthenes do not agree exactly with those in the preceding lists, and his information is very meagre, there is sufficient resemblance to show that they were taken from the same source as those of Manetho.

The second and fifth dynasties are here omitted, being contemporary with the third and fourth, and the change from the Thinite to the Memphite line is indicated by the first king of the third dynasty, No. VI, being called “a Memphite.” The Memphite line was powerful to the end of the sixth dynasty; some, if not all, the kings of which ruled the whole of Egypt; it was then interrupted by the invasion of the Shepherds, who are here omitted, as well as the remaining seventh and eighth dynasties of the Memphite line. The Heracleopolites and Xoites, of the ninth, tenth, and fourteenth dynasties, are also passed over; and the Theban line begins in the eleventh with the name of Myrtaeus, and ends with Stammenemes, or Ammenemes, which last is the only one of that dynasty given in Manetho’s list. The twelfth seems to begin with Ammenemes II, Sesostris, and Ameres, or Ammenemes (Amun-m-he III), the Moeris of the labyrinth; but these last are uncertain. The name of Siphoas (Se-pthah) calls to mind the second successor of Remeses II ; and that of Phrouron, so like the royal Egyptian title, resembles that of Pheron, the son of Sesostris, given by Herodotus; though we can scarcely suppose these three last to be kings of the nineteenth dynasty.

With regard to the invasion of the Shepherds, there is evidence of their having already arrived in Egypt at the beginning of the twelfth dynasty, though they did not succeed in extending their dominion till some time after their first irruption into the country; and this may account for two different periods having been assigned to their conquest of Egypt. The Turin papyrus, however, shows that in the reign of Amun-m-he I, something unusual took place, from the repetition of the name of that king; and the monuments prove that several changes occurred in the succession at that period.

The arrangement in the Turin papyrus appears to be: first, a prefatory summary of the number of kings, and an explanation of the system therein adopted, of giving the duration of their reigns, the length of their lives, probably with their generations and dynasties, as well as the time elapsed to the nineteenth dynasty, when the document was compiled. But before the reign of the kings, that of the gods, to Horus, was introduced ; and it is probable that the rule of the gods, like that of the kings, was preceded by an introductory notice, similar to that in fragment No. 1, which is placed before Menes and his successors. If so, column 11, fragment No. 2, should be the first part that now remains of the papyrus; and the preface to the rule of the kings, fragment 1, followed it. No. 2 contains the names of Seb, Osiris, Seth, Horus (the elder), Thoth, Thmei, and Horus (the younger), and in the eleventh and twelfth lines of fragment No. 1, is the oval (or cartouche) of Menes, followed by those of his successors, in the first of which may be traced part of the name of Athothis.

Column 1, fragment 1, begins
line 1, “their (years) 1( 000),” or more, the “one thousand” alone remaining;
line 2 “day 30(?),’’ their years 1115 day..
line 3..“10 perform their royal (duties)
line 4, “their. . 330 duration of (life)”
line 5, ..“10 their royal (duties, or reign) their year of life year. .
line 6, “. . . day 19, years 11, months 4, days 22(?)”
line 7, “. . day 19 years 2(000?)” or more, the “two thousand” alone remaining
line 8, “. . father god .. 7 their years duration of their life . . ”
line 9, “. . Horus, . . years 13,42(0?)” the units lost
line 10, “reigns to Horus, . . . . years 23,210(?)”
line 11, “king Menai (Menes) of a firm life”
line 12, “king Menai, of a firm life, performed his royal duties (reigned)“
line 13 “king A(thothis) . . .”
line 14, “king . . .”

But I must observe that the numbers in lines 9 and 10 are not certain, and Champollion supposed that the former read “14,42(0?)”, and that in line 10, “24,200”, or “24,204.” In line 4 he read “320” instead of 330, and in line 7, “2,312.” In column II, he read the first name “Bai-onkh (the living spirit, Osiris),” and not Seb : in the second line “Isis”; and in line 5, after Thoth, he read “years 3,226;” at the same time assigning to all the gods their years, as “3,140” to Thmei, “400” to Horus (the younger); as well as the summation of “twenty-three reigns in 5,623 years... 28 days” in line 11; and a total in the 12th line of “13,218 years.” In column II, fragment 12, the first line seems to have the number 17,718: but this does not correspond with the fragment 11.

Column III, fragment 18, seems to contain the last kings of the third dynasty; though neither the names, nor the length of the reigns, agree with those in Manetho’s list, according to Africanus. The first line gives “eight years, three months.”

In the second line of fragment 18a, the hieroglyphics are uncertain, and all that remain are “11 years, 8 months, 4 days, and his life 34 years;” whence it seems, that if he was the Sephuris of Africanus, the length he gives to his reign of thirty years could scarcely be correct; and, judging from the uncertainty of the length of the other reigns, it is evident that little reliance can be placed on the numbers in his lists. The next king reigned twenty-seven years, two months, and one day, and lived at least forty years ; the units being lost. In the following line the number “19” alone remains; but it is uncertain whether the characters of the royal titles, in the fourth line of fragment 18, are a king’s name.

In the next is the beginning of a new dynasty, perhaps the fourth of Manetho. The first name is Sora, his Soris, followed by “19 years, 1 month, the duration of his life...”; then comes “Sora II”, and as Africanus has only one Soris, and gives him 29 years, we may conclude that the second Sora reigned 10 years, and that the 29 years include the two reigns. The successor of Soris in Manetho’s list, according to Africanus, is “Suphis, who built the Great Pyramid,” but the fragment in the papyrus is here broken; and it is not certain that these are the third and fourth dynasties.

The name in fragment 19 appears to be a variation of that usually written with a syphon s, a zigzag n, and a hand t, which, like the trussed goose, reads “Sent”, and which is found at the tombs near the pyramids. This is followed by “Nofre-ke(re)” (Nepherkheres). Fragment 20 begins with “days 28”; the name in line 3 resembles Thoth, and in the third name of line 4, the centre character is like the leg in a trap, signifying “theft” or “deceit”, but I have not ventured to give it for certain as part of a king’s name. In line 8, the remaining portion of the name appears to read “Khem”, and some might suppose that these were gods.

Fragment 30 contains the lives of nine kings, which lasted 73, 72, 63, 95 ? ... , 95, 70 ? 24? and perhaps 70? years. From their great length they might agree with those of the kings of the fourth dynasty; but this is doubtful, as well as the proper position of the fragment.

Plate II. The column IV has a continuous succession of lines, extending down the whole breadth of the papyrus ; and the last names are of the three kings who closed the fifth dynasty, Menkherês, Tankherês (Tat of the papyrus), and Onnus (Ouênas); the first followed by “years 8”,the second by “years 28”, and the third by “years 30”, while Manetho’s list assigns to these kings 9, 44, and 33 years. The name of Tat-khere (corrupted into Tankherês) has been found on scarabaei, and in a tomb at Sakkara; but he was not the same as “Tat” of the papyrus. His nomen was Assa, and he was one of the Shepherds of the fifteenth dynasty; the similarity of whose name, and his living about the same time (contemporaneously with Ouênas), may have led to his being placed in Manetho’s fifth dynasty, instead of Tat. Ouênas occurs on an alabaster vase at Florence, as well as on scarabaei in the Turin Museum, in Dr. Abbot’s collection, and elsewhere, written with the same characters. In the line after the name of Ouênas, is a summation, apparently “reigns 67? (from) Menes to . . .1” Africanus gives 42 kings from Menes to the end of the fifth dynasty, and Eusebius gives 73; but neither the summation, the duration of reigns, nor the number of kings in Manetho’s fifth dynasty, whether taken from Africanus or Eusebius, agree with those on the papyrus.

Fragment No. 43 begins with the name of Neit-akri (Nitocris), the last sovereign of Manetho’s sixth dynasty, and the same queen who is mentioned by Herodotus. Dr. Hincks has already shown that this fragment should be attached to No. 59 (and be placed nearly where No. 53 now stands), since the lengths of the two last reigns given in No. 59, “ninety (and more) years” and the “one year” which follows, show that they apply to those of king Phiops (Papi, or Apappus), and of Menthesuphis; which, in all the lists of Manetho, and in that of Eratosthenes, are proved to have had that marked difference of duration.

The fragment 59 begins (on the right side) with the durations of reigns; the two last, as just stated, being of Phiops and Menthesuphis (the Merenre of the monuments) the immediate predecessors of Nitocris. The names which immediately follow Nitocris, in fragment 43, are remarkable from being the first three Shepherds of the fifteenth dynasty, the first of whom is placed after Papi and Merenre in the list at Chenoboscion.

Column VI, fragment 63, seems to contain some kings of the eleventh dynasty, the first remaining name being of Menmoph, whose forty-sixth year is found on a stela in the Turin Museum, and who was contemporary with one of the Enentefs (Nutentefs) of the ninth Heracleopolite dynasty. The next is apparently the prenomen of a king Aan, the father, or an ancestor, of Osirtasen I.

In fragment 64, line 2, is the end of the prenomen of Amun-m-he I, the last king of the eleventh dynasty, followed by part of another, which should be of Osirtasen I, the leader of the twelfth dynasty,[4] part of whose reign was contemporaneous with that of Amun-m-he. After his name is “years 45,” agreeing very well with the length of his reign in Manetho’s list, “46 years”, and with the discovery of Osirtasen’s “year 44” on the monuments. In the lines following are the “years 10 ?, 19, 30” (or more, the units being lost), and “40” (or more), which should belong to the reigns of Amun-m-he II, Osirtasen II and III, and Amun-m-he III. Of these kings, Amun-m-he II reigned conjointly with Osirtasen I and Osirtasen II; his “year 2” coinciding with the “year 44” of Osirtasen I, and his “year 35” with the “year 3” of Osirtasen II. The date of the “year 35” of Amun-m-he II has been found on the monuments, the “year 3” of Osirtasen II, the “year 13’” of Osirtasen III, and the “year 43” of Amun-m-he III.

Column VII, in plate III, fragment 72, continues the twelfth dynasty, with the two last of its kings, Amun-m-he IV?, “reigning “9 years, 3 months, and 27 days”, and “Nofre-Savak-re” of the papyrus, reigning “3 years, 10 months, 24 days”, who corresponds in place, though not in name, with Queen Skemiophris of Manetho, to whom he gives a reign of four years. Here too, in the papyrus, is the end of that dynasty, with a summation of 203 years, in the third line; differing from Manetho’s sum of 160, or, according to Eusebius, of 245 (really 182); and showing, as usual, how uncertain the sums and lengths of reigns are in his lists.

After this, column VII appears to give the names of kings who were connected with Amun-m-he I, as his name is repeated in the fourth line, and again, with his phonetic nomen, in the seventh and eighth lines; and once more in the twelfth line. The name of Amun-m-he frequently occurs on the monuments, with those of several other kings, either as a relation or a contemporary; and this may account for its being here repeated on the papyrus.

The sixth name in line 5 of column VII, resembles the fourth in the third, and also in the upper, line on the right in the Chamber of Kings at Karnak, which, like several of those that follow, both in the papyrus and in the Chamber of Kings, were evidently of the Sabacos and others of the thirteenth dynasty; and several names in different parts of the papyrus are found to agree with those in the Chamber of Kings, and in the Abydus tablet. The kings of the thirteenth dynasty immediately preceded the Diospolites of the eighteenth, and were contemporaries of the seventeenth of Shepherds; for it is very evident that the “seventeenth being composed of an equal number of Shepherds, and Diospolite kings”, is an error, and even opposed to Manetho’s usual arrangement of the dynasties, as before stated. The reason of the kings of the eleventh and twelfth dynasties holding a position so directly connecting their predecessors with Thothmes III in the Chamber of Kings, while those of the thirteenth are placed by themselves to the right, appears to be from Thothmes and his predecessors of the eighteenth dynasty, Amosis and Amunoph I, deriving their rights to the throne from the Theban Osirtasens, Sekennre and Menmoph; while the Sabacos, and others of the thirteenth, were of a different family, perhaps Ethiopians. One of them, resembling those aheady mentioned in the Chamber of Kings, is found on a monument at Semneh, which mentions the name of his deceased predecessor Osirtasen III ; and another, Sabaco, the seventh in the upper line, is found at the island of Argo.

Though the lower part of this column VII, Nos. 76, 77, 78, 79, may not (from its great length) join on below fragment 72, it is probable that it contains, like fragment 81, the kings of the thirteenth dynasty. Many of these ovals seem to include both the praenomen and the phonetic nomen of a king. Among the earliest instances of the two ovals are those of king Papi, or Maire, of the sixth dynasty; one of the many kings who, properly or improperly, may have received the name of Moeris from the Greeks.

Beyond, to the left, the columns VIII and IX form the continuation of this part of the papyrus, from column VII; as is proved by the correspondence of the fibres.

In column IX, fragment 97, the first name is remarkable from having the word “Nahsi” (signifying “Negro”), preceded by the sun, reading Re-nahsi, or Nahsi-Re, “the negro sun” (the Re being sometimes read after the other characters in the praenomens of the early kings) ; and the last of them, in line eight, has the remains of the name Re-ubn-Re, which is similar to the second in fragment 99, and to another, the fourth, in fragment 94. This name has obtained a more than ordinary degree of interest, from being the same as one that occurs on a cartouche found at Nineveh; and a scarabaeus, brought by me from Thebes, has the same title attached to the name of Queen Amunnoum-het, the wife of Thothmes III, who is therein called “Ubn(t)re, in the foreign land.”

In fragment 101, the second name is the same as one found by the Duke of Northumberland and Colonel Felix in a temple at Gebel Berkel, in Ethiopia, reading S-tore-n-Re. Some others in the papyrus occur on scarabaei, and on the monuments of Egypt; which it is unnecessary to point out here, as they will be readily perceived in the hieroglyphic plates of the papyrus; where it will also be seen, that most of the early names usually found on the monuments are wanting in the papyrus; owing to its imperfect condition. In column XI, fragment 142, may perhaps be some of the kings of the eighteenth dynasty; but these, like so many others, are uncertain; while many of them in this, and even in places where they remain entire, are quite unknown, being probably of kings, whose short and obscure reigns have not enabled them to record their names on the monuments. Some may only be inserted in the papyrus from having been of the royal family; some may have claimed the title of king without having actually held the sceptre ; and others may have been of the number of unrecorded Pharaohs of the Xoite and other dynasties during the Shepherd occupation, whose names are omitted by Manetho and the monuments.

It must, however, be evident, that in endeavouring to clear up the chronology of the Egyptian kings, care should be taken not to place too much reliance on the uncertain records given us by (the copyists of) Manetho. Whenever any number of kings are found seriatim in the papyrus, the length of the reigns, or the summations, when preserved, almost always differ from his lists; and what is still more decisive, those on the monuments do the same, as we see from the names in the eighteenth dynasty, which only in some instances agree with those he mentions.

When many dynasties ruled contemporaneously, a confusion of succession and of names might be expected; but those of the eighteenth ruled alone throughout the country; and the lists of Thebes and Abydus are too full, and too well preserved, to admit of any question. Here and there in his lists are some points of agreement with the monuments, and some also with the papyrus; as, in the rule of the gods, the mention of the first king Menes (which occurs again in the monumental lists of Thebes), and in the introduction of Oannes (Ouônas) as the last king of the fifth dynasty; which sufiice to show that Manetho’s lists, and the papyrus, were taken from the same authentic source; but the numerous points in which those lists differ from the monuments, and from the papyrus, show that they are not to be relied on, either for the lengths of the dynasties, for the number of the kings in each, or for the names of the kings ; and all that can be obtained from them is a general notion of the number of the dynasties, and of the different houses that reigned, sometimes together, sometimes successively; and we must be satisfied, as I have already said, to consider them an authority worthy of credit, only when confirmed in some degree by the monuments.

I cannot conclude this brief notice of the Turin papyrus, without acknowledging the obliging assistance I have received from Mr. Stuart Poole; and I feel less scruples in giving so slight an explanation of the subject, since Dr. Hincks has kindly contributed his remarks upon it; which his well-known talents, and the great attention he has long given to the papyrus, render doubly valuable. They are as follow.

[Editor's note (2019): See Hincks 1851 for the rest of the text.]


  1. Révue Archéologique, p. 464, et alib.
  2. The sums added together make 24,925; but it is more reasonable to suppose that the general sum is right in Eusebius, and that some one or more of the smaller sums may be wrong.
  3. In that case the 12th god, “Ammon”, may have been intended for the ram-headed Noum. If, as some imagine, the rule of the gods signified that of the priesthoods of those deities, the late position of Jupiter might be explained by the later rule of the Theban priests.
  4. I am much inclined to place Amun-m-he I as the leader of the twelfth dynasty, and Osirtasen I as the second king.

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With 2336 hieroglyphic names of the pharaohs
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