Amenhotep III Cattle Hunt Scarab—Hieroglyphs and Translation

a carved scarabThe transcription below of Amenhotep III's wild cattle hunting scarab follows Budge's. The images mostly follow Budge's transcription of the hieroglyphs 1 with some influence from Fraser's 3 along with some rearrangement of the glyphs when the photos of the scarab disagree. The math fails to compute in any case. The black background version reads from right to left as on the original. The white ones read left to right to follow the English translation.

line 1 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 2 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 3 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 4 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 45 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 6 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 7 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 8 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 9 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 10 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 11 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 12 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 13 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 14 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 15 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)
line 16 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read right-to-left)

Budge wrote out a translation after Fraser's, who considered the scarab unique at the time. Budge must have known of the total kill from other sources since this scarab clearly shows only twenty counted on the second day of the hunt (line 15) yet he computes a total of 96 (line 16). These are difficult to decipher on the scarab's photo, requiring some creative extrapolation to arrive at 96 from the last damaged line.

  1. line 1 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    In the second year of the reign of His Majesty, 1
  2. line 2 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    the Living Horus, the mighty Bull, diademed with Maat (i.e. Truth), the [e]Stablisher of Laws, 1
  3. line 3 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    the Pacifier of the Two Lands (i.e. Upper and Lower Egypt), Mighty one in arm (or, thigh), Smiter of the Nomads, 1
  4. line 4 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    the son of Ra, Amenhetep, Governor of Thebes, giver of life (the King's Woman, the Great One, [being] Ti, living one like Ra, a marvellous thing took place 1
  5. line 5 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    through His Majesty. One came bringing a report to His Majesty, saying: "The Wild cattle are in the hilly ground 1
  6. line 6 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    of the district of Shetep." (Wadi Natron 4) His Majesty set out by boat and sailed down the river in the royal barge called Kha-em-Maat" 1 ("Appearing in Truth" 4)
  7. line 7 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    during the night. And having made a successful journey he arrived safely in the district of Shetep 1
  8. line 8 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    early the following morning. His Majesty mounted his horse and rode off with all his bowmen following him, and the head men, and all the captains of the bowmen, 1
    Fraser translated this line: "His Majesty mounted upon a horse, his whole army following him." 3
  9. line 9 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    were commanded to keep a strict watch on the wild cattle, and all the children 1
  10. line 10 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    of the neighbourhood to do the same. And His Majesty gave orders for all the wild cattle 1
  11. line 11 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    to be driven into a stockaded enclosure with a ditch (?) round about it. 1
  12. line 12 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    His Majesty commanded a counting of all the wild cattle to be made, and their total number was 170. 1
  13. line 13 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    The number of the wild cattle which His Majesty hunted and slew on this day was 56 head. His Majesty remained idle for four days 1
  14. line 14 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    in order to allow his horses to recover their fieryness. Then His Majesty mounted a horse, and 1
  15. line 15 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    the number of wild cattle which he hunted and slew was 40 head. 1
    Fraser translated this line literally from what's visible on the scarab, "His Majesty captured 20 ..... cattle ....." 3
  16. line 16 Amenhotep II's hunting scarab (read left-to-right)
    The total number of the wild cattle [slain by him] was 96 head. 1
    Fraser translated this line literally, "[Total] 85 wild cattle....." 3
    I followed Budge's lead and completed the hieroglyphs for this line as suggested by fragments of glyphs, placing what could be the final horseshoe-shaped symbol (actually derives from a cattle hobble) in a plausible position for the missing number ten to bring the total to 96.

[v.1-6] Hunting Scarab [ 1 | 2 | Back]

NOTES:

  1. Sir Wallis Budge, The Dwellers on the Nile Dover 1977 reprint of 1926 edition totally rewritten from an 1885 book of the same title.
  2. Sir Wallis Budge, Tutankhamen: Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism Bell Publishing, N.Y. ca. 1923.
  3. George Fraser, A Catalogue of the Scarabs Belonging to George Fraser London. Bernard Quaritch. 1900.
  4. Joann Fletcher, Chronicle of a Pharaoh The Intimate Life of Amenhotep III Oxford, New York. 2000.

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