Records of the Past, 2nd series, Vol. II

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Records of the Past, 2nd series, Vol. II

By A. H. Sayce

Introduction - Inscription of Uni (of the Sixth Dynasty)

This inscription adorned one of the walls of the tomb which Uni had built for himself at Abydos in the central part of the necropolis (Mariette: Abydos, vol. ii. p. 41; Catalogue Général, p. 84, No. 522). It was discovered there by Mariette and transferred to the Museum of Boulaq (Mariette: Notice des principaux Monuments, 1864, pp. 286–287), where it now bears the number 886 (Maspero: Guide du Visiteur, pp. 209–211). E. de Rouge copied it there in 1865 and made an analysis of it, intermingled with translations, which he published in his Recherches sur les Monuments (pp. 117–128, 135–149, pl. vii., viii.) His work served as a starting-point for the complete translations of Birch ("Inscription of Una," in the Records of the Past, prior series, ii. pp. 1–8), and the partial translations of Maspero (Histoire ancienne des Peuples de l’ Orient, 1875, pp. 88–92; 1886, pp. 81–85) and of Brugsch (Geschichte Aegyptens, pp. 95–102). The text has been published a second time, but somewhat incorrectly, by Mariette (Abydos, vol. ii. pp. 4449); it has again been edited, with the corrections of Brugsch and Golenischeff, by Erman (Commentar zur Inschrift des Una in Lepsius’s Zeitschrift, 1882, pp. 1–29), together with a translation and a grammatical commentary, some points in which have been slightly modified by Erman in his work on Egypt (Aegypten, pp. 688–690, et passim). Brugsch has devoted one of the most interesting of his memoirs to the study of the names of the Nubian populations contained in our inscription (Die Negerstämme der Una-Inschrift in the Zeitschrift, 1882, pp. 30–36).

The inscription consists of 52 lines, of which the first alone is horizontal and runs along the summit of the wall like a sort of general title. On the right side it has suffered a little, and the lines at the beginning have lost almost all the characters at the top and the bottom of them; but only two or three of these lacunæ are impossible to fill up, and interrupt the sense. Everywhere else, the expression is clear, easy to comprehend, and the difficulties which it offers to the interpreter result only from our present ignorance of the exact signification of certain terms peculiar to architecture, navigation, and the military art at the remote epoch to which the inscription belongs. The portions of the text which have been restored are enclosed between brackets.

The stele which was found with this inscription is in the Museum of Boulaq at Cairo, and has the form of a false door: it is evidently the same which was given to Uni by king Merirî Pepi, as stated in the inscription. Mariette has given a description of the stele in his Catalogue Général des Monuments d’ Abydos (p. 90, No. 529; cfer. J. and E. de Rougé: Inscriptions, vol. i. pl. II.). The tomb of Auu, the father of Uni, has been discovered at Abydos (E. de Rougé: Recherches sur les Monuments, p. 144, note 1). Uni died before Mirinirî, who is the last king mentioned in his biography; if, as I have conjectured, he was born in the reign of Unas, his age could not have exceeded sixty years.



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