This is another of my amateurish experiments on ancient Egyptian prosody --
or better, another step in my quest of the inner rhythm of ancient Egyptian language.
This time I chose Prince Chephren's tale of the Westcar papyrus.
I chose it because it is the shortest and -- to my taste -- the most lively.
It is "theatrical" more than "literary" and its atmosphere is quite different
from that of Sinuhe. I think it was meant to be played in front of an audience.
A sort of script for a story-teller who could exploit its theatrical potentialities
to catch the attention of his spectators and stir their emotions.
To our modern taste this tale may seem quite naif, but I think that "magic"
did play an important role on the Egyptian Weltanschauung and the sole fact
of seeing "enacted magic" must have played some emotional tricks on the Egyptian audience.
Unfortunately Prince Chephren's tale is the most damaged of the surviving tales of pWestcar
(the first one is almost completely lost) so I did use the reconstruction
made by Marco Chioffi and Giuliana Rigamonti in their
"Antologia della letteratura egizia del Medio Regno, volume II" Ananke,Torino, 2008.
My thanks to them for their kind permission to use it.
(I did transcribe the tale using Serge Rosmorduc's JSesh, so I am the only responsible
for possible mistakes regarding the hieroglyphs and the trasliteration.)
Since my interest was not "philological" but "theatrical" I needed a fluid
not fragmented text and I thought the one above mentioned was quite fit
for my experiment.
I am aware that many may disagree with this method of mine but,
after all, I think no harm is done - well, not too much, anyway!
And in order to allow possible listeners to follow the tale more closely
I include in a separate file my hieroglyphic text and my rough translation of it,
which is not "literary" but "functional", just to explain what is happening,
especially in the reconstructed fragments.
Those who want to check another version may find it at Mark-Jan Nederhof's site:
As for the vocalization this time I tried to be a little more consistent
than in my former experiments and in the pronounciation of many words
I followed the reconstructions made by Loprieno and Fecht --
even though it's open to discussion whether I got them right!
Only recently I came to know that Verena Lepper published a book on pWestcar.
It is a scholarly and very specialized work and -- being a simple self-teaching amateur --
I don't know whether I'll be able to follow it as it should.
But what interests me is the fact that with the book comes a CD
with an audio version of the tales (I don't know whether complete or just excerpts)
done by Egyptology students of the Bonn University and I'll be quite glad
to listen to it and see whether it can be of some help for my possible future versions.
Well, now I think I'd better take my leave and...
"...prologue like, your humble patience pray,
gently to hear, kindly to judge our play!"