Hordjedef Teachings - Introduction

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The Teachings of Hordjedef, the famous son of the Dynasty king Kheops, are part of the didactic literature that is said to date back to the Old Kingdom. It has been proposed that they were composed as early as the 5th Dynasty, which would rank them among the oldest known in Ancient Egypt.
Typical for many teachings or wisdom-texts is that they are written as instructions from a father for his son. In Hordjedef’s case, the son is a man named Awetibre, whose existence is not confirmed by contemporary sources.

The Teachings of Hordjedef are known through several sources, many of them being ostraca found in Deir el-Medina, the village of the craftsmen who built the royal tombs of the New Kingdom.

None of the sources found thusfar provides us with the entire text of the teaching. It is, however, possible, to piece the different fragments together to a whole and hypothetically restore Hordjedef's teachings. The translation provided here is based on this hypothetical reconstruction.


© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017