The history of the Hieratic papyrus P. BM EA 10209 (TM 57793
) and its Demotic note (TM 90894
) discussed here is closely related to the hieratic papyri P. BM EA 10208 (TM 57792
) and P. BM EA 10188 (TM 48496
, also known as P. Bremner-Rhind).
Originally, they were part of the quite extensive Egyptian collection of the Scottish lawyer and archaeologist Alexander Henry Rhind
(Gilmour, C., 'Alexander Henry Rhind (1833–63): Scottish antiquary in Egypt', Proc Soc Antiq Sco 145 (2015), 427–440
), who acquired them (possibly together) in the antiquities trade there during one of his extended visits in Egypt. Unfortunately, no details are known. Rhind
, who died young, bequeathed his entire collection in his will to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland in Edinburgh, now the National Museums of Scotland. However, his cousin, trustee and executor David Bremner
, who was charged with handling the transfer of the Rhind collection to the Edinburgh Museum, sold some papyri from the collection to the British Museum in London in 1865, including the three papyri mentioned above.
All this three papyri are funerary texts written for the burial of the priest Esminis (TM Per 8336
), son of Petemestous (TM Per 12056
) and Sentaes alias Ithoroys (TM Per 13434
). From the hieratic texts mentioning titles and members of his family, it is further evident that Esminis and some of his family members belonged to the inner circle of priests of the Osiris cult both in Thebes and in Dios Polis (Hiou), which is also reflected in the composition of the funerary texts of these three papyri, as they are temple texts from the Osiris cult adapted for the private funerary cult. Another funerary papyrus, which can also be attributed to Esminis, son of Petemestous, and preserves a hieroglyphic-hieratic version of the Book of the Dead, can be found in the Detroit, Institute of Arts 1988.10 (TM 57421
; Totenbuchprojekt Bonn
P. BM EA 10188 (P. Bremner-Rhind) also has a secondary inscription. It is a hieratic colophon with 39 lines, which was added by Esminis himself to his funerary text after its completion (TM 57421
; Smith, Traversing eternitySmith, M., Traversing eternity. Texts for the afterlife from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt (Oxford, 2009).
, Text 3, 121-123; Feder, Papyrus "Bremner Rhind" (pBM 10188), 2. Kolophon,in: TLA
). It not only lists the complete titles of Esminis and his parents, but also begins with a date that places this colophon in the month of Choiak in the 12th
year of the reign of Alexander IV. (between 6 February and 7 March 305 BC).
The first sheet of the papyrus scroll, on whose recto the Hieratic funerary text was recorded, remained inscribed as a protokollon
(endpaper), so that its inscription starts on the second sheet of the papyrus scroll. A separate papyrus sheet of the same height is fixed secondarily in verso on this protokollon
, in order to reinforce it. The Demotic note is located at the upper edge of the sheet, with a distance of approx. 2.0 cm to the upper edge, 30.0 cm to the lower edge and 2.2 cm to the right edge. The distance between the end of line 1 of the demotic text and the hieratic text to the left of it is 4.0 cm (cf. Martin / Smith, JEA 92Martin, C.J. / Ryholt, K., 'Put My Funerary Papyrus in My Mummy, Please', The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 92 (2006), 270-274.
, 272 n.6).
Since, as described above, the hieratic papyri P. BM EA 10209, P. BM EA 10208, P. BM EA 10188 (P. Bremner-Rhind) as well as P. Detroit, Institute of Arts 1988.10 form an ensemble of funerary texts for Esminis, they may all have been recorded at about the same time, as previously assumed in the literature. A terminus ante quem
to the inscriptions of these papyri is provided by the colophon of P. BM EA 10188 written by Esminis himself (between 6 February and 7 March 305 BC), which was inserted by him into this already completed funerary text. The question now is how it relates to the demotic note of P. BM EA 10209, which is found on a secondary pasted sheet in P. BM EA 10209. In his note, Esminis orders that a funerary text should be written (imperative), which should be placed in his mummy when he is laid in his coffin (future tense). In my opinion, this formulation refers to a point in time before the actual recording of his funerary papyri and is therefore likely to have been recorded slightly earlier than 305 BC. It is conceivable that this note was inserted into P. BM EA 10209 after its completion in order to mark the papyrus scroll that was to be deposited with him respectively in his mummy in the coffin.
On the deposition of funerary papyri especially in coffins and mummies: Martin / Ryholt, JEA 92Martin, C.J. / Ryholt, K., 'Put My Funerary Papyrus in My Mummy, Please', The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 92 (2006), 270-274.
; Smith, in: Liturgical texts for OsirisSmith, M.,'Whose Ritual? Osirian Texts and Texts Written for the Deceased in P. BM EA 10209. A Case Study', in: Backes, B. / Dieleman (edd.), Liturgical texts for Osiris and the deceased in late period and Greco-Roman Egypt (Studien zur spätägyptischen Religion 14; Wiesbaden, 2015), 161-177.
; Scalf, MAARAV 23Scalf, F.D., 'The Pragmatics of Interment. How the Placement of Funerary Papyri embodied the Divine in Ancient Egypt', MAARAV 23 (2019), 151-175, Pl.XII-XV (268-271).