Skip to comments.Palermo Stone Egypt's first history book
Posted on 02/15/2009 6:04:51 PM PST by JoeProBono
The historical importance of the Palermo Stone has long been overshadowed by the famous Rosetta Stone, but Jill Kamil says it is now being reconsidered as a legitimate historical record of ancient Egypt The so-called Palermo Stone is the largest and best preserved fragment of a rectangular slab of basalt known as the Royal Annals of ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom. Its origin is unknown, but it may have come from a temple or another important building.
The stone has been in Palermo in Sicily -- hence its name -- since 1866, and is now in the Museo Archaeologico. Other fragments of the same slab appeared on the market between 1895 and 1963, and are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Petrie Museum at University College London.
The extract from the Royal Annals, the "King List" of predynastic rulers, is in the upper register of the Palermo Stone. It is followed by the annuals of the kingdom of Egypt from its inception up to the kings of the Fifth Dynasty. Below each name, the years are named by important events, most of a ritual nature, and the height of the Nile inundation is noted at the bottom.
Old stone ping
Been there, seen that.
Image: Palermo Stone, partial record of King Den of the first dynasty, ca 2950 BC. The text reads from right to left; each block is introduced with a 'year glyph,' the curved line at the right edge of each year's record. The lower register records the height of the Nile at flood time. A few hieroglyphs stand for whole words; the rest represent sounds. (1) Striking the bedouin. (2) Appearance of the power (king) of Upper and Lower Egypt; Sed festival. (3) Counting of the people (of the four directions). (4) Second feast of Djet. (5) Plan of a temple called "Thrones of the Gods," feast of Sokar.
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Hmmm, it says: “Ten million years across the sky, the sun-god Ra, buried and sealed for all time...” Something about a doorway to heaven.
“The Palermo Stone records the yearly appearances and visits of Mars. The Palermo Stone is a carved basalt block from the Fifth Dynasty (ca 2550 BC) of the Old Kingdom, unfortunately shattered and badly worn, and reduced to seven small fragments. The Palermo Stone records the Gods, the “Followers of Horus,” and the pharaohs of the first five dynasties, in that order. For each of the pharaohs there is a catalog of years, with each year named after an important event, for example, “The Year of the Cattle Count.”
There are some six distinct events which are recorded repeatedly on the fragments we have — plus military excursions into the region adjacent to the delta, the acquisition of desirable materials like honey or lumber, the building of ships, plans for new temples, and other mundane activities. The frequently recorded events (for which years are named) are..
“The Appearance of the King of Upper Egypt”
“The Appearance of the King of Lower Egypt”
“The Followers of Horus”
“Union of the Two Lands” followed by
“The Circumambulation of the Wall”
“The Counting of Cattle”
The “Counting of Cattle” at later dates is often recorded as “The ‘nth’ Counting of Cattle.” The height of the Nile at flood time was also recorded for each year.
The year-names listed above should actually be translated somewhat differently, for archaeologists have rendered the original phrasing into terms more familiar to us. “The Appearance of the King of Upper Egypt” should read as “The Appearance of the King of the Upper Land” or even as “The Appearance of the Power of the Upper Land.” The Egyptians called their country “The Land;” the Greeks called it “Egypt.”
The “appearances” of the King of the Upper Land or the Lower Land happen regularly every two years, although not always at exactly two year intervals. At times we read of both events happening in the same year. Interspersed at two year intervals is the year-name “The Followers of Horus.”
What exactly are these events? Archaeologists have suggested that the “appearances” were visitations of the pharaoh to the delta (Lower Egypt) and up-river (Upper Egypt), perhaps as celebrations or as gift giving opportunities. That is, “appearances” were made by the pharaoh to the two separate sections of the country. The pharaoh otherwise resided at Memphis, the city at the apex of the delta, and thus exactly between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Memphis had been founded by the first king of the First Dynasty. Memphis controlled traffic between Lower and Upper Egypt, and in effect constituted the ‘unification’ of Egypt.
Similarly the “Union of the Two Lands” was thought to be a celebration of peace (after another rebellion had been squashed), done with a walk (some original texts are translated to “race”) around the outer walls of Memphis. Memphis had massive walls in antiquity to keep the Nile from flooding the city. Memphis was known as “White Walls.”
The “Union of the Two Lands” with the “Circumambulation of the Wall” is always shown as the first year-label for a pharaoh. It might be suggested that the “circumambulation” is the Sed festival. It might also be suggested (and I suspect this) that the pharaoh was replaced when Mars again showed up near Earth.
Image: A cattle count of large and small animals, and other activities. Scene from the Narmer Macehead, ca 3050 BC.
A scene depicted on the Narmer Macehead (ca 3050 BC), shows Narmer’s name tag on the upper left. On the top right is a depiction of the temple at Buto in the delta. Three running figures between triple lunates are suggested as representing a Sed Festival. The lunates are boundary markers. Poles carried by four figures at the top are supposedly the standards of four of the nomes of Lower Egypt. From other sources it is clear that these are the “Followers of Horus” instead. An animal counts are shown at the bottom. The seated figure with his arms up in the air denotes a ‘million.’
The “The Cattle Count” has drawn archaeologists’ remarks to the effect that this must have been a complete fiction, based on the actual numbers listed on some predynastic objects, like the macehead described above, showing, for example, 400,000 cattle, 1,422,000 goats, and 120,000 bound captives. One million eight hundred and twenty two thousand herd animals exceeds what the population of Egypt, estimated at well under a million people at this time (probably 500,000 to 800,000), could have managed or supported. One hundred and twenty thousand captives would have represents twenty percent of the estimated population of Egypt. The rounded numbers of the count also suggest estimates rather than actual counts. But I think we are not dealing with animals and captives here.
Lastly (on the Palermo Stone) we have the “Followers of Horus.” Most texts simply avoid mention of the “Followers of Horus” for no one can even imagine what that year-name could mean.
Image: Mars and Earth on intersecting orbits with four or five follower asteroids in the same orbit as Mars. Six still exist today. The debris in the wake of Mars may represent the cattle.
What I suggest is that these entries record celestial displays of close passages of Mars. However, it is not the Mars we know today, but rather an assembly consisting of the planet Mars and other objects. I suggest that Mars was followed (and probably preceded) by a huge cloud of debris consisting of millions of rock fragments of asteroids, and followed, probably at a somewhat greater distance, by a number of larger asteroids. [note 10]
Later descriptions in the 8th century BC suggest that Mars was still accompanied by hundreds or thousands of asteroid-like bodies. We have only limited clues that these existed, and no indication of the number, the sizes, or the exact location with respect to the planet. And, located some distance away along the orbit of Mars, there followed some four or five larger asteroids. [note 11]
Gary Gilligan, in “An Ancient World in Chaos” (2008), demonstrates that with very few exceptions, the hundreds of battles that Egypt fought over a 3000 year period, always led by the Pharaoh and always won by the Egyptians, never happened on Earth, but were observed to have happen in the skies. He point out that of the complete lack of archaeological evidence for any battles. For example, at the Battle of Kadesh in ca 1287 BC, probably the most famous battle of antiquity, 20,000 Egyptians engaged 40,000 Hittites. Yet not one bone or war artifact has been found despite the inscriptions by Ramesses II telling of tens of thousands of dead soldiers (nor, for that matter, has Kadesh been found). “
Thanks for the insights. You sound like a professional Egyptologist.
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