Τετάρτη, 21 Ιανουαρίου 2009

ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΑΙΓΥΠΤΙΑΚΗ ΛΟΓΟΤΕΧΝΙΑ - Η διδασκαλία του Πταχοτέπ

Πρόκειται για ένα συγκλονιστικό κείμενο που μας έχει διασωθεί σε τέσσερα αντίγραφα, τρία σε παπύρους και ένα που περιέχει μόνο την εισαγωγή του κειμένου πάνω σε ξύλινη πινακίδα. Χρονολογείται στο τέλος της 6ης δυναστείας, τέλος του Αρχαίου Βασιλείου (~2100 π.Χ.).
Οι διδαχές του σοφού Πταχοτέπ προς το γιο του δεν παρουσιάζονται με μία λογική σειρά και σκοπός τους είναι να τονιστούν βασικές αρετές όπως ο αυτοέλεγχος, η μετριοπάθεια, η ευγένεια, η ευγνωμοσύνη, η δικαιοσύνη και η διακριτικότητα. Διαλέξαμε την καλύτερη έκδοση των κειμένων μέχρι στιγμής από την Miriam Lichtheim.

«Beginning of the formulations of excellent discourse spoken by the Prince, Count, God´s father, God´s beloved, Eldest Son of the King, of his body, Mayor of the City and Vizier Ptahhotep, in instructing the ignorant in knowledge and in the standard of excellent discourse, as profit for him who will hear, as woe to him who would neglect them. He spoke to his son:

Don´t be proud of your knowledge,
Consult the ignorant and the wise.
The limits of art are not reached,
No artist´s skills are perfect.
Good speech is more hidden than greenstone,
Yet may be found among maids at the grindstones.
If you meet a disputant in action,
A powerful man, superior to you,
Fold your arms, bend your back,
To flout him will not make him agree with you.
Make little of the evil speech
By not opposing him while he´s in action.
He will be called an ignoramus,
Your self-control will match his pile (of words).
…………………………………………..
10. If you are poor, serve a man of worth,
That all your conduct may be well with the god.
Do not recall if he once was poor,
Don´t be arrogant toward him
For knowing his former state.
Resoect him for what has accrued to him,
For wealth does not come by itself.
It is their law for him whom they love,
His gain, he gathered it himself.
It is the god who makes him worthy
And protects him while he sleeps.
11. Follow your heart as long as you live,
Do no more than is required,
Do not shorten the time of «follow-the-heart,»
Τrimming its moment offends the ka.
Do not waste time on daily cares
Beyond providing for your household.
When wealth has come, follow your heart,
Wealth does no good if one is glum!
……………………………………..
16. If you are a man who leads,
Whose authority reaches wide,
You should do outstanding things,
Remember the day that comes after.
No strife will occur in the midst of honors,
But where the crocodile enters hatred arises.
17. If you are a man who leads,
Listen calmly to the speech of one who pleads.
Don´t stop him from purging his body
Of that which he planned to tell.
…………………………………….
18. If you want a frienship to endure
In the house you enter
As master, brother, or friend,
In whatever place you enter,
Beware of approaching the women!
Unhappy is the place where it is done,
Unwelcome is he who intrudes on them.
A thousend men are turned away from their good:
A short moment like a dream,
Then death comes for having known them.
………………………………………
19. If you want a perfect conduct,
To be free from every evil,
Guard against the vise of greed:
Α grievous sickness without cure,
There is no treatment for it.
………………………………………..
20. When you prosper and found your house,
And love your wife with ardor,
Fill her belly, cloth her back,
Ointment soothes her body.
Gladden her heart as long as you live,
She is a fertile field for her lord.
…………………………………………
21. Sustain your friends with what you have,
You have it by the grace of god.
Of him who fails to sustain his friends
One says, «a selfish ka.»
………………………………………….
24. If you are a man of worth
Who sits in his master´s council,
Concentrate on excellence,
Your silence is better than chatter.
Speak when you know you have a solution,
It is the skilled who should speak in council.
Speaking is harder than all other work,
He who understands it makes it serve.
25. If you are mighty gain respect through knowledge
And through gentleness of speech.
…………………………………………….
He who provokes gets into trouble.
…………………………………………….
He who frets all day has no happy moment,
He who´s gay all day can´t keep house.


Απόσπασμα από Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature. The Old and Middle Kingdoms, vol. I, University of California Press, 2006, σελ. 61-80.

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