Height: 50.500 cm
Length: 149.000 cm
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Papyrus from the Setne Khaemwaset stories
Possibly from the Fayum,
Roman period, 1st century AD
Demotic papyrus bearing part of a cycle of stories
Prince Khaemwaset, the fourth son of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), has been called 'the first Egyptologist', since he left inscriptions about restoration on a number of pyramids of the Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC) in the cemeteries of Memphis. In the later periods he was revered as a great magician and stories developed around his supposed exploits.
The Setne Khaemwaset cycle of stories is one of the great treasures of Demotic Egyptian literature. Two parts of it survive, the second of which (Setne II) is in The British Museum. 'Setne' is a corruption of the priestly title held by Khaemwaset. It is normally read 'setem' or 'sem', but by the time of these stories it was treated as if it were one of his personal names.
II consists of two main stories, written in
The second story is that of a magical contest 1500 years in the past, between an Egyptian and a Nubian magician, which ends dramatically when the conflict threatens to return in the present.
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian literature: a, 3 vols. (University of California Press, 1973-1980)
F. Ll. Griffith, Stories of the High Priest of (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900)