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Papyrus Chester Beatty 3

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (series)

    • Papyrus Chester Beatty 3
  • Description

    Sheet 3
    recto, columns 8-11: Hieratic dream book
    verso, columns 4-5: Hieratic literary text written by Qenherkhepshef

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1220BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 39.5 centimetres (frame)
    • Width: 70 centimetres (frame)
    • Depth: 0.7 centimetres (frame)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Translation

        If a man sees himself in a dream:
        seeing his penis erect (nḫt): BAD: this means victory (nḫtw) for his enemies.
      • Inscription Comment

        Columns 8-11. This entry is typical of the contents.
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Translation

        The Scribe Qenherkhepshef of the Great Tomb of Baenre beloved of Amun, Son of the sun-god: Merenptah satisfied with Truth (= Valley of the Kings Tomb no. 8) in the Estate of Amun, greets his lord, the Standard-bearer on the King's Right Hand, the Lord Vizier of Upper and Lower Egypt, Panehsy. In life, prosperity, health! ...
      • Inscription Comment

        Columns 4-5. A copy of a letter Qenherkhepshef had written to the vizier during the reign of Ramses II's successor Merenptah (c. 1224-1214 BC).
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Comment

        Part of a recently composed poem (c. 1285 BC) - the literary New Egyptian (with many Middle Egyptian forms) celebration of Ramses II's exploits, 'The Battle of Qadesh'.
  • Curator's comments

    The papyrus Chester Beatty 3 is divided over four frames and contains a manual for interpreting dreams on the recto and literary texts on the verso. The dream book on the recto is written in a fine literary hand of an unknown scribe. On the verso, the famous scribe Qenherkhepshef's copied a poem about the Battle of Kadesh, which took place in the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC) and added a copy of a letter he had written to the vizier. His bold and highly cursive handwriting is instantly recognizable.

    The manuscript was later owned by his young wife's second husband Khaemnun, and then his son Amennakht, both of whom added their names to the recto in handwriting that is less neat than that of the original copyist of the Dream book, but much less cursive than Qenherkhepshef's (under column 10).

    The standard publication with full translation is A.H. Gardiner, 'Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, 3rd Series: Chester Beatty Gift' I (London, 1935), 9-27, pls. 5-12; this frame: 'Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, 3rd Series: Chester Beatty Gift' II (London, 1935), Plates 7 & 7A, Recto 7-9; Plates 8 & 8A, Recto 10 & 11 (only half of col. 11); Plates 11 & 11A, Verso 4-5; Plates 12 & 12A, Verso 5.
    On the provenance see P. W. Pestman, `Who Were the Owners, in the "Community of Workmen", of the Chester Beatty Papyri?', in R. J. Demarée and J. J. Janssen (ed.) Gleanings from Deir el-Medïna (Leiden, 1982), 155- 72.
    'Les artistes de Pharaon : Deir el-Médineh et la Vallée des Rois', (Paris, 2002), p.135 [77];
    G. Andreu and A. Roveri [eds.], 'Gli artisti del Faraone' (Turin, 2003), p.125 [71].
    G. Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt (London 1994), fig.32.
    Kasia Szpakowska, Behind closed eyes : dreams and nightmares in ancient Egypt (Classical Press of Wales, 2003).See K. Szpakowska, 'Dream Interpretation in the Ramesside Age', in M. Collier and S. Snape (ed.), Ramesside Studies in Honour of K. A. Kitchen (Bolton 2011), 509-17.


  • Bibliography

    • Trismegistos 139346 ( bibliographic details
    • Trismegistos 372043 ( bibliographic details
    • Parkinson 1999 68 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2015, 19th June - 5th Sept. Wrexham County Borough Museum. Egyptian Written Culture.
    2016 12 Mar-8 May, Carlisle, Tullie House, Writing for Eternity
    2016 20 May-4 Sept, The Salisbury Museum, Writing for Eternity
    2016 16 Sept-10 Jan 2017, Abergavenny Museum, Writing for Eternity
    2017 21 Jan-21 May, Museum of Hartlepool, Writing for Eternity

  • Condition

    Papyrus Survey: Condition Details: Papyrus: fractured, fragmentary, loss Black ink Red ink Displayed in Room 62 until 1997 Displayed in Room 61 from 2000 to 2007 Mount Details: Sandwich: glass Edges insert: microchamber paper Binding: self adhesive tape Object Priority: A Mount Priority: A Overall Condition: B Curatorial condition comment: fair (incomplete)

  • Associated names

  • Associated events

    • Named in Inscription: Battle of Qadesh
  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: P. Chester Beatty III
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Frame.3
COMPASS Title: The Dream Book


COMPASS Title: The Dream Book

Image description



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Object reference number: YCA68870

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