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told, there has been great difficulty in the rendition of the term “Good Shepherd,” for the reason that many of these people never saw a sheep and never heard of a shepherd. Similarly, how shall one rehabilitate this ancient world of the Nile-dweller, and put his documents into intelligible English, when the ideas to be rendered are often unknown to the average modern and western reader, and, needless to say, there are no corresponding terms in the English language ?
Another constant source of difficulty has been the lack of those indispensable helps, the legion of concordances, glossaries, handbooks, and compilations for ready reference, which the worker in Greek or Hebrew has constantly at his hand. In spite of the colossal industry of Brugsch, we are still without a dictionary of Egyptian to which one can turn with any hope of finding other examples of a rare word. Hardly any Old Kingdom documents at all were employed by Brugsch in the compilation of his dictionary, and, grateful as we are for what he was able to furnish us, we must still await the great Berlin Dictionary before we shall possess an exhaustive compendium of the language. I was able to employ the alphabetically arranged materials of the Dictionary here and there, but the compilation was not sufficiently far advanced at the conclusion of my work to be of much service. Wherever I have drawn examples from it, they are carefully acknowledged in the footnotes. A good many distinctions in the meanings of words have become evident to me in the course of the work upon the documents. Wherever such have become clear late in the progress of the work, it was impossible to go through the translations and revise the entire manuscript for the sake of such words alone. I have tried to control these cases as far as possible in the proofs, but I am confident that some such changes have been overlooked as the accumulation of alterations demanded in the proofreading was quite beyond my powers of observation in so large a mass of materials. Thus, for example, the common word sr is usually translated “prince,” and this is undoubtedly sometimes the meaning of the word; but it very frequently means “official,” a fact which I did not observe until far along in the progress of the work.
Some danger of confusion also arises from the fact that titles indicative of rank or office suffer great change in meaning in the lapse of several thousand years. Thus the Ņty or “count” of the feudal and pre-feudal ages becomes a mere magistrate or town-mayor in the Empire, although in sporadic cases the word still retains its old meaning. The translation of titles has perhaps been the greatest source of difficulty in the entire course of the work. Many of the offices found cannot be determined with precision. We have as yet no history of titles-one of the most needed works in the entire range of Egyptian studies. Under these circumstances, it has been impossible always to define with precision the range and scope of a given office. Even when these were determinable, the corresponding term was often wanting in English, and could not be devised without the use of a whole phrase. In some cases awkward combinations have been necessary in the renderings of titles. Thus the compound “king's-son” was adopted because it is occasionally followed in the original by a pronoun referring to “king,” which made the rendering “royal son” impossible. For this reason a series of such compounds has been employed: “king's-son,” “king’s-daughter,” “king's-wife,” “king’s-mother," "king's-scribe," and the like. It is hoped to render all such matters clear in the index.
In general, the effort has been to render as literally as possible without wrenching English idiom. In this latter particular I probably have not always succeeded; but I have deliberately preferred this evil to a glib rendering which reads well and may be a long distance from the sense of the original. We have had so much of so-called “paraphrasing," which does not even remotely resemble the purport of the original, that I have felt justified in gratifying a righteous horror of such romancing, even at the cost of idiomatic English. The reader has a right to expect that the subjective fancies of the translator have been rigidly excluded, and a right to demand that he may put implicit dependence both upon the individual words and the general sense of the renderings. At the same time, the author would distinctly disclaim any desire to give to these translations the authority of monographs. The extent of the materials, and the amount of time expended in the collection, collation, and correction of the original texts before doing anything toward a formal version, have made it impossible to devote to the translation of each document as much time as one would deem necessary for the production of a monograph upon it. While the most conscientious attention has been given to the versions, and they have sometimes been revised three times (always once), yet it is undoubtedly the case that, in the course of rendering such a mass of materials, errors have crept in. Notice of any that may be observed by my fellow-workers in this field will be gratefully received, and utilized should a future edition of these volumes ever appear.
For the benefit of the general reader, it should be noted that a complete revolution in our knowledge of the Egyptian grammar has taken place in the last twenty-five years. The exhaustive study of syntax and of verbal forms which has been in progress for generations in the classic languages, or even in the Semitic group, has been going on for only a little over a quarter of a century in Egyptian. This is no reflection on the work of the first two generations of Egyptologists, for such work was impossible in their day. In this quarter-century, immense progress has been made and certain definite results have been attained. It cannot be said that these results have yet been applied to the understanding of the historical documents of Egypt as a whole. One of the main purposes of this work has been the attainment of this end. Indeed, its chief object may be indicated in this connection as: first, the attainment of copies which in correctness adequately reproduce the original document; and, second, an English version which shall embody our modern knowledge of the language. Every effort has been made to realize these two aims, and only in such degree as they may have been attained will these volumes form a contribution to knowledge.
In the selection of documents there has sometimes been difficulty in deciding what should and what should not be included by the term “historical document.” All purely religious compositions, as well as all exclusively literary documents (belles-lettres), all science, like mathematics and medicine, and in most cases all business documents, have been excluded. In the Old Kingdom, however, the last have been included, in view of the limited materials surviving from that distant age. It is hoped that these other classes of documents will appear in further volumes of this series. In all cases, however, where the other classes of documents were of vital historical importance—that is, bore directly on events and conditions closely touching the career of the Egyptian state-they have been included here. These volumes, therefore, include the entire series of written documents from which we draw our knowledge of the career of the Nile valley peoples as a nation, until the beginning of permanent foreign domination at the advent of the Persians in 525 B. C.
Besides furnishing an English version of these documents, the scope of this work also includes the proper introduction of the reader to their intelligent study; hence the versions are accompanied by notes and introductions. These are threefold in character. Firstly, in a footnote appended to the title of each document, the reader will find a brief description of it, indicating whether it is of stone or papyrus, a stela, a relief, an obelisk, or whatever it may be, with statement of its size and material whenever the data were obtainable. The state of preservation is noted, and then all the publications in which the text of the monument has appeared. In a word, this footnote contains the lower criticism of the document. No attempt has been made to add to the bibliography the various treatments and discussions cf the monument which have at various times appeared. The bulk of these essays are long since obsolete, and the time has certainly come when we can detach our usable bibliography from this incum. bering inheritance, without at the same time failing to recognize with gratitude the great service which it once rendered to the science. Furthermore, it has seemed a duty to indicate to the reader in this footnote, the comparative value of the more important publications of the text. If an edition of the text has proved inaccurate and untrustworthy, it is but right that it should be known as such. In a purely objective and impersonal manner, therefore, such materials have been characterized in these introductory footnotes.
Secondly, each monument is supplied with a usually short introduction, setting forth the historical significance of the document, its character, and where necessary, a