Hymn to Ptah-Tenen (or Tanen)*

[Extracted from Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, vol. 1, pp. 508-12.]



From a hymn to Ptah-Tenen, which is probably a product of the XXth or XXIst Dynasty, we may gain some idea of the meaning of the name Ta-tenen, "Ta," is of course "earth," and "Tenen," is probably to be connected with the word, [glyphs] enen, or nen, which means "inertness, inactivity, rest, motionless," and the like, and if this derivation be correct Ta-Tenen must be the god of the inert but living matter of the earth.

 

Extracts from the Hymn

"There was given to thee a Sekhem (i.e. Power) upon the earth in its things which were in a state of inactivity, and thou didst gather them together after thou didst exist in thy form of Ta-Tenen, in thy becoming the 'Uniter of the two lands,' which thy mouth begot and which thy hands fashioned."

"Homage to thee, Ptah-Tenen, thou great god, whose form is hidden! Thou openest thy soul and thou wakest up in peace, father of the fathers of all the gods, thou Disk of heaven! Thou illuminest it with thy two Eyes, and thou lightest up the earth with thy brilliant rays in peace."

"Thou didst knit together the earth, thou didst gather together thy members, thou didst embrace thy limbs, and thou didst find thyself in the condition of the One who made his seat, and who fashioned (or, moulded) the two lands. Thou hadst no father to beget thee in thy person, and thou hadst no mother to give birth unto thee; thou didst fashion thyself without the help of any other being. Fully equipped thou didst come forth fully equipped."

"Thy feet are upon the earth and thy head is in the heights above in thy form of the dweller in the Tuat. Thou bearest up the work which thou hast made, thou supportest thyself by thine own strength, and thou boldest up thyself by the vigour of thine own hands. ... The upper part of thee is heaven and the lower part of thee is the Tuat."

"The winds come forth from thy nostrils, and the celestial water from thy mouth, and the staff of life (i.e., wheat, barley, etc.), proceeds from thy back; thou makest the earth to bring forth fruit, and gods and men have abundance, and they see Meh-urit cattle in thy field. When thou art at rest the darkness cometh, and when thou openest thy two eyes beams of light are produced. Thou shinest in thy crystal form according to [the wont of] thy majesty. The company of the gods of thy supreme company praise thee, and they acclaim thee at thy rising and hymn thee at thy setting in the land of life. .... great god who stretched out the heavens, who maketh his disk to revolve in the body of Nut and to enter into the body of Nut in his name of Ra, Moulder of gods, and of men, and of everything which is produced, maker of all lands, and countries, and the Great Green Sea in his name of Kheper-ta, Bringer of Hapi from his source, making to flourish the staff of life, maker of grain which cometh forth from him in his name Nu the Aged who maketh fertile the watery mass of heaven, and maketh to come forth the water on the mountains to give life to men and women in his name of Ari-ankh, Maker of the Tuat with all its arrangements, who driveth away the flame from those who live in their corners in his name of Suten-taui, King of eternity and everlastingness, and lord of life."
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* For the hieratic text see Lepsius, Denkmaler, vi., pl. 118.