The Poetical Stela of Thutmose III

From the Temple of Karnak, Cairo Museum 34010

[Extracted from Brugsch, HISTORY OF EGYPT UNDER THE PHARAOHS, 1879, vol. 1, pp. 370-3.
This can also be found in Brugsch, The True Story of the Exodus of Israel, 1880, pp. 142-6.]

 

Introductory note: The title of this hymn given by Massey is 'The Hymn of Tahtmes.' Brugsch, from whence this translation is extracted, assigns no name to this hymn. Modern scholars, however, refer to it by the name 'The Poetical Stela of Thutmose III,' as it is engraved on a stela found in the Temple of Karnak (now housed in the Cairo Museum). It begins with an oration (the prologue) by the god Amun (or Amen-Ra) to the pharaoh Thutmose III, then celebrates his victories (in the poem), and then reverts to another oration (the epilogue) at the end. Modern translations of this hymn can be found in Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume II: The New Kingdom, pp. 35-9, and in The Literature of Ancient Egypt, Ed., W. K. Simpson, pp. 351-5.Editor.

 

PROLOGUE

1. 'Come to me, said Amon, and enjoy yourself, and admire my excellences.
    Thou, my son, who honourest me, Thutmus the 3rd, ever living.
    I shine in the light of the morning sun through thy love.
2. And my heart is enraptured, if thou directest thy noble step to my Temple.
    My hands sink on thy body for the welfare of thy existence.
    Delightful is thy goodness for my holy image.
    I stand upright there
3. In my dwelling.
    Therefore will I mark thee out as wonderful. I give thee power and victory over all lands
    All people shall feel a terror before thy soul.
    And shall fear thee to the utmost ends of the world, to the four props of Heaven.
4. I let thy strength grow great in all bodies.
    I let thy war-cry resound in all the lands of foreign peoples.
    Let the kings of the world be all at once in thy grasp.
5. I stretch out my own hands.
    I bind thee with bands, and enclose for thee the wandering Nubians to ten thousands and thousands.
    Those who inhabit the north, let them be taken prisoners by hundreds of thousands.
6. I place thy gainsayers under thy feet.
    Strike the host of thine enemies.
    Also I give thee the earth, in its length and in its breadth.
    Let the inhabitants of the west and of the east be thy subjects
7. Pass through with joyful heart the lands which none have trodden till thy time.
    I will be thy leader; reach them;
    pass through the great ring of water in the land of Naharain, in full victorious power.
8. It is my will that the peoples hear thy war-cry, which penetrates to their caverns.
    I have taken away from their nostrils the breath of life.
9. I make thy manly courage penetrate even to their hearts.
    My crown on thy head is a consuming fire;
    It goes forth and conquers the false brood of the Kittim.
10. By the sparkle of its flames the lords among them are turned to ashes.
    It cuts off the heads of the Aamu; they cannot escape;
    It strikes to the ground whoever turns himself round before its strength.
11. I make thy victories to go on through all nations;
    My royal serpent shines on thy forehead,
    And thy enemy is reduced to nothing as far as the horizon.
    They come and bring the tribute on their shoulders,
    And bow themselves
12. Before thy Holiness; for such is my will.
    I make the rebellious ones fall down exhausted near thee,
    A burning fire in their hearts, and in their limbs a trembling.

POEM OF VICTORY

13. I came, and thou smotest the princes of Zahi.
    I scatter them under thy feet over all their lands.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like the beaming (sun).
    Thou shinest in sight of them in my form.
14. I came, and thou smotest those who dwell in Asia,
    Thou madest prisoners the goatherds of Ruthen.
    I make them behold thy Holiness in the adornment of thy royal dignity,
    As thou graspest the weapons on the war-chariots.
15. I came, and thou smotest the land of the East,
    Thou camest to those who dwell in the territories of the Holy Land.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like the star Canopus,
    Which pours his light in a glance of fire
    When he disperses the morning dew.
16. I came, and thou smotest the land of the West,
    Kefa (Phoenicia) and Asebi (Cyprus) fear thee.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like a young bull.
    Full of courage, when he whets his horns, he is unapproachable.
17. I came, and thou smotest the subjects of their lords;
    The land of Mathen trembles for fear of thee.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like a crocodile,
    The terrible one in the water; he is not to be encountered.
18. I came, and thou smotest the islanders in the middle of the great sea,
    Thy war-cry is over them.
    I make them behold thy Holiness as the avenger,
    Who appears on the back of his sacrifice.
19. I came, and thou smotest the land of the Thehen;
    The people of Uthent is in thy power.
    I make them behold thy Holiness as a lion, with a fierce eye,
    Who leaves his den and stalks through the valleys.
20. I came, and thou smotest the hinder lands,
    The circuit of the Great Sea is bound in thy grasp.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like the hovering sparrow-hawk.
    Which seizes with his glance whatever pleases him.
21. I came, and thou smotest the lands in front;
    Those who sit upon the sand thou hast made prisoners alive.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like the jackal of the south;
    A concealed wanderer he passes through the land.
22. I came, and thou smotest the nomad tribes of Nubia,
    Even to the land of Shat which is in thy grasp.
    I make them behold thy Holiness like thy pair of brothers,
    Whose hands I have united to bless thee.

EPILOGUE

23. As for thy pair of sisters [Isis and Nephthys],
    I make them shed on thee good fortune and prosperity.
    My hands in the height of heaven ward off misfortune;
    I protect thee, my beloved son,
    The powerful bull, who didst stand up as king in Thebes,
    Whom I have begotten out of [my loins],
24. Thutmes, who lives for evermore,
    Who has shown all love to my Being.
    Thou hast raised my dwelling in long-lasting works.
    More extensive and broader than they have ever been.
    A great gate [protects against the entrance of the impious].
25. Thou hast established joyful feasts in favour of Amon.
    Greater are thy monuments than those of all former kings.
    I gave thee the order to execute them,
    And thou hast understood it.
    Therefore I place thee on the chair of Hor for never-ending many years.
    Conduct and guide the living generations!'