Execration Texts

Execration Texts

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Execration texts, also referred to as Proscription Lists, are ancient Egyptian hieratic
Hieratic
Hieratic refers to a cursive writing system that was used in the provenance of the pharaohs in Egypt and Nubia that developed alongside the hieroglyphic system, to which it is intimately related...

 texts, listing enemies of the Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

, most often enemies of the Egyptian state or troublesome foreign neighbors. The texts were most often written upon statuettes of bound foreigners, bowls, or blocks of clay or stone, which were subsequently destroyed. The ceremonial
Ceremonial magic
Ceremonial magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. It is named as such because the works included are characterized by...

 process of breaking the names and burying them was intended to be a sort of sympathetic magic
Sympathetic magic
Sympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence.-Similarity and contagion:The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough...

 that would affect the persons or entities named in the texts. The fragments were usually placed near tombs or ritual sites. This practice was most common during times of conflict with the Asiatic neighbours of Egypt.

Research


The Execration texts are an important resource for researchers in the field of ancient Near Eastern history of the 20th-18th centuries BCE and Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 studies. The first group of Execration Texts were published by Kurt Sethe in 1926, known as the Berlin texts. Georges Posener published a second group of texts in 1957, known as the Brussels texts.

The first collection are inscribed on pottery sherd
Sherd
In archaeology, a sherd is commonly a historic or prehistoric fragment of pottery, although the term is occasionally used to refer to fragments of stone and glass vessels as well....

s, and contain the names of approximately 20 places in Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 and Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, and over 30 rulers of the period. These texts contain what is possibly the first known mention of Jerusalem, from the beginning of the second millennium BCE, the end of the Eleventh dynasty
Eleventh dynasty of Egypt
The eleventh dynasty of ancient Egypt was one group of rulers, whose earlier members are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, while the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom...

 to the Twelfth dynasty
Twelfth dynasty of Egypt
The twelfth dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties XI, XIII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom.-Rulers:Known rulers of the twelfth dynasty are as follows :...

.

The second group of texts are inscribed on figurines of bound prisoners discovered in Saqqara
Saqqara
Saqqara is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of...

. This group contains the names of 64 places, usually listing one or two rulers. Seven known Asian countries are listed. This group has been dated to the end of the Twelfth dynasty
Twelfth dynasty of Egypt
The twelfth dynasty of ancient Egypt is often combined with Dynasties XI, XIII and XIV under the group title Middle Kingdom.-Rulers:Known rulers of the twelfth dynasty are as follows :...

.

An additional group of texts, the Mirgissa texts, was published by Yvan Koenig in 1990.

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