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THE CANNIBAL HYMN OF UNAS

 

 Background

 

††††††††† The notion of hunting, killing, and eating the gods, as described in Unasí Cannibal Hymn, was not common in the civilized world.As part of the Old Kingdom of Egyptís Pyramid Texts, it contains magical formulas and religious rituals, which beautify and glorify the pharaoh and secure a place for him among the gods when he is shut away in his tomb.In the more extreme case of Unas, 5th Dynasty Pharaoh of Egypt (2352-2322 BC), the texts range from his humble promises to the sun-god (Ra) that he will be the ugly little pygmy who dances for the godís entertainment to his boast that he is the most powerful of the gods, taking over the throne of the sun-god, himself, and cannibalistically devouring the gods and thus incorporating all their powers into himself.Communicating these two different extremes, the Egyptian priests placed the mummified pharaoh within the company of R and made him Osiris, the ruler of the underworld.

††††††††† A portion of the hieroglyphics carved into the interior of Unasí Pyramid has been depicted on the linked board.In spite of its general accuracy, the board is an artistic rendering rather than an exact copy of an existing artifact.Note the numbered portions of the subsequent translated text, which correspond to the adjacent diagram (translation key).To follow the flow of hieroglyphic text (left to right), match the numbers of the translation to the key, which corresponds to the hieroglyphic board.(Refer to this link for details of Unas' Pyramids.)

 

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††††††††††††††††††††††††† Hieroglyphic Board (Refer to text below.)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Translation (Refer to text below.)

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Translation

 

††††††††† [1] The skies lower, the stars tremble, [2] the archers quake, [3] the bones of the Akeru-gods tremble, and those who are with them are struck dumb when they see [4] Unas rising up as soul in the form of the god who liveth upon his fathers and who maketh to be his food his mothers.Unas is the lord of wisdom, [6] and his mother knoweth not his name.The adoration of Unas is in heaven, he hath become mighty in the horizon [7] like unto Temu, the father who gave him birth, and after Temu gave him birth.[8] Unas became stronger than his father.The Doubles of Unas are behind him, the sole of his foot is beneath his feet, his gods are over him, his uraei are seated [9] upon his brow, the serpent guides of Unas are in front of him and the flame looketh upon his soul.The [10] powers of Unas protect him; Unas is a bull in heaven, he directeth his steps where he will, he liveth upon the form which [11] each god taketh upon himself, and he eateth the flesh of those who come to fill their bellies with magical charms in the Lake of Fire.Unas is [12] equipped with power against the Spirit-souls thereof, and he riseth up in the form of the mighty one, the lord of those who dwell in power.Unas has taken his seat with his side turned toward Keb.[13] Unas hath weighed his words with the hidden god who hath no name on the day of hacking in pieces the firstborn.Unas is the lord of offerings, the untier of the knot, and he himself maketh abundant the offerings of meat and drink.[14] Unas devoureth men and liveth upon the gods, he is the lord of envoys, whom he sendeth forth on his missions.He who cutteth off hairy scalps, who dwelleth in the fields, tieth the gods with ropes.[15] Tcheser-tep keepeth guard over them for Unas and driveth them unto him; and the Cord-master hath bound them for slaughter.Khonsu the slayer of the wicked cutteth their throats [16] and draweth out their intestines, for it is he whom Unas sendeth to slaughter, (and Shesmu cutteth them in pieces and boileth their members in his blazing caldrons of the night.Unas eateth their magical powers, and he swalloweth their Spirit-souls; the great ones among them serve for his meal at daybreak, the lesser serve for his meal at eventide, and the least among them serve for his meal in the night.The old gods and the old goddesses become fuel for his furnace. . . )(Not shown on the board.)

 

Sarcophagus Chamber in Unasí Pyramid