Marianne Luban
re: Nephersôphris Akhenaten
Thu May 31, 2012 17:09
67.2.75.253

Dear Marc,

I'll try to access the paper again, but first I'll respond to some of your philological concerns. You wrote:

“Concerning the identity of Nephersôphris, it seems that Akhenaten fits better with the text of Suidas due to the ill reputation of that king. The other possible king would be the obscure king Neferkheperre Thotemhat of the surroundings of the XXXIIIth dynasty. As this unsignificant ruler from Hermopolis (whose name may be inspired by that of Akhenaten, an old neighbour) is only known by rare monuments, I doubt that his fame could have ever crossed the limits of his nome and those of his dynasty. From the phonetic point of view, the fact that an omega is used suggests that it could correpond to the long vocalized /u/ in the first syllable of Accadian xuru- which is almost regular in Akhenaten’s praenomen in the Amarna Letters.”

Yes to the final statement but about a Dynasty XXXIII I know nothing. It may be that the prenomen of Akhenaten was wrongly perceived, misread, mistransmitted--something.

“The fact that /p/ disappears in xpr.w from the name of Akhenaten in the Amarna Letters is not as embarassing as you suggest. This is probably the result of the /p/ or /b/ of the first part of the name in Assyro-Babylonian, Nap- / Nip- / Nib- which was assimilated with the /p/ of xpr.w, hence giving xuru instead of xupru”


I don't find this linguistically possible. In Egyptian pronunciation, the labials tended to assimilate into the following consonant—not any preceding one. Since the letters coming out of Egypt were also in Akkadian cuneiform, the scribes there would also have had to transliterate the name of the pharaoh as it was vocalized—not as written in his cartouche in hieroglyphs. The foreign scribes had to follow this written transliteration or perhaps their perception of how an Egyptian envoy would have vocalized the prenomen of his king. Centuries later, the Egyptian historians who wrote with the Greek alphabet did the same thing. They could read hieroglyphs but only transliterated the names according to their current vocalization. A valuable clue from the New Kingdom comes from the Israel Stela of Merneptah. The entere passage mentioning the foreign places is very cleverly executed. Every phrase contains a rhyme or a pun. In this one, line 8...

8. XArw xprw m xArt n tA- mry "Khor is made a widow on account by Egypt"

I think it would have been spoken something like "khor khoro m khare n to-mare"
I believe it is quite obvious there was no spoken /p/ in “xprw”. If there had been, it would have spoiled the pun. The passage appears to agree with what is in the Akkadian letters where the fate of “xprw” is concerned.

“ More surprising is the fall of the /r/ of nfr (when placed at the beginning of the name) as this /r/ reappears generally in Greek, cf. Nepherpres, Nephersuchos, Nepherôs, Nephercheres, Nephorsais (but Nephotes for Neferhotep).”

Sorry, but I don't see how it's possible it can have appeared in Greek as it had fallen away in the singular "nfr" long before. How many of the above examples supplied by you really contain the element “nfrw”--in which the /r/ would not have been silent or fallen away? Another example is from the epitome of Africanus for Dynasty V where he lists a “Nephercheres”. However, this transliteration actually represents the name “Neferirkare” and so it is easy to see how the /r/ was needed there.

“ I don’t think that the /p/ of xpr.w has disappeared in spelling during the new kingdom. In fact, xpr.w is only preserved for the names Napxururiya, Nipxururiya, Nibxururiya (all Akhenaten in my opinion) and xuriya (probably also Akhenaten). So it is hard to draw a rule from these examples which may concern if fact only one king. But I surely would appreciated greatly to read your arguments.”

We will have to disagree—and I think not only Akhenaten but also Tutankhamun-- and everybody in the 18th Dynasty of Manetho as transmitted.

  • Nephersôphris AkhenatenMarc Gabolde, Thu May 31 08:53
    Dear Marianne, Thank you very much for posting and advice. If you need a pdf copy of F. Hertier’s article, I can send it in attachment with the help of a valid e-mail address. If you have some... more
    • re: Nephersôphris Akhenaten — Marianne Luban, Thu May 31 17:09
      • Nephersôphris AkhenatenAnonymous, Fri Jun 1 06:02
        Dear Marianne, MG original “Concerning the identity of Nephersôphris, it seems that Akhenaten fits better with the text of Suidas due to the ill reputation of that king. The other possible king would ... more
        • re: Nephersôphris AkhenatenMarianne Luban, Fri Jun 1 20:23
          MG Original “The fact that /p/ disappears in xpr.w from the name of Akhenaten in the Amarna Letters is not as embarassing as you suggest. This is probably the result of the /p/ or /b/ of the first... more
      • re: Nephersôphris AkhenatenMarianne Luban, Thu May 31 18:18
        I have read the brief paper but am skeptical about the prenomen of Akhenaten being represented here: Headword:... more
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