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It's not common knowledge that Tuthmosis III, at a young age, conferred upon himself the prenomen Menkheperkare = the becoming of the ka of Re is stable. Only later was this changed into the definitive and well known Menkheperre = the becoming of Re is stable.
It's uncertain if this prenomen was already assumed from the years of the co-regency with the queen Hatshepsut or only in his initial regnal years as a sole king. The reason why this king decided to change his prenomen is more than uncertain: it has been supposed that he changed on the occasion of a particular moment of his life. It's not possible to exclude that when he made this choice he wanted to recall the name of his grandfather Tuthmosis I (Aakheperkare), with which name the assonance is clear. The only certainty is that the existence of this juvenile prenomen is proved by numerous inscriptions on scarabs and monuments, the most important of which are the cartouches in the temple of Deir el Bahari which show both the spellings. Unfortunately students have not attached much importance to this fact, ignoring it almost completely. Hayes has only made a fleeting hint 1. Only Jaeger 2 has investigated the matter, quoting numerous examples of inscriptions on monuments and scarabs.
This interesting piece 3 is made in grey steatite with a sky-blue glaze and measures 16.5x13.5x6 mm. The back is smooth with a slight narrowing, delimiting the pronotum. The legs are unusually represented by an indentation made by a line of half-moon-shaped protrusions. The cutting is superficial and level. A serious loss on the left side of the back involves part of the base.
Vertically arranged, the field is divided into three sectors by two longitudinal lines. In the centre from the top, the juvenile prenomen of Tuthmosis III, Mn-xpr-kA-Re, followed by the signs: nb Hs nfr Hs the meaning of which could be = the Lord of the perfect praises (or offerings
DEVOTION FORMULA REFERRING TO PTAH
Light green glazed steatite (visible traces among the legs) faded to light brown.
Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 5,5 mm.
Prothorax divided from the elytra by a T-trace, the horizontal line of which is bent toward the rear. The wing-cases are bordered and adorned with V-marks. Legs type Tufnell d6, all notched and jutting out the body considerably.
The base shows the right-to-left inscription 1:
It's very difficult to translate sentences or mottoes which are almost always shorthand or comprised of symbolic or cryptic meanings, not yet well understood. The major part of these writings remain untranslated or with meanings still disputed.
This formula, for instance, documented in numerous variants, is rendered by Petrie: "A son by Pakht, lady of increase, Ptah giving (it) strengh" 2, An interpretation which is puzzling.
"c'est Ptah qui ouvre toute bonne action" 3.
Keel 4 trasliterates: mdw <.t> nb <.t> nfr <.t> dd PtH Hr <.s> m wsr
and translates: "Jedes gute Werk, Ptah belohnt es reichlich", along the lines of Drioton's interpretation.
Rowe 5 trasliterates: nfr PtH r Hr nb m dd(w)wsr and translates: "(how) good is Ptah more than every countenance in giving power".
All that is a measure of how difficult it is to agree uneqivocal interpretations.
As to the dating, we think the scarab of the Ramesside period.
Here is another with some of the signs in different order.
ANALYSIS OF A SCARAB
We receive this scarab from a collector who asks for information.
Seems at first glance unproblematic: a cartouche is inserted into the centre of a combination of symmetric style (Tufnell class 3B): a pair of Horus eyes at top, two pairs of anx signs placed on nb signs set up in column besides the cartouche and a pair of nfr bottom.
However this scarab raises the frequent problem of reading the cartouche because of badly engraved signs: only one sign? Or wo or three signs merged together?
We can leave out the first option : there is no sign similar to this in Gardiner's sign list. More probably it's a group of signs, the only one clearly distinguishable being the sun disc at the top.
We are right away inclined to a likely intuitive reading of the signs,
which renders: Re is perfect (or fine); a fairly frequent combination, especially during the SIP (XIII-XV Dyn.), also used as a proper name.
We think this item belongs to this period but the signs inserted into the cartouche could suggest a reading, rather more adventurous, of three signs from the top:
seems conscricted between the disc and the top part of the sign:
If this interpretation is accepted, one could have the name Khaneferre namely Sobekhotep IV (1730-1720 B.C.) of the XIII Dynasty.
Nevertheless this surmise raises a problem; supposing that it is Khaneferre, this scarab should belong to the "group Sobekhotep", dated by Von Beckerath ca.1744-1690 B.C. which includes the so-called "genealogical scarabs", characterized by the fact that the king's name is inscribed into a cartouche placed at the side (generally on the right side) counterbalanced by the name of his father or his mother at the other side . On the contrary, this scarab belongs to the "symmetric style" which starts from the end of MK, then resumed in the SIP and largely used by the Hyksos.
From a document search, we have not found parallels of this name in a symmetrical sign context.
So it is probably best to exclude this possibility, which was a weak one to begin with, that it's Khaneferra unless it's a matter of an archaism; a resumption at a time following his reign of about a century, (Hyksos period, 1630-1522 B.C.) but in this case with the insertion of name and cartouche into the stylistic features then much later in vogue.
1 Tufnell vol.II, p.156
Hayes "The Scepter of Egypt" part.1 p. 342
2 Martin G.T., EGYPTIAN ADMINISTRATIVE AND PRIVATE-NAME SEALS (1971) p. 75-77 n. 938-975
Tufnell O., STUDIES ON SCARAB SEALS vol. II part 2 (1984) p. 368 n. 3136, 3140, 3152, 3156, 3157, 3158, 3161
Hall H.R., CATALOGUE (1913) n. 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173
Newberry P.E., SCARABS (1906) pl. X n. 8, 10
Matouk F.S., CORPUS DU SCARABEE EGYPTIEN vol. 1 (1971) p. 182 n. 216, 219
Fraser G., SCARABS (1909) p. 7 n. 52, 53
Hayes W.C., THE SCEPTER OF EGYPT part 1 (1953) p. 343 fig. 226.
A FINE AND INTERESTING SCARAB
This scarab not only shows a well preserved fine green colour and an engraving astonishingly well made, but a puzzling and unpublished composition.
It is in a green glazed steatite and measures 15 x 10 x 6 mm. and has a Tufnell classification 1 B8/II/d6. The prothorax is divided from the elytra by a Y-shaped double trace. Legs are fully notched, mid-deeply hollowed. The vertical arranged motif shows a scorpion and the ib (heart) sign.
Wearing scarabs with images of scorpions was considered by Egyptians an apotropaic protection against the dangerous stings of these insects and maybe also against diseases generaly. A staff of specialists in the treatment of these stings was consecrated to the worship of the scorpion-goddess Serqet, who was depicted as a woman with a scorpion in the place of the head.
The presence of the bottom-right sign ib could represent the abbreviation of the sentence3 which means: pay attention to....... a kind of warning to the owner. (on the left below)
Alternatively it could be related to the full name of the goddess: She-who-relieves-the-wind-pipe 4. (on the right below)
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