Friday, July 31, 2009

Book Review: Ramesside Inscriptions. Translations. Vol. 5

Bryn Mawr Classical Review (Review by Peter C. Nadig)

K. A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions. Translations. Vol. 5, Setnakht, Ramesses III and Contemporaries. Malden, Mass./Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. ISBN 9780631184317.

The Liverpudlian Egyptologist and emeritus Kenneth A. Kitchen is one of the leading authorities on the Ramesside Period, the 19th and 20th Dynasties of New Kingdom Egypt (ca. 1292- 1070 BC). His opus magnum is the Ramesside Inscriptions (KRI) in eight volumes -- a painstaking compilation of inscriptions, graffiti, papyri and ostraca.1 The original edition completed in 1990 after 21 years primarily renders the hieroglyphic text of these sources in Professor Kitchen's own hand. In recent years he has begun to add two supplemental series to the original edition: Series A: Translations and Series B: Annotations (RITANC). The latter is to provide a bibliography, introductions, and a compact commentary. Five out of seven volumes of the translation series and two of the annotation series have so far been published. The book under review is No. V in the translations series and concerns the rule of the early twentieth dynasty kings Setnakht (1187-1185 BC) and his son Ramesses III (1185-1154 BC).2 It covers all the texts in the original hieroglyphic edition in KRI V. Since a corresponding annotation volume is still in preparation, this book therefore does not contain any explanatory notes or commentary. Like in the original volume a lengthy table of content -- which also includes the source references -- precedes an abbreviations and sigla list as well a short preface. A brief introduction to this volume's theme has been added. The text has marginal references to the pages of the hieroglyphic edition. Due to its size the table of contents can only be rendered in a concise form below, yet it provides a fair glimpse of the immense variety of the texts covered here. At the end of the book detailed indexes list the sources in museums and collections, papyri, ostraca, graffiti and private tombs in western Thebes.

The bulk of these texts derive from the huge mortuary temple of Ramesses III in Medinet Habu in western Thebes, one of the best preserved buildings from that period. It fills more than half the book.

See the above page for the full story.

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