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Sitchin's Folly: The Inventory Stela


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#31    TheSearcher

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 07:47 AM

Well Kmt is one of the few people, that usually try to stave away, from the personal attacks and only go after the facts stated. I think to some degree we all try that, with more or less success. I for one have never seen him attack someone on personal grounds but only on grounds of statements made. Man's got to appreciate that.

Quais, I think your 1980 edition was the original, and this might account for differences in amount of pages. Different fonts and printing techniques will make for a slight difference. The book and contents should be the same though, unless the author made some corrections of course.

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#32    Qoais

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 04:02 PM

Ok - thanks.

So kmt, from the picture I posted of the pages from the book, do you agree with the translation of the hieroglyphics shown therein?

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#33    cormac mac airt

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 05:58 PM

View PostQoais, on 01 December 2009 - 02:49 AM, said:

Posted Image

I would, of course, defer to kmt_sesh's understanding of the translation provided, but it would NOT appear that the "House of Isis" is in reference to the Great Pyramid, but to a temple dedicated specifically to Isis.

Interestingly enough, Sitchin gives the translation of the hieroglyphics themselves into words, "Ankh Hor Medzau Suten-bat Khufu tu Ankh" yet leaves out that part of the translation in the second part beginning with "He founded the house of Isis". One has to wonder why, unless he knows that that interpretation is incorrect to begin with.

cormac

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#34    Qoais

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 07:28 PM

Cormac I don't have a clue.  Can you explain further?

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#35    cormac mac airt

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 07:42 PM

View PostQoais, on 01 December 2009 - 07:28 PM, said:

Cormac I don't have a clue.  Can you explain further?

My understanding is that temples in AE to the various gods/god-kings/sphinx were considered their "houses" as that is where they, in essence, resided. Nothing to indicate that the GP was considered a "house". Even taking a stretch and claiming the GP was a house, Sitchins own translation says that he (Khufu) founded (as in laid the foundation - built) it. In his "translation", leaving out the words the hieroglyphs translate to gives him wide latitude to claim it means anything he wants it to mean.

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#36    Qoais

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 11:18 PM

Maybe I should have asked you what it is you're getting from what Sitchin wrote.  I'm getting that Isis was mistress of the pyramid and he built a temple of stone for her, renewed the gods that were found in her temple.  

quote:
.....as we read in another portion of the inscription that the Great Pyramid was also called "The Western Mountain of Hathor":

Live Horus Mezdau;
To King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khufu,
Life is given.
For his mother Isis, the Divine Mother,
Mistrss of "The Western Mountain of Hathor,"
he made (this) writing on a stela.
he gave (her) a new sacred offering.
He built (her) a House (temple) of stone,
renewed the gods that were found in her temple.

So Isis is mistress of the great pyramid. Wherein lies the problem?

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#37    kmt_sesh

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 03:54 AM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 01 December 2009 - 05:58 PM, said:

I would, of course, defer to kmt_sesh's understanding of the translation provided, but it would NOT appear that the "House of Isis" is in reference to the Great Pyramid, but to a temple dedicated specifically to Isis.

Interestingly enough, Sitchin gives the translation of the hieroglyphics themselves into words, "Ankh Hor Medzau Suten-bat Khufu tu Ankh" yet leaves out that part of the translation in the second part beginning with "He founded the house of Isis". One has to wonder why, unless he knows that that interpretation is incorrect to begin with.

cormac

It's proving very difficult for me to find a really decent image of the Inventory Stela so I can examine the glyphs for myself. I can tell from the translations I've read that they would not be beyond my own level of experience to work with. Neither your posting nor the photo in my own copy of Sitchin's book is clear enough to discern most of the glyphs. I did have some luck, however, and more on that in a moment.

In essence cormac is right: the Great Pyramid is not to be viewed as a house for a deity. The closest one comes is as a house for the soul of the person buried in it, as was the nature of all tombs, a common ancient Egyptian term for which was pr kA (soul house). When the Egyptians write pr (house) in reference to a diety in an inscription, it specifically refers to a temple. The "house of Isis" is in fact the small temple that was built in later times next to the small queen's pyramid designated G1c. The pyramid the inscription mentions Khufu built, "of the king's daughter Henutsen," is the small pyramid we call G1c. You can return to my original post for more information on the problems with the existence of the so-called Henutsen.

You're correct, Qoais, that the house of Isis refers not to the Great Pyramid but to that small temple. It is true that one epithet for Isis was "Mistress of the Pyramids," but this epithet did not exist in Dynasty 4; it is attested no earlier probably than Dynasty 21 when the little temple of Isis was originally built (Wilkinson 2003: 149). It was probably rebuilt in Dynasty 26, by the same king who commissioned the Inventory Stela, who also must have restored G1c. This would explain why the temple is reasonably well preserved, and why G1c is the best preserved of the three queens' pyramids next to the Great Pyramid.

But back to the translation. I wasn't about to give up so I kept plowing along. Luckily I stumbled across a Google Book that turned out to be a catalogue for the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, published in 1906 by none other than Gaston Maspero. If anyone's interested in seeing the same thing, here's the link. I downloaded the book as a PDF and extracted the image of the Inventory Stela. Evidently it's some kind of engraving instead of a photograph, but it still offers the best view of the hieroglyphs I've yet seen. Not great, but good enough. Here's the image, to which I've applied color coding:

Posted Image

The glyphs are hard to see in this image, I understand, but the raw image is high resolution and I was able to zoom in with Photoshop. The part I coded red is the inscription in question, the Zivie-Coche translation for which I provided in my OP.

Qoais, I also thought it odd that Sitchin provides some form of transliteration for the start of the inscription but not for the rest that he shows in his book. However, I was able to clarify that in the glyphs Sitchin renders "He founded the House of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, beside the House of the Sphinx" are in fact mostly correct. The first error is that the inscription doesn't say Sphinx but Haurun, the Syro-Palestinian god who became fully incorporated into later Egyptian religion, as I explained in my OP. The glyphs in Sitchin's book make that clear, but it's still in reference to the Sphinx so I don't really take issue with that. The second and more significant error is how Sitchin chooses to reinterpret "house of Isis," but we've already gone over that.

The part in Sitchin's translation that puzzled me is "The Western Mountain of Hathor." Every translation I've read of the Inventory Stela renders it as "Hathor, Mistress of the Sky." Now, Hathor as "Mistress of the West" or "of the Western Mountain" is extant, but primarily from later times. For instance, you often see a vignette like this one in Books of the Dead, where Hathor in cow form is shown emerging from the Western Mountain, representing the land of the dead. This is especially true of the Theban necropoli by and after the New Kingdom, but I know of no such depiction dating to Dynasty 4 Giza.

You'll note the green color code in the above image of the Inventory Stela. The vertical text on either side of the inner registers is actually too long to fit in those spaces, so the artist who carved it in Dynasty 26 continued the inscription on either side down onto the protruding base of limestone. The green coloring at right shows where the right vertical column continued onto the base, but the museum artist who produced this image did not include the glyphs there. I have no way myself right now to check the bit of inscription about Hathor.

As I stated earlier, Sitchin does not provide a citation for where he got his translation, or even if he did it himself, so I don't know how to judge his source. I am comfortable in saying, however, that his translation is wrong. He was either using a very old and unreliable translation, or he was twisting facts to make his Sinai-Giza connection seem plausible--even if it doesn't make sense from the ancient Egyptian perspective.

I hope this answers some questions. Please let me know...or, conversely, if I've only made it worse! Posted Image

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#38    TheSearcher

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 07:14 AM

Well Kmt, you sure know your hieroglyphs, that's for sure. Thanks for an instructive post.

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#39    Qoais

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 02:41 AM

Ok - if you thought I was a bit thick when it came to biology, you're in for a real treat with hieroglyphics and AE religion.!!  I don't understand any of it.

Firstly kmt, you said:

In essence cormac is right: the Great Pyramid is not to be viewed as a house for a deity.

I was confused when Cormac said it and now I'm confused again.  Where does Sitchin say that the GP is a house?  

Also, I've read, and re-read what the Stela supposedly says, and all it says is that Khufu found the temple of Isis in a sorry state and he fixed it.  I take it Sitchin is implying that by omission, (in other words, the stela doesn't say I, Khufu built the pyramid also) it is implied by Sitchin that Khufu didn't build it.  He is in fact trying to show in previous pages, that the pyramids are of a different construction style and were built by his Anunnaki.

Gotta run, but will come back because I'd really like to go into this.

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#40    kmt_sesh

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 04:03 AM

View PostQoais, on 04 December 2009 - 02:41 AM, said:

Ok - if you thought I was a bit thick when it came to biology, you're in for a real treat with hieroglyphics and AE religion.!!  I don't understand any of it.

Firstly kmt, you said:

In essence cormac is right: the Great Pyramid is not to be viewed as a house for a deity.

I was confused when Cormac said it and now I'm confused again.  Where does Sitchin say that the GP is a house?  

Also, I've read, and re-read what the Stela supposedly says, and all it says is that Khufu found the temple of Isis in a sorry state and he fixed it.  I take it Sitchin is implying that by omission, (in other words, the stela doesn't say I, Khufu built the pyramid also) it is implied by Sitchin that Khufu didn't build it.  He is in fact trying to show in previous pages, that the pyramids are of a different construction style and were built by his Anunnaki.

Gotta run, but will come back because I'd really like to go into this.

Okay, as I look at this, I think I was possibly misreading Sitchin's intentions myself. I had been thinking that he was saying the "house" meant the same thing as "pyramid," but that may not be the case. I believe I see where I was tripping myself up. The answer goes back to the second line of his translation:

"He founded the House of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, beside the House of the Sphinx" (Sitchin 2007: 342).

Sitchin then goes on to write:

"According the inscription...the Great Pyramid was already standing when Khufu arrived on the scene. Its mistress was the goddess Isis--it belonged to this goddess, and not to Khufu" (Sitchin: ibid).

This confuses me a bit, I must admit, because here Sitchin asserts that the pyramid belonged to a goddess, while his basic premise in the book is that the Anunnaki built the Great Pyramid. He can be confusing to follow, to say the least. Sitchin is saying Khufu built the temple in honor of Isis, who was the mistress ("owner") of the Great Pyramid. This is still flawed thinking, however. As I said in the OP, there is no evidence of any cult for Isis prior to the end of Dynasty 5, around 150 years after the time of Khufu. She was not venerated at Giza in his time, as all extant archaeological and textual evidence shows us. Moreover, we know without doubt that the temple to Isis did not exist any earlier than Dynasty 21, over 1,000 years after the time of Khufu. Where it was built was on the ruins of a little mortuary chapel for the queen's pyramid designated G1c, most traces of which were probably gone by the Middle Kingdom.

Any way you look at it, Sitchin's conclusions crumble under scrutiny and are erroneous, not to mention misleading. A diligent student of history will see this without difficulty, but it's other people I worry about: those who are sincere in their desire to learn but fall pray to Sitchin's books.

Sorry about the confusion, Qoais. Cormac is right that a pyramid should not be seen as a temple (a "house" in Egyptian terminology), but to be fair I'm now pretty sure that's not what Sitchin was saying.

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#41    Qoais

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 04:03 AM

Quote

Here Sitchin is trying to build on his idea that the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre at Giza were actually beacons for his Anunnaki aliens flying about in their celestial craft. That may be how it exists in his head, but this association between Hathor and the Great Pyramid did not exist to the Egyptians themselves. It is inaccurate.

kmt_sesh - I notice here you did not say Sitchin was wrong - you said inaccurate.  In what way was he inaccurate?


Quote

Live the Horus Medjed, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Cheops,
given life. He found the house of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramids, next to
the house of Haurun, northwest of the house of Osiris, Lord of Rasetau.
He (re)built the pyramid of the king's daughter Henutsen beside this
temple. He made an inventory, carved on a stela, for his mother Isis, the
mother of the god, Hathor, Mistress of the Sky. He restored for her the
divine offerings and (re)built her temple in stone, that which he found
in ruins being renewed, and the gods in their place.


If he built the pyramid, why doesn't he mention it?  He tells about the other projects.

Quote

Indeed, I don't know of any modern historian who doubts the Inventory Stela was cut in ancient Egypt, but certainly not in the time of Khufu.

Ok - so if he didn't cut the stela himself - or have it done - what's the point?    Who did cut it then?

Quote

We have learned volumes more about Egyptian iconography, religion, and texts since 1906, and there are many modern references which historians will consult first.

Who for instance?

I have to admit that a lot of my problem is, I can't do dates.  I have no idea what dynasty was in what years or when the Middle Kingdom was etc.  If the discussion could be done in times - like dates - such and such BC so a person could make a comparison it would be easier.  This sentence for instance, doesn't mean anything to me, and to have to stop and look it up every time a different dynasty is mentioned, is just to awkward and ruins the flow of information.  

Quote

One of the main problems with Sitchin's argument is the fact that the temple of Isis did not exist in Dynasty 4

You might as well have said that the carpet in the living is hairless because the elephant is a piano.  

If you could quote what Sitchin said - and then explain why it is wrong, that would be easier to understand as well.

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#42    Qoais

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 04:15 AM

Quote

This confuses me a bit, I must admit, because here Sitchin asserts that the pyramid belonged to a goddess, while his basic premise in the book is that the Anunnaki built the Great Pyramid. He can be confusing to follow, to say the least. Sitchin is saying Khufu built the temple in honor of Isis, who was the mistress ("owner") of the Great Pyramid.

Ok - let's look at this.  He's trying to point out that the Egyptians themselves did not know who built the pyramid, just that the goddess of pyramids was Isis.  He's trying to show that Khufu did not take credit for building the thing.  I think we need to establish firstly, who put up the stela in Khufu's honor and why.

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#43    cormac mac airt

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 07:43 AM

To Qoais and kmt_sesh both:

The way I read the page in Sitchin's book is this. He (Sitchin) calls the section "He founded the house of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, beside the house of the Sphinx" an explosive statement then claiming this inscription is saying that the Great Pyramid was there before Khufu arrived on the scene. This is patently incorrect. I believe he's playing fast and loose with the translation to suit his agenda.

The Inventory Stela dates to the 26th dynasty, which is nearly 2000 years after the GP was built. Based on length of reign alone, Psamtik/Psammetichus I is the most likely to have had it carved, IMO.

cormac

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#44    questionmark

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 01:06 PM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 04 December 2009 - 07:43 AM, said:

To Qoais and kmt_sesh both:

The way I read the page in Sitchin's book is this. He (Sitchin) calls the section "He founded the house of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, beside the house of the Sphinx" an explosive statement then claiming this inscription is saying that the Great Pyramid was there before Khufu arrived on the scene. This is patently incorrect. I believe he's playing fast and loose with the translation to suit his agenda.

The Inventory Stela dates to the 26th dynasty, which is nearly 2000 years after the GP was built. Based on length of reign alone, Psamtik/Psammetichus I is the most likely to have had it carved, IMO.

cormac

Besides, what did the Egyptians 1000 BC know about those 3000 BC? That is another question to be asked before putting all in the same cocktail shaker.

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#45    kmt_sesh

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 02:20 AM

View PostQoais, on 04 December 2009 - 04:03 AM, said:

kmt_sesh - I notice here you did not say Sitchin was wrong - you said inaccurate.  In what way was he inaccurate?

Well, he was as wrong as he was inaccurate. To me the two are the same. Sitchin argues that the inscription on the Inventory Stela states the Great Pyramid was also called the "Western Mountain of Hathor." This is something on which I commented earlier (post 37). Although Hathor was often attributed to the Western Mountain (i.e., land of the dead), I know of no Hathoric attribution directly tying her to the Great Pyramid. The inscription does not say this, by what I've been able to determine.

What Sitchin translates as "The Western Mountain of Hathor" is properly translated "Hathor, Mistress of the Sky." I suspect he's bending the truth for the sake of his "Landing Corridor" idea. Sitchin states that Hathor was the mistress of the Sinai peninsula (a more correct translation for this epithet is Mistress of the Turquois, which was mined in the Sinai). He then states: "If the highest peak of the peninsula was her Eastern Mountain, the Great Pyramid was her Western Mountain, the two acting as the anchors for the Landing Corridor" (Sitchin 2007: 344). There is no "Eastern Mountain" in Hathoric tradition. Sitchin's designating the Great Pyramid as her "Western Mountain" is an invention on his part. Therefore, on this score is altogether wrong.

Quote

If he built the pyramid, why doesn't he mention it?  He tells about the other projects.

The Inventory Stela does not state that he either built it or found it already in place. It specifically sates Khufu rebuilt rebuilt the small queen's pyramid (G1c) and the temple to Isis outside it. What people make of this or how they distort it out of context is not the Inventory Stela's fault. The Inventory Stela is not so much about building things as it is about properly tending to and honoring the needs of the gods mentioned in the inscription.


Quote

Ok - so if he didn't cut the stela himself - or have it done - what's the point?    Who did cut it then?

The point is, Sitchin, and a score of other fringe writers, take the stela at face value and claim it was indeed commissioned by Khufu--this despite the obvious fact that it was not. I don't think it's specifically known which king commissioned the stela because the only king mentioned on it is Medjed Khufu. Based on stylistic grounds and other concerns, we can narrow it down to Dynasty 26, also known as the Saite Period, which was early in the Late Period (I'll provide dates below). This was over 1,800 years after the time of Khufu.

To understand why all of this was taking place so long after the Old Kingdom, you would have to understand the geo-politics of Egypt in the Saite Period. Egypt had freed itself from the yolk of Assyria and was experience a rebirth of nationalistic pride. Monuments up and down the Nile Valley were either being built, rebuilt, or refurbished. Many of these monuments came from the glory days of Egypt, and the kings of the Saite Period were drawing on their own ancient past to restore their glory. Giza was only one site at which this activity was taking place.

Quote

I have to admit that a lot of my problem is, I can't do dates.  I have no idea what dynasty was in what years or when the Middle Kingdom was etc.  If the discussion could be done in times - like dates - such and such BC so a person could make a comparison it would be easier.  This sentence for instance, doesn't mean anything to me, and to have to stop and look it up every time a different dynasty is mentioned, is just to awkward and ruins the flow of information.


I admit guilt in assuming people may be as familiar with the chronology as I am, and I sometimes forget that not everyone is into ancient Egypt in the same way I am. I use terms like Dynasty 4, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and Late Period because they themselves represent specific time periods. I'm not going to start writing dates from this time forward unless I feel it's necessary to prove a point, because that's not usually how it's done. However, you can use Google to hunt down timelines of ancient Egypt, and there are plenty of them out there. This is a good one. Not all timelines agree, of course, but many of them on the internet are pretty reliable. For the most part I follow the timeline published by Aidan Dodson in 2006 in one of his books. So, for the sake of this thread, some dates might be helpful:

  • Old Kingdom: 2663-2195 BCE (Reign of Khufu in Dynasty 4: 2547-2524 BCE)
  • Middle Kingdom: 2066-1781 BCE (Dynasties 11 & 12)
  • Dynasty 21 in the Third Intermediate Period: 1064-940 BCE
  • Late Period: 752-332 BCE (Dynasty 26, Saite Period: 664-525 BCE)

I suggest keeping that timeline link handy or find one you like more. There are a lot of resources to help you get a handle on the chronology, which I know can be confusing to try to remember.

Quote

You might as well have said that the carpet in the living is hairless because the elephant is a piano.  

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