Jump to content




Welcome to Unexplained Mysteries! Please sign in or create an account to start posting and to access a host of extra features.


- - - - -

SMSW KHUFU (Gang, followers of Khufu)

great pyramid hieroglyphs campbell\s chamber

  • Please log in to reply
89 replies to this topic

#1    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:53 PM

Hi UM,

I wonder if anyone here (perhaps KMT_Sesh) can explain how the hieroglyphs in the inscription found in Campbell's Chamber of the Great Pyramid (see image below) spell out SMSW (follower). In particular the third glyph from the left doesn't look too much like Gardiner's T18 (which I believe it is supposed to be). Also, what is the first glyph on the left? Is this meant to be the biliteral šs? I can't see how but is the šs being used here as a phonetic compliment? I just don't see how these glyphs can make the word SMSW (follower).


Posted Image

Glad of any help with this with any examples from elsewhere.

Regards,

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton, 04 April 2014 - 12:55 PM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#2    kmt_sesh

kmt_sesh

    Non-Corporeal Being

  • 8,216 posts
  • Joined:08 Jul 2007
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago, Illinois

Posted 05 April 2014 - 02:48 AM

Hello, Scott. I think I can help, and I understand your confusion.

The word in the glyphs is not Smsw, actually. The glyphs read right to left, so starting behind the cartouche, the second glyph from the right is a badly rendered chisel (U23). So together with the first glyph (S29, folded cloth)_ this spells the word smr. This is typically translated as "companion" or "friend." The quail chick simply marks the word as plural.

The last glyph, which kind of looks like a tipi with poles poking out the top, is the unclassified glyph Aa20 (probably a cloth sack tied shut, hence the draw strings sticking out). It's the word aprw, which in this context designates a work gang. So the inscription literally translates as "Khufu's companions," with aprw as a semantic determinative (although possibly it was spoken, too).

I double-checked my facts with the primary source on Old Kingdom graffiti, which is Ann Macy Roth's Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom. If you're interested, you can download it from the Oriental Institute's free archives on this page.

Posted Image
Words of wisdom from Richard Clopton:
For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.

Visit My Blog!

#3    cormac mac airt

cormac mac airt

    Non-Corporeal Being

  • Member
  • 7,751 posts
  • Joined:18 Jun 2008
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tennessee, USA

Posted 05 April 2014 - 04:21 AM

Gardiner shows something similar here:

Friend of King in Egyptian Dictionary.jpg

It can be found on Page 332 of the PDF entitled "Ancient Egyptian Dictionary".

http://www.ancient-e..._dictionary.pdf

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#4    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:09 AM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 05 April 2014 - 02:48 AM, said:

Hello, Scott. I think I can help, and I understand your confusion.

The word in the glyphs is not Smsw, actually. The glyphs read right to left, so starting behind the cartouche, the second glyph from the right is a badly rendered chisel (U23). So together with the first glyph (S29, folded cloth)_ this spells the word smr. This is typically translated as "companion" or "friend." The quail chick simply marks the word as plural.

The last glyph, which kind of looks like a tipi with poles poking out the top, is the unclassified glyph Aa20 (probably a cloth sack tied shut, hence the draw strings sticking out). It's the word aprw, which in this context designates a work gang. So the inscription literally translates as "Khufu's companions," with aprw as a semantic determinative (although possibly it was spoken, too).

I double-checked my facts with the primary source on Old Kingdom graffiti, which is Ann Macy Roth's Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom. If you're interested, you can download it from the Oriental Institute's free archives on this page.

Hello Kmt,

Many thanks for your input here. I think "badly rendered chisel" glyph (U23) is something of an understatement! I think this could be claimed at a stretch. Same with aprw. Are there no other glyphs these might reasonably be that could render another (sensible) word?

In this video (from your friend and mine), Dr Hawass, he reads these glyphs as Aprw Smsw. Start it from 37:00:



As an aside and whilst we're on the subject--you will probably have noticed the two dots under the viper glyph in the Khufu cartouche in Campbell's Chamber. Curiously, Howard-Vyse renders these two dots in his handwritten journal (as shown by Martin Stower's copy) but then removes them from his printed book although Perring publishes them in his book. Any idea why there are these apparent contradictions?

Thanks again for your help on this--you too, Cormac. Appreciated mucho.

Regards,

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton, 05 April 2014 - 05:43 AM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#5    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:57 PM

In studying the "badly rendered chisel" glyph (Gardiner's U23) in a little more depth, it is really surprising that Egyptologists/Etymologists can conclude that this glyph is a 'chisel' sign (the phonetic 'mr'). Looking through just the most common Egyptian hieroglyphs we find any number of possible candidates for this glyph which, of course, would change this word and the meaning of the phrase. (See images below):

(Note: the green highlighted glyph represents Gardiner's U23 - chisel i.e. the accepted interpretation of the poorly rendered glyph in the blue box. The red highlighted glyphs in the images below are other possible candidates that this glyph in the blue box above could be).

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

My own personal favourite is the tri-literal glyph 'wt or perhaps a badly rendered and slightly truncated S29 glyph (i.e. the same as the glyph to the right of the glyph in the blue box).

And it seems that even the orthodox interpretation of this glyph varies with some people saying the U23 glyph (along with the S29 glyph - crook or folder cloth = phonetic 's') smr='Friends' whilst others claim it renders the word 'follower' which means the U23 glyph then becomes T18 which looks comletely different again from any of the above (see OP for this glyph).

I think the long and short of this is that Egyptology is simply taking its best guess at what this glyph in the blue box is. The reality is it could be one of many glyphs being that it has been so poorly rendered.

Regards,

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton, 06 April 2014 - 04:59 PM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#6    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:52 AM

Further deliberation upon the glyphs found in Campbell's Chamber reveal (unless I am mistaken) another alternative meaning of these same glyphs.

Image 1 below shows the standard interpretation of the glyphs: 'Friends of Khufu'.

Posted Image

But, having consulted a couple of AE hieroglyphic dictionaries, it seems the very same glyphs can render a completely different interpretation:

Posted Image

Given that Khufu is reported to have brought great hardship to his people by the construction of the Great Pyramid, it is unsurprising that we would find such an inscription. (Note: I am assuming here that the badly rendered chisel glyph (U23) is as orthodox insist).

Regards,

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton, 07 April 2014 - 07:53 AM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#7    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 09 April 2014 - 05:27 PM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 05 April 2014 - 02:48 AM, said:

The glyphs read right to left, so starting behind the cartouche, the second glyph from the right is a badly rendered chisel (U23). So together with the first glyph (S29, folded cloth)_ this spells the word smr. This is typically translated as "companion" or "friend."

Hello Kmt,

As I am sure you know, the chisel glyph (U23) can be read as phonetic "mr" or "ab".  Along with glyph U29 ('s') thus we could read these glyphs as "smr" or "sab". As you stated, "smr" is interpreted as "friends / companions" whilst "sab" is interpreted as "jackal", " or "drip" or "cross water".  However, as I'm sure you know, there are no phonetic compliments here to instruct us whether the chisel glyph is to be pronounced "mr" or "ab". Without these additinal glyphs then the chisel glyph (assuming, of course, this badly rendered glyph IS the U23 chisel glyph), could be any of these words.  In this context, then the unclassified Aa20 glyph (the tipi) could be a determinative for "sailors" (who "cross water" - 'sab').

At the end of the day, I think we could spend endless hours speculating what these glyphs might be saying but that it has been decided they read "friends/comapnions of Khufu" is as much of a guess, in my opinion, as any other interpretation.

Regards,

SC


PS - I should add that, given there are no phonetic compliments to assist us in determining the correct phonetic pronunciation of the U23 glyph, I suspect this is not in fact U23 but some other badly rendered glyph that does not actually require phonetic compliments, hence the reason they are absent for U23. In short - if this glyph WAS Gardiner's U23 (chisel), then we should expect to see a phonetic compliment. That there are none indicates that this is NOT U23 (chisel) but a badly drawn something else.

Edited by Scott Creighton, 09 April 2014 - 05:44 PM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#8    Kenemet

Kenemet

    Psychic Spy

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,079 posts
  • Joined:13 Apr 2014

Posted 13 April 2014 - 03:55 PM

If the people who can read the language (Egyptologists) and who have a lot of access to other examples of this same phrase then why do you doubt the expertise of the thousands of people who have worked on translating the language?  

I could understand it if you were someone who worked in the field of translation.  But, speaking as someone who's done translation (in Spanish) and knows and works with several professional translators for modern languages, I find it odd that you offer criticism if you yourself can't actually read the language fluently.  Shouldn't you learn it first and then critique the works of others?


#9    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:28 PM

View PostKenemet, on 13 April 2014 - 03:55 PM, said:

If the people who can read the language (Egyptologists) and who have a lot of access to other examples of this same phrase then why do you doubt the expertise of the thousands of people who have worked on translating the language?  

....I find it odd that you offer criticism if you yourself can't actually read the language fluently....

Hello Kenemet,

I may not be fluent in reading the AE language but I clearly know enough to have been able to spot how one of the world's foremost ancient Egyptian experts, Dr Zahi Hawass, made an error. He referred to this inscription as 'SMSW'  which is represented using Gardiner's T18 hieroglyph which looks nothing like the glyph in question i.e. what is believed to be an early form of Gardiner's U23 (chisel) thus rendering SMR and not SMSW as Hawass states in the video.

Perhaps you would prefer that when the experts make such blatant mistakes, the amateurs such as I should just shut up and say nothing?

SC

Edited by Scott Creighton, 17 April 2014 - 11:34 PM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#10    kmt_sesh

kmt_sesh

    Non-Corporeal Being

  • 8,216 posts
  • Joined:08 Jul 2007
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago, Illinois

Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:00 PM

Hi, Scott. I really apologize for taking so long to reply. Lately between work and my museum obligations I have very little time for UM.

I can't speak for Hawass and don't know why he translates the glyphs as "followers." For all I know he's just going by old translations where someone in the past translated it that way. I've heard of the gang name "Followers of Khufu" but to be honest have never examined the glyphs for it until you started this thread. The word smr is most usually translated as "companion" or "friend," as I mentioned, but for higher-ranking officials I've also seen it translated as "courtier." Perhaps some translator in the past thought "follower" was also appropriate. I can only speculate on that.

That smrw in this case does not bear a phonetic complement is actually not significant. In informal writing or where space was restricted, complements were often omitted. This was especially true for common words. In the context of [aprw] smrw xwfw, "[The work gang] Companions of Khufu," makes a lot of sense.

At the Field Museum we have a Dynasty 5 false door that serves as a good example. Within a list of this official's titles appears the epithet smr-wat, "Sole Companion." I've outlined the entire epithet in blue and the smr portion in black. You can see in this instance, too, smr does not bear a phonetic complement:

Posted Image

But in other cases you do see the complement. The pyramid complex of Menkaure bears graffiti that shows Menkaure had a work gang with the same name, and the complement (mouth glyph, "r") is there (the following image comes from Roth's book on phyles and crews, 1991: 120). I've outlined it in red:

Posted Image
I'm confident of the translation of aprw for "work gang" (the semantic determinative at the end that resembles a tied sack). As I believe you know, designations for these gangs were drawn from nautical names for boat crews, and a common meaning for aprw was "sailor"(this I double-checked in Faulkner's dictionary, 2002 ed: 62). It's commonly seen in the graffiti of work crews in the Old Kingdom. I'm not sure if the same is true for work crews of later periods.

I considered some of your alternatives, and while the chisel glyph is badly rendered, one must consider two things: (1) that alternative glyphs produce known words and (2) that alternative words make clear sense in the given context. That said, I could find no glyphs for "incur injury" that would spell apr or aprw in the language; this would require the causative "S" prefix, anyway, and such a glyph is absent in that area. Another meaning for smr is indeed "cause pain," and the glyphic spelling is even practically the same. However, the legend that Khufu was a merciless despot comes from Herodotus but not from any extant ancient Egyptian tradition, and given the plethora of factual errors in his accounts, I for one take Herodotus with a very large grain of salt. None of the other examples of relieving-chamber graffiti appear to speak ill of Khufu, so I tend to lean toward the conventional translation.

On a final note, the fact that the chisel glyph is badly rendered is not unusual. Remember that this is only graffiti and not formal writing. Graffiti can be difficult to translate because of the loose and free manner of the glyphs, so one must observe the overall context. "Companions of Khufu" is very sensical (or "Followers," as others seem to translate it).

Posted Image
Words of wisdom from Richard Clopton:
For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.

Visit My Blog!

#11    Kenemet

Kenemet

    Psychic Spy

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,079 posts
  • Joined:13 Apr 2014

Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:15 PM

View PostScott Creighton, on 17 April 2014 - 11:28 PM, said:

Perhaps you would prefer that when the experts make such blatant mistakes, the amateurs such as I should just shut up and say nothing?

There are thousands of people out there who are scholars of the language and who translate it and who are very familiar with the writing and how these letters are used.  Hawass has no power over everyone, and I have heard that there are a number in his field who despise him.

My question is, since this is widely published and widely available, what evidence is there from other professionals, translators, and students that his identification is wrong?  I'd totally go with it if you said (for instance) that Allen or Tyydsley or Collier or Manley or Kamrin or the like said that he got it wrong.

So who among the professional Egyptologists agrees that this is mistranslated?


#12    kmt_sesh

kmt_sesh

    Non-Corporeal Being

  • 8,216 posts
  • Joined:08 Jul 2007
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago, Illinois

Posted 19 April 2014 - 03:14 AM

View PostKenemet, on 18 April 2014 - 09:15 PM, said:

There are thousands of people out there who are scholars of the language and who translate it and who are very familiar with the writing and how these letters are used.  Hawass has no power over everyone, and I have heard that there are a number in his field who despise him.

My question is, since this is widely published and widely available, what evidence is there from other professionals, translators, and students that his identification is wrong?  I'd totally go with it if you said (for instance) that Allen or Tyydsley or Collier or Manley or Kamrin or the like said that he got it wrong.

So who among the professional Egyptologists agrees that this is mistranslated?

As Scott will attest, he and I are usually at odds—and often heatedly so. Nevertheless I agree there is cause to call the translation for "followers" into question. The glyphs spell smr, not Smsw. The chart in Scott's OP provide a good representation for the Smsw glyph (T18); you can also check page 443 in Allen's grammar, for another example. The glyphs are not only spelled differently but carry a very different set of phonetic components.

I am not an Egyptologist, even though I've been trained in hieroglyphs. A lot of lay people and many amateur historians typically seem to point at Hawass as the be-all of Egyptologists, while in truth one can turn to more seasoned and respected Egyptologists for hieroglyphic research (James Allen in particular). Just the same, I don't pretend to have the command of hieroglyphs that Hawass possesses, even if he no longer holds a governmental or academic position.

That's why I'm wondering if a variant translation for smr is "follower." I can't dig up further examples of that usage in my own library, but that doesn't mean I can dismiss it. Ancient Egyptian possessed a puny vocabulary compared to modern English, which is why one sees so much variation in translation work: translations are always subject to the biases and preferences of the historian. Smsw is also commonly used for the word "servant," so I'm willing to concede the possibility that smr can be translated as "follower."

Posted Image
Words of wisdom from Richard Clopton:
For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.

Visit My Blog!

#13    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:39 AM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 18 April 2014 - 09:00 PM, said:

Hi, Scott. I really apologize for taking so long to reply. Lately between work and my museum obligations I have very little time for UM.

I can't speak for Hawass and don't know why he translates the glyphs as "followers." For all I know he's just going by old translations where someone in the past translated it that way. I've heard of the gang name "Followers of Khufu" but to be honest have never examined the glyphs for it until you started this thread. The word smr is most usually translated as "companion" or "friend," as I mentioned, but for higher-ranking officials I've also seen it translated as "courtier." Perhaps some translator in the past thought "follower" was also appropriate. I can only speculate on that.

That smrw in this case does not bear a phonetic complement is actually not significant. In informal writing or where space was restricted, complements were often omitted. This was especially true for common words. In the context of [aprw] smrw xwfw, "[The work gang] Companions of Khufu," makes a lot of sense.

At the Field Museum we have a Dynasty 5 false door that serves as a good example. Within a list of this official's titles appears the epithet smr-wat, "Sole Companion." I've outlined the entire epithet in blue and the smr portion in black. You can see in this instance, too, smr does not bear a phonetic complement:

Posted Image

But in other cases you do see the complement. The pyramid complex of Menkaure bears graffiti that shows Menkaure had a work gang with the same name, and the complement (mouth glyph, "r") is there (the following image comes from Roth's book on phyles and crews, 1991: 120). I've outlined it in red:

Posted Image
I'm confident of the translation of aprw for "work gang" (the semantic determinative at the end that resembles a tied sack). As I believe you know, designations for these gangs were drawn from nautical names for boat crews, and a common meaning for aprw was "sailor"(this I double-checked in Faulkner's dictionary, 2002 ed: 62). It's commonly seen in the graffiti of work crews in the Old Kingdom. I'm not sure if the same is true for work crews of later periods.

I considered some of your alternatives, and while the chisel glyph is badly rendered, one must consider two things: (1) that alternative glyphs produce known words and (2) that alternative words make clear sense in the given context. That said, I could find no glyphs for "incur injury" that would spell apr or aprw in the language; this would require the causative "S" prefix, anyway, and such a glyph is absent in that area. Another meaning for smr is indeed "cause pain," and the glyphic spelling is even practically the same. However, the legend that Khufu was a merciless despot comes from Herodotus but not from any extant ancient Egyptian tradition, and given the plethora of factual errors in his accounts, I for one take Herodotus with a very large grain of salt. None of the other examples of relieving-chamber graffiti appear to speak ill of Khufu, so I tend to lean toward the conventional translation.

On a final note, the fact that the chisel glyph is badly rendered is not unusual. Remember that this is only graffiti and not formal writing. Graffiti can be difficult to translate because of the loose and free manner of the glyphs, so one must observe the overall context. "Companions of Khufu" is very sensical (or "Followers," as others seem to translate it).

Hello Kmt,

Well, it is nice to see that we can, if only occassionaly, agree on something. The examples you provide show perfectly symetrical chisels. I presume, given the poorly rendered versions (there are two of them--see link below) in Campbell's chamber, that it is unlikely that there are similar poorly rendered versions like this outside Campbell's Chamber? Do you know of any others similar to these outside the GP or are these the only examples of this nature?

http://www.gizapyram...plan_11to12.pdf

Thanks.

SC

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#14    Scott Creighton

Scott Creighton

    Paranormal Investigator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 802 posts
  • Joined:22 Nov 2006
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Consensus opinion isn't fact.

Posted 19 April 2014 - 01:05 PM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 18 April 2014 - 09:00 PM, said:

...I could find no glyphs for "incur injury"....

See image below (highlighted area):

Posted Image

As you can see, it uses the 'tipi' unclassified (Aa20) glyph.

Edited by Scott Creighton, 19 April 2014 - 01:06 PM.

"The man o' independent mind... is king o' men, for a' that." - Robert Burns

#15    Kenemet

Kenemet

    Psychic Spy

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,079 posts
  • Joined:13 Apr 2014

Posted 20 April 2014 - 03:07 AM

View Postkmt_sesh, on 19 April 2014 - 03:14 AM, said:

That's why I'm wondering if a variant translation for smr is "follower."

There's a number of boards for Egyptologists around (and for students of hieroglyphs.)  What's the consensus on this?





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users