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Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter
– African Proverb
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will
– Frederick Douglass
The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave
– Malcolm X
Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.
– Ancient Egypt
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right.
– Dr. Martin L. King, Jr
What kind of world do we live in when the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of their oppressors?
– Owen 'Alik Shahadah
We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.
– Chester Higgins Jr.
Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.
– Harriet Tubman
If we stand tall it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.
– African Proverb
If we do not stop oppression when it is a seed, it will be very hard to stop when it is a tree.
– ' Alik Shahadah
If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it
– Zulu Proverb
It makes no difference what language Africans speak if our first language is not Truth
– Hilary Muhammad (NOI)
Is the category "logical order" (in its Greek sense) applicable to the context of Ancient Egyptian thought, writing and verbalisation ? Besides morality, Ptahhotep also teaches, by example, anthropology, politics and the emancipation of everyman. Indeed, he touches "upon the most important aspects of human relations" (Lichtheim, 1975, vol 1, p.62). Moreover, the compositional backbone of this remarkable text, written as early as the late VIth Dynasty (ca.2200 BCE), is "discourse" and its dynamics, which is suggestive of the verbal philosophy of Memphis. Furthermore, an "ascetical" approach to divinity is present, for none of the gods (except for his Majesty the Pharaoh, Osiris, Maat and the "Followers of Horus") are mentioned by name. "Netjer" ("nTr", "god") is mentioned as one flagpole without determinative. The "netjeru" ("nTrw", the plural of "god" or "the gods") are invoked by that word only once (line 24), and are next referred to as "they".
the Scribe of Saqqara
Besides Pharaoh, nobody addressed the spirits (of the gods & goddesses who abide in the sky) directly. He alone mediated between heaven and earth because he was the only god on earth. In particular, his voice-offerings were the performance of rectitude, so that through them Pharaoh returned Maat to its creator, his father Re and by doing so guaranteed an order which could at any time be disrupted. He (and his representatives) were the only one able to do so. Pharaoh embodied Egypt and the Nile embodied Egypt. This grand river, flowing from South to North, yearly fed Egypt by inundating the Two Lands. The circulation of goods along it, had been essential in the process of unification of the land, and the establishment in the "House of Ptah" at Memphis ("Men-nefer") of the "Balance of the Two Lands", as the Memphis Theology claims :
The Weighing Scene
One of the motivations behind these studies is the clarification of the distinction between Egyptian and Greek philosophy, between ante-rationality (and its irrational foundation in mythical thought) and rationality. Indeed, Greek philosophy emerged as a culture of rational debate at the heart of the "polis", the city-state. The conflicts between systems of thought were much like political differences : they needed to be solved in public through argument & dialogue, and logic and/or rhetorics were the means to realize this. By realizing that pre-Greek, ante-rational speculation existed and by investigating these philosophical strands, one may disentangle the polemic nature of Greek philosophy from general philosophy, which is the persuit of wisdom by all possible means (i.e. it is not exclusively rational, although never irrational, i.e. purely mythical).
At the end of the corridor to the right of a pillard hall and then left is Ptahhotep's burial chamber. The reliefs there are the best preserved of the Old Kingdom. The ceilings are imitations of the trunks of palm trees.
The mastaba of Ptahhotep is a double mastaba which he shared with his father, Akhti-hotep. His room is quite similar to Ptahhotep's, although less decorated. The tomb suggests that Ptahhotep must have held a very important position during the reign of Pharaoh Djedkare (ca. 2411 - 2378 BCE), the predecessor of Unis (cf. the Cannibal Hymn). In his tomb, Ptahhotep describes himself as a priest of Maat. He was also the vizier, the chief of the treasury and the granary, as well as a judge. The reliefs found inside are not all completed. The main corridor has reliefs on both sides. On the left are what appear to be preliminary drawings in red. Over the red are corrections in black made by the master artist.
Back into the pillard hall and to the left is the chamber of Akhti-hotep. Through a passageway to the left is a chamber that contains a mummy that has not been identified. The passageway leads to the pillard hall and the entrance corridor.
Within the courtiers ("Sniit") surrounding Pharaoh, the most favoured persons were called "friends" ("smrw"). The most important dignitary bore the title "tjati" ("TAti"), translated as "vizier", who in the IVth Dynasty, was regularly one of the royal princes. Later the office passed into the hands of some outstanding noble, and then it tended to become hereditary. In the titularies of the early viziers, we find the title : "superintendent of all the works of the king" ("amii-r kAt nbt nt nsw"). He was also the supreme judge, and bore the epithet "prophet of Maat". The earliest attested reference to this highest administrative office was written in ink on a stone vessel from the Step Pyramid of Netjerikhet at Saqqara (the vizier Menka of the middle of the IIth Dynasty). In the beginning of the Early Dynastic period, the vizier bore the titles "Tt". The fuller form : "tAitti zAb TAti" is of later periods. And official called "Tt" is depicted on the Narmer palette. He walks in front of Pharaoh and carries his regalia. The tripartite title held by the vizier may indicate his threefold nature (Wilkinson, 2001, p.138) : "tAitti" or "he of the curtain" is an epithet indicating the courtlyaspect of the office ; "zAb" or "noble" is a general designation for an official ; "Tati", untranslatable and suggestive of theadministrative aspect.
The word "vizier" is the French spelling of the Turkish "vezir", which was the title of the Sultan's prime minister. This in turn comes from the Arabic "wazir", or "porter". In Ancient Egypt, the vizier wore a special garment which remained unchanged for thousands of years. It was a plain smock made of pure white cotton which symbolized his impartiality.
The vizier was the head of the administration, but at various times, and particularly at Thebes, the vizier might also be the chief priest. In the Old Kingdom, the role of the Egyptian state was organizational : preventing local famines by bringing in the surplus, lessening the effect of calamities (irregular inundations), arbitration and security. Irrigation works were the responsibility of the local responsible. Viziers heard all domestic territorial disputes, maintained a cattle and herd census, controlled the reservoirs and the food supply, supervised industries and conservation programs, and were also required to repair all dikes. The bi-annual census of the population came under their authority, as did the records of rainfall and the varying levels of the Nile during its inundation. All government documents used in Ancient Egypt had to bear the seal of the vizier in order to be considered authentic and binding. Tax records, storehouse receipts, crop assessments and other necessary agricultural statistics were kept in the offices of the viziers. In addition, young members of the royal family often served under the vizier. In this capacity, they received training in government affairs.
Was Ptahhotep, besides vizier, also a teacher of wisdom ?
Papyrus Prisse, belonging to the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), contains the only complete version of the Maxims we currently possess. It is in Middle Egyptian, the language of the Middle Kingdom, and was probably manifactured in the XIth Dynasty (in this First Intermediate Period, between ca. 2198 and 1938 BCE, another interesting work of literature saw the light : the Discourse of a Man with his Ba). The text itself situates the wisdom-teaching in the late Vth Dynasty, when Old Egyptian was still in use. If the teachings were indeed Ptahhotep's and he originally wrote them in Old Egyptian, then we are forced to assume considerable linguistic alterations to explain how the Old Egyptian text became a Middle Egyptian one. For Miriam Lichtheim, this is one of the strong arguments in favour of the idea that the Maxims are pseudo-epigraphic (Lichtheim, 1975, vol.1, p.6).
The third Old Kingdom instruction is that to Kagemni (serving under Huni & Snefru, IIIth to IVth Dynasty). Of this Instruction to Kagemni only the final portion is preserved and the name of the sage is lost. But, the text is part also of Papyrus Prisse and (after a blank stretch) it is followed by the Maxims of Ptahhotep. Clearly, the fact that Papyrus Prissecontains both texts makes it the oldest compendium of wisdom teachings extant on papyrus. Although the context of the teaching (to Kagemni) claims to be late IIIth Dynasty, its language is characterized by the schematics of Middle Egyptian encountered in the text of theMaxims, which claims to be late Vth Dynasty. As the record makes the point of the difference between late IIIth Dynasty and late Vth Dynasty literature, the "tangibly fictional nature of this attribution" (Lichtheim, 1975, vol 1, p.67) must be acknowledged. As only the wisdom teachings were transmitted in the name of a famous sage (all other literature beinganonymous), we may presume that this name is indicative of a school of thought initiated by a historical figure of importance (another excellent example is Imhotep and later Amenhotep).
Although at present no consensus among scholars exists, I agree with Lichtheim that the texts of Kagemni & Ptahhotep are pseudo-epigraphic. This does not exclude the possibility of a line of transmission going back to the historical author. In the case of Ptahhotep, this would be suggestive of a "Memphite school" or a community of scribes working in the House of Life of the temple of Ptah at Memphis. Of this however, we only have circumstancial evidence and no direct proof.
But is remains difficult to establish how far these wisdom teachings really go back. For example, in the early days of research, egyptologists dated the Pyramid Texts as early as possible. For Sethe they were Predynastic ! Most contemporary egyptologists go to the other extreme, and date the origin of texts close to the time of their extant textualization (even if the assumption of earlier copies of the same text is not unreasonable or even mentioned in the copy). The more we study the Predynastic Period (i.e. before 3000 BCE), the more it can be shown that important elements of the Egyptian cultural form were already present before the Dynasties started. But the introduction, in the Early Dynastic Period (Dynasty I and II, ca. 3000 - 2670 BCE), of Pharaoh (the "Followers of Horus") was essential to the process of consolidating the elements of the unification of the Two Lands and its various deities. The advancement of language ran parallel with Pharaoh's outstanding achievements. By the IVth Dynasty, Old Egyptian was written down.
2.1 Papyrus Prisse, the British Museum Papyri and the Carnarvon Tablet.
In 1956, Zába realized a decisive translation and also reproduced the hieroglyphs of these four sources in a comprehensive and clear way (which was absent in the work of Dévaud, 1916). It is this publication which I used and reproduced, i.e. Zába's hieroglyphs published more than 40 years ago by the "Academie Tchécoslovatique des Sciences" of Prague (under the academician Lexa), i.e. in former Czechoslovakia.
It goes without saying, that all the hermeneutical rules-of-tumb in the world will not guarantee a perfect translation, which simply does not exist. The Italian dictum "traduttore traditore" (the translator is a traitor), is especially true for Egyptian. As with all texts of antiquity, large scale comparison is the best option. Not only has the text to be contextualized, but one has to acquire the habit of looking up the same word or expression in various contexts across time (lexicography). But even then, one should be content with Gardiner's view that to circumscribe sense is the best one can do. At times, my guess is as good as any other ...
The following points should be kept in mind regarding the Old Kingdom :
A culture (or a sustained meaningful form) consists of social formations, an economy, common values, beliefs & practices, art, philosophy and religion. To faithfully recreate the picture of any culture of antiquity, we must know the shape of every layer. For this, we depend on physical evidence, ranging from archaeological, monumental & funerary evidence to linguistic, hermeneutical & philosophical studies of the available texts.
Linguistically, several stages may be discerned in Ancient Egyptian :
The long period of economical stability enjoyed by Egypt in the Old Kingdom, unassailed and living in plenty, explains why a considerable number of people could be taken out of the production of food, housed, fed and -if necessary- healed to erect the pyramids. It is clear that this must have pressured the slaveless and moneyless Egyptian economy.
"The treasury and its functions. The chart shows the principal operations carried out by the treasury in the Early Dynastic period (based upon information from contemporary sources : seal-impressions, inscribed stone vessels, and the Third Dynasty tomb inscription of Pehernefer)."
The fact these formidable Old Kingdom constructions were built, can only be explained by a yearly overall surplus large & varied enough to compensate for these "great works", and this without emptying the reserves needed for eventual local shortages, protection and administration (for production-techniques remained largely the same). These ongoing activities of Pharaoh and his court changed Egypt profoundly. Finally, they heralded the end of the "old" Memphite system, for as soon as the yearly overall surplus was smaller than the actual losses (and/or not varied enough), local shortages & famines could cause uprise and civil disorder ... As, by the end of the VIth Dynasty, Pharaoh had given away too much of his own surplus (to his representatives, the temples and the nobles), direct means to compensate were lacking and the overall good distribution of goods was lost, as well as Pharaoh's power to act as a "deus ex machina" (he was bound by his own contracts). The end of the Old Kingdom would thus prove to be the outcome of a negative economical balance-sheet hand in hand with a commanding bureaucracy dominating an economically weakened Pharaoh. A falling apart caused by loosening the cords and avoiding the standard of the plumb-line, spoiling the equilibrium of the scales ? Add to this a world-wide climate change, causing drought and extremely low Nile floods for several decades, and the collapse of the Old Kingdom was at hand.
the biliteral Shu ("Sw")
Maat in religious history
"mt" with determinative of the goddess, also "mAat"
Great is Maat, lasting in effect.
The earliest evidence for the existence of Maat can be found in the names of some kings. The oldest seems to be the name of Pharoah Sekhem-Ib, from Dynasty II (ca. 2800 - 2670 BCE). Both his Horus name and his Nebty name (cf. the royal titulary) include the epithet "pr n mAat" or "house of Maat". Pharaoh Snefru (ca. 2600 - 2571 BCE), initiating Dynasty IV, calls himself "nb mAat" or : "Lord of Maat" and in the late Vth Dynasty, Pharaoh Djedkara Izezi (ca. 2411 - 2378 BCE), used "mAat ka Ra", "Maat, the double of Re". With this goddess we touch upon direct evidence of the personalization of a stable concept, albeit ante-rational & non-abstract (executed in the mythical, pre-rational and proto-rational mode of thought).
Maat as cosmic & social order
In the end, it is Maat that lasts, (and)
The hieroglyphs associated with Maat is that of a plinth and a feather, representing the primeval mount upon which the creator self-emerged, and the invisible, all-encompassing nature of "air", which can be felt but never seen (cf. the word "hidden" & the iconography ofAmun). She comes into being together with the cosmos (the hieroglyph of the feather is also the biliteral "Sw", the god of Air who was created together with Tefnut by the creator Atum-Re). Without Maat, the Nun (the primodial, chaotic waters) would reclaim creation. Maat is shown as a Lady wearing an ostrich feather (of the Air-god "Sw") which can stand on its own instead of the full representation of the goddess. She usually wears the sign of life ("anx").
bas-relief in the temple adjoining the Nilometer
It is true that the relapse into chaos which Maat was supposed to avert and (if calamities happened) soothe & heal was not a metaphor, but a historical fact. Indeed, read the chaotic, undifferentiated, dark and endless "primordial waters" (of the "Nun", the "father of the gods" who had no temple)as (a) the "waters" of the river Nile, with its irregular and inpredictable (strange, chaotic) flood-attractor moving in the phase-space of the various parameters involved when observing the Nile (cf. Chaos, 1996), (b) the amount of water brought by the flood, ranging from too low to too high and (c) the natural and artificial redistribution of this water in the canals and irrigation-systems (public & local dikes). Nile water was the major source of wealth and poverty. The continuum of this "flood-attractor", which the Ancient Egyptians did not understand (for the process is too irregular and involves complex mathematics), may be represented by the two extreme ends of the phase-space of the inundation, namely very low and very high annual floods ... like the two extreme positions of the two scales of the balance.
This fundamental insecurity (which could have drastic effects) was the riverine foundation (basis) of Egyptian civilization. The "plinth of Maat" being an image of the "primordial hill" which served as a stable throne for Atum-Re, who as his own creator emerged out of chaos. Without Maat, chaos would reclaim creation. As their existence was based on highly unpredictable events, which returned every year, we may also understand Maat as Egypt'sconcrete conceptualization of a practical solution when dealing with disorder. If Re was the power of light, the dawn of creation, Maat, his daughter, was the immanent formula of creation and order. To apply this, enabled every element of creation to endure as part of creation. Because of Maat, ways were found to counter all circumstances (all positions of the two scales).
Maat as justice
"And the Setem shall cense Re-Heru-Khuti in all his names, and shall say : 'O Re, living in Maat. O Re, who feedest upon Maat. O Re, who rejoicest in Maat. O Re, who art united to Maat. (...) I have come and I have brought unto thee Maat, in which thou livest, in which thou rejoicest, in which thou art perfect, in which thou art bound together, in which thou flourishest (...) Thy heart is glad when thou seest those who are in thy shrine, who rejoice when they see Maat, following thee, since evil beareth contentions and destroyeth all the gods and the offerings.'"
Maat as the double truth in the "Beautiful West"
"Le jugement des morts, si l'on en croit la forme que les Égyptiens ont donnée à cette idée, est surtout un rite d'initiation d'après le modèle de l'initiation sacerdotale. (...) Le rite purificateur/qualificateur comprend la récitation et l'action. La récitation, c'est la déclaration d'innocence ou de la Maat codifiée ; l'action consiste dans l'acte de la 'psychostasie', ou mieux de la 'pesée du coeur'."
We see the deceased brought (sometimes by Maat herself) in the "Hall of Maat", the "Hall of the Double Truth" or the "Hall of Judgment". His heart (i.e. the sum total of all conscious processes) was placed on one scale and was balanced by "truth" herself -the Feather of Maat- on the other scale. Which truth ? Maat herself and the negative affirmations or the declaration of innocence made by the deceased. In it, he confirmed before the 42 gods not to have offended Maat in various (essential) ways (cf. the Book of the Dead, chapter 125) but in this way also purged his possible sin. Anubis (god of embalming and guide of the dead) weighed the heart, and Thoth (god of writing, scribes, magic and wisdom) recorded. Only perfect equilibrium was acceptable. For only in that case had the person not added weight to his own heart by acting against Maatwithout compensating for the wrongdoing in some way. In that case, the heart was devoured by a female demon called "Ammut", the Devouress of the Dead. This was the second, final death. But if the heart weighed the same as the Feather of Truth, the deceased was justified (venerated) and could meet Osiris to be deified ...
Maat as the Eye of Horus
the left & the right eye of Horus
In the Pyramid Texts we read :
the Wedjat-eye or uninjured Eye of Ra or right Eye of Horus
"Although Maat may have been driven out, she could return thanks to the assiduous work of the ruler or the individual. In that sense maat resembled the eye of Horus, wounded time and time again and subsequentely healed. Both symbolized a constantly endangered order that must repeatedly be established anew. The presentation of the eye of Horus, or udjet eye, by the pharaoh or priest had the same basic significance as the presentation of Maat. The gesture gave visible proof that all disruptions and threats to order had been removed, and that justice and harmony ruled once more. On two statues we find the symbols explictly joined in the inscription : 'My arms carry the udjet eye, I present maat.' The sacred eye is often shown in the hands of a baboon - an allusion to Thoth, who healed the eye ..."
With the Eye of Horus, we touch upon the core of the dramatical activities unfolding between the gods & goddesses, as these are determined by the presence of Seth, the personalized focus of the active chaos within creation : divine, natural as well as moral (deicide, calamity & moral evil, i.e. "isefet"). The scarcely mentioned murder of Osiris by Seth, was the introduction of divine moral evil in the holy sanctuary of the pantheon itself : chaos initiated as an intrinsic, irreducible and active part of the system of nature (contrary to Nun, who remains passive and undifferentiated, Seth has a form of expression of his own) ... The result was devastating, for the old order (represented by Osiris) was over (he was slain). With the "mourning of Isis" came the necessary purgation which enabled Isis to trick Re into giving up his secret name. Together with Thoth she was able to resurrect Osiris in a new, immortal body in the netherworld, were he reigned as supreme king and judge. Together, Isis and Osiris conceived a son Horus, who avenged his father by combatting Seth, and lost his left eye. He was justified (not by winning the battle) but by the concert of the divine tribunal and so became the Lord of the Two Lands. Seth was not destroyed, but had to retreat in the dry deserts, with its storms and weird animals. As compensation for abandoning the throne, Seth was given two goddesses as wives and he was also allowed to live in the sky with Re. Every night, his magical strength was needed when Re, at the end of the nightly caverns (reviving Osiris at the midpoint of the night), was attacked by Apep, the great chaos serpent. Hence, Seth was fully integrated although he remained the arch-fiend.
Maat as Logos
"sbAiit" : written teachings
The sign of the Star (N14) after "sb" is the triliteral "sbA", the word for "star" ("seba"). This hieroglyph, which covered the ceilings of the tomb of Pharaoh Unis and his successors, has "quintessential" associations (it represents a pentagram) : the quaternio of the elemental division is transcended by a "fifth element" embracing simultaneously the best of the quaternio united. This was associated with the "imperishable" circumpolar Northern stars, which did not rise or set, the light of which was deemed, in the Old Kingdom, to be the final, celestial & spiritual abode of Pharaoh. With different determinatives, the root "sbA" means "door", "teach" or "teaching". As it appears here ("sbAiit"), "written teachings" is the usual translation.
Maat as Sophia
"No one is born wise."
In the Old Kingdom, wisdom-teachings were primarily aristocratic, but non-royal. They became "middle class" in the New Kingdom, when a new "ideal man" was proposed, one entirely modest, with no material interests. The Old Kingdom instructions have the ambiance of the way of life of the Old Kingdom. They reflect a state which is unified, serene, orderly & optimistic. The state (Pharaoh & the temple services) was in harmony with itself. The instructions embody the pragmatical wisdom of the upper-class Egyptian, and promote the code of the Old Kingdom nobleman, belonging to the wealthy class, initiated in the temple service, able to read & write and part of the administration of Pharoah, like local governors, high priests, members of court or Pharaoh's family. The Maxims tell us a great deal about this.
Papyrus of Ani, Plate 3 - XXVIIIth Dynasty
In this famous scene from the Papyrus of Ani, Ani and his wife enter the Hall of the Double Law or Double Truth (divine versus human - good versus evil - eternal life versus second death, etc.) to have Ani's heart, emblematic of conscience, weighed against the Feather of Maat, emblematic of truth & justice.
On the right of the balance, the left arm of Anubis is above Maat's Feather (his tumb pointing to the words "the heart of Osiris has been weighed") while his right hand touches the plumb bob or plummet of the balance (at the end of the plumb-line). On the centre of the beam of the balance sits a dog-headed ape (Baboon), facing Thoth the recorder (who stands at Anubis' right side with the Monster of the Netherworld behind him). Beneath the right beam we find these words (spoken by Anubis, watching the pumb-line) :
Said he that is in the tomb :
I conjecture that this exhortation summarizes the practice of wisdom found in Ancient Egypt, as well as their philosophy of well-being and art of living happily & light-heartedly (for the outcome of the weighing is determined by the condition of the heart alone). In this short sentence, the "practical method" of the Ancient Egyptians springs to the fore : concentration, observation, quantification (analysis, spatiotemporal flow, measurements) & recording (fixating) with the sole purpose of rebalancing, reequilibrating & correcting concrete states of affairs, using the plumb-line of the various equilibria in which these actual aggregates of events are dynamically -scale-wise- involved, causing Maat to be done for them and their environments and the proper Ka, at peace with itself, to flow between all vital parts of creation. The "logic" behind this operation involves four rules :
Above, in another register, are twelve gods, upon thrones before a table of offerings of fruit, flowers, etc. Their names : Harmachis ("the great one within his boat"), Atum, Shu, Tefnut ("lady of the sky"), Geb, Nut, Isis, Nephthys, Horus ("the great god"), Hathor ("lady of Amenta"), Hu and Sia. In a way, they represent the heavenly bliss awaiting the justified. Whether this final goal will be attained, will be decided in this Hall of Truth.
Papyrus BM 9901, Papyrus BM 10.472, Papyrus of Qenna , Wooden Ushabti Box
The central emblem is Maat's Feather. It represents the standard of truth & justice immanent in creation, but also the truth of the declaration of innocence made by the deceased (Plate 31) before the tribunal of assessors (the hieroglyph for "not" is in red), and thus by virtue of the rule of "reversal", a "purging" of possible past crimes. Three offences are repeated in the Judgment Scene :
Wat does the text give us ? It starts with Ani invoking his own conscience but also his mother, from whom he received his heart (cf. the major role of woman in nurture, but also as representing the sacred "matrix" of life). We also learn that his heart was linked with the Ka "within the body", the vital power that made and sustained one's stride. Next, Anubis weighs Ani's heart against the divine standard (the Feather) and Thoth confirms that no sin is found and that the equilibrium of the Great Balance is established. Finally, the Ogdoad of Hermopolis (headed by Thoth), confirms the sentence spoken and recorded by Thoth and it is they -the chaos-gods- who lift the curse of the Monster or Ani's "second death". Instead of being annihilated, Ani will be allowed to enter the kingdom of Osiris because he is "maa-cheru" ("mAa - xrw"), i.e. vindicated, justified, triumphant !
In the Maxims, there are no grammatical criteria to establish whether the author uses the verb "sedjem" ("sDm") as "to hear" or as "to listen". Although is some cases, variations occur which could indicate "listen", in other cases "sDm" appears when the context suggest "listening". Hence, only the context may reveal the distinction.