“Writing sDr in the Coffin Texts”, Seminar “Substitution. Narrowing or broadening of knowledge?” (Sonderforschungsbereich 980 “Episteme in Bewegung”, Freie Universität Berlin, 24-25 May 2019)

Adriaan de Buck transcribes a particular spelling of the verb sDr ‘lay down, sleep, spend the night’ from hieratic/cursive hieroglyphs into his handwritten “standard” hieroglyphs for arm (D40 and variants) over sky (N1); see for instance CT II 32 i, passim. Although the problem of the hieratic ideograms for sDr has been recognized in previous literature (such as Goedicke 1988, 4a; Meeks 2015, 41; Tallet 2017, 30-31), this particular spelling in the Coffin Texts has just been liminarly noticed (Westendorf 1991, 428-429), then is discussed in this paper. Three possible explanations are considered: one, a technical device for making the difference between possible ideograms (A55, A104, A104B, Q18, and their variants); two, a perceptual error or reinterpretation between some of the previous and the sequence [arm:sky]; three, an intended “monogram” or “emblem” alluding to the essential link between father and son in the funerary/mortuary realm through the equation [son = father’s support].


Goedicke, H. 1988. Old Hieratic Palaeography. Baltimore: HALGO.

Meeks, D. 2015. Linguistique et égyptologie: entre théorisation à priori et contribution à l’étude de de la culture égyptienne. Chronique d’Égypte 90: 41.

Tallet, P. 2017. Les papyrus de la mer Rouge I: Le “journal de Merer” (Papyrus Jarf A et B) (Mémoires de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 136). Cairo: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 30-31.

Westendorf, W. 1991. Die ‛Löwenmöbelfolge’ in die Himmels-hieroglyphe. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Abteilung Kairo 47: 425-434.

Substitution Programm

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