Egyptian Society during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty

Egypt in the late seventh and early sixth centuries BC is often considered the last high point of pharaonic civilization.1 Called the Saite (pronounced say-ite) renaissance because the country’s capital was at Sais in the Delta, the period of the Egyptian Twenty-sixth Dynasty is noted for its magnificent artwork and its attempt to capture the grandeur of the Egyptian Old and Middle Kingdoms.2 The Saite period is most noted for its archaizing and canonizing tendencies. The artwork and inscriptions were archaizing because the scribes of that period tried to copy materials from more than a thousand years before, though in the artwork, the canon of proportions of the human figure was altered because the earlier canons had been lost,3 and some of the vernacular language inevitably appears in the inscriptions.4 Canonization appears when practices that earlier had been variable now became standardized. For example, before the Saite period, it seems not to have mattered which organ went in which canopic jar,5 and the Book of the Dead had little regularity in either the selection of the chapters or their ordering,6 but beginning in the Saite period, both were standardized. Though the Book of Mormon gives evidence of Israelite cultural contact with Egypt (1 Nephi 1:2; Mosiah 1:2–4; Mormon 9:32–33), it provides no evidence whether Lehi or any of his family members had ever actually been to Egypt. What follows is a brief overview of Saite history and society that allows the reader to draw parallels with scriptures and determine their relevance.7

The Saite period was generally one of peace and prosperity for Egypt.9 After the Assyrian conquest of Egypt drove out the Twenty-fifth Dynasty invaders from Nubia, Psammetichus I (664–610 BC) was appointed by Assurbanipal to govern Egypt. When his Assyrian master left, however, Psammetichus (also known as Psamtik) allied himself with the Lydian king, Gyges, and revolted from the Assyrians. Psammetichus instituted a number of reforms, both economic and political, and lived to help bring about the downfall of the Assyrians. Under Psammetichus’s son, Necho II (610–595 BC), Egypt’s major foreign opponent was Babylon, and when Josiah, king of Judah, tried to interfere with Egyptian strategy, he was then an enemy as well. After killing Josiah in battle and removing Jehoahaz (who had been chosen by the inhabitants of Judah and who had reigned only three months), Necho II saw to it that the succeeding king of Judah, Eliakim (who was renamed Jehoiakim), was allied with him (2 Kings 23:29–35). Necho II’s son, Psammetichus II (595–589 BC), was most noted for his invasion of Nubia in his third regnal year (593 BC) with the aid of Greek mercenaries who left the first dated Greek graffito in Egypt on the leg of a statue of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.10 Apries (589–570 BC) also opposed the Chaldeans from Babylon and allied himself with Zedekiah of Judah. Unable to control his army, Apries lost his life when his mercenary troops turned on him and elected a successor, Amasis (570–526 BC), probably the same capable Egyptian general who had defeated the Nubians twenty-three years earlier and burned their king.11 Amasis was able to repel the Babylonians and secure the Egyptian borders. His short-lived successor, Psammetichus III, died trying to hold off the Persian invasion under Cambyses in 525 BC.12

From several ancient sources, it is clear that the basis of Egyptian society was the family, and even Egyptian society on a larger scale imitated the institutions of the home.13 The home began with a marriage between husband and wife that involved an oath14 made in the presence of a religious official.15 The marriage was seen as a partnership.16 Ninety-one percent of the Egyptians lived in families of some sort,17 and of those who lived alone, most were older and “were probably most often the sole survivors of their families, living alone because they had been unable to marry or their marriages had ended.”18 This was true of both urban and rural areas, with the major difference being that rural families were more likely to contain extended families living together.19 The average household contained about five people.20

At the age of twelve, women began to marry.21 Men came of age when they turned fourteen years old.22 Both men and women were liable for taxes, though the tax rates for women were less than those for men.23 By age twenty, sixty percent of women were married, and virtually all would have been married by the age of thirty.24 Sixty percent of adult women from ages fifteen to fifty were married at any given time.25 Men seemed to marry a little later, starting in the late teens,26 following the proverb: “Take a wife when you are twenty years old so you can have children while you are still young.”27 About half the men were married by the age of twenty-five, and virtually all would have been married by their early fifties.28 On the average, husbands were seven and a half years older than their wives.29 “Long-term stable marriages are ubiquitous,”30 but broken homes, usually caused from divorce or death of a spouse, were also known.31 In case of divorce, the children usually remained with the father.32 The death of a spouse was a very real possibility since “if a man aged 25 married a woman aged 15, . . . [there was] better than one chance in four that one or both spouses [would] die within ten years.”33 Widowers remarried more often than widows, and divorced men remarried more often than divorced women;34 all told, men were twice as likely as women to remarry after divorce or the death of a spouse.35 An Egyptian proverb reveals a cultural basis to this phenomenon: “Do not marry a woman whose husband is alive, lest you make an enemy for yourself.”36 Marriage within the same village was encouraged: “Do not let your son take for himself a wife of another village, lest he be taken from you.”37 Illegitimacy was relatively low (about three to five percent of births),38 but mortality rates for children were high. One-third of all females born would not live through their first year; over half would not reach the age of ten, and only a third would reach the ripe old age of thirty.39 Slightly under one-third of all males born would die in the first year, about half would attain their coming of age at fourteen, and less than one-third would reach the age of forty.40 The mortality rate is also reflected in such popular names as dd-pth-iw=f-nh (pronounced by the Greeks Teephthaphonuchos) “Ptah said ‘He will live,'”41 and dd-bst.t-iw=s-nh “Bastet said ‘She will live.'”42 Burials of the rich were characteristically in rock-hewn chapels, above-ground tomb chapels, or deep-shaft tombs with oversized anthropoid coffins,43 and burials of the poor were simply in the ground, sometimes with a clay coffin and sometimes with nothing.44

We also know something about the governmental hierarchy at this time. The pharaoh ruled all of Egypt from Sais, but the main government functioned from Memphis.45 Under the pharaoh were the vizier, and then the harbor master, followed by the chief of the Ma, a Lybian title.46 Also under the vizier were the generals who commanded the army and navy, which also doubled as police forces.47 Native Egyptians in previous centuries having been frozen out of the possibility of rising through the ranks of the army,48 the Egyptian army was generally mercenary, mostly Greek.49 The Egyptians also had a navy.50

The priestly hierarchy was dependent on the particular temple with which it was associated. The three major grades of priests were (1) the it-ntr, or god’s father; (2) the hm-ntr, or prophet; and (3) the w’b, or priest.51 The lower ranks of priests seem to have been lay workers in the temple, who were organized into four groups, called phyles. Each phyle served one month and then took three months off, during which time the priests had another job. To advance in the priestly ranks, one had to have the approval of the king or his representative,52 as well as an initiation.53 Associations of priests had an overseer (mr-sn, lesonis) who “functioned as a temple president”54 and who worked through an agent (rd).55

Education was a family affair. Knowledge of reading and writing was passed down from father to son.56 Education in writing was done by copying models,57 often of didactic content.58 Additional education was provided by senior officials mentoring junior ones (usually immediate family members)59 through correspondence and memoranda.60 Temple libraries loaned out books and made copies of particular rolls for the benefit of others.61

Literacy rates for ancient Egypt are normally estimated to be below one percent of the population,62 although more recent evidence indicates that over half the population may have been literate.63 Egypt also exported some scribes, since they are attested as far away as Nimrud in the Assyrian empire.64

As literate members of society,65 priests served as public notaries and experts on law as well. The legal codes were kept in temple archives.66 Priests served as judges,67 and judgment took place at the gate of the temple.68 Priests who were in the courtyard of the temple served as witnesses to documents, often including their priestly titles in their signatures.69

A variety of scripts were employed in Egypt at Lehi’s time: (1) Hieroglyphs were still employed in stone.70 (2) Hieratic was still used on papyrus71 but (3) was also used on stone, which is both harder to carve and to read.72 (4) A cursive form of hieratic called either late Theban cursive or abnormal hieratic was used in the south part of the country but was being phased out at this time,73 being replaced through “the reforms of Psammetichus”74 by (5) Demotic,75 a different variety of cursive hieratic that developed in the north at a time when the two ends of the country had been politically separate; since the Saites who reunited Egypt came from the north of the country, the business script of their area became the standard for the country. Additionally, (6) some religious manuscripts used a script called linear hieroglyphs that was midway between hieroglyphs and hieratic. (7) There is at least one example of a historical text of this time period consisting of a Semitic language being written in a Demotic script, as well as quotations from one of the psalms of the Hebrew Bible.76 Egyptian scripts are noted for various playful writings,77 as well as for plays on words.78 Sometimes even the Egyptians themselves could not read their own writing correctly.79

A typical temple library from the Saite period would likely have the following types of books in it: king-lists, annals, chronicles, prophecies, books of nomes (books describing the sacred places and deities local to a given area), medical texts, wisdom literature, hemerologies (books of lucky and unlucky days), oneiromancies (books for the interpretation of dreams), astronomy texts, lexical texts, ritual rolls (containing festival procedures and temple liturgies), hymns, lists of religious utensils, calendars, construction manuals, painting and sculpture manuals, inventories, property list instructions, oracle texts, priestly correspondence, temple day books, and account texts.80 The Saite period is not particularly noted for its literary productions, although some stories known from Ptolemaic and Roman copies are thought to have been composed in the Saite period.81

The Egyptian economy in ancient times was based primarily on the abundance of the Nile and on farming. Egypt also served as a conduit for goods from locations further south in Africa,82 to the Aegean, Greece, Phoenicia, and the Levant (see Isaiah 45:14),83 not to mention within Egypt itself.84

Although private farms probably existed, we know the most about the farms connected with temple land endowments. Kings, and for some reason especially Saite kings, donated parcels of land to temples to furnish endowments to fund the positions of priests and run the temple.85 The temple or individual priests would lease the land for a year to tenant farmers who would return between one-fourth to one-half (usually one-third) of the crop for the opportunity to work the land and feed their own families.86 The resulting economic endowments often provided an immense amount of wealth to those individuals who held the corresponding priestly offices or priesthoods.87 These priesthoods were generally passed from father to son, with attendant quarreling among the sons over the rights to inherit the priesthood and its attendant endowment.88 Priests tried to accrue several priesthoods because that increased their income.89

Information on prices during Saite times is harder to obtain. Rental agreements on land specify only the percentage of the harvest for rent and do not record the amount paid. Legal agreements only rarely give prices. We know that a marriage dowry was usually about two deben of silver and fifty khar (sacks) of emmer90 and that the penalty for defaulting on the sale of a cow was five kite (half a deben).91 Prices are available from other time periods, notably Ramesside (1295–1069 BC)92 and Ptolemaic (332–32 BC),93 but they show too much variation within individual time periods to provide much of a reliable guide to Saite times. Marketplaces are also poorly attested at this time. Although we know of marketplace activities from the Old Kingdom showing the sale of fruits and produce, no contemporary scenes are attested from the Saite period. The marketplaces themselves are largely unexcavated, either lying under the floodplain or being swallowed up by the eastward drift of the Nile river that washed away the previous settlements.94

Egyptian religion centered on the temple. The activity of the priests in the temples included both daily and periodic rituals. One of the daily rituals was the care of the cult statue.95 Offerings were prepared before dawn, and all the offerings, as well as the priests, were purified with soap, water, and incense. All the offerings were brought to the offering table. After lighting a lamp, the priest entered the temple proper which, having no windows, was dark. Then the priest entered the holy of holies,96 the seal was broken,97 and the bolt was drawn back on the door of the shrine.98 The statue was taken out,99 washed,100 censed,101 clothed,102 anointed,103 presented with the offerings,104 and returned to its shrine. Finally, the door was closed, bolted, and resealed, and the priest swept his footprints away as he left. Another of the daily rituals was the execration ritual. A wax figure of an enemy was spat upon, trampled under the left foot, pierced, bound, chopped in pieces, and cast into the fire.105

Periodic rituals included a large number of festivals106 and the consultation of oracles. For example, on the eleventh month of the year, the statue of the goddess Hathor “left her temple at Dendera and sailed upstream to meet Horus at Edfu. . . . En route, the goddess went ashore at several places, including Thebes, to visit the resident gods and goddesses. Throngs of pilgrims streamed to one of these towns or to Edfu, and official deputies were sent from Elephantine, Hierakonpolis, and Kom Mer, and perhaps other places as well.”107 This festival of Reunion (hb n shn)108 was depicted on both the temples of Edfu and Dendera.109 During such festivals—the only time the image of the god left the holy of holies and became accessible to the common folk—oracles occurred.110 Oracles were the most important source of revelatory guidance on such things as whether a child would live111 since normally seeing the god was a privilege only of the prophets and not even of the priests.

Egypt and Judah
The kingdom of Judah during the late seventh century shared much in common with her superpower neighbor to the south in culture, religion (see Jeremiah 7:17–20; 44:15–28), and foreign policy, but many of these things were not in Judah’s best interests, however much they may have been in Egypt’s. Despite warnings to the contrary, Judah allied herself with Egypt and, lacking the other country’s natural defenses and military assistance, succumbed to the Babylonian onslaught. The natural defense afforded by the extensive high deserts to either side of the Nile was just one of the many differences between Judah and Egypt. Other differences include Egypt’s use of a continuous water source from the Nile and its annual rejuvenating inundation as opposed to Judah’s lack of rainfall (less than 100 millimeters annually) that made farming a marginal endeavor relying on the blessing of sufficient rain in order to produce a crop to sustain the populace. Although many of the demographic features of Saite Egyptian society might be shared with preexilic Judahite society, care should be exercised in concluding that anything that was true of Saite Egypt was necessarily true of Judah.

Saite period Egyptian society bears some similarities to earlier and later periods of Egyptian history. Its distinguishing characteristics include being the highpoint of archaism, systemization, and canonization and the use of a greater number of native scripts. In many ways, Egypt continued “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,” much as it always had, “as in the days of Noe” (Matthew 24:37–38). At the beginning of the Saite period in 664, the Egyptians and the Jews were allies with a similar point of view; at the end of the Saite period, however, the opposite was the case. In between these dates, Lehi and his party departed Jerusalem, avoiding Egypt, but carrying with them certain memories and cultural influences common to both spheres.


  1. This is perhaps unfair to the Greco-Roman period but is indicative of the bias of most Egyptologists; see Robert K. Ritner, “Implicit Models of Cross-Cultural Interaction: A Question of Noses, Soap, and Prejudice,” in Life in a Multi-Cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond, ed. Janet H. Johnson (Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1992), 284–86.
  2. Jaromir Malek, Egyptian Art (London: Phaidon, 1999), 355, 363–74; Gay Robins, The Art of Ancient Egypt (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 210–29; W. Stevenson Smith and William Kelly Simpson, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, 3rd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 232, 239 (2nd ed., 395, 408).
  3. Gay Robins, Proportion and Style in Ancient Egyptian Art (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994), 160–81.
  4. See Peter Der Manuelian, Living in the Past: Studies in Archaism of the Egyptian Twenty-sixth Dynasty (London: Kegan Paul International, 1994).
  5. See Alan H. Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947), 2:245*–49*.
  6. For which, see Günther Lapp, The Papyrus of Nu (London: British Museum, 1997), 36–49; Malcolm Mosher, “Theban and Memphite Book of the Dead Traditions in the Late Period,” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 29 (1992): 143–72.
  7. I have tried, insofar as possible, to cite sources from the Saite period. Sources from other periods have been used if there has been no compelling reason not to.
  8. Summaries of historical information are readily available in, for example, Alan B. Lloyd, “The Late Period (664–332 BC),” in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, ed. Ian Shaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 369–83; Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, trans. Ian Shaw (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 354–66.
  9. For specific dates, events, and people of this period, see Robert F. Smith, “Book of Mormon Event Structure: The Ancient Near East,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/2 (1996): 110–28.
  10. The inscription reads: “When king Psammetichus came to Elephantine, this was written by those who went on by boat with Psammetichus, son of Theocles; they came beyond Kerkis, as far as the river allowed; Potasimto commanded the foreigners and Amasis, the Egyptians. Archon, son of Amoibichos and Pelekos, son of Eudamos wrote this.” Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (Amsterdam: Gieben, 1923–), 16:863; P. W. Pestman, The New Papyrological Primer, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 7. For Egyptian records of the expedition, see Der Manuelian, Living in the Past, 333–71. The expedition brought back 4,200 prisoners, and the Nubian king was burned. Another view of this campaign appears in Herodotus, Histories 2.30.
  11. See the sources in the previous note.
  12. For which, see Eugene Cruz-Uribe, “The Invasion of Egypt by Cambyses,” Transeuphratène 25 (2003): 9–60.
  13. Eugene Cruz-Uribe, “A Model for the Political Structure of Ancient Egypt,” in For His Ka: Essays Offered in Memory of Klaus Baer, ed. David P. Silverman (Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1994), 45–53; Dorothy J. Crawford, “The Good Official of Ptolemaic Egypt,” in Das ptolemäische Ägypten: Akten des internationalen Symposiums 27–29. September 1976 in Berlin (Mainz am Rhein: von Zabern, 1978), 200.
  14. John Gee, “Notes on Egyptian Marriage: P. BM 10416 Reconsidered,” Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar 15 (2001): 19–22, 25.
  15. All the marriage documents that we have were written by scribes, who filled a religious office in Egypt; Sven P. Vleeming, “Some Notes on Demotic Scribal Training in the Ptolemaic Period,” in Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, ed. Adam Bülow-Jacobsen (Copenhagen: Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 1994), 185; Erich Lüddeckens, Ägyptische Eheverträge (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1960), 248. For the role of the scribe in the marriage documents, see ibid., 247–53.
  16. Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Saite and Persian Demotic Cattle Documents: A Study in Legal Forms and Principles in Ancient Egypt (Chico, Calif.: Scholars, 1985), 92.
  17. From Roger S. Bagnall and Bruce W. Frier, The Demography of Roman Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 60, table 3.1, and 67, table 3.2. While information in this source is taken from censuses of Roman Egypt, it is likely indicative of Saite Egypt as well, with one possible exception. In the Roman period, as single men aged twenty to twenty-four outnumbered single women in the age range of fifteen to nineteen by about forty percent, there was “an appreciable ‘surplusage’ of younger males unable to marry and begin a family of their own.” Bagnall and Frier, Demography of Roman Egypt, 121. The change in the ratio of males to females is likely to have taken place in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods with the importing of large numbers of soldiers (males) serving in the army who were brought into Egypt—there they settled without bringing in any significant number of additional females.
  18. Bagnall and Frier, Demography of Roman Egypt, 60.
  19. Ibid., 67.
  20. Ibid., 67–68. This, like many of the other statistics from the Roman period, may not be entirely accurate for the Saite period.
  21. Ibid., 112. Suggestions that the early age for Egyptian women marrying was based on Aristotle’s political theories seem unlikely; Sarah B. Pomeroy, “Family History in Ptolemaic Egypt,” in Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, 595, but see 597.
  22. Raphael Taubenschlag, The Law of Greco-Roman Egypt in the Light of the Papyri 332 BC–640 AD, 2nd ed. (Warsaw: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1955), 167, 178; Pestman, New Papyrological Primer, 151.
  23. Pomeroy, “Family History in Ptolemaic Egypt,” 594.
  24. Bagnall and Frier, Demography of Roman Egypt, 113.
  25. Ibid., 115.
  26. Ibid., 116.
  27. P. Onch. 11/7, in S. R. K. Glanville, Catalogue of the Demotic Papyri in the British Museum, Volume II, The Instructions of Onchsheshonqy (London: British Museum, 1955), pl. 11.
  28. Bagnall and Frier, Demography of Roman Egypt, 116.
  29. Ibid., 118–19.
  30. Ibid., 122.
  31. Ibid., 123–24; Wilhelm Spiegelberg, Demotische Papyri (Heidelberg: Winter, 1923), 1–19; P. W. Pestman, Marriage and Matrimonial Property in Ancient Egypt (Leiden: Brill, 1961), 71–75.
  32. Bagnall and Frier, Demography of Roman Egypt, 124–25.
  33. Ibid., 123.
  34. Ibid., 126–27.
  35. Ibid., 126.
  36. P. Onch. 8/12, in Glanville, Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, pl. 8.
  37. P. Onch. 15/15, in Glanville, Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, pl. 15.
  38. Bagnall and Frier, Demography of Roman Egypt, 155.
  39. Ibid., 77.
  40. Ibid., 100.
  41. Erich Lüddeckens, Heinz-Josef Thissen, W. Brunsch, Günter Vittmann, Karl-Th. Zauzich, Demotisches Namenbuch (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1980–2000), 17:1365; Jan Quaegebeur, “Considérations sur le nom propre égyptien Teëphthaphônukhos,” Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica 4 (1973): 85–100. For the problems with the pronunciation, see Jan Quaegebeur, “The Study of Egyptian Proper Names in Greek Transcription,” Onoma 18 (1974): 403–20.
  42. Lüddeckens et al., Demotisches Namenbuch, 17:1364. Other similar names occurring at the time are dd-imn-iw=f-nh “Amun said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1362), dd-in-hr-iw=f-nh “Onuris said ‘He will live'” (ibid.), dd-is.t-iw=f-nh “Isis said ‘He will live'” (ibid.), dd-wp-w.wt-iw=f-nh “Wepwawet said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1363), dd-wsir-iw=f-nh “Osiris said ‘He will live'” (ibid.), dd-bst.t-iw=f-nh “Bastet said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1364), dd-mw.t-iw=f-nh “Mut said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1365), dd-mnt-iw=f-nh (Gr. Kamentebonch) “Montu said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1366), dd-hr-iw=f-nh “Horus said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1370), dd-hr-bn-iw=f-th.t=f “Horus said, ‘He will not be harmed'” (ibid.), dd-hnsw-iw=f-nh (Gr. Chensephonuchos) “Khonsu said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1374–75), dd-t-wry-iw=s-nh “Thoeris said ‘She will live'” (ibid., 1375), and dd-dhwty-iw=f-nh “Thoth said ‘He will live'” (ibid., 1376).
  43. A. Jeffrey Spencer, Death in Ancient Egypt (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982), 106–8, 185–92, 230–31, 240–41.
  44. Gustave Jéquier, Deux pyramides du moyen empire (Cairo: IFAO, 1933), 49; A. Niwinski, “Sarg NR-SpZt,” in Lexikon der Ägyptologie, ed. Wolfgang Helck and Eberhard Otto (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1975–90), 5:456; Bezalel Porten and John Gee, “Aramaic Funerary Practices in Egypt,” in The World of the Aramaeans II, ed. P. M. Michèle Daviau, John W. Wevers, and Michael Weigl (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), 270–71.
  45. Alan B. Lloyd, “The Late Period, 664–323 BC,” in Ancient Egypt: A Social History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 332.
  46. Robert K. Ritner, “The End of the Libyan Anarchy in Egypt: P. Rylands IX. cols. 11–12,” Enchoria 17 (1990): 105–8.
  47. Lloyd, “Late Period, 664–323 BC,” 333.
  48. Lloyd, “Late Period, 664–323 BC,” 309, notes that “most, if not all, of the warrior class originated from Libyan mercenaries who had settled in Egypt during the New Kingdom or had subsequently infiltrated the country where they were probably permitted to take up residence on condition that they provided military service to the Crown when called upon to do so.” See also Lloyd, “Late Period (664–332 BC),” 372.
  49. Lloyd, “Late Period (664–332 BC),” 372–73; Lloyd, “Late Period, 664–323 BC,” 284; Erik Hornung, History of Ancient Egypt (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999), 139; Grimal, History of Ancient Egypt, 354–55.
  50. See John C. Darnell, “The Kbn.wt Vessels of the Late Period,” in Life in a Multi-Cultural Society, 67–89; Grimal, History of Ancient Egypt, 361–63.
  51. Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica, 1:30*–31*, 47*–55*; Lloyd, “Late Period, 664–323 BC,” 306–7.
  52. P. Berlin 13540, in George R. Hughes, “The So-called Pherendates Correspondence,” in Grammatika Demotika (Würzburg: Zauzich, 1984), 78; Lloyd, “Late Period, 664–323 BC,” 303.
  53. See Jean-Marie Kruchten, Les annales des prêtres de Karnak (XXI–XXIIIèmes dynasties) et autres textes contemporains relatifs a l’initiation des prêtres d’Amon (Louvain: Departement Oriëntalistiek, 1989).
  54. Lloyd, “Late Period, 664–323 BC,” 306.
  55. See Heinz-Josef Thissen, Die demotischen Graffiti von Medinet Habu: Zeugnisse zu Tempel und Kult im ptolemäischen Ägypten (Sommerhausen: Zauzich, 1989), 43–44; Jean-Marie Kruchten, Le grand texte oraculaire de Djéhoutymose (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, 1986), 152–54.
  56. Vleeming, “Demotic Scribal Training,” 186. For the relevance of Vleeming’s article to the Saite period, see ibid., 185: “The premise from which I start is that the scribal tradition among demotic notary scribes was a continuous one from the Saite into the Roman period.”
  57. Georges Posener, “Quatre tablettes scolaires de basse époque (Aménémopé et Hardjédef),” Revue d’Égyptologie 18 (1966): 45–65; Georges Posener, “Une nouvelle tablette d’Aménémopé,” Revue d’Egyptologie 25 (1973): 251–52; Crawford, “Good Official of Ptolemaic Egypt,” 197. For later examples, see Edda Bresciani, Sergio Pernigotti, and Maria C. Betrò, Ostraka demotici da Narmuti I (Pisa, Italy: Giardini Editori e Stampatori, 1983).
  58. Posener, “Quatre tablettes scolaires de basse époque,” 45–65; Posener, “Une nouvelle tablette d’Aménémopé,” 251–52; Crawford, “Good Official of Ptolemaic Egypt,” 197.
  59. Vleeming, “Demotic Scribal Training,” 186.
  60. Crawford, “Good Official of Ptolemaic Egypt,” 196–97.
  61. Karl-Th. Zauzich, “P. Carlsberg 21 und 22: Zwei Briefe von Bücherfreunden,” in A Miscellany of Demotic Texts and Studies, The Carlsberg Papyri 3, ed. Paul J. Frandsen and Kim Ryholt (Copenhagen: Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 2000), 53–57.
  62. John Baines and C. J. Eyre, “Four Notes on Literacy,” Göttinger Miszellen 61 (1983): 65–96; John Baines, “Literacy and Ancient Egyptian Society,” Man 18 (1983): 572–99.
  63. H. S. Smith, “The Saqqara Papyri: Oracle Questions, Pleas and Letters,” in Acts of the Seventh International Conference of Demotic Studies (Copenhagen: Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 2002), 373–75.
  64. ND 10048, line 19, in J. V. Kinnier Wilson, The Nimrud Wine Lists (London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 1972), pl. 20.
  65. Vleeming, “Demotic Scribal Training,” 186; Smith, “Saqqara Papyri,” 374.
  66. Bernadette Menu, “Les juges égyptiens sous les dernières dynasties indigènes,” in Acta Demotica =Egitto e Vicino Oriente 17 (1994): 218–19; Vleeming, “Demotic Scribal Training,” 185–86.
  67. Menu, “Les juges égyptiens sous les dernières dynasties indigènes,” 218–19.
  68. Jan Quaegebeur, “La justice à la porte des temples et le toponyme Premit,” in Individu, société et spiritualité dans l’Égypte pharaonique et copte. Mélanges égyptologiques offerts au Professeur Aristide Théodoridès, ed. Christian Cannuyer and Jean-Marie Kruchten (Brussels: Association Montoise d’Égyptologie, 1993), 201–20; Menu, “Les juges égyptiens sous les dernières dynasties indigènes,” 219–20.
  69. Vleeming, “Demotic Scribal Training,” 185–86.
  70. Mark Depauw, A Companion to Demotic Studies (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, 1997), 28–31.
  71. Ursula Verhoeven, Untersuchungen zur Späthieratischen Buchschrift (Louvain: Peeters, 2001), 16–21; Depauw, Companion to Demotic Studies, 31–32.
  72. John Gee, “Two Notes on Egyptian Script,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 164–65, 174–76.
  73. Michel Malinine, Choix des textes juridiques en hiératique anormal et en démotique (vol. 1: Paris: Champion, 1953; vol. 2: Cairo, IFAO, 1983), 1:iv–xvi; Gee, “Two Notes on Egyptian Script,” 162–64, 166–74. To the literature cited there, add Günter Vittmann, “Ein kursivhieratisches Wörterbuch,” in Aspects of Demotic Lexicography, ed. Sven P. Vleeming (Louvain: Peeters, 1987), 149–51; Depauw, Companion to Demotic Studies, 22.
  74. Ritner, “End of the Libyan Anarchy in Egypt,” 102.
  75. For an overview, see Depauw, Companion to Demotic Studies, 22–23.
  76. For bibliography, see John Gee, “La Trahison des Clercs: On the Language and Translation of the Book of Mormon,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/1 (1994): 96–97 n. 147, to which now add Depauw, Companion to Demotic Studies, 39–41, and for historical aspects, Grant Frame, Babylonia 689–627 BC: A Political History (Leiden: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 1992), 19–20, 96 n. 157, 109, 131 n. 1, 137, 140, 154–55, 239 n. 150.
  77. Michel Malinine, “Jeux d’écriture en démotique,” Revue d’Égyptologie 19 (1967): 163–66; P. W. Pestman, “Jeux de déterminatifs en démotique,” Revue d’Égyptologie 25 (1973): 21–34.
  78. Janet H. Johnson and Robert K. Ritner, “Multiple Meaning and Ambiguity in the ‘Demotic Chronicle,'” in Studies in Egyptology Presented to Miriam Lichtheim, ed. Sarah Israelit-Groll (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1990), 1:494–506.
  79. P. W. Pestman, “A Comforting Thought for Demotists? Errors of Scribes in the ‘Archive of the Theban Choachytes,'” in Studie in onore di Edda Bresciani, ed. S. F. Bondi, S. Pernigotti, F. Serra, and A. Vivian (Pisa: Giardini Editori e Stampatori, 1985), 413–22.
  80. The list is slightly modified from Donald B. Redford, Pharaonic King-Lists, Annals and Day-Books: A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History (Mississauga, Canada: Benben, 1986), 215–23.
  81. Georges Posener, Le Papyrus Vandier (Cairo: IFAO, 1985); Ariel Shisha-Halevy, “Papyrus Vandier Recto: An Early Demotic Literary Text?” Journal of the American Oriental Society 109/3 (1989): 421–22; Kim Ryholt, The Story of Petese Son of Petetum and Seventy Other Good and Bad Stories (Copenhagen: Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 1999), 88–89; Kim Ryholt, “A New Version of the Introduction to the Teachings of ‘Onch-Sheshonqy (P. Carlsber 304 + PSI inv. D 5 + P. CtYBR 4512 + P. Berlin P 30489),” in A Miscellany of Demotic Texts, 119–20.
  82. Indicative (although it applies to the Ptolemaic period) is François Daumas, “Les textes géographiques du trésor D’ du temple de Dendara,” in State and Temple Economy in the Ancient Near East (Louvain: Departement Oriëntalistiek, 1979), 2:689–705.
  83. Lloyd, “Late Period (664–332 BC),” 374–76; Grimal, History of Ancient Egypt, 355.
  84. George R. Hughes, “Are There Two Demotic Writings of sw?” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Abteilung Kairo 14 (1956): 80–88.
  85. The basic work is Dimitri Meeks, “Les donations aux temples dans l’Égypte du Ier millénaire avant J.-C.,” in State and Temple Economy in the Ancient Near East, 2:605–87. Of the actual donation stele, by my count thirty-five percent come from the Saite period.
  86. George R. Hughes, Saite Demotic Land Leases (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952), 3–5, 74–75; for the rates, see the individual documents published in ibid., 9–10, 18, 28–29, 51–52, 68–69.
  87. Such financial excesses may stand in part behind the Book of Mormon condemnation of “priestcraft.” In addition, the association of the term priesthood with the idea of “priestly office” may account for the Book of Mormon usage that similarly connects the term priesthood with the office of the high priest. Thus, the text speaks of the fact that “Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy” (Alma 4:20), while at the same time explaining: “Now Alma did not grant unto [Nephihah] the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah” (Alma 4:17–18). Thus the phrase the office of . . . high priest over the church is equivalent here to the phrase high priesthood of the holy order of God.
  88. To list the most famous examples: P. Rylands IX; see F. Ll. Griffith, Catalogue of the Demotic Papyri in the John Rylands Library Manchester (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1909), 1:pl. XXIII–XLVII; 2:pls. 21–42; 3:60–112; Günter Vittmann, Der demotische Papyrus Rylands 9, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998). For the Battle over the Prebend of Amon, see Wilhelm Spiegelberg, Der Sagenkreis des Königs Petubastis (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1910); Bruno H. Stricker, “De strijd om de praebende van Amon,” Oudheidkundige mededeelingen uit het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden te Leiden 29 (1948): 71–83; Friedhelm Hoffmann, “Die Länge des P. Spiegelberg,” in Acta Demotica =Egitto e Vicino Oriente 17 (1994): 145–55; Friedhelm Hoffmann, “Der Anfang des Papyrus Spiegel berg—Ein Versuch zur Wiederherstellung,” in Hundred-Gated Thebes, ed. Sven P. Vleeming (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 43–60; Depauw, Companion to Demotic Studies, 88.
  89. Janet H. Johnson, “The Role of the Egyptian Priesthood in Ptolemaic Egypt,” in Egyptological Studies in Honor of Richard A. Parker, ed. Leonard H. Lesko (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1986), 78–79.
  90. Lüddeckens, Ägyptische Eheverträge, 12–17.
  91. Cruz-Uribe, Saite and Persian Demotic Cattle Documents, 17–18, 19–20, 26–27, 31; for half price for half a cow, see ibid., 15.
  92. Jac J. Janssen, Commodity Prices from the Ramesside Period (Leiden: Brill, 1975).
  93. Perhaps the best source is Lüddeckens, Ägyptische Eheverträge, 288–304.
  94. Karl W. Butzer, Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt: A Study in Cultural Ecology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 34–36 and chart on p. 15.
  95. This section relies extensively on six documents: (1) The ritual for the daily cult of Amon (Third Intermediate Period), P. Berlin 3055, in Adolf Erman, Hieratische Papyrus aus den Königlichen Museen zu Berlin (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1901), 1:Taf. I–XXXVII; (2) the ritual for the daily cult of Mut (Third Intermediate Period), P. Berlin 3014+3053, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. 38–66; (3) the daily cult ritual of the temple of Horus at Edfu (Ptolemaic Period), in Maurice Alliot, Le culte d’Horus à Edfou au temps des Ptolémées, 2 vols. (Cairo: IFAO, 1949–54); (4) P. Bremner Rhind (Ptolemaic Period), in Raymond O. Faulkner, The Papyrus Bremner-Rhind (British Museum No. 10188) (Brussels: Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, 1933); (5–6) the Abydos execration ritual in P. Louvre 3129 and P. BM 10252, both in Siegfried Schott, Urkunden mythologischen Inhalts (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929–1939), VI 4–59.
  96. P. Berlin 3055 2/4–3/3, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. II–III; P. Berlin 3014 1/5–2/6, in ibid., 1:Taf. 38–39.
  97. P. Berlin 3055 3/3–8, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. III; P. Berlin 3014 2/6–10, in ibid., 1:Taf. 39.
  98. P. Berlin 3055 3/8–4/6, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. III–IV; P. Berlin 3014 2/10–3/10, in ibid., 1:Taf. 39–40.
  99. P. Berlin 3055 26/2–10, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. XXVI; P. Berlin 3053 21/2–22/6, in ibid., 1:Taf. 54–55.
  100. P. Berlin 3055 26/9–27/7, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. XXVI–XXVII.
  101. P. Berlin 3055 27/7–10, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. XXVII.
  102. P. Berlin 3055 27/10–30/8, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. XXVII–XXX.
  103. P. Berlin 3055 30/8–32/8, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. XXX–XXXII.
  104. P. Berlin 3055 37/6–8, in Erman, Hieratische Papyrus, 1:Taf. XXXVII.
  105. Schott, Urkunden mythologischen Inhalts, VI 5, 37–53; P. Bremner Rhind 22/2–23/16, in Faulkner, Papyrus Bremner-Rhind, 42–47. For these actions in their larger ancient Egyptian context, see Erik Hornung, Das Amduat: Die Schrift des verborgenen Raumes (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1963), 1:12, 15, 21, 28, 105, 120, 124–26, 163–65, 188–90; 2:26, 29–30, 48, 132–34, 158–59, 180–82; Erik Hornung, Altägyptische Höllenvorstellungen (Berlin: Akademie, 1968), 17–29; Anthony Leahy, “Death by Fire in Ancient Egypt,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 27 (1984): 199–206; Georges Posener, Le Papyrus Vandier (Cairo: IFAO, 1985), 32–33, 75–77; Anthony Leahy, “A Protective Measure at Abydos in the Thirteenth Dynasty,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 75 (1989): 43, 45 n. n; Erik Hornung, Die Unterweltsbücher der Ägypter (Zürich: Artemis, 1989), 61, 65, 70–71, 73, 77, 82–83, 88, 102–3, 112, 116–17, 119–21, 127, 130–32, 134–35, 142–43, 149, 154–55, 159–60, 164–65, 168–69, 174–75, 179–81, 183–84, 186–87, 191–92, 206–7, 227, 254–55, 268, 270–73, 278–79, 282–83, 299–301, 314–15, 361, 404–5, 407, 454–55, 459, 477, 490–91; Harco Willems, “Crime, Cult and Capital Punishment (Mo’alla Inscription 8),” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 76 (1990): 37, 40–41, 46–47, 49–51; Scott Morschauser, Threat-Formulae in Ancient Egypt: A Study of the History, Structure and Use of Threats and Curses in Ancient Egypt (Baltimore: Halgo, 1991), 81, 96–109, 115, 132–33, 135; Erik Hornung, Idea into Image: Essays on Ancient Egyptian Thought, trans. Elizabeth Bredeck (New York: Timken, 1992), 99–102; Robert K. Ritner, The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice (Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1993), 82–88, 113–36, 142–44, 157–59, 163–71; Lorelei H. Corcoran, Portrait Mummies from Roman Egypt (I–IV Centuries AD) with a Catalog of Portrait Mummies in Egyptian Museums (Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1995), 53–55.
  106. For the festivals, see Sherif el-Sabban, Temple Festival Calendars of Ancient Egypt (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000).
  107. Ragnhild B. Finnestad, “Temples of the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods: Ancient Traditions in New Contexts,” in Temples of Ancient Egypt, ed. Byron E. Shafer (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997), 225–26.
  108. On the festival in general, see Maurice Alliot, Le culte d’Horus à Edfou au temps des Ptolémées (Cairo: IFAO, 1954), 2:453–58; Hartwig Altenmüller, “Die Fahrt der Hathor nach Edfu und die »Heilige Hochzeit«,” Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years: Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur, ed. Willy Clarysse, Antoon Schoors, and Harco Willems (Louvain: Peeters, 1998), 2:753–65.
  109. Finnestad, “Temples of the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods,” 221.
  110. See Jaroslav Cerný, “Le culte d’Amenophis Ier chez les ouvriers de la nácropole thébaine,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 27 (1927): 159–203, pls. I–IX; Jaroslav Cerný, “Une expression désignant la réponse négative d’un oracle,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 30 (1931): 491–96; Jaroslav Cerný, “Questions adressées aux oracles,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 35 (1935): 41–58, pls. I–IV; Jaroslav Cerný, “Le tirage au sort,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 40 (1941): 135–41; Jaroslav Cerný, “Nouvelle série de questions addressées aux oracles,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 41 (1942): 13–24, pls. I–III; Jaroslav Cerný, “Egyptian Oracles,” in Richard A. Parker, A Saite Oracle Papyrus from Thebes (Providence, R.I.: Brown University Press, 1962), 35–48; Jean-Marie Kruchten, “Un instrument politique original: la «belle fête de ph-ntr» des rois-pretres de la XXIe dynastie,” Bulletin de la Société Française d’Égyptologie 103 (June 1985): 6–26; John Baines, “Practical Religion and Piety,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 73 (1987): 88–93; Alexandra von Lieven, “Divination in Ägypten,” Altorientalische Forschungen 26 (1999): 77–126; Karl-Th. Zauzich, “Die demotischen Orakelfragen—eine Zwischenbilanz,” in A Miscellany of Demotic Texts, 1–25; Ritner, Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice, 214–20; Kruchten, Le grand texte oracular de Djéhoutymose, 63–65, 328–32; Janet H. Johnson, “Louvre E 3229: A Demotic Magical Text,” Enchoria 7 (1977): 90–91; Teresa R. Moore, “The Good God Amenhotep: The Deified King as a Focus of Popular Religion during the Egyptian New Kingdom” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1994), 346; A. G. McDowell, Jurisdiction in the Workmen’s Community of Deir el-Medîna (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1990), 107–41, 255–59; Siegfried Morenz, Egyptian Religion, trans. Ann E. Keep (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1973), 107; John Gee, “The Earliest Example of ph-ntr?” Göttinger Miszellen 194 (2003): 25–27.
  111. Parker, A Saite Oracle Papyrus from Thebes, 43; Zauzich, “Die demotischen Orakelfragen,” 1–25.