Here are some excerpts of Neferty's prophecy

Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 17- to 21

Utterly destroyed are those times of happiness at those basin lakes, with men set to slitting fish, overflowing with fish and fowl. All happiness has departed, flung down in the land of hardship, from those (weights) of supplies of the Asiatics who are throughout the land. Men of violence have emerged in the East, Asiatics are coming down into Egypt, The confines are lost, another is beside, who will not be heard. The ladder will be blocked in the night, the camps will be entered, the bleary-eyed will be overpowered, as the sleeper says 'I am awake'.

Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 21- to 23

Do not tire: look at it before you, Stand up to what is in front of you, Look, now, the great are in the condition of the land, what was made is become unmade, Ra (must) begin his creation. the land is destroyed entirely, nothing is left overm there is not a trace of the fingernail in its fixed place.

13 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 57 to 61)

“There is a king who will come from the south Ameny true of voice is his name. He is the son of a woman of the Land of the Bow, he is a child of the Heartland of Nekhen. He will take up the White Crown, he will raise up the Red Crown, he will unite the Two Mighty Goddesses, he will appease the Two Lord Gods, with what they desire. The field circuit is in his grasp, the oar in the jump.”

14 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 61 to 65)

Rejoice O people of his time The son of a man will make his name for eternity and everlasting time. Those who fall into evil, or plan treason, they will be overthrown on themselves for fear of him, the Asiatics will fall at his slaughter, the Libyans will fall at his fire, the rebels at his force, the evil-hearted at his majesty. The rising cobra who is in the palace will overpower the evil-hearted for him.

15 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 65 to 71)

They will build the Walls of the Ruler may he live, prosper, and be well, to prevent the Asiatics from coming down into Egypt if they request water in the proper manner, to let their flocks drink. Right is returned to its place, and evil is expelled. rejoice whoever will see, whoever will live in the following of the king. The wise man will pour water for me, when he sees what I have said come to pass.

  • Where was the heartland of Nekhen located?

  • Who were these Asiatics who the Egyptians despised so deeply?

  • Who was referred to as Ameny true of voice?

  • Where is the land of the Bow located?

  • How does this prophecy fit with the dynastic race theory along with other theories that claim a Semitic, West Asian or middle Eastern origin of the ancient Egyptians?


  • Clevely constructed question. +1
    – MCW
    Jan 3, 2019 at 14:54
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    I've removed the reference to ethnicity from the question title since it doesn't seem to relate to the body of the question. You might also like to add a link to where Herodotus proposed a 'matriarchal society of ancient Egypt'. As you're no doubt aware, assertions without supporting citations are often unpopular on History:SE. Jan 3, 2019 at 19:55
  • What does this have to do with the origins of Egyptians? What's notable about Asiatic enemies? Isn't it clear that the land of bow and Nekhen are in the south?
    – John Dee
    Jan 7, 2019 at 23:39
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    @JohnDee It isn't clear because of genetic studies which seem to suggest that the ancient Egyptians were Semitic people (Asiatics). I found this poem on a wikipedia page, and some suggest that it gives some insight into how the Egyptians saw themselves in relation to the rest of the world. The land of the bow on Wikipedia is called Ta seti. What is stunning is that "The identity of the Ta Seti people is still being deciphered but they may have spoken a Nilo-Saharan language"-wiki. Why this strikes me is because the identity of Egyptians and Nubians are known but Ta seti remains a "mystery"
    – user20490
    Jan 8, 2019 at 16:51
  • @JohnDee Even as they are unsure about the identity of the Ta seti people (but are sure about their language), the ancient Egyptians who were likely Semitic were writing poems about a deliverer coming from Ta seti, the land of the bow. These are the things I do not understand and that it why I asked this as a precursor to other questions. An answer from you would be appreciated.
    – user20490
    Jan 8, 2019 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


There's various interpretations of Neferti that Historians have argued about over the years. Simpson considered it to be essentially a propaganda pamphlet aiming at legitimizing and drumming up support for the newly established Twelfth Dynasty, the first King of which was Amenemhat I and that "Ameny true of voice" is supposed to refer to him. (Amenemhat was not of royal lineage and there is some suggestion that he might have overthrown his predecessor a bit of PR always comes in handy in such circumstances). Hans Goedicke suggested that the "Prophecy" was more likely to be a commentary on events in the east of Egypt during the Twelfth Dynasty - in particular the influx of the Hyksos and the perceived threat to established Egyptian culture. Others such as Morenz take the position that the "Prophecy" was actually written later and was a something of a mythologizing of Amenemhat I's reign.

Where is the land of the Bow located?

Ta-Seti, it was a "nome" or administrative region in Upper Egypt near the border with Nubia.

Where was the heartland of Nekhen located?

Nekhen (aka Hierakonpolis) was the capital of Prehistoric Egypt (and of religious significance as well) - it's on the West Bank of the Nile in what is now the Aswan Governorate

Who were these Asiatics who the Egyptians despised so deeply?

It's been a while since I looked closely at Ancient Egypt but I think "Asiatic" usually referred to those in Eastern Egypt although it depends on when the author was writing as I think it was used for the Hyksos who were migrating in the general direction of Egypt ~1900BC. Whether the Hyksos were a howling horde of bloodthirsty warriors or a more gentle migratory drift is still up for debate but given the nature of propagandist rants about immigrants either would fit with the theory of Neferti-as-political-leaflet.

Was Herodotus correct about the matriarchal society of ancient Egypt based on the fact that the king is referred to as "the son of a woman..."?

Don't know to be honest.. feels like a bit of a leap though. Especially since the main thrust of the text regards a near deified male king. Herodotus isn't considered particularly reliable with regards to Egypt - with there being substantial doubt that he ever even visited.

  • 1
    @T.E.D. thanks for the edit.. I'm at work and that makes me a bit slapdash at including references! Jan 3, 2019 at 14:50
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    @user20490 this answer gives you more than enough material to continue the research yourself, given the multiple questions you asked the answer addresses those. If you know of other references other than Simpson, it would have helped if you had included them to prevent others duplicating effort.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 4, 2019 at 6:47
  • "There are various interpretations of Neferti". You only gave Simpson's interpretation.
    – user20490
    Jan 4, 2019 at 7:00
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    @user20490 My bad! I actually intended to to mention the differing interpretations but got distracted by work while typing up the answer. I don't have much direct references to hand but have included the other interpretations that I can recall off hand. Jan 4, 2019 at 9:46

Has anyone considered the possibility that this prophesy is yet to be fulfilled...?

Before the actual prophetic line, the writer describes "the land is destroyed entirely, nothing is left over there is not a trace of the fingernail in its fixed place." When did the land of Kemet ever fell so desolate? If not in our day and age?

Consider this: "Rejoice O people of his time The son of a man will make his name for eternity and everlasting time." No other ruler in Kemet or Nubia called himself by this name "Son of Man" meaning this ruler will not consider his kingship to be of divine origin, unlike the other rulers of the land before him.

And finally: "he will appease the Two Lord Gods, with what they desire." This ruler is probably not coming to replace the two rulers, he'll give them what each of them wants, that's how he'll succeed in setting himself between the two, and then "He will take up the White Crown, he will raise up the Red Crown"

Conclusion: This will be an unconventional king who will rule in the presence of both the upper and lower "kings" maybe even under their protection.

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