Ancient Egyptian Proverbs

ca. 1361-1352 B.C. --- Wall Painting of Tutankhamun Accompanied by Anubis and Nephthys --- Image by © Gianni Dagli Orti/CORBIS
ca. 1361-1352 B.C. — Wall Painting of Tutankhamun Accompanied by Anubis and Nephthys — Image by © Gianni Dagli Orti/CORBIS

Quotes are as old as time.  Here is a sampling of some ancient Egyptian proverbs.  You may find some of these to be inspiring and are very applicable to today.

Beautiful discourse is rarer than emerald, yet it can be found among the servant girls at the grindstones. [Ptah-Hotep]
Declare your line of conduct without reticence. [Ptah-Hotep]
Do not weaken the attention of him who is occupied. [Ptah-Hotep]
Error carries away the unteachable. [Ptah-Hotep]
Evil words fill some with astonishment. [Ptah-Hotep]
Great God is the ruler of all the gods. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
If you are a leader of peace, listen to the discourse of the petitioner. Be not abrupt with him; that would trouble him. [Ptah-Hotep]
If you are wise, look after your house; love your wife without alloy. [Ptah-Hotep]
It is a wretched thing to injure a poor man.
The man who has plenty of means of existence, conducts himself pretty much as he himself wishes. [Ptah-Hotep, modified]
Know those who are faithful to you when you are in low estate. [Ptah-Hotep]
Learn to rise up out of the enigmatic egg in the hidden land. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]


Listen with kindness for a clear explanation. [With Ptah-Hotep]
May no lies be spoken against me in the presence of God. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
My KA dwells in my body. Insult it not. [Papyrus of Ani, elaborated]

Never speak untruth and falsity knowingly. [Papyrus of Ani, elaborated]
One should do nothing with a false heart. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
Shining I Inside, let Him guide my heart. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
That which is said in your heart, let it be realised by springing up spontaneously – [Ptah-Hotep]
The great Heaven [the Ocean inside] is found inside the Eye of God – [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
The wise man is great through his own merits. [Ptah-Hotep]
Those who are in the following of the prince of everlastingness and God of Life, sing with joy. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
To seek without finding, equals waste of time. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
Wealth can come through your Creator’s good-will. [With Ptah-Hotep]
When a son attends to his father, it is a twofold joy for both; when wise things are prescribed to him, the son is [to be] gentle. [Ptah-Hotep]
When He opens up His path, may He carry me along, safe and sound. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
When you speak, know that which can be brought against you. [Ptah-Hotep]
Who has not done any evil act, his or her heart may be found right. [Papyrus of Ani, modified]
Wise rising gives joy. [Papyrus of Ani, amplified]



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Featured Art: ‘Mirakali In Egypt’ – felt-pen drawing by Michel Montecrossa

Till Next Time.




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