Egyptian Philosophy – Ani the Scribe

Ani, a scribe of the 18th dynasty, 1550-1300 BCE, gave much remembered and revered advice, even though he was only a high ranking scribe.

Rage destroys itself.  It damages its own affairs.

egyptian mother and child

Provide generously for your mother with double rations, and carry her even as she once carried you.  It was a heavy load that she bore, but she did not cast it off, and even after you were born, did she not feed you at the breast for three years?  Your dirt was unpleasant, but she did not say, “Why should I bother with him?”  It was she who placed you in school.  It was she who came daily with food and drink for you.

Ani seems to be giving us the old, “You never call, you never write” routine of ancient Egyptian mother syndrome.  It is hilarious how he is not only reminding us to take care of the elderly, but of our own mothers as well.

Egyptian beer making

Boast not how many jars of beer you can drink!  Soon your speech turns to babbling nonsense, and you tumble down into the gutter…and when people seek to question you, they find only a helpless child.

Ani shows us that as people gathered into ancient city states, they became critical of human behavior, such as drinking.  Above is an image of ancient Egyptian beer brewing.

egyptian couple senejem and wife

Eat no bread while another waits in want, but stretch out your hand to the hungry.  One person is rich, another is poor.  Yesterday’s master is today’s servant.  Don’t be greedy about filling your belly.  Where only last year the river ran, this year the course is dry.  Great seas have turned to desert wastes, and the sandy shore is now an abyss.

Ani again shows us that one could become rich or poor in society, and it is wise to remember it.  The Egyptians considered the desert to be the source of evil and the home of the god Set.  This is why seekers and sages, including Jesus, would venture into the desert, to show that they could live surrounded by death.

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