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Magic Spell to Be One of the Oldest…

By Yona WIlliams    1/26/07

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When it comes to magic and ancient Egyptian information, my eyes and ears perk up, so when I heard of the uncovering of what may be one of the oldest Semitic text examples to date, I thought it was worth a post. In this article, you will learn of the details regarding a recent, interesting find that hails from the ancient tombs of Egypt.

 

So, on Tuesday, expects revealed that they believe they may have found the oldest Semitic text ever discovered. The publication was a magic spell that was meant to keep snakes away from the tombs that held Egyptian kings. The spells are said to have come from the Canaanites for about 5,000 years ago. The intricate phrases and religious texts that were displayed in Egyptian writing was stored underground within the chambers of a pyramid located just south of Cairo. The writing on the walls has puzzled experts for close to a century now because the Semitic association was overlooked.   

 

 The connection started to surface when in 2002, an Egyptologist emailed a piece of an inscription that was not deciphered to a professor in Semitic languages at Yeshiva University, which can be found in New York. Professor Richard Steiner found that the phrases he received were made of a transcription of a language known by the Canaanites. He pinpointed its use to have occurred between the 25th and 30th centuries BC. He was thrilled to have been a part of the oldest connected piece of text to the Semitic language.

 

Upon further research, he traveled to Israel to present his findings to the Academy of the Hebrew Language. In a lecture, he noted that the previous stretch of Semitic text to hold the title came from the 24th century. Soon, he plans to submit his findings for larger groups of people to view by contacting a scientific journal. He wishes to conduct additional research to analyze the fragments and possibly find how the passages influenced and fit into the history of Semitic languages.

 

Since the Egyptians used this particular magic spell, it shows that there was a close connection to the Canaanites during this time period. During this ancient time, the Egyptians viewed the ways of their culture and religion as being more advanced than any of their neighbors. To use a spell from other culture is a significant piece of information when it comes to how strongly they felt about protecting their kings in the afterlife. It was very important to them that the mummies were protected from poisonous snakes.

 

From what is learned throughout history, there was also a belief that some of the snakes that attempted to invade the pyramids were able to speak the Semitic language that Canaanites used. This is another reason why the Egyptians added these magic spells to their own. On both sides of a sarcophagus, these words were used in an attempt to keep the snakes away.

 

In a joining of language and meaning, the Egyptian and Semitic sections of these magic spells are important to understand the text as a whole. Neither part is able to stand on its own. This is why the meaning took so long to uncover.

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