The University of Memphis Instructions of Ptahhotep Essay


Ptahhotep was a vizier, a kind of prime minister, in the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt’sOld Kingdom. He was revered for his wisdom for centuries after his deathbecause of a remarkable composition attributed to him, The Instructions ofPtahhotep. These maxims contain both moral precepts and practical advice forgetting along in social situations and the proper behavior of a man towards hissuperiors and inferiors. This text is adapted from Miriam Lichtheim, AncientEgyptian Literature, University of California Press (1975), Volume 1, 61 – 80.Questions for Analysis:1) What kind of society was Ancient Egypt? Was it egalitarian orhierarchical?2) What kinds of behaviors and personal qualities did an ideal man have inPtahhotep’s view? How did he behave towards others?3) What does Ptahhotep say about how a man should behave towards hisfather? What were the qualities of an ideal son?4) What does Ptahhotep say about relations between men and women?What kind of role did women have in society?”The Instruction by the Mayor of the city, the Vizier Ptahhotep, under the Majesty

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