You'll pardon me, somehow astronomy has never become my forte in spite of considerable incentive (I seem to be quite challenged when it comes to visualizing the motions of the heavens in 3d, let alone 4d), but I'm curious about some of the mythological and symbolic associations involved and was looking at several of your sources.
I think you've done a remarkable job of interpreting the Westcar Papyrus - I'm still having a hard time following some of it which is in no way the fault of your presentations, but I certainly applaud the effort and the spirit of it.
Robert Graves' footnotes on astronomy in Myths of the Greeks were what spurred my interest in mythology and mythography many years ago, at least in the sense that I might be looking at something besides a bunch of silly and horrible stories. I don't know why on earth anyone would build a temple to Saturn after "eating his offspring" (likewise with the absurd and ungodly antics of other mythological "deities") but I believe Grave's notes suggested that this referred to the planet Saturn eclipsing its own moons, which came as quite a refreshing idea.
(As for myself, I ended up pursuing botanical references in mythology based on some of Graves' notes - see Echo and Narcissus - rather than astronomical references, which probably contributed greatly to my still being astronomically challenged after all these years).
Still, I get the sense somehow that we're looking at a rather rich collection of references in the Westcar Papyrus and there is perhaps still more just below the surface, so I thought I might throw out some ideas that came to me just in case they turn out to have any tiny grains of merit, if you don't mind. Some of them may end up making little sense, but I'm happy to submit them to the judgement of those much better qualified to make that determination.
> I have been reviewing my interpretation of the
> story of Djadjaemankh as there was an element of
> the interpretation that wasn’t adding up. The
> fish pendant laying on a shard in a lake that
> Djadjaemankh folded over which had a depth of 12
> cubits, 24 when folded. I had considered this
> specification of the depth of the lake to be
> indicative of an equinox, which would then allow
> us to date the story but this dating method
> yielded a date in the remote past that simply
> didn’t make sense.
> A review of the divisions of time known in the Old
> Kingdom revealed that the civil calendar included
> days that were divided into 12 equal night hours
> and 12 equal daytime hours, every day. That is,
> the length of the hour varied depending on the
> season. This understanding means that an equinox
> is not assured and cannot be used to attempt to
> date the story. A change to the astronomy
> automation software I am using created a moment of
> discovery when an image of a ship arrived in the
> middle of the sky in my proposed date of the story
> of Djedi. That ship was the constellation of
I'm wondering if you weren't right the first time on this - even if the length of hours were not fixed, in the Westcar text, hours would seem to be represented by cubits which are fixed units. Offhand, equinoxes don't seem useful for obtaining dates since they are regular occurrences, but obviously secondary details from the stories may be.
'There is a commoner called Djedi who lives in Djed-Snofru. He is a commoner a hundred and ten years old, who eats five hundred loaves of bread, a shoulder of beef for meat, and drinks a hundred jars of beer, up to this day. He knows how to mend a severed head. He knows how to make a lion walk behind him, with its leash on the ground.”
The elements of mythological story grow with the trauma of two geese and a bull being decapitated. Djedi an already vivid character is setup as the hero by reanimating these animals.
'Is it the truth what they say, that you know how to mend a severed head?'
And Djedi said:
'Yes, I know how to, sovereign (l.p.h.!), my lord.'
Then His Majesty said:
'Let me be brought a criminal who is in prison, and let his sentence be executed.'
Whereupon Djedi said:
'But not to a human, sovereign (l.p.h.!), my lord! Look, doing something like that to the 'noble flock' is not ordained.'
Then a goose was brought to him and its head was cut off.
The goose was placed at the west side of the audience hall and its head at the east side of the audience hall.
Then Djedi said his magic spell, and the goose stood up, waddling, its head likewise. After one had reached the other, the goose stood up, cackling.
Then he had a hts3-goose brought to him, and the same was done to it.
Then His Majesty had a bull brought to him, and its head was felled to the ground.
Then Djedi said his magic spell, and the bull stood up behind him, its leash having fallen on the ground.
That the idea arises to first decapitate a human and then a goose somehow makes me think of this page by Bauval [robertbauval.co.uk] (see "man on goose/duck" near bottom of page) and also because it sounds like the constellation of Leo might be involved. Djedi making a lion walk behind him makes me think of a constellation that is "ahead of" or adjacent to Leo. I'm intrigued that a number of constellations I ended up looking at appear to be adjacent to each other.
I'm still having difficulty sorting out whether I think what is referenced is a constellation that involves two birds, or two separate constellations involving birds. In my searches, I found materials that seem as if they might be breaking down these constellations into parts so that there may be specific reference to the heads of some of the symbolic animals involved. I also found reference to the symbol of the cattle leg sometimes having the head of the animal affixed to it. I think I still struggle to make adequate sense of all the references to, and emphasis on, the theme of decapitation.
One of the references to birds that I encountered seemed to be associated with Perseus and Triangulum, and it occurred to me that there are some obvious references to decapitation in Greek mythology such as the decapitation of Medusa by Perseus or the decapitation of the Hydra.
I was wondering what you or others might think of the idea that the word "flock" seems to be specifically used in the quoted passage, since I noticed there is reference to a constellation of this name (Flock or Myriad) in the texts by Lull and Belmonte, which they associate with the Pleiades.
Also my searches brought back material on ancient Egyptian star clocks. I'm not at all familiar with the subject, but I'm wondering if there are enough astronomical references in the Westcar Papyrus to not only describe the components of an alignment, but perhaps enough to describe the components of an earlier Egyptian star clock that might have needed revision, perhaps about the time of Sneferu or Khufu.
This article by Depuydt shows components of star clocks being arranged into columns [www.researchgate.net] and this grouping into columns and the sudden shifts from one column to another reminded me somewhat of this passage from the Westcar Papyrus which I'm generally still at a loss to understand since I don't see how a constellation could literally be divided that way
"The goose was placed at the west side of the audience hall and its head at the east side of the audience hall."
If there is anything to such an idea, I'm wondering if the need to revise an earlier star clock might be of use in the dating work you're attempting? I'm not able to infer by example how often star clocks would need to be revised, but that is an outstanding premise in the materials I looked at that they do have a limited life span.
Also, I feel almost hypocritical saying this, because I'm someone working with the premise that the modern foot may be as old as "time itself" (i.e., mankind's efforts to quantify time), but I still struggle with the number of recycled units that I think have been handed down to us. I still have a streak of skepticism when it comes to the ancients having used parsecs or particularly Astronomical Units.
I do think you are correct that we should be paying very close attention to any and all references to numbers in the Westcar Papyrus, and for that matter any mythology, but it did occur to me that for
"There is a commoner called Djedi who lives in Djed-Snofru. He is a commoner a hundred and ten years old, who eats five hundred loaves of bread, a shoulder of beef for meat, and drinks a hundred jars of beer, up to this day. He knows how to mend a severed head. He knows how to make a lion walk behind him, with its leash on the ground."
110 / 500 = .22 -- at this point dividing .22 by 100 might be counterproductive, but .22 x 100 = 22, which also seems to be the total number of persons in the boat once Djadjaemankh is summoned.
It seems as if we might be able to further break down the number of persons in the boat - at first there are 21 with 20 rowing, later there are 22 with 19 rowing
21 / 20 = 1.05 = 105 / 100, and 105 (like 104) may have some functions concerning calendars.
22 / 19 = 1.157894747 -- this is very close to what is familiar to me from my Mayan studies as the important ratio ~260 / 225
(21/20) x (22/19) = ~365 / 3 = ~360 / 29.5
So far I've also been able to make these out of the numbers in question
105 = 819 / 780 (Mars Synodic Period 779.96 days) = ~Lunar Month x Lunar Year? (104.6466753 technically)
105 x 365.24 = ~29.5 x 13
105 x 354 = 29.5 x 1260; 1260 appears in the formulas at Design of Time [design-of-time.com]
(1260 / (13 / 2) = 8190; 1260 / 225 = 56; 1260 / 35 = 360 (also, 1260 x 10^n isn't far from the square of the standard figure for the Lunar Year)
105 x 225 = ~29.5 x 8 = 8 x 29.53125
I'm sure there must be more in this vein that I haven't stumbled across yet.
I think in the Munck thread I've recently pointed out that numbers like "819" and "18980" may not actually be "Mayan" since some of the evidence I've more recently encountered for a wider distribution of them is supposed to have come from Dwyer's Biblical studies.
Also, I believe someone mentioned in this thread 22/7, which is the bane of my existence since I do not for a moment believe that the ancients were limited to it in understanding the Pi ratio, but it can be the consequence of the use of numbers such as are used in stories
22/19 = 1.157894747 = 364 / (22/7) to .9997521276; 110 / 105 = (22/7) / 3 exactly
Anyway, please allow me to once again express my appreciation and admiration for the work you are doing, engbren, and my best wishes for your success. You very much seem to be on the right track. If there are still any oversights or omissions remaining, I'm certain it's no reflection on your extensive efforts or well-honed reasoning skills, but rather the ability of the ancients to weave very rich tapestries of mystery.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01-Nov-19 00:42 by thinkitover.