Mythos 40 – Land of Punt

 

The fact that gods and demi-gods are included in the early Egyptian King Lists is generally seen as a reason to dismiss the lists, much as the Adapa are dismissed in Assyriology, and the gods from the Hindu epics are dismissed by sindhologists. Yet these stories are consistent with each other, and correlate to significant geologic events in the past few hundred thousand years. Like the Sumerians the Egyptians had a myth that their ancestors had migrated into the region when the Egyptian Kingdom was founded. The noted egyptologist W. M. Flinders Petrie believed that the founders of the unified Egyptian Kingdom came from or through Punt.(1)W. M. Flinders Petrie (1939) The Making of Egypt According the eminent Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge:

Egyptian tradition of the Dynastic Period held that the aboriginal home of the Egyptians was Punt…- E. A. Wallis Budge (2)E. A. Wallis Budge (1914) A short history of the Egyptian people: with chapters on their religion, daily life, etc.

Punt was a quasi-mythical place in later Egyptian mytho-geography that the Egyptians maintained periodic contact and trade with in early times. The trade with Punt during the Old Kingdom seemed to be quite extensive, and subsequently the trade route disappeared during the First Intermediate Period or dark age. It was reopened during the Middle Kingdom, only to disappear again during the Second Intermediate Period, and then be reopened during the New Kingdom. The oldest surviving record of an Egyptian expedition to Punt was organized by King Sahure of the Fifth Dynasty around 4,500 years ago. However gold from Punt is recorded as having been in Egypt as early as the time of King Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around 4,600 years ago.(3)John Henry Breasted (1906–1907) Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest, collected, edited, and translated, with Commentary 1–5

Relief Showing Punt from the Time of Queen Hatshepsut

Relief Showing Punt from the Time of Queen Hatshepsut

After the collapse of civilization that was the First Intermediate Period, trade was re-established during the Middle Kingdom around 4,000 years ago, by an officer named Hannu, who during the rule of the 11th dynasty King Mentuhotep III, organized at least one voyage to Punt. Trading missions of the 12th dynasty Kings Senusret I, Amenemhat II, and Amenemhat IV had also successfully navigated their way to and from the mysterious land of Punt.(4)El-Sayed Mahfouz (2010) “Amenemhat IV at Wadi Gawasis,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale A. Volume 110, Pages 165-173, 485, 491 After the Second Intermediate Period, Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty circa 3,500 years ago, built a Red Sea fleet to facilitate trade between the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and points as far east as Punt.

Egyptian ships regularly crossed the Red Sea in order to obtain bitumen, copper, carved amulets, naptha and other goods transported overland and down the Dead Sea to Elat at the head of the gulf of Aqaba.(5)Muhammed Abdul Nayeem (1990) Prehistory and Protohistory of the Arabian Peninsula At the other end of the Egyptian trade route the Puntites traded incense, ebony, short-horned cattle, gold, ivory, and animal skins.(6)Joyce Tyldesley (1996) Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh, Page 145 According to the temple reliefs during the time of Queen Hatshepsut, the Land of Punt was ruled by King Parahu and Queen Ati. Queen Hatshepsut personally made the most famous ancient Egyptian expedition that sailed to Punt. This well illustrated expedition of Queen Hatshepsut occurred in year 9 of the Queen’s reign with the blessing of the Priest of Amen:

Said by Amen, the Lord of the Thrones of the Two Land: ‘Come, come in peace my daughter, the graceful, who art in my heart, King Maatkare [ie. Hatshepsut]…I will give thee Punt, the whole of it…I will lead your soldiers by land and by water, on mysterious shores, which join the harbours of incense…They will take incense as much as they like. They will load their ships to the satisfaction of their hearts with trees of green [ie. fresh] incense, and all the good things of the land.’- E. Naville (7)E. Naville (1906) "The Life and Monuments of the Queen" in T.M. Davis editor, The Tomb of Hatshopsitu, Pages 28–29

References   [ + ]

1. W. M. Flinders Petrie (1939) The Making of Egypt
2. E. A. Wallis Budge (1914) A short history of the Egyptian people: with chapters on their religion, daily life, etc.
3. John Henry Breasted (1906–1907) Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest, collected, edited, and translated, with Commentary 1–5
4. El-Sayed Mahfouz (2010) “Amenemhat IV at Wadi Gawasis,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale A. Volume 110, Pages 165-173, 485, 491
5. Muhammed Abdul Nayeem (1990) Prehistory and Protohistory of the Arabian Peninsula
6. Joyce Tyldesley (1996) Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh, Page 145
7. E. Naville (1906) "The Life and Monuments of the Queen" in T.M. Davis editor, The Tomb of Hatshopsitu, Pages 28–29