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Tuthmosis IV

Sphinx Dream Stela

 

 18th Dynasty

The Sphinx Dream Stela is the story of how a young Prince Tuthmosis (son of Amenhotep II) was hunting in the desert one day when he stopped for a rest between the sphinx's paws, much of sphinx was covered in sand blown. Tuthmosis fell asleep and in his dream the Sphinx spoke to him, promising the throne of Egypt in return for clearing the sand from its body. Tuthmosis cleared the sand and so the Sphinx made him King of Egypt.

 

Although he ruled for a short nine years, the mummy of Tuthmosis IV shows that he was still quite young when he died. It is thought that, given the evidence of the stela, that the young Prince Tuthmosis was the younger brother whose elder brother - the heir to the throne - died before he could inherit the throne (the Dream Stela may also show a hint of the power struggle that was going on between the princes for the ultimate power of kingship).

The Text:

Once upon a time he practised a spear-throwing for his pleasure on the territory of the Memphite nome, in its southern and northern extent, where he slung brazen bolts at the target, and hunted lions in the valley of the gazelles. He rode in his two-horsed chariot, and his horses were swifter than the wind. With him were two of his attendants. No man knew them.

Then was the hour in which he granted rest to his servants. He took advantage of it to present to Horemkhu, near the (temple of) Seker in the city of the dead, and to the goddess Rannu, an offering of the seeds of the flowers on the heights [and to pray to the great mother Isis, the lady of] the north wall and the lady of the south wall, and to Sekhet of Xois, and to Set. For a great enchantment rests on this place from the beginning of time, as far as the districts of the lords of Babylon, the sacred road of the gods to the western horizon of On-Heliopolis, because the form of the Sphinx is a likeness of Kheper-Ra, the very great god who abides at this place, the greatest of all spirits, the most venerable being who rests upon it. To him the inhabitants of Memphis and of all towns in his district raise their hands to pray before his countenance, and to offer him rich sacrifices.

On one of these days it happened, when the king's son Tuthmosis had arrived on his journey about the time of mid-day, and had stretched himself to rest in the shade of this great god, that sleep overtook him.
He dreamt in his slumber at the moment when the sun was at the zenith, and it seemed to him as though this great god spoke to him with his own mouth, just as a father speaks to his son, addressing him thus:-
' Behold me, look at me, thou, my son Tuthmosis. I am your father Horemkhu, Kheper, Ra, Tmu. The kingdom shall be given to you .... and you shall wear the white crown and the red crown on the throne of the earth-god Seb, the youngest (among the gods). The world shall be yours in its length and in its breadth, as far as the light of the eye of the lord of the universe shines. Plenty and riches shall be yours; the best from the interior of the land, and rich tributes from all nations; long years shall be granted to you as your term of life. My countenance is gracious towards you, and my heart clings to you; [I will give you] the best of all things.

'The sand of the district in which I have my existence has covered me up. Promise me that you will do what I wish in my heart; then shall I know whether you are my son, my helper. Go forward let me be united to you. I am . . . '

After this [Tuthmosis awoke, and he repeated all these speeches,] and he understood (the meaning) of the words of the god and laid them up in his heart, speaking thus with himself: 'I see how the dwellers in the temple of the city honour this god with sacrificial gifts [without thinking of freeing from sand the work of King] Khaf-Ra, the statue which was made to Tmu-Horemkhu.' ......

The remaining lines of text have been lost - but as Tuthmosis became Tuthmosis IV is, perhaps, not difficult to tell what happened!