Katumin the Princess, Royal Female Lineage, and the Cobra (Iaret or Uraeus)
We can not but think the Lord has a hand in bringing to pass his strange act, and proving the Book of Mormon true in the eyes of all the people. . . . It will be as it ever has been, the world will prove Joseph Smith a true prophet by circumstantial evidence, in experiments, as they did Moses and Elijah. (Sept 15, 1842, Times and Seasons)
And in this statement, we may also interpolate, justifiably, the Book of Abraham being proven to be true, in the eyes of all the people.
My partner in Book of Abraham research, Vincent Coon, has made a number of very important observations with regard to the “Valuable Discovery” documents among the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, which mention a woman named Katumin from ancient Egypt, and he has found some very important insights. Here is a link to his article on his site.
Vincent’s article is entitled Princess of On: Esoteric interpretations of "Words spoken by Osiris."
This current document is sort of a companion-piece, so to speak, to Vincent’s production, from a different angle, which both builds on and adds to his research.
In quite a number of issues and details, Vincent and I are on the same page, and I have found Vincent’s use of the term the “Ahmestrahans” acceptable to refer to a group of Egyptian Syncretists in the Greco-Roman era, who Joseph Smith simply refers to as “the Egyptians,” seem to have had some sort of regard for the Jewish Patriarchs. I am good with that term, since we really don’t know precisely who these people are. I am good with this interpretation of that term in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.
Sometimes, dealing with the not-so-good copies of the original Egyptian by Joseph Smith’s scribes is difficult to deal with, and it is sometimes hard to make out what they are doing in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. However, following the work of other scholars on the same material can sometimes help identify which symbols are which. Once we know what symbols we are actually dealing with for sure, we can then proceed to reverse-engineer what Joseph Smith, under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, was up to with the particular characters in question. In this case, Vincent has done the leg work, lining up the work of three different Egyptologists who have identified what the hieroglyphics are in this case: John Gee, Michael Rhodes and Robert Ritner. These individuals have all identified the hieroglyphics in question in Joseph Smith’s translation of the “Katumin” material in the Valuable Discovery documents. As these Egyptologists have shown, these hieratics for the Katumin material actually come from the Amenhotep Book of the Dead, one of the scraps of Book of the Dead material that Joseph Smith had his hands on. It seems that a lot of material in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar sections of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is derived from the hieroglyphics and hieratics from the Hor Sensen Papyrus. But in this case, we have an exception. As we already knew, Joseph Smith, following the lead of the ancients, was cobbling together things that do not seem to be related at first, but that in the way the Ancients used them in the Greco-Roman period in their iconotropic way, they are rationally brought together.
Vincent’s careful analysis of the work of these Egyptologists on this matter has made clear the hieroglyphic versions of the symbols so that we can now reverse-engineer it.
Now for the analysis. Here are the poorly-copied hieratics from the Amenhotep Book of the Dead (a copy of the book of the dead that seems to be no longer extant among the Joseph Smith Papyri):
And here is the Joseph Smith Translation of this material:
A transcript of this is the following, with the Egyptian readings enclosed in parentheses as shown by Dr. Robert Ritner:
“(dd) Katumin, Princess, daughter of On-i-tos [Onitah (i.e. Abraham 1:11], King of Egypt, (mdw in) who began to reign in the year of the World, 2962.
“(Wsir) Katumin was born in the 30th year of the reign of her father, and died when she was 28 years old, which was the year 3020.” (The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, pp. 210-212, bold added for emphasis).
There are multiple issues here that need to be addressed, some that Vincent has already covered in his article. But we need to start out with the character identified as Katumin. Here is a close-up of the character identified as Katumin, with what may be variants, and on the right is a deconstruction of part of it, where it clearly shows that one part is horizontal and the other vertical in this case:
In these versions of the hieratic form, it looks like an eye rather than the actual hieroglyphic it is derived from. There seems to be a possible reason for this, as we will see below, with some association with an eye. It is similarly copied this way throughout the Kirtland Egyptian Papers in the Egyptian Alphabet sections, and identified as “Kah Tou Mon,” except that sometimes it is drawn with the two halves horizontally, like an eye, and at other times vertically:
And in the example on the bottom left, you can see that one stroke sort of forms a tail, while the other forms sort of a smaller circle. Now, Dr. Ritner and the other scholars identified this as the hieroglyphic for the sound Dd in Egyptian, meaning “to say” or “to speak” or “recitations.” And the second hieroglyph of the pair is the hieroglyph with the sound mdw, meaning “words.” These two usually go in a pair when they are found. Here are some other versions of the hieratic for Dd from Moeller’s table, number 250:
And here are some for mdw, from Moeller’s table, number 456:
Now, as we get to the actual hieroglyphic versions, thing start to get interesting. Together the hieroglyphics are:
Going from right to left, now it is plain to see that the hieroglyphic for Dd is actually a pictograph of a Cobra (Gardiner’s sign list numbers I10 or I11):
And the picture of mdw is actually a pictograph of a Staff (Gardiner’s sign list S43):
Now, the problem of interpretation here, and the criticisms of the Egyptologists against Joseph Smith, is that they get too hung up on the words that these spell in Egyptian, meaning “to speak” and “words.” Yet they utterly forget that at their core they are just pictures like how the figures in the facsimiles of the book of Abraham are just pictures. On this blog, a few years back when I presented the article on the reed symbol and the Land of the Chaldees, it was clear there that there was no correct understanding of the foundation of what was going on until we treated these things pictographically, meaning, to dive into what they are literal pictures of rather than what they spell out, and to ascertain whatever significance there may be behind these literal pictures. Now, to start with, let’s review the other translations for Katumin in the Egyptian Alphabet sections of the Kirtland Egyptian papers, where it is spelled “Kah tou mun.” Remember, that in the Egyptian alphabet, some of the translations are presented in order of five “degrees”:
1st degree: “The name of a royal family in the female line.”
2nd degree: “A distinction of royal female lineage.”
3rd degree: “Descent from her by whom Egypt was discovered while it was under water.”
4th degree: “A lineage, a daughter of Ham.”
5th degree: “A lineage with whom a record of the fathers was entrusted by tradition of Ham, and according to the tradition of the elders, by whom also the tradition of the art of embalming was kept.”
Now, further research will reveal the origin of the vocalization Katumin/KaTouMun. However, one thing is very clear at this time. Even though this hieroglyph for the Cobra is used to spell other things, the general word in Egyptian for Cobra is Iaret, pronounced “Yaret.” Usually, another hieroglyph for the Cobra, Gardiner’s sign list I12, is used to represent Iaret:
The Greek word for this is Uraeus. Iaret was queen of Egypt during Tuthmose IV's reign. Her name is spelled her name with just the single I12 cobra hieroglyphic. We read: “The transcription of her name is uncertain; it is written with a single cobra, which has a number of possible readings.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iaret). She was the daughter of Amunhotep II and wife of Thutmose IV. She had various titles applied to her: King’s Daughter (s3t-niswt), King’s Sister (snt-niswt), Great King’s Wife/Great Royal Wife (hmt-niswt-wrt), Great King’s Daughter (s3t-niswt-wrt). Following this same tradition, many queens throughout Africa for millennia have had the title Great Wife or Great Royal Wife. This wife was the primary, great wife of the king, while his other wives would be considered lesser wives.
Here is a piece of critical information as well:
She appears on a stela from Nubia. She is depicted behind Tuthmosis IV as he is smiting the enemy. Iaret is shown wearing a simple dress . . . She is depicted holding what looks like a mace in her right hand. (http://mathstat.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/kings%20and%20Queens/Queen_Iaret.html)
Similarly, the symbol of the “sceptre or staff is one of the most ancient symbols of authority. The words ‘nobleman’ and ‘official’ both included the hieroglyph of a staff, so at an early stage the staff seems to have represented the authority of any person with significant power, not just the pharaoh.” (http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/royalemblems.html).
One of the possible readings for the cobra hieroglyph for Queen Iaret’s name is Wadjet, the name usually of a goddess by that same name. Usually, the hieroglyph used for the goddess Wadjet is Gardiner’s sign list I13:
The goddess Wadjet has direct association with the staff symbol:
Another early depiction of Wadjet is as a cobra entwined around a papyrus stem, beginning in the Predynastic era (prior to 3100 B.C.) and it is thought to be the first image that shows a snake entwined around a staff symbol. This is a sacred image that appeared repeatedly in the later images and myths of cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, called the caduceus, which may have had separate origins.
Her image also rears up from the staff of the "flag" poles that are used to indicate deities, as seen in the hieroglyph for uraeus above and for goddess in other places. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadjet)
A form of her name is used for the famous Wedjat eye, the eye of the Moon, the eye of Horus or the eye of Ra. The name is derived from the term wadj, referring to the color green, symbolizing the papyrus, a symbol for Lower Egypt.
The pharaohs wore the Uraeus as a head ornament: either with the body of Wadjet atop the head, or as a crown encircling the head; this indicated Wadjet's protection and reinforced the pharaoh's claim over the land. In whatever manner that the Uraeus was displayed upon the pharaoh's head, it was, in effect, part of the pharaoh's crown. The pharaoh was recognized only by wearing the Uraeus, which conveyed legitimacy to the ruler. There is evidence for this tradition even in the Old Kingdom during the third millennium BCE. Several goddesses associated with or being considered aspects of Wadjet are depicted wearing the Uraeus also. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uraeus)
Interestingly, the “spelling” of the word for goddess in Egyptian, the word ntr.t, is this:
The feminine form could also be written with an egg as determinative, connecting goddesses with creation and birth, or with a cobra, reflecting the use of the cobra to depict many female deities. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_deities).
So, in summary, the Queen, the Great Royal Wife herself had the honorific name of the goddess Wadjet/Iaret herself. The King of Egypt was not a king without the use of the symbol, and the tradition of the use of this symbol went back in to the earliest parts of the old kingdom of Egypt. This was an extremely ancient phenomenon. And it is proper that Wadjet should be identified both by a combination of both the staff and the cobra. The tradition of associating the cobra with a woman and with the authority of the king had to have started at some point in the Old Kingdom.
Note that in the quotation at the top of this article, Ritner shows that the symbol dd (cobra) was associated with the line about Katumin, and it is consistently translated as Katumin throughout the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar documents. Notice that Ritner shows that it is the symbol mtw (staff/scepter) that is associated with the line about the reign of Onitah. Pictographically, the cobra is in exactly the right place to refer to the woman who was of royal descent, and pictographically, the staff is in exactly the right place to refer to the reign of her father. And so, if it were true that the idea here was for Joseph Smith to translate actual text here, then we indeed would have nothing, but when there are things clearly going on here with pictographic, iconotropic interpretations, it is all entirely fitting and appropriate. It all fits very snugly together, contrary to Ritner.As we saw in a quote above, the staff is associated with the flag pole, the Egyptian sign for God (ntr), Gardiner's sign list, R8.
The Coptic (Late Egyptian) version of the word ntr, which is pronounced as noute, attests to the dropping or silencing of the sound of the r at the end of this particular word in some dialects of the Egyptian language. Other times, in other Egyptian words, we see this manifest as well. For example, in the Book of Abraham, one of the Egyptian gods was given the name of Elkenah. Yet, in some parts of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers that are early Book of Abraham Manuscripts, the name is given as Elkener. The name of Pharaoh Onitah (Onitos) might be another example of this. In the Valuable Discovery documents, it is given as Onitos, showing the possibility that someone in the Greco-Roman time period had attached the Greek nominative S to the name, much like the word Egyptus (Aegyptos) in the Book of Abraham. Yet, that name in other parts of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is given as Zeptah. Or, is there yet a different reason that we will yet see, that there was an S attached to his name in this form of Onitos? Indeed, there seems to be, as the reader will see.
Anyhow, the name Onitah seems to be a likely origin of the word ntr/noute, since Pharoah was thought of as a god to the Egyptians. Certain Egyptian gods are thought by some to have originated as real human beings at some point, perhaps very ancient royalty, and were elevated to be gods by the pagan Egyptians.
Many have wondered at the derivation of the term ntr in Egyptian. Note that the primary ideas we are working with are poles, flags and serpents, according to the pictographic evidence. If we start our search in Hebrew, which is a related Afro-Asiatic language, we find a very interesting term which is tann or tannin (Strongs 8577), meaning sea serpent (leviathan) or dragon. Notice the interesting pattern here that the T and the N are transposed in this word from the NTR word in Egyptian. We should probably make mention of the Titans from Greece, a similar word applied to giant deities, a name which similarly has an uncertain derivation, yet seems to fit this context well.
The nearest word in Hebrew that resembles NTR is the term is nathar (Strongs 5425), meaning to jump, or to agitate. According to some sources, in the Berber language, NKR means to rise up, or to get up. (https://www.religiousforums.com/threads/is-the-root-meaning-of-ntr-neter-god-nut-neith-hathor-ra-horus.189735/page-2). The claim by some scholars is that the ancient Egyptian T is pronounced like the English CH, and some Egyptologists propose a sequence of consonantal changes from an original K to Ky to T, meaning that the original word in Egyptian was probably NKR. (https://www.religiousforums.com/threads/is-the-root-meaning-of-ntr-neter-god-nut-neith-hathor-ra-horus.189735/#post-4850988). However, it is equally as possible that NT and NK forms simply co-existed in various dialects and language families, and were cognate, and had a certain amount of interchangeability.
In Sanskrit, the word for crocodile is nakar (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Crocodiles-help-scholar-link-Indus-Valley-Sangam-era/articleshow/29073088.cms). Of course, the crocodile is a reptilian. The Indian cobra is the naja naja. In Sanskrit, the word for cobra is naga. In the Indian subcontinent, naga is also the word for a deity that takes a serpentine form. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāga). China is also known to have a mythology about dragons that are deities or heavenly beings. The word naga in Sanskrit is derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *(s)nek-o, meaning “snake.” This word has what is called an “s-mobile,” meaning, that the S in some forms of the Indo-European derivations of this word is there, and sometimes not. The Germanic derivation is *snek-a, and of course, being that English is partially a Germanic-derived language, we have it in English as, you guessed, it: snake. But as you can see, since, the S is mobile, it manifests in Sanskrit as naga, even though Sanskrit is an Indo-European language. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāga) . Interestingly, the cognate to the Proto-Indo-European word for serpent in Semitic is NKhS, or nahas, or in the Hebrew, nakhash (Strongs 5175). Note that in this cognate, the S is no longer at the front of the word, but is transposed to the end of the word. The S is getting pretty mobile between language forms indeed. Now, in Hebrew, the word nakhash is derived from a primitive root with the same pronunciation (Strongs 5172), which means to hiss, or to whisper a magic spell, or prognosticate, or to observe signs/omens. So, it is because of the snake’s hiss that it is derived from this root. Now, interestingly, we saw earlier that to lift or to rise or to get up in the Berber language is NKR. But the other forms in Hebrew for this kind of idea are interesting. For example, nasah (Strongs 5375) means to lift. Nasas (Strongs 5264) means to be high or conspicuous. And now for a clincher, that seems to indicate we are indeed on the right track. The derived word from nasas that we are looking for is nes (Strongs 5251), which means a standard, a signal, an ensign, a flag, or a pole. Similarly, we have nasik (Strongs 5257), meaning a libation, a molten image, or a prince (by anointing). And then this is derived from nasak (Strongs 5258), meaning to pour out, to cast metal, a libation, or to anoint a king. Now, yet again, we see once again, the S and the K transposed from both the nakhas form, as well as the *(s)nek-o Indo-European form. Here we see in these words the makings of a molten image, or an image of a false god, and the anointing of a king Pharaoh of Egypt, who became a god over time in the minds of the pagan Egyptians.
Remember that in Facsimile number 1 of the Book of Abraham, the god Sobek which was a crocodile in the water, figure 9, is the idolatrous god of Pharaoh. Indeed, in Sanskrit, it is NKR, which in Egyptian is NTR/NKR. And the name Sobek has 2 out of the three consonants we have been working with here the whole time.
Now, remember that the form of the name of Pharaoh Onitah as it was given in the Valuable Discovery documents in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers is Onitos, ending with what appears to be, yet again, the transposing/migrating S with an NT/NK form, interestingly enough, that is very same thing we see in the above forms of the word.