The Stone of Shabaka, the Creation of Ptah
The Stone – This document of value is engraved on a black ganito plate of 66 × 137 cm, which weighs more than 400 kg and was extracted from the quarries of Wadi Hammamat. It has a deep central hole and various radial grooves because it was used for a long time. In the post Pharaonic era, as a millstone. It was found in 1805 and donated to the British Museum by the Count of Spencer shortly after Jean Francois Champollion had deciphered the Rosetta Stone.
The Hieroglyphic Text – The inscription on the Pieta of Shabaka is formed by 3 upper horizontal lines and 61 columns of vertical hieroglyphics of which more than 25, in the central part, are damaged. The texts came into play engraved by the Memphite scribes with copper chisels. The first to make a copy of the preserved hieroglyphic text was the archaeologist J. Henry Breasted in 1902 and did it right in the museum hall where the stone was exposed. The language and the form of the text are very archaic.
The Name of the Pharaoh – In the first line of the hieroglyphic inscription the name of Neferkare is mentioned twice, chosen by King Shabaka for the coronation. In this presentation text it is said that the sovereign orders to write on the stone the text of an ancient papyrus devastated by worms, before the original is lost. Shabaka’s desire to have this text engraved confirms his intention to ally himself with the clergy of Memphis and to appropriate the most ancient Pharaonic traditions, as a system of legitimizing his power over the Double Country.