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Author Topic: Can you "handle" name punning?  (Read 5433 times)

Offline Rev. Saryt

  • Sema Kau Bak
  • W'ab (priest)
  • Country: us
Can you "handle" name punning?
« on: July 27, 2011, 10:13:43 am »
Okay, so that was pretty awful, but in all seriousness - I'd love to learn more about the concept of name punning with the Netjeru.  :whistle:

I first became curious about this idea when I started reading Te Velde's Seth, God of Confusion a few nights ago. He opens with a discussion of the etymology of Set's name, and notes the following:

"There are two instances of punning with the name of Seth that I know of, and there may be more. These show that the Egyptians themselves were aquainted with this pseudo-etymology, and applied it."

He goes on to list the characters associated with Set's name, and how they were adapted to create new meaning, "I have cut Seth into pieces" and "I have cut the gang of Seth into pieces."

He concludes the section with a discussion of how the Egyptians might have looked upon the concept of punning. He writes, "The Egyptians will not have paused to consider the truth of this etymology according to our Western standards. The etymology had to be theologically tenable and true. The unriddling of the name must also unriddle the essence."

I can see how these punned names would, much like the epithets, allow reference to the Netjeru without directly calling upon Them. It seems as though it might permit one to speak of Them without inadvertently drawing their attention, if you will.

I can also see how these punned names would encourage consideration of the history and mythos behind a given Name. The story of Set being torn apart is one that personally makes me cringe a bit, as it appears to be a tale created after his increasingly negative association with invading forces and the "other," but I can understand how such a pun would perhaps enforce the idea that the defending forces were victorious, yet remind those who heard the pun of Set's might and violent potential in that he had to be fought off to begin with.

So my questions for those interested in pursuing this are as follows, one scholarly, one more regarding personal practice:

1.) As a neophyte scholar of Egyptology, I am certain that I am missing a great deal as to the significance of these punned names. What have you read about their origin/purpose or what sources might you recommend to acquire more information?

2.) Is there any significance for these punned names for modern followers of Netjer? What punned names have you come across for the gods you work with? Do they hold any significance for you, or allowed you to "unriddle the essence" of something important about a given Name?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 10:37:05 am by Ekunyi »
Rev. Sarytsenuwi
(Standardbearer of my Two | Porta-estandarte de meus Dois)
Sat Set her Bast | Meryt Heru-wer, Hethert-Nut, her Heqat
W'ab Nekhen Medetsen net Nekh | Fedw for Set and Bast

Offline Itenumuti

  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 01:15:14 am »
Good timing on bringing this up, as I wade ever more deeply into research on Renenutet and keep discovering new puns/depths of Her name.

Ren-nutet means "She Who Gives Ren", and since ren is the "true name" of the ka, it can be further translated as "She Who Is In The Name." Alternately, renen-utet can be translated as "nourishment snake," hearkening to Her role as divine nurse, as well as a slightly more distant reference to Her role as Lady of the Granaries. (Cobras were seen in the fields and were thought to protect the crops, both before and after harvest, from pests like rodents.)

I've also found this on ancientegyptonline.co.uk:

Quote
Her name may ... suggest that "rnnt" can mean "fortune" or "riches".


Her epithets include She Who Rears (possibly a raising-children pun, referring to Her as divine nurse and also the rearing motion of the cobra), Lady of the Granaries, Lady of the Fertile Fields, Lady of the Threshing Floor, and Lady of the Robes (referring to either the king's robes, birth-robes of infants, or mummy wrappings).

PS: All of the above is based on my own research and may or may not be accurate. I believe it's solid information, otherwise I wouldn't mention it, but I could be wrong all the same. :)
Senebty, Tenu
𓇋𓏏𓈖𓏌𓏲𓂉𓏛𓄿𓏭
Child of Nebt-het & Hethert-Nut
Beloved of Ma'ahes, Serqet, & Wepwawet
𓉠𓃕𓄂𓆫𓃧

Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2011, 07:32:43 am »
Wow yeah, good one to pick Emky! :D
Timu

Sat Aset, meryt Wepwawet her Renenutet


Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2011, 08:39:37 am »
Since the "Word" and effective speech are part of Heka, the puns multiply the power.

I know the pyramid texts are chock-full of puns. Probably everything is.

I'm reading the Seth book too! :cool:
Kemetic Reconnaissance Blog
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Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2011, 12:50:34 pm »
This probably sounds pretty ignorant, but I'm not sure I understand what is meant by 'name punning' with regards to the Netjeru..

Offline Asetwedjbai

  • Divined Remetj
  • Country: ca
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2011, 09:32:06 pm »
Quote from: Rapture
This probably sounds pretty ignorant, but I'm not sure I understand what is meant by 'name punning' with regards to the Netjeru..
No, not at all!

Let's use Renenutet for an example. Her name means She who is in the Name but if you break the words down in her name, or spell them slightly differently you can get different meanings:

Quote from: Emky
Alternately, renen-utet can be translated as "nourishment snake," hearkening to Her role as divine nurse, as well as a slightly more distant reference to Her role as Lady of the Granaries. (Cobras were seen in the fields and were thought to protect the crops, both before and after harvest, from pests like rodents.)...
Sometimes when you see the puns or hidden words and meanings in a god's name it can help you get a better idea of who they are. The ancient Egyptians were quite fond of puns, and some people's Shemsu names have puns or alternative meanings.

Hopefully that helps ;)

senebty, Wedjbai
Wedjbai
sat Aset-Amenti
meryt Hethert, Wesir, Yinepu, Nut &
Nebthet

Offline Itenumuti

  • Shemsu-Ankh
  • Country: us
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 12:04:05 am »
From Magic in Ancient Egypt, Geraldine Pinch, p68:

Quote
An important element in magic that largely depended on the spoken word was the use of puns. Many Egyptian words which looked different when written in the hieroglyphic or hieratic scripts sounded the same when pronounced. This was thought of as a meaningful connection rather than as mere coincidence. Much myth-making arises from puns, such as the story that men (remtj) came from the tears (remtj) of the sun god. Dream interpretation was largely based on puns. To dream of a harp (bnt) meant something evil (bint) would happen to you, but to dream of a donkey (a3) could mean that you would be promoted (sa3).


I found that interesting, and potentially useful in your exploration of Egyptian punning. :D
Senebty, Tenu
𓇋𓏏𓈖𓏌𓏲𓂉𓏛𓄿𓏭
Child of Nebt-het & Hethert-Nut
Beloved of Ma'ahes, Serqet, & Wepwawet
𓉠𓃕𓄂𓆫𓃧

Offline Rev. Saryt

  • Sema Kau Bak
  • W'ab (priest)
  • Country: us
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 08:22:17 am »
Emky: I really enjoyed your analysis of the puns found in Renenutet's name! She seems like quite a complicated and fascinating Name with such a diverse set of attributes. That is also a fantastic quote from Pinch. Really a great definition.

Wedjbai: I also really appreciated your definition and the note about Shemsu names sharing this characteristic!

Helmsman_of_Yinepu: I'm almost done with the Set book and hope to go back through and consider the many meanings ascribed to Set's name that Te Velde includes throughout the book in a more detailed manner. Do you have any thoughts on the text as of yet? (Name meanings or otherwise. :) )
Rev. Sarytsenuwi
(Standardbearer of my Two | Porta-estandarte de meus Dois)
Sat Set her Bast | Meryt Heru-wer, Hethert-Nut, her Heqat
W'ab Nekhen Medetsen net Nekh | Fedw for Set and Bast

Offline Awetitu

  • Shemsu-Ankh
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2011, 09:04:13 am »
Ekunyi: I dredged up a few puns on my name too if you'd like to hear them. :-D

First, you should keep in mind that there are two different hieroglyphs that are usually transcribed as 'a', none of which actually sounded like our 'a'. Of course, I'm using both to find puns - but only one of them actually appears in the hieroglyphic form of my name.

Awet can mean:
a sceptre (the one which the pharaoh carries together with the flail)
small cattle
'awayt' is a female robber

'itu' means 'fathers'

Thus we have the more obvious meanings:
”sceptre of the fathers“
”cattle of the fathers“ (which is interesting because the word awet is used in the famous metaphor that describes humans as the 'cattle of the gods')
“robber of the fathers“

'awayi' means 'to plunder, to rob' or, written with slightly different glyphs: 'to harvest, to reap'
'awat' is the infinitive form of 'to reap' (with the other meaning the infinitive is 'awayi', for some reason), and might also be interpreted as a participle or even a passive voice of both verbs. So we can translate:
“the reaping of the fathers“
“the (female) reaper of the fathers“
“the fathers are robbed“ or “... are harvested“
Those puns make much more sense when I tell you that 'it' means 'barley', don't they?
(although 'it' does not usually have a plural form, like the English word grain)
Also, 'awayt' is a word for something fermented, thus: ”fermented barley“ - sounds like beer to me!
('awa' means 'to rot, to ferment')

Now, if we write 'Awet' with the other 'a' sound (the vulture-glyph instead of the arm-glyph) we get a whole different context of meanings and possibilities:

'awi' as a verb either means 'to be wide, to be long' or 'to stretch, to reach, to hand over'
thus we can translate 'awet' as:
width, wideness, length (of space as well as of time), reach;
as a participle: '(female) one who reaches, one who is stretched/wide'

Awet can also mean 'offering', a kind of altar, or 'long knives'

all of these can be linke to 'itu' in a genitive construction 'the awet of the fathers';
A noun clause only makes sense in the case of „the fathers are long knives“, in all other cases 'awet' is singular, while the fathers are plural.

Btw: the 'awet-ib', literally 'the wideness of the heart', is the most common word for 'joy, happiness'

Okay, now lets be creative, and take 'awet' apart:
Aw-it-itu: “The arms/ the length/ the condition/ the action/ the documents of the father of fathers“
(“father of fathers, mother of mothers“ is a title of Nit. I guess that 'father of fathers' is also a fitting title for any of the male gods of creation, like Tem, Re, Amun, Ptah etc)
And of course, a'a is the most common word for 'big, great', thus:
a'a-it-itu: “great is the father of fathers“
or: awai-it-itu: "the father of fathers plunders/reaps"

and another one:
'tit' can mean:
- the tit amulet ('Isis-knot', 'blood of Isis')
- a (mathematical) fraction
- a pestle
'titu' would be the plural of any of these. Now we can translate
'awi-tit.u': “the titu are wide/long“
or “the two arms of the titu“
(ah, well, those translations are grammatically possible, but they don't make much sense to me. What are “the arms of the fractions“, anyway?)


Thank you, Ma'en for dredging that up for me! :-D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 pm by Awetitu »
Awetitu - aka Awi
Sa Sobek her Set, mery Heru-wer her Sekhmet-Hethert

Offline Rev. Saryt

  • Sema Kau Bak
  • W'ab (priest)
  • Country: us
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2011, 08:44:18 am »
Awetitu -- That was an incredibly insightful read! Thank you for sharing so many interpretations of your name! It absolutely fascinates me that such slight changes can bring about such vastly different meanings.

If I may:  Of the many meanings you've mentioned below, do any hold personal significance for you or, put another way, did any of these meanings help you to consider something new about yourself?
Rev. Sarytsenuwi
(Standardbearer of my Two | Porta-estandarte de meus Dois)
Sat Set her Bast | Meryt Heru-wer, Hethert-Nut, her Heqat
W'ab Nekhen Medetsen net Nekh | Fedw for Set and Bast

Offline Awetitu

  • Shemsu-Ankh
Re: Can you "handle" name punning?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2011, 11:12:30 am »
Other than my inclinations towards alcohol, not particularly, but it is always fun to find out what your name could mean. :-D

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, but it's been a hectic week!
Awetitu - aka Awi
Sa Sobek her Set, mery Heru-wer her Sekhmet-Hethert

 


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