“Instructions of Ptahhotep”

(ca. 2200 BCE)

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Impact

Whatever their actual date of composition, the “Instructions of Ptahhotep” were undoubtedly among the most influential documents written in ancient Egypt, evidenced by the fact that numerous partial copies of the text exist. Some are written on papyrus—obviously the work of qualified scribes and intended as good copies—but others are written on plaster-covered boards or even on scraps of pottery. The latter are excerpts from the longer document and were probably the work of...