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Metaphors they lived by in Ancient Egypt: analysing the prophecy of Neferty & the admonitions of Ipuwer

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:54 authored by Sophie Kate Harris
For the ancient Egyptians, metaphors were predominant throughout the written expression of their civilisation, a feature that has captured significant academic attention. Yet, in spite of metaphor having long been a focus of Egyptological studies, it has frequently been treated as merely a means of linguistic ornamentation, without a deeper meaning or function in its respective text. The aim of this thesis is to identify, quantify, and qualify the metaphors employed within the Middle Kingdom texts The Prophecy of Neferty and The Admonitions of Ipuwer, in order to assess the rhetorical and ideological function of the metaphors within these literary texts. This was achieved through modern methods of metaphor analysis, namely, Conceptual Metaphor Theory. In the rhetoric of Neferty and Ipuwer, metaphors were predominantly assigned negative evaluations. The accumulation of these negative metaphors was not accidental on the part of the Egyptians, but rather, when holistically analysed, they are shown to cluster and point to the underlying mega metaphors ISFET IS BAD and MA'AT IS GOOD. While one might argue that these thematic ideological concepts of ISFET and MA'AT are already recognisable to readers in a cursory reading, an analysis of the metaphors in these texts demonstrates that metaphor is not used for mere ornamentation or as a method for padding out gaps in a text.Instead, metaphor is an integral part of rhetorically shaping and driving the compositional essence of these two narratives.


Table of Contents

1: Introduction -- 2: History of studying the texts: A critical theory -- 3: Theoretical approach: conceptual metaphor theory -- 4: Methodology -- 5: Analysis -- 6: Discussion -- 7: Concluding remarks -- Bibliography -- Appendices


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 74-86

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Ancient History, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Susanne Binder


Copyright Sophie Harris 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xii, 110 pages)

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