The Expression jꜣw nfr wrt in Offering Formulas of the Old Kingdom

Petrova Anastasiya A.

The expression jꜣw nfr wrt often used in offering formulas of the Old Kingdom is traditionally explained as a prayer for «good old age», i.e. as an expression of the dead man’s wish to die old. It can be read either as ꜣw nfr wrt or as smsw nfr wrt, the sources of the period in question showng some proofs for both possibilities. In most cases the position of Aw nfr wrt ithin the formula is clear: it stands after the request for burial (qrs), and one can assume that these constructions are connected, the expression in question being not an independent request, but a subordinate construction (possibly, an adverbial clause). In some cases, though, the expression Aw nfr wrt is independent. Some of the sources at her disposal make the author doubt that «old age» is the only adequate translation of ꜣw nfr wrt. It seems to denote not so much the age as some qualities acquired with age (physical age appears to be connected with the growth of social status, with achievement of a certain high social position), dignity or even greatness and perhaps respect, esteem, etc. It was this dignity that an Egyptian sought in afterlife.

Keywords: ancient Egypt, Old Kingdom, offering formula, religion