May God Stand Between You And Harm 18th Dynasty Egyptian Blessing
Painting - Acrylic On Papyrus
"May God be between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk." Original translation from English into 18th Dynasty Egyptian.
Variations of this quote appear in the Babylon 5 episodes "A Distant Star" and "Shadow Dancing", which are likely an homage to the ending of Harlan Ellison's "Paladin of the Lost Hour", in which it is described as an 18th Dynasty blessing. I haven't found it in any of my sources, but that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't. If it is an actual blessing, it probably came from the 18th, but more likely Ellison just knows how to write convincingly. Because he's Harlan Ellison.
John Sheridan: "May God be between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk."
"May the Gods always stand between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk."
Susan Ivanova: "May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk." or "May gods stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk." (There has been some discussion about which she actually said. I have not seen the script.)
I combined the variations for my translation, which is highly idiomatic in order to maintain the spirit of the quote. Its literal translation is more like:
"(May) good god stand up (to help) between you (plural) and harm in all the empty lands (deserts) you are made to traverse."
There are many ways to translate from English into XVIII Dynasty Egyptian. I tried to make this one as ambiguous as possible.
"May" is implied in Egyptian texts of this type. The lack of articles makes it possible to interpret this quote as polytheistic (a good god), pharonic (the good god, usually the pharaoh, or the living god who walks the earth), or monotheistic (the good God). Your choice. The sun can be Lorien or Aten. Your choice. The people can be Susan Ivanova and Marcus Cole or a couple of farmers or Israelites. Your choice.
Transliteration: chc ntr r imytw tn r yt mbw dsrt shmt twtn
Transliteration for an American accent:
Akha netcher er imytoo wed tsen er yet
Mebew desert erdah shemeh tewetsen.
I used a rare form of the plural "you" at the end because it echoes the first line better when spoken, providing more harmony or "Ma'at".
While the vocabulary, proportions, and pigments are consistent with 18th Dynasty Egypt and the papyrus has been distressed, this piece is an original translation and not in the public domain. I use primers, avoid hieratic, made it 8x10 and signed it, so a first week student of Egyptian art will be able to tell this is a modern work. (Please don't make the mistake of using this as proof of any historical event!)
November 24th, 2017
Viewed 6,319 Times - Last Visitor from Middletown, CT on 10/18/2021 at 7:33 PM