The Tale of Sinuhe

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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss The Tale of Sinuhe, one of the most celebrated works of ancient Egyptian literature. Written around four thousand years ago, the poem narrates the story of an Egyptian official who is exiled to Syria before returning to his homeland some years later. The number of versions of the poem, which is known from several surviving papyri and inscriptions, suggests that it was seen as an important literary work; although the story is set against a backdrop of real historical events, most scholars believe that the poem is a work of fiction.


Richard Parkinson
Professor of Egyptology and Fellow of Queen's College at the University of Oxford

Roland Enmarch
Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool.

Aidan Dodson
Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol

Producer: Thomas Morris.

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43 minutes

Last on

Thu 1 May 2014 21:30


Richard Parkinson at the University of Oxford


Roland Enmarch at the University of Liverpool


Aidan Dodson at the University of Bristol


Performances: The Tale of Sinuhe - British Museum


Berlin Papyrus Collection


The Ramesseum Papyri - British Museum


Ostrakon of The Tale of Sinuhe - British Museum


Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae


An English transliteration of The Tale of Sinuhe


Story of Sinuhe - Wikipedia





Miroslav Bárta (trans. R. Landgráfová), Sinuhe, The Bible, and The Patriarchs (Set Out, 2003)


Janine Bourriau, Pharaohs and Mortals: Egyptian Art in the Middle Kingdom (Cambridge University Press, 1988)


D. Damrosch et al., The Longman Anthology of World Literature: Volume A: The Ancient World (Longman, 2008)


Wolfram Grajetzki, The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History, Archaeology and Society (Bloomsbury, 2013)


Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms (University of California Press, 2006)


Alan B. Lloyd (ed.), A Companion to Ancient Egypt (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)


R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems 1940–1640 BC (Oxford University Press, 1999)


R. B. Parkinson, Poetry and Culture in Middle Kingdom Egypt: A Dark Side to Perfection (Equinox, 2010)


R. B. Parkinson, Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)


R. B. Parkinson, Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings (British Museum Press, 1991)


M. Puchner et al. (ed.), The Norton Anthology of World Literature Vol. A (W. W. Norton and Company, 2012)


Janet Richards, Society and Death in Ancient Egypt: Mortuary Landscapes of the Middle Kingdom (Cambridge University Press, 2005)


W. K. Simpson (ed.), The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry (Yale University Press, 2003)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestRichard Parkinson
Interviewed GuestRoland Enmarch
Interviewed GuestAidan Dodson
ProducerThomas Morris

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