Today's Memory

British Museum‘s Today’s Memory

British Museum‘s Today’s Memory

British Museum‘s Today’s Memory

Friday 13th

Originally shared by British Museum

Feeling unlucky this #Fridaythe13th‬? Well, even ancient Egyptians had good days and bad days! This papyrus from around 1225 BC is a calendar of lucky and unlucky days. The oldest surviving Egyptian calendar of lucky and unlucky days dates to the Middle Kingdom (2040–1750 BC). This calendar contains parts of the records for eight months. It is one of the most extensive and dates from the late 19th Dynasty (around 1225 BC).

The entry for each day is prefaced by three hieroglyphs that indicate ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The ‘bad’ hieroglyphs are written in red. If a day is partly good and partly bad, the relevant hieroglyphs can be mixed to represent the assessment of the day. The character of a day often derives from events told in mythological history. An example of a bad day: ‘Do not go out on this day. Do not turn your back to do any work at sunset. Whoever is born on this day will die through a serpent’. An example of a good day includes: ‘This is the day on which the gods received their hearts. The world keeps the festival’

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