Ra the Egyptian god
Ra’s puns in a nutshell
Ra is written 𓇳 rˤ ra . Since vowels didn’t seem to count with the ancient punners, his aspects are puns with all words written with R, plus some vowels before or after that. Egyptian vowels are ȝ , ˤ , ỉ , y , w .
- Ra is the sun god, because his name rˤ means “sun”. It’s that simple.
- Ra is identified with Horus as Ra-Horakhty and depicted with a falcon head, because rˤ means “day” and is the name of Ra, and hrw also means “day” and puns with Horus. They’re synonyms.
- Ra is identified with Atum, because r-ȝw means “everything” and puns with Ra, and tm also means “everything” and puns with Atum. They’re synonyms. ↓
- Ra is identified with Aten, because rˤ for “sun” is the name of Ra, and ỉtn for “[sun] disc” is the name of Aten. They’re synonyms. ↓
- Ra has to expel monsters from his barque, because ȝr means “expel” & “drive away”. The same word also means “suppression” & “oppression”, so it may appeal to spooks.
- Ra is a spook symbol, perhaps because wr-ˤȝ means “great magnate” & “great nobleman”. The aristocrats perhaps made their unwitting subjects worship the embodiment of aristocracy. ↓
- Ra is a spook symbol, perhaps also because r-ˤȝ means “to greatness”, with ˤȝ “great” often referring to the aristocracy such as magnates & nobles. The main problem here is that the prefix r- “to” has a gazillion of grammatical meanings, so it’s hard to guess which one they meant. ↓
- As a hint, the Egyptian people were sometimes called “cattle of Ra”. ↓
- Ra’s 2 barques are symbols of spookery, because the “day barque” named wỉȝ-n-ḥḥw puns with ỉȝw-n-ḥḥw “worshiped by millions”, while the “night barque” named msktt puns with mỉ-s-ktt “like a little person” and with mỉ-s-kt “like another person”. The spooks love to be worshiped by millions, but pretend to be other people when committing their crimes of corruption! ↓
- Ra’s worst enemy is Apophis, likely because ˤȝpp “Apophis” puns with ˤȝ-ỉpp “the great ones investigated”, which also means “great reckoning”. It’s the aristocrats’s only fear: the common people investigating them, and the great reckoning that would follow.
Ra as pun with wr-ˤȝ for “greater noble” & “king”
The best pun for Ra is with the compound 𓅨𓉻 wr-ˤȝ ur-aa , which means “greater nobleman” or “greater nobility”. wr means “great” & “noble”, and ˤȝ also means “great” & “noble”. So wr-ˤȝ means something like “greater noble” or “great of the great”. It is often translated as “prince”, “grand duke” or “very great one”, referring to foreign noblemen, but also to Egyptian ones.
If this is the main intended pun, then Ra would stand for the Egyptian aristocracy in general, while the other Egyptian gods would stand for more specific aspects of rulership, such as secrecy or deception.
As for the pun similarity: The initial w is a vowel and would probably not deter our ancient punners. They would still feel that wr-ˤȝ ur-aa is similar to rˤ ra . Interestingly, there’s also a late Coptic Egyptian term ⲣⲣⲟ rro for “king”, derived from ⲟⲩⲣⲟ ouro , and that from Ancient Egyptian wr-ˤȝ ur-aa . So, at least in Coptic Egyptian, the term has lost its w , and puns very well with Ra.
(Note about the glyphs: The biliteral glyph for wr is 𓅨 the swallow, so the original meaning was probably “great height” & “high position”. This glyph is easily mistaken for 𓅪 the sparrow, which means the exact opposite, i.e. “lowliness”.)
Egyptian wr-ˤȝ = prince, ruler, king
Coptic rro, ouro = king, be king, reign
ⲣⲣⲟ rro : king — Coptic (CDO)
ⲣⲣⲣⲟ rrro : be king, reign — Coptic (CDO)
ⲣⲣⲟ rro : (Sahidic) king; Alternative forms: ⲉⲣⲣⲟ (erro) – Sahidic; ⲟⲩⲣⲟ (ouro) – Bohairic — Coptic (Wikt)
ⲟⲩⲣⲟ ouro : (Bohairic) king; Alternative forms: ⲣⲣⲟ (rro) – Sahidic; From Demotic (pr ˤȝ, “king”), from Egyptian (pr ˤȝ, “palace, pharaoh”). The initial p has been reanalysed as a masculine singular definite article and omitted. — Coptic (Wikt)
Behold, I am a great one, son of a very great one.
m =k wỉ wr zȝ wr-ˤȝ𓅓𓂟𓎡𓅱𓀀𓅨𓅭𓅨𓂋𓉻
He cleansed himself with a divine oath in front of these kings and princes of Lower Egypt
swˤb.n=f sw m ˤnḫ nṯr ḫft-ḥr nn nswt wr-ˤȝ n.w tȝ-mḥ,w𓋴𓃂𓈖𓆑𓇓𓅱𓅓𓋹𓊹𓐍𓆑𓏏𓁷𓇒𓈖𓇓𓏏𓇓𓏏𓇓𓏏𓀙𓏪𓉼𓏥𓏌𓏤𓇿𓇇𓈅𓊖
Ra as pun with r-ˤȝ for “entirety” & “to [be] nobility”
The Egyptian word 𓉻 ˤȝ , probably pronounced something like aa , means “great”, with a 1000 derivations. One derived meaning is “nobility”, so the aristocrats would have loved this word. It’s the oh in Pharaoh.
To make this ˤȝ aa pun with Ra, you can prefix it with r- , a very common prefix in Egyptian. The basic meaning is “to”, and it roughly corresponds to Semitic ˀl and l- (Egyptians wrote both L & R with the same letter). However, Egyptian r- it has so many meanings, I cannot figure out what exactly the spooks meant.
The most common usage of r-ˤȝ is as an adverb, translated as “greatly” or “entirely”, also “entirety”. That is why Ra is identified with Atum, who also puns with “entirety”. They’re synonyms.
If Ra was supposed to pun with r-ˤȝ , then the meaning that the Egyptian proto-spooks meant was probably more something like “to [be] nobility”. In some cases, r- is incorporated into fixed expressions, such as with “entirely” & “entirety”. It may be that the aristocrats somehow punny-read the expression r-ˤȝ simply as “nobility”, i.e. themselves.
Perhaps at some point we’ll be able to decrypt Egyptian texts to get more clarity on the grammar here.
Egyptian r-ˤȝ = all, greatly
Egyptian r = to
Egyptian ˤȝ = great, great one, master, nobleman
𓉻𓏛𓀀 ˤȝ : leader, chief, workman, commander, elder, noble, master — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓉼𓄿𓏜𓀀 ˤȝ : magnate, elder son — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓉻𓂝𓄿 ˤȝ : distinguished, genteel, noble, large, big — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓉻𓂝𓄿 ˤȝ : great one; elder; leader — Egyptian (TLA)
𓉻𓂝𓏜𓄿 āa : great, grand, mighty, important, noble, lofty, weighty, chief — Egyptian (Budge)
𓉻𓂝𓄿𓀭 āa : great person, chief, officer, governor, noble — Egyptian (Budge)
Akhenaten’s switch from Ra to Aten
Mainstream history texts about Egypt often emphasize & glorify the rule of king Akhenaten, who tried to switch worship to the god Aten exclusively, hailed as early monotheism. Aten is a sun god like Ra, but named after a different word for “sun”. However, while rˤ Ra puns with r-ˤȝ “to be great”, ỉtn Aten puns with ỉtnw “secret”. The king’s name ȝḫ-n-ỉtn Akh-en-Aten can be read as “the benefits of secrecy”.
If this pun is a clue, then Akenaten’s name switch may have been an allusion to a move from proto-spookery towards the full-fledged crypto-aristocracy that we have today. His “reforms” appear to have been short-lived though, and his newly built capital Amarna was quickly abandoned after his death. Either this was a ruse to hide his families’ tracks into secrecy, or it indicates a split, and the larger part of Egyptian nobility had not yet been ready to give up their mostly official tyranny for a disguised one.
Ra’s 2 barques as puns with disguise
Ra was said to have used 2 solar barques during day & night. Their names are somewhat odd though, and may be punny hints to the dual nature of the spook aristocracy:
- The day barque was called wỉȝ-n-ḥḥw “boat of millions [of years]”. This is letter-wise identical to wỉȝ-n-ḥḥw “warding off millions”. It also puns with ỉȝw-n-ḥḥw “praised by millions”, and even with ỉȝˤ-n-ḥḥw “enticing millions”. Since the word for “enticing” is derived from “cloak”, it could also mean “cloaking for millions”. This is the aristocracy during the “day”: Wrongly praised by millions, but really luring them with a false glorifying cloak, thereby warding off their anger.
- Another name for the day barque was m-ˤnḏ.t “of daylight”. This puns with m-ˤn-n-nḏt “pleasing & magnificent for the subjects”, which can also mean “embellished for the subjects”. It also puns with m-ˤn-nḏt “averting the subjects”. So as we would’ve guessed, the appearance of the aristocrats during “daylight” was just a embellishment. They were feigning to be pleasing & magnificent to avert their subjects’ suspicions!
- The night barque was called m-skt.t “of darkness”. This puns with mỉ-s-kt “like another person”, mỉ-s-ktkt “like a secret person”, possibly also with mỉ-s-ktt “like a little person”. It seems that when they wanted to be unseen while conducting their corrupt business, even the Egyptian aristocrats were already being secretive, and pretended to be other people. If they really already enacted themselves as “little people”, it would’ve been full-fledged spookery.
Note: In the transliteration, the 2nd and 3rd puns seem to hinge on how many Ns and Ks and Ts the word was written with. However, the Egyptians didn’t write their letters in a straight line, but in decorative interwoven clusters, and frequently omitted letters, or doubled them by using biliterals plus the original letters. This means that in hieroglyphic writing, all of these puns would’ve worked very well for Egyptian readers. Even later Semitic puns with a regular alphabet often shorten double-letters or double single-letters.
In the night barque, Re has to defend against the snake Apophis, who puns with “examination” & “reckoning”.
Egyptian wỉȝ-n-ḥḥw = boat of / ward off millions; ỉȝw-n-ḥḥw = praised by millions; ỉȝˤ-n-ḥḥw = entice millions
𓅱𓇋𓄿𓊞𓈖𓁨𓏤𓏪 wỉȝ-n-ḥḥw : the barque in which the sun sails through the sky; Etymology: wỉȝ (“sacred barque”) + n(ỉ) (“of”) + ḥḥw (plural of ḥḥ (“million”)) — Egyptian (Wikt)
𓏲𓇋𓄿𓂢𓂻 wỉȝ : to remove, to ward off, to evict, to reject — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓇋𓄿𓅱𓀢𓏛 ỉȝw : to praise, to adore, to hail, exalt — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓇋𓄿𓂝𓄑 ỉȝˤ : entice, lure — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓂜 n : to, for, because, belongs to — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓁨 ḥḥ : million; a great number — Egyptian (Vygus)
Egyptian m-ˤnḏ-t = of dawn, day barque; m-ˤn-n-nḏt = embellish for subjects; m-ˤn-nḏt = avert subjects
𓎙𓆓𓏏𓊛 mˤnḏt : the barque in which the sun sails through the sky during the morning and daytime; the day-barque of Ra; Etymology: m- (noun-forming prefix) + ˤnḏw (“dawn, sunlight”) + -t (feminine suffix) — Egyptian (Wikt)
𓅓 m : in; for, during; into; out of, from; made of; by means of — Egyptian (Wikt)
𓅓𓂝𓂝𓈖𓁻 mˤn : embellish, beautify — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓂝𓈖𓁼 ˤn : beautiful, bright of face, pleasing, be kind, magnificent — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓂽 ˤn : to return, turn back, avert, retreat — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓂜 n : to, for, because, belongs to — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓈖𓆓𓏏𓏤𓀀𓁐𓏥 nḏt : serf, serfs, subject — Egyptian (Vygus)
Egyptian msktt = of darkness, night barque; mỉ-s-ktt = like another / little / secret person
𓎝𓏏𓏏𓊞 msktt : the barque in which the sun sails during the evening and nighttime; the night-barque of Ra — Egyptian (Wikt)
𓏇 mỉ : like, according as — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓀀 s : man, someone, anyone — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓎡𓏏 kt : other, another — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓎡𓏏𓏲𓏏𓀀𓁐𓏥 ktwt : the others, the foreigners — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓎡𓏏𓅪 ktt : small, trifling, feeble, weak, little — Egyptian (Vygus)
𓎡𓏏𓎡𓏏𓀁 ktkt : quietness, secrecy — Egyptian (TLA)
𓎡𓏏𓎡𓏏𓀁 ktkt : sneak, be surreptitious — Egyptian (Vygus)
Cattle of Ra
The Egyptian people are called “cattle of Ra” in some texts. If Ra stands for the aristocracy, then this would mean they’re the “cattle of the aristocracy”. We can still see this attitude today with our current crypto-overlords. It also seems to match some Egyptian stories, such as the Book of the Heavenly Cow, where the common people rebel against Ra and he solves this problem by having his “cattle” slaughtered.
(A synonym for “cattle” is wnḏyt , which puns with nḏt “subjects”.)
Horus says to this cattle of Re
which are in the Duat, Egypt and the Desert:
ỉn ḥrw n nn nỉ ˤwt rˤw
ỉmyw dwȝt kmt dšrt𓇋𓋔𓅃𓈖𓇒𓈖𓋿𓅱𓏏𓏥𓇳𓏤𓇋𓏶𓏪𓇼𓏏𓉐𓆎𓐝𓏏𓊖𓏏𓈙𓂋𓂧𓊖