Episode 44: The Shipwrecked Sailor

A Fable of the Sea.


Sometime during the 12th Dynasty, a folk-tale was composed (or became popular) that carried with it far more philosophical content than might be expected.

We explore the tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, an anonymous hero of Egyptian exploration whose adventures in the Red Sea see him survive storms, isolation, and an encounter with an immense serpent-god.

The only image I've found of this story, given a visual interpretation. Why does the serpent have arms?! (Source: Petrie's publications, via levigilant.com - a dated translation).


W.K. Simpson (editor), The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 2006 (Archive.org Pdf Copy). Amazon page. Primary translation for this episode.

Peter der Manuelian, "Interpreting the Shipwrecked Sailor," in Festschrift für Emmer Brunner-Traut (1992). Free Online Copy.

John Baines, "Interpreting the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 76 (1990). Online pdf.

Fordham University - The Shipwrecked Sailor, online article.

St. Andrews University - Hieroglyphic text, transliteration and translation.