Dream Stele (Sphinx Stela)

The Dream Stele is also known as the Sphinx Stele because it tells the story of the young Prince Tuthmosis who falls asleep near the Great Sphinx of Giza and dreams that the Sphinx promises him the throne of Egypt in return for Tuthmosis clearing the sand away from around it. Tuthmosis did as he was instructed and went on to become the pharaoh Tuthmosis IV. In gratitude he promoted ReHoremakhet above AmunRe, dedicated a temple to Horemakhet and placed the stele between the paws of the Sphinx to record the tale.

Sphinx Stele
Sphinx Stele Mohamadkassem, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

It has been noted by some experts that the stele may not, in fact, date to the reign of Tuthmosis. It is possible that it is a replacement for an earlier stele, or that it was placed there some time after to enhance the reputation of either the pharaoh or the Sphinx itself. The Stele is actually the lintel of a doorway from the mortuary temple of Khafre’s Pyramid.

Stele in situ
Stele in situ Kurohito, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Reproduction of Dream Stele
Reproduction Dream Stele offering scene Captmondo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The offering scenes

Left hand side

The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Lord of the Two Lands, Menkheperure Thutmosis, the appearance of appearances, bestowed with life. Greeting (the god) with a Nemset vase (spoken by the Sphinx) “I give strength to the Lord of the Two Lands, Thutmosis, the appearance of appearances”.


(spoken by the Sphinx) “I make (it so) that Menkheperure appears on the throne of Geb, and Thutmosis, the appearance of appearances, in the position of Atum“.

Right hand side

The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the lord of the Two Lands, Menkheperure Thutmosis, the appearance of appearances, bestowed with life. Making an offering of incense and a libation. Horemakhet (says) “I give strength to the Lord of the Two Lands, Thutmosis, the appearance of appearances”.

Dream stele (Sphinx Stele) copyright captmondo
Reproduction of Great Stele, Captmondo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Main Text

Year One, the third month of Akhet, on the nineteenth day of the Majesty of Horus, the victorious bull, perfect of appearances; the Two Ladies, stable of kingship like Atum; the Golden Horus, strong of sword, who subdues the Nine Bows; the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Menkheperure, the son of Re, Thutmosis, the appearance of appearances, beloved of Horemakhet, bestowed with life, stability and authority like Re, eternally.

May the good god live, the son of Atum, who protects Horakhty, the living statue of the Lord-of-All, the sovereign, created by Re, the excellent heir of Khepri, with a face as beautiful as (that of) his father, who came forth complete, equipped with his form of Horus upon him, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, beloved of the gods, the possessor of charm with the Ennead, who has purified Iunu (Heliopolis), who appeases Re, who has decorated the Temple of Ptah, who presents Ma’at to Atum and who rises her before the One-Who-is-south-of-his-wall, who makes monuments as a daily offering to Horus, who does all things, who seeks what is beneficial for the gods of the South and the North, who builds their temples in white stone, who decorates all their offerings, the bodily son of Atum, Thutmosis, appearance of appearances, like Re, the heir of Horus upon his throne, Menkheperure, bestowed with life.

Behold, when His Majesty was a youngster, like Horus in Khemnis, his beauty like (that of) the one who protects his father and who is seen like the god himself, the army rejoiced in his love, the royal children and all the chieftains were in his power, making him flourish, and he repeated the lap (in the Heb Sed ritual), his strength like (that of) the son of Nut.

Behold, he engaged in a pastime, amusing himself in the desert of Ineb-Hedj (Memphis) upon its northern and southern road, shooting at a bronze target, hunting lions and flocks and riding in his chariot, his horses faster than the wind, along with only two of his followers while no one knew about it.

Then the hour came to give rest to his followers, at the limbs of Horemakhet, beside Sokar in Ra-Setjaw, Renutet in Northern Djeme, Mut the mistress of the Northern Wall and the mistress of the Southern Wall, Sekhmet who presides over her Kha, Set, the son of Heka, the Holy Place of the First Time (of creation), near the Lords or Kheraha, the divine road of the gods towards the West of Iunu (Heliopolis).

Now then, the great statue of Khepri was lying in this place, great of power and powerful of majesty, the shadow of Re resting upon it. The estates of Hwt-Ka-Ptah (the temple of Ptah – Memphis) and all the neighbouring cities come to it, their arms raised in adoration before him, carrying many offerings for his Ka.

One of those days, it so happened that prince Thutmosis came, passing by at the time of midday and he sat down in the shadow of this great god. Sleep seized him, a sleep at the time when the sun was at the zenith, and he found the Majesty of this noble god speaking with his own mouth, like the words of a father for his son, saying: “Look at me, see me, my son Thutmosis. I am your father, HoremakhetKhepriAtum, and I shall give you the kingship on earth, in front of all the living ones. You shall wear the White and the Red Crowns upon the throne of Geb, the hereditary prince. The earth shall be yours in its length and width, (all) that the Eye of the Lord-of-All illuminates. The food of the Two Lands shall be yours, and the great tributes of every foreign land, (your) lifetime will be a time, great in years. My face is yours, my heart is yours as you are a protector to me, for my (present) condition is like one that is in need, all my limbs (are) dismembered as the sands of the desert upon which I lie have reached me. So run to me, to have that done which I desire, knowing that you are my son and my protector. Come forth, and I shall be with you, I shall be your leader”.

When he finished these words, this prince stared woke up at what he had heard [ ] he understood the words of this god and he put a silence in his heart. Then he said “[ ] Let us hasten back to our home in the city! We shall set aside an offering for this god and we shall bring him oxen, all the vegetables and our arms shall be raised in adoration to those who were (there) before (us) [ ] noble [ ] Khafre, the statue made for Atum-Re-Horemakhet [ ] days of festivities [ ] many [ ] of My Majesty for her, living [ ] for Khepri in the Horizon of the West of Iunu (Heliopolis) in [ ].

adapted from the translation by Kurt Sethe

Copyright J Hill 2010