A colleague who is not an Egyptologist asked me for suggestions of videos to show her students as part of the course she is developing on ancient Egypt. Nothing really came to mind, so I turned to Egyptological friends for ideas. One of them suggested this wonderful short film by Shadi Abdel Salam, The Eloquent Peasant. The tale of The Eloquent Peasant dates to the Middle Kingdom (circa 2040-1782 BCE) and is a text students have to translate in Middle Egyptian class. It is really a story that “illustrates the value [ancient Egyptian] society placed on the concept of justice and equality”.
Having translated said text back in uni but having never seen the movie, I decided to take a look… and it is stunningly beautiful, elegant and simple. I really wish my Arabic were much better so I could enjoy the eloquent speech… but you do not need to understand Arabic to appreciate it. I might try reading a translation of the text (which you can find in Miriam Lichtheim’s Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms) while watching the movie.
This little clip just made my day. Enjoy.