The Oldest Book In The World Reveals Lessons That Are More Relevant Now Than Ever


By Luke Miller Truth Theory

According to the records the oldest book in existence is- The Etruscan Gold Book which was discovered early last century whilst digging a canal off the Strouma river in Bulgaria. This book is thought to be 2,676 years old and is made of pure 24 carat gold.

However there is an older book in existence, and while it is not the oldest text known to exist, it is the first written on paper (papyrus) and dates from 2414-2375 BC making it over 4000 years old.

Instruction of Ptahhotep is of Ancient Egyptian origins and was written by Ptahhotep, a vizier who worked under King Isesi of the Egyptian Fifth Dynasty. The book is full of wisdom which is just as important now as when written, here is some of the lessons it contains transcribed from the original by Battiscombe G. Gunn.

The Ethics of Argument

If thou find an arguer talking, one that is well disposed and wiser
than thou, let thine arms fall, bend thy back, be not angry
with him if he agree (?) not with thee.  Refrain from speaking evilly;
oppose him not at any time when he speaketh.  If he address thee as one
ignorant of the matter, thine humbleness shall bear away his

If thou find an arguer talking, thy fellow, one that is within thy
reach, keep not silence when he saith aught that is evil; so shalt thou
be wiser than he.  Great will be the applause on the part of the
listeners, and thy name shall be good in the knowledge of princes.

If thou find an arguer talking, a poor man, that is to say not
thine equal, be not scornful toward him because he is lowly.  Let him
alone; then shall he confound himself.  Question him not to please
thine heart, neither pour out thy wrath upon him that is before thee;
it is shameful to confuse a mean mind.  If thou be about to do that
which is in thine heart, overcome it as a thing rejected of princes.

Following The Heart

Follow thine heart during thy lifetime; do not more than is
commanded thee.  Diminish not the time of following the heart; it is
abhorred of the soul, that its time [of ease] be taken away.  Shorten
not the daytime more than is needful to {47} maintain thine house.
When riches are gained, follow the heart; for riches are of no avail if
one be weary.


If thou be a leader, cause that the rules {49} that thou hast
enjoined be carried out; and do all things as one that remembereth the
days coming after, when speech availeth not.  Be not lavish of favours;
it leadeth to servility (?), producing slackness.

If thou be a leader, be gracious when thou hearkenest unto the
speech of a suppliant.  Let him not hesitate to deliver himself of that
which he hath thought to tell thee; but be desirous of removing his
injury.  Let him speak freely, that the thing for which he hath come to
thee may be done.  If he hesitate to open his heart, it is said, ‘Is it
because he (the judge) doeth the wrong that no entreaties are made to
him concerning it by those to whom it happeneth?’ But a well-taught
heart hearkeneth readily.

How To Treat Your Wife

If thou wouldest be wise, provide for thine house, and love thy
wife that is in thine arms.  Fill her stomach, clothe her back; oil is
the remedy of her limbs.  Gladden her heart during thy lifetime, for
she is an estate profitable unto its lord.  Be not harsh, for
gentleness mastereth her more than strength.  Give (?) to her that for
which she sigheth and that toward which her eye looketh; so shalt
thou keep her in thine house….

The Test Of Friendship

If thou wouldest seek out the nature of a friend, ask it not of
any companion of his; but pass a time with him alone, that thou injure
not his affairs.  Debate with him after a season; test his heart in an
occasion of speech.  When he hath told thee his past life, he hath made
an opportunity that thou may either be ashamed for him or be familiar
with him.  Be not reserved with him when he openeth speech, neither
answer him after a scornful manner.  Withdraw not thyself from him,
neither interrupt (?) him whose matter is not yet ended, whom it is
possible to benefit.

There are a total of 42 sections which Ptahhotep talks about in The Teachings Of Ptahhotep you can get the full copy with intro and other transcriptions HERE

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