Citing Text Collections 9: Kitchen’s Ramesside Inscriptions

Work on a soon-to-be-published SBL Press volume (Trimm 2017) led the copyediting team to clarify references to the various parts of Kenneth Kitchen’s Ramesside Inscriptions volumes. This involved not only determining the abbreviation scheme to follow (since neither SBLHS nor Schwertner 2014 includes abbreviations) but also clarifying what is contained in each of the three sections (for lack of a better term) of Kitchen’s work and the individual volumes within each section.

1. The Sections

Kitchen’s Ramesside Inscriptions volumes are arranged into three clear sections. Kitchen’s project began with the publication of an edition of the texts. Kitchen explains: “The purpose of this work is simple: to make available the principal texts of the Ramesside era (c. 1300–1070 BC) in a compact and accurate edition that should be comprehensive but handy to use” (KRI 1:xxxi). Thus the eight volumes of Ramesside Inscriptions, Historical and Biographical offer drawings of the original inscriptions.

Kitchen introduces the next phase of the larger undertaking in the final (index) volume of KRI: “It may be said here that draft translations already exist on file for the entire contents of Volumes I–VII. Publication of these is no part of this project, but is a separate undertaking (RITA)” (KRI 8:vi). A few years later the second phase of the endeavor saw the light of day with the publication of the first volume of translations (RITA) and the associated notes and comments (RITANC). Some of the translation volumes that followed were accompanied by a related volume of notes and comments (see further below).

2. The Abbreviations

SBL Press recommends using three distinct abbreviations for each part of the larger Ramesside Inscriptions project.


Kitchen, K. A. Ramesside Inscriptions, Historical and Biographical. 8 vols. Oxford: Blackwell, 1969–1990.


Kitchen, K. A. Ramesside Inscriptions Translated and Annotated: Translations. 7 vols. Oxford: Blackwell; Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 1993–2014.


Kitchen, K. A., and Benedict G. Davies. Ramesside Inscriptions Translated and Annotated: Notes and Comments. 4 vols. Oxford: Blackwell; Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 1993–2014. [Should future volumes be published, the abbreviation will be updated accordingly.]

2.1. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (see here) sets the K in KRI roman (i.e., KRI), but we prefer to italicize the entire abbreviation, following Kitchen.

2.2. Although KRI 1 bears a publication date of 1975, it is customary to treat 1969 as the initial publication year for the work, since that was when the first fascicle was published.

2.3. With KRI, we use a comma between Ramesside Inscriptions and Historical and Biographical, following Kitchen’s formatting of the title (e.g., KRI 1:xxv).

2.4. Note that the full main title of the latter two sections is Ramesside Inscriptions Translated and Annotated. What distinguishes the two is their respective subtitles: Translations and Notes and Comments.

2.5. One occasionally encounters the latter two sections identified as series A and B of a single multivolume work Ramesside Inscriptions Translated and Annotated. We prefer to distinguish the two at the abbreviation level, to encourage simple but clear referencing.

3. The Individual Volumes

3.1. KRI: Volumes in this section do not bear subtitles, so the following list merely identifies the subjects of each volume. Note that volume 7 includes addenda to all the pharaohs covered in the first six volumes and that volume 8 contains only indexes.

  1. Ramesses I, Sethos I
  2. Ramesses II (part 1)
  3. Ramesses II (part 2)
  4. Merenptah, Amenmesses, Sethos II, Siptah/Tewosret
  5. Setnakht, Ramesses III
  6. Ramesses IV–XI
  7. Ramesses I, Sethos I, Ramesses II, Merenptah, Amenmesses, Sethos II, Siptah/Tewosret, Setnakht, Ramesses III, Ramesses IV–XI
  8. indexes

3.2. RITA: Volumes in this section do have subtitles.

  1. Ramesses I, Sethos I and Contemporaries
  2. Ramesses II, Royal Inscriptions
  3. Ramesses II, His Contemporaries
  4. Merenptah and the Late Nineteenth Dynasty
  5. Setnakht, Ramesses III and Contemporaries
  6. Ramesses IV to XI and Contemporaries
  7. Addenda to I–VI

 3.3. RITANC: Volumes in this section have the same subtitles as the RITA volumes. As far as we have been able to determine, notes and comments have been published only for the translations in RITA 1–4. Note also that someone other than Kitchen authored volumes 3 and 4.

  1. Ramesses I, Sethos I and Contemporaries
  2. Ramesses II, Royal Inscriptions
  3. Benedict G. Davies, Ramesses II, His Contemporaries
  4. Benedict G. Davies, Merenptah and the Late Nineteenth Dynasty

4. Citing the Works

Kitchen writes in KRI 1: “Citations of this work should be as KRI, as volume, page and line” (KRI 1:xxxi). Thus, one would cite line 10 of the Merenptah Lachish bowl as KRI 4:39, line 10.

That strikes us as a sensible approach that is easily adaptable to the other sections. That being said, we are not yet prepared to identify this as the only citation style to follow. One might also cite the volume and text number or even add the additional “category” label that Kitchen assigns to the private monuments of contemporaries of each pharaoh. If one uses an alternate method of citation, be aware that the texts are not numbered consecutively within a volume but within each pharaoh covered. The operative principle, as always, should be to provide readers clear and adequate information that will enable them to locate the exact text or passage to which you are referring.

We ask that blog readers with more Egyptological expertise than we have email us if any of the information provided above is in error.

Works Cited

Schwertner, Siegfried M. 2014. Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete. 3rd ed. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Trimm, Charlie. 2017. Fighting for the King and the Gods: A Survey of Warfare in the Ancient Near East. RBS 88. Atlanta: SBL Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s