OGIS: 654


Greek text:   Philae_128   ( CIL_3.14147,5 )
Date:    29 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

After the conquest of Egypt in 30 B.C., Octavian chose the poet Cornelius Gallus to be the first Roman prefect of Egypt. Gallus quickly put down a revolt in Upper Egypt, and set up this trilingual inscription at Philai to commemorate his exploits. The Greek version is no doubt intended to be a translation of the Latin version, but the content of the Hieroglyphic version is different.

According to Dio Cassius ( 53.23 ), 'Cornelius Gallus was encouraged to insolence by the honour shown him . . .  he not only set up images of himself practically everywhere in Egypt, but also inscribed upon the pyramids a list of his achievements.' He was soon recalled to Rome in disgrace.

The translation of the Latin and Greek versions is taken from L. Török, "Between Two Worlds: The Frontier Region between Ancient Nubia and Egypt", pp.432-434 ( Google Books ). The translation of the Hieroglyphic version is take from M. Minas-Nerpel & S. Pfeiffer, "Establishing Roman Rule in Egypt" ( PDF ).



{ line 1 }   Regnal year 1, fourth month of the winter season {Pharmuthi}, day 20 {= 16 April 29 B.C.}, under his person, the Horus: Perfect youth, mighty of arm, ruler of the rulers - [chosen by] Ptah, Kaisaros ), may he live forever.


Gaius Cornelius Gallus, son of Gnaeus, Roman knight; first praefect of  Alexandria and Egypt after the kings had been subdued by Caesar, son of the divine Caesar; victor over the revolted Thebaid within fifteen days, during which he [twice] defeated the enemy in battle, and conqueror of five cities: Boresis, Coptos, Ceramice, Diospolis Magna, Ophieon;   after he caught the leaders of their revolts and brought the army beyond the Nile Cataract, a region to which neither the Roman people nor the kings of Egypt had marched, and subjected the Thebaid, the common horror of all the kings, gave audience to ambassadors from the king of the Aethiopians at Philae, received the same king under his protection , and installed a ruler over the Triacontaschoenos on Aethiopian territory;   gave this gift to the ancestral gods and to the Nile his helper.


Gaius Cornelius Gallus, son of Gnaeus, Roman knight, who after the destruction of the kings of Egypt was the first to be appointed over Egypt by Caesar;   after he utterly defeated the revolted Thebaid in battle twice within fifteen days, along with seizing the leaders of the enemy; and captured five cities, some by assault and some by siege, namely: Boresis, Koptos, Keramike, Diospolis Magna and Ophiēon; and with the army went beyond the Cataract, the country having before him been impassable for armies, and subjected the whole of the Thebaid which had not been subjected by the kings; and received ambassadors from the Aethiopians in Philai, and obtained from the king the status of public friend, and installed a ruler over the Triakontaschoinos, a district of Aethiopia;   dedicated this as a thanksgiving to the ancestral gods and to the Nile his helper.

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