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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 1


EPITAPHS OF BUCHIS BULLS


Date:   (A) 180 B.C. ,   (B) 164 B.C. ,   (C) 29 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations
Translated by: H.W.Fairman ( IBucheum_7, IBucheum_8, IBucheum_13 )

The worship of the sacred Buchis bull in Egypt provided some continuity through periods of political turmoil, although even the bull occasionally needed protection from attack. The bull in A lived through the rebellion in Upper Egypt that lasted until 186 B.C.; the bull in B was in danger when Egypt was invaded by Antiochus IV of Syria; and the bull in C survived the Roman conquest of Egypt, dying about 8 months after queen Cleopatra.

The Buchis bull continued to be worshipped for several more centuries under Roman rule; see the last funerary stela of a Buchis bull (317 A.D.).



[A]   Year 25, Tybi 11 {14th February 180 B.C.} under the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt [heir of the Philopators, chosen of Ptah, mighty is the ka of Re, living image of Amun], son of Re [Ptolemy, living for ever, beloved of Ptah], the two gods Epiphanes, the Mistress of the Two Lands [Cleopatra], beloved of the Osiris, the beneficient ba. On this day the majesty of this god went up to heaven, Buchis the living ba of Re, the manifestion of Re, who was born of the Great Cow. The length of his life was 14 years, 10 months, and 24 days. He was born in year 11, Mecheir 13 {22nd March 194 B.C.} . . .

Buchis bull   "King Ptolemy V offers
the bull the sekhet, the
symbol of the fields."   (A)


[B]   Year 19, Tybi 7 {6th February 162 B.C.}. . . on this day, the majesty of this noble god, Buchis, the living ba of Re, the manifestation of Re, who was born [of Ti-Khnu]mt, went up to heaven. The length of his life was 17 years, 9 months, and 6 days and 11 hours. He was born in year 25, month ... of Peri, day 2[.] {? May 180 B.C.}of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Son of Re, who lives for ever, in the Southern City. He reached Thebes in year 2, Phaophi 15 {20th November 180 B.C.}. There was an attack by many foreign countries agains Egypt in the year 12, and great civil strife broke out in Egypt. The great wall of Thebes was manned by foreigners. Thereupon the burghers of Hermonthis came to Thebes the mighty. Then their hearts were sore afraid for this god, and they performed the ceremonies of transporting him to Hermonthis [in] year 12, Epeiph the third epagomenal day {1st October 169 B.C.}. [May he remain] on his throne for ever and ever.

[C]   { Three extracts from the inscription are shown here, describing the three principal events in the bull's life: death, birth, and installation. }

Utterance of the Osiris Buchis, living ba of Re, manifestation of Re, who was born of the great cow.

Year 1, Pharmouthi 21 of Caesar {Augustus; 17th April 29 B.C.}, the mighty one, beloved of Osiris Buchis, Great God, Lord of the House of Atum. On this day, the "second arrival" day {16th day of lunar month}, the majesty of this noble god went up to heaven as Re the Old {the previous Buchis bull}.

* * *

In the year 28, Phamenoth 12 {of Ptolemy XII; 15th March 53 B.C.}, "The Night of the Favourite of the Osiris Buchis", in the time of the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands {there is no name in the cartouche}, son of Re, Lord of Diadems, there appeared Buchis, the living ba of Re, the manifestation of Re, who was born of the great cow Teren, united with the eight gods.

* * *

He came to Hermonthis in the goodly festival of the twentieth day of Pachon, the festival of Mentu, Lord of Hermonthis, his seat of eternity. He reached Thebes, his place of installation, which came into existence aforetime, beside his father, Nun the Old. He was installed by the king himself in year 1, Phamenoth 19 {of Ptolemy XIII; 22nd March 51 B.C.}. The queen, the Lady of the Two Lands {Cleopatra VII, but again there is no name in the cartouche}, the goddess who loves her father {Thea Philopator}, rowed him in the barque of Amun, together with the boats of the king, all the inhabitants of Thebes and Hermonthis and the priests being with him. He reached Hermonthis, his dwelling place, on Mecheir 22 {perhaps a mistake for Phamenoth 22}.

The length of his life was 24 years, 1 month, and 8 days. His ba went up to heaven as Re.

* * *

inscription 2


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