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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 18


SECOND PHILAE DECREE


Date:   186 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations
Translated by: L.Török, W.Müller

This decree, inscribed on a wall of the Ptolemaic temple at Philae, marks the end of a long rebellion in Upper Egypt, which was finally crushed in 186 B.C. by the general of Ptolemy, Comanos (called Eumenos in the inscription). The leader of the rebellion, Ankhwennefer (called Chaonnophris in Greek) was brought back as a captive to Ptolemy, and then killed.



. . . which is the 9th day of the Egyptian month (?) Mesore, [in year 19] of the king, the young one, who has appeared as king in place [of his father, lord of the diadems] whose might is great, who has established Egypt and improved it, whose heart is kind [towards the gods, who . . . his enemies while he improves the life of his people, the lord of the years of] jubilee, [in the likeness] of Ptah, the exalted one, the king in the likeness [of Ra], the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the son of the two Gods Father-loving {Philopator}, beloved of Ptah, to whom Ra has given [the victory], the living image of Amon, the Son of Ra, Ptolemy - may he live for ever, the God Epiphanes, [the son of] Ptolemy [and Arsinoë], the Gods Father-loving {Philopator}. When the priest of Alexander, the Saviour Gods {Soter}, [the Gods Brotherly] {Philadelphus}, the Gods Beneficient {Euergetes}, [the Gods Father-loving {Philopator} and the Gods Manifest {Epiphanes} was . . . ;] the athlophoros [of Berenice Euergetes] was . . . daughter of Ptolemy; the kanephoros [of Arsinoë Philadelphus was Demetria, the daughter of] Philinus; and the priestess of Arsinoë Philadelphus was Eirene, the daughter of Ptolemy.

On this day, a decree made by the superintendents of the temples, the prophets, the keepers of the secrets, the priests who enter the sacred place and adorn the gods with garments and the scribes of the gods' words, and the personnel of the House of Life, and the others priests from the shrines of Upper and Lower Egypt, who are in Alexandria, they being gathered at the sanctuary of Isis and of the two Gods Brotherly {Philadelphus}, the two Gods Beneficient {Euergetes}, the two Gods Father-loving {Philopator}, and the two Gods Manifest {Epiphanes}, the Lords of Bright-eye {Egypt}, after it was reported to his majesty by the confidant of his majesty, the beloved of the king, the commander-in-chief of the cavalry, Aristonicus, son of Aristonicus, about Eumenos, who is among the top favourites of his majesty, saying, "He {Eumenos} has campaigned in South-land {Upper Egypt}, in the district of Dominion {Thebes}, against the rebel, the enemy of the gods, Ankhwennefer. Now the son of the enemy leader is dead, together with the band of Nubians who had joined him; he {Eumenos} has slaughtered them and seized that insurgent alive," then they {the priests} said:

Whereas the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Son of Ra, Ptolemy - may he live for ever, beloved of Ptah, the son of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt and the ruler, the Lady of the Two Lands of Egypt, Arsinoë, the two Gods Father-loving {Philopator} - and his wife, the ruler, the Lady of the Two Lands of Egypt, Cleopatra, the two Gods Manifest {Epiphanes}, have been doing every good thing in the 'Riverbanks of Horus' {Egypt} and what is on them and those who are in charge of their excellent offices in their entirety, their hearts being well disposed towards the gods, * * *

{The next section enumerates the ways in which the royal couple had favoured the temples and priests of the Egyptian gods, financially and otherwise.}

In return for these good deeds, which [the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Son of Ra,] Ptolemy - may he live for ever, beloved of Ptah, the God Manifest {Epiphanes} has done, all the gods and goddesses have granted to him the following success.

The rebel against the gods, {Ankhwennefer}, he who had made war in Egypt, gathering insolent people from all districts on account of their crimes, they did terrible things to the governors of the nomes, they desecrated (?) the temples, they damaged (?) the divine statues, they molested (?) the priests and suppressed (?) the offerings on the altars and in the shrines. They sacked (?) the towns and their population, women and children included, committing all kinds of crimes in the time of anarchy. They stole the taxes of the nomes, they damaged the irrigation works.

The king of Upper and Lower Egypt Ptolemy, loved by Ptah, has given many orders and showed considerable care for protecting the temples. He stationed Greek troops and soldiers of people who had come to Egypt, who obeyed his orders, being joined with him and being like people born with him. They did not allow the rebels, who had instigated war against him and against his father, to approach (?). His Majesty caused that great quantities of silver and gold came to the land to bring troops to Egypt, money from the taxes of the nomes, in order to protect the temples of Egypt against the impious men who violated them.

On the 3rd of Mesore it was announced to his Majesty: Ankhwennefer has been captured alive in the battle against him in year 19, on the 24th day of Epeiph. His son was killed, the commander of the army of impious men, together with the leaders of the Nubians who fought on his side. He was brought to the place where the king was. He was punished by death for the crimes, which he had committed, and so were the other criminals, those who had rebelled in the sedition, which they had made. * * *

{ The next section instructs that statues of the king as 'Lord of Victory' should be erected in all sanctuaries in the land; and the day of the presentation of the report of the victory, as well as the day of the victory over the rebels, was to be celebratd in temples every year.}

And when [the statue of the king is brought out in procession,] then also the statue of the queen shall be brought forth and paraded with him on these days. And furthermore the statue of the Lady of the Two Lands of Egypt shall be placed at the side of the royal statue on these days, every year and every half a year. And on the night before the festivals, all ritual ceremonies (?) shall be held, making music in the way prescribed in the temples of both parts of Egypt.

This decree shall be inscribed on [a stele of hard stone], [in hieroglyphs, in demotic script and] in the Greek language, and it shall be placed in the court of the common people in the sanctuary of each temple, in the temples of the first, second and third rank, [by the side of the statue of the king], giving life like Ra for ever.

inscription 19


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