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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 19


FIRST PHILAE DECREE


Date:   185/4 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations
Translated by: W.MŁller

In 196 B.C. the Egyptian priests granted great honours to the young king Ptolemy Epiphanes, in a decree recorded on the famous Rosetta Stone. However this decree had no effect in parts of Upper Egypt, which were controlled by rebels. After the rebellion was finally suppressed in 186 B.C., the terms of the previous decree were confirmed in a new decree, with the difference that the honours were now shared by the king's wife Cleopatra.

The decree was inscribed on the wall of the temple at Philae, next to the Second Philae Decree. Although it is called the first decree, it is actually later in date than the the second decree, to which it refers in a couple of places.


[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, coming together at Memphis for installation of the living Apis, in assembly at the temple of Ptah, who 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, Ptolemy and and of the queen, the Lady of the Two Lands of Egypt, ArsinoŽ, the two Gods Father-loving {Philopator} - together with the queen Cleopatra, the two Gods Manifest {Epiphanes}, has been giving benefits to the temples and everyone in his kingdom, doing everything fittingly, as did Thoth the great one, being in his heart kind to the gods. He gave much money and grain in abundance to the temples of Egypt. He left their shares apomoira from vineyards and gardens like those which had been paid under his father. He granted that the taxes, which were due to the government, should be remitted until the 19th year.

* * *

He also remitted the shares of byssus which were due to the government from the temples until year 19. Furthermore they ordered that the one artaba of each arura-measure, which was collected from the fields of the gods and the vineyards of the divine domains of the gods, should be remitted; and that no-one should be seized as crew for galleys. They removed the taxes for the services of the Goddess ArsinoŽ Philadelphus and of the Gods Philopatores, as being burdensome to the people.

The queen, Lady of the Two Lands of Egypt Cleopatra, the sister and wife of king Ptolemy - may he live for ever, beloved of Ptah, gave presents of silver, gold, precious stones in great quantity for the other statues of the goddesses of Egypt, making sacrifices, pouring libations and the rest of the ceremonies performed in the temples of the gods and goddesses of Egypt.

In return for these things, all the gods and goddesses of Egypt have granted many years of might, strength, life, welfare and health, to the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Son of Ra, Ptolemy - may he live for ever, beloved of Ptah, and to his sister-wife, Lady of the Two Lands of Egypt Cleopatra, the two Gods Manifest {Epiphanes}, establishing their kingdom in the whole land, with their dignity consolidated for them and their children for ever.

{ There follow details of the honours granted to the king and the queen.}

inscription 20


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