Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 198


Greek text:   IFayoum_2.114 ,   IFayoum_2.117  
Provenance:   Theadelpheia , Egypt
Date:   70 & 56 B.C.
Tags:     inviolability
Format:   see key to translations

In the first century B.C., Ptolemaic rulers were quite prepared to accept the inviolability of temples in small Egyptian towns; see for instance OGIS_740.

For the significance of inscription A and other requests for inviolability submitted by soldiers in Egypt, see Chr. Fischer-Bovet, "Un aspect des conséquences des réformes de l’armée lagide : soldats, temples égyptiens et inviolabilité (asylia)" ( ).

At the time of inscription B, Berenike IV, the sister of Cleopatra, was sole ruler of Egypt, after her father Ptolemy XII had been forced into exile. In 55 B.C., Ptolemy returned with the support of a Roman army, and Berenike was executed.

The translations are adapted from K.J.Rigsby, "Asylia", nos. 222 & 223 ( Google Books ).

[A]   Inviolable in accordance with the commandments.

To the epistates of Theadelpheia: included under my seal is a copy of the petition given to the kings by Philippos son of Timokrates, which was transmitted to us together with the ordinance responding to it. Therefore allow no one to force entry to the stated temples, in keeping with the commandments. 10 Year 12, Thoth 26.

To King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra also called Tryphaina his sister, the Father-loving and Brother-loving gods, greetings from Philippos son of Theokrates, Corinthian, one of the first friends and chiliarchs and your sword-bearers {machairophoroi}: as there are in the village of Theadelpheia of the Arsinoite nome a temple of Isis Eseremphis, greatest goddess, and another temple of Herakles Kallinikos, great god, in which also are images of you, and as certain persons are habitually, against your policy, 20 forcing ther way into the temples and harassing those serving in them; but as you, greatest kings, have ever been piously disposed towards the divine and especially towards the greatest goddess Isis, I wish to share in your great-hearted and beneficent attitude toward all, by your granting that the stated temples be inviolable, permitting no one to commit violence in them, so that the rites to the gods 30 on behalf of you and your children may be celebrated without hindrance; I ask you, common saviours, the request being harmless, that, if you think fit, you grant me the aforesaid and give orders to Apollonios your kinsman and strategos of the nome, so that he, knowing the granted inviolability of the temples, acts in accordance with the commandments and allows no one to do anything to the contrary, with no one permitted to force entrance to the temples 40 or disturb the priests or force out those who have taken refuge there or do any other injustice, so that they may celebrate without hindrance the rites for the gods and the sacrifices and libations of you and your children; and that stone steles be set up before each temple in a circle, on which shall be written the orders given by you, greatest kings, 50 that nothing be done contrary to these things, so that I may be benefitted. Farewell.

To Apollonios: let it be done. Year 11, Epeiph 23.

[B]   Inviolable in accordance with the commandment: to whoever has no business here.

To the epistates of Theadelpheia: subjoined is a copy of the petition given to the goddess queen from the priests of great Pnepherōs in the village and transmitted to us together with the command in reply. Therefore act in accord with the commandments. Farewell. Year 2, Phamenoth 3.

To queen Berenike, manifest goddess, greetings from the priests of Pnepheros, great crocodile god, 10 who is in Theadelpheia of the division of Themistos in the Arsinoite nome: we are those who celebrate unceasingly the sacrifices and libations and lighting of lamps and other rites to the gods in behalf of you and your ancestors. Desiring to have guaranteed the inviolability of the temple, so that when this is done for its increase the rituals may be the better accomplished to the gods in your behalf, as stated, we ask you, by the piety you have toward the divine, 20 to order that the said temple and the appurtenant places (from west to east 117 paces and from south to north from the Boubastieion bordering on the south to the appurtenant tombs of the deified sacred animals on the north) be inviolable, and that no one in any way be forced from them, and that whoever is shown to do so be punishable by death; and that you write concerning these things to Dioskourides your kinsman 30 and strategos of the nome to take care that the inviolability of the aforesaid temple and the appurtenant places, in keeping with the request, be inscribed, in behalf of you and your ancestors, on a stele erected at the aforesaid places, as is done in similar cases. When this is done, the divine will not be slighted. Being unable to be removed from the temple, we have given over the care of this matter to Sokrates, the actual general supervisor of the temple, 40 who will be responsible for carrying out the request, so that we may be benefited. Farewell.

To Dioskourides: let it be done. Year 2, Phaophi 17.

inscription 199

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