Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 37.1372


Greek text:   SEG_37.1372 
Provenance:   unknown location in Cyprus 
Date:   145/4 B.C.
Tags:     royal_letters
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription contains a general amnesty, with particular benefits for soldiers, which was issued by Ptolemy VIII soon after he became king of Egypt; see R.S.Bagnall, "The Administration of the Ptolemaic Possessions Outside Egypt", page 78 ( Google Books ).  However the king's claims to have a special relationship with the Ptolemaic forces on Cyprus are unconvincing - his only previous connection with Cyprus was that he twice tried to invade the island, and failed on both occasions.

The inscription is poorly preserved, and the attempts of various modern scholars to fill in the gaps in the text are at best tentative. The text used for this translation is taken from F.Piejko, "An Act of Amnesty and a Letter of Ptolemy VIII to his Troops on Cyprus" ( Persée) ). 

[A]   . . . of the 26th year and he has ordained that no-one [shall bring an accusation] against anyone about these matters [in the future], nor shall anyone hear a case [about accusations that are still being made]; and he has ordained that those who went into hiding [in previous times], because they were subject to accusations, shall return [to their own homes and resume] their former occupations and shall recover [what is still] unsold out of the personal possessions that [each of them pledged] on behalf of these matters.

Those who are serving as soldiers shall not pay [anything that is due for taxes]; and he absolves the soldiers, both the foot-soldiers [and all the cavalry] who [owe anything] from the [account of the weapons] that were distributed; [and he remits everything else] 10 that is owed [by them for] the cost [of what they received from the royal treasury]; and he has ordained [that no-one] shall act fraudulently concerning anything [that has happened previously], nor shall anyone by [any] device act in contravention [of these provisions]; nor shall anyone who has been appointed [to be in charge of affairs] investigate anyone [concerning any of these matters, and if they act otherwise], they shall be punished by death.  Exhibited . . . from the letter sent by the king:

[B]   King Ptolemaios to the foot [and cavalry] and naval [forces] stationed in Cyprus, greetings.  We think that you should [know], by receiving [this letter, that] at your instigation [everything] in [Cyprus has happened] as was proper for us, and [we] have taken [control] of affairs in Egypt; 20 [because] you held everyone [who came] from [the island] in great respect, together with those who were summoned from outside by us.  Recalling [these things], and our dealings with you [and your goodwill, and being now even] more aroused and eager [to grant you something] in return, [since you have sworn] that through your whole life and until your last breath you will preserve [the state of affairs for us],   we have ordered that you shall all [be given] a salary for life, [which none of our] predecessors is recorded to have done, and the [other things that we mentioned when we came] to Pelousion, adding . . .      

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