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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  9.2


EPITAPHS OF BUCHIS BULLS


Text:   I.Bucheum  3, 7, 8, 11 & 13 
Provenance:   Hermonthis
Date:   (A) 270 B.C. ,   (B) 180 B.C. ,   (C) 162 B.C. ,   (D) 101 B.C. ,   (E) 29 B.C. 
Translated by:   H.W.Fairman 
Format:   see key to translations

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 B lived through the rebellion in Upper Egypt that lasted until 186 B.C.; the bull in C was in danger when Egypt was invaded by Antiochus IV of Syria; and the bull in E 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]   { This inscription has been used by scholars to establish how the early years in the reign of Ptolemy II were counted; see the lengthy discussion by Chris Bennett in note 17 of Arsinoe II.

Year 13, Mechir 25 {22nd April 270 B.C.} [under the majesty of the King of Upper and] Lower Egypt Mighty is the ka of Re, beloved of Amun . On this day the ba of this noble god, the beneficent ba, the living ba of Re, the manifestation of Re, who was born of Thenu-heb, went up to heaven. His length of life was 20 years, 8 months and 13 days. The day on which he was born was Year 14, Paoni 19 {19th August 291 B.C.} . . . of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Ptolemy . The god came forth. He was installed within (?) Thebes . . . in year 14, Mesore 23 {22nd October 291 B.C.}. May he remain on his throne for ever and ever.

[B]   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 beneficent ba.  On this day the majesty of this god went up to heaven, Buchis the living ba of Re, the manifestation 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.} under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt . . . Son of Re . . ., the gods Epiphanes, in the city of Ta-ark, in the house of Ses, Hori(?) 5 . . . son of Pa-wesher . . . [? He was installed in] Hermonthis in year 24, Paopi 7 {13th November 182 B.C.}. [May he remain] on his throne for ever and ever . . .

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

[C]   Year 19, Tybi 7 {6th February 162 B.C.} under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt heir of the gods Epiphanes, image of Ptah, chosen of Re, who does Right [for] Amun ; Son of Re Ptolemy, living for ever, beloved of Ptah,beloved of the Osiris Buchis. 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 against 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. 

[D]   { In the epitaphs of this period, the date of death is no longer recorded, but if the figures are correct, this bull must have died in May 101 B.C. }

Year 45, Khoiak 12 {3rd January 125} of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Heir of Euergetes, and Queen Philometor-Soteira, chosen of Ptah, Re, living image of Amun ; Son of Re Ptolemy living for ever, beloved of Ptah and his wife, the Ruler, the Mistress of the Two Lands Cleopatra, the Philometors, Philopator, Philometor, the divine youth Philopator, Euergetes, and the Mother-loving Goddess, beloved of the Osiris Buchis, the Lord of the House of Atum, this god, a Buchis the living ba of Re, the manifestation of Re, who was born of the Great Cow, went up to heaven {sic}. [The day] on which he was born of his mother [was] year 45, Khoiak 12 in Pn-wnwt-šmꜥ-prs-n wḏꜢ-Mn (?). He was brought to Thebes, his place of installation which came into existence previously, beside his father [ Nun ] the Old. He was installed by the king himself. The day of his installation was year 51, Pakhons 22 {10th June 119}, corresponding to year four. 5 Going on the barque of Amun together with the ships of the king, all the burghers of Thebes and Hermonthis, and prophets and priests being with him. He reached Hermonthis, his living place. He who was born in Pn-wnwt, the length of his life was 24 years, 4 months, 10 days. His ba went up to heaven as Re. He was buried therein in four days. He has been placed on his throne that he might give all might and strength to the Son of Re Ptolemy, living for ever, beloved of Ptah like Re for ever and ever.

[E]   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}.

May you traverse the earth, may you be united with the Disk, and may the ray of Re be beautiful in your body. May you settle down on your image, and may it make excellent your condition. May Amun breathe forth sweet breath into your nostrils, may your nostrils inhale the goodly north wind, without ever being separated from you. May you be glorious; may you be powerful; may your ba be stable; may you grow young like the moon. May you pass through the holy cities, may you traverse the temples of the gods in their festivals. The ba of Re causes your ba to live, the ba of Shu 5 endues your nostrils. Your mother Nut, she places you within her, and is not devoid of you for ever. May you see Ḥeḥ when he shines forth by day, and Ḏt when he enters in by night. The House of Atum, may you live therein, and not perish within it for ever. 

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 is Amun who goes on his four feet, the image of Mentu, Lord of Thebes, the Father of the Fathers, the Mother of the Mothers, who formed the Ennead, who renews the life of every one of the gods. He is the image of Onnophris, the justified, the sacred image of the of Re, the bik-n-nb in . . .   

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, 10 which came into existence previously, 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. He was buried therein in one day. Ceremonies were performed for his ka at every good festival, by his true servant, his delight, his true libation-bearer, who makes his libations, the baron and count, priest of Mentu, Lord of Hermonthis, Rer-Horakhte, and his Ennead, priest of the Osiris [Buchis], Lord of the House of Atum, Kalasiris, son of Pa-Amen-Pwny (?), born of Ta-senty, that he might be granted life for ever in life, stability, and well-being.


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