This document has been known to scholars for a relatively long time, but there are still some parts of the text which are difficult to interpret. There is a useful summary by H.P. Colburn, "Memories of the Second Persian Period in Egypt", pp.173-179 ( PDF ). There is a more detailed study by B.G. Ockinga, in "Ptolemy I and the Transformation of Egypt, 404-282 BCE", pp.166-199 ( Google Books ).
Top of the Satrap Stela showing offerings brought to the gods of Buto by an unnamed pharaoh.
Picture source: Stephan Pfeiffer, Entstehung und Entwicklung einer multikulturellen Gesellschaft im griechisch-römischen Ägypten, in Jahrbuch der historischen Forschung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2004, Munich, 2005, p.20The stela was dedicated in commemoration of the restoration of the rights of the temple at Buto, after Ptolemy Lagides' victory over Demetrius Poliorcetes at Gaza in 312.
|1 Regnal year 7, first month of Inundation season, under the Majesty of the Horus: "The youthful one, great of strength"; The Two Ladies: "The beloved of the gods, to whom was given the office of his father"; The Horus of Gold: "The ruler in the entire land"; the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Haaibre-Setepenamon, the Son of Re, Alexander, living forever, beloved of the gods of Pe and Dep.
Alexander Aegus, r. 317 to 311 BCE
first month of Inundation season: The first month of the season of inundation was Thoth. The date is equivalent to November/December 311 B.C.
Haaibre-Setepenamon:"The heart of Re rejoices, Chosen of Amon." Alexander is given a full Egyptian titulary, as is appropriate for a pharaoh.
Pe and Dep: Buto, Capital of the 19th nome of Lower Egypt
|He is king in the Two Lands and the foreign countries. His Majesty is in the midst of the Asiatics, while a great Prince is in Egypt, whose name is Ptolemy. He is a youthful man, strong in his two arms, effective in plans, with mighty armies, stout hearted, firm footed, who attacks the powerful without turning his back, who strikes the face of his opponents when they fight, with precise hand, who grasps to himself the bow without shooting astray, who fights with his sword in the midst of battle, with none who can stand in his vicinity, a champion whose arms are not repulsed, with no reversal of what issues from his mouth, who has no equal in the Two Lands or the foreign countries.
midst of the Asiatics: Roxanne, a Persian princess, and her son lived for a while in Babylon, where she murdered Barsine, another of Alexander the Great's wives.
Ptolemy: In 305 B.C., he became King Ptolemy I Soter, also referred to as Lagides, i.e. the son of Lagus
|As he brought back the sacred images of the gods which were found within Asia, together with all the ritual implements and all the sacred scrolls of the temples of Upper and Lower Egypt, so he restored them in their proper places. As he made his residence, named the Fortress of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Merikaamon-Setepenre, the Son of Re, Alexander, whose former name was Rakotis, on the shore of the great green sea of the Greeks, so he assembled many Greeks with 5 their horses and many ships with their troops. He then went with his armies to the land of the Syrians, with the result that they fought with him and he entered among them with his heart strong like a raptor in pursuit of small birds, seizing them in a single instant. To Egypt he brought away their princes, their horses, their ships, and all their wonders.
Merikaamon-Setepenre:"Beloved of the ka-spirit of Amon, Chosen of Re." Alexander the Great went to the Amen temple at the Siwa oasis and received the god's blessing.
the great green sea of the Greeks: the Mediterranean
Rakotis: former name of Alexandria
land of the Syrians: Syria and the rest of Asia was held by Antigonus. Ptolemy conducted a number of wars against him.
Afterwards, he made an expedition to the territory of Irem, seizing them in a single moment. In retaliation for what they had done against Egypt, he brought away their people, both male and female, together with their gods. He then returned to Egypt with his heart happy at these things that he had done.
As he was celebrating a holiday, so this great Prince was seeking benefactions for the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt, with the result that those who were beside him together with the grandees of Lower Egypt said to him:
The northern marshland, whose name is The Land of Edjo, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Senenenptah-setepentenen, the Son of Re, Khababash, living forever, gave it to the gods of Pe and Dep after His Majesty proceeded to Pe and Dep, making a circuit of the marshland that is in its entire territory, going into the interior of the swamps and examining each Nile branch that goes to the sea, in order to repel the ships of Asia from Egypt.
Irem: a region south of Egypt, in Nubia. This word was previously read as 'Mermerti", which was identified with Marmarica, a coastal region in eastern Libyan.
Edjo: Wadjet, the local goddess of Buto, which was the capital of the 5th nome of Lower Egypt.
Senenenptah-setepentenen: "The image of Ptah, Chosen of (Ptah)-Tenen."
Khababash:Khabash or Khababash, led a revolt against the Persians in ca. 337 B.C.
repel the ships of Asia from Egypt: Later, in 306, Antigonus tried to invade Egypt
|Then His Majesty said to those who were beside him: "This marshland, inform me (about it)!," so that they said before His Majesty: "The northern marshland, whose name is The Land of Edjo, it formerly belonged to the gods of Pe and Dep, before the enemy Xerxes revoked it. He did not make offerings from it to the gods of Pe and Dep."
His majesty: Ptolemy is apparently described as 'His Majesty', although at that time he was nominally a satrap, and had not yet adopted the title of king.
Xerxes: Xerxes I was king of Persia, 486-465 B.C. But since there is a long gap in time between him and Khababash, the identity of this 'Xerxes' is uncertain.
|Then His Majesty said: "Let the priests and high dignitaries of Pe and Dep be brought!," so that they were brought to him in haste. Then His Majesty said: "Inform me of the wrath of the gods of Pe and Dep, how they dealt with the enemy 10 because of the evil deed that he had done! Behold, they say that the enemy Xerxes did an evil deed against Pe and Dep, having seized its property," so that they said before His Majesty: "Sovereign, our lord! Horus the son of Isis, the son of Osiris, ruler of rulers, the ideal Upper Egyptian King, the ideal Lower Egyptian King, the protector of his father, the Lord of Pe, the foremost of the gods who came into existence afterward, after whom there is no king, expelled the enemy Xerxes from his (Egyptian) palace together with his eldest son; thus it is perceived in Sais of Neith today beside the God's Mother."
Horus ... Isis ... Osiris: the Abydos triad. The pharaoh was identified with Horus, the divine ruler of Egypt.
Sais: Capital of the 5th Nome of Lower Egypt. Capital of Egypt during the Late Period. Centre of the worship of the goddess Neith.
Then His Majesty said: "This god, champion among the gods, after whom there is no king, let me be placed upon the path of His Majesty on which a King lives!"
Then the priests and high dignitaries of Pe and Dep said: "Let Your Majesty command to give back the northern marshland, whose name is The Land of Edjo, to the gods of Pe and Dep, including its bread, beer, oxen, fowl and every good thing. Let its renewal be heralded in your name regarding its donation to the gods of Pe and Dep a second time in exchange for making your deeds successful."
Then this great Prince said: "Let a written command be made at the record office of the royal accounting scribe, saying:
(By order of) Ptolemy the Satrap. The Land of Edjo, I shall give it to Horus, the protector of his father, Lord of Pe, and to Edjo, Lady of Pe and Dep, from today forever, together with all its towns, all its villages, all its inhabitants, all its acreage, all its water, all its cattle, all its flocks, all its herds and everything that derives from it and which has been part of it previously, together with whatever is added to it, together with the donation made by the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Khababash, living forever,
All of this the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Senenenptah-setepentenen, the Son of Re, Khababash, living forever, donated to the gods of Pe and Dep forever, and this great ruler of Egypt, Ptolemy, has renewed the donations to the gods of Pe and Dep forever,
Hermopolis: Bakh, in the 15th nome of Lower Egypt.
Sebennytos: Tjebnutjer, in the 12th nome of Lower Egypt; Temple of Inheret-Shu, Mehyt. Home of Manetho
Khemmis: this reading has been produced by an emendation of the hieroglyphic text. Khemmis was a marsh in the Delta region, associated with the birth of Horus.
with the reward for this that he has done being the giving to him of valour and victory in happiness, while fear of him pervades the foreign lands to their full extent.
The Land of Edjo, the one who will inventory it or who will disturb it so as to seize property from it, he is in the bonds of Those who are in Pe; he is in the fury of Those who are in Dep, while he shall be in the fiery blast of the goddess Weptawi on the day of her raging. Neither his son nor daughter will give him water.
Weptawi: One of the goddesses of Akar, or hell. Aker was the embodiment of the earth, in which the dead were entombed.
Neither his son nor daughter will give him water: In the native Egyptian tradition a person's descendants, above all the eldest son, were in charge of bringing the deceased the food offerings he needed to continue his existence in the after-world.
Translated by : R.K. Ritner, in "The Literature of Ancient Egypt"
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