Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 191


Greek text:   InscrMetr_5 ,   InscrMetr_35 ,   InscrMetr_6
Provenance:   Apollonopolis Magna , Egypt
Date:   late 2nd century B.C.
Tags:     women
Format:   see key to translations

The Greek epitaphs of this family were found in the necropolis of Edfu, alongside their hieroglyphic epitaphs ( AET_4.16 , AET_5.8 ). They were a bi-cultural family, who all had Egyptian as well as Greek names. Ptolemaios was called Pamenches, his wife was Hatheritis, and their son was Pasas. For more details about the family, see T. Christensen & al., "Land and Taxes in Ptolemaic Egypt", pp. 44-46 ( Google Books ).

From line 12 of A, it appears that Apollonios died during the war between Ptolemy IX and Ptolemy X in 103-101 B.C.   It is likely - given the strong emphasis on brothers - that the second Apollonios, commemorated in C, was the brother of Ptolemaios; in which case he employed the same poet, Herodes, to write epitaphs for his brother, his wife, and his son.

The translation of A is copied from S. Barbantani, in "Hellenistic Studies at a Crossroads: Exploring Texts, Contexts and Metatexts", p. 304. Part of the translation of B is adapted from J. Rowlandson, in "Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers", pp.41-42 & n. 37 ( ). There are French translations of all three inscriptions by E. Bernand, "Inscriptions métriques de l’Égypte gréco-romaine", pp. 54, 176, 60 ( Persée ). There is a German translation of A by S. Pfeiffer, "Griechische und lateinische Inschriften zum Ptolemäerreich und zur römischen Provinz Aegyptus", no. 32 ( Google Books ).

[A]   Having learned of my homeland, of my identity and of my father, O stranger, proceed further on your path with good fortune. For I am Apollonios son of the illustrious Ptolemaios, whom the Euergetai honoured with a diadem, sacred prerogative of the glory of the "kinsmen". His goodwill made him proceed inland, and as far as the Ocean. Therefore, looking to the noble glory of my father, I was seized by the desire of attaining the same virtue, and of choosing the way that is worthy of my beautiful homeland: 10 this high, sacred city of Phoibos; and sailed out together with the acquaintances of my father, O excellent stranger, when Ares of the sceptres came to Syria. And I was benevolent, preserving sweet loyalty, and, at the same time surpassing all with my spear and my boldness. How Fate {Moira}, who spins human destinies, tamed me, why should you learn this? I was remembering the sweet homecoming, still hungry for my youth, without fulfilling my desire to see my children, whom I had left in their chambers. Having learned these things, stranger, I hope you can say to my father, who buried me: 20 "Do not torture yourself, remember the human destiny", and I pray that you can tread a prosperous path of good fortune, and with you your loving children.

Good Apollonios, greetings!

Written by Herodes.

[B]   After learning about the daughter of Euagoras who is under this tomb, O stranger, proceed with good fortune along this road among the rocks of mountainous Bachthis, where the sacred seat of Persephone has received and comforted me - I who have an everlasting renown among men on earth, known to all who come to this fatherland of mine. My name, O stranger, is Aphrodisia, whom Ptolemaios wedded; he was excellent in counsel and with his spear, and he always showed a pure light in the army of Phoibos {Edfu}, 10 bearing the heavenlike reputation of a kinsman. I was considerate to him during our life together, and also to the children we had, whom I left in vigour. Time that watches over everything separated me from them, along with the Fates {Moirai} who spun out my doom on their immortal spindles; and so I sadly moan in Hades, to which I have brought a beauty of manifold delights. And my husband buried me, his spouse, earnestly showing the concern that he had for me. You have performed an excellent service for your wife, you have acted nobly in your heart, 20 so that she shall live even beside Persephone. Having learnt this, O stranger, pass by on your path with a joyful mind, with good fortune for yourself and your children, and say to those who duly buried me: "May you remain unfading on earth, for as long as I dwell in the house of Persephone."

Good Aphrodisia, greetings!

Herodes wrote it.

[C]   . . . but I cannot so much grieve about children: I left my brother of the same age, which whom I was raised. I never allowed him to go away far from me, I always induced him to stay in step with my feet. Alas, who ever separated me from your love, dear brother, if not the folk of the spindles who make no distinction between men? While I was alive you embraced me, and now that I am dead 20 you have duly buried me with precious care. But one thing I beg you, my sibling, do not be persuaded still to torture your soul because of what I have suffered. And you, O stranger, after you have asked the heaped earth to comfort me lightly, go on your way with good fortune; for I am Apollonios the benefactor, whom the kings judged worthy to be glorified by [? their] friendship.

Herodes wrote it.

inscription 192

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