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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 20


THE TEMPLE OF HORUS AT EDFU


Date:   c. 90 B.C.
Tags:     buildings
Format:   see key to translations
Translated by: D.Kurth


This long inscription, which is inscribed in hieroglyphs on the Ptolemaic temple at Edfu, contains a detailed account of the history of the building, down to the early part of the 1st century B.C. The whole inscription has been translated by Dieter Kurth in "The Temple of Edfu: A Guide by an Ancient Egyptian Priest". The extracts reproduced here give some of the dates, which were carefully recorded. The whole temple complex was finally dedicated to Horus on 7 February 70 B.C., and building work continued until 5 December 57 B.C.


[A]   Long live . . . the perfect youth, loved by all, whom his mother caused to appear in glory on the throne of his father . . . the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ptolemy Alexander the heir of Euergetes and his sister and wife, the ruler and mistress of the Two Lands, Cleopatra Berenice, the two Philometores, beloved of Horus Behdety . . .

[B]   This beautiful day in the 10th regnal year {237 B.C.}, day 7 of the month Epeiph, in the time of the majesty the Son of Ra, Ptolemy Euergetes, was the day of the Senut-festival, when the measurements of the temple were laid out on the ground. The first all Senut-festivals on the occasion of extending the measuring-rope at the foundation of the great seat of Ra-Harakhty {Edfu}, of the foundation of the throne-seat of the Protector of his Father . . .

[C]   The shrine of the Divine Winged Disk was completed, the 'Mesen' of the Falcon of the Golden One {Horus} was finished by the 10th regnal year {212 B.C.}, 3rd month of the season of Shemu, day 7 in the time of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Son of Ra Ptolemy Philopator, after a total of 25 years . . .

[D]   Its main gates and the double doors of its chambers were completed by year 16 {206 B.C.} of his majesty. Then trouble broke out. There was an uprising of rebels in Upper Egypt, and work on the throne seat of the gods {Edfu} was suspended. [? The rebellion] in the south [? lasted] until year 19 {186 B.C.} of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the heir of Philopator, Son of Ra Ptolemy blessed Epiphanes, the strong one, the king, who put an end to the trouble completely . . .

[E]   . . . thus completing 'Mesen' {the temple of Edfu} in superb workmanship executed by the best craftsmen by year 28 {142 B.C.}, month 4 of the season of Shemu, day 18 of his majesty, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the heir of Epiphanes, Son of Ra Ptolemy blessed Euergetes and his consort, the ruler and mistress of the Two Lands, Cleopatra. The whole work took 95 years from extending the measuring rope to the 'Entering the Temple' festival . . .

[F]   This beautiful occasion in regnal year 30 {140 B.C.}, month 2 of the season of Shemu, day 9, on the day of the union of Osiris with the left eye of Ra {the moon}, was the day of the Senut-festival in the month of Payni, on which the measuring-rope was laid perfectly at the foundation of the Pronaos of the 'First-of-the-Temples-of-Egypt'. This 'Heaven of The Lord of Heaven' {Edfu} was completed in regnal year 46 {124 B.C.}, month 4 of the season of Shemu, day 18, a total of 16 years, 2 months and 10 days from the foundation of the horizon {Pronaos} to the festival of 'Entering the Pronaos' . . .

[G]   In regnal year 54 of this king {116 B.C.}, month 2 of the season of Shemu, day 11, after the foundation trenches of the the Enclosure Wall, the Great Courtyard and the Pylon had been excavated . . . the falcon opened his wings towards heaven {the king died}. His eldest son appeared on the throne and his name was engraved on the outside of the Pronaos as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the heir of Euergetes, [Son of Ra Ptolemy Soter] . . .

[H]   His name was engraved on the Enclosure Wall of 'Mesen' {Edfu} as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the heir of Euergetes, Son of Ra Ptolemy Alexander, until he hastened off to Punt {died}. Then his elder brother {Ptolemy Soter} regained possession of Egypt and he became king of Egypt once again . . .

inscription 21


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