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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 257


SAIS STELE OF PTOLEMY II


Provenance:   Sais
Date:   264/3 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

The stele containing this inscription was moved from Egypt to Rome during the reign of the emperor Caligula. Two fragments of it have survived, which are now in Naples (B) and Paris (C). A third fragment, now lost, is known from sketches of it that were made in the 16th century (A). From these three fragments it is possible to reconstruct the majority of the text; like the Mendes Stele, it refers to a cult statue of the king's sister-wife Arsinoē.

This English translation has been made from the French translation in the edition by Chr.Thiers, "Ptolémée Philadelphe et les prêtres de Saïs" ( academia.edu ), which should be consulted on all matters related to the detailed interpretation of the text.   See also the comments by J.F.Quack, "Innovations in Ancient Garb? Hieroglyphic Texts from the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus", pp.283-285 ( PDF ).


{ at the top : } May the gods and goddesses of Sais prolong your years for a thousand years, unite the Two Lands for a period of a hundred thousand sed festivals, record your chronicles and engrave your cartouche, O King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Mighty is the ka of Re, beloved of Amon.

1 A The year 22, 3rd month of Akhet {Hathyr   = Dec. 264 - Jan. 263 B.C. }, under the majesty of Horus, the valiant young man, the one of the Two Ladies, Great B Power, Golden Horus, He whom [his] father crowned, [King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Master of the Two Lands, Mighty is the ka of Re, beloved of Amon], C [the] flesh and beloved son of [Re], Ptolemy, living as Re forever, [beloved of] great Neith, the mother of the god, who gave birth to Re, the ruler of Mehet-weret, who brought forth the Eight Gods, who creates . . .

2 A the perfect god, image of Re, living replica of He who is in the horizon, benevolent heir descended from Neith, to whom was given the kingship by the ruler of the shores, king [while he was still in] B the belly, who took possession of his father's place as . . . C . . . uraei; he has been appointed to govern Egypt, a courageous king, whose marvels are numerous, who gathers the tribute of the countries of Asia, valiant, whose actions succeed, brave, courageous by means of his arm, who strikes the Mentiu {one of the nine bows }, who slaughters [the Iuntiu] . . .

3 A valiant when he wields the club- . . . who fights victoriously, who massacres . . ., who defeats the hostile peoples, who kills the Chatiu, who makes B a massacre of Pedtiu-Shu, master of the khepesh when he seizes the shield, who grabs . . ., C . . . his [flames (?)], who cuts off the heads of his enemies without leaving any head of his opponents, brave when he is amongst the multitude of his enemies, eyes suffused with blood, who makes their {sic} enemies die, who wields the rod, whose heart is rejoicing, who is skilful . . .

4 A who cares about his courtiers on the day of the fight, who transfixes the confederates by the action of his hands alone, the most virile man of the army, B [who slaughters] the vile by his word alone, who is able to guide the Gyblite ships . . . C . . . perfect on the boat, invincible on the chariot, who directs the cavalry without mislaying even one horse, Mahes watching ... (?), whose heart rejoices arriving at the battle, Montu during his sudden attack, Mahes on the corpses . . .

5 A who cuts off (?) with the dagger, who repels with the bow and whose arrow never misses its target, who has many soldiers . . . C . . . many Gyblite ships, many . . . boats without limit, many horses, many fighting horses, many chariots, more than the other kings, the one who controls the banks of Horus {Egypt}, foreign countries and the country of Fenekhu . . .

6 A whose name is [proclaimed] by the distant lands that bring to his door their produce that is given to Neith, all things . . . C . . . the council of the gods so that he raises a troop of recruits before him; the one who protects the Saïte nome, who makes its inhabitants efficient, who soothes the hearts of the gods of heaven, whose will has been placed on the world, who accomplishes what Neith loves because she is the one who has grasped the Two Ladies, the one who augments the monuments . . .

7 A who sets the laws as the master of Hermopolis, who takes care of the whole earth, who . . . C . . . who accomplishes what the gods of Egypt love, the mighty bull, Ptolemy, living like Re, beloved of Neith, the mistress of Sais. In the year 20, his majesty said to the dignitaries who were at his side, "Bring the nobles, the heads of the domains, the prophets and the divine fathers of the temples of Egypt to me in [Alexandria ? ...]. "

8 A "Display in procession the statue of her majesty, the queen, heiress [of the Two Lands,] Isis-Arsin[oē ...]." C ". . . the gods and the goddesses, because it is the daughter of the god. I will embellish this city far more than what was there before."   They said in the presence of his majesty: “The word of the sovereign, our master, it will be fulfilled according to all that has been said [by your majesty (?) ...]. "

9 A In the year 21 { 265/4 B.C. }, his majesty came to make Egypt excellent, to perfect humanity . . . C . . . [to discuss] the affairs of Egypt with them. And then, they returned from the place where his majesty was to the city of Sais to feed the country after the shortage. And then, he {his majesty} performed the rites to embellish . . .

10 A He has brought prosperity to the affairs of all the inhabitants, so that his name is proclaimed . . . C . . . accomplished to perfection. Then the prophets and the divine fathers of the temple of Neith arrived in the place where his majesty was; they said in the presence of his majesty: "Sovereign, our master, display the statue of the queen, heiress of the Two Lands, Isis-Arsinoē, [the goddess who loves] her brother . . ..

11 A This is the place to which all the gods ... (?). Let your majesty come to see her."   The 4th month of Peret {Pharmouthi} . . . C . . . after him, chariots and horses so numerous that they could not be counted, commanders and soldiers without end. Royal appearance at the temple of Mut, mistress . . .

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