Ancient Egyptian Texts:  8.18


Text:   LD iv.27
Provenance:   Philae
Date:   July 157 B.C.
Script:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   J. Locher and L. Török
Format:   see key to translations

This royal ordinance, confirming a donation originally made by Ptolemy II, was important to the priests of Philae, because it proved their rights to the proceeds of a region ( Dodekaschoinos ) that might otherwise be claimed by the priests of Elephantine, and they took care to have it inscribed in a prominent place in the temple of Isis; see G. Hölbl, A History of the Ptolemaic Empire, p. 86 ( Google Books ).

For the immediate context of the donation - the visit of Ptolemy VI to Upper Egypt in 158/7 B.C. - see R. Preys, "Le cas «Philométor» dans les temples égyptiens", pp.354-355 ( PDF ). Another inscription from the reign of Ptolemy VI gives some more information about the Nubians in Dodekaschoinos; a translation can be found in "Fontes Historiae Nubiorum", ii. 137, pp.614-630 ( PDF ).

This translation is adapted from the German translation by J. Locher, "Topographie und Geschichte der Region am ersten Nilkatarakt in griechisch-römischer Zeit", pp.341-342 ( Google Books ); and from the partial English translation by L. Török, "Between Two Worlds: The Frontier Region Between Ancient Nubia and Egypt", p. 400 ( Google Books ).

1 Year 24, month of Peritios, which corresponds to the month of the inhabitants of Egypt that is month 3 of the šmw season, day 1, under his Majesty [Ptolemy] and his sister-wife [Cleopatra].

2 Behold, his majesty is (?) benevolent to his father Osiris, the lord of Abaton, and to his mother Isis, the giver of life, the lady of Philae, mistress, lady of Abaton, 3 when they are given the land from Takompso to Syene, 12 miles on the west bank, and 12 miles on the east bank, making altogether 24 miles 4 for Isis as they exist now, with all their fields, ponds, high fields, islands, stones, plants, trees, flocks, cattle, fish, birds, all the oils, and all the things which exist there, including all the people who are made for her ka, both women and men, 5 as their ancestors did of old, to make a sacrifice of all good things for his father Osiris, the great God, the lord of Abaton, and for his mother Isis, the life-giver, the lady of Philae, every tenth day. The sacred things of their region, which they bring from the great districts before their feet, they are like those of the great temples of the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt, and to her shall be given a tenth part of everything 6 that is brought out of the land of Egypt. They shall have protection, since their territory is exempt from taxes, from whatever is asked by kings and all their envoys; this protection is just as great as the former kings used to make it.

She gives him strength over the south and victory over the north. All foreign countries are united under your feet, like Rê, for ever and ever.

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