Ancient Egyptian Texts:  9.11


Provenance:   Luxor temple
Date:   April 320 B.C.
Script:   Hieroglyphic
Translated by:   K. Jansen-Winkeln & G. Gorre
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription was carved on the outer wall of the Forecourt of Amenophis III in the temple of Luxor. Although Alexander the Great had given instructions for some building work within the temple, in the 4th century B.C. there was probably only a small Greek presence in the south of Egypt, and this inscription makes it clear that native Egyptian officials still had some autonomy in starting new building projects.

The inscription is badly weathered, which makes the interpretation of the text difficult. However, a partial French translation was published by G. Gorre, "Les relations du clergé égyptien et des Lagides d'après les sources privées" ( Peeters, 2009 ); and then a complete German translation was produced by K. Jansen-Winkeln, "Eine Bau- und Bittinschrift am Tempel von Luxor" ( PDF ).

Ankh-pa-hered { ʿnḫ-pȝ-ẖrd - or in Greek, Chapochrates } is also named on a statuette of his father Iret-Hor-ru, son of of Nesinher and Nebakhet, which he dedicated at Karnak ( Cairo JE 37989 ).

The wife of Ankh-pa-hered ( her name is uncertain ) came from a very influential family, the hereditary High Priests of Amun. Her grandfather was the high priest Nes-Pawty-tawy. A demotic document dated 311 B.C. ( P. Brussels 8255b ) mentions a high priest called Nes-Pawty-tawy ; but K. Jansen-Winkeln suggests that he was the homonymous grandson of the other high priest - in other words, the cousin of Ankh-pa-hered's wife. A further fixed point in the family tree is provided by two demotic documents dated 283 and 279 B.C. ( P. BM 10530 & 10535 ), which refer to the scribe Wesir-wer, son of the high priest Nes-Pawty-tawy. Thus this family of priests maintained its high status throughout the changes of regime in the second half of the 4th century B.C.: from the last native rulers, and renewed Persian domination, down to the early years of Ptolemaic rule.

1 Year 4, second month of Peret { Mecheir } under his majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Philip.

The prophet of Amun at Karnak, the zmȝtj-priest of Kamutef, the head man of Thebes, the king's companion and royal scribe, 2 the accountant of Amun of the four phyles, the director of the works of the house of Amun in the wonders of the Lord of the Gods Ankh-pa-hered, who is safe, the son of the prophet of Amun at Karnak, the king's companion 3 and royal scribe Iret-Hor-ru, justified by Osiris, born of the lady of the house and musician of his 'He who hides his name' Takhybiat, justified, happy in Sokar, he says:

O all prophets, 4 all wab-priests, all scholars who enter this house, all of the house of Amun, all scribes who are experienced in the scriptures, all ʿḏ-mr-priests in their month, who can read this inscription through 5 the following speech:

Year 1, first month of Achet { Thoth } , day 1, of his majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Alexander {November 332 B.C.} : on this day I stretched out the measuring cord and loosened the cord again in the gold house of Amenope {in Luxor}, the (?) virile one of the gods, 6 the great living God, the highest of the gods, which is built of beautiful light sandstone. Its 'height' {= length} is 11 divine cubits, its width 5 (?) ½ divine cubits, its depth under the roof (?) 9 divine cubits. Completion of the laying of the (?) hard stone continued until 7 the 2nd month of Achet { Phaophi }, 9th (?) day, of this year, making 39 days .

Year 3, 3rd month of the Achet season { Hathyr }, day 1 (?), of his majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Philip {January 321 B.C.} : on this day the lord of the gods 8 repeated (?) the favour and appointed me as director of work in his house for his wonderful works.

1st month of the Peret season { Tybi }, day 7, in this same year {March 321 B.C.} : on this day I stretched out the cord and loosened the cord again 9 in the gold house of Amonrasonther {in Karnak} which is built in beautiful sandstone; its 'height' {= length} is 14 divine cubits: the 4th part (?) of the interior of the pillared hall (?), its width is 14 (?) divine cubits: the resting place (?) of the pillared hall, its depth under the roof (?) is 9 divine digits and ⅓ (?). 10 The completion of this with hard stone (?) continued until the 4th month of the Shemu season { Mesore }, day 1, in this same year, making 7 months and ⅓.

Ankh-pa-hered says:   O Amonrasonther, 'Who hides his name', 11 who made the gods, of whom both 'horizons' are secluded, Primeval One of the Two Lands, with holy arm, who made what is, and created what exists, sublime god illuminating the Two Lands, whom the whole land perceives, great ram of the gods, 12 great god of beginning, who endures for eternity and whose becoming has begun, who causes the opening of the face . . . in the shrine of his udjat eye :

I am your servant, the son of one of your servants, 13 belonging to your city of Thebes. The reward you give me shall be a long life, a long happy old age, numerous children who are respected and educated, the increase (?) of my years on earth, that my father 14 and mother may remain alive, in accordance with what I have done.

My eldest son is a distinguished and educated man named Iret-Hor-ru, who is safe, born of the lady of the house and musician of 'He who hides his name Ankh-ta-hesat (?), the daughter of the chief . . . 15 of the prophet of Amonrasonther, the scribe of the divine treasury of Amun in the first phyle Amun-hotep, the son of the first prophet Nes-Pawty-tawy ; because he acted in accordance with his father. How great is Harsiese (?) . . . The reward for him 16 shall be another 96 years, 10+ children who are respected and educated.

O all the prophets, all the wab-priests, all the scholars who enter this house, all the learned men of the house of Amun, all the scribes 17 who are skilled in the scriptures, all the ʿḏ-mr-priests in their month who read this inscription, may [you] commemorate my name in a good way (?) . . . 18 my son [to remain] in the favour of the great ram, the chief of gods, the great god of the beginning, who lives through eternity.

Concerning every wab-priest (?), prophet (?), who will protect (?) 19 my eldest son, there shall be a reward for him from the Lord of the gods consisting of 110 years of life and children, who are respected and educated; may he be buried . . . 20 at his father's and his mother's side, in accordance with what his eldest son in turn does for him, as a distinguished and learned one, and those who are to come through all eternity.

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