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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  6.6


BILINGUAL LETTER FROM PTOLEMAEUS TO ACHILLES


Date:   3rd century B.C.
Language:   Demotic
Translated by:   G.H. Renberg & F. Naether
Format:   see key to translations

  This is one of very few surviving examples of bilingual Greek-Egyptian letters, deliberately changing from Greek to Demotic in the middle, because it was more appropriate to describe a dream in the Egyptian language. Both men have Greek names, but it seems likely that they came from native Egyptian or at least mixed-race families. 

  The letter is preserved on three non-joining fragments of papyrus. The English translation is taken from G.H. Renberg & F. Naether, "I Celebrated a Fine Day" ( academia.edu ).


[1R] {Greek:}   After having received (?) [a letter from you, I wrote this?].

Ptolemaeus gives Achilles greetings. After having written to you concerning the . . .

[2R]   . . . it also (?) seemed good to me that I should fully inform you about my dream, so that you will know in what way the gods know you. I have written below in Egyptian so that you will know precisely. When I was about to go to sleep, I wrote two short letters, the one concerning Taunchis the daughter of Thermouthis and the other concerning Teteimouthis the daughter of Taues, who is the daughter of Ptolemaeus, and yet one more exiting (?) I placed . . .

[3R]   . . . pour a drink for {or  anoint} yourself, in which manner I too celebrated a fine day. Farewell. Year 2, Phaophi 26.

{Demotic:}   I saw myself in a dream in the following way: I am standing at the doorway of the sanctuary. A priest is sitting there, and many people are standing beside him.   The priest spoke to the people who were standing there: ". . ."

[3V]   I spoke [to the] aforementioned priest: 'The man of Pamoun ? who is it?'   He said: 'It is Nebwotis.'   See, the answer which they gave me: the man of Pamoun whom he named: 'He is {or  That's Life}.'   He says: 'Taunchis', and she said to me: 'The man of Pamoun, who is it?'   He said: 'Nebwotis is it, who has said it.'   The one who is there says: 'A woman is it outside giving to me (?) . . .'

[2V]   ". . ."

Psais, great god, knows your name, I recognised (?) it in my heart. The good order, may it be known. Written in Year 2, Phaophi 26.

[1V]  {Greek address:}   To ...adelphia, for Achilles.


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