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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  6.4


DEMOTIC DIVORCE DOCUMENTS


Text:   BM 10449,   BM 10074,   BM 10079.C ,   P. Tor. Botti 16   
Date:   (A) 490 B.C. ,   (B) 230 B.C. ,   (C) 114 B.C. 
Translated by:   (A+B1) G. Vittmann,   (B2) S.P. Vleeming,   (C) L. Uggetti
Format:   see key to translations

The native Egyptian form of divorce was relatively straightforward. It was always addressed by the man to the woman. It permitted the woman to remarry, but it did not specify which possessions belonged to her.

The translations are adapted from the German translations in the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae; the English translation by S.P. Vleeming in "The Two Faces of Graeco-Roman Egypt", p. 163 ( Google Books ), and the French translation by L. Uggetti, "Les archives bilingues de Totoès et de Tatéhathyris", vo. 2, p.367 ( PDF ).  



[A]   Year 31, month of Thot, of King Dareios.   The choachyte of the valley, Padiparui (?), son of Nesamenhotep, said to the woman Tachet ... (?), daughter of Anchpachered and her mother Tadiamuncherwas.  

I have repudiated you as a wife today. I am far from you. I have no claim in the world on you.  

I will not be able to prevent you from going to any place where you wish to go, by saying: "Don't take yourself a husband there!", from today forever.  

Written by Horudja, son of Neshorpachered.

[B1]   Year 17, month Phamenoth, of King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy and Arsinoe, the Benevolent gods, when Meneas, son of Menoitios, was priest of Alexander and the Brother-loving gods and the Benevolent gods, when  Berenike, daughter of Adaios, was kanephoros of Arsinoē the Brother-loving.   The man of Syene, Panuphis called Pekysis, the son of Mairesi and his mother Sentithoes, said to the woman Tanuphis, daughter of Amenothes and her mother Tachois:

  I have repudiated you as a wife. I am far from you in relation to my rights about you as wife. I have no claim in the world on you arising from my rights about you as wife from now on.

  If I find you with any other man in the world, I will not be able to say to you: "You are my wife". I am the one who says to you: "Take a husband." From today onwards I will not be able to prevent you from going to any place where you go to take a husband. I am far from you in relation to Lady Tebrichis, the daughter of Talus, the shepherdess,  and Kales, the son of Pachnumis, and Belles, and Petemestus, the brother of Pami, and (?) the children of Paneith, {who are} in the shaft of your tomb as well as the tomb of Taues, the embalmer.

[B2]   [Year 1]7, 3rd month of the pr.t season, under King (l.p.h.) Ptolemy (l.p.h.), son of of Ptolemy (l.p.h.) and Arsinoē (l.p.h.), the Brother Gods.   The man from Syene, Panuphis also called Pekysis, the son of Mairesi, his mother being Sentithoes, says to [the woman] Tanuphis, daughter of Amenothes, her mother being Tachois :

[I take] oath, by King (l.p.h.) Ptolemy (l.p.h.), son of of Ptolemy (l.p.h.) and Arsinoē (l.p.h.), 10 the Brother Gods, and by Queen (l.p.h.) Berenice (l.p.h.), [and by the] Brother Gods and the [Beneficient] Gods, [and] by Isis,  and by Osiris, and by all the gods 15 of Egypt : I shall not be able to [interfere with] the revenue of any man of yours. I shall not exact anything whatsoever from a man of yours from this day onwards.

If it is established against me that I have gained access to any revenue whatsoever of yours, or that they have given me the revenue of any man whosoever of yours, or anything whatsoever, I shall give you 20 debens of silver, equal to 100 staters, equal to 20 debens again, since I am in transgression [of the] above oath; since you have a claim against me concerning the terms of the cession that I have made for you, to abide by its terms for you at all times, 20 apart from the words above,  without any coercion.  

Written by Amenōthes, son of Herieus.
Written by Psenminis, son of Psenchōsis. 
Written by Horus, son of Pa-tꜢ. 
Written by Petobastis, son of Pa-tꜢ.
Written by Pabuchis, son of Horus.

[C]   Year 4, month of Choïak, day 10 of the queen (l.p.h.) Cleopatra (l.p.h.) and the king (l.p.h.) Ptolemy (l.p.h.) the Mother-loving Saviour (l.p.h.), with the priest of Alexander (l.p.h.) and the Saviour gods, the Brother-loving  gods, the Beneficent gods, the Father-loving gods, the Manifest gods,  the god who exalts his father { Eupator }, of the Mother-loving god, of the Father-loving god, of the Beneficent gods, of the Mother-loving Saviour (l.p.h.), with the athlophoros of Berenice (l.p.h.) the Beneficent, with the kanephoros of Arsinoe (l.p.h.) the Brother-loving, with the priestess of Arsinoe  (l.p.h.) the Father-loving, in accordance with those established in Alexandria and Ptolemais in the province of Thebes.   The pastophoros of Amon from Djeme Harpaesis son of Esnechates and Thatres has said to the woman Tetosiris daughter of Pchembik and Senimouthis:

I have repudiated you as a wife.  I am far from to you about my rights over you as wife.  I have nothing in the world to demand from you because of my rights over you as wife.  I am the one who says to you, "Find yourself a husband!"  I will not be able to hinder you in any place, wherever you will go to find yourself a husband, from today onwards.  If I find you with any man anywhere, I will not be able to say to you, "You are my wife!" It is because of your children that you bore to me that you can take possession of your marriage certificate, without me disputing about any legal documents or anything in the world with you. 

Written by Harsiesis son of Chestephnachthes, who writes in the name of Espmetis son of Osoroeris, the divine servant of Djeme.
Written by Pikos son of Harsiesis.
Written by Amenothes son of Chestephnachthes.
Written by Pikos son of Psenminis.  
Written by Patemis son of Patemis.


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