Ancient Egypt: The last funerary stela of a Buchis bull
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The last funerary stela of a Buchis bullOn the right of the bull's image
May you live! May your ba appear! May you rejuvenate! May your body rejuvenate!
On the left of the bull's image
Oh Osiris-Buchis, great god, lord of the Bucheum! He brings you your ba, it/he will not be far from you
Under the bull's image
1 Year 33, 2 under his majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, lord of the two lands Diocletian, son of Re, lord of crowns, Caesar. 3 The lord of the gods, who created the goddesses, arrived on earth at Thebes, Tai-Ist was 4 his mother. He was led to Hermonthis which rejoiced seeing him. In the year 39 an abode was set up for him 5 with great festivity in the region of /// of Re, his beautiful town. In the year 6 57, month 3 of the season of Akhet, on day 8 at 7 o'clock of the day, his ba 7 entered [the heaven] /// his reign lasted 24 years, (?) months, 20 days and 7 hours 8 /// may he give you eternal life, all permanence, all power, all force as well as all joy like Re, for eternity!
Source: Jean-Claude Grenier, La stèle funéraire du dernier taureau Bouchis, BIFAO 38 (1983), pp.197-208
Bucheum: Like the Serapeum where the Apis bulls were buried, the Bucheum served as cemetary for the Buchis bulls. Under the Roman empire the expenses for the mummification and burial of the bulls were often defrayed by local religious associations (Frankfurter 1998).
The sacking of the Bucheum may have occurred under Theodosius I., 379-395 CE, when pagan cults were proscribed. (Daly 1998) On the face of this stela Christian inscriptions were made, using red paint.(Grenier 1983)
He: Grenier thinks this may refer to Anubis.
Year 33: the thirty-third year of the Diocletian period, 317 CE, during the rule of Licinius. Diocletian, who came to power in 284 CE, divided the Roman empire into an eastern and a western empire in 292 CE, each ruled by a senior emperor (Augustus), supported by a junior and successor (Caesar). These administrative changes and the changing religious climate influenced the dating of some Egyptian writings.
Diocletian: transliteration of his name in Egyptian tsywkrtsjwnw, Diocletian himself ruled only 21 years. He resigned the throne at the age of 59.
his mother: Grenier: Until the Roman period the name of the bull's mother was given, under the Romans they were generally given the generic tA jht wr.t
rejoiced seeing him: the advent of a new Buchis bull was cause for popular celebrations. These occasions could be used by wily politicians in order to court favour with the populace, as did Queen Cleopatra in 51 BCE, when she sailed in the train of a new Buchis bull. (Burstein 2004)
year 57: 340 CE, during the reign of Constantius (Daly 1998)
Stanley Meyer Burstein, The Reign of Cleopatra, Greenwood Press 2004, p.16
M. W. Daly, Carl F. Petry, The Cambridge History of Egypt, Cambridge University Press 1998, p.28
David Frankfurter, Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance, Princeton University Press 1998, p.72
Jean-Claude Grenier, La stèle funéraire du dernier taureau Bouchis, BIFAO 38 (1983), pp.197-208
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