Ancient Egypt: Decree of the satrap Ptolemy Lagides
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Decree of the satrap Ptolemy Lagides
Top of the Satrap Stela showing offerings brought to the gods of Buto by an unnamed pharaoh.
Picture source: Stephan Pfeiffer, Entstehung und Entwicklung einer multikulturellen Gesellschaft im griechisch-römischen Ägypten, in Jahrbuch der historischen Forschung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2004, Munich, 2005, p.20The stela was dedicated in commemoration of the restoration of the rights of the temple at Buto, after Ptolemy Lagides' victory over Demetrius Poliorcetes at Gaza in 312.
|1 In the year seven, beginning of inundation, and the Holiness of Horus, 2 the youthful, rich in strength, Lord of the diadems, loving the gods 3 (who) gave him his father's dignity, the Golden Horus, the ruler 4 in the whole world, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord 5 of both lands, delight of Amen's heart, chosen by the sun, Son 6 of the Sun, of Alexander the immortal, of the gods of the city Pe (and) Tep, 7 the friend.||
Alexander Aegus, r. 317 to 311 BCE
year seven: 311 BCE
beginning of inundation: The first month of the season of inundation was Thoth, about November at the time of Alexander Aegus.
Holiness of Horus...:Alexander is given a full Egyptian titulary, as is appropriate for a pharaoh.
Pe (and) Tep: Buto, Capital of the 19th nome of Lower Egypt
|He being as King in the stranger's world, as was His Holiness 8 in Inner Asia, so there was a great Viceroy in Egypt, Ptolemaeus 9 was he called. A person, of youthful energy was he, strong in both arms, 10 prudent of mind, powerful amidst men, of firm courage, steady foot, 11 repelling the raging, not turning his back, striking the face 12 of his foes amidst their combat. When he had seized the bow 13 not a shot is from the opponent, a flourish of his sword in 14 the fight no one could stand his ground, of mighty hand, nor 15 was his hand repulsed, nor repented he of what his mouth utters, 16 none is like him in the stranger's world.||
Inner Asia: Roxanne, a Persian princess, and her son lived for a while in Babylon, where she murdered Barsine, another of Alexander the Great's wives.
Ptolemaeus: since 305 King Ptolemy I Soter, also referred to as Lagides, i.e. the son of Lagus
|He had restored the sculptures 17 of the gods, found in Asia, and all the furniture and books of the temples 18 of Northern and Southern Egypt, he had restored them to their place. He had made 19 as his residence the fortress of the King, "Loving the name of Amen the sun-chosen 20 the Son of the Sun, Alexander," as it is called on the shore of the great sea 21 of the Ionians. Rakotis was its former name. He had gathered many Ionians 22 and their cavalry (and) their numerous ships, with their crew. 23 When he marched with his men to the Syrians' land, who were 24 at war with him, he penetrated its interior, his courage was as mighty as 25 the eagle amongst the young birds. He took them at one stroke, he led 26 their princes, their cavalry, their ships, their works of art, all to Egypt.||
"Loving the name of Amen the sun-chosen, the Son of the Sun, Alexander,":Alexander the Great went to the Amen temple at the Siwa oasis and received the god's blessing.
the great sea of the Ionians: the Mediterranean
Rakotis: former name of Alexandria
Ionians: Ionians served as mercenaries since the 7th century BCE
cavalry: This was cavalry on horseback, which had replaced the chariotry of the Late Bronze age by the beginning of the first millennium.
the Syrians' land: Syria and the rest of Asia was held by Antigonus. Ptolemy conducted a number of wars against him.
27 After this, when he set out for the region of Mermerti, he took
28 it in one time, he brought home their folk, men, women,
29 with their horses, as revenge for what they did to Egypt. When
30 he arrived in Egypt, his heart was rejoicing in what he had done,
31 he solemnized a holiday, (and) this great Viceroy seeking
32 the best for the gods of Upper Egypt (and) Lower Egypt.
Spoke to him 33 his Sidesman, and the Elders of Lower Egypt, the maritime land 34 called land of Buto, whereto the King had an Image of Tanen 35 chosen by Ptah, Son of the Sun, Khabash, ever-living, to the gods 36 of Pe (and) Tep after His Holiness had gone to Pe-Tep to 37 investigate the littoral, all in their domain, to go into 38 the inner marshes, to see each arm of the Nile, that goes into 39 the great sea, to keep back Asia's fleet from Egypt.
Mermerti: Marmarica, the eastern part of the Libyan coast.
Sidesman: According to Drach The chief counsellor who stood at the side of the king.
Buto: Per-wadjet, capital of the 5th nome of Lower Egypt, cult centre of Uat (Greek Leto), important Isis centre during the Late Period, main Mediterranean port during the Early Dynastic Period. Greek commercial centre
Tanen: Tatanen, Memphite personification of the first dry land, the hill rising from the primordial waters.
Khabash: also Khababash. Khabash led a revolt against the Persians in ca. 337 BCE.
keep back Asia's fleet from Egypt: In 306 Antigonus tried to invade Egypt
40 His Holiness to his Sidesman: "This littoral country I wish
41 to learn about."
They spoke before His Holiness: "The sea-land, the land of 42 Buto is its name, was from old the property of the gods of Pe-Tep, it was overthrown 43 by foe Xerxes, who never gave anything to the gods 44 of Pe-Tep."
Xerxes: Pharaoh of the first Persian dynasty, 486-465 BCE. Cambyses, the conqueror of Egypt, had a bad reputation as well among the Greeks.
Then spoke His Holiness to bring to him the Priests
45 (and) Archons of Pe-Tep. They hastily brought (them) to him.
46 His Holiness said: "I wish to know the souls of the gods of Pe-Tep
47 about this. What they did to the impious for the bad action he had done."
48 They replied: "The impious Xerxes had acted wrongfully to 49 Pe-Tep, he took away his possession. They spoke to His Holiness the King, 50 Lord and Horus, Son of Isis, Son of Osiris, Ruler of Rulers, King 51 of Kings of Upper Egypt, King of Kings of Lower Egypt, avenger of his father. Lord of Pe, 52 origin of the gods, there being afterwards no King like him, threw away 53 the impious Xerxes from his palace with his eldest son, 54 making themselves known in the city Sais of Neith on this day at the side 55 of the Holy Mother."
archons: rulers (Greek)
Horus, Isis, Osiris: the Abydos triad. The pharaoh was identified with Horus, the divine ruler of Egypt.
Sais: Capital of the 5th Nome of Lower Egypt. Capital of Egypt during the Late Period. Centre of the Neith worship. (cf. Nomes, cities and sites)
Thus spoke His Holiness: "This mighty god amongst the gods,
56 there is no King after him, may he be bestowed on the way of
57 holiness! I swear it."
Then spoke the Priests (and) Archons of 58 Pe-Tep: "May Your Holiness decree, to give the littoral, the land 59 of Buto it is called, to the gods of Pe-Tep, with bread, drinks, oxen, birds, 60 all good things, that it may be renewed in thy name for its donation 61 to the gods of Pe-Tep a second time, as remunerating the distinguishing 62 action of thine."
|Then answered this great Viceroy: "Let a decree be made 63 in writing at the seat of the King's scribe of the audit 64 to this effect: 'Ptolemaeus, Satrap of land of Buto, I give 65 it to Horus the avenger of his father, Lord of Pe, (and) to Buto, the Lady 66 of Pe-Tep, from this day and for ever, with all its villages, 67 all its cities, all its inhabitants, all its meads, all its waters, 68 all its oxen, all its birds, all its cattle herds, 69 (and) all things produced therein, what was (formerly) and its additions (and) with the donation given by King, 70 Lord of both lands, Khabash, ever living.||
Viceroy: Ptolemy Lagides, before he assumed royal power as Ptolemy I in 305 BCE.
Buto, the Lady of Pe-Tep: Uto, the "Green One", generally depicted in human form, sometimes with lion's head. Also name for the uraeus, the holy cobra, protector of Lower Egypt.
Lord of both lands, Khabash: Khabash is generally not considered to have been a pharaoh.
|Its South limit is the domain of 71 the city Buto and Hermopolis, on the North against the mouths of the Nile 72 on the North, the downs on the shore of the great sea, on the West the mouths 73 of the oarsmen ////// against the downs in the East of the nome 74 of Sebennys, so that its calves may be for the Great Hawk, its oxen 75 for the face of Nebtaui-t, its cattle for the Living Hawk, its milk 76 to the Glorious Child, its birds to him in Sa, who ///// life 77 his ///// is, all the fruits of its ground on the table of 78 Horus himself, Lord of Pe, and of Buto (lady) to the crown of Ra-Harmachis 79 for ever. All which is given to the utmost by the King, Lord of both lands, 80 Image of Tanen, chosen by Ptah, Son of the Sun, Khabash, 81 ever-living, (and the gift) is renewed by this great ruling Viceroy of Egypt, 82 Ptolemaeus, the donations to the gods of Pe-Tep for ever||
Hermopolis: Bakh, in the 15th nome of Lower Egypt.
Hermopolis Parva was Behdet, near Alexandria.
the mouths of the oarsmen: According to Drach: The city of Sekur, or "the pliers of rudders": this was situated on the northern portion of the Borella branch of the Nile.
Sebennys: Sebennytos, Tjebnutjer: in the 12th nome of Lower Egypt, Temple of Inheret-Shu, Mehyt. Home of Manetho
Glorious Child: Harpocrates, the Horus child.
|In reward of this 83 for what he has done, may he receive victory and strength to his heart's content, 84 so that be may always be dreaded as now by strange people. The land of 85 Buto, whoever tries to plan its removal of any part 86 thereof, let him be excommunicated by those in Pe, let him 87 be cursed by those in Tep, that he may be in the burning breath of 88 the goddess Aptaui on the day of her dread, with neither a son nor a daughter to give him water.'"||
Aptaui: Drach: One of the goddesses of Akar, or hell. Aker was the embodiment of the earth, in which the dead were entombed.
a son nor a daughter to give him water: In the native Egyptian tradition a person's descendants, above all the eldest son, were in charge of bringing the deceased the food offerings he needed to continue his existence in the after-world.
After S. M. Drach, Tablet of Alexander IV Aegus
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