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Ancient Egypt: Documents concerning Ptolemaic religious associations
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Documents concerning Ptolemaic religious associations

Year 8 (?), Pharmuthi 10
The statutes which the choachytes of the Necropolis of Djeme have agreed upon, to execute them in order to found the association for the cult of Amenope.
Anybody in this world, who has spent ten years under the choachytes, shall be introduced into the association for the cult of Amenope. With anybody in this world under the choachytes, who has spent sixteen years without entering the association of the cult of Amenope, one shall neither eat nor drink, nor with anybody from his house, and one shall not go to the 35 (days of) burial with him, until he comes to the place (of the cult association) and the (members of the) cult association shall impose a fine on him.
- Berlin P 3115, 4th quarter of the 2nd century BCE. The earliest association rules put on papyrus known date to the 4th century BCE. The rules were valid for one year and had to be renewed.[2]
-Choachytes: wAH-mw, 'Dispenser of Water', a mortuary priest with the function of offering food and drink to the dead. At times they were also called wn-pr, 'Opener of the Shrine'.
-Djeme: location of an Amen temple built by Hatshepsut.
-association: swn.t, religious or professional association. Often the more general demotic pA a.wj, meaning 'The House' is used instead.
-Amenope: imn-ipj, Amen of Opet, i.e. Luxor
-one shall neither eat nor drink, nor with anybody from his house: eating and drinking together are signs of communality. Those wo did not join were to be excluded from the members' company.
[The list] of people who are registered with the House:
Nekhthmonthes, son of Horos, the lesonis of Amenope, three instalments: 30 silver.
Panas, son of Pekhytes, the assistent, 1 ½ instalments: 35 silver (deben).
Harsiesis, son of Pekhytes,
tngr-due: 70 silver (deben). And one shall give him an election wreath.
Petosiris, son of Horos, the bier bearer who descends behind the lesonis: 50 silver (deben).
Amenhothes, son of Psenthotes, the third bier bearer: 30 silver (deben)
-election wreath: apparently a distinction.
-Nechthmonthes: the Greek forms of the names are given in this translation.
-lesonis: mr-Sn in Egyptian, lit. inspection supervisor, a sort of temple president, an—at times secular—official looking after the financial administration.[1]
-30 silver: meaning 30 deben of silver, the deben being a weight weighing about 90 grammes.
List of those of the House:
Psenthotes and his son.
Amenothes(?) and his son.
Khonompres and his son.
The First Prophet and his son.
Horos, son of Harsiesis, and his son.
Panas, son of Harsiesis.
Montomes and his son.
Osoroeris and his son.
Petosiris,son of Horos.
Nekhthmonthes, son of Horos.
Psenkhonsis, son of Teephibis.
Hasos, son of Hasos.
Nekhutes the elder and his son.
Nekhutes the younger
Horos, son of Pekhytes.
Pamonthes, son of Amenothes.
Panas, son of Pekhytes.
Harsiesis, son of Pekhytes.
-those of the House: members of the cult association
-First Prophet: PA-Hm-nTr-tpj, possibly a personal name
 
From the list emerges that all members in this association were male and belonged often to two or more generations of the same family.
List of the Drinking Days of the association of the cult of Amenope.
First day of every decade; Month 1, Season of Inundation, Day 2: Processionfeast of Djeme.
Month 1, Season of Inundation, Day 19
Month 3, Season of Inundation, Day 2
Month 3, Season of Inundation, Day 6
Month 3, Season of Inundation, Day 23
Month 3, Season of Inundation, Day 30
Month 4, Season of Inundation, Day 1
Month 4, Season of Inundation, Day 27
Month 2, Season of Winter, Day 21
Month 2, Season of Winter, Day 25
Month 1, Season of Summer:
khemeni-feast of Djeme
Month 2, Season of Summer, Day 18
Month 4, Season of Inundation, Day 26
Month 1, Season of Summer ///////
Month 3, Season of Winter, Day 1
khemeni-feast of Monthu
Month 4, Season of Inundation, Day 26
-Drinking Days: conviviality to further social coherence. Not taking part was against the rules. The kind of drink was also prescribed in the statutes, being either wine or beer.
-decade: each month had thirty days and was divided into three decades of ten days.
-Month 1, Season of Inundation: Thoth
-Month 3, Season of Inundation: Athyr
-Month 4, Season of Inundation: Khoiak
-Month 2, Season of Winter: Mechir
-Month 1, Season of Summer: Pachon
-Month 2, Season of Summer: Payni
-Month 3, Season of Winter: Phamenoth
And one shall bring to the meeting of the cult on the Drinking Day mentioned above not more than two (measures) of wine. They shall drink their two (measures) of wine and (then) go. A person bringing more wine in addition to the two (measures) of wine to the (meeting) place shall deliver it to his House (i.e. the cult association). Should he make demands concerning this of the (members of the) cult association, then he shall pay 2 talents into the [treasury of the] House of Monthu of Medamed, and there shall be no ....
The man to whom a son is born, shall pay 30 silver (deben).
-They shall drink their two (measures) of wine and (then) go: the aim of the meetings was not getting drunk, but being together.
To a man, who dies, from among the people registered above, shall be given 1 ½ hin of resin for (?) every one of the men mentioned above during 10 days. And to his people shall be garanteed two Drinking Days in the cult association for the mummification and a reception (?) day in the cult association of the children of Pekhytes for the burial. Support for the family of a deceased member was an important part of the association's activities.
-hin: about half a litre
A man who is arrested from among the men listed above, his companions shall distance themselves from him (?).
He who is invited and does not go there, shall pay 10 silver (deben) into the treasury mentioned above. And one shall give him 5 silver (deben) on the day which he will spend outside, and one shall pay him in the necropolis after the burial in real silver.
- shall distance themselves from him (?: a dubious interpretation. The aim of a cult association was the fostering of mutual trust and support. P. Prague stipulates: The man among us who is imprisoned justly, the representative of the association will attend to him ... [we will provide for him] 10 rations.
The man of the House who insults the lesonis, shall pay 5 silver (deben). If the lesonis insults a man of the House he shall pay 10 silver (deben). The man who shall take from the House more than two jugs of wine, he shall pay 1 silver (deben) for every jug, and give two jugs of the wine which he has touched (?). Every person on the world from among the persons listed above, who will give wine ///// one shall neither eat nor drink with him. One shall give ///// for the 35 (days of ?) burial ///// as long as he has not acted according to what is written above. - man of the House: member of the cult association
- 10 silver (deben): the fine on the lesonis as a wealthy and respected member was twice as high as the fine levied on an ordinary member.
- one shall neither eat nor drink with him: punishment by ostracism
The eldest who //////////
Their namelist:
Osoroeris, son of Horos.
[////] Horos,
///// Khnompres, son of Horos, First Prophet.
And the lesonis shall question them by right.
-First Prophet: chief priest or possibly personal name (see above).
Year 9, Month 4, Day 11: The statutes for the ordinary priests, the ///// and the Choachytes (?):
One shall not go to the burials and the 35 (days) of liturgy, but for him whom the Choachyte of the House shall ask to. One shall not donate wheat, the harvest, silver and copper for liturgies ///// their ///// and no person shall be able to give clothes to anyone but as his income and no person will go to catch bats but the ordinary priests. He who will catch them on his own, shall deliver them to the ordinary priests and share them with them. To every person in this world, who will go to the tombs (?), shall be given 3 silver (deben), and he shall not go, without informing his companions who are in the necropolis and no person of the House at all will bring a physician to the cult association of Amenope, but the choachyte. And he shall go to burials (and to the) 35 pure days to give cloth and bed of his income, and he shall give the income (or receipt) to his House.
Every person on this earth, who will trespass against these rules, he will give 2 talents to the king and he will give 2 talents before Djeme. They will be after him, to cause him to act according to all that is written above.
-Month 4: Choiak.
-physician: Egyptian swnw. Look "Ancient Egyptian Medicine"
-talent: egypt. krkr .
-king: here pharaoh, pr-aA.
Year 10, Month 4 of the inundation season, Day 1.
The statutes upon which the choachytes are agreed:
Not to give linen to a person from Djeme who is dead.
Not to give linen or
inu-clothes, a bed or a cover to a person who is in the place of embalmment.
Not to apply substances to a deceased person of our House.
Not to reject a young person who lives here in Djeme.
He among us who refuses to act according to what is written above, will pay one talent to our cult association. He will pay one talent to the House of Monthu of Per-Month-Maten. He will pay one talent to Djeme (be it one of the) men, women, young men, all the choachytes. ///////////////
-Month 4 of the inundation season: Khoiak
-talent: egypt.krkr, 6000 silver drachmas
Year 8, Month 2 of winter, Day 29:
-Month 2 of winter: Mechir
The day on which the persons inscribed in the cult association close the association, in order to be free of all that is written above, apart from the utensils of the cult association which they have given into the hand of Montomes the elder.
Horos, son of Harsiese, and Psenkhosis and Osoroeris, who are called "the choachytes" (?) who are inscribed in the //// of the House, which is inside.
Horos, son of Harsiese, 2 pots, received into his hands from those (pots) of the cult association.
Osoroeris, son of Horos, 1 pot, received into his hands from those (pots) of the cult association.
Whoever from those three persons mentioned above [who will lose his pot/will damage his pot/whose pot will not be full ?], he will pay 25 (deben of) silver for the pot.
Whoever it is of those (i.e. the members) of the above mentioned cult association, as well as of those three persons mentioned above, whose cult association will be robbed, he shall give it and they shall decide and give a pot among the people and he shall give to it (?)
-Harsiese: lit. Horus, son of Isis
-Psenkhosis: lit. son of Khonsu
-Osoroeris: lit. Osiris is great

After a transliteration and German translation by G. Vittmann ed. on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website
Demotische Textdatenbank, Akademie für Sprache und Literatur Mainz => administrative und dokumentarische Texte => Kultgenossenschaftsurkunden => Berlin P 3115

Literature:
Andrew Monson, The Ethics and Economics of Ptolemaic Religious Associations, Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics, November 2005

Footnotes:
[1] Bruce G. Trigger, B. J. Kemp, D. O'Connor, A. B. Lloyd, Ancient Egypt: A Social History , Cambridge University Press 1983, p.306
[2] Monson, op.cit., p.2

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