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This is a copy of the Rosetta Stone from the British museum gift shop. The stone is in 3 parts: It is a decree giving concessions to the Egyptian priests from the new Greek pharaoh Ptolemy V around 190 BC.

"The decree concludes with the instruction that a copy was to be placed in every temple, inscribed in the "language of the gods" (hieroglyphs), the "language of documents" (demotic), and the "language of the Greeks" as used by the Ptolemaic government."

This is a photo of the top section of the degree - inscribed in the "Language of the gods" (hieroglyphs).

I call this photo taken in December 2017:


According to the British Museum: " ... The inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a decree passed by a council of priests, one of a series that affirm the royal cult of the 13-year-old Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation.In previous years the family of the Ptolemies had lost control of certain parts of the country. It had taken their armies some time to put down opposition in the Delta, and parts of southern Upper Egypt, particularly Thebes, were not yet back under the government's control.Before the Ptolemaic era (that is before about 332 BC), decrees in hieroglyphs such as this were usually set up by the king. It shows how much things had changed from Pharaonic times that the priests, the only people who had kept the knowledge of writing hieroglyphs, were now issuing such decrees. The list of good deeds done by the king for the temples hints at the way in which the support of the priests was ensured.The decree is inscribed on the stone three times, in hieroglyphic (suitable for a priestly decree), demotic (the native script used for daily purposes), and Greek (the language of the administration). The importance of this to Egyptology is immense. Soon after the end of the fourth century AD, when hieroglyphs had gone out of use, the knowledge of how to read and write them disappeared. In the early years of the nineteenth century, some 1400 years later, scholars were able to use the Greek inscription on this stone as the key to decipher them. Thomas Young, an English physicist, was the first to show that some of the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone wrote the sounds of a royal name, that of Ptolemy. The French scholar Jean-François Champollion then realized that hieroglyphs recorded the sound of the Egyptian language and laid the foundations of our knowledge of ancient Egyptian language and culture.Soldiers in Napoleon's army discovered the Rosetta Stone in 1799 while digging the foundations of an addition to a fort near the town of el-Rashid (Rosetta). On Napoleon's defeat, the stone became the property of the English under the terms of the Treaty of Alexandra (1801) along with other antiquities that the French had found.The Rosetta Stone has been exhibited in the British Museum since 1802, with only one break. Towards the end of the First World War, in 1917, when the Museum was concerned about heavy bombing in London, they moved it to safety along with other, portable, 'important' objects. The Rosetta Stone spent the next two years in a station on the Postal Tube Railway fifty feet below the ground at Holborn. ... " British Museum






According to Sir Wallis Budge:

" ... The inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a copy of the Decree passed by the General Council of Egyptian priests assembled at Memphis to celebrate the first commemoration of the coronation of Ptolemy V, Epiphanes, king of all Egypt. The young king had been crowned in the eighth year of his reign, therefore the first commemoration took place in the ninth year, in the spring of the year B.C. 196. The original form of the Decree is given by the Demotic section, and the Hieroglyphic and Greek versions were made from it. 

The inscription is dated on the fourth day of the Greek month Xandikos 
(April), corresponding to the eighteenth day of the Egyptian month Meshir, or Mekhir, of the ninth year of the reign of Ptolemy V, Epiphanes, the year in which Aetus, the son of Aetus, was chief priest and Pyrrha, the daughter of Philinus, and Areia, the daughter of Diogenes, and Irene, the daughter of Ptolemy, were chief priestesses.

The opening lines are filled with a list of the titles of Ptolemy V, and a series of epithets which proclaim the king's piety towards the gods, and his love for the Egyptians and his country. In the second section of the inscription the priests enumerate the benefits which he had conferred upon Egypt, and which may be thus summarized : 

1. Gifts of money and corn to the temples. 

2. Gifts of endowments to temples. 

3. Remission of one half of taxes due to the Government. 

4. Abolition of one half of the taxes. 

5. Forgiveness of debts owed by the people to the Government. 

6. Release of the prisoners who had been languishing in gaol for years. 

7. Abolition of the press-gang for sailors. 

8. Reduction of fees payable by candidates for the priesthood. 

9. Reduction of the dues payable by the temples to the Government. 

10. Restoration of the services in the temples. 

11. Forgiveness of rebels, who were permitted to return to Egypt and live there. 

12. Despatch of troops by sea and land against the enemies of Egypt. 

13. The siege and conquest of the town of Shekan (Lycopolis). 

14. Forgiveness of the debts owed by the priests to him. 

15. Reduction of the tax on Byssus. 

16. Reduction of the tax on corn lands. 

17. Restoration of the temples of the Apis and Mnevis Bulls, and of the other sacred animals. 

18. Rebuilding of ruined shrines and sacred buildings, and providing them with endowments. 

As a mark of the gratitude of the priesthood to the king for all these 
gracious acts of Ptolemy V, it was decided by the General Council of the priests of Egypt to " increase the ceremonial observances of honour which are paid to Ptolemy, the ever-living, in the temples." With this object in view it was decided : 

1. To make statues of Ptolemy in his character of "Saviour of Egypt," and to set up one in every temple of Egypt for the priests and people to worship. 

2. To make figures of Ptolemy [in gold], and to place them in gold shrines, which are to be set side by side with the shrines of the gods, and carried about in procession with them. 

3. To distinguish the shrine of Ptolemy by means of ten double-crowns of gold which are to be placed upon it. 

4. To make the anniversaries of the birthday and coronation days of Ptolemy, viz., the XVIIth and the XXXth days of the month Mesore, festival days for ever. 

5. To make the first five days of the month of Thoth days of festival for ever ; offerings shall be made in the temples, and all the people shall wear garlands. 

6. To add a new title to the titles of the priests, viz., " Priests of the beneficent god Ptolemy Epiphanes, who appeareth on earth," which is to be cut upon the ring of every priest of Ptolemy, and inserted in every priestly document. 

7. That the soldiers may borrow the shrines with figures of Ptolemy inside them from the temples, and may take them to their quarters, and carry them about in procession. 

8. That copies of this Decree shall be cut upon slabs of basalt in the "writing of the speech of the god," i.e. hieroglyphs, and in the writing of the books, i.e. demotic, and in the writing of the Ueienin, i.e. Greek. " And a basalt slab on which a copy of this Decree is cut shall be set up in the temples of the first, second and third orders, side by side with the statue of Ptolemy, the ever-living god . ' ' 

E. A. Wallis Budge. 

Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, 

July 12th, 1913. ... "

I call this photo, taken also taken in December 2017:

"Rosetta - 2"

Fish -2

Page 139


© 2017 by Waweru Njenga. All rights reserved.

First posted: 12/15/2017




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