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simple title Egyptian is sufficiently justified by the expression in the Greek inscription, in which it is mentioned as the character of the country. The opinion of Kircher, that the epistolographic alphabet resembled the more modern Coptic, appears, like many other opinions of this learned man, to be founded merely on conjecture. Mr. Büttner has assigned values to some of the characters, deduced from a comparison with the Phenician and other similar alphabets, but none of the results of this comparison are confirmed by Mr. Akerblad's interpretation of the inscription of Rosetta. It has been remarked, that characters resembling the figures 1, 2, 3, and 4, occur in most of the specimens: the two latter are less observable in the inscription, but the 3 may possibly be a combination implying NTE, of, the 2 and 4 the article P or PH, and the 1 an E or an R.
It may be alleged in favour of Mr. Akerblad's alphabet, that it is applicable not only to a variety of proper names occurring repeatedly in the inscription, but also to some, in particular, which are so placed in connexion with a character supposed to imply son or daughter, that there is scarcely a possibility of their being erroneously interpreted. It affords us also a variety of words closely resembling some which are found in the later Coptic; and there is another strong argument in its favour, "which has not been noticed:" the word Aetos, Mr. Akerblad observes, is repeated in the Egyptian, but not in the Greek; and he is disposed to attribute this circumstance to some accident; in fact, however, the word is repeated in the original inscription, though not in the incorrect copies of it which were first circulated. On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to account for the nonoccurrence of some Coptic words, which must unquestionably be in the inscription: for instance, the name of the month Mechir, which is mentioned in the Greek as a synonym of Xandicus or Xanthicus, and which, according to Kircher, answers in the Coptic to January, although the place which it ought to occupy in the inscription is easily ascertained by the context. Nor can we readily discover the Coptic months Thout and Mesore, which must also occur in a subsequent part, nor the term Pschent, implying a crown of a particular form; at the same time that the exact coincidence of the names of the Egyptian months, with the later Coptic, strengthens very materially the evidence of the near approach of the two languages
to identity. The frequency of occurrence of the different characters, in the inscription, by no means coincides with that of the Coptic letters, which Mr. Akerblad supposes to correspond with them, in other cases; and the difference appears to be too great to be wholly accidental.
It is not, however, impossible that future investigations may remove all the difficulties which still embarrass this subject; and at any rate the stone of Rosetta affords a far better prospect of furnishing us with some knowledge of the ancient characters of Egypt, than any other monument of antiquity, or than any elaborate speculations of a later date.
Added 9 November 1814. The whole of these observations may be considered as preliminary to an attempt, which has since been made, to compare the three inscriptions of the stone of Rosetta minutely with each other: the general results of this comparison, as the first foundations of the knowledge of" ancient Egyptian literature, may not be unworthy of some attention, even in an imperfect state.
II. Conjectural Translation of
the Egyptian Inscription. From the ARCHEOLOGIA XVIII. 65.
(1) [In the ninth year, on the fourth day of Xanthicus], the eighteenth of the Egyptian month Mechir, of the young king, who received the government of the country from his father, lord of the asp bearing diadems, illustrious in glory, who has established Egypt, the just, the beneficent, the pious towards the gods, victorious over his enemies, who has improved the life of mankind, lord of the feasts of thirty years, like Vulcan the mighty king, like the Sun,
[Mr. Gough's] Translation of the Greek Inscription,"copied and" corrected by Porson. From Dr.CLARKE'S GREEK MARBLES. Cambr. 1809.
(1) In the reign of the young prince, who received the kingdom from his father, Lord of
kings," highly glorious, who settled the affairs of Egypt, and re- (2) spectful of the gods, pious, successful over his enemies, restorer of the life of man, lord of the triacontaeterides, like the great Vulcan king, even as the Sun,
(2) [the mighty king of the upper and] lower countries, the offspring of the parent loving gods, approved by Vulcan, to whom the Sun has given the victory, the living image of Jove, the offspring of the Sun, Ptolemy, the ever living, beloved by Vulcan, the god illustrious, munificent, (the son of) Ptolemy and Arsinoe the parent loving gods: the priest of Alexander and the saviour gods and the
(3) [brother gods, and the gods] beneficent, and the parent loving gods, and the king Ptolemy, the god illustrious, munificent, being Aëtus (the son of) Aëtus: Pyrrha the daughter of Philinus, being the prize bearer of Berenice the beneficent; Areia, the daughter of Diogenes, being the bearer
(4) [of baskets of Arsi] noe the brother loving; Irene, the daughter of Ptolemy being priestess of Arsinoe the parent loving it was this day decreed by the High priests, the Prophets, those who enter the sacred recesses to attire the gods, the wing bearers, and the sacred scribes, and the rest of the priests who came from the temples of Egypt,
(3) the great king of the upper and lower districts, descended from the gods Philopatores, whom Vulcan approved, to whom the Sun gave victory, the living image of Jupiter, son of the Sun, Ptolemy (4) ever living, beloved of Phtha, in the ninth year "of the priesthood of" Aëtos the son of Aëtos, of Alexander, and of the gods saviours, and the
gods brothers, and of the gods Euergetae, and the gods Philopatores, and (5) of the god Epiphanes, gracious, “and victorious," of Berenice Euergetis Pyrrha, the daughter of Philinus, ca
nephorus; of Arsinoe Philadelphus, Areia daughter of Diogenes, being priestess; and of Arsinoe, wife of Philopator, Eirene, (6) daughter of Ptolemy, "being priestess;" on the 4th day of the month Xanthicus, and of the Egyptian Mechir the 18th. Decree. The High priests and Prophets, and those who go into the sanctuary to clothe the (7) gods, and the Pterophorae, and the sacred scribes, and other priests, all collected from the temples along the country
to Memphis, to the king, to celebrate the receiving of the (8) kingdom by Ptolemy, ever living, beloved of Phtha, the god Epiphanes, gracious, which he received from his father, they being assembled in the temple in Memphis, on this day, have decreed, that (9) as king Ptolemy, ever living, beloved of Phtha, the god Epiphanes, gracious, descended from king Ptolemy.
and queen Arsinoe, gods Philopatores, has been in many things kind both to the temples and (10) all in them, and to all placed under his government, a god descended from a god and goddess, as Orus the son of Isis and Osiris, assisting his father Osiris, well disposed towards (11) [the worship of] the gods, has brought to the temples supplies of money and corn,
supported many expences in order to "render the climate of Egypt wholesome," and established the sacred rites, (12) and to his utmost power has done good, and of the existing reversions and tributes collected in Egypt has totally remitted some and lightened others, so that both the people, and all other persons might be in (18) plenty under his
government, and the debts due to the king from the inhabitants of Egypt, and other parts of his kingdom, which were numerous, he has forgiven to the people, and those who were confined (14) in prison, and long engaged in law-suits, he had delivered from their perplexities, confirmed the claims
on the revenues" of the temples, and the annual stated contributions to them of co (15) rn and money,
and likewise the proportions allotted to the gods from the vineyards and gardens, and other articles appropriated to the gods in his father's time, and ordered them (16) to remain in statu quo; and that out of what belonged to the priests they should contribute no more to
the revenue than they were
directed to do until the first year of his father; and also freed those
of the (17) sacred orders from the yearly voyage to Alexandria, and ordained exemption to them from contribution to the voyage, and of the money due to the government for furnishing the (18) cotton cloths in the temples, he forgave two parts; and all other things that were neglected in former times he resettled in their proper