«THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO CALLING OUT TO ISIS: THE ENDURING NUBIAN PRESENCE AT PHILAE A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE DIVISION OF THE ...»
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
CALLING OUT TO ISIS: THE ENDURING NUBIAN PRESENCE AT PHILAE
A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO
THE FACULTY OF THE DIVISION OF THE HUMANITIES
IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
DEPARTMENT OF NEAR EASTERN LANGUAGES AND CIVILIZATIONSBY
SOLANGE ASHBYCHICAGO, ILLINOIS JUNE 2016 CONTENTS FIGURES
Goals of this Study
Geographic Terms and Political Designations
Unique Characteristics of Nubian Graffiti
Who were the “Nubians”?
Publication of Graffiti
Publication of Temples
Temple Inscriptions as Evidence for Religious Use
Kushite Temple Building in Lower Nubia
Chapter 1: Agreements
Burkhardt’s Definition of the Corpus
Introduce the Corpus
Shrines (wrk, g™.t) in Procession
What was the Political/Religious use of the Temples in this Period?
Temple Financial Transactions
Nubians in the Egyptian Priesthood
Who Authored the Early Roman period Nubian Graffiti at Philae?
Why was Lower Nubia Important to Meroitic Kings in this Period?
Interregnum I: A Period Devoid of Dated Nubian Graffiti
Indications of Additional First Century AD Nubian Graffiti at Philae
Cult Association of Thoth Pnubs
Cult Association of Arensnuphis
Chapter 2: Extension of the Kingdom of Meroe into Lower Nubia
Crisis of the Third Century
116 Wayekiye Family
118 Expanded Corpus of Graffiti
Change in Focus of the Nubian Graffiti
Festivals Performed by Nubians at Philae
126 Who came to Philae?
ii Civil Administrative Titles
Temple Administrative and Priestly Titles
Different Titles Used with Different Languages
Strategos or Pelamos?
Why was Lower Nubia Important to the Meroitic Kings in this Period?
What Was the Political and Religious Use of the Temples by Meroitic Rulers?
170 Religious Use
173 Meroitic Royal Tombs and their Decorated Chapels
Interregnum II: A Period Devoid of Dated Nubian Graffiti
Chapter 3: Last Priests at Philae
Introduction to the Corpus
Were the Last Priests at Philae Nubian?
224 Who Came to Philae?
228 Cult Association Titles (κλιναρχος συνοδου)
What was the Political and Religious Use of the Temples by the Blemmye Kings?............. 237 Religious Use
237 Political Use
261 Why was Lower Nubia Important to the Blemmye and Noubade Kings?
Conclusion: Original Contributions to Scholarship
Appendix A: Phase I Nubian Inscriptions
Appendix B: Phase II Nubian Inscriptions
Appendix C: Phase II Meroitic- Language Nubian Inscriptions
Appendix D: Phase III Nubian Inscriptions
iii FIGURES Figure 1: Location of Nubian Inscriptions of Phase I at Philae. (Plan by Canopé académie de Strasbourg, Marie-Georges Brun. Courtesy of Creative Commons. Adapted by author.)... 58 Figure 2: Photo by author. Charles Bonnet lecture at the 13th International Conference for Nubian Studies, 2014.
Figure 3: Aerial photo of Palace A, Doukki Gel. (Photo courtesy of Charles Bonnet.)............. 104 Figure 4: Reprinted from Gerhard Haeny, "A Short History Architechtural History of Philae" BIFAO 85 (1985): 221.
Figure 5: Wayekiye Family Tree. (Reprinted from Burkhardt, Ägypter und Meroiten, 96.)..... 119 Figure 6: Location of Phase II Nubian Graffiti. (Plan by Canopé académie de Strasbourg, Marie-Georges Brun. Courtesy of Creative Commons. Adapted by author.)
Figure 7: Location of Inscriptions on Second Pylon. (Reprinted from F. Ll. Griffith, Catalogue, vol. 1, 80.)
Figure 8: Location of Inscriptions in Stairwell of Second Pylon. (Reprinted from F. Ll. Griffith, Catalogue, vol. 1, 86.)
Figure 9: Plan of the Main Temple. (Reprinted from PM VI, 230.)
Figure 10: Plan of the South wall of the Pronaos. (Reprinted from Sylvie Cauville, Philae:
itinèraire du visiteur, 198.)
Figure 11: Location of Osirian themes in the Main Temple. (Reprinted from Sylvie Cauville, Philae: itineraire du visiteur, 201.)
Figure 12: Decoration of the Architraves in the Pronaos of the Main Temple. (Reprinted from Andreas Pries, Die Stundenwachen im Osiriskult, Part 2, 157.)
Figure 13: Western door from the Pronaos to the Gate of Hadrian. Photo by the author........... 178 Figure 14: Ptolemy VIII pours milk over an offering table before Osiris Wennefer and Isis. Photo by the author.
Figure 15: Ptolemy VIII offers milk to Horus of Kubban. Photo by the author.
Figure 16: Figural graffito from western exterior of Gate of Hadrian. Photo by the author...... 185 Figure 17: Figural graffito of Isis. Photo by the author.
Figure 18: Meroitic-language graffito (MI 119) of Meroitic king Yesbokheamani on south wall of Gate of Hadrian. Photo by the author.
Figure 19: Arqamani II at Dakka on the East wall, first register. (Reprinted from Güther Roeder, Der Tempel von Dakke, vol. 2 [l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale, 1930], 262, pl. 105.)
Figure 20: Esmet family of priests. (Reprinted from Burkhardt, Ägypter und Meroiten, 37.)... 210 Figure 21: Plan of Philae showing location of Phase III graffiti. (Plan by Canopé académie de Strasbourg, Marie-Georges Brun. Courtesy of Creative Commons. Adapted by author.). 212 Figure 22: Line drawing of Textual and Figural Graffiti from Exterior of the Second Eastern Colonnade at Philae. (Courtesy of Eugene Cruz-Uribe)
Figure 23: Plan of the graffiti on the Main Temple roof (Reprinted from Griffith, Catalogue, vol. 1, 101)
Figure 24: IGP 190-192 on exterior wall of the rooms behind the Second Eastern Colonnade at Philae. (Reprinted from Étienne Bernand, Les inscriptions grecque et latines de Philae, vol. 2, pl. 109).
Figure 25: Close-up of a hieracocephalos deity. Photo by author.
Figure 26: "Flower" figural graffiti. Photo by author.
Table 1: Phase I Inscriptions
Table 2a: Phase II Nubian Festivals
Table 2b: Phase II Nubian Festivals
Table 3: Meroitic Funerary Chapels - Libation Scenes.
Table 4: Phase III Inscriptions with Date Formula
Table 5: Feet Inscriptions at Philae
ANRW Aufstief und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, Berlin-New York.
Berlin Photo Berliner Photos der Preussischen Expedition 1908-1910 nach Nubien, Wiesbaden, 1975.
Republished in Horst Beinlich, Die Photos der Preussischen Expedition 1908-1910 nach Nubien, Dettelbach: J.H. Röll, 2010, 2013.
BIFAO Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, Le Caire.
EG Wolja Erichsen Demotisches Glossar, Copenhagen, 1954.
Ph. Philae graffito numbered according to Griffith, Catalogue of the Demotic Graffiti of the Dodecaschoenus, Cairo, 1912.
REM Répertoire d’épigraphie méroïtique, Paris.
SAOC Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, Chicago.
ZÄS Zeitschrift für ägytpische Sprache und Altertumskunde, Leipzig-Berlin.
ZPE Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, Bonn.
Other Abbreviations Bar. Pyramid burial in the royal cemetery of Gebel Barkal (see Dunham 1957).
Beg. S Pyramid burial in the royal cemetery of Begarawiya North (see Dunham 1963).
Ku. Burial in the royal cemetery of el Kurru (see Dunham 1955).
Nu. Burial in the royal cemetery of Nuri (see Dunham 1955)
qoren/qeren Name of an office formed from the word qore (king), the Demotic transliteration – qrny - contained Gardiner’s sign Y3, the scribe’s palette.
See Hofmann 1981, 62, Torok 1979, 42ff.
ste “mother” See Inge Hofmann, Material für eine Meroitische Grammatik, 229-230; Nicholas Millett “The Meroitic Inscriptions from Gebel Adda” JJSEA 32 (2005): 12.
shashimete Ph. 55, Kalabsha 4. This title appears in several inscriptions from Meroitic Nubia and Meroe.
yetmede “kinship term - member of a clan (sub-tribal unit), perhaps in the maternal line.” See, Hinze, Merotische Verwandtschaftsbezeichnungen” in Steffen Wenig (ed.) Studien zum antiken Sudan. Akten der 7. Internationalen ix Tagung fuer meroitistische Forchungen 14-19 September 1992 in Goden/bei Berlin, Meroitica 15, Wiesbaden, p. 230-238. Claude Rilly, Le meroitique es sa famille linguistique (2010) 61 n. 66 “« Neveu/niece » au sens large, c’est-à-dire cadet/cadette dans la lignée maternelle.” Hintze, “Deskriptionssätze,” 8, #24 “eine besondere Art des abhängigkeitsverhältnisses zu bezeichnen scheint.” There is still considerable debate as to the meaning of this Meroitic term. I interpret yetmede as a kinship term that identifies an individual as part of a clan lineage descended from a common ancestor.
The expansion of the cult of Isis throughout the Mediterranean world demonstrates the widespread appeal of Egyptian religion in the Greco-Roman period.
Often Nubian involvement in the cult of Isis is excluded from studies of this religious phenomenon. When Nubians are acknowledged, they are presented simply as pilgrims.
However, inscriptions written in Demotic, Meroitic, and Greek reveal that Nubians served as financial supporters of the temple of Isis of Philae, where they led cult services as prophets and priests, and militarily defended the sanctity of Philae’s temple complex.
This dissertation examines the participation of Nubians in the cult of Isis of Philae through their prayer inscriptions and legal agreements engraved on temple walls at Philae, Dendur, Kalabsha, and Dakka during Egypt’s Roman and Byzantine period (1st-5th centuries AD). This study explores the political, economic, and social factors that allowed Nubians to become active in the Egyptian temples of Lower Nubia. Detailed analysis of Ptolemaic royal decrees and temple imagery explain the historical reasons for the involvement of Nubians in temple financial administration in the Dodecaschoenos.
Comparison of the religious rites described in Nubian prayer inscriptions and the temple relief scenes upon which they were engraved reveals a recurring Nubian cultic focus that exhibits many similarities to Meroitic royal funerary cult practices. This work collects all epigraphic evidence of Nubian worshippers in the temples of the Dodecaschoenos – inscriptions written in Demotic, Meroitic, and Greek - to present a comprehensive description of the enduring presence of Nubians in the cult of Isis of the Dodecaschoenos.
Inscriptions found on the walls of five temples in Lower Nubia attest to the involvement of Nubian priests, administrators, and diplomats in a region where many ethnicities intermingled during a time of profound religious, cultural, and social change as the ancient world was transformed. Engraved during the first five centuries AD, Nubian inscriptions in the Dodecaschoenos serve as a witness to a time of intense political, cultural, and social change in the region. Christianity was beginning its long ascendancy and Rome was at the height of its powers. With Egypt ruined financially as a colony of Rome and Christianity gaining converts in the Egyptian countryside in the third century AD, Egyptian temples were no longer used to celebrate the traditional pharaonic religion. Roman seizure of temple lands, restrictions placed on entry into the Egyptian priesthood and the benefits derived therefrom, and withdrawal of all state funding for Egyptian temples spelled the end of the practice of Egyptian temple religion. The one notable survival of an active temple cult was at Philae on the southern border of Egypt where diverse groups of Nubians2 continued to fund temple cult and practice the ancient A glossary of all Meroitic terms used in this dissertation and those Demotic words found only in Nubian inscriptions is found on page viii.
At our current state of knowledge, precisely defining the ethnicity of the diverse populations resident in Nubia from the first to the fifth century AD is difficult. Specific tribal names are not available to us because none of the various populations resident in Nubia practiced writing their indigenous languages. While some Nubians did engage in writing while serving in an Egyptian or Meroitic context, their texts, usually written in an official capacity, did not include biographical information such as tribal affiliation.