Dendera Bronze Plates

Dendera Bronze Plates

These two bronze plates from a temple in Dendera, Egypt, are on display in the British Museum (BM 57371 and BM 57372) and were written by the same individual in the first century BC. Both were purchased in 1924 from Denis P. Kyticas.

BM57371 has 58 lines of demotic text on one side, comprising a votive offering, with white paint filling the inscription. It measures 22.3 x 53 centimeters. Details were published in Stanwick, Portraits of the Ptolemies (2002):10; Vleeming, Studia Demotica 5/39” 20-31; Guermeur, Les cultes d’Amon hors de Thebes (2006):357-8, pl.19.

Dendera 1

BM57372 is a bilingual that preserves 31 lines of hieroglyphic neo-Middle Egyptian text on one side and 16 of demotic on the other. It measures Width: 25.9 x 31.8 centimeters.

Dendera 2Dendeera 3

Inscription Translation: ‘[scribe] of Greek writings’ …] Scribe of God’s Words, Scribe of the Temple, Scribe of the Priests, Scribe of the Chest, Chief of Burnt-offerings, Chief [….

Inscription Comment: Incised. Thirty one lines of hieroglyphic text. In these titles, the word for ‘scribe’ is sometimes written not with the usual sign, but ‘cryptographically’ with the sign showing a baboon of the god of writing Thoth.

The tablet was dedicated in the temple by the son of a man whose Egyptian name was Pasherpakhy, and whose Greek name was Ptolemaios. Another similar tablet (1924,0510.24) contains a duplicate of the same text in demotic only with a continuation that records the dedicator’s good works for the temple. The tablet was a votive offering, a dedication of precious metal and a permanent record of the donor’s piety. It seems to have been damaged by fire, perhaps in a deliberate attempt to melt it down. Biblioghaphy: A.F. Shore,’Votive offerings from Dendera in the Graeco-Roman Period’, in J. Ruffle et al. (eds), Glimpses from Ancient Egypt: Studies in Honour of H. W. Fairman (Warminster, 1979), 138—60; F.von Känel, Les prêtres-ouâb de Sekhmet et les conjurateurs de Serket (Paris, 1984), 149-50. S. P. Vleeming, Studia Demotica 5/40: 31-7. Guermeur, Les cultes d’Amon hors de Thebes (2006): 357-8, pl.19.