- Museum number
Round-topped sandstone stela with Caesarion offering to deities: at the top, below a winged sun disc with pendent uraei, wearing sun-discs and flanking a scarab, symbol of the newly-risen sun, is a double offering scene framed by two was sceptres and the sign for 'heaven'. At the right a pharaoh wearing the Double Crown, who is unnamed since the two cartouches are empty, presents two cos lettuces to the ithyphallic fertility god, Min, whose favourite food they were. As usual, Min wears two plumes on his head and a flail floats over his upraised arm. The hieroglyphs name the god specifically as Min of Coptos. Behind him, separated by his cult fetish and the further epithet 'Possessor of Joy', stands his consort at Coptos, Great Isis the divine mother, wearing vulture headdress and cow's horns and disc, and carrying a papyrus sceptre and 'ankh'. In the other scene the unnamed king offers wine to Geb, prince of the gods, who wears the White Crown of Upper Egypt, and to crocodile-headed Sobek, who is specifically said to be a guest in Min's temple. Both gods carry was sceptres and 'ankhs'.
- Production date
Height: 90 centimetres (module)
Height: 75.50 centimetres (stela)
Width: 56 centimetres (module)
Width: 53 centimetres (stela)
Depth: 24 centimetres (module)
Depth: 11 centimetres (stela)
- Inscription subject
- Curator's comments
- The contract is an agreement drawn up in perpetuity between a guild of thirty-six linen manufacturers (who are all individually named) and their families and, in the first instance, two high-ranking priestly officials of Coptos, concerning the expenses of the local Apis bull. The sacred animal of Min was also a bull, so assimilation between it and the more famous Apis would not have been difficult. In the second instance the agreement is with the guild of local embalmers and concerns payment for the embalming of the Apis and other local sacred animals, for the training of the embalmers and the cost of clothing their children and wives. The guild of linen manufacturers is to be paid in gold and wine. Just as though the text were written on a papyrus, it is signed by its scribe and there is even a list of witnesses' names at the end. There can be no doubt that this stela was set up in the house used by guild members, where it would have served as a visible reminder of their agreed rights. Thus far similar texts have been found only on papyrus.
A. Farid, 'Fünf demotische Stelen aus Berlin, Chicago, Durham, London and Oxford mit zwei demotischen Turinschriften aus Paris und einer Bibliographie der demotischcn Inschriften' (Berlin, 1995), 32-76;
S. Walker & P. Higgs [eds.], 'Cleopatra: Regina d'Egitto' (Milan, 2000), p.127 [II.13] = S. Walker & P. Higgs [eds.], 'Cleopatra of Egypt' (London, 2001), pp. 174-175 ;
B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' II (2)(Oxford, 1972), p. 295;
S. P .Vleeming, 'Studia Demotica' 5, No. 158, pp. 131-45.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 9 Aug-2002 25 Feb, Chicago, Cleopatra
2006-2007 17 Oct-Jan, Hamburg, Bucerius Kunst Forum, Cleopatra
2013 28 June-6 Oct, Bonn, Cleopatra Eternal Diva.
2015, 19th June - 5th Sept. Wrexham County Borough Museum. Egyptian Written Culture.
2016 12 Mar-8 May, Carlisle, Tullie House, Writing for Eternity
2016 20 May-4 Sept, The Salisbury Museum, Writing for Eternity
2016 16 Sept-10 Jan 2017, Abergavenny Museum, Writing for Eternity
2017 21 Jan-21 May, Museum of Hartlepool, Writing for Eternity
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The ‘British Museum Trustees Report’ lists Memphis as provenance, whereas Budge’s British Museum Guide (Sculpture) (1909), mentions Karnak as place of origin. The latter is followed by PM II2, 295. Based on the content, however, Farid (1995) convincingly claims that a provenance in Coptos is beyond doubt. This has been followed since.
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number