Listen To Article

The Rosetta Stone is a Stele found at Memphis in Egypt in 1799.

It records 3 Proclamations of the Pharaohs of the Greek Dynasty of Ancient Egypt in 3 languages: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Demotic Script as well as Ancient Greek.

This enabled a translation of Egyptian Hieroglyphs using Ancient Greek which was already a well known language at the time the stone was discovered.

Below is a translation of the full Text and Documentary.



1. On the twenty-fourth day of the month GORPIAIOS, which correspondeth to the twenty-fourth day of the fourth month of the season PERT of the inhabitants of TA-MERT (EGYPT), in the twenty-third year of the reign of HORUS-RA the CHILD, who hath risen as King upon the throne of his father, the lord of the shrines of NEKHEBET and UATCHET the mighty one of two-fold strength, the stablisher of the Two Lands, the beautifier of

2. Egypt, whose heart is perfect (or benevolent) towards the gods, the HORUS of Gold, who maketh perfect the life of the hamentet beings, the lord of the thirty-year festivals like PTA?, the sovereign prince like R?, the King of the South and North, Neterui-merui-a?tui-a?u?-setep-en-Pta?-usr-ka-R?-?nkh-sekhem-A?men the Son of the Sun Ptolemy, the ever-living


the beloved of Pta?, the god who maketh himself manifest.

3. the son of PTOLEMY and ARSINOË, the Father-loving gods; when PTOLEMY, the son of PYRRHIDES, was priest of ALEXANDER, and of the Saviour-Gods, and of the Brother-loving Gods, and of the Beneficent Gods,

4. and of the Father-loving Gods, and of the God who maketh himself manifest; when DEMETRIA, the daughter of Telemachus, was bearer of the

5. prize of victory of BERENICE, the Beneficent Goddess; and when ARSINOË, the daughter of CADMUS, was the Basket Bearer of ARSINOË, the Brother-loving Goddess;

6. when IRENE, the daughter of PTOLEMY, was the Priestess of ARSINOË, the Father-loving Goddess; on this day the superintendents of the temples, and the servants of the god, and those who are over the secret things of the god, and the libationers [who] go into the most holy place to array the gods in then apparel,

7. and the scribes of the holy writings, and the sages of the Double House of Life, and the other libationers [who] had come from the sanctuaries of the South and the North to MEMPHIS, on the day of the festival, whereon

S. His Majesty, the King of the South and North PTOLEMY, the ever-living, the beloved of Pta?, the god who maketh himself manifest, the lord of beauties, received the sovereignty from his father,


entered into the SE?ETCH-CHAMBER, wherein they were wont to assemble, in MAKHA-TAUI  and behold they declared thus:—

9. “Inasmuch as the King who is beloved by the gods, the King of the South and North Neterui-merui-a?tui-a?ua-en-Pta?-setep-en-usr-ka R? ?nkh-sekhem-A?men, the Son of the Sun Ptolemy, the ever-living, beloved of Pta?, the Gods who have made themselves manifest, the lord of beauties, hath given things of all kinds in very large quantities unto the lands of Horus and unto all

10. “those who dwell in them, and unto each and every one who holdeth any dignity whatsoever in them, now behold, he is like unto a God, being the son of a God [and] he was given by a Goddess, for he is the counterpart of Horus, the son of Isis [and] the son of Osiris, the avenger of his father Osiris—and behold, His Majesty.

11. “possessed a divine heart which was beneficent towards the gods; and he hath given gold in large quantities, and grain in large quantities to the temples and he hath given very many lavish gifts in order to make Ta-Mert [Egypt] prosperous, and to make stable [her] advancement;

12. “and he hath given unto the soldiers who are in his august service . . . . . . according to their rank

[paragraph continues][and of the taxes] some of them he hath cut off, and some of them [he hath lightened], thus causing the soldiers and those who live in the country to be prosperous

13. “under his reign [and as regards the sums which were due to the royal house] from the people of Egypt, and likewise those [which were due] from every one who was in his august service, His Majesty remitted them altogether, howsoever great they were;

14. “and he hath forgiven the prisoners who were in prison, and ordered that every one among them should be released from [the punishment] which he had to undergo. And His Majesty made an order saying:—In respect of the things [which are to be given to] the gods, and the money and the

15. “grain which are to be given to the temples each year, and all the things [which are to be given to] the gods from the vineyards and from the corn-lands of the nome, all the things which were then due under the Majesty of his holy father

16. “shall he allowed to remain [in their amounts] to them as they were then; and he hath ordered:—Behold, the treasury (?) shall not he made more full of contributions by the hands of the priests than it was up to the first year of the reign of His Majesty, his holy father; and His Majesty hath remitted

17. “To the priests who minister in the temples in courses the journey which they had been accustomed to make by river in boats to the city of ALEXANDRIA at the beginning of each years and His Majesty commanded:—Behold, those who are boatmen [by trade] shall not be seized [and

made to serve in the Navy]; and in respect of the cloths of byssus [which are] made in the temples for the royal house,

18. “he hath commanded that two-thirds of them shall be returned [to the priests]; similarly, His Majesty hath [re]-established all the things, the performance of which had been set aside, and hath restored them to their former condition, and he hath taken the greatest care to cause everything which ought to be done in the service of the gods to be done in the sane way in which it was done

19. “in former [days]; similarly, he hath donc [all things] in a right and proper manner; and he hath taken care to administer justice to the people, even like Thoth, the great, great [God]; and he hath, more over, ordered in respect of those of the troops who come back, and the other people also, who during the

20. “strife of the revolution which took place had been ill disposed [towards the Government], that when they return to their homes and lands they shall have the power to remain in possession of their property, and he hath taken great care to send infantry, and cavalry, and ships to repulse those who were coming against

21. “Egypt by land as well as by sea; and he hath in consequence expended a very large amount of money and of grain on them in order to make prosperous the lands of Horus and Egypt.

22. “And His Majesty marched against the town of Shekam, which is in front of (?) the town of UISET, which was in the possession of the enemy, and was provided with catapults, and was made ready for war with weapons of every kind 

23. “the rebels who were in it—now they had committed great acts of sacrilege in the land of Horus, and had done injury to those who dwelt in Egypt—His Majesty attacked them by making a road [to their town],

24. “and he raised mounds (or walls) against them, and he dug trenches, and whatsoever would lead [him] against them that he made; and he caused the canals which supplied the town with water to be blocked up, a thing which none of the kings who preceded him had ever been able to do before, and he expended a large amount of money on carrying out the work;

25. “and His Majesty stationed infantry at the mouths of the canals in order to watch and to guard them against the extraordinary rise of the waters [of the Nile], which took place in the eighth year [of his reign], in the aforesaid canals which watered the fields, and were unusually deep

26. “in this spot; and His Majesty captured the town by assault in a very short time, and he cut to pieces the rebels who were therein, and he made an exceedingly great slaughter among them, even like unto that which THOTH 1 and HORUS, the son of Isis and [the son of Osiris], made among those who rebelled against them

27. “when they rebelled in this very place; and behold, those who had led on the soldiers and were at their head, and who had disturbed the borders [in the time of his father, and who had committed sacrilege in the temples, when His Majesty came to MEMPHIS to avenge his father

28. “and his own sovereignty he punished, according to their deserts, when he came there to celebrate] the festival of the receiving of the sovereignty from his father; and [besides this], he hath set aside [his claim to

29. “the things which were due to His Majesty, and which were [then] in the temples, up to the eighth year [of his reign, which amounted to no small sum of] money and grain; and His Majesty hath also set aside [his claim] to the cloths of byssus which ought to have been given to the royal house and were [then] in the temples,

30. “and also the tax which they (i.e. the priests) ought to have contributed for dividing the cloths into pieces, which was due up to this day; and he hath also remitted to the temples the grain which was usually levied as a tax on the corn-lands of the gods, and likewise the measure of wine which was clue as a tax on vineyards [of the gods];

31. “and he hath done great things for APIS, and MNEVIS, and for every shrine which contained a sacred animal, and he expended upon them more than did his ancestors; and his heart hath entered into [the consideration of everything] which was right and proper for them

32. “at every moment; and he hath given everything which was necessary for the embalming of their bodies, lavishly, and in magnificent abundance; and he hath undertaken the cost of their maintenance in their temples, and the cost of their great festivals, and of their burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and libations;

33. “[and he hath respected the privileges of the temples, and of Egypt, and hath maintained them in a suitable

manner according to what is customary and right; and he hath spent] both money and grain to no small amount;

34. “and [hath provided] everything in great abundance for the house wherein dwelleth the LIVING APIS; and His Majesty hath decorated it with perfect and new ornamentations of the most beautiful character always; and he hath made the LIVING APIS to rise [like the sun], and hath founded temples, and shrines, and chapels [in his honour]; [and he hath repaired the shrines, which needed repairs, and in all matters appertaining to the service of the gods

35. “he hath manifested the spirit of a beneficent god; and during his reign, having made careful inquiry, he hath restored the temples which were held in the greatest honour, as was right] and in return for these things the gods and goddesses have given him victory, and power, and life, and strength, and health, and every beautiful thing of every kind whatsoever, and

36. “in respect of his exalted rank, it shall be established to him and to his children for ever and ever, with happy results (or life).”

And it has entered into the heart(s) of the priests of the temples of the South and of the North, and of each and every temple [that all the honours which

37. are paid] to the King of the South and North Ptolemy, the ever-living, the beloved of Pta?, the [God who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, and those which are paid to the Father-loving Gods who begot him, and to the Beneficent Gods who begot those who begot him, and to the Brother-Gods who begot the begetters of his begetters,]

38. and to the Saviour-Gods, shall be [greatly increased]; and a statue of the King of the South and North, Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Pta?, the God who maketh himself manifest, the Lord of beauties, shall be set up [in every temple, in the most prominent place], and it shall be

39, called by his name “PTOLEMY, the SAVIOUR of EGYPT,” the interpretation (?) of which is “PTOLEMY, THE VICTORIOUS ONE.” [And it shall stand side by side with a statue of the Lord of the gods (?), who giveth him the weapon of victory, and it shall be fashioned after the manner of the Egyptians, and a statue of this kind shall be set up in]

40. all the temples which are called by his name. And adoration shall he paid unto these statues three times each day, and every rite and ceremony which it is proper to perform before them shall be performed, and whatsoever is prescribed, and is fitting for their DOUBLES, shall be performed, even as it is performed for the gods of the Nomes during the festivals and on every sacred day (?), on the day of [his] coronation, and on his name-day. And there shall likewise [be set up] a

41. magnificent (?) statue of the King of the South and North Ptolemy, ever-living beloved of Pta?, the God who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, the son of Ptolemy, and Arsinoë, the Father-loving gods, and with the statue there shall be a magnificent shrine [made] of the finest copper and inlaid with real stones of every kind,

42. in every temple which is called by his name; and this statue shall rest in the most holy place [in the temples] side by side with the shrines of the gods of the Nomes. And on the days of the great festivals, when the god [of the temple] cometh forth from his holy habitation, according to his day, the holy shrine of the God who maketh himself manifest, the lord of beauties, shall likewise be made to rise [like the Sun]

43. with them. And in order to make this new shrine to be easily distinguishable [both at the present day, and in future times, they shall set] upon this shrine [ten royal double crowns, made of gold and upon [each of the double crowns there shall be placed the [serpent which it is right and proper to make for the [double crown of gold], instead of the two Uraei

44. which are [placed] upon the tops of the shrines, and the SEKHENT CROWN shall be in the middle of them, because it was in the SEKHENT CROWN in which His Majesty shone in the house of the KA of PTA? (i.e., Memphis)

45. at the time when the king entered into the temple, and performed the ceremonies which it was meet and right for him to perform on receiving the exalted rank [of King]. And on the upper surface of the square pedestal which is round these crowns, and in the middle part thereof [which is immediately] beneath] the double Crown [they shall engrave a papyrus plant and a plant of the south; and they shall set them in such a way that a vulture,  upon neb, beneath which a plant of the south shall be found, shall be affixed to the right-hand upper corner of the golden shrine, and a serpent, under

which is placed upon] a papyrus plant, [shall be affixed] to the left hand side [at the upper corner]; and

46. the interpretation [of these signs is]:—”Lord of the shrine of NEKHEBET, and Lord of the shrine of UATCHET, who illumineth the land of the White Crown, and the land of the Red Crown.” And inasmuch as the last day of the fourth month of the season SHEMU 1 (i.e., MESORE), which is the birthday of the beautiful ever-living god, is already established as a feast day, and it hath been observed as a day of festival in the lands of HORUS (i.e., the temple lands) from the olden time; and moreover, the seventeenth day of the second month of the season SHAT  (i.e., PAOPI),

47. whereon [His Majesty] performed the ceremonies of royal accession, when he received the sovereignty from his father, [is also observed as a day of festival], and behold [these days] have been the source of all [good] things wherein all men have participated; these days, that is to say, the seventeenth and the last day of each month, shall be kept as festivals in the temples

48. of Egypt, in each and every one of them; and on these days burnt offerings shall be offered up, and meat offerings, and everything which it is right and customary to perform at the celebration of festivals shall be performed on these days every month, and on these festivals every man shall do (i.e., offer up) what he is accustomed to do on [other] fes-

49. tivals in the temples. [And the priests also decreed] that the things which [are brought to the temples

offerings shall be given unto the persons who [minister in the temples; and festivals and processions shall be established in the temples, and in all Egypt, in honour of] the King of the South and North, Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Pta?, the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, each year,

50. beginning with the first day of the first month of the season Shat (i.e., Thoth) up to the fifth day thereof [and on these days the people shall wear] garlands on their heads, and they shall make festal the altars, and shall offer up meat and drink offerings, and shall perform everything which it is right and proper to perform. And the priests of all the temples which are called after his name

51. shall have, in addition to all the other priestly titles which they may possess, the title of “Servant of the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful”; [and this title shall be endorsed on all deeds and documents which are laid up in the temples]; and they shall cause to be engraved on the rings which they wear on their hands, the title of “Libationer of the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful.”

52. And behold, it shall he in the hands of those who live in the country, and those who desire [it], to establish a copy of the shrine of the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, and set it up in their houses, and they shall be at liberty to keep festivals and make rejoicings [before it] each month

53. and each year; and in order to make those who are in Egypt to know [why it is that the Egyptians pay honour—as it is most right and proper to do—to the

god who maketh himself beautiful, whose deeds are beautiful, the priests have decreed] that this DECREE shall [be inscribed] upon a stele of hard stone in the writing of the words of the gods, and the writing of the books, and in the writing of HAUI-NEBUI (i.e., Greeks), and it shall be set up in the sanctuaries in the temples which [are called] by his name, of the first, second, and third [class], near the statue of the HORUS, the King of the South and North Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Pta?, the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful.