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A “Sacred Foal” for Cleopatra III?

Wendy A. Cheshire

Pages 29 - 47

The title of a particular eponymous priest cited in the dating prescripts of legal documents in Egypt from 131 to 103 B.C. has been widely mistranslated and misunderstood. Named consistently in the genitive case as hieroupōlou, both in Greek and Demotic texts, it has been wrongly reconstructed as hierospōlos, “Sacred Foal.” The correct reading, allowing for a slightly different pronunciation of the omega in Egypt, yields the traditional Greek priestly title hieropolos. This priest served, in Egypt, undoubtedly the reigning queen, Cleopatra III, in her manifestation as the goddess Isis, the Great, God’s Mother. In Demotic documents from Memphis, the dynastic goddess is qualified by an enigmatic epithet, which should most probably be read in-nkt.w, “Bringer of Wealth/Property,” in the sense of Isis as the patron goddess of marriage and family law.


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