Sunday, May 28, 2023

Cleopatra's handwriting discovered?

Now this is interesting

A single Greek word, ginesthoi, or "make it so," written at the bottom of a Ptolemaic papyrus may have been written by the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII herself, says Dutch papyrologist Peter van Minnen of the University of Groningen. ... the papyrus text, recycled for use in the construction of a cartonnage mummy case found by a German expedition at Abusir in 1904, appears to be a royal ordinance granting tax exemption to one Publius Canidius, an associate of Mark Antony's who would command his land army during the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. The text reads as follows:

We have granted to Publius Canidius and his heirs the annual exportation of 10,000 artabas [300 tons] of wheat and the annual importation of 5,000 Coan amphoras [ca. 34,500 gallons] of wine without anyone exacting anything in taxes from him or any other expense whatsoever. ... Let it be written to those to whom it may concern, so that knowing it they can act accordingly.
Make it so!

"Written in an upright hand by a court scribe, the document was meant to be an internal note from Cleopatra to a high official charged with notifying other high officials in Alexandria," says van Minnen. "The personal nature of the communication is evident in the lack of any formal introduction of Cleopatra herself (she is not even mentioned by name) and the absence of a title after the name of the official to whom it was addressed (the name cannot be read)." The manuscript is not one of the copies received by the other officials, as there is no forwarding note attached to it and because it was executed in multiple hands. The text of the ordinance was written first, Cleopatra's written approval second, and the date of the document's receipt in Alexandria third.

If this was actually signed by her, this may be the first royal ancient handwriting ever discovered.


matism said...

"Make it sew?" So Cleopatra was a tailor, just like Picard from Star Trek?

Gerry said...

"Dutch papyrologist Peter van Minnen of the University of Groningen."

I just discovered you could make a living as a papyrologist in the Netherlands.