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The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt

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The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt

Abstract

Egyptologists and classicists have considered ancient Egyptian religion from different perspectives. The creator and warrior goddess Neith and her northern cult centre Sais (Sa el-Haggar) were points of scholarly interest. Light has been shed on the assimilation of Neith with the Greek warrior goddess Athena and on lanterns and lamps associated through their figurative details with Athena-Neith. Among the festivals confirmed in Greek papyri for Athena-Neith at Sais is the festival of lamps (Lychnocaia), which has not been well covered so far. This paper deals with the illumination of lamps for Neith-Athena from the Pharaonic to the Roman period. The Lychnocaia was a nocturnal ceremony of a spectacular festival for Neith-Athena in Sais, Esna, and countrywide, and I argue that it also symbolised a ceremony in the Osirian myth. The paper first addresses the nature of this ceremony in Pharaonic Egypt and evidence for its maintenance in Graeco-Roman times. Then, the identification of Athena and Neith and the symbolism of the Lychnocaia are addressed. Finally, the Lychnocaia is considered from an ethnic perspective, highlighting the complexity of associating ritual activities with ethnic or legal groups in Graeco-Roman Egypt.
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Printed in Egypt
Issue No. 10, 2015
Abgadiyat
Issue No. 10, 2015
Scientic refereed annual journal issued by the
Bibliotheca Alexandrina Center for Calligraphy Studies
Board Chair
Ismail Serageldin
Editing Supervisor
Khaled Azab
Editor-in-Chief
Essam Elsaeed
Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Ahmed Mansour
Editors
Azza Ezzat
Amr Ghoniem
Language Control
Fatema Nabih
Perihan Fahmy
Marwa Adel
Graphic
Mohamed Yousri
Heba Abbas
Views presented in Abgadiyat do not necessarily reect those of the
Bibliotheca Alexandrina Center for Calligraphy Studies.
5
Issue No. 10
Abdulaziz Al-A’raj
University of Algeria, Algeria
Abdul Rahman Al-Tayeb Al-Ansary
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Abdulhalim Nureldin
Cairo University, Egypt
Adnan Al-Harthy
Um Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia
Ahmed Amin Selim
Alexandria University, Egypt
Alessandro Roccati
Turin University, Italy
Anne Marie-Christin
University of Paris 7, France
Bernard O’Kane
The American University in Cairo, Egypt
Fayza Heikal
The American University in Cairo, Egypt
Frank Kammerzell
University of Berlin, Germany
Friedrich Junge
University of Göttingen, Germany
Gunter Dreyer
Univeristy of New York, USA
Heike Sternberg
University of Göttingen, Germany
Khaled Daoud
University of Al-Fayyum, Egypt
Mahmoud Ibrahim Hussein
Cairo University, Egypt
Mamdouh el-Damaty
Ain Shams University, Egypt
Mohamed Abdulghany
Alexandria University, Egypt
Mohamed Al-Kahlawy
Union of Arab Archaeologists, Egypt
Mohamed Abdalsattar Othman
South Valley University, Egypt
Mohamed Hamza
Cairo University, Egypt
Mohamed Ibrahim Aly
Ain Shams University, Egypt
Mostafa Al-Abady
Alexandria University, Egypt
Raafat Al-Nabarawy
Cairo University, Egypt
Rainer Hannig
University of Marburg, Germany
Riyad Morabet
Tunis University, Tunisia
Sa’d ibn Abdulaziz Al-Rashed
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Solaiman A. al-Theeb
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
Zahi Hawass
Former Minister of State for Antiquities, Egypt
Advisory Board
6 Abgadiyat 2015
Contents
Guidelines for Contributors 7
Introduction Essam Elsaeed 11
Astronomical and Cosmographic Elements in the Corpus of Mining Inscriptions of Wadi ᾽el-Houdi
Alicia Maravelia 12
A Middle Kingdom Funerary Stela of a Woman at Alexandria National Museum no. 42
Marzouk Al-Sayed Aman 23
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
Youssri Abdelwahed 31
Une nouvelle version du miracle du démenti comparatif : À propos du manuscrit ‘Aqd al-Gawhar
Jean-Loïc Le Quellec 46
7
Issue No. 10
Guidelines for Contributors
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8 Abgadiyat 2015
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Reports VI, EES Occasional Publications 10
(London,1995),218-220.
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(ed.),Amarna ReportsVI,218-220.
A.B. Lloyd, ‘The Late Period, 664-323 BC’ in B.G.
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1983), 279-346.
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D.M. Bailey, Excavations at el-Ashmunein, V.
Pottery, Lamps and Glass of the Late Roman and
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Guidelines for Contributors
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11
Issue No. 10
Introduction
The tenth issue of Abgadiyat, an annual journal issued by the Center for Calligraphy Studies, expresses
the continuity of the Center and its constant aspiration to win the trust of scholars and researchers
whoareinterestedinitspublicationsofrefereedscienticmaterialandspecializedworksintheeld
ofwritingandinscriptions.Sinceitsrstissuein2006,Abgadiyat has assumed the responsibility of
bridgingthegapbetweenthedifferenteldsofcalligraphyandwritingstudies.TheJournal seeks to
achieve the Center’s major objective of providing specialists with the rare information they need for
theirstudiesinwritingandinscriptions,as well as raising theawarenessofthiseldamongstnon-
specialists.
Followers of this Journalwillndavarietyinitspublishedtopics.Yet,thetopicsfocusonone,
mutualeld:writingsandinscriptions;thepaperstacklethesametopicfromdifferentperspectives.
Abgadiyat, which promotes the values of difference, diversity, and accepting the other, includes
in its tenth issue a selection of Arabic and English researches that cover a wide range of topics
for scholars all over the world. In this issue, some papers focus on the study of Islamic writings,
suchasthoseinscribedonYemenicoinsdatingbacktotheperiodbetween696AHand721AH
or on the walls of an Ayyubid mosque in Damascus; and the writings that emerged during the era
of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Other papers study Ancient Egyptian writings—
includingtheastronomicalandcosmicsymbols—onthequarriesofWadial-Hudi,andalsothe
writings on a funerary stela dating back to Middle Kingdom of Egypt. Topics related to the Greco-
Roman civilization; the ceremonies held for goddess Neith in the towns of Sais and Esna in Egypt
during the Greco-Roman period; and the inscriptions of Constantine city, east Algeria, that date
back to the period from the end of the third century BCE to the fourth century CE are also tackled.
All this proves the universality of Abgadiyat, which tends to cover all the alphabets and writings
ever witnessed in history in a way that creates a balance among different themes of research.
The Center for Calligraphy Studies is always keen to emphasize the continuation of this Journal
inordertollinanobviousshortageinscienticresearch,inspiteofwhatthisdedicationentails
of increased, ample efforts exerted by editors to deal with various languages, inscriptions, and
their different writing methods.
Essam Elsaeed
Director of the Center for Calligraphy Studies
31
Issue No. 10
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in
Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt

Youssri Abdelwahed*
ص�خلم

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







Youssri Abdelwahed
32 Abgadiyat 2015
The Festival of Lamps in Herodotus’
Histories
The performance of ritual activities around or
within the domestic space was an important feature
of religious and social life of the Egyptian society
since the Pharaonic period. The space in front of the
main gate of the house was the locus of domestic and
religious practices.1 Domestic activities as spinning
and weaving sometimes occurred before the main
entrance of the house.2 Certain ceremonies were also
celebrated at the main gate of the house. The house
depicted on the funerary papyrus of Nakht, now at
the British Museum (EA 1047/72), for example, has
been described as ’the home from the door of which
he (Nakht) pays adoration to the gods‘.3 Similarly,
’on the ninth day of the first month (Thoth), when
every one of the other Egyptians eats a broiled fish
in front of the outer door of his house, the priests do
not even taste the fish, but burn them up in front of
their doors‘. Equally importantly, the sacrifice of pigs
to Osiris on 15 Pachon, the first month of harvest
(Shemu) and the ninth of the year, was also performed
at the front door of the house.4
Writing in the fifth century BCE, Herodotus
was the first classical author to mention, although in
passing, a festival of lamps for Neith in Sais.
At Sais, on the night of the sacrifice, they (the
Egyptians) all keep lamps burning in the open air
around the houses. These lamps are flat dishes full of
salt and oil, with a floating wick which keep burning
all night. This is called the Festival of Lamps (Heortes
lychnokaies) and even the Egyptians who do not
come to this assemblage mark the night of sacrifice
by burning their own lamps at home, so that on
that night lamps are burning not only at Sais but
throughout all Egypt. A sacred tale is told showing
why this night is thus lit up and honored.5
The illumination of lamps took place at night
before a certain sacrifice, presumably for Osiris. In this
festival lamps were illuminated at night on 13 Epeiph
(Julian: 24 June), the third month of harvest and the
eleventh of the year, around and within Egyptian houses
in commemoration of Osiris‘ death and resurrection.6
According to Herodotus, it was a representative
celebration, in which all Egyptians participated not
only at Sais, but throughout the country. Since this
nocturnal ceremony was performed within and outside
domestic properties, it probably linked the living
space with religious rites and thus reflected a profound
connection and integration between the private and
public spheres on the one hand and religious rituals on
the other. In his commentary on the second book of
Herodotus, Alan Lloyd identified the flat dish lamp as
Alan Gardiner‘s sign (R7),7 however, the sign does not
represent a dish and Gardiner himself interpreted it as
an incense bowl with smoke rising from it.8
Sais was probably the most important site where
lamps illuminated for Neith. Herodotus writes that
’the Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly,
but several in the course of the year…there is a third
great festival (Illumination of Lamps) in Sais to Athena
(Neith).9 The reason for particularly associating the
Illumination of Lamps with Sais can also be found in
Herodotus ’Histories: ’The grave of Osiris was located
at Sais and the sufferings of the god were displayed as
a mystery by night on an adjacent lake‘.10 Sais was the
main venue for the performance of the Illumination
of Lamps for another claim to fame of Sais was the
nearby “grave of Osiris” and the passion-play of Osiris
(mysteries) enacted on an adjacent lake.
Sais was one of the mythological destinations of
funerary rituals for the deceased. The body of Osiris,
it is known, was dismembered by his brother Seth
into fourteen pieces. Aided by Anubis, however, Isis
collected and buried the dispersed body of Osiris in
different places, notably Abydos, Busiris, and Sais. In
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
33
Issue No. 10
their studies on Middle Kingdom coffins and the outer
coffin of Merenptah, Harco Willems and Jan Assmann
concluded that burial rites included a ceremonial
passage of divine tribunal that the deceased has to
pass on his way to Sais. According to the inscriptions
of Merenptah, after the mummification process was
completed Osiris was justified and crowned as King
in the presence of the Enneads and the Two State
Chapels. When Osiris reached Sais, his enemies
were destroyed. Thus, the journey to Sais seems to
incorporate Osiris‘ victory over his enemies and his
coronation as King in the netherworld.11 In Coffin
Text spell 15, the judgment of the deceased is said to
be pronounced by goddess Neith, which, according
to Willems, is evidence that the trial of the deceased
takes place near Sais.12 The tragedy of Osiris was
performed, presumably by priests assuming the roles
of deities, at night on an adjacent lake at Sais, perhaps
the sacred lake of the temple of Neith. The nocturnal
performance of the tragedy of Osiris perhaps occurred
at the same night as the Illumination of Lamps,
namely 13 Epeiph. This connection would provide
the rationale for burning lamps around or within
houses at Sais and elsewhere.
Like Osiris, the Illumination of Lamps on 13
Epeiph is equally associated with goddess Neith, the
patron of Sais.
13
At Sais, Isis and Neith were assimilated
to one another. Due to the association of Neith and
Athena with war and weaving, Greek travellers, as
Herodotus, Plato, and Diodorus, identied Neith-Isis
with Athena and hence postulated a primordial link to
Athens. Diodorus recounts that Athena built Sais before
the Great Flood, which supposedly destroyed Athens
and Atlantis. While all Greek cities were destroyed
during that catastrophe, Egyptian cities, including
Sais, survived.
14
us, goddesses Isis and Athena were
worshipped at the shrine of Neith at Sais.
15
Writing
around the rst half of the second century CE, Plutarch
reports that ’they (the Egyptians) often call Isis by the
name of Athena, which in their language expresses this
sentence, ’I came from myself,‘ and is signicative of
a motion proceeding from herself‘.
16
He also records
that ’in Sais the statue of Athena, whom they believe
to be Isis, bore the inscription: ’I am all that has been,
and is, and shall be, and my robe no mortal has yet
uncovered‘.
17
Philosopher Proclus (412–485 CE)
similarly wrote that the adytum of the temple of Neith
at Sais carried the following inscription: ’I am all things
that are, that will be, and that have been, and no mortal
has ever me unveiled. e fruit which I brought forth
was the sun
18
.
e identication of Neith and Athena is conrmed
by classical writers and Greek papyri uncovered in
Egypt. is is even mentioned in the Socratic dialogue
Timaeus, written by Plato, quoted here:
In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the
river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is
named as the district of Sais, and the great city of the
district is also named Sais, and is the city from which
King Amasis came. The citizens have a deity for their
founder; she is named in Egyptian Neith, and is
asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes
call Athene; they are great lovers of the Athenians,
and say that they are in some way related to them.19
In Sais, at the time of Plato, the goddess is
Neith; but the Greeks, as Plato, identify Neith with
their goddess Athena. For Greeks, every foreign god
could be given a Greek name and therefore identified
with a Greek god. Greek documents confirm that
Athena was also identified with many other local
Egyptian goddesses. At Oxyrhynchus, for instance,
she was assimilated with the hippopotamus-goddess
Thoeris.20
Youssri Abdelwahed
34 Abgadiyat 2015
The Role of Lamps in Ancient Egyptian
Religion and Magic
Besides being used for providing light in houses,21
lamps played a major role in ancient Egyptian religion
and magic as they were closely associated with Osiris. In
her consideration of the festival calendar at the tomb of
Neferhotep, the divine father of Amun under Horemheb
(TT 50) at Thebes, Lise Manniche drew attention to the
association of the rite of the Illumination of Lamps with
Osirian festivals attested in the calendar, namely making
the Osiris bed on 18 Khoiak, and making the Osiris bed
and other rites on 23 Mesore. A vignette from the tomb,
known as the Bankes fragment, shows the son of the
tomb owner presenting offerings, including a huge jar of
ointment and two tapers. Although the first column of
text is damaged, the remaining six columns read:
... tkAw pn nfr n Wsir it nTr Nfr-Htp m manDt m msktt
n ski.f nn Htm.f n Dt in sA.f wab imn-m-int mAa xrw
... this beautiful lamp for Osiris, the divine father
Neferhotep, in the day bark and in the night bark. It
shall not be destroyed. It shall not ever perish. Says his
son, the wob-priest Ameneminet, justified.22
It was necessary to provide light for the deceased
on his journey through the underworld, and this is
why a lamp is sometimes placed in the day and night
barque of Osiris, King of the Underworld. Every
deceased wished to be one of the followers of Osiris
in the hereafter. During the Eighteenth Dynasty,
the presentation of tapers was generally made by the
priest, although on the occasion of a festival, friends
might present them in pairs along with fat for their
replenishment. This was a performance of the rite of
affording light to the deceased in the dark necropolis.
23
One, two, or three wicks standing in a cup are shown
on the west walls of Tomb 51 at Deir el-Medina,
where the god of flame, Sejti, presents them to
Osiris or Anubis as the sun sets in the western hills;
the personified Eye of Horus sometimes providing a
similar lamp. An interesting representation in Tomb 51
shows the burning of tapers, where the accompanying
text calls this rite ’kindling a light‘ (irt tkA). This rite is
accompanied by the censing and libation of offerings
and by the mourning of women for the deceased. In
the court of Tomb 23 at Deir el-Medina there is a
long inscription, emphasizing the identification of the
lamp with the Eye of Horus, presumably the left eye
of Horus associated with the moon.
24
Lamps continued to be closely associated with
Osiris during the Greco–Roman period. Osiriform
lamps are attested in houses at Karanis and elsewhere
in Greco–Roman Egypt and abroad. For example, a
terracotta lamp found in House C11 at Karanis shows
Osiris as a bust-length mummy (Fig. 1).25
The Museum of Hatay (Antakya, Turkey)
also preserves an Osiriform bronze lamp (inv. no.
7587) of the second or third centuries CE (Fig. 2).
It is the shape of an individual entirely wrapped
in a funerary bandage, which leaves only the face
uncovered and measures 38 cm long and 8 cm wide.
The comparatively large size of this
lamp, the material, and the Greek
inscriptions on it suggested that it
was not used simply to light a private
house, but was used in a place of
worship.26 Paolo Gallo convincingly
argued that Osiriform lamps were
used in the ceremony of searching
for and discovering Osiris‘ corpse.27
(Fig. 1) A terracotta Osiriform lamp found in House 11 at Karanis,
Kelsey Museum 6478 (Gazda, Karanis: An Egyptian Town in
Roman Times, Discoveries of the University of Michigan Expedition
to Egypt (1924–1935), Ann Arbor, 40, Fig. 70).
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
35
Issue No. 10
The Greek magical papyri
preserve many recipes in which
lamps were used to perform mantic
séances. Sometimes Osiris was
invoked by the practitioners in front
of a burning lamp. PGM VII.222–
249 reports a prayer to Bes and the
headless god in front of a lamp, and
this sentence should be pronounced:
’You are the one who is over
Necessity ARBATHIAO‘. PGM
XIV.174a–176a: ’The writings which you should
write on the lamp: BAXYXSIXYX (and hieroglyphs)
… you should recite this other invocation to the lamp
also. Formula: ’O Osiris, o lamp, it will cause [me] to
see those above‘.28 Apparently god Osiris and the lamp
were identified with each other, and so it is possible
that the lamp allowed a manifestation by him, and
perhaps was shaped in the form of this god. Similarly,
PGM XXIIb.27–31 is a ’Request for a dream oracle to
a lamp, which lights the way to Osiris‘.29 Also, PGM
XIV.150–160 is a recipe in which a lamp is addressed
as ’Osiris‘, and is prescribed to be put into a cavity of
a wall.30 This seems to be the archaeological context
of the Osiriform lamps uncovered from houses at
Karanis and elsewhere. The Osiriform lamps were
probably used for performing mantic séances and
other rituals, in which Osiris was supposed to be in
some way forced to do what he was asked. Likewise,
the image of Seth which is painted on the reverse of a
lamp uncovered at Alexandria can be interpreted as a
means to urge or even intimidate Osiris.31
Although Osiris was the principal god of death
and of the underworld, he was also esteemed in the
domestic sphere. The presence of domestic cults of
Greco–Roman and Egyptian deities suggests that
religion was ’not limited by the sacred precincts of a
temple or the liturgy of a priest‘.32 Like many other
festivities, the Festival of Lamps was celebrated within
and around domestic properties.33 As elsewhere, the
visual and physical presence of deities in houses was
an integral part of domestic religious life in Greco–
Roman Egypt. Mural representations, statuettes, and
terracotta figurines of deities probably served to extend
the protective powers of these deities to the house
occupants. Papyri indicate that children were taught
to honor the gods and maintain their household
shrines:34 ’Please light a lamp for the shrines and
spread the cushions‘, wrote Apollonia and Eupous in
a domestic context to their younger sisters, Rhasion
and Demarion.35 In such important occasions as the
Festival of Lamps, cushions were spread, prayers were
performed by family members, and offerings were
perhaps made to domestic deities in the light of oil
lamps.
Lamp-lighting was associated with many festivals
in ancient Egypt, the most important of which
were those celebrated on the five epagomenal days
of the year, following Mesore, the fourth month
of harvest and the last of the year. The birthday of
Isis was celebrated on the fourth epagomenal day.36
The birthday of Horus was also celebrated with a
lamp-lighting ceremony. Major ceremonies of lights
occurred for the scared rites of Osiris on 22 Khoiak,
when 365 lamps were lit.37 The general practice of
lamp-lighting was also part of rites for the care of the
deceased, in which context the lamp flames could be
considered as perpetuating the soul.38 The lights of
the Egyptian epagomenal days were placed for the
deceased in tombs.39 Lamps thus continued to be
associated, and were identified, with god Osiris in
Greco–Roman Egypt.
(Fig. 2) An Osiriform bronze lamp at the
Museum of Hatay (E. Laflı, M. Buora,
A. Mastrocinque, ’A New Osiriform Lamp
from Antioch in the Hatay Archaeological
Museum‘, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine
Studies 52 (2012), 422, Fig. 1).
Youssri Abdelwahed
36 Abgadiyat 2015
Evidence for Illumination of Lamps for
Athena ̸ Neith in Greco–Roman Egypt
Two festivals of Athena/Neith at Sais are mentioned
in a religious calendar for the Saite nome.40 P.Hib. I.27 is
a religious calendar for the period 301–240 BCE, whose
author explains in the preface that he learned the matter
of his treatise in Sais from a very wise man, probably an
Egyptian priest, who ’Demonstrated the entire truth in
practice using the stone dial, which is in Greek named the
gnomon‘.41 The papyrus lists the length of the day and
night, astronomical and meteorological events, and the
Egyptian religious festivals held at Sais. It confirms that
the Illumination of Lamps for Athena ̸ Neith survived
into the Ptolemaic period.42 Col. xii, lines 165–8 reads:
kai\ e0n Sa/i panh/g[urij A0qhna=j kai\
lu/xnouj kaiousi kata\ th\n xw/ran.43
And the Festival of Athena/Neith in Sais and the
Illumination of Lamps in the chora.
It is unclear whether the term chora here designates
the countryside apart from Alexandria or the
countryside of Sais.
44
A text in the festival calendar of the temple of
Esna, which dates back to the reign of Trajan (98–
117 CE) confirms that the Illumination of Lamps for
Neith survived into the Roman period:
wDA r pr m Htp Dd mdw in Hm-nTr hy is ii(t) m nDm Nt
iHt wrt ii(t) m Htp hy n ii(t).s Nt wrt nbt tA-sny MnHt-Nbtw
nbt tA-xnt ntrt tn Hna psDwt.s Htp Hr st sti tkA(w) aSA mnw
pr Xnw hrw nfr in bAHw Hmwt ti hy niwt tn r-Dr sr awy irt.n
s-nb r HD-tA dj tA-snty m Hb.
Going to the temple in peace. Recitation by the
priest: Oh! Here came in joy, Neith the great cow
came in peace! Oh! For her arrival, the great Neith,
the mistress of Esna, Menheyt-Nebtu, the mistress of
Khent-to. The goddess and her ennead appear at her
temple; light the torches in great quantity inside the
temple for men and women make festival! That this
whole city gives shouts of joy and no one went to
sleep until dawn! Esna is in festival!45
Sais had no monopoly of the ceremony of the
Illumination of Lamps for this calendar confirms that
lamps were illuminated for Neith inside her temple at
Esna on 13 Epeiph on the occasion of her arrival at
the temple. The rite of the Illumination of Lamps was
a notorious part of this nocturnal festival for Neith.
Plato also describes a festival of Athena in Libya,
which is almost certainly a festival of Neith, although
it remains unclear whether or not it relates to the
Illumination of Lamps:
Next to the Makhlyes are the Auseans; these and
the Makhlyes, separated by the Triton, live on the
shores of Lake Tritonis. The Makhlyes wear their hair
long behind, the Auseans in front. They celebrate
a yearly festival of Athena, where their maidens are
divided into two groups and fight each other with
stones and sticks, thus, they say, honoring in the
way of their ancestors that native goddess whom we
call Athena. Maidens who die of their wounds are
called false virgins. Before the girls are set fighting,
the entire people choose the fairest maid, and arm
her with a Korinthian helmet and Greek panoply, to
be then mounted on a chariot and drawn all along
the lakeshore. With what armor they equipped their
maidens before Greeks came to live near them, I
cannot say; but I suppose the armor was Egyptian;
for I believe that the Greeks took their shield and
helmet from Egypt. As for Athena, they say that she
was daughter of Poseidon and Lake Tritonis, and that,
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
37
Issue No. 10
being for some reason angry at her father, she gave
herself to Zeus, who made her his own daughter. Such
is their tale.46
It is also unclear whether the Illumination of
Lamps for Neith survived into Late Antiquity Egypt.
In a sermon entitled ’The Lord Thundered
, the
Christian abbot Shenoute of Atripe, who lived in the
fifth century CE, criticized local inhabitants who light
lamps and burn incense in their home on the day of the
god Shai at Panopolis:47
Woe to any man or woman who gives thanks to
demons, saying that ’Today is the worship of Shai of
the village or Shai of the home
, while burning lamps
for empty things and offering incense in the name of
phantoms.48
The passage refers to some kind of local festival
and its domestic rites: a particular day is singled out
for ritual activity, one ’Gives thanks
and one performs
obligatory rituals with domestic paraphernalia. Indeed,
the paraphernalia recalls not only the many terracotta
lamps and incense burners extant from Greco–Roman
Egypt, but also Herodotus‘ description of the ancient
domestic ’Festival of Lamps‘ in Sais.49 The god Shai
(Fate) would at this time have designated a local spirit
popularly supplicated for protection and prosperity.50
The Illumination of Lamps for Athena ̸ Neith thus
survived into the Greco–Roman period and perhaps
beyond.
The Symbolism of the Illumination of Lamps
Although in his passing reference to the Festival
of Lamps, Herodotus ended his paragraph with
reporting that ’a sacred tale is told showing why this
night is thus lit up and honored‘,51 he unfortunately
mentions nothing about this tale. Herodotus only
narrates that the celebrants burned uncountable
numbers of candles and lamps in an outdoor, as well
as an indoor ceremony that lasted all night, but he
did not mention the reason for paying special honor
to this night or for illuminating lamps. The ceremony
of burning the lamps took place in a subterranean
chapel beneath the temple of Neith at Sais, where
lamps were carried in procession around the coffin of
Osiris. It was by the power of light, which symbolized
the life-giving power of the Moon, that Isis rekindled
life in her deceased husband Osiris.52 The ’Sacred tale‘
attached to the Sais Festival was that the lights were to
assist Isis in her search for the body of Osiris.
The celebration of the resurrection of Osiris, with
whom the lamp was identified, and the birthday of the
Eye of Horus, with whom the lamp is also associated,
occurred in Epeiph. For in his monograph De Iside et
Osiride, Plutarch reports that ’In the sacred hymns of
Osiris they call upon him who is hidden in the arms of
the Sun; and on the thirtieth of the month Epeiph they
celebrate the birthday of the Eyes of Horus, at the time
when the Moon and the Sun are in a perfectly straight
line, since they regard not only the Moon but also the
Sun as the eye and light of Horus‘.
53
Selene, or the Moon,
is often used in classical writings on Egypt to refer to Isis,
and this association probably provided the rationale for
burning lamps in honor of Osiris, the husband of Isis,
at night.
54
Scholars often consider Plutarchs monograph
a philosophical text, reflecting Middle Platonic
metaphysical ideas about the genesis of the soul and the
structure of the universe.
55
For Philip Scott-Moncrieff,
the treatise reflected Plutarchs narrow interest in the
Hellenized Alexandrian cult.
56
Daniel Richter has recently
argued that the De Iside et Osiride is a metaphysical
discourse, demonstrating the superiority of Greek
philosophy over Egyptian cult.
57
As the treatise provides
a wide range of information about ancient Egyptian
religion in general, and expresses deep knowledge of the
cult of Isis and Osiris in particular, the Egyptian material
in the monograph cannot be dismissed as worthless.
58
In fact, Plutarchs accounts of Egyptian myths and rites,
’Showed, on the whole, a remarkable reliability when
Youssri Abdelwahed
38 Abgadiyat 2015
compared with the evidence of the Egyptian sources‘.
59
Although the sources of Plutarchs composition cannot be
identified with certainty, it is possible that some Egyptian
texts were at his disposal during his visits to Alexandria,
60
Delphi or Athens. In Athens, Plutarch pursued his studies
under the Platonist Ammonius, who had ’un nom grec
d’Egypte‘ and came to Athens from Egypt.
61
For evidence
on the contemporary cult of Egyptian deities, Plutarch
also partly relied on his friend Clea, to whom the book
is dedicated. Clea was a priest of Isis and of Dionysus at
Delphi, and was thus acquainted with Egyptian cults.
62
Plutarch himself was still a priest at Delphi and epimelete
of the Amphictyons in 117 CE.
63
It is also unclear whether the Illumination of
Lamps for Neith was related in some way or another
to a ritual on 19 Athyr (Julian: 15 November), when
Egyptian priests ’Go to the sea at night; and the
keepers of the robes and the priests bring forth the
sacred chest containing a small golden coffer, into
which they pour some portable water which they have
taken up, and a great shout arises from the company
for joy that Osiris is found‘.64 The resurrection of
Osiris and the burning of lamps around his coffin in a
subterranean chapel at Sais took place on 13 Epeiph,
while the reappearance of Osiris occurred in Athyr.65
The two ceremonies are associated with the life cycle
of Osiris. The Illumination of Lamps commemorated
the time when Isis managed to regenerate the
fourteen dismembered body of Osiris by the power
of light, and this is why lamps were burnt on a full-
moon night. As Isis succeeded in reviving the body of
Osiris, the participants perhaps wanted to guarantee
the recurrence of this event by annually lighting
lamps at night on 13 Epeiph. Night was the most
suitable moment for this rite, because of the moon‘s
association with Isis and the left eye of Horus, which
the god Seth/Typhon once destroyed.66
Alongside the Illumination of Lamps on 13 Epeiph,
another conspicuous ceremony was also dedicated
to Athena/Neith at Sais, 16–19 Mecheir (Julian:
12–15 February).67 During this four-day period, a
passion play was performed over the death of Osiris
and the magic of Isis returning him to life. During the
first day, actors would impersonate Isis and her son
Horus, as well as various other gods as they searched
across the world for the fourteen parts of Osiris‘ body.
The second and third days showed the reassembly
and rebirth of Osiris, and the fourth day was a wild
rejoicing over the success of Isis and the coming of the
newly immortal Osiris. It was believed that through
the worship of Isis and strong devotion, the goddess
will return the deceased to life and they shall experience
eternal happiness under her nurturing care, just like
Osiris.
I like to suggest that the Illumination of Lamps
for Neith was part of the Osirian mysteries, and
on this night Osiris, who was entitled ’Lord of the
Underworld‘ and ’King of the Dead‘, was honored
alongside Neith. Since the light of the lamps mirrored
the light of the stars of heaven, it symbolized the
creation of a pathway to the starry fields of the
heavens, leading the deceased to their resting place in
Amenti, the ancient Egyptian paradise for righteous
souls. As a goddess of war, Neith was said to make the
weapons of warriors, and when they died, she guarded
their bodies until they could be buried. Furthermore,
she is said to weave the bandages and shrouds worn by
the deceased.68 At the night of the festival where lamps
were illuminated, Neith drew aside her veil, guiding
the wandering souls to their true home with her living
light. The lamps of Neith safeguard all those who
undertake that journey into a new world, where they
will find a new awakening. The attestations of land
donations to temples to support the burning of lamps
at Sais may reflect this idea.69 Her veil is drawn aside
not only for those who have left physical existence,
but for those who are ready and willing to experience
her living light as it illuminates the mysteries of the
otherworld.70
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
39
Issue No. 10
The Illumination of Lamps for Athena ̸
Neith: An Ethnic Perspective
Although the ceremony of the Illumination of
Lamps for Athena ̸ Neith survived into the Greco–Roman
period, the legal and ethnic status of the participants
remains unclear. Ethnicity refers here to the expression
of the self-conscious adherence to group identity.
71
The
Egyptianness of the festivity seems obvious from its
existence in the Pharaonic period, yet there is no evidence
that the ceremony was celebrated only by those who
were legally defined as Egyptians in the Greco–Roman
period. That only the houses of those who were legally
defined as Egyptians were the arenas for the Illumination
of Lamps is unknown. In Roman Egypt, the inhabitants
were marked by their legal status, which determined their
social, political, and economic privileges until Caracalla‘s
extension of Roman citizenship to all free citizens in
212 CE.
72
The Romans, Alexandrians, and probably
other citizens of the Greek poleis, Naukratis, Alexandria,
Ptolemais, and from 130 onwards, Antinoopolis, was
at the top of the Roman legal structure. These groups
were exempt everywhere from the poll-tax (laographia),
levied on males between the ages of fourteen and sixty-
two years.
73
Roman and Alexandrian citizenship of the
parents was indispensible for their offspring to qualify for
the same status.
74
The remaining of the population was referred
to as the Egyptians (Aiguptioi). That is, the Roman
authority applied the label ’Egyptian‘ to everyone living
in Egypt, who was neither a Roman nor a citizen of
the Greek poleis or Jew (Ioudaios), a designation that
applied to metropolites and villagers alike.75 There were
also various status divisions within this group. Even
though many of them will have been of Greek ethnic
origin, citizens of the metropoleis of the chora paid
the laographia at a reduced rate,76 while the ordinary
people who inhabited the villages (komai) paid the full
rate of the poll-tax.77 The metropolite group included
members of the gymnasium, who are known in papyri
as ’those from the gymnasium‘ and had to prove in
their examination (epikrisis) that their ancestors were
members of the gymnasium.78 In Fayum, the equivalent
group to the gymnasial class was ’The 6475 Hellenes
of the Arsinoite nome‘,79 who were presumably the
descendants of the Greek and Hellenized mercenaries
settled in Fayum by the early Ptolemies.80
Although there is no example of an Aiguptios who
became an Ioudaios, or vice versa, an Aiguptios or an
Ioudaios had access to both Alexandrian and Roman
citizenship.81 Harpokras, the Memphite physician
of Pliny, is an example of an Aiguptios who obtained
Alexandrian and Roman citizenship, suggesting that
it was possible for an individual to have multiple
ethnicities.82 Harpokras might have experienced what
George de Vos calls ’ethnicity flow‘, which refers to
the ability of individuals to cross permeable ethnic
boundaries to negotiate their identity.83 Apart from
the legal definition of identity, there are no other
reliable signifiers by means of which individuals can be
recognized as Roman, Greek, or Egyptian. Similarly,
the relationships between members of an ethnic
group, or between members of these ethnic groups
are vague. That is, the cultural and social boundaries
between these groups, if any, cannot be easily outlined.
Although there is a huge number of documentary
papyri which show day-to-day interaction between
the persons involved, nomenclature is again an
unreliable ethnic signifier.
Given the ethnic and cultural plurality of the
Romano–Egyptian society, it is not impossible that
members of other legal or ethnic groups, who were
interested in the Festival of Lamps at least as a social
occasion, could partake of it, if they wanted. Romans,
Alexandrians, and citizens of Greek poleis such as
Antinoopolis offered private donations to traditional
Egyptian cults and temples, which were treated as
part of their own religious culture.84 Investigations
Youssri Abdelwahed
40 Abgadiyat 2015
of the archaeology of poleis and metropoleis have also
confirmed that urban centers were multicultural
milieus, where Greco–Roman and Egyptian cultural
traditions were closely integrated.85 It is even argued
that many Egyptian religious rituals were preserved
in the Roman period through their incorporation
into the dominant Hellenic milieu.86 The traditional
sacrifices of the ’most sacred Nile‘ and of the months
of Tybi and Pachon respectively occurred in such
distinctively classical structures as the hippodrome
and theater at Oxyrhynchus.87 Similarly, the birthday
of the god Kronos/Souchos was held in the temple
of Jupiter Capitolinus at Ptolemais Euergetes.88 The
latter is probably related to a late third century text
from Oxyrhynchus, which contains an invitation from
the gymnasiarch, prytanis, exegetes, chief priest, and
kosmetes to an actor and Homericist to a celebration
of the birthday of Kronos.89 Many festivities in the
Greco–Roman period were therefore public in nature,
and both civic and religious festivals were organized
by the Hellenized members of the gymnasium and
of the boule. The fact that some traditional festivals
were held in classical-style public buildings suggests
that public and religious occasions were the property
of the inhabitants of the local community, regardless
of their ethnic or legal status.
It is unclear whether Roman and Greek citizens
participated in the Illumination of Lamps for Neith,
and nothing is known about their behavior during this
ceremony. Herodotus confirmed that the participants
burnt lamps around their houses. Even those who could
not come to the assembly were not precluded from
sharing this cult activity with other inhabitants for they
burnt lamps all night within their houses.
90
Although
Herodotus undoubtedly meant the Egyptians when he
talked about the participants in the fifth century BCE,
Greek documents of the Greco–Roman period only
mention the ceremony of the Illumination of Lamps for
Athena ̸ Neith as one of many in the religious calendar,
and do not give any prominence to the ethnic or legal
status of the participants. The symbolism of burning
lamps round, and within houses, was probably so simple
and clear that it needed no explanation and was apparent
to the participants. By burning lamps, the performers
symbolically wanted to take part in reviving the body
of Osiris.
There is no mention as to the space/place where
the participants illuminated their lamps within houses.
Yet, domestic shrines were appropriate arenas for this
cult activity, particularly since a Ptolemaic papyrus,
mentioned above, instructs to ’light a lamp for the
shrines and spread the cushions‘.
91
Although many
Greek rituals associated with Athena involved torches
used at night,
92
the numerous terracotta statuettes
found in Greco–Roman Egypt representing Athena/
Neith holding a torch were perhaps used in the
ceremony of the Illumination of Lamps, although this
cannot be proven.
93
The domestic shrine of House
C119 at Karanis is flanked on either side by a plain
square opening for holding the brackets by which the
oil lamps of the shrine could be clasped (Fig. 3).
At first glance, the architecture of the shrine
shows specifically classical features, resulting from
(Fig. 3) The domestic shrine with holes for holding lamps in House
C119 at Karanis, Kelsey Museum Archives 812 (E.M. Husselman,
Karanis: Topography and Architecture, Ann Arbor 30 (1979),
Fig. 54).
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
41
Issue No. 10
the Greco–Roman
presence at Karanis,94 which was
a village with a high number of veterans, ’the vast
majority of whom owed their (Roman) citizenship to
military service‘.95 Archaeology indicates that Karanis
was a multicultural village, where Greco–Roman
and Egyptian traditions were equally evident. Such
domestic shrines indicate that worshipping gods in
houses was not limited to a particular ethnic or legal
group of inhabitants. Worshipping gods in domestic
space had a long history in Greco–Roman and ancient
Egyptian cultures. The presence of what we now refer
to as Greco–Roman and Egyptian deities at Karanis
is confirmed in papyri, on wall paintings, and from
terracotta figurines.96 A mural representation which
survives in Karanis on the eastern side of a niche
in the southern wall of House B50 represents Isis
holding Harpokrates, Horus the Child, to her breast
and suckling him (Fig. 4). The Thracian god Heron is
shown riding a horse beside the goddess. The blending
of Greco–Egyptian cults and religious themes in one
single mural painting shows the different cultural
traditions of the inhabitants of this house.97
The depiction of Isis recalls the bust of Isis
depicted on the ceiling of House B/3/1 at Kellis,
where she is shown with her characteristic headdress,
consisting of two bovine horns and solar disc with
two plumes in between. Next to Isis, the god Serapis–
Helios is depicted with a thick beard and a modius
upon his head, suggesting that the god played a role
in the domestic sphere.98 Along with Soknopaios and
Isis, Serapis–Helios was worshipped in the North
Temple at Karanis, where a large horned altar bearing
the head of the god was found in the outer court.99
Based on their consideration of the archaeology and
mural paintings of House B/3/1 at Kellis, Colin Hope
and Helen Whitehouse concluded that the occupants
had a shared cultural heritage with Greco–Egyptian
features.100 By contrast, the representational media in
the House of Serenos in Trimithis visualized Greco–
Roman heritage through mythology.101 Nothing can
be said about the legal or ethnic status of the occupants,
however. The variety of material and visual remains in
house mirrors the complexity of Romano–Egyptian
society, and suggests that the occupants of many
houses experienced a culture in which Greco–Roman
and Egyptian traditional features were intermingled.
Conclusion
A festival was held on 13 Epeiph for the goddess
Neith in Sais/Esna, where lamps were illuminated
in great quantity inside her temple. Inhabitants also
illuminated lamps in connection with this festival
around and within houses all over the country. This
festival and ceremony is particularly associated with
the god Osiris, who was identified with the lamp,
and appears to have been related to the Osirian
mysteries. Herodotus called the ceremony of the
Illumination of Lamps as ’the festival of lamps‘
in the fifth century BCE, yet there is no presence
of such a festival in ancient Egyptian calendars.
The ceremony of the Illumination of Lamps was
particularly associated with a number of festivals
in ancient Egypt, including the WAg and the New
Year‘s Festival. P.Hib. I.27 and the festival calendar
in the temple of Esna confirm that lamps continued
(Fig. 4) The Thracian Heron and Isis suckling Harpocrates in
House B50 at Karanis, Kelsey Museum Archive 5.2159 (Gazda,
Karanis, 39, Fig. 68).
Youssri Abdelwahed
42 Abgadiyat 2015
to be illuminated for Athena ̸ Neith into the Greco–
Roman period. The identification of the Egyptian
Neith with the Greek Athena would have encouraged
Egyptian and Greek inhabitants to take part in the
Illumination of Lamps. This ceremony shows the
complexity of connecting certain ritual activities
with particular legal or ethnic groups. The literary
and papyrological documents which concern the
Illumination of Lamps for Athena ̸ Neith do not pay
particular attention to identify the ethnic or legal
status of the participants.
Notes
* Lecturer, Tour Guiding Department, Faculty of Tourism and
Hotels, Minia University yousry.abdelwahad@mu.edu.eg‘.
1 Cf. E. Abbas, Y. Abdelwahed, ’The Domestic Pylon in
the Light of Greek Papyri‘, Rosetta 15 (2014), 1–27.
2 D.J. Brewer, E. Teeter, Egypt and the Egyptians
(Cambridge, 2007), 150.
3 N. de G. Davies, ’The Town House in Ancient Egypt‘,
Metropolitan Museum Studies 1:2 (1929), 248.
4 Hdt. 2.48; Plut. De Is. et Os. 7–8; Ael. NA 10.16;
Y. Abdelwahed, Egyptian Cultural Identity in the
Architecture of Roman Egypt (30 BC–AD 325),
Archaeopress Roman Archaeology 6 (Oxford, 2015),
84–91.
5 Hdt. 2.62.1–2.
6 P. Hib. I.27.165 = B.P. Grenfell, A.S. Hunt, The Hibeh
Papyri I (London, 1906), 144; S. Sauneron, Les fêtes
religieuses d’Esna : Aux derniers siècles du paganisme V
(Cairo, 1962), 302.
7 A.B. Lloyd, Herodotus, Book II: Commentary 1–98
(Leiden, 1976), 280–3.
8 A.H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar: Being An
Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (London, 1957),
501.
9 Hdt. 11.59.
10 Hdt. 2.171.
11 H. Willems, Chests of Life: A Study of the Typology and
Conceptual Development of Middle Kingdom Standard
Class Coffins (Leiden, 1988), 150–5; J. Assmann,
Altägyptische Totenliturgien I: Totenlitugien in den
Sargtexten des Mittleren Reiches (Heidelberg, 2002),
52–60.
12 Willems, Chests of Life, 149.
13 Hdt. 11.59; P. Wilson, Sais I: The Ramesside-Third
Intermediate Period at Kom Rebwa (London, 2001).
14 Diod. Sic. 5.57.
15 S. Armstrong, ’The Veil of Isis: The Evolution of an
Archetype Hidden in Plain Sight’, Rosicrucian Digest 88:1
(2010), 51.
16 Plut. De Is. et Os. 62.
17 Plut. De Is. et Os. 9.
18 Lesko, The Great Goddesses of Egypt, 60–3; T. Taylor,
The Commentaries of Proclus on the Timaeus of Plato
(London, 1820), 82.
19 Plato, Timaeus 21e.
20 J. Quaegebeur, W. Clarysse, B. Van Maele, ’Athêna,
Nêith and Thoêris in Greek Documents‘, ZPE 60
(1985), 217–32. Thoeris had at least four temples
in the city (PSI III.215, 6; P.Mert. I.26, 4–5; P.Mert.
I.26.5; P. O xy . IX.1188.3). The main temple of Thoeris
remained a topographical point and religious landmark
in the early fourth century CE (P. O x y . I.43, verso).
21 See: D.M. Bailey, ’Lamps from the Sacred Animal
Necropolis, North Saqqara and the Monastery of Apa
Antinos‘, JEA 87 (2001), 119–33.
22 L. Manniche, ’The Beginning of the Festival Calendar
in the Tomb of Neferhotep (No. 50) at Thebes‘, BdE
97:2 (1985), 105–8.
23 BD 137B; J.G. Griffiths,. ’The Horus-Seth Motif in the
Daily Temple Liturgy‘, Aegyptus 38, No. 1/2 (1958),
3–10.
24 N. de G. Davies, ’A Peculiar Form of New Kingdom
Lamp‘, JEA 40:1 (1924), 10–13.
25 Gazda, Karanis, 40.
26 E. Laflı, M. Buora, A. Mastrocinque, ’A New Osiriform
Lamp from Antioch in the Hatay Archaeological
Museum‘, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 52
(2012), 421–39.
27 P. Gallo, ’Lucerna osiriforme‘, in E. Arslan (ed.), Iside: il
mito, il mistero, la magia, (Milan, 1997), 500, no. V.183,
Id., P. Gallo, ’Lucerne osiriformi d‘epoca romana‘, in
J.-Y Empereur (ed.), Alexandrina 1 (Cairo, 1998), 149–
55.
28 PGM XIV.174a–176a.
29 PGM XXIIb.27–31.
30 PGM XIV.150–160.
31 Cf. A. Mastrocinque, ’Riletture del mito di Osiris e Seth
nella magia del Vicino Oriente‘, in S. Pernigotti and
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
43
Issue No. 10
M. Zecchi (eds.), Sacerdozio e società civile nell’Egitto
antico (Imola, 2008), 237–45.
32 A.K. Bowman, Egypt after the Pharaohs (332 BC–AD 642)
from Alexander to the Arab Conquest (London, 1986), 183.
33 See: Abdelwahed, Egyptian Cultural Identity, Chapter
Three.
34 Gazda, Karanis, 31.
35 P. Athen. 60.5–8 (323–30 BC).
36 Salem, JRS 27, 166.
37 J.G. Griffiths, Apuleius of Madauros: The Isis Book
(Metamorphoses, Book XI), (Brill, 1975), 183.
38 A. Georgiadou and D.H.J. Larmour, Lucian’s Science
Fiction Novel True Histories: Interpretation and
Commentary (Brill, 1998), 150.
39 Griffiths, Apuleius of Madauros, 184.
40 P. Hib. I.27.76–77 (16 Mecheir), P.Hib. I.27.165–167
(13 Epeiph).
41 P. Hib. I.27.19–28; I.S. Moyer, Egypt and the Limits of
Hellenism (Cambridge, New York, 2011), 238–9.
42 P. Hib. I.27.166–7; F. Perpillou-Thomas, Fêtes d’Égypte
ptolémaïque et romaine d’après la documentation
papyrologique grecque, Studia Hellenistica 31 (Leuven,
1993), 121–22; I.C. Rutherford, ’Down-Stream to
the Cat-Goddess: Herodotus on Egyptian Pilgrimage‘,
in J. Elsner and I. Rutherford (eds.), Pilgrimage in
Graeco-Roman & Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the
Gods (Oxford, 2005), 132.
43 P. Hib. I.27.166–9 = B.P. Grenfell, A.S. Hunt, The
Hibeh Papyri I (1906), 149.
44 I.S. Moyer, ’Court, Chora, and Culture in Late
Ptolemaic Egypt‘, AJP 132:1 (2011), 15–44.
45 Sauneron, Les fêtes religieuses d’Esna, 302.
46 Plato, Timaeus 4.180.
47 S.I. Johnston, Religions of the Ancient World: A
Guide (London, 2004), 249; R. Bagnall, The Oxford
Handbook of Papyrology (Oxford, New York, 2004),
557; D. Frankfurter, ’Urban Shrine and Rural
Saint in Fifth-Century Alexandria‘, J. Elsner and
I. Rutherford (eds.), Seeing the Gods: Pilgrimage
in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity,
ed. (Oxford, 2005), 132. See also: D. Frankfurter,
Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance
(Princeton, 1998); F. Dunand, Religion populaire en
Égypte romaine (Leiden, 1979).
48 Shenoute, Discourses 4: The Lord Thundered (codex DU), 45.
49 Hdt. 2.62.1–2.
50 J. Quaegebeur, Le dieu égyptien Shaï dans la religion et
l’onomastique (Leuven, 1975); Frankfurter, Religion in
Roman Egypt, 63.
51 Hdt. 2.62.1–2; Bernal, Black Athena, 551.
52 M.E. Harding, Woman’s Mysteries: Ancient and Modern
(Boston, 1971), 130.
53 Plut. De Is. et Os. 52.
54 Hdt. 2.47; H. Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen
Religionsgeschichte (Berlin, 1952), 691.
55 C. Froidefond, ’Notes critiques sur quelques passages
du De Iside et Osiride de Plutarque‘, REG 85 (1972),
63–71, Froidefond, ’Plutarque et le platonisme‘, ANRW
2.36.1 (1987), 184–233; J. Dillon, ’Plutarch and
Second Century Platonism‘, in A.H. Armstrong (ed.),
Classical Mediterranean Spirituality (London, 1989),
214–29. Christopher Jones gives 115 as the date of
this composition (C.P. Jones, ’Towards a Chronology
of Plutarch‘s Works‘, JRS 56 (1966b), 73), but Gwyn
Griffiths suggests 120 (J.G. Griffiths, Plutarch’s De Iside
et Osiride (Cambridge, 1970), 16–18).
56 P.D. Scott-Moncrieff, ’De Iside et Osiride‘, JHS 29
(1909), 79–90.
57 D.S. Richter, ’Plutarch on Isis and Osiris: Text, Cult,
and Cultural Appropriation‘, TAPA 131 (2001), 191–
216.
58 J. Hani, La religion égyptienne dans la pensée de Plutarque
(Paris, 1976); C. Froidefond, ’Études critiques sur le
traité Isis et Osiris de Plutarque I‘, REG 91 (1978),
340–357; Hani, ’Études critiques sur le traité Isis et
Osiris de Plutarque II‘, REG 92 (1979), 99–111.
59 J.G. Griffiths, ’Plutarch‘, in D.B. Redford (ed.), The
Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, vol. 3 (Oxford,
2001), 54.
60 Plut. Symp. 5.5.1. Plutarch voyaged to Alexandria, but
whether he travelled further into Egypt is doubtful.
On Plutarch‘s life: R.C. Trench, Plutarch: His Life, His
Lives and His Morals (London, 1873); J.G. Griffiths.
Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride (Cambridge, 1970).
61 C.P. Jones, ’The Teacher of Plutarch‘, HSCP 71 (1966a),
205–13. Many Greek philosophers and scholars visited
Egypt. Cf. Dio. Sic. 1.69.2–3.
62 C.P. Jones, ’Towards a Chronology of Plutarch‘s Works‘,
JRS 56 (1966b), 73.
63 SIG II.829.A; S. Swain, ’Plutarch, Hadrian, and
Delphi‘, Historia 40:3 (1991), 320.
64 Plut. De Is. et Os. 39.
65 Plut. De Is. et Os. 39.
Youssri Abdelwahed
44 Abgadiyat 2015
66 BD 112.
67 P. Hib. I.27.76.
68 R. El-Sayed, La déesse Neith de Saïs (Cairo, 1982).
69 A. Leahy, ’Saite Lamp Donations‘, GM 49 (1981), 37–
46.
70 L. Durdin–Robertson, Juno Covella: Perpetual Calendar
of the Fellowship of Isis (Ireland, 1982).
71 C. Morgan, ’Ethnicity and Early Greek States:
Historical and Material Perspectives‘, PCPS 37 (1991),
131–63, 131. The group must be larger than that of the
immediate economic and social community. Priests, for
instance, cannot be seen as an ethnos, but they can be
members of an ethnic group or of different ethnoi.
72 H.I. Bell, ’P. Giss. 40 and the Constitutio Antoniniana‘,
JEA 28 (1942), 39–49.
73 On Alexandrian citizenship: M.A.H. El-Abbadi, ’The
Alexandrian Citizenship‘, JEA 48 (1962), 106–23;
D. Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship during the Roman
Principate (Atlanta, 1991). On Antinoite citizenship:
J. de M. Johnson, ’Antinoe and its Papyri‘, JEA 1
(1914), 168–81; F.A.J. Hoogendijk, P. van Minnen,
’Drei Kaiserbriefe Gordians III. an die Bürger von
Antinoopolis. P. Vindob. G25945‘, Tyche 2 (1987), 71–
74; M. Malouta, ’Antinoite Citizenship under Hadrian
and Antoninus Pius: A Prosopographical Study of the
First Thirty Years of Antinoopolis‘, BASP 46 (2009),
81–96.
74 J.F. Gilliam, ’Some Roman Elements in Roman Egypt‘,
Illinois Classical Studies 3 (1978), 115–31.
75 CPJ II.156c.ii.7–25.
76 N. Lewis, Life in Egypt under Roman Rule (Oxford,
1983), 26–64; A.E. Hanson, ’Egyptians, Greeks,
Romans, Arabs, and Ioudaioi in the First Century A.D.
Tax Archive from Philadelphia: P. Mich. Inv. 880 Recto
and P. Princ. III 152 Revised‘, in J.H. Johnson (ed.),
Life in a Multi-cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to
Constantine and Beyond (Chicago, 1992), 133–45.
77 Cf. CPJ II.156c.ii.25–7.
78 C.A. Nelson, Status Declarations in Roman Egypt
(Amsterdam, 1979), 22–4; P. O x y .XVIII.2186.
79 A.K. Bowman, D. Rathbone, ’Cities and Administration
in Roman Egypt‘, JRS 82 (1992), 107–27.
80 H.I. Bell, ’Antinoopolis: A Hadrianic Foundation in
Egypt‘, JRS 30:2 (1940), 136.
81 CPJ II.156c.ii.25–27.
82 Plin. Ep. 10.5–7.
83 G. De Vos, ’Ethnic Pluralism: Conflict and
Accommodation‘, in G. de Vos and L. Romanucci-Ross
(eds.), Ethnic Identity, Cultural Continuities and Change
(California, 1975), 24–5.
84 P. Mert. II.63.
85 Abdelwahed, Egyptian Cultural Identity, Chapter One.
86 Alston, in Cornell and Lomas (eds.), Gender and
ethnicity in Ancient Italy, 89.
87 P. Ox y. XXXI.2553.21.
88 BGU II.362 = Sel. Pap. II.348.
89 P. Ox y . VII.1025.
90 Hdt. 2.61.
91 P. Athen. 60.5–8 (c. 323 BC).
92 Bernal. Black Athena, 551–2.
93 A.B. Lloyd, ’Herodotus Book II‘, in D. Asheri,
A. Lloyd, A. Corcella, O. Murray and A. Moreno
(eds.), A Commentary on Herodotus Books I–IV
(Oxford, 2007).
94 Husselman, Karanis, 48.
95 R. Alston, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt: A Social
History (London and New York, 1995), 180. For
papyrological references to those veterans.
96 Gazda et al., Guardians of the Nile: Sculptures from
Karanis in the Fayoum (c. 250 BC – AD 450), Ann Arbor;
M.L. Allen, The Terracotta Figurines from Karanis: A
Study of Technique, Style and Chronology of Fayoumic
Coroplastics 1–2, Ann Arbour (1985); Gazda, Karanis.
97 The facial features of the goddess (the round face, the
wide open eyes, and the thick eyebrows) are similar
in style to those of many of the mummy portraits
uncovered from Fayum. Cf. M.L. Bierbrier, Portraits
and Masks: Burial Customs in Roman Egypt (London,
1997), pls. 2.1, 8.2.
98 C.A. Hope, and H. Whitehouse, ’A Painted Residence at
Ismant el-Kharab (Kellis) in the Dakhleh Oasis‘, JRA 19
(2006), 312–28.
99 Gazda, Karanis, 41, Fig. 71.
100 Hope and Whitehouse, JRA 19, 312–28.
101 A.J. Mills, ’Lively Paintings: Roman Frescoes in the
Dakhleh Oasis‘, Rotunda 13:2 (1980), 18–25; A.J. Mills,
’The Dakhleh Oasis Columbarium Farmhouse‘, BSAA 45
(1993), 192–8; A.J. Mills, ’Recent Work of the Dakhleh
Oasis Project‘, ASAE 73 (1998), 84–91; J. Walter Walter,
Archaeobotany‘, in R.S. Bagnall (ed.), Amheida Project
Field Reports (Columbia University, 2005). This document
is available online at http://www.leran.columbia.edu/
The Illumination of Lamps (Lychnokaia) for Neith in Sais/Esna in Greco-Roman Egypt
45
Issue No. 10
amheida/html/field_reoprts.html; H. Whitehouse,
’Wall-paintings of Area 2.1, Room 1‘, in R.S.
Bagnall (ed.), Amheida Project Field Reports
(Columbia University, 2005). This document is
available online at http://www.learn.columbia.
edu/amheida/html/field_reports.html; A.L. Boozer, ’In
Search of Lost Memories: Domestic Spheres and Identities
in Roman Amheida, Egypt‘, ISERP Working Paper 05–07
(New York, 2005), 1–36.
... 97 Perpillou-Thomas 1993. 98 Abdelwahed 2015, 2016a. 99 Perpillou-Thomas 1993 13 Horus, and Dioscuri) appeared side by side. ...
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