What Does the Rosetta Stone Actually Say?

In celebrating the divinity of Ptolemy V, one of his accomplishments cited in the Rosetta Stone Decree inscribed on the stone (from a 1988 translation is):

Of the dues and taxes existing in Egypt some he has cut and others he has abolished completely in order to cause the army and all other people to be happy in his time as [Pharaoh].

Wikipedia goes on to cite:

Taxes levied on temples and their estates were also relaxed, with the it ordered that “the divine revenues of the gods and the silver and grain which are given as syntaxis to their [temples] each year and the portions which accrue to the gods from vineyards and gardens and all other property over which they had rights under his father, that they remain in their possession…” These tax breaks extended to the priesthood, as they were ordered “not to pay their tax for serving as priest above the amount they paid up to year one of his father. He has relieved the people [who are in] the offices of the temples of the sailing they make to Alexandria every year…”


Wait, are you expecting me to believe that the Rosetta Stone was merely a Contract with Egypt type of political pamphlet? Well, I suspect I should have a different opinion of the ancient Egyptians.


Hang on, the Ptolemys (Ptolemies?) were Egyptianised Greeks.

Then again, the actual Egyptian pharaohs were quite bombastic enough and not at all above usurping predecessors’ monuments.

Not to mention the depressing usurpation of the walls of the Karnak temple built by Tuthmose III, where the details of his battles and conquests degenerated to the loot brought back from same for the aggrandisement of …the priesthood and temple.


Thanks for this. I can’t believe I never asked that question before!