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Abu Simbel Phoenician graffiti

The Phoenician Graffiti in Abu Simbel from Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum CIS I Table XX
Greek and Phoenician graffiti recorded in Lepsius' Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien

The Abu Simbel Phoenician graffiti are a number of Phoenician inscriptions found on one of the colossal legs of the temples at Abu Simbel.[1] They have been compared to the Abydos graffiti. They are known as CIS I 111–113.

In 1845, Jean-Jacques Ampère first noticed two of the inscriptions on one of the legs of Ramses II, and sent a copy of them to Louis Félicien de Saulcy.[2] de Saulcy described them as follows:

These inscriptions are designed in Phoenician letters of a large size, but which were altered at a probably very distant time already, by the addition of a few parasitic lines drawn by an ignorant and barbaric hand. Fortunately these alterations of the primitive texts are easy enough to recognize, so that these precious texts can be restored with a sufficient degree of probability.[2]

They had been discovered a year or two earlier by Richard Lepsius, but his work was not published until 1860.[3]

The two pairs of colossal statues of Rameses II contain a variety of graffiti; the best known is the five-line Ionic Greek inscription that mentions both Psamtik I (Greek: βασιλέος... Ψαμάτιχος) and Amasis II (Greek: Ἄμασις),[4] which is on the outside of the left shin of Colossus 1 (furthest left looking at the temple from the outside); directly opposite it on the outside of the right shin of Colossus 2 are four of the Phoenician inscriptions (CIS I 112 a–d). The Greek and Phoenician texts face each other.



  1. ^ Schmitz, P.C. (2012). "Chapter 3: Three Phoenician "Graffiti" at Abu Simbel (CIS I 112)". The Phoenician Diaspora: Epigraphic and Historical Studies. Penn State University Press. ISBN 978-1-57506-685-1.
  2. ^ a b Saulcy, F. de. “INSCRIPTION PHÉNICIENNE GRÀVÉE SUR LA JAMBE DU COLOSSE BRISÉ D’IPSAMBOUL” Revue Archéologique 3, no. 2 (1846): 757–62: "Ces inscriptions sont conçues en lettres phéniciennes d'une grande dimension , mais qui ont été altérées à une époque probablement fort éloignée déjà, par l'adjonction de quelques traits parasites tracés par une main ignorante et barbare. Heureusement ces altérations des textes primitifs sont assez faciles à reconnaître , pour que ces textes précieux puissent être restitués avec un degré suffisant de probabilité."
  3. ^ Philip Schmitz, The Phoenician Contingent in the Campaign of Psammetichus II against Kush Journal of Egyptian History 3.2 (2010): 321-37
  4. ^ Bernand and Masson, “Les inscriptions grecques d’Abou-Simbel”; ML 7a.


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Abu Simbel Phoenician graffiti
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