Luigi Prada: I’m Luigi Prada, I am visiting associate professor in Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen and research associate at the University of Oxford. This is a stele...
Female Narrator: — a commemorative stone slab –
Luigi Prada: ...in honor of a general whose name was Callimachus.
NARR: A Greek name!
Luigi Prada: Like most people belonging to the elite [00:02:00] at the time of Ptolemaic Egypt, Callimachus was actually a man of Greek descent.
One of the incredibly interesting facts about this stele is that it's a recycled item. It's a reused item, if you will. This stele originally was actually prepared in the 8th Century, BC and some some six centuries later it was reused and reinscribed.
Female Narrator: You can trace this history if you look closely. Look at the top section, in the middle. Do you notice how the figures of the two gods are very clearly outlined? And the figures on either side of them – a king, on our left, and a queen, on our right – are blurrier, not as precise?
Luigi Prada: This is because they've been carved over the original decoration of the stele at the time of Cleopatra.
Female Narrator: So the cleaner carving, in the middle, is the older part, and the blurrier figures on either side were superimposed six centuries later. The text on the stele was also added in Cleopatra’s time: we know this because it’s bilingual: in Greek and the Egyptian language of that period, Demotic.
Luigi Prada:: It was reinscribed in two languages, another remarkable fact that is distinctive of Greek Roman Egypt. There was a bilingual society, so any official text such as the stele had to consider taking into account both audiences and their languages.