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Inscription of Greek Mercenaries to Abu Simbel

Stefano Struffolino    Università degli Studi di Milano    



On the leg of one of the colossal statues on the facade of the great funerary temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel, in Nubia, Archon son of Amoibichos and Peleqos son of Eudamos, two mercenaries of Greek-Carian origin who militated in the ranks of the Egyptian Army, engrave a five lines inscription in which they recall the salient data of the expedition against the Nubian populations launched by the pharaoh of the XXVI dynasty Psammethicus II between 593 and 592 BC. The different origins of the people who left their mark in this and in the other graffiti on the Abu Simbel temple, explained by the palaeographic and dialectal peculiarities of the texts, confirm what we can learn from other sources, above all Herodotus, on the opening of the Saitic Egypt to external presences, also organised in stable settlements. The reasons for such a reception were certainly of an economic nature, but it is undeniable that for the Egyptians a considerable advantage came also from the possibility of exploiting the new military potentials of the Greek hoplite tactics, contributing to the spread of a mercenary service that encouraged different degrees of ethnic and social integration.

June 29, 2018
March 19, 2018
Jan. 10, 2018

Keywords: NiloPeleqosPsammeticoArchonAbu SimbelNubiaElefantinaAmasiEgittoKerkisEgitto SaiticoErodotoMercenariatoAmoibichosPotasimtoAsia minore cariaRamesse IITheoklesXXVI dinastiaKushEudamosNapata

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