The XVIIth DECREE of PTOLEMY V: What "The Rosetta Stone" Really Says (cont.)
By Robert D. Morningstar
In our "politically correct" age of equality, the common man and the lowest common denominator of culture or religious beliefs, this would appear to be neither very laudable nor a fashionable aspiration. But it was this Pharaoh's final proclamation, The XVIIth Decree of Ptolemy V, which would rewrite the history of the Western World.
We cannot understand today the immense void of human knowledge and understanding of history, religion and politics that existed before the discovery and translation The Rosetta Stone.
In the 54th line of the Rosetta Stone inscription (corresponding to the XVIIth Decree in another similar but not identical stele found at Canopus), Ptolemy V Epiphanes commanded that the entire record of this campaign and adventure be inscribed on stelae, engraved in stone, in the 3 major languages of the kingdom. He furthermore decreed that this proclamation, rendered to begin the jubilee of his reign, should be placed prominently in all temples in Egypt and other important sites and shrines, thus insuring its wide distribution and dissemination. Most importantly, the decree stated:
"Let this decree be written (or copied)…And let it be inscribed upon a tablet of stone or copper (or brass?) in the writing of the House of Life (i.e. in hieroglyphics), and in the writing of books (i.e. Demotic), and in the writing of the Greeks…."
Those 46 words changed the course of history and they assured its future recovery after it was lost for two thousand years.
It was an electrifying moment for me to realize upon reading this proclamation that had "The Rosetta Stone" (one of only two stelae recovered) not survived, we would know nothing of the meaning of Egyptian history before the Ptolemies, except from Greek and Roman sources, nor would we know the meaning of hieroglyphics, the Egyptian language or the immense history and advanced science that has been revealed since its translation.
We would know nothing of their religion, their pantheon or the temple practices of the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. We would not know of Narmer, Aha or Menes, the legendary First Pharaoh, who died in the Nile River, carried away by a hippopotamus, snatched by his leg from his royal barge.
We would have known little of Akhenaton and his monotheistic worship of Aten, much less heard the names of Nefertiti, Tutankamen or the lineage of pharaohs before Alexander the Great and the Ptolemy dynasty. We would never have heard of Seti, Rameses I or Ramses the Great. All our history and culture would be different.