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Stratum plus. 2015. No6

I. A. Ladynin (Moscow, Russian Federation)

Stela Bucheum 2 (British Museum EA1697+1719) and the Perception of the Achaemenian Power and State in Alexander the Great's Egypt




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Pages: 199-212


The article deals with the stela attesting the death of a sacred bull Buchis in Axt I of Year 4 of Alexander the Great in Egypt (13 November — 12 December 329 BC). The birth of the sacred bull is dated to an unknown year, month and day of “the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Darius living forever”; hence the inscription confers on the Persian king the status of the legitimate sacral ruler of Egypt. This contradicts to the prevailing Classical tradition on the hatred of the Egyptians towards the last Achaemenids (343 to 332 BC); and this tradition is not deflated by any evidence other than the stela Bucheum 2. However, by 329 BC. Alexander presented himself as the heir of Darius in his capacity of the “king of Asia” and, moreover, revenged Bessus not only as the murderer of Darius but also as the usurper of his throne. At that time Darius must have been given in the Macedonian propaganda a more positive image than before; even earlier Alexander reckoned his years in Egypt from the time of his advent in 332 showing that up to then he considered Darius III its legitimate master (cf. Cambyses’ antedating his reign in Egypt from 530 BC in order to show his refusal to recognize Amasis and Psammetichus III its legitimate kings). Thus, the Bucheum stela conferring on Darius III the status of legitimate sacral king might reflect not the actual Egyptian attitude towards the Persian king but the Macedonian propagandist trend of that time.


Keywords: Egypt, Hellenism, Alexander, Darius III, Bucheum, animals’ cult, stela, legitimacy, propaganda.


Information about author:

Ivan Ladynin
(Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Lomonosov Moscow State University. Lomonosovsky Ave., 27/4, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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