Graffito of Esmet-Akhom

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The Graffito of Esmet-Akhom (or Philae 436) is the last known inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, dated to 394 CE. It is inscribed in the temple Isis at Philae in southern Egypt.[1]

The inscription consists of a hieroglyphic and a demotic part. The demotic part is dated to "the day of the Birth of Osiris, his (?) dedication-festival, year 110 [ Diocletian epoch ]", corresponding to 24 August 394. At the time, Roman Egypt had been largely Christianised, and Egypt was a separate diocese within the Praetorian prefecture of the East.

The figure on the left is meant to depict a king wearing a crown and the text in the top right is relating to a royal decree.[2]

The hieroglyphic inscription reads:

"Before Mandulis son of Horus, by the hand of Nesmeterakhem, son of Nesmeter, the Second Priest of Isis, for all time and eternity. Words spoken by Mandulis, Lord of the Abaton, great god."[3]

The demotic inscription reads:

"I, Nesmeterakhem, the Scribe of the House of Writings (?) of Isis, son of Nesmeterpanakhet the Second Priest of Isis, and his mother Eseweret, I performed work on this figure of Mandulis for all time, because he is fair of face towards me. Today, the Birthday of Osiris, his dedication feast, year 110 [of the reign of Diocletian]."[3]


  1. ^ "THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LANGUAGE: NOT JUST HIEROGLYPHS". American Research Center in Egypt Orange County. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  2. ^ Aswan - Last Hieroglyphic Text
  3. ^ a b Parkinson, Richard (1999). Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment. Contributions by Whitfield Diffie, Mary Fischer, and R. S. Simpson. British Museum Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-7141-1916-8.