Graffito On the Birthday of Osiris

A message to the future from a dying culture. The Temple of Isis at Philae, at the south end of the Nile,  is the last-known site where the ancient Egyptian religion as an institution was still alive.

Located near Hadrian’s gate is the  hieroglyphic graffito (Philae 436) of Esmet-Akhom, one of the last ancient Egyptian priests at the Temple of Isis.  It was written on the birthday of Osiris, “year 110 of Roman Emperor Diocletian” (August 24, 394 AD), as the ancient religion was dying out and being replaced by Christianity.  It is the last known writing in hieroglyphs before all who understood them disappeared.


The people were coming
from the Red Sea hills
to pay homage to Osiris
in the year of Diocletian

Few visit anymore;
Pharaoh and Osiris are in their tomb
the armies of the new God
speak a new language

while the people of the temple,
now pagans,  are ignorant of the word;
yet only the ancients can read
the writing on the temple wall

Do not forget us Osiris;
the ancient one tapped gently into stone
knowing not his words would be the last
carved in ancient form

“I, Esmot-Akhom, scribe of the House of Isis
performed work on this figure of Mandulis for everlasting
for he is kindly of face unto me;
on this day, the birth of Osiris, his festival, year 110″



The Last Egyptian Hieroglyph

About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to Graffito On the Birthday of Osiris

  1. beetleypete says:

    I went to Philae temple when I visited Egypt, but this wasn’t explained to me half as clearly as you managed to do today.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. weggieboy says:

    Incredible! A poignant recognition of transition that couldn’t be stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

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