A Demotic Inscribed Icosahedron From Dakhleh Oasis

Table of Contents


Author: Martina Minas-Nerpel
Publication Date: 2007
Publication in: The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 93, 2007, pp. 137-148

Paper, 12 pages
Available for free at the University of Heidelberg Library

Link: https://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/4080/


A unique icosahedron was found at Qaret el-Muzzawaqa in the 1980s and is now housed in the New Valley Museum at Kharga. It probably dates to the first century ad. In contrast to other icosahedra known from Graeco-Roman Egypt, this one is not inscribed with Greek or Latin letters or numbers, but with 20 Egyptian divine names in Demotic, thus adapting Egyptian concepts to a Greek form. The piece provides striking evidence for the mixing of cultural traditions in Dakhleh Oasis in the Roman Period. The polyhedron was presumably used in an oracular procedure intended to establish which deity would provide help to the petitioner.