An Egyptian Pharaoh's Likeness in Illinois?

by John H. Bailey III

Figure below article.

The special report issue of Ancient American #16, Volume #3, featured research by Harry Hubbard and Paul Schaffranke on the so-called "Burrows Cave," a site found 20 years ago in southern Illinois, alleged to contain ancient Old World artifacts.  Page four of that issue reproduced the profile of what appeared to be an Egyptian pharaoh from Upper Egypt, also known as the "Southern Kingdom."

A caption beneath its photograph claimed the image represented "a mystery cave tablet with the portrait of a priest."  Letters of the artifact were partly Libyan glyphs with the Phoenician letters Aleph and Resh.  The former was rather more curved than usual, resembling a sideways u with a line through it.  The rough phonetic letter equivalents of d, h, a, the mn sound and the r descend in a line from top to bottom.  Do they spell out a name or an abbreviated title?

After working with about seven different combinations of the glyphs, I decided to give the "A," or aleph, the first position.  The letter d and the heh or eh sound remained.  Did they form "Dio," a Latin name?  It could also be "Theo," with a hard d acting as a letter t, with the eo sound naturally resulting from running the two letters together.  The combination letter mn might then be interpreted as an abbreviation for the god Amun, and the Phoenician r as the god Re.

If so, then the inscription identified the profile as that of Pharaoh Teos who ruled in the Nile Valley from 362 to 360 BC.  His Egyptian name was Djedhor.  Teos' throne, according to Egyptian records, was Ir-nmt-en-re.  This meant that Teos would "carry our the justice of the god Re."  The "Amun" probably means "chosen of Amun" or "beloved of Amun."  Amun is not connected in any known tests to Teos' official throne-name.

Nonetheless, the inscription in its entirety may read, "Teos the First, (beloved of) Amun and (chosen) of Re."  The latter part of this title might be the result of later Macedonian influences when it was being inscribed.  Interestingly, the Teos inscription appears to share something in common with Alexander the Great; namely, the sky-god, Amun.  Alexander the Great had Mery-amun as part of his throne name.  So did the Ptolemaic rulers, from I to VI, and Ptolemy XV.

After Alexander the Great defeated Darius III at Issus in 333 BC, he journeyed to the oracle of Ammon at the Siwa oasis.  There, he was pronounced the "son of Amun" (also spelled Ammon), and savior of the Egyptian people.  He was depicted with the ram's horn of Amun on a silver tetradrachm of Lysimachus, circa 323 to 281 BC.  Teos' overthrow was caused by the high cost of maintaining a Greek mercenary army, and expense that cut into the profits of his courtiers, who successfully conspired against him.

Prior to this engineered downfall, he was the last Egyptian ruler who wanted to take on the Persian empire.  Teos doubtlessly realized that the superior tactics, weaponry and skill of these professional soldiers represented his only hope of victory against the Persians.  They also used foreign mercenaries.  The superior Greek strategists on the Persian side of the war with Pharaoh Nectanebo II later spelled the end of an independent Egypt, in 343 BC.

Perhaps the Burrows Cave stone is a posthumous profile of Teos executed by an artist belonging to some Macedonian dynasty.  Most Greeks certainly shared Teos' hatred of Persia.  It is also possible that being ignorant of his actual throne-name, the Macedonian may have erroneously included Amun, since that was the god with which they chiefly identified.  Other pharaohs associated themselves with Amun, but none so close in time than Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies.  Alexander the Great himself is separated from Teos by only 28 years.

Note from Paul Schaffranke: This is the beginning of I hope many good articles from John Bailey.  I wish John well and hope that he continues to provide well documented reports and essays.

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