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E00162: Greek writing exercise of the 6th/7th c. from Egypt, mentioning *Menas (soldier and martyr of Abu Mena, S00073).

online resource
posted on 2014-11-08, 00:00 authored by Bryan
P.Rain.Unterricht 46

A parchment fragment of unknown provenance, with writing exercises on flesh and hair sides, including the line:

Μηνᾶς ὁ ἅγιος
'Menas, the saint'

Translation: Gesa Schenke.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Menas, soldier and martyr Abu Mena : S00073

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Other private document


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts


A small piece of parchment used for writing practice (P.Rain.Unterricht 46).


Writing the name Menas here has clearly not been a cult activity, but a mere practice of writing skills. This piece of parchment is covered with letter formations and kalamos testing, making it clear beyond doubt that this piece was not intended to be used as an amulet. See Harrauer and Sijpesteijn 1985, 44; Papaconstantinou 2001, 146–149.


Edition: Harrauer, H., and Sijpesteijn, P.J., Neue Texte aus dem antiken Unterricht (MPER 15; Vienna: In Kommission bei Verlag Brüder Hollinek, 1985). Further reading: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001). For a full range of the documentary evidence on Menas: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001), 146–154.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity