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E00230: Two Coptic tree donation documents of around 770, certifying the gift of date-palm trees from private individuals to the saint of the monastery of Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080) at Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt).

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posted on 2014-12-08, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.KRU 111
Three date-palm trees are donated to the monastery of Apa Phoibammon. The trees are not going to be uprooted and physically handed over to the monastery, either as small sprouts or young trees, but remain on the donor’s field. Only the fruit they produce will, from now on, be the possession of the monastery.

P.KRU 110
Philotheos, son of Psmo, from the region of Hermonthis, donates one date palm-tree around 770. The donation is made explicitly for the salvation of the donor’s soul.

Full text and translation:

+ ⲥ(ⲩ)ⲛ ⲑ(ⲉⲱ) ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲫⲓⲗⲟⲑ(ⲉⲣⲟⲥ) ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟ[ⲥ]
ⲯⲙⲱ ϩⲙ ⲡⲭⲱⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲙⲡⲁⲛⲕⲁⲙⲏ ⲙ-
[ⲡⲛ]ⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ⲉⲣⲙⲟⲛⲧ ⲉⲓⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲉⲓⲇⲱ-
[ⲣⲓ]ⲍⲉ ⲛⲟⲩⲃⲏⲛⲉ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ
5 ⲫⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲏⲣⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲉⲭ̅ⲥ ϩⲓⲧⲟⲟ[ⲧⲟⲩ]
ⲛⲛⲉⲕⲗⲏⲣⲓⲕⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲉⲥ-
ⲧⲟⲥ ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲙⲁⲑⲁⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲁⲩ-
ⲁⲛⲁⲅⲅⲁⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ⲁⲛ ⲉⲧⲣⲉⲓⲣ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲁⲗⲗ[ⲁ ϩⲛ]
ⲧⲁⲡⲣⲟϩⲁⲓⲣⲉⲥⲓⲥ ⲙⲙⲓⲛⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ⲁⲓⲣ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲉⲧⲃ[ⲉ]
10 ⲡⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲯⲩⲭⲏ ⲉⲥϩⲓ ⲡⲙⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲙ-
ⲡⲕⲁϩ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲙⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲣⲟϥ ϫⲡ[ⲕ]ⲁϩ ⲙ-
ⲡⲁⲕⲓⲣⲉ ϩⲓ ⲡⲉⲓⲃⲧ ⲛⲧⲉϩⲓⲏ ⲡⲣⲣⲱ
ⲉⲥⲟⲩⲧⲱⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲧⲟϣ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲟⲛ ⲓⲥⲁⲕ
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲉⲧⲛⲏⲩ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲁ ⲡⲁⲥⲕⲟⲩⲣ ⲟⲛ
15 ⲉϥⲉⲓⲛⲉ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲉϥⲛⲁⲣ ⲡⲉⲥϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲟⲛ
ⲁⲩⲱ ϫⲉ ⲛⲛⲉⲗⲁⲁⲩⲉ ⲛⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲡⲱⲓ
ⲡⲉ ⲟⲩⲇⲉ ϫⲱϩ ⲛϫⲱϩ ⲟⲩⲇⲉ {ⲟⲩⲇⲉ} ϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲟⲩⲇⲉ ϣⲉ-
ⲣⲉ ⲟⲩⲇⲉ ⲣⲙⲛϯⲙⲉ ⲉϣⲉⲓ
ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲣⲟⲥ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ ⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁⲧⲟⲗⲙⲁ
20 ⲛϥⲉⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲣⲉⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁ-
ⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲛⲁϫⲓ ⲕⲃⲁ ⲙ-
ⲙⲟϥ ⲛϥϣⲱⲡⲉ ⲉϥⲱ ⲛϣⲙⲙⲟ ⲉ-
ⲡⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲙⲛ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲡⲛⲁ ⲉⲧ-
ⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ϩⲙ ⲡⲉⲓⲁⲓⲱⲛ ⲙⲛ ⲡⲉⲧⲛⲏⲩ
25 ⲛϥⲛⲁⲩ ⲉⲧⲙⲛⲧⲉⲣⲟ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ
ⲉⲥⲟⲩⲏⲛ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛϥⲧⲙⲣ ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ ⲛⲃ-
ⲱⲕ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲗⲗⲁ ⲉϥⲉϣⲱⲡⲉ
ϩⲛ ⲧϣⲱⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲛⲟⲩⲛ ϣⲁ ⲉⲛⲉϩ
ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲫⲓⲗⲟⲑⲉⲟⲥ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲙⲡⲥⲥⲙⲟⲩ ϯⲥⲧⲟⲭⲉⲓ ⲉⲡⲉⲉⲛⲕⲣⲁⲫⲟⲛ
30 ⲡⲣⲟⲥ ⲑⲉ ⲉⲧⲉϥⲥⲏϩ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ + ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲓⲥⲁⲕ ⲡⲉϥⲥⲟⲛ
ⲁⲓⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲡⲉⲉⲛⲅⲣⲁⲫⲟⲛ ⲛⲧⲁϭⲓϫ ⲡⲣⲟⲥ
ⲧⲁⲓⲧⲏⲥⲓⲥ ⲙⲡⲁⲥⲟⲛ ⲫⲓⲗⲟⲑ(ⲉⲟⲥ) ⲁⲩⲱ ⲧⲓⲱ ⲙⲙ-
ⲛⲧⲣⲉ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲥⲧⲟⲓⲭⲉ ⲉⲡⲉⲭⲁⲣⲧⲏⲥ ⲡⲣⲟⲥ
ⲑⲉ ⲉⲧϥⲥⲏϩ ⲙⲙⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲉϫⲛⲟⲩⲓ ⲛⲧⲁϩⲟ-
ⲙⲟⲗⲟⲅⲉⲓ +

'With God. I, Philotheos, the son of the blessed Psmo, from the village of Pankame in the district of the city of Hermonthis, I write and donate a date palm-tree to the monastery (topos) of Apa Phoibamon, the martyr of Christ, represented through the clerics, Apa Sourous, the superior (proestos) of the monastery (topos), and Matthaios, his brother.
I have not been pressured into doing this, but have done this through my very own decision for the salvation of my soul.
It (the date palm-tree) is located on that part of the land which is called “the Land of Pakire”, in the East of the King’s Way, situated between his (Philotheos’) area and his brother’s Isaac.
Also what comes forth because of my lease (i.e. the proceeds), it (the monastery of Apa Phoibamon) shall take it over. It (the monastery) shall be the tree’s owner.
No one of my own people, neither a distant relative, nor a son, or a daughter, or anyone from the village shall ever be able to come forth against it. He who shall dare and come forth against it, the holy Saint Apa Phoibamon shall take revenge on him, and he will be a stranger to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in this aeon and in the one to come. And he shall see the kingdom of God open, but he will not be worthy to enter it. Instead he shall eternally be in the pit of the underworld.
I, Philotheos, the son of Psmou, agree to the document in the way in which it is written.
I, Isaac, his brother, have written the document with my own hand at the request of my brother Philotheos. I am a witness and I agree to the document as it is written. I have been asked and I agree.'

(Text: W. E. Crum and G. Steindorff, German trans. W. C. Till, Engl. trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Phoibammon, soldier martyr of Preht (ob. c. 304) : S00080 Sourous, Apa Sourous, superior and holy man at the monastery of Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme : S01584

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲟⲩⲥ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Donation document Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet Late antique original manuscripts - Leather fragment


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Hermonthis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings


P.KRU 110 is a complete papyrus document, located at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, number 8738 (verso of P.KRU 98). P.KRU 111 is a fragmentary document written on leather missing the beginning of the text, located at the British Museum in London, number 96.


It is the right to make use of these trees that is handed over to the monastery, rather than the trees themselves. From now on the monastery can decide when and how to collect and use their fruit, to cut their branches, and to make use of their palm leaves. The care of the tree, such as watering and top soiling still seems to remain the responsibility of the donor. In P.KRU 110 the brother of the donor is also involved, though only it would seem as scribe of and witness for the donation document, rather than as co-donor and thus co-beneficiary with respect to the salvation of his soul. As this tree seems to have been situated on leased land, or was leased itself, the remaining lease payments which the donor expected are also handed over to the new owner, that is the head of the monastery (topos) of Apa Phoibammon. As leases only run for one year, the new owner can then decide whether to make use of the tree itself or to earn payments through another lease.


Edition: Crum, W.E., and Steindorff, G., Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts aus Djeme (Theben) (Leipzig, 1971), 340-343 (P. KRU 110-111). German Translations: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna: H. Böhlaus, 1964), 192-194. Further reading: Biedenkopf-Ziehner, A., Koptische Schenkungsurkunden aus Thebais: Formeln und Topoi der Urkunden, Aussagen der Urkunden, Indices (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2001). Godlewski, W., Deir el-Bahari V: Le monastère de St. Phoibammon (Warsaw: PWN, 1986). For a full range of the documentary evidence on Phoibammon: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001), 204–214.

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