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E01145: Coptic acknowledgement of a financial debt to the oratory of *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042) in Hermopolis (Middle Egypt), possibly due to a pledge by the deceased mother of the debtor; written in the 8th century.

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posted on 2016-02-24, 00:00 authored by Bryan
CPR 4 78:

The papyrus is too fragmentary to allow any solid conclusions on the nature of the debt. The amount mentioned is a tremis, that is a third of a gold coin, which seems to have been promised as a donation by the deceased mother of the debtor of the document, who is a man from Hermopolis. The document is addressed to the presbyter and provost of the oratory, a man named Apa Theodore.

CPR 4 78,1–3:

[ -ca.?- ⲡⲣⲱ]ⲙⲉ ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲓⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲡⲉⲩⲕⲧⲏⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲫⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲉⲡⲇ  ̣  ̣  ̣ⲉⲩ
[ -ca.?- ] ϩ̣ⲓ[ⲧ]ⲟⲟⲧⲕ̣ ⲛⲧⲟⲕ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲑⲉ[ⲟ]ⲇⲱⲣⲉ ⲡⲑⲉⲟⲫⲓⲗ(ⲉⲥ)ⲧ(ⲁⲧⲟⲥ) ⲛⲡⲣⲉ(ⲥⲃⲩⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ)
ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡ̣ⲉⲡ̣ⲣ̣  ̣[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ] ⲕⲁⲑⲁ̣ⲣⲱ̣ⲥ ⲕⲁⲓ ⲁⲡⲟⲕⲣⲟⲧⲱⲥ ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲣⲓⲙⲉⲥⲓ ⲛⲛⲟⲩⲃ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲛⲧⲁⲓⲟ̣ⲩⲱ  ̣[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]  ̣  ̣ ⲛⲧⲙⲁⲕ(ⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ) ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲧⲁⲙⲁⲁⲩ γί(νεται) νο(μίσματος) γ´ ⲡ̣ⲁ̣ⲓ̣
ⲧⲁⲥ̣ⲧⲁⲁⲃ   ̣  ̣ⲧⲛ   ̣[ -ca.?- ]

'[… the inhabitant] of Hermopolis. I am writing to the oratory (eukterion) of saint John … […] represented by you, Apa Theodore, the God-loving presbyter and proestos (?) […] clearly and without fail a gold tremis, this one which I have already […] from my mother, the blessed Maria. Makes total 1/3 of a gold coin (nomisma). This one which she donated to you […].'

Translation: Gesa Schenke.

A full record of the text is available at:;4;78


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 John, Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source

ⲫⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Other private document


  • 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)

Hermopolis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified


CPR 4 78 is a fragmentary papyrus belonging to the Papyrus Collection in Vienna, inv. K 5489. The handwriting of the document has been dated to the 8th century.


It is appears to be the case that the heir is currently unable to pay the donation his mother intended to make to the oratory of saint John and is therefore now in debt. He acknowledges as much to the head of the oratory by way of a legal document.


Text:;4;78 Till, W.C., Corpus Papyrorum Raineri IV (CPR IV): Die koptischen Rechtsurkunden der Papyrussammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, 1958), 74–75. Further reading: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris, 2001), 423.

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