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E02155: Coptic lease from Hermopolis (Middle Egypt), mentioning a place/monastery of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181), datable to the 7th century.

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posted on 2016-12-21, 00:00 authored by gschenke
CPR 4 121, 1–3

[†] ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲥⲧⲉⲫⲁⲛⲉ ⲡⲉϭⲙⲉ ⲡϣⲉ ⲛⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲓⲟⲩⲥⲧ[ⲟⲥ] ⲡⲣⲱⲙ ⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅ̣ⲅ̣ⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ ϩⲓϫⲛ ⲧϣ[ⲛⲏ? ⲛ - ]
[ⲉ]ⲓ̣ⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲕⲩⲣⲁ ⲕⲁⲓⲥⲁⲣⲓⲁ ⲧⲉⲩⲅⲉⲛⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲏ ⲧϣⲉ ⲛⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲛⲇ̣ⲣⲟⲛⲓⲕⲉ ⲡⲉⲛⲧⲁϥϣⲱⲡ̣[ⲉ -ca.?- ]
ⲡⲣⲱⲙⲉ ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ

'I, Stephen, the gardener, son of the blessed Ioustos, man of the place (ma) of the archangel Michael, at the garden [of …], I am writing to the well-born Mistress Kaisaria, daughter of the blessed Andronikos, who was […], inhabitant of Hermopolis … '

Text and German translation: W C. Till. English translation: G. Schenke

A full record of this document can be found at:;4;121


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲁⲅ̣ⲅ̣ⲉⲗⲟⲥ ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Lease or rental document



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 - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery


The papyrus K 4903 belongs to the papyrus collection at Vienna. The document is dated on palaeographical grounds.


The text is fragmentary, but the piece of land leased here is most likely a vineyard or a garden. The lessee is not a monk, but seems to be a gardener living at or associated with a certain place named after the archangel Michael. This is very likely to have been a monastery which hired this gardener to work the monastic garden (read perhaps: ⲧϣ[ⲛⲏ ⲛⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲉⲣⲓⲟⲛ or ⲧϣ[ⲛⲏ ⲛⲡⲗⲁⲟⲥ]). Additionally, or perhaps after working for the monastery, he also worked on land leased from a private individual, in this case a woman from Hermopolis. However, it can not be excluded that 'the place' of the archangel Michael was a small rural settlement, named after the archangel.


Text and translation: Till, W.C., Corpus Papyrorum Raineri IV (CPR IV): Die koptischen Rechtsurkunden der Papyrussammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, 1958), 115–116. Mention: Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides (Paris: CNRS, 2001), 424.

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