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E02356: Greek loan acknowledgement, from Alexandria (lower Egypt), mentioning a martyr shrine (martyrion) of *John the Baptist (S00020), dated to the years 494–500.

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posted on 2017-02-10, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.Oxy. 63 4394

This very lengthy contract, acknowledging the loan of a large sum of money and citing the history of this transaction,is issued by Flavius Julianus, clarissimus tribunus, notarius sacri palatii, who is a resident of Alexandria and shares the liability with Flavius Olympiodorus, scholasticus and advocate in the court of the Augustal prefect of Egypt, likewise from Alexandria. Together, they borrowed money from Flavius Maximinus, another scholasticus and advocate at the same court.

Flavius Julianus mentions the location of his residence as behind the martyr shrine of John the Baptist, lines 12–19:

Φλάουϊοι Ἰουλιανὸς ὁ λαμπρότατος
τριβο[ῦ]νος νοτάριος τοῦ θείου
παλατίου, υἱὸς τοῦ τῆς μακαρίας
μνήμης Εὐσεβίου, ἀπὸ τῆσδε τῆς
μεγαλοπόλεως Ἀλεξανδρείας,
οἰκῶν ὄπιθεν τοῦ μαρτυρίου
τοῦ ἁγίου Βαπτιστοῦ Ἰωάννου
ἐν τοῖς ἰδίοις

'Flavius Julianus, the most splendid tribune, notary of the sacred palace, son of Eusebius of happy memory, from this capital city of Alexandria, resident behind the martyrium of St John the Baptist on his own premises, …'

Likewise, one of the witnesses to the contract mentions the same area as his place of residence, lines 238–242:

(hand 5) † Αὐρήλιος Κά̣νωπ̣ο̣ς̣ υ̣ἱ̣ὸ̣ς Θε̣ο̣φίλου
[τοῦ τῆς] μ̣α̣κ̣[α]ρ̣[ίας] μ̣ν̣ή̣μ̣η̣ς̣, ἐρέτης̣, οἰκῶν ὄπ̣ι̣θεν τοῦ μαρ-
[τυ]ρ̣ί̣ο̣υ̣ τ̣ο̣ῦ ἁγίου Βαπτ̣ι̣σ̣τοῦ Ἰωάνν̣ο̣υ̣ π̣ρ̣ὸ̣ς̣ τ̣ό̣π̣ῳ̣ Π̣ρ̣α̣ϋλίου
[ἐν τοῖς]   ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣ι̣α̣νοῦ, μαρτυρῶ τῷδε τῷ γραμμ̣[α-]

'(5th hand) I, Aurelius Canopus (?) son of Theophilus of happy memory, oarsman, resident behind the martyrium of St John the Baptist at the place called Prayliu(?) on the premises of (?) … ianus, act as witness to this contract.'

(Text and trans.: J. R. Rea)

A complete record of the document with images and bibliography can be found at:;63;4394


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Other private document Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Alexandria Oxyrhynchos

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

Alexandria Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Oxyrhynchos Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Towns, villages, districts and fortresses


This extensive document takes the form of a papyrus roll consisting of twenty two sheets joined together. It comes from Alexandria, but was possibly found at Oxyrhynchos and is now housed in the Sackler Library at Oxford.


The martyr shrine of John the Baptist mentioned here is securely located in Alexandria. The shrine, and the man involved in this transaction, are the same as those recorded in E02357.


Text and translation: Rea, J.R., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri LΧIII, published by the Egypt Exploration Society in Graeco-Roman Memoirs (London, 1996), 115–132.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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