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E02458: Coptic sale of parts of two houses, from Jeme (Upper Egypt), sold by the head of the topos of Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080) on the mountain of Jeme, property previously donated to the saint as an offering for forgiveness, dated 30 November 733.

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posted on 2017-03-05, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.KRU 13

In this document, the head of (the shrine of) saint Apa Phoibammon, a man named Karakos (Kyriakos), son of Demetrios, who was also a monk, is selling parts of two houses to a man named Aaron, son of Shenoute, an inhabitant of Jeme.

This property, the provost explains, had previously been donated to saint Apa Phoibammon by the heirs of a man named Peishate for the prosphora of their deceased father. This gift was to ensure the saint's intercession on behalf of the deceased.

The provost Karakos is now selling the property to Aaron (see the same man who buys a formerly donated house at $E02459) who pays one gold solidus for it. The money received through the sale is then going to be spent on feeding the poor and tending to the needs of the shrine ensuring the rest (anapausis) of the deceased.

Lines 5–8 read:

ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲕⲁⲣⲁⲕⲟⲥ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲇⲏⲙⲏⲧⲣⲓⲟⲩ ⲡⲑⲉⲱⲫⲓⲗⲉⲩⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲡⲣⲉ(ⲥⲃⲩⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ) ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡϩⲩⲅ(ⲟⲩ)ⲙ(ⲉⲛⲟⲥ) ⲁⲩⲱ
ⲡⲉⲡⲣⲟⲉⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲛⲡⲁⲑⲗⲟⲫⲟⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲧⲉⲫⲁⲛⲟⲩⲫⲟⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲁⲅⲱⲛⲓⲥⲧⲏⲥ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲕⲁⲗⲓⲕⲟⲥ ⲛⲙⲫⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ
ⲛⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ

'I, Karakos, the son of Demetrios, the most God loving presbyter, provost (hegoumenos) and head (proestos) of the victorious crown bearer and triumphant competitor saint Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme, …'

Lines 16–17:

ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲕⲁⲣⲁⲕⲟⲥ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲟⲭⲟⲥ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲡⲙⲁⲕ(ⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ) ⲇⲏⲙⲏⲧⲣⲓⲟⲥ ⲡⲉⲧϣⲣⲡⲥϩⲁⲓ

'I, Karakos, the monk, son of the blessed Demetrios, the aforementioned, …'

Lines 26–30:

ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲛⲉⲩⲧⲟϣ ⲉⲩⲕⲱⲧⲉ ⲛⲡⲉⲥⲛⲁⲩ ⲛⲏⲓ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲛⲙⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲧⲁⲛϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲡⲙⲁⲕ(ⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ) ⲡⲉⲓϣⲁⲧⲉ ⲛⲡⲉⲥⲧⲓⲛⲉ ⲧⲁⲁⲩ ⲁϩⲟⲩⲛ
ⲁⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ ⲛⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲏ ⲛⲡⲣⲟⲥⲫⲟⲣⲁ ϩⲁ ⲧⲉϥⲧⲁⲗⲁⲓⲡⲟⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲯⲩⲭⲏ ϫⲉ ⲛⲉⲩⲕⲁⲧⲁⲕⲣⲓⲛⲉ ⲛⲙⲟⲓ ϩⲓ[. . . . . . . ⲡⲃⲏⲙⲁ ⲙ]ⲡⲉⲭⲥ ϫⲉ ⲛⲉⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ [ϭⲛ]ⲁⲣⲓⲕⲉ ⲁⲣⲟⲓ ϫⲉ [. . .]

'These are their boundaries, located around the two houses the parts of which the children of the blessed Peishate, son of Pestine, have donated to saint Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme as an offering (prosphora) for his wretched soul, "so that I shall not be condemned [standing on the tribunal] of Christ, and so that the holy martyr shall not find fault with me,"…'

Lines 32–38:

ϩⲱⲥⲇⲉ ⲟⲩⲛ ⲛⲧⲟⲕ ϩⲁⲣⲱⲛ ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲥⲉⲛ(ⲟⲩ)ⲑ(ⲓⲟⲥ) ⲉⲕⲛⲁⲣϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲛⲛⲙⲉⲣⲟⲥ ⲛⲛⲉⲓⲏⲓ ⲛⲡⲉⲓϣⲁⲧⲉ ϫⲉ ⲁⲕϯ ⲧⲟⲩⲧⲓⲙⲉ ⲛⲁⲓ
ⲛϭⲓϫ ϭⲓϫ ⲛⲟⲩⲃ ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲑⲉ ⲛⲧⲁⲓⲡⲱⲗⲕ ⲛⲁⲙⲙⲁⲕ ϫ[ⲉ ⲟⲩϩⲟⲗ]ⲟⲕ(ⲟⲧ)ⲧⲓⲛⲟⲥ [ⲛⲛⲟⲩ]ⲃ ⲅ(ⲓⲛⲟⲛⲧⲁⲓ) ⲛⲟ(ⲙⲓⲥⲙⲁ) ⲁ ⲁⲓⲛⲟϫⲥ
ⲉⲧⲉⲧⲣⲁⲡⲉⲓⲍⲁ ⲛⲛϩⲏⲕⲉ ⲛ[ .ⲧ]ⲭⲣⲓⲁ ⲛⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲉⲩⲁⲛⲁⲡⲁⲩⲥⲓⲥ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲕ(ⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ) ⲡⲉⲓϣⲁⲧⲉ

'And so then you Aaron, son of Shenoute, you shall own the parts of these houses of Peishate, since you have given me their price from one hand to another in gold, just as I have agreed with you, that is one gold solidus, makes one gold nomisma. I have spent it for the table of the poor [and] the need of the holy topos, for a rest (anapausis) of the blessed Peishate.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Phoibammon, soldier and martyr of Assiut (ob. c. 304) : S00080

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Sale document Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet


  • Coptic

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

Jeme Deir el-Bahari

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

Jeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Deir el-Bahari Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings


The papyrus document is housed at the British Museum in London, BM Or. 5985.


The mention that parts of two house had been donated to the saint for the prosphora of a man named Peishate by his sons, to ensure that the martyr saint would treat the deceased kindly, illustrates not only what kind of donations were made to saints, but also that the saint himself did not legally own what was donated to him. The gifts for the saint were subsequently owned by his shrine. People in charge of the shrine would legally accept the gifts and deal with them as seemed best in the interest of shrine, saint and donor.


Edition and Translation: Crum, W.E., and Steindorff, G., Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts aus Djeme (Theben) (Leipzig, 1971), 46–49. Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna, 1964), 108–110 (German Translations).

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