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E02468: Coptic work contract, from Jeme (Upper Egypt), mentioning a feast of Apa *Papnoute (S00882), datable to the 7th century.

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posted on 2017-03-07, 00:00 authored by gschenke
BKU 1 45

A man named Komos is hiring Kosma for the harvest, right up until the feast of Apa Papnoute, and is laying out the wages his worker will receive.

Lines 1–9 read as follows:

⳨ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ
ⲕⲟⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲥϩⲁ
ⲛⲕⲟⲥⲙⲁ ϫⲉ ⲉⲡⲉⲓ-
ⲇⲏ ⲁⲑⲛⲟⲕ ϩⲛ ϯⲣ[ⲟⲙ]-
ⲡⲉ ⲅ ⲡⲕⲁⲣⲡ(ⲟⲥ) ⲇ ⲉⲧⲣ̣[ⲉⲕ]-
ⲣϩⲱⲃ ⲛⲁ ⲁϫⲛ ⲕⲁⲧⲁⲫ[ⲣⲟ]-
ⲛⲏⲥⲓⲥ ϣⲁ ⲡϣⲁ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ <ⲡⲁ>ⲡⲛⲟ[ⲩⲧⲉ]
ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ϩⲱⲱⲧ ⲛⲧⲁⲧⲉⲓ ⲡⲉⲕⲃⲓ̣[ⲕⲉ]
ⲛⲁⲕ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲧϫⲟⲩⲧⲏ ⲛⲣⲧⲟⲃ ⲛⲥⲟ[ⲩⲟ ⲙⲛ]

'I am Komos who writes to Kosma. Since I have hired you in year three at the fourth (?) harvest, to cause you to work for me without neglect until the feast of Apa Papnoute, and to cause me in turn to give you your wages, which is 15 artabas of wheat [and] …'

(Text: A. Erman and W. E. Crum, trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Paphnoutios (unspecified) : S00882

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ <ⲡⲁ>ⲡⲛⲟ[ⲩⲧⲉ]

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Other private document Late antique original manuscripts - Ostracon/Pot-sherd


  • 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)

Jeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast


This Ostracon from Jeme is housed in the papyrus collection in Berlin, P.Berol. inv. 707. The text has been dated on palaeographical grounds.


Edition: Erman, A., and Crum, W.E., Ägyptische Urkunden aus den koeniglichen Museen zu Berlin, Koptische Urkunden vol. 1 (Berlin, 1904), 75.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity