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E03662: Fragmentary tax receipt written in Greek on papyrus, mentioning tax due to shrines of *Theodore (probably the soldier and martyr of Euchaita, S00480), and perhaps an *Archangel. Found in Petra, drafted in Petra or Kastron Zadakathon/Sadaqa (Roman province of Palaestina III). Dated 565/575.

online resource
posted on 2017-09-02, 00:00 authored by Bryan
lines 26-39:

[- ca.11 -]ς δεκάτης ἰνδι(κτίωνος) καὶ αὐτῆς. καὶ τοῦτο δὲ δῆλον ποιῶ ν[ -0-6- ]
[....] .... ̣π[αν]τοίου δόλω τῷ ἰδίω{ν} μου κυνδύνῳ κ[α]ὶ τῆς ἐμ[ε͂ς] [ὑποστά]-
[- - -]σεως καὶ ε̣ὐτ[...].̣οα̣ρ.......[- ca.30 -]
[..]ς ἀπὸ ἑνδε[κάτης ἰνδι(κτίωνος) - ca.32 -]
[- ca.10 - ἡ] [ἐ]μὲ σύνβιως τοῦ προγεγραμμένου π ..[.].. ̣[ -3-6- ]
[- ca.11 -] τῆς αὐτῆς συντηλείας τοῖς εὐαγέσιν οἴκοις τῶν [ἁγίων]
[κα]̣ὶ ἐνδόξ[ων ...].τοῦ ἀρχο.[.....]υ καὶ Θεωδό̣ρ[ο]υ τοῦ μάρτ[υρος ἐπὶ (?)]
[ -ca.?- ] ̣Ζ[α]δακάθο̣υ [τοῦ εἰρη]̣μέ̣νου κάστρ[ου - ca.28 -]
[τ]ῷ ̣μ̣α̣κ̣α̣ρ̣ι̣ω̣τ(άτῳ) .[...].[.] ̣ἐμῷ π̣ε̣νθ̣ηρῷ ἀπ[ὸ - ca.25 -]
[.... ἐκχωρη]̣θείσης ὑπ' αὐτοῦ τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἁγίοις οἴκοις καὶ ...[ -0-6- ]
[..]...[...] ̣τοὺς κληρονόμους καὶ διαδόχους καὶ τὼ ἀζέμιω[ν] [καὶ]
[- - -] ἀβλαβὲς [καὶ ἀ]̣νενόχλητον καὶ [- ca.12 - περ]̣ιποιέσ̣ο[ -0-7- ]
[- - -]... κ̣α̣ὶ κλ[ηρον]όμοι ... διάδοχοι ἐκ [- ca.30 -]

'And I affirm this [- - - without] any treachery, with my own personal liability and that of my property and [- - -] from the eleventh [indiction - - -] my spouse, of the above-mentioned [- - -] of the same tax to the sacred houses (euageis oikoi) of the [holy and] glorious [- - -] the Arch[angel?] and Theodore the Martyr [in] Zadakathon, the said Kastron, [- - -] to my most blessed father-in-law [- - -], from [- - - ceded] by him to the same holy houses (hagioi oikoi) and [- - -] the heirs and successors, and free from liability [and] unharmed [and] undisturbed and [- - -] keep [- - -] and the heirs [and] successors [- - -].'

Text: P.Petra IV 37. Translation: A. Arjava, T. Gagos, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181 Gabriel, the Archangel : S00192 Archangels (unspecified) : S00191 Theodore, soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita : S00480

Type of Evidence

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



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Petra Kastron Zadakathon

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

Petra Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis Kastron Zadakathon Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Women Other lay individuals/ people Soldiers Officials


A collection of carbonised papyri (c. 140 fragmentary rolls) was found in 1993, in Room 1 of the 'Petra Church' - an impressive three-aisled basilica with an atrium, three inscribed apses, baptistery and several annexed structures, sited to the north of the so-called Roman Street, and apparently dedicated to *Mary (as suggested by the papyrus evidence). Room 1 lies in the northeast corner of the complex, to the north of the northern side apse. It is presumed to have been a bedroom in a residential block (phase III: 363 – mid-5th c.), that was later converted to a store-room of religious or other precious items. The archaeologists excluded the possibility that it was a proper archive or scriptorium, as the room had no characteristic equipment. It was destroyed by fire, together with the church, probably in the early 7th c. The papyri were almost certainly kept in wooden containers (boxes? caskets?) in a shelved bookcase, standing against the west wall, which collapsed during the fire. The church was excavated between 1992 and 1997 by Pierre Bikai, on behalf of the American Center of Oriental Research. The papyri were extracted and secured by Catherine Valentour, aided by Deborah Kooring, Zbigniew Fiema, and others. They are now housed in Amman, in the American Center of Oriental Research and in the Jordan Museum. They are being published in the series The Petra Papyri by a team of papyrologists from Helsinki University and the University of Michigan. The first volume appeared in 2002, and was followed by vols. 2-4. The collection has recently been updated with a new volume (P. Petra V, published in 2018). This is the largest collection of papyri so-far found in Jordan. The earliest text dates to 537, the latest to c. 594. The papyri come from the archive of the family of one Theodoros, son of Obodianos, a local landowner and deacon (later archdeacon) of the Petra Church. The archive gives an important, albeit selective, overview of relationships, inheritance, donations, transactions, and disputes in Petra and its territory, especially the villages of Augustopolis/Udhruh and Kastron Zadakathon/Sadaqa. Toponyms (including churches and martyr shrines), and about 350 people, mainly of the upper class, are recorded, all of them for various reasons connected with the family of Theodoros.


The text comes from a fragment from the middle section of a papyrus roll. The document is issued by one Flavios Kyrikos, acting on behalf of his wife Arista. The recipient is specified as Theodoros, son of Obodianos, the archdeacon of the Church of Petra. Theodoros is described as originating from Petra but temporarily residing in Kastron Zadakathon/Sadaqa, almost certainly a garrison with an annexed village located c. 25 km to the southeast of Petra. Flavios Nonnos, son of Auxon, a military prior, is mentioned as the person who wrote the document. The editors note that he was not a professional scribe and frequently confused vowels, whilst the consonants are rendered correctly. Kyrikos issues the receipt on behalf of his wife, to confirm that she received taxes for an arable plot of land in Sargadi, which was part of a larger landed property. Theodoros apparently reimburses Arista for the tax she had paid. The quoted lines mention some tax due to two religious institutions. They are termed εὐαγεῖς οἶκοι/'reverend houses' and ἅγιοι οἶκοι/'holy houses'. The name of one patron is preserved – this is the holy and glorious Theodore the martyr, almost certainly the soldier and martyr of Amaseia and Euchaita in Pontus, northern Asia Minor, who had widespread cult in the late antique Near East. Of the name of the other saint only [...]. τοῦ ἀρχο.[.....]υ is left. Although a confusion of α and ο is unlikely, the editors are tempted to restore here the name of an archangel (most likely Michael or Gabriel), given the particular tendency of Nonnos to mistake vowels. As the text is very lacunose, it is difficult to explain the nature of the tax paid: perhaps Arista was just the formal owner of a plot of land which, entirely or partially, had been donated by her father to the two shrines (the tax registers in Petra were rarely updated, and previous owners continued paying taxes for the land they had sold or ceded). For a detailed description of the possible scenarios, see the comments of the editors. Dating: the date, a year between 460 and 469 of the era of the province of Arabia, is restored by the editors based on the contents of line 47. This corresponds to AD 565-575.


Edition: Arjava, A., Buchholz, M., Gagos†, T., Kaimio, M. and others, The Petra Papyri IV (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2011), no. 37.;4;37 For a description of the site, see: Fiema, Z.T., "The archaeological context of the Petra Papyri", in: P.M. Bikai, Z.T. Fiema (eds.), The Petra Church (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2001), 139-150. Fiema, Z.T., "Reconstructing the history of the Petra Church: data and phasing", in: P.M. Bikai, Z.T. Fiema (eds.), The Petra Church (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2001), 7-137. Fiema, Z.T., "Petra and its hinterland during the Byzantine period: new research and interpretations", in: J. Humphrey (ed.), Roman and Byzantine Near East: Some New Discoveries, vol. 3 (JRA Supplement Series 49, Portsmouth, Rhode Island: JRA, 2002), 191-252. Frösén, J., "Archaeological information from the Petra Papyri", Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 8 (2004), 141-144. P.Petra I – Frösén, J., Arjava, A., Lehtinen, M. (eds.) with contributions by Z.T. Fiema, C.A. Kuehn, T. Purola, T. Rankinen, M. Vesterinen, and M. Vierros, The Petra Papyri (Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2002), 1-8.

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