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E04024: Coptic agreement from Jeme (Upper Egypt) settling a dispute over inheritance, mentioning an oath being sworn at the church of the martyr Abba *Kyriakos (presumably the child martyr of Tarsus, S00007) at castron Jeme; dated most likely to the year 724.

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posted on 2017-09-14, 00:00 authored by gschenke
P.KRU 37:

In this document from Jeme, a dispute over inheritance is settled after an oath was sworn by one of the parties involved, serving as proof of sincerity. The oath was sworn in the presence of local officials and the archpriest in the church/shrine of the martyr Kyriakos, possibly the child martyr, as the ultimate symbol of innocence.

Lines 13–20 read as follows:

ⲁⲓⲡⲣⲟⲥⲉⲗⲑⲉⲓ ⲉⲣⲟ ⲛⲛⲧⲓⲙⲓⲱⲧ(ⲁⲧⲟⲥ) ⲁⲑⲁⲛⲁⲥⲓⲟⲥ ⲙⲛ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲛⲗⲁϣ(ⲛⲏⲩ) ⲛϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡⲁⲑⲗⲟⲫⲟⲣⲟⲥ ⲙⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲟⲥ
ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲕⲁⲥⲧⲣⲟⲛ ⲛⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲑⲉⲟⲫⲩⲗⲉ(ⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ) ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏⲡⲣⲉⲥⲃ(ⲩⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ) ⲁⲩⲱ ⲡⲙⲉⲓⲍⲟ(ⲧⲉⲣⲟⲥ) . . . . ⲛⲙⲙⲁⲁⲩ
ⲙⲡⲉϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲙ[ⲙⲁⲁⲩ ⲁⲣ]ⲉⲡⲗⲏⲣⲟⲫⲟⲣⲉⲓ ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ⲙⲡⲁⲛⲁϣ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲟⲥ

'I approached you with the most honourable village headmen (lashane) Athanasios and Biktor inside (the church/shrine of) the prize bearing martyr Abba Kyriakos of this same castron Jeme, while the God loving archpriest Apa Biktor and the headman NN were present with them. On that day, you assured me with the oath inside (the church/shrine of) saint Kyriakos.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyrikos/Cyricus, child martyr of Tarsus (son of *Ioulitta/Julitta) : S00007

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲟⲥ

Type of Evidence

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

Jeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



The papyrus document, BM Papyrus CV, is housed at the British Museum in London.


The beginning of the document is missing, but it refers to the same family dispute as P.KRU 36 (see E04023), mentioning the same indiction year and the same village officials; it might thus date to the same year, 724. The oath mentioned in this document was sworn at an institution, presumably a martyr shrine or church, dedicated to Kyriakos, in front of local officials and the archpriest. This reminds one of many of the miracle stories mentioning disputes which are settled in one way or another by the saint, after an oath is sworn publicly in his martyr shrine. The outcome of such a procedure often proves disastrous, when the oath turns out to be false. For evidence from other provinces of such oaths sworn, see E03663 where an oath 'by these holy scriptures' is sworn at the oratory of the martyr saint Kyrikos (P.Petra IV 39).


Edition and Translation: Crum, W.E., and Steindorff, G., Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts aus Djeme (Theben) (Leipzig, 1971), 125–130. Till, W.C., Erbrechtliche Untersuchungen auf Grund der koptischen Urkunden (Vienna, 1954), 118–121 (German Translation).

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