University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E04172: Coptic ostracon from western Thebes (Upper Egypt) referring to Apa *Antonios (Antony 'the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356, S00098) as a luminous column; datable to the first half of the 8th century.

online resource
posted on 2017-10-19, 00:00 authored by gschenke
O.Frange 41

The addressees of this fragmentary letter written by Frange are now lost, so is the reason for and the content of the letter. What remains, however, is the reference to Antony as a column of light and the mention that the addressees are 'holy men' or 'human saints' just like Antony.

⳨ ϩⲁⲑⲏ ⲙⲉⲛ
[ⲙⲡ]ⲁϣⲁϫⲉ ⲛⲉⲗⲁⲭ(ⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ)
[ⲉⲓⲥϩ]ⲁ ⲉⲓϣⲓⲛⲉ ⲉⲛⲁⲙⲉⲣⲁⲧⲉ
[ⲛⲥⲛⲏⲩ?] ⲙⲙⲁⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲉⲩⲗⲁ(ⲉⲥⲧⲁⲧⲟⲥ?)
[ⲛ]ⲣ̣ⲱ̣ⲙ̣ⲉ̣ ⲛϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲛ̣ⲁ̣ⲙ̣ⲉ̣ ?
[  ̣] ⲛⲑⲉ ⲙⲡⲉⲥⲥⲧⲩⲗⲟⲥ ⲛ̣-
[ⲟⲩⲟ]ⲉⲓⲛ · ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛⲓⲟⲥ
[ⲡⲗ]ⲁⲥ · ⲉⲧϣⲱϣ ⲥϯ
[ⲛ]ⲟⲩϥⲉ · ⲉⲃⲟ[ⲗ]
[ ⲁ?]ⲛⲟⲕ [  ̣  ̣]ⲥ̣ⲧ̣[ -ca.?- ]
ⲧⲁⲁ̣ⲥ̣ ⲛ̣[ -ca.?- ]
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

‘Before my most humble message, I write, greeting my beloved, devout and most pious [brothers?], the truly human saints in the manner of the luminous column, Apa Antonios, [the tongue?] that spreads a pleasant fragrant. I …
Give it (the message) to …’

(Text: A. Boud'hors and Ch. Heurtel; trans.: G. Schenke)

A complete record of the text is available at:;;41


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Antony, 'the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356 : S00098

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛⲓⲟⲥ

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Letter 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)

Thebes Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous sound, smell, light


The ostracon inv. O.291809 + O.291810 is a fragment of an amphora and was found during a season of the Belgian excavation at the Theban necropolis. It is part of the archive of the monk Frange who inhabited the tomb of Amenemope (TT29) in the Valley of the Kings.


For a similar reference to Antony as a luminous column see E04146.


Text and French translation: Boud'hors, A., and Heurtel, C., Les ostraca coptes de la TT 29. Autour du moine Frangé (Études d'archéologie thébaine 3; Brussels, 2010), 62.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity