University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E04358: Receipt of the rental or storage charge for the depositing of an unnamed item, written in Greek on papyrus, mentioning Patrikios, son of Sergios, as abbot (higoumenos) of the monastery of *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023) at Nessana/Auja Hafir in the Negev desert (Roman province of Palaestina III). Found at Nessana. Dated 602.

online resource
posted on 2017-11-13, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Receipt of the rental or storage charge for the deposition of an unnamed item. Issued to Patrikios, son of Sergios, by Zunayn, son of Nāṭūr. Dated 30 March 602. On a papyrus sheet, 24.5 cm x 32 cm. Written across the fibers.

+ ἠγεναιτω .̣ο..̣τ̣α̣ς μεταξὺ τοῦ ἀββᾶ Πατρικίου Σεργίου ἡγωμ̣έ[νου]
ἁγίου Σεργίου Νεσάνον καὶ Ζον̣α̣ινου ̣Ν[ο]̣τ̣ι[ρου ἀπὸ] κώμης Οι̣ν̣δου
ἐκ τοῦ ἀπ̣ω[θέτ]̣ου ονδα̣λ..̣σης παρʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐξελθην
̣θ̣υροε̣ι̣δ[.......Ζο]̣ναινος Ηασε̣νου Πατ̣ρ̣ικίῳ τ.[.....]
ἀπώθετ̣ο̣ν [ἕως (?)] ̣μ̣ηνὸς Ξανθικοῦ λ΄ τρ̣ικάδ̣ι τῆς μελλο̣ύ[σ]η[ς]
γξχ΄ ἔτο[υς ἰ]̣ν̣δ(ικτίωνος) ἕκτης. ἐγράφη ὡλωγράφῳ μου χιρὶ τοῦ
Ζαχαρία Δ̣ώμνου ἐπιτραπις παρʼ ̣α[ὐ]̣τ̣οῦ εἰπώντ̣ος
μὴ εἰδε γράμματα. γράφη ἐ̣μ ̣μην̣ε̣ὶ Ξανθικῷ δ΄ ̣τοῦ βξχ΄ ἰνδ(ικτίωνος) ε΄
ἠπληρώθ̣η [ὁ προ]ειρημένος Ζονα[ι]νου τὰ ̣ἐ̣νύκια τοῦ αὐτο[ῦ]
[ἀπ]̣ω̣θ̣έ̣τ̣ο̣υ [ὑπὲρ τῶν̣] ̣δ̣ι̣ελ̣θό[ν]̣τ[ω]ν καὶ τῆς μ[ελλ]ούσης ἰνδ(ικτίωνος) ἕκ[τ]̣ης.

There follow signatures of witnesses.

'+ An agreement (?) took place between abbas Patrikios, son of Sergios, abbot (higoumenos) of Saint Sergios of Nessana, and Zunayn, son of Nāṭūr, from the village of Oindos, in the matter of the storage of ... by him. And there came ... Zunayn, son of Easenos/Iasenos, to Patrikios ... the storage [until] the 30th/thirtieth day of the month of Xanthikos, of the year 663, the future 6th indiction. This was written entirely by the hand of me, Zacharias, son of Domnos, commissioned by Zunayn, who said he was unlettered. Written on the 4th day of the month of Xanthikos, of the 662nd year, 5th indiction. The aforesaid Zunayn has been paid in full the rental (?) for the said storage both for the time already past and for the next 6th indiction.'

There follow signatures of witnesses.

Text: P.Nessana 45. Translation: C.J. Kraemer, adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sergios, soldier and martyr of Rusafa : S00023

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

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


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Nessana Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Other lay individuals/ people Merchants and artisans


Nessana/Auja Hafir was an important town (actually termed a kome/'village' in documents) in the southwest Negev desert, located on the caravan route from 'Aila/'Aqaba to Gaza, and the pilgrim route towards Sinai, and is sometimes identified with the site of the hostel (xenodochium) of Saint George, visited by the Piacenza Pilgrim (see E00507; for an alternative identification, see E02006). The site was excavated by the Colt Expedition, led by Harris Dunscombe Colt, between 1935 and 1937, on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Although the site had suffered serious damage during World War I, it soon yielded rich epigraphical evidence (more than 150 Greek and Nabataean inscriptions), and two invaluable collections of 6th-7th c. documentary and literary papyri, comprising several distinguishable archives. The first, smaller collection of papyri, was found in Room 3 of the South Church (about six rolls, parts of rolls, and many fragments; they belong to a 6th c. archive, and deal mainly with property rights). The second group was found in Room 8 of the North Church (damaged and mostly fragmentary documents, including some blank sheets); the room where they were kept is unlikely to have been a proper archive room, but rather a place where unneeded documents were deposited. In 1987 Dan Urman resumed archaeological exploration of the site on behalf of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, but no new papyri have been discovered. The literary papyri were published in 1950 by Lionel Casson and Ernest Hettich, in the second volume of the Excavations of Nessana. Among them is a fragmentary account of the miracles and martyrdom of *George (soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda), see E04385. The documentary papyri, which we discuss here, were published in 1958 by Casper Kraemer Jr., in the third volume of the Excavations at Nessana. They can be divided into the following groups (termed 'archives' by their editors): 1) Legal documents concerning private transactions of soldiers (loans, a notice of tax transfers, marriages, inheritance, division of property, etc.), which cover the period between 505 and 596. Drafted by people with good knowledge of legal phrasing. This was probably the archive of the unit named the 'unit (arithmos) of the Most Loyal Theodosians', originally thought to have been based at the garrison of Nessana. This identification was later questions as the Theodosians are mentioned in just one papyrus, and could reside in the coastal city of Rhinokoroura/El Arish. It has been also suggested that this was one of the Palestinian units termed equites sagittarii indigenae in the Notitia Dignitatum (see Whately 2016, 122). 2) Five documents of one Patrikios (son of Sergios, grandson of Patrikios), abbot of the monastery of St. Sergios (to which the North Church in Nessana belonged), and of other ecclesiastics. Patrikios' father was likewise abbot of this monastery. The dated papyri come from the period 598-605. Sergios died in 592, and Patrikios in 628, as is known from their epitaphs (see I. Nessana, no. 12). As members of their family served in the military unit garrisoned at Nessana, Kraemer supposes that the two were involved in the depositing of Archive 1 in the North Church after the unit's disbandment in about 582-590. 3) Documents of Georgios, son of another Patrikios, and his son Sergios. Georgios' documents come from the period 682-684. He acts as a moneylender, and is possibly identical with an abbot who offered a column to the North Church (see I. Nessana, no. 77). Sergios, son of Georgios, appears more prominently. His papyri date to c. 682-689. He was a presbyter at the monastery of Sergios and Bakchos in 689, and (later?) its abbot. He acts also as an influential landowner, witness to other transactions, taxpayer, etc. 4) A small collection of documents of the Arab administration: written mainly in Arabic and Greek.


This document is a receipt of the storage charge for an item whose designation is lost. The item, belonging to Patrikios, son of Sergios, was committed to one Zunayn, son of Nāṭūr. Although Patrikios is identified by his role as abbot of the monastery of Sergios at Nessana, this appears to have been a private agreement rather than one on behalf of the monastery. The monastery here named is that of Sergios, soldier and martyr of Rusafa, whilst the name of his companion *Bakchos, which also belonged to the official name of the convent, is omitted (see E04359). For further comments on Patrikios and his family, the 'dynasty' of abbots of Nessana, see Kraemer, C.J., Excavations at Nessana (Auja Hafir, Palestine), vol. 3, pp. 6-8; 132-133; 222-223. Dating: the document contains two dates, given according to the era of Gaza (a Pompeian era). The first corresponds to 25 April 603, and is the original date up to which Patrikios' item was intended to be kept by Zunayn. The second date is 30 March 602: this is the date of the writing of the present document, which indicated that Patrikios collected his item approximately one year before the scheduled day. As the document uses the era of Gaza, the document may have been drafted in Palaestina I. Nessana lay in Palaestina III.


Edition: Kraemer, C.J., Excavations at Nessana (Auja Hafir, Palestine), vol. 3: Non-literary Papyri (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958), no. 45. See also:;3;45 Further reading: Meimaris, Y., Sacred Names, Saints, Martyrs and Church Officials in the Greek Inscriptions and Papyri Pertaining to the Christian Church of Palestine (Athens: National Hellenic Research Foundation, Center for Greek and Roman Antiquity, 1986), 119, no. 646. Whately, C., "Camels, soldiers, and pilgrims in sixth century Nessana", Scripta Classica Israelica 35 (2016), 121-135.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager