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E05986: Coptic ostracon from Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt) with a declaration made by a monk of the monastery of Apa *John (presumably either the Baptist, S00020, or the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042) in the presence of bishop Abraham; datable around the year 600.

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posted on 2018-07-18, 00:00 authored by gschenke
O.Crum 310

The document is a declaration made by the monk Isaak, son of Enoch, of the monastery of Apa Ioannes/John, before the bishop Abraham, relating the actions of a certain Phoibammon. Two monks from the mountain of Jeme are also present at the scene when the declaration was made.

Lines 1–2 read as follows:

ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲓⲥⲁⲕ ⲡ[ϣⲏⲣⲉ] ⲛⲉⲛⲱⲭ ⲡⲉⲗ(ⲁⲭⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ) ⲙⲙⲟⲛⲁⲭⲟⲥ ⲉⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱⲁ[ⲛⲛⲏⲥ]

'I, Isaak, the [son] of Enoch, the least monk at the topos of Apa Ioannes, …'

Lines 6–13 of the reverse read as follows:

ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲁⲃⲣⲁϩⲁⲙ ⲡⲉⲡⲓⲥⲕ(ⲟⲡⲟⲥ) ⲁⲓⲥⲁⲕ ϯ ⲧⲉϩⲟⲙⲟⲗⲟⲅⲓⲁ ϩⲓⲃⲟⲗ ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ⲉⲣⲉ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ ⲙⲙⲁⲩ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲟⲭ(ⲟⲥ) ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ ⲛϫⲏⲙⲉ ⲙⲛ
ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲥⲁⲕ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲟⲭ(ⲟⲥ) ⲙⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ [ⲛ]ϫⲏⲙⲉ ⲟⲛ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲓⲥⲁⲕ ⲡϣⲏⲣ[ⲉ ⲛⲉ]ⲛⲱⲭ ⲡⲙⲟⲛⲟⲭ(ⲟⲥ) ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱⲁ[ⲛⲛⲏⲥ] ϯⲥⲧⲟⲓⲭⲉ ⲉⲛⲓϣⲁϫⲉ +

'I, Abraham, the bishop, Isaak gave this testimony before me, while Apa Ioannes, the monk at the topos of Jeme, was present, together with Apa Isaak, likewise a monk at the topos of Jeme. I, Isaak, the son of Enoch, the monk of Apa Ioannes, I assent to these words.'

(Text: W. E. Crum; trans.: G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 John, the Apostle and Evangelist : S00042

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱⲁ[ⲛⲛⲏⲥ] ⲁⲡⲁ ⲓⲱⲁ[ⲛⲛⲏⲥ]

Type of Evidence

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


  • 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

Deir el-Bahari

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

Deir el-Bahari Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery


This ostracon is kept at the British Museum in London, inv. 32811.


Text and translation: Crum, W.E., Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1902), pp. 27 and 56. = O.Crum German translation: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna, 1964), 62–63.

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