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E05988: Coptic ostracon from Jeme (Upper Egypt) with a letter mentioning an institution dedicated to Apa *David (presumably David, Old Testament king of Israel, S00269) and one dedicated to Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080); datable to the 7th/8th century.

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posted on 2018-07-18, 00:00 authored by gschenke
O.Crum 376

The letter is addressed to a 'father' Ioannes reporting on a robbery and mentioning that the victims went to the place of Apa David and then to the place of Apa Phoibammon where they gathered for the eucharist.

Lines 7–11 read as follows:

ⲁⲉⲓϫⲟⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲁⲩϫⲓⲟⲩⲉ ⲉⲣ[ⲟⲛ?] ⲁⲛⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ [ⲇⲁⲩ]ⲉⲓⲇ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲟⲛ ⲁⲛ[ⲃⲱⲕ?] ⲉⲡⲙⲁ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱ[ⲛ] ⲁⲛⲥⲩⲛⲁⲅⲉ

'I reported that we (?) were robbed. We went to the place of Apa David; and then again we [went] to the the place of Apa Phoibammon and we gathered for the service.'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

David, Old Testament king of Israel : S00269 Phoibammon, soldier and martyr of Assiut : S00080

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ [ⲇⲁⲩ]ⲉⲓⲇ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱ[ⲛ]

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)

Jeme Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery


This ostracon is kept at the Museum in Cairo, inv. 8202.


Text and translation: Crum, W.E., Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1902), pp. 66 and 71. = O.Crum

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity