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E05999: Coptic ostracon from the region of Jeme (Upper Egypt) with an oath sworn in the shrine of an *unnamed saint (saints unnamed, S00518), testifying by the power of the shrine (topos) and in the presence of a village official to settle a financial dispute; datable to the 7th century.

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posted on 2018-07-18, 00:00 authored by gschenke
O.Crum ad. 42

To settle a financial dispute, a man named Kale seems to have been asked by a man named Joseph to testify before a village official and in the presence of a saint and his power, that money had been sent to his father, which apparently was never received.
The fact that this oath was sworn in a holy place gives the testimony more validity, especially in the face of the saints' punishing powers when a false oath was sworn.

The text reads as follows:

+ ϣⲉ ⲡⲓⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ϣⲉ ⲧⲉϥϭⲟⲙ ϯⲥⲟⲟⲩⲛ ϩⲛ ⲟⲩⲱⲣϫ ϫⲉ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲁⲕⲟⲥ ⲧⲛⲛⲟⲟⲩ ⲇⲁⲛⲓⲏⲗ ⲡⲉϥϫⲁⲓⲃⲉⲕⲏ ⲉϩⲣⲁⲓ ⲛⲁ ⲡⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲓⲱⲥⲏⲫ
ⲉϥϯ ⲧⲡⲁϣⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲗⲟⲕ(ⲟⲧⲧⲓⲛⲟⲥ) ⲛⲁϥ ⲉϥⲧⲛⲟⲟⲩϥ ϩⲁ ⲛⲁⲣϣⲓⲛ
ⲉⲓⲥ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲁⲛⲁϣ ⲛⲧⲁ ⲕⲁⲗⲏ ⲟⲣⲕϥ ⲛⲁ ⲓⲱⲥⲏⲫ ϩⲁ ⲧⲡⲁϣⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲗⲟⲕ(ⲟⲧⲧⲓⲛⲟⲥ) ⲛⲡⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲓⲱⲥⲏⲫ ⲛⲁϩⲣⲛ ⲕⲟⲗⲗⲟⲩⲑⲟⲥ ⲡⲗⲁϣⲁⲛⲉ
ⲭⲟⲓⲁⲕ ⲓⲉ ⲓⲛⲇⲓⲕ(ⲧⲓ)ⲟ(ⲛⲟⲥ) ⲓⲉ

'By this topos! By its power! I know with certainty that Kyriakos sent Daniel, his hired help, down to the father of Joseph, so that he would give him the half solidus, and so that he would send him concerning the lentils.
This is the oath which Kale has sworn for Joseph with respect to the half solidus for the father of Joseph, in the presence of Kollouthos, the lashane, 15 Choiak, of indiction 15 (?).'

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Saints, unnamed : S00518

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Other private document 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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



Text and translation: Crum, W.E., Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1902), pp. 28 and 96. = O.Crum German translation: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna, 1964), 72.

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