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E05703: Coptic document from Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt) recording an oath sworn to saint Apa *Phoibammon (soldier and martyr of Assiut, S00080) to settle a dispute concerning financial matters; datable to the 7th/8th century.

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posted on 12.06.2018, 00:00 by gschenke
O.CrumST 111

The documented oath is written on an ostracon and concerns the payment of two coins and an explanation on how they were spent. This oath is sworn to a man named Samuel presumably to settle a financial dispute and most likely was uttered at the shrine dedicated to Apa Phoibammon on the mountain of Jeme.

The beginning of the document reads as follows:

⳨ ϣⲉ ⲧⲇⲩⲛⲁⲙⲓⲥ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲱ̣ⲛ ⲛϥⲡⲁⲣⲁⲇⲓⲅⲙⲁⲧⲓⲍⲉ ⲙⲙⲟϥ ϩⲣⲁⲓ ϩⲙ ⲡⲁⲓⲥⲛⲁⲩ ⲛϩⲟⲗⲟⲕ(ⲟ)ⲧ(ⲧⲓⲛⲟⲥ) ⲛⲧⲁ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣ(ⲓⲟⲥ) ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓ̣ⲕ̣ⲧ̣ⲱ̣ⲣ ⲧⲁⲁⲩ ⲛⲁ ⲁⲓϯ ⲡⲟⲩⲁ ⲉⲡⲇⲏⲙⲟⲥⲓⲟⲛ

‘By the power of saint Apa Phoibammon and he makes an example of it.
With these two coins which the blessed Apa Biktor has given me, I have paid one for the demosion tax …’

Lines 11–12 at the end of the document read as follows:

ⲡⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲁⲛⲁϣ ⲛⲧⲁⲛ̣ …… ⲟ̣ⲣⲕϥ ⲛⲥⲁⲙⲟⲩⲏⲗ

‘This is the oath which … (personal name) has sworn for Samuel.’

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Phoibammon, soldier and martyr of Assiut : S00080

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲙⲱ̣ⲛ

Type of Evidence

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



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

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs



The ostracon R 1780–10546 is kept at the Musée du Louvre in Paris.


Text: Crum, W.E., Short Texts from Coptic Ostraca and Papyri (Oxford, 1921), 31. German Translation: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna, 1964), 225.

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