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E05969: Coptic document from Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt) relating the details of a contract to train and work with a camel for one year, from the feast of *Papnouthios (possibly the founder of a local monastery, S00881) to the same feast the following year; datable around the year 600.

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posted on 18.07.2018, 00:00 by gschenke
O.Crum 221

The Theban document acknowledges the arrangement of a man named Joseph to work with the camel of the presbyter Apa Viktor for the duration of one year, starting from the feast of Apa Papnoute (Papnouthios) to the next.

Lines 7–12 read as follows:

ⲛⲧⲁⲣϩⲱⲃ ⲇⲉ ϩⲓⲱⲱϥ ϫⲓⲛ ⲥⲟⲩ ⲁ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ϣⲁ ⲥⲟⲩ ⲁ̣ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲉⲕⲟⲩⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ

“… and I will work with it from day one of (the feast of) Apa Papnoute until the first day of (the feast of) Apa Papnoute the following year.”

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Paphnoutios of Thebes, founder of a monastery near Ape (?) : S00881

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲡⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ

Type of Evidence

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



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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified


The ostracon is kept at the British Museum in London, BM inv. 33062.


The feast of Apa Papnoute lasted longer than just one day.


Text and translation: Crum, W.E., Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1902), p. 32 and 41. = O.Crum German translation: Till, W.C., Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna, 1964), 58.

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