One-way Tickets to the Netherworld: Mummy Labels and Inscribed Mummy Shrouds

*GUEST POST by Luigi Prada (see his bio here) On 26th April of the 24th year of reign of an unspecified Roman emperor (probably Commodus, which equals the year 184 AD), a modest Egyptian priest named Bes, son of his namesake and a lady called Tadinebhau, died in Pernebwadj, a provincial town in Middle Egypt—then a remote … More One-way Tickets to the Netherworld: Mummy Labels and Inscribed Mummy Shrouds

Pay After Reading: The Cost of Education in Late Antique Egyptian Villages

In the ancient world, education – learning to read and write – wasn’t a right and was accessible by only a small number of people. Only 5–10% of the population was literate. But what does this mean, what constitutes being literate? Does being able to write basic sentences fit the bill, or do you need to be … More Pay After Reading: The Cost of Education in Late Antique Egyptian Villages

“If God saves him from death”: Donation of a boy to a Coptic monastery

On the 29 August 766 CE, a woman named Tachel daughter of Sophia from Luxor (ancient Apê) donated her son Athanasius to a local monastery, the monastery of Apa Phoibammon at Deir el-Bahri. “In this current 5thindiction year, an infant boy was born to me, the woman and free person Tachel, in his seventh month. … More “If God saves him from death”: Donation of a boy to a Coptic monastery

“… like he’s somebody …”: Runaway Slaves in Roman Egypt

At some point during the third century CE, a slave-owner wrote a notice of a runaway enslaved man. The tall, thin Egyptian man in his early thirties – a weaver by trade – had gone missing and a reward was out for his return. The description of him, given by his owners, is particularly unflattering: “[A reward … More “… like he’s somebody …”: Runaway Slaves in Roman Egypt