Warm Hoopoe’s Blood for the Eyes: A Coptic Remedy

Ever suffered from dry eyes? A late Coptic medical text may have the cure for you! Written on a small piece of parchment, probably in the 11th century CE, the remedy requires just two ingredients: the warm blood of a hoopoe and cardamom. “For eyes starting to cry salt: heated hoopoe’s blood and a herb … More Warm Hoopoe’s Blood for the Eyes: A Coptic Remedy

Imperial Decrees, Animal Sacrifices, and Christian Persecution

On 17 June 250 CE, Aurelius Sakis had a certificate drawn up that proved he and his children Aion and Heras had participated in the sacrifice of an animal to pagan gods. Two other men, Aurelius Serenus and Aurelius Hermas witness the declaration, confirming that they had actually witnessed the sacrifice. “To those appointed to … More Imperial Decrees, Animal Sacrifices, and Christian Persecution

“Schoolboy, where have you been going so long?”: The Old Babylonian Student and School

*GUEST POST by Moudhy Al-Rashid (see her bio here) Amid the ruins of Nippur is a house, inspiringly named “House F”, made up of a small courtyard with four rooms. The crumbled remains of benches appear in one room and in the courtyard, where there are also three recessed boxes constructed from mud brick. In … More “Schoolboy, where have you been going so long?”: The Old Babylonian Student and School

What is an Ostracon?

When dealing with ancient texts, the term ostracon refers to pottery sherds and limestone flakes that were reused to write documents. Pottery is by far the more common material used, but some areas show a particular preference for limestone. They are especially well-known from Egypt, but the practice occurs across the ancient world; see, e.g., … More What is an Ostracon?