Baby Exposed, Baby Snatched, Roman Egypt-Style

Katherine Blouin Babies being abandoned by or snatched from their family is, sadly, not a recent phenomenon. One papyrus from 1st-century CE Oxyrhynchus offers a glimpse into how these scenarios were legally dealt with when Egypt was ruled by the Romans. The document contains extracts from the court proceedings of Tiberius Claudius Pasion, who wasContinue reading “Baby Exposed, Baby Snatched, Roman Egypt-Style”

Bee Stories

Jennifer Cromwell In honour of World Bee Day: 17 August Whether it was for consumption, offerings to the gods, or for healing wounds, honey was important in ancient Egypt and so were bees. The honey bee is one of the earliest known hieroglyphs and was a symbol of kingship itself – together with the sedge sign,Continue reading “Bee Stories”

Potential Paternity Problem

Jennifer Cromwell Where in the ancient world could you turn when you had a serious family scandal to talk about? Well, in western Thebes in the early 7th century, one option was to write to local church figures. A papyrus preserves a letter from a man, seeking advice about another man’s paternity problem. The beginningContinue reading “Potential Paternity Problem”

A Harvester’s Plea

Gareth Wearne What legal rights did a farm labourer have in ancient Israel? A rare glimpse is offered by an ostracon (inscribed pot-sherd), which was discovered in 1960 in the guardroom of a small Iron Age fortress, approximately 17 km south of Tel Aviv. The ostracon contains a judicial petition from a harvester to theContinue reading “A Harvester’s Plea”