Protecting the Tax-Payer, Protecting the Tax Man

On 17 April 731, an Egyptian priest John son of the late Victor wrote a declaration for the state treasury, represented by the Muslim official Rashid. He had paid two gold coins (holokottinosin the document) for his village’s taxes, representing the headman, Peter. However, it turned out that he – and so his village – had paid … More Protecting the Tax-Payer, Protecting the Tax Man

“I could not alleviate her mother’s grief”: On the loss of children

At birth, there was only a 66 per cent chance of celebrating your first birthday: one-third of all new-borns in the ancient world died before reaching that milestone. Once a child reached the age of five, their life-expectancy rose considerably, but the loss of at least one child was something that every parent experienced. While … More “I could not alleviate her mother’s grief”: On the loss of children

Sickness, Treatments, and Medical Books in Late Antique Egyptian Villages

“I greet my Father Athanasios. I spoke to you about the medical book. I often wanted to come south, but looking after here has not allowed me to come south. I wanted to come south, (but) the roads prevented me. Now, please send it to me, either (by) Pmoute or give it to Aaron and … More Sickness, Treatments, and Medical Books in Late Antique Egyptian Villages

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