Kittens for Bastet

*Co-written with Luigi Prada; read his bio here. On 20th April, either 202 or 178 BCE, an embalmer named Onnophris wrote to Machatas, an official (epistates) in the village of Tanis in the Fayum semi-oasis, concerning kittens he had donated to the cat-goddess Bastet (also known by her Greek name of Boubastis), or at least … More Kittens for Bastet

Death Declarations: The Bureaucracy of Death in Roman Egypt

In year 7 of the reign of Emperor Claudius, a widow Tapapeis daughter of Pasis submitted a declaration of the death of her husband Abeis son of Horos. In accordance with Roman law, she acts with a male guardian, her relative Adrastos. “To the royal secretary Hermaios from Tapapeis, daughter of Pasis, acting with her … More Death Declarations: The Bureaucracy of Death in Roman Egypt

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

“… 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