A Brief Account of Marriage

Marriage in Egyptian villages was a pretty informal affair. Few legal documents were written concerning marriage, and few texts discuss particulars – unless something goes wrong. The most important aspect of marriage was cohabitation. Early periods of Egyptian history refer to the entering and leaving of houses, while Coptic texts typically refer to spouses ‘sitting’ together. … More A Brief Account of Marriage

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

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

“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