A Woman Doing Business
By Jenny Cromwell
A short letter from Antinoopolis (Sheikh Ibada) in central Egypt gives a glimpse into the life of a woman living in a major city sometime around the 7th century CE. Read more here.

An Angry Tax Man
By Jenny Cromwell
Following the Arab conquest of Egypt in 641 CE (or Islamic conquest, it’s frequently referred to as both or either), a new tax was added to the growing list of impositions placed on the country’s population: the poll tax, payable by all non-Muslim adult males. Read more here.

Death Declarations: The Bureaucracy of Death in Roman Egypt
By Jenny Cromwell
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. Read more here.

Nomads, Mercenaries, and Goldmines: Desert Politics in the Ramesside Period
By Julien Cooper
A cliché of Ancient Egyptian geography is that the deserts were empty wastes, possessing nothing but mineral wealth that the Egyptians were free to exploit. But we need to acknowledge that these regions, despite their aridity, were home to various indigenous peoples – nomads who are largely shrouded from the historic record. Read more here.

On a Document Signed by Cleopatra
By Jenny Cromwell
On 23 February 33 BCE, the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII, issued a royal ordinance granting financial privileges to a Roman absentee landlord. These privileges include tax exemptions and protection of his workers and other property from various impositions. Read more here.

Pay After Reading: The Cost of Education in Late Antique Egyptian Villages
By Jenny Cromwell
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? Read more here.

Protecting the Taxpayer, Protecting the Taxman 
By Jenny Cromwell
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 half a gold coin too much. Read more here.

Renting, Tenants, and Landlords in Egypt
By Jenny Cromwell
There are several constants in life. Taxes, prostitution, death, and renting. Whether moving to a new city or new country, you need a place to live and for many this means navigating the vagaries of letting agents, landlords, and contracts. Read more here.

Struggling to Provide
By Jenny Cromwell
In early December, one year in the seventh century, a man called Damianos from the Fayum asked for a cash loan and was given it from another man, Shenoute. Short loan contracts such as this one are pretty common, although the amount and type of details provided vary from case to case. Read more here.

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