Baby Exposed, Baby Snatched, Roman Egypt-Style

*GUEST POST by Katherine Blouin (see her bio here)   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. Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge … More Baby Exposed, Baby Snatched, Roman Egypt-Style

Bee Stories

In honour of National Insect Week: 18–24 June 2018. ‘King of Lower and Upper Egypt’; Karnak 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 … More Bee Stories

A Harvester’s Plea

*GUEST POST by Gareth Wearne (see his bio here) 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 … More A Harvester’s Plea

An Angry Tax Man

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. For over two centuries after the conquest, the majority of … More An Angry Tax Man