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

Facing the Dead? Framing Mummy Panels from Hawara

*Guest post by Campbell Price; see his bio here. Among the most popular objects in many museum archaeology displays, the lifelike mummy panel portraits from Graeco-Roman Egypt hold a special place in the history of representing the human face. Manchester Museum’s first international touring exhibition, ‘Golden Mummies of Egypt’, offers a chance to re-examine the … More Facing the Dead? Framing Mummy Panels from Hawara

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

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

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