Ancient Same Sex Love Spells

Jennifer Cromwell Magic in the ancient world provided one means to help people deal with what life threw at them, whether health, money, or love, among the whole gambit of human day-to-day experiences. In some cases, spells were written for certain people, with the object of the spell as well as the spell’s user namedContinue reading “Ancient Same Sex Love Spells”

Jesus Christ before me, Iao Sabaoth Adonai behind me: A Prayer for Good Luck and Protection

Ágnes Mihálykó What would you ask from God in a morning prayer? Success for your business? No fights with your husband/wife/children/boss? Or, quite simply having God in front of you, behind you, by your left and by your right, to guide you and protect you throughout the day? A Christian by the name of Besodoros,Continue reading “Jesus Christ before me, Iao Sabaoth Adonai behind me: A Prayer for Good Luck and Protection”

Struggling to Provide

Jennifer 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. WhatContinue reading “Struggling to Provide”

A Coptic Mother-in-Law’s Curse

Ágnes Mihálykó Adam and Eve were the luckiest couple in the world: neither of them had a mother-in-law! Many of us would heartily agree with this joke – not just in our times, but also in antiquity. Yet, among the many harpies of mother-in-laws, few are as mean as the unnamed Coptic woman who castContinue reading “A Coptic Mother-in-Law’s Curse”

Sickness, Treatments, and Medical Books in Late Antique Egyptian Villages

Jennifer Cromwell “I greet my Father Athanasios. I spoke to you about the medical book. I often wanted to come south, but looking after here has not allowed me to come south. I wanted to come south, (but) the roads prevented me. Now, please send it to me, either (by) Pmoute or give it toContinue reading “Sickness, Treatments, and Medical Books in Late Antique Egyptian Villages”

The Governor’s Orders

Eline Scheerlinck *This blog post was originally posted on the website of the European Research Council project, “Embedding Conquest”, and was reposted on the Leiden Islam Blog. With many thanks to the author and the original hosts for allowing the story to be reposted here. Have you ever wondered what the Arab conquests of Egypt meantContinue reading “The Governor’s Orders”

Pay After Reading: The Cost of Education in Late Antique Egyptian Villages

Jennifer 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? Does being able to write basic sentences fit the bill, or do you needContinue reading “Pay After Reading: The Cost of Education in Late Antique Egyptian Villages”

“If God saves him from death”: Donation of a boy to a Coptic monastery

Jennifer Cromwell On the 29 August 766 CE, a woman named Tachel daughter of Sophia from Luxor (ancient Apê) donated her son Athanasius to a local monastery, the monastery of Apa Phoibammon at Deir el-Bahri. “In this current 5th indiction year, an infant boy was born to me, the woman and free person Tachel, inContinue reading ““If God saves him from death”: Donation of a boy to a Coptic monastery”

Camel, O Camel: On Camels in Ancient Egypt

Jennifer Cromwell I recently bought my first ever Playmobil set: Egyptian Warrior with Camel. It’s only taken me thirty odd years. But I can’t resist a camel. And this kit evokes one of the key images that comes to mind when we think of ancient Egypt: the quintessential image of camels in front of theContinue reading “Camel, O Camel: On Camels in Ancient Egypt”