Egyptian fragmentary papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, Roman period, dated to AD 282.
Comprising a Greek text composed of twenty-five lines recording a list of two names of young people of appropriate rank available for recruitment to the priesthood. A record presented by Aurelius Patermouthis, son of Saprion, and Aurelius Kalnümis, son of Petenouphis, the two comarchs of the Cynopolite village Laura, sending the keepers of the archives of the nome (or province)details of two people of priestly descent, one male and one female, who would in time be available for admission to the priesthood:
(i) Aurelius Haroutes, son of Hermanubis son of Harbeus, priest of the temples at Laura of the first rank of Anubis, Leto, and the associated most great gods, to whom had also been consecrated a shrine of the divine Augustus Caesar.
(ii) Itris, daughter of Thatres, priestess of the same temples, dated in the seventh year of the emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus, written on behalf of the comarchs by the scribe Aurelius Antonius “as they were illiterate”(“grâ[mmata]mè eidôt[on]”).Most of 25 lines (8 x3 3/8inches; 205 x 85 mm), verso blank, slightly defective at top.
here is an extraordinary amount of rare information about late Roman religion contained in this record. Although set well within the Christian period of Oxyrhynchus, these are Egyptian temples dedicated jointly to a mixture of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman gods. Priests serving in the temple were of a demonstrable social rank, descended from priests; they could be either male or female, and they were able to marry. The Oxyrhynchus papyri were excavated by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt between 1896 and 1907. They were found at Oxyrhynchus, the capital of the 19thNome and the third-largest city of Hellenistic Upper Egypt.
The fragments come from books and documents of daily life and they provide an insight into society, law, the economy and the literary culture of Egypt from the Ptolemaic through to Roman, Byzantine and Arab periods.
1. Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (Ambrose Swasey Library), Rochester, New York, donated in the early 20th century by the Egyptian Exploration Fund.
2. Sotheby’s, New York, 20 June 2003, lot 94. Private collection, sold Bonhams, London, 28 Nov 2018, lot 205.
3. Private European collection
B.P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, X, 1914, pp.174 6, no. 1256.
Les relations administratives entre le clergé indigène et les autorités en Égypte romaine d’Auguste à Constantin-Carmen Messerer, Université de Strasbourg, 2013.