In my 2016 book on amulets, I analyzed an incomplete parchment codex folio with Greek text from the Gospel of Matthew (6:4-6, 8-12). The manuscript is housed at Columbia University and was published as P.Col. 11.293. I echoed an earlier claim that this fragment was likely deliberately torn or cut from a continuous-text codex and used secondarily as an amulet for the text it contained (portions of the Lord's Prayer). Consequently, I argued (p. 103) that this manuscript should be listed in the Kurzgefasste Liste:
"Since this fragment was likely originally part of a continuous codex of at least the Gospel of Matthew and used only secondarily as an amulet, there is no reason why it should not be classified and added to the official list of New Testament manuscripts. As we shall see below, P.Oxy. 64.4406 (no. 15) is similar in that that fragment was also probably from a continuous codex and used secondarily as an amulet. (Yet, ironically, P.Oxy. 64.4406 has a place in the list under the GA number P105.) Thus, we have here a parchment manuscript that should be added to the majuscule category (e.g. 0xxx)."
Gregory Paulson at the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) reached out to me earlier this month indicating that this argument "makes perfect sense." I can now report that the INTF has listed P.Col. 11.293 as a majuscule manuscript in the GA system with the next available majuscule number, 0324. It is viewable in the online Liste here and at the Papyrological Navigator here.
Thanks to Gregory Paulson and the others at INTF for engaging with my work.
Entertainment of all sorts was common in antiquity, just as it is today. There was dancing, music, games, gambling, and so on. What is so interesting is that we have surviving records of ancient contracts for social entertainers. I have previously drawn attention to an interesting papyrus letter from the third century B.C.E. in which a person requested all sorts all musical instruments, an “effeminate dancer,” and some delicacies for a festival.
In another Egyptian document dated to the second century C.E., we find a contract for flute players who will play in a village for 8 days. I have included an English translation of the document below; an image of the actual papyrus document is at the top of this post.
“Silvanos, son of Ammonios, Hermopolite, business manager,
to Ploution son of Tapous and Dioskoros
son of Hadrianos, both from Alabastrine,
greeting. I have agreed with
you for me to perform on the flute, together
with my entire company, in the aforesaid village
for 8 days from the 24th
of the next month Epeiph, for a wage
for each day of ... drachmas of silver...”
The reference to an “entire company” means that a group of entertainers, likely also musicians, would be coming along as per the agreement of the contract. The daily wage would have been listed on the line following “drachmas of silver,” but the papyrus breaks off at this point.
There is an insightful article here, which contextualizes music and dance in ancient Egypt. It is very obvious how engrained music was within ancient cultures and the significance that ancient people attributed to it vis-à-vis religion and society.
Source of image and translation: http://papyri.info/ddbdp/p.col;8;226
Since today is December 30, I thought I would draw attention to something that happened in Roman Egypt on this day nearly 2,000 years ago.
P.Col. 10.254 is an interesting 2nd century papyrus document from Egypt (picture of actual document to the left). The document is an official deed of a sale. In it, we meet Herakleia who purchases a female slave named Berenike. Since Herakleia is herself a woman, this raises questions about women's property in Egypt. How much property could women possess? Was it normal for women to buy slaves? Did women purchase slaves for themselves or on behalf of men? In her article "Women as Property Owners in Roman Egypt" (TAPA 113, 1983: 311-321), Deborah Hobson demonstrated, from her analysis of documentary papyri, that women often owned a good deal of property. Usually, property was kept in the family and women and men were recipients of family property, even though men were the usual recipients of real estate (there are several exceptions). P.Col. 10.254 (text reproduced below) is not unique. There are indeed other papyri that mention women as purchasers of slaves (e.g., BGU 11.2111, P.Col. 8.219, P.Oxy. 1.73). So, we know that women could purchase slaves.
But, what P.Col. 10.254 and other similar papyri reveal is that women had access to full participation in the economy of Roman Egypt. Herakleia visited the appropriate financial office in person and the transaction was made in her name without any objection. In other words, there seems to have been no social stigma attached to Herakleia's purchase of her own property. The text indicates that Herakleia could "dispose" (i.e., sell, transfer) of Berenike "in whatever way she chooses," underscoring her rights to her property. As the editor maintains, "this is clearly a case of a woman acting independently of men in her own financial interests" (P.Col. 10.254, p. 25). Documentary papyri thus reflect ancient social realities and deepen our knowledge of all sorts of human activity in Egypt, from transportation, business, death, marriage, divorce, and so on.
Notice in the image at the top of this blog post, in a second hand, the subscription of Petechon, from whom Herakleia purchased Berenike. This is an example of a "slow writer," someone who could write their name and a few practiced lines but nothing more. The deed itself was probably written by a private clerk.
For those of you just dying to get your hands on a stocking stuffer for that special loved one, you might be pleased to know that you can get the paperback version of my book for just $27.96, which is at a 30% discounted rate at the moment - a whopping $11.98 in savings! Look at that: I just saved someone a lot of mental work with this suggestion! Order here!!