Exhibitions/ Art Object

Ostrakon with a Troparion (Early Hymn)

Date:
580–640
Geography:
Made in Byzantine Egypt
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Pottery fragment with ink inscription
Dimensions:
Overall: 6 3/4 x 10 11/16 in. (17.1 x 27.2 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1914
Accession Number:
14.1.198
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
Ostraca are texts written on broken pottery, which were employed when parchment was unavailable or too expensive. At Epiphanius a large number of ostraca were discovered in the monastery, including in its rubbish heaps; they record biblical verses, legal documents, sermons, financial accounts, school texts, and letters requesting assistance and prayers. Some reveal that, even at the southernmost border of the Empire, people were still aware of events in the capital, Constantinople.

Ostracon with a Troparion (Early Hymn)
+Mary the Mother of God, the ever virgin, has borne for us today Emmanuel, both God and Man. “Lo the virgin shall conceive and bear us a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us.” Him did an archangel suddenly announce; Him did a virgin’s womb conceive without intercourse. A virgin conceived, a virgin was with child, a virgin was in travail, a virgin brought forth, and remained a virgin; before bearing, virgin, and in bearing, virgin, and after bearing, virgin+
Sleeping-mat of Cell A at the Monastery of Epiphanius, Thebes. Museum excavations, 1913–14. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1914.
Crum, W. E., and H. G. Evelyn-White. The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes. Vol. II. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1926. no. 125, 584, 600, pp. 184, 302-305, 316 pl. VIII, IX, XIV.

Gampel, Alan. "Papyrological Evidence of Musical Notation from the 6th to the 8th Centuries." Musica Disciplina 57 (2012). pp. 16–17, fig. 6.

Gampel, Alan. "The Origins of Musical Notation in the Abrahamic Religious Traditions." In Age of Transition: Byzantine Culture in the Islamic World, edited by Helen C. Evans. New York: Yale University Press, 2015. p. 151, fig. 5.



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