Ostrakon from the Brethren (?) to John, Pottery fragment with ink inscription, Coptic

Ostrakon from the Brethren (?) to John

Date:
580–640
Geography:
Made in Thebes, Byzantine Egypt
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Pottery fragment with ink inscription
Dimensions:
4 7/16 × 3 3/8 × 1/2 in. (11.2 × 8.5 × 1.2 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1914
Accession Number:
14.1.52
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
Ostraca
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 from the Brethren (?) to John
Be so kind: thou knowest we have besought thy brothership for the solidus (worth) of linen; hitherto thou hast delayed. Be so kind, give all the money unto John, that the man may come and find it ready, lest the brother be troubled.
Give it unto our brother John; from the brethren.
From the Monastery of Epiphanius at 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. 289, p. 230.