Besides papyri and other materials, in Egypt inscribed potsherds (ostraca) were used as a writing support and hosted a variety of texts, which contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the ancient world.
This fragment contains a receipt issued through an intermediary by the supervisors of the Sacred Gate of Syene, now Aswan, in Upper Egypt. They acknowledge that a certain Hatpechnoubis, also called Ammonius, has paid a pasture tax of eight drachmas for his six sheep. Sheep played an important role in the economy of the country and in the wool industry. Owners of sheep had to pay a tax to obtain a licence for grazing their animals throughout the district.
At the end of the text, a date is included that mentions the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (r. 138–161). The exact year is not preserved, but the text may be dated to 150 or 160.
- Article by:
- Matthew Nicholls
- Papyri, Scholarship, The makers of Greek manuscripts
How were books stored and accessed in the ancient world? Matthew Nicholls explores what the surviving evidence of ancient books can tell us about libraries in antiquity.