Coptic Texts On Behalf Of ʿAmr Ibn al-ʿĀṣ (d. 43 AH / 663 CE) In Pap. BM 1079
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First Composed: 20th January 2007
Last Modified: 29th January 2007
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
Figure: (a) Picture of the papyrus and (b) its contents.
The papyrus is dated to the death of ʿAmr Ibn al-ʿĀṣ, d. 43 AH / 663 CE.
Pap. BM 1079.
The contents of the two Coptic texts are:
I, Philotheos the ape (village headman, protokometes), son of the late Houri, the man from Tjinela, swear by God Almighty and the well-being of ʿAmr not to have left out any man in our whole village from fourteen years (up) but to have accounted for him to your lordship. I, Ioustos, the komogrammateus (village scribe), swear by God Almighty and the well-being of ʿAmr not to have left out any man in our whole village but to have accounted for him to your lordship.
I, Philotheos, together with Esaias, the apes, and together with Apater the priest, the men from the village of Tjinela, we write, swearing by the name of God and the well-being of ʿAmr not to have left out any man in our village from fourteen years on; if you produce any we have left behind we will put them in our house. Sign of Philotheos the protokometes, he agrees. Sign of Esaias, he agrees. Apater, the humble priest, I agree.
The Coptic text is in a sloping and almost ligatureless hand. The size of the manuscript is 10¾ x 8¾ inches.
Although not an Arabic papyrus, it gives a snap-shot of dealings between the Christians and early Islamic administration. The texts show that the Muslim governor's authority reaching right down to the lower rungs of rural Egyptian society even at this early date. It also suggests that censuses were carried out, presumably for purposes of collection of the poll-tax (i.e., jizya) and/or requisition of labour.
As to the identification of the person "ʿAmr" in the texts, Crum considered it to be ʿAmr Ibn al-ʿĀṣ whereas MacCoull suggested that it could be ʿAmr b. Saʿīd, military commander of c. 700 CE. However, Hoyland has pointed out recently that a large number of papyri were issued by or on behalf of ʿAmr Ibn al-ʿĀṣ, and more have recently been located among the Strasbourg collection and are being edited by J. Gascou and R-L. Chang. Therefore, he considers this to be from the time of ʿAmr Ibn al-ʿĀṣ.
British Museum, London.
 W. E. Crum, Catalogue Of The Coptic Manuscripts In The British Museum, 1905, British Museum: London (UK), pp. 453-454, Plate II.
 L. S. B. MacCoull, "BM 1079, CPR IX 44 And The Chrysargon", Zeitschrift Für Papyrologie Und Epigraphik, 1994, Volume 100, pp. 141-142.
 R. Hoyland, "New Documentary Texts And The Early Islamic State", Bulletin Of The School Of Oriental And African Studies, 2006, Volume 69, pp. 411-412.
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