The Qurra Papyrus - Concerning Arrears Of Taxes - Egyptian National Library Inv. No. 338, 90-91 AH / 709-710 CE

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First Composed: 9th September 2000

Last Modified: 25th December 2005

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

[] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna


90-91 AH / 709-710 CE.


72.3 cm. x 20.7 cm.

It is a light brown, partially dark coloured, fine papyrus. The letter is written in black ink on recto, verso is blank; diacritical points are but sparingly added, which in line 2 are in the form of small slanting lines, are but sparsely added. The heading is lost. With the exception of some gaps the letter is well preserved.

Accession No.

Inv. No. 338.


The translation of the document is:

  1. [In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful]

  2. [From Qurra b. Sharīik to Basil, administrator]

  3. [of Ishqauh. I praise God, besides whom]

  4. [there is no God]

  5. As to the matter in hand: Verily thou knowest already

  6. what I have written to thee

  7. about gathering in the (tax) money and (about that) which

  8. is impending in respect to allowance to the troops

  9. and their families and to the sending off of men to the campaign.

  10. Now, when this letter of mine

  11. comes to thee, set thyself to collect

  12. the money; for, indeed the country folk

  13. have been uneasy for months. Then

  14. hasten to send me what has been gathered in

  15. of the (tax) money in thy part,

  16. remittance upon remittance, and

  17. I do not wish to learn that thou hast withheld from us whatsoever

  18. is due from thee. The country folk

  19. have already finished the tilling and know what is due from them

  20. and their surplus (of corn) is suitable

  21. for sale in so far as they wish (to sell) thereof.

  22. Now send with all speed what has been gathered in

  23. of the (tax) money in your part. For, indeed,

  24. if the money has already

  25. come to me, I should already have ordered ,

  26. God willing, that the troops be paid their allowance.

  27. But thou shouldest not be the last of the

  28. administrators in respect to the sending of whatsoever is due from him

  29. and I do not wish to have to reproach thee about

  30. that. And peace be upon

  31. him who follows the guidance.

  32. And Yazīd has written it on Fri-

  33. day.


Egyptian National Library, Cairo, Egypt.


[1] A. Grohmann, Arabic Papyri In The Egyptian Library, Volume III (Administrative Texts), 1938, Egyptian Library Press: Cairo, Plate I, pp. 11-15.

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