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

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Last Modified: 25th December 2005

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Figure: (left) Picture of the papyrus and (right) its contents.

[] 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.

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[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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