The Qurra Papyrus - An Admonition Addressed To Basil About His Duties & Instruction To Come To Headquarters - Egyptian National Library Inv. No. 341, 91 AH / 710 CE
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First Composed: 9th September 2000
Last Modified: 3rd January 2006
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
Figure: (left) Picture of the papyrus and (right) its contents.
 encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.
Shawwāl, 91 AH / August 710 CE.
74.7 cm. x 21.1 cm.
It is a light brown, fine papyrus. The letter is written by a scribe called ʿUmair in black ink on recto, verso is blank; diacritical points are but sparingly added. Words are freely divided at the end of a line. Three selis-joints are visible. On the folded margin, below the text, a clay seal was originally affixed which unfortunately has disappeared.
Inv. No. 341.
The translation of the document is:
-  what has been brought together
- of these articles. But verily
- if I find with thee what I should like to find respecting re-
- gular remittance and satisfactory consignment, I shall do good unto thee
- and do thee favour and strengthen
- for thee thy business and thy administration, and I ho-
- pe, God willing, that it may be so.
- But if I find thy administration otherwise, then
- - as the man is only rewarded acoording to his works - blame
- only thyself. Do not remain in arrears after (the date) which
- I have named, and I do not wish to learn
- of thy insufficiency or unpunctuality nor that thou comest
- to me leaving any part of the (tax-) money behind.
- For indeed, by God, nobody acts thus
- without learning when he comes to me that
- what he has done is wrong, and faulty the discharge of his official duties, and I should not
- wish that anybody should see in thy administration
- anything of which he disapproves, any insufficiency, withholding
- or annulling. For when I sent thee
- to thy post, it was with the expectation
- that thou shouldest show trustworthiness,
- efficiency and promptness in thy office. Mayest thou then be near to
- the good opinion, I would fain hold of thee. By God,
- if thou actest well and honestly and art trustworthy
- and estimable, then I should prefer that, and it would please me more
- than if thou wert otherwise.
- Do not burden thyself with ignominy nor corrupt thy administration,
- and ask God's aid; for if anyone really
- cares for the well-being (of affairs) and show trustworthiness,
- God will also help him and further his work.
- Then present thyself to me with any (account) book
- about which thou thinkest I might question thee respecting the administrative sphere
- of thy country and of its clerks. And peace be upon
- him who follows the guidance. And ʿUmair has written (it)
- in Shawwāl of the year ninety one.
Egyptian National Library, Cairo, Egypt.
 Adolf Grohmann, Arabic Papyri In The Egyptian Library, Volume III (Administrative Texts), 1938, Egyptian Library Press: Cairo, No. 146, Plate I, pp. 3-7.
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