The Qurra Papyrus - An Instruction Concerning A Claim For Repayment Of A Debt - Egyptian National Library Inv. No. 337, 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: (a) Picture of the papyrus and (b) the content of the papyrus.

[] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.


Ṣafar, 91 AH / December 709 CE - January 710 CE


48.4 cm. x 21.7 cm.

It is a yellowish-brown, fine papyrus. The letter, of which 21 lines are preserved, is written by the clerk Muslim b. Lubnān on recto in black ink. Verso is blank. Diacritical points are entirely wanting. Words are freely divided at the end of a line.

Accession No.

Inv. No. 337.


The translation of the document is:

  1. [In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful]
  2. [From Qurra b. Sharīk]
  3. to Ba[si]l, administrator of [I]shqa[u]h. I
  4. praise God, besides whom there is no
  5. god.
  6. As to the matter in hand. Mark (Morkos) son of [George (Juraij)]
  7. has informed me that he has to demand of a peasant
  8. from among the people of thy district three
  9. and twenty dīnārs and a third of a dīnār
  10. and now he says that the peasant has died
  11. and that he has appropriated his belongings
  12. a peasant from among the people of his village, thus depriving him
  13. (i.e., Mark) of his right. And so when this letter comes unto thee
  14. and if he brings pr[oo]fs of what he has reported
  15. to me, take steps to ascertain who has taken his belongings,
  16. and he shall pay his (i.e., the dead peasant's) debt; and to thy servant must no wrong
  17. be done save that his matter be
  18. otherwise. So write
  19. to me about it, and thou shalt write nothing but
  20. the truth. And peace be upon him who follows the guidance. And Muslim b. Lubnān has written (it) and
  21. al-Ṣalt has copied it in Ṣafar of the year
  22. nine[ty] one.


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, pp. 30-33.

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