The Qurra Papyrus - Oriental Institute No. 13755, 91 AH / 709 CE

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First Composed: 3rd December 2005

Last Modified: 5th 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.


Muḥarram, 91 AH / November 9 - December 8, 709 CE.


46 cm x 21.6 cm. Medium brown, very fine papyrus. The beginning is broken off and missing; part of the upper left section is also lost; the right margin is clipped at the "fold" but the writing is not much affected.

The seal at the end is of dark clay, partly broken off, with no writing, but with an evidence of a small animal figure.

Accession No.

Oriental Institute No. 13755.


The translation of the text is:

  1. Praise (be)! The irrigation by the
  2. Nile this year has been even with the best
  3. irrigation ever. Therefore, I hope that
  4. this year will be, God
  5. willing, a blessed year. Hence order the people of
  6. your land to undertake cultivation and urge them zealously
  7. and secure a contract from them to that effect. Then send out
  8. for this purpose one who will carry out your order concerning it, and do not entrust
  9. this to such as will hinder you from (carrying) it (out). For
  10. when the land is cultivated, it prospers,
  11. God causing it to bring forth its due
  12. yield. Satisfy me in this, and I will not
  13. blame you in the matter. For cultivation
  14. by the people of the land is their chief duty,
  15. after their duty to God, and (constitutes) their prosperity and
  16. their welfare.
  17. Peace be with those who follow the guidance.
  18. Written by Basil in Muḥarram
  19. of the year one and ninety.



Oriental Institute, Chicago.

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[1] N. Abbott, The Kurrah Papyri From Aphrodito In The Oriental Institute, 1938, Studies In Ancient Oriental Civilization: No. 15, The University of Chicago Press: Chicago (IL), pp. 45-47, Plate II.

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