P. Berol. 15002 - One Of The Earliest Arabic Papyri, 22 AH / 642-643 CE

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First Composed: 29th November 2005

Last Modified: 3rd May 2020

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Papyrus Berol. 15002: (a) recto and (b) the transcription. [] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.


22 AH / 642-643 CE.[1-3]

Accession No.

P. Berol. 15002


12 cm x 5 cm


The translation of the document is given below.

  1. []
  2. [d]īnar and half a d[ī]nar (in the form of counted) []
  3. [... in the] year twenty-two.


This papyrus fragment of Arabic was originally considered a tax demand requesting one and a half dinars for the year's taxes. Recently, however, based on similarities with other early documents, it has been recategorised as an acknowledgement of debt.[4] This is one of three earliest Arabic papyri; the other ones being P. Vindob. Inv. A. P. 519 and PERF No. 558.

Very much like PERF No. 558, P. Berol. 15002 also shows dotting. Dots can be seen on the letter ن. Other papyri from 22 AH / 643 CE are PERF 555, PERF 556, PERF 557 and PERF 558.


Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.

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[1] A. Grohmann, "Aperçu De Papyrologie Arabe", Études De Papyrologie, 1932, Tome Premier, p. 44.

[2] A. Grohmann, I Arabische Chronologie. II Arabische Papyruskunde, 1966, Handbuch Der Orientalistik, E. J. Brill: Leiden/Köln, Plate II:2.

[3] W. Diem, "Philologisches Zu Den Arabischen Aphrodito Papyri", Der Islam, 1984, Volume 61, p. 272.

[4] M. Tillier & N. Vanthieghem, "Recording Debts In Sufyānid Fusṭāṭ: A Reexamination Of The Procedures And Calendar In Use In The First/Seventh Century", in J. Tolan (Ed.), Geneses: A Comparative Study Of The Historiographies Of The Rise Of Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism And Islam, 2019, Routledge: London, pp. 148-149 & 155-156.

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