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Artefact ID1232
TM IDTM 81595
Findspot (DEChriM ID)16   (Biʾr Naqāṭ)
Writing mediumInscription
Text contentSubliterary

I.Pan du désert 27; SEG XLIX 1488 [27] descr.: Stela of Flavius Iulius

Granite slab damaged on all sides; original dimensions: 50 x 30 x 22.5 cm. The text was engraved inside a tabula ansata.

The text reads: Flavius Iulius, the very distinguished governor of Thebaid, was the one who built here a katholike church; at the time when Hatres was bishop of Maximianopolis.

The church of Biʾr Naqāṭ, where the document was found, was in activity at the same period as the nearby Melitian church of Ǧabal Abū Duḫān (I.Pan du désert 28).

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Archaeological context associated with Christian markers
Date from325
Date to339
Dating criteria

According to Łajtar and Wipszycka, Flavius Iulius, praeses of Thebaid, is likely to be the same person as Flavius Iulius Ausonius who is known from papyri to have been the first governor of the province of Augustamnica in 341/342. He would have been praeses of Thebaid before he became praeses of Augustamnica, since the latter was a position of higher rank. Moreover, a bishop of Maximianopolis named Hatres is known from literary sources, between 325 (other bishop attested for Maximianopolis) and 339, when he died and was replaced by another bishop. The diocese, Melitian in 325, was Athanasian under and after Hatres. More details in Łajtar and Wipszycka 1994: 72-74.

Absolute/relative dateAbsolute date
Archaeological context

The inscribed slab was found by John G. Wilkinson in 1823 outside the porticoed church building located by the dry stream above Biʾr Naqāṭ. Wilkinson saw it one more time two years later, in 1825 (Wilkinson 1832, 49). It was sighted again by Leo A. Tregenza in 1949 (Tregenza 1949, 147). In November of the same year, the inscription was removed by George W. Murray, who brought it to Luxor and handed it for safe keeping to the Egyptian authorities (Murray 1951, 112).

Accession number

The storage location of the slab is unknown


Reference edition

Łajtar, Adam and Wipszycka, Ewa. 1994. Deux ΚΑΘΟΛΙΚΑΙ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΙ dans le Mons Prophyrites. Journal of Juristic Papyrology 24, 71-85.

Previous publications

• Bernand, André. 1977. Pan du désert. Leiden, no. 27.

• Meredith, David. 1953. Eastern Desert of Egypt: Notes on Inscriptions. Chronique dʼÉgypte 28, 126-141, no. 4 (p. 131-133).

• Tregenza, L. A. 1949. "Notes on the Inscriptions and Graffiti at Mons Claudianus and Mons Prophyrites and on the 'Flavius' Stone in Wadi Qattar, collected during a visit to the S.E. desert in the summer of 1949", Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Fouad I University XI, 2, 146-150.

Wilkinson, J. 1832. Notes on a Part of the Eastern Desert of Upper Egypt.” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 2: 28-60.

Additional bibliography

• Bingen, Jean. 1996. Bulletin épigraphique. Égypte et Nubie. Revue des études grecques 109/2: 659-660 (no. 534).

• Drescher, James. 1951. “Appendix I.” In Murray, G. W. 1951. “The Christian Settlement at Qattâr.” Bulletin de la Société royale de géographie d’Égypte 24: 113-114.

Ghica, Victor. 2016. “Vecteurs de la christianisation de l’Égypte au ive siècle à la lumière de l’archéologie.” In Acta XVI congressus internationalis archaeologiae christianae Romae (22-28.9.2013). Costantino e i Costantinidi: l’innovazione costantiniana, le sue radici e i suoi sviluppi, Studi di antichità cristiana 66, edited by O. Brandt, G. Castiglia and V. Fiocchi Nicolai, Vol. I, Città del Vaticano: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 246-247.

• Martin, A. 1996. Athanase d’Alexandrie et l’Église d’Égypte au IVe siècle (328-373), Rome: École française de Rome, 740-743.

• Murray, G. W. 1951. “The Christian Settlement at Qattâr.” Bulletin de la Société royale de géographie d’Égypte 24: 107-114.

• Pleket, H.W., Stroud, R.S. and Strubbe, J.H.M. 1994. “SEG 44-1488. Mons Porphyrites. Building inscriptions concerning καθολικαὶ ἐκκλησίαι, 325-339 / 4th cent. A.D.” In Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Current editors: A. T. E. N. Chaniotis Corsten Stavrianopolou Papazarkadas. Consulted online on 23 June 2021.

• Rémondon, Roger. 1972. L’Église dans la société égyptienne à l’époque byzantine. Chronique dʼÉgypte 47: 256-257.

Tregenza, L. A. 1949. Notes on Inscriptions and Graffiti at Mons Claudianus and Mons Porphyrites and on the ‘Flavius’ Stone in Wadi Qattar, Collected During a Visit to the S.E. Desert in the Summer of 1949.” Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Fuad I University 11, 2: 139-150.

• Wipszycka, Ewa. 1972. Les ressources et les activités économiques des églises en Egypte, du IVe auVIIIe siècle. Brussels, 25-26; 108.

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Suggested citation
"Artefact ID 1232", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,
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