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Artefact ID506
TM IDTM 64575
Findspot (DEChriM ID)48   (Madīnat Hābū)
Writing mediumOstracon
Text contentSubliterary

O.Leid. 334; Mertens-Pack 02391; OMRO 45 no. 35  

An ostracon (18 x 14.7 cm) containing a religious or philosophical text written in 1 column of 5 lines.  The text contains hymnic subjects, and is roughly translated as such by the ref. ed.:  

"Nature, creator of pestilential sounds, gave omthon (?) and cries. You, defending me, hear (lacunate: uncertain) my hymn, because I am zealous (lacunate: uncertain)."  

The ostracon might belong to a Christian context, given that text uses the Greek word λοιμός adjectivally, which was "typically Biblical"; see ref. ed. However, this feature does not necessarily place the ostracon in a Christian context, and the content could just as well be hermetic; see Casanova 1988: 97.

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts, Biblical quote or paraphrase
Date from300
Date to499
Dating criteria

Palaeography. Dated to the 4/5 c. by the ed. pr.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

The ostracon was found, and also probably written, in Thebes; see ed. pr.

Accession number

Leiden, National Museum of Antiquities F 1901 / 1.306.


Reference edition:

∙  Bagnall, R. S., P. J. Sijpesteijn and K.A. Worp, eds. 1980. Greek Ostraka: a Catalogue of the Greek Ostraka in the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden. Zutphen. Ostracon no. 334 and plate no. 5.

Editio princeps:

∙ Sijpesteijn, Pieter J. 1964. Oudheidkundige Mededelingen uit het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden te Leiden (OMRO) 45. 56, ostracon no. 23.

Additional bibliography:

∙ Casanova, Gerardo. 1988. "Altre Testimonianze Sulla Peste in Egitto: Certezze Ed Ipotesi." Aegyptus 68 (1/2). 97. 

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 506", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,