Anne Boud’hors

Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (Paris), France
Completing the Figure of Papas, Pagarch of Edfou at the End of the 7th Century: the Contribution of the Coptic Documents

In his article “Egypt under Mucāwiya, Part I: Flavius Papas and Upper Egypt”, Bulletin of SOAS 72.1 (2009), Clive Foss has provided a vivid picture of Papas, pagarch of Apollonos Ano/Edfou thirty years after the Arab conquest. His study is based on Roger Rémondon’s edition in 1953 of the P.Apoll., namely the Greek documents from Papas’ archive (found in the famous “jar of Edfu” in 1922), as well as on the article by J. Gascou and K. Worp (1982), who convincingly propose to date the archive around the 670s. The edition of the Coptic side of the archive, still unpublished except for some description and comments by L. MacCoull (1988), is currently in preparation by an international team directed by Alain Delattre. Rémondon had assumed that the Coptic texts were on private nature. However, as MacCoull had already emphasized, their nature and function is more complicated. I hope to be able to show how and to what extent they complete the figure of Papas.


Alon Dar

Ben Gurion University (Beer-Sheva), Israel
The Eye of the Viceroy: Change and Continuity in the Conquest of Egypt from the Perspective of ʿAmr b. al- ʿĀṣ

The framework of change and continuity enables deeper understanding of the formation of the Muslim empire. Immediately after the conquests, social and political institutions were first introduced to Muslim history. The policy regarding conquered lands was formulated through a continuous correspondence between the caliph in Medina and the viceroys. The case of Egypt under the rule of ʿAmr b. al- ʿĀṣ reflects how change and continuity were applied in the fields of taxation, administration, and conversion. This lecture will focus on ʿAmr b. al- ʿĀṣ as an agent of change and continuity In Egypt. As its first Muslim governor, his role was crucial in both everyday life and the political sphere. His unique role as a top official and military leader meant that ʿAmr b. al- ʿĀṣ had to deal with the caliph in Medina, the soldiers in field, and the newly subjugated native population. His correspondence with the caliph, documented in several early Muslim historical works, most notably al-Ṭabarī and Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam, contains questions and needs raised during the conquests, as well as the caliph’s replies and instructions to these. This correspondence deals with questions of how to form taxation system, who to appoint as administrators, and how to treat the local non-Muslim inhabitants. Analyzing ‘Amr’s correspondence with the caliph ʿUmar b. al-Ḵh̲aṭṭāb reveals how changes in Egypt took their specific trajectories.

Special attention will be given to taxation and land allocation. The Muslims generally chose to leave the previous Byzantine taxation system intact. In at least one case, however, ‘Amr consulted with the caliph on how to allocate and divide the land between soldiers who demanded the lands as spoils of war, citing precedent determined by the Prophet. ‘Umar ordered ‘Amr to leave the lands in the hands of the community, and not to divide it among the soldiers. This decision affected several social groups: the Muslim army, the caliph in Medina, and the local population (who kept their lands). It once again shows that his decision-making reflects the complexity that had risen from the encounter between different social groups which experienced change and continuity differently during the conquest of Egypt.


Andreas Kaplony

Ludwig-Maximilians University (Munich), Germany
Kitābī hāḏā ‘This my writ’: the Official Speaking as an Individual in Arabic Documents up to 800 – and Beyond

The most important type of document among early Islamic Arabic written sources is the individual official’s writ (kitāb). To find out what this individuality actually implies, we will put the formula as found in Arabic papyri in the wider context of (contemporary and earlier) Arabic inscriptions, poetry, the Koran and the Hadith. And we will have a look at its surprisingly little impact on later Arabic formularies.


James Keenan

Loyola University (Chicago), USA
The Will of Flavius Phoibammon

In the latter part of a recent paper on “Papyri and History” I ventured the following rhetorical question: “What better aim for a papyrologist than to recreate as richly as possible, for those expert and not, using all possible clues, the dramatic moment at which papyrus as a form of paper became a document that entered, however grandly or humbly, the consciousness of history?” For the Basel conference I have chosen as a likely candidate for such treatment the will of Flavius Phoibammon, chief doctor of Antinoopolis, Dioscorus of Aphrodito’s “longest and most elaborate prose composition” (MacCoull, Dioscorus of Aphrodito 50). This paper will try to imagine its moment of creation; consider the document as a document; and then proceed to review the will’s standing as a legal, rhetorical, and religious emblem of its times.


Roberta Mazza

University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Portrait of a Landlord: Flavius Strategius II and the Justinian Turning Point

The Apions’ archive from Oxyrhynchus, together with the rest of the family dossier from Egypt and elsewhere, is one of the best sources for the study of Egypt in late antiquity and more broadly for the assessment of continuities and changes in the Mediterranean world from the mid-fifth century to the Persian conquest and beyond. This paper will offer a fresh insight into the life, successes and achievements of a key figure in the history of the Apion dynasty: Strategius II, who led the family to the peak of its political, economic and social power under Justinian. Old and new material will be presented to show how the biography of this high imperial aristocrat and great landowner from Egypt sheds light on wider political and socio-economic phenomena investing the Empire under Justinian.