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Oxyrhynchus: A City and its Texts, Virtual Exhibition: A Millenium of Documents

Coptic Martyrology: Fourth century AD?

Many languages other than Greek and the occasional Latin piece are represented in the papyri recovered from the rubbish mounds of Oxyrhynchus. Among them is Coptic. This late development of Egyptian written in Greek characters (plus a few special extra ones), frequently incorporating Greek words as well, became closely associated with Christianity. It was used for private letters, occasionally for other documents such as contracts, and for Biblical and other theological texts. This one was probably written in the fourth century but seems to be the unfinished preamble to a narrative about persecution of Christians at the start of the century before. It is written on both sides in an unfamiliar dialect, few Coptic papyri from Oxyrhynchus having been published.

Published: A. Alcock, Enchoria 11 (1982), 1-5