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Receipt for a Grain Loan

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

In the fifth century B.C.E., Egypt’s Elephantine Island was home to Egyptians, Persians, and Jews. This document comes from the archive of a Jewish family whose first language was Aramaic rather than Egyptian. It states that in December 402 B.C.E., Ananiah, son of Haggai, borrowed two monthly rations of grain from Pakhnum, son of Besa, an Aramaean with an Egyptian name. This receipt would have been kept by Pakhnum and returned to Ananiah when he repaid the loan. No interest is charged on the loan, but there is a penalty for failing to repay it on the appointed date.
MEDIUM Papyrus, ink, mud
  • Place Found: Elephantine, Egypt
  • DATES December, 402 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 28
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS a: Object: 11 13/16 × 13 3/4 in. (30 × 35 cm) a: Frame: 14 15/16 × 16 1/4 in. (38 × 41.2 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 47.218.93a-b
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Theodora Wilbour from the collection of her father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Receipt for a Grain Loan. Recto, 14 lines of text with blank areas at top and bottom of papyrus. Text documenting a loan of grain by Anani son of Haggai from Pahnum son of Bs’. Written by the scribe Shewahram son of Eshemram. Traces of two additional lines of text in this blank area. Verso, single incomplete line of text. Portions missing from top of papyrus. Oval impression in clay. The design consists of a tall conical vase, cross-hatched. Upon arrival: Folded and sealed papyrus of same type as 47.218.88. Tied around center with slender twisted thread, fastened with mud seal of oval shape bearing impression of unidentified seal, apparently not Egyptian. Faded inscription on lower edge in small hand - probably Aramaic. Traces of similar inscription on upper edge. Condition: Fragile. Outer fold of top mostly missing. Part of outer fold of underside missing. Broken on edges and at folds but bulk of document is intact.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Aramaic. Receipt for a Grain Loan, December, 402 B.C.E. Papyrus, ink, mud, a: Object: 11 13/16 × 13 3/4 in. (30 × 35 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Theodora Wilbour from the collection of her father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 47.218.93a-b (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 47.218.93_transp5427_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 47.218.93_transp5427_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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