OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

From Female Moneylenders to Church Shares: Socioeconomics in the Coptic Village of Jeme


There is a popular belief that during and after the Egyptian Greco-Roman Period (c.323 BCE–4th century CE), many of the economic rights and laws that ancient Egyptians had once enjoyed fell apart in the wake of foreign rule and monotheism. The archaeological site of the Coptic village of Jeme proves this theory to be incorrect. The proof is from both the archaeological and large written evidence from the Jeme Papyrus Documents. A majority of these texts date to the seventh and eighth centuries CE and are largely written in Coptic, the local script of late vernacular Egyptian which was used by the populace. These texts have opened up a wealth of knowledge to the socioeconomic lives of ordinary Copts, in regards to gender and property, during Early Islamic Egypt (c.641-969 CE). In addition, the archaeology provides evidence for the written documents by giving specific urban locations for the different houses and administrative buildings mentioned in the documents. This paper carefully examines the socioeconomic lives written in these documents in conjunction with the buildings in question in the aim of shedding light on the socioeconomic practices of ordinary Copts in Early Islamic Egypt.

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