ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 225-228 Nikos Litinas, Greek Ostraca from Abu Mina (O.Abu Mina). Archiv fuir Papyrusforschung, Beiheft 25. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2008. xi + 335 pages + 35 plates. ISBN 978-3-11-020118-5. This volume contains the edition of 1446 ostraca from Abu Mina. There are 1088 editions and 358 descriptions of texts. Of the latter, 339 are contributed by Patrick Robinson and Georgina Fantoni. Almost all ostraca were found in the Ostraca House. Ostraca had been found at Abu Mina earlier and appear at SB 1.4640-4649 and 12.10990. Especially the latter group (107 texts, one SB number), with the commentary by D. Wortmann in ZPE 8 (1971) 41-69, provides the framework for the interpretation of the texts in this volume. The editor (pp. 8-9) distinguishes two main types of texts. First, receipts for the delivery of grapes in donkey and, less common, camel loads. (Note the use of camels in this context; camels were a common feature at Abu Mina; cf. the standard representation of St. Menas with a camel.) Second, orders for payment of wine in K6oXXCaOCa (p. 11) of 25 sextarii each. The idea that the receipts would later have been exchanged for a certain quantity of wine explains why these ostraca were found together with the orders for payment in the Ostraca House, which was eventually used to deposit part of the administration of the Winery located only 50 meters to its immediate south. From the archaeology the deposit of the ostraca can be dated to immediately after the Arab conquest (pp. ix-xi). After the Persian conquest and partial destruction of the site, there was an attempt to restore the site along the same lines as before, i.e. by the melkites traditionally running the pilgrimage center. After the Arab conquest the Copts took over. All in all the ostraca give us the names of over 300 individuals who lived in the area of Abu Mina over a period of a couple or so indiction cycles prior to the Arab conquest (as explained on pp. 16-19). All the ostraca with exact dates (listed pp. 19-23) fall in the period Mesore-Thoth, the time of the grape harvest in Egypt. The editor (pp. 25-38) distinguishes many different hands or groups of hands at work on these texts from a relatively short period. The receipts are written on small (6 x 8 cm on average) triangular sherds of imported pottery, which (less porous than local Egyptian pottery) was apparently deemed more suitable for writing and at least available in plenty at the site. Typical examples of the texts are as follows: 1:t ATr. 'Iwvvov MaKpivov 6V(tKGi) pope (1. popicd) P 60 F6(vov) 29: t HIap(ao)X(ov) 'IctKOd3 1ova(ovt) (i'p) Tpvy( ) K(6OXXa)0(OV) (ijuov) | signs
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