ArticlesPapyri

Middle Persian Papyri from the Sasanian Occupation of Egypt in the Seventh Century CE

For the second time in history the Persians reached North Africa and occupied it for over a decade. They not only conquered Egypt, but also Northern Libya (Libye) and to the south all the way to Thebaid, the border of the Nubian kingdom.2 The Sasanian Persian conquest of the Near East and North Africa during the rule of Xūsrō II (590-628CE), known as Aparwēz “Victorious” was the last great conquest of the Late Antique world before the coming of the Arab Muslims. Because of the chronological proximity of the Persian conquest to the Arab Muslim conquest, the impact of the former on the socio-political makeup of the region and its consequence for the latter Arab victories has been neglected.

Middle Persian Papyri, Ostraca and Parchments

Middle Persian papyri, ostraca and parchments are important economic documents from the sixth and seventh centuries CE. They have mainly been found from the Sasanian Persian occupation of Egypt (609-619 CE) mainly from Fayoum (Hansen 1938; 9), during the rule of Xusrō II (590-628 CE). They contain list of food supply, personal names, ranks, military organizations, and dates. They are also instructive in understanding the manner in which letters were written and the way in which the dignitaries were addressed. Thanks to Guity Azarpay a collection of Middle Persian documents comprising 260 silk and leather manuscripts have been gathered and placed at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.