Coptic Legal Documents: Law as Vernacular Text and Experience in Late Antique Egypt

Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (ASMAR), Vol. 32

Coptic Legal Documents: Law as Vernacular Text and Experience in Late Antique Egypt

Translated by Leslie S. B. MacCoull
2010 | 214 + xxxiv pp. | 1 ills. | 978-0-86698-425-6 | Hardcover 6 x 9 in
MRTS 377 | $52 | €40

This volume contains annotated English translations of fifty selected legal documents originally written in the Coptic language, dating from the mid-sixth to the mid-eighth centuries. They include land transfers, sales, wills, property divisions, and intergenerational disputes. The choice of which language to use in recording their transactions was meaningful for the documents’ framers. The introduction sets the texts in their historical contexts of the changing society of Egypt, first under Byzantine rule, then under Islamic rule. Since the originals are in a language not known to most classicists and medievalists, making the documents available in English should enable them to be read, studied, and appreciated by a wider audience.