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Last Updated on 18 Jan 2019

Author: Mario C.D. Paganini

CAPInv. 1963: the troop/crowd of the weavers of Coptos


i. Geographical area Egypt
ii. Nome Koptites (U05)
iii. Site Coptos


i. Full name (original language) tȝ ʿšȝ.t n nȝ mṯky<n>.w Gbt
ii. Full name (transliterated) the troop/crowd of the weavers of Coptos


i. Date(s) 30 BC


ii. Name elements
Geographical:Coptos, Koptos, Gbt
Professional:mṯkyn.w, weavers
iii. Descriptive terms ʿšȝ.t: 'troop, crowd'
ỉsiy: 'crew'
Note tȝ ʿšȝ.t, 'troop, crowd': l. 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 25
ỉsiy, 'crew': l. 11, 21, 25


i. Source(s) Short Texts I 158 (22 Tybi = 19 January 30 BC)
Online Resources TM 53794
i.a. Source type(s) Epigraphic source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Demotic inscription with the regulations of the association of weavers of Coptos.
i.c. Physical format(s) Sandstone stela, with relief on top showing a King offering in a double scene to Anuris, Sobek, Min, and Isis.


ii. References to buildings/objects wine (ll. 11, 12, 22)
Southern House of Geb (ll. 11, 12)


ii. Leadership It seems that the leader of the association was called mṯky<n> bȝk Ỉs(.t) ... pȝ wr-Ḏḥwt n tȝ ʿšȝ.t n nȝ mṯky<n>.w Gbt 'weaver, servant of Isis ... the Great one of Thot of the troop/crowd of the weavers of Coptos' (l. 3). His name was Tyȝn, son of Tyȝn.
iii. Members The members are collectively called nȝy⸗w tȝ ʿšȝ.t n nȝ mṯky<n>.w Gbt, 'those of the troop/crowd of the weavers of Coptos' (l. 9 and passim)
iv. Officials The officials seem to be referred to as 'elders': ẖl.w n tȝ ʿšȝ.t, 'the elders of the troop/crowd' (l. 22). According to the list of members, there were four elders = officials: Phib, son of Maininterou, Hor, son of Heracles, Petese, son of Hrihabnufe, and Petese, son of Mȝns (ll. 3-4). The charge of elders seems to be yearly (l. 22). The elders are in charge, together with the general/president (pȝ mr mšʿ) of Geb and the general/president (pȝ mr mšʿ) of the Southern House (place where the burial festivals take place) (and someone else lost in lacuna), of the burial of the gods (l. 22-23).
It is uncertain whether the general/president of Geb (pȝ mr mšʿ n Gb) was an official of the association. At all events he was strictly involved with it, given that he is said to have to give wine to those of the association every year (l. 19), until he takes an oath, together with the Great one of Thot (the leader of the association) and the elders, regarding something the content of which is not preserved (l. 24).
vi. Laws and rules The association passed regulations concerning various aspects of the association's life. They regulated the supply for the expenses of the festival (?) of Coptos (l. 10), as well as wine for one month (Tybi) for the group for the burial of the gy.t (unknown meaning) in the Southern House of Geb (l. 11). Engagement in the provision for the expenses for the ceremonies of the burial of the gods are indicated as being secured yearly, including the members' children and the children of their children (l. 26-27). Regulations established fines if someone removed a boy from apprenticeship (tȝ sbȝ.t 'instruction, teaching') (l. 13). The weaving by the children of the members and relevant payments were regulated (ll. 15-18).
viii. Obligations The members are obliged to comply with the regulations, and they cannot withdraw, together with their children and the children of their children (l. 28), otherwise a fine of 50 deben is exacted for the burial of the gods, and they will have to provide for the libations and holocausts (burnt offerings) (the passage is then uncertain).
ix. Privileges Every member who weaves receives 50 deben every year, including newcomers, it seems. (l. 18-19).


iii. Income It seems that an entry fee of 90 deben is exacted from new members (ll. 11-12). Fines and compensation were established and exacted for various reasons: removal of an apprentice (l. 13), irregular (?) weaving (ll. 13-5), faulty services (l. 20), disobedience (l. 29). Mention of other monetray fines (or compensations) to the association is present in ll. 13-15 but it is unclear for what reasons.


i. Number 36 (l. 8)
ii. Gender Men
Note All the names of the members listed are men. Mention of women is present (l. 17-8) but they do not seem to be members themselves, but simply wives or daughters (of members?).
iii. Age Adults
Note The members seem to be adults. Elders are also mentioned in the text (for instance, ll. 3-4): however, the term seems to refer to officials of the association rather than (solely) to an age attribute. The dispositions taken by the association are said to be established 'with the children and the children of their children': this expression refers to the perpetuity of the decisions taken rather than to the presence of children in the association. The dispositions regarding the weavers' children do not imply their membership, as the fathers (as members) seem to be the responsible for their children towards the association.
iv. Status All the members were involved in the craft of weaving.
v. Relations It is specifically stated that the dispositions were taken, including also the children of the weavers and the children of their children, for ever (l. 9). This may presuppose a hereditary membership into the group. This is also stressed in ll. 27-28 when it is stated that the members' children and their children 'will act accordingly to [every word ] is written above, yearly, until eternity'.


ii. Meetings and events An initiation feast, to which contributions are collected, is mentioned in l. 26: the passage is unclear.
iii. Worship The group shows participation in cultic activities and festivals. Specifically, the association provides the expenses for two burial ceremonies of the gods each year, on 25 Thoth for 25 deben and on ... of Epeiph, for other 25 (?) deben (l. 19-20).


i. Comments The provenance of the inscription from Coptos is based on the content of the text. The reading and interpretation of the text is often difficult.


i. Private association Certain
Note The terminology, character, officials, and nature of the regulations make it certain that we are dealing here with a private association.