Provincial negotiation of religious tensions: late antique oath-formulae in the Greek documentary papyri

Wuk, Michael (2020) Provincial negotiation of religious tensions: late antique oath-formulae in the Greek documentary papyri. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 215 . ISSN 0084-5388

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Abstract

In this article, I trace the developments in the formulae of oaths sworn in relation to quotidian administrative interactions in late-antique Egypt between the third and sixth centuries CE, as recorded in the Greek documentary papyri. Three particular trends can be seen in the formulations of these oaths: 1) some aspect of the imperial persona was typically included in such promises, with a slight reduction in frequency in later centuries; 2) God and Trinity were gradually introduced over the fifth and sixth centuries; 3) a range of ambiguous formulations obscured in precisely what form these oaths were sworn. By analysing these trends and setting them in the wider context of oath-taking in other parts of the empire, I argue that the records as we have them reflect the pragmatic interests of provincial authorities, who purposefully misrepresented how administrative promises were sworn to minimise the potential of religious disputes in relation to these important routine interactions.

Keywords:Late Antiquity, Egypt, Documentary papyri, Provincial administration, Oaths
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q712 Late Greek
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V110 Ancient History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V330 History of Religions
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:42541
Deposited On:21 Jul 2021 10:18

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