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Ostracon

Ostracon, recording a part of Quirinius' census, circa 45 C.E. Nationalbibliothek, Vienna.

Ostraca are pottery fragments inscribed with written text, usually containing information on voting ballots, census information, or official records such as tax receipts or trade documentation. The ostracon shown here is from Elephantine, a town in southern Egypt under Roman rule. The text states that Soros son of Pachompos has paid the obligatory head tax in the fifth year of emperor Claudius’s reign (ca. 45 C.E.). The amount paid is 16 drachmas to cover the tax for himself and seven relatives—or two drachmas per person. The average wage for a skilled worker was about one drachma per day, making this a substantial tariff for the average family.



Ostracon, recording a part of Quirinius

An island in the Nile River that housed a Judean military garrison in the Persian period.

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