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Ancient Texts at FSU Libraries

The Greek and Latin Ostraka collection (MSS 2015-012) consists of thirty-two clay pottery fragments with text in Greek and Latin documenting the activities of a Roman Army unit stationed near Edfu, Egypt. Ostraka (singular ostracon) are potsherds that have writing scratched or written on them. The collection was purchased by FSU from a private collector in Holland in 1973. The collection had been in her family since the early 1900’s (Bagnall 1976).


All of the ostraka date to circa 150 CE.


Nineteen of the ostraka are written in Greek, three are written in Latin.

Geographic source

Edfu, Egypt

Secondary Sources

  • Roger S. Bagnall, The Florida Ostraka: Documents from the Roman Army in Upper Egypt, Durham, NC: Duke University, 1976.
  • Roger S. Bagnall, Raffaella Cribiore. “O. Florida inv. 21: An Amorous Triangle.” Chronique D'Égypte 85 (2010): 213-223. doi: 10.1484/J.CDE.1.102031


FSU Ostraka 4 (identified as text 2 in publications), Date: circa 150 CE, Translation: Herennius Antoninus, decurion, to Amatios, greeting. Since the son of Balaneus who is in the watchtower is a boy, speak to the dekanos so that he may place a young man in his stead; for I also have sent orders to him about him. And send to me the civilian who set fire to the reeds near the new praesidium. Farewell.


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