Papyrus PERF 556 (Papyrus bearing the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As)

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The PERF 556 is an early Islamic papyrus written in Greek and bears the seal Of 'Amr ibn al-'As (a companion of prophet Muhammad). According to Grohmann the date mentioned on the papyrus is 6th January, 643 CE (earliest known Islamic papyrus) and 22nd Saffar AH and probably discovered at Heracleopolis.

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A seventh century papyri bearing the seal 'Amr ibn 'As, who, the commander of the Muslim army in Egypt, wrote it (or more likely had it written by someone) to Pagarch, probably an Egyptian provincial official, of Heracleopolis at the time, and commands him to send a quantity of food and fodder every month for the use of ʿAmr's forces and their horses.

Papyrus PERF 556, bearign the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As

Seal Details

circa 643 CE

Papyrus (PERF 556) bearign the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As

(Left) The original seal on the papyri, (right) close up of the seal. This artefact is a part of the Archduke Rainer Collection at Austrian National Library, Vienna.

Translation of the Letter

circa 643 CE

Papyrus PERF 556, bearing the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As

Text reads:
In the name of God! Ambros, Governor, to the pagarch of Herakleopolis.
Hand over to Amir son of Asla four bundles of fodder for two solidi, taking from him
a receipt, and for maintenance of his men one artaba of barley-groats per head. Jot it down
and send this man to a reserved place, and do not trouble this place by (billetting) others (but Amir).
Written on the 13th of the month of Tybi, in the first indiction.

[Declaration of A]mer, son of Asla, respecting fodder for two solidi, delivered by the (inhabitants) of Kephale.

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