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A Tenth-Century List Of Payments Or Poll Tax Collecting On Paper From The Montserrat Collection

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Chapter Summary

The tenth-century list of payments, without any trace of a title to indicate its purpose, features names of all sorts and origin, even in one case an Arabic name. The names are followed by either the patronymic or the occupation of the taxpayer: "carpenter", "builder", and "shepherd". Many of these names are unfamiliar from earlier Coptic documentary texts and could indicate a change in the naming practices of Coptic communities that had occurred by the tenth century. Initially, in the first decades after the Arab conquest of Egypt (641), monks were also exempt from taxation, but at some point between the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth century, probably to avoid massive adoption of the monastic profession to flee taxation, Aṣbāgh, the son of the governor ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, introduced a poll tax of one dīnār on each monk.

Keywords: Aṣbāgh; Arabic name; Coptic documentary text; Egypt; monks; poll tax



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