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NEWS: Ancient Egyptians sold themselves into temple slavery

“2,200 years ago in the ancient Egyptian city Tebtunis, Egyptians voluntarily entered into slave contracts with the local temple for all eternity. And they even paid a monthly fee for the ‘privilege’. Egyptologist Kim Ryholt from the University of Copenhagen is the first researcher who has studied this puzzling phenomenon.

“I am your servant from this day onwards, and I shall pay 2½ copper-pieces every month as my slave-fee before Soknebtunis, the great god.” This is a translation of a formulaic pledge found in 100 2,200-year-old papyrus slave contracts from the temple city of Tebtunis. University of Copenhagen Egyptologist Kim Ryholt is the first researcher to have analysed these collectively in his recent article “A Self-Dedication Addressed to Anubis – Divine Protection against Malevolent Forces or Forced Labour?” from the forthcoming publication Lotus and Laurel – Studies on Egyptian Language and Religion” – via University of Copenhagen.

Read more here.

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