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January 2 2013

Temple slavery in Ancient Egypt


In the University of Copenhagenís Papyrus Carlsberg Collection there are more than 100 papyri dedications to the god, Soknebtunis.

These documents are legal contracts that place the supplicant under the authority of the named god, and prevent any power, human or otherwise, from commanding them. In legal terms the supplicants volunteer themselves as slaves to the temple.

The documents were found during illicit excavations during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and have since been collected in the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection, established in the 1930ís. Professor Kim Ryholt of the University of Copenhagen has been studying these contracts and puts forth an argument that these contracts represent acts of self-slavery.

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