Transfer of Property from Ananiah to Tamet (Aramaic)

Transfer of Property from Ananiah to Tamet (Aramaic)
Papyrus; L. 56.9 cm; W. 28.4 cm
Elephantine Island; October 30, 434 BCE
Bequest of Theodora Wilbour from the collection of her father, Charles Edwin Wilbour; Brooklyn Museum: 47.218.91 a–b
© Brooklyn Museum Photograph

The archive of Ananiah son of Azariah stretches over a remarkable period of forty-nine years, virtually his entire adult life. He is described as a servant of Yahweh but also as a “Jew of the detachment of Nabukudurri” in the garrison of the fortress of Elephantine. At the outset of the documents on display in the exhibition, we find him as the father of a young son by an Egyptian slave, Tamet, who belonged to another Jewish member of the garrison. After the birth of their son, Ananiah married Tamet and over the ensuing decades he acquired derelict property, restores it, has another child, marries off his daughter, and with this contract he gives parts of the house first to his wife, Tamet (who was still alive and married to him at the end of his life), and then to his daughter when she marries. How many documents he generated in Aramaic—or for that matter in Demotic—we do not know, as only those permanently important for property ownership and personal status were retained by his daughter and her husband. Nevertheless, the limited portrait that emerges is that of a man who took care to provide for his family as its circumstances changed.

B. Porten et al. The Elephantine Papyri in English, second revised edition.  Atlanta, 2011 (first edition Leiden: Brill, 1996) ©1996 Brill. All rights reserved.