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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pottery ostracon containing a letter written in Coptic.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 8thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 8 centimetres
    • Length: 13 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

        one side
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Translation

        "If an angel of God prevents men from repenting the way of men . . . . be so good as to pray for me that I may live as God constituted me at the beginning."
      • Inscription Comment

        Ink. Nineteen lines of text. The letter is from Pekōsh to the holy fathers Ananias and Pisraēl and the lesser brethren, according to their names. A postscript in the same hand conveys the greetings of Theophanios to the same persons.
  • Curator's comments

    See Behlmer 2007, 166.

  • Bibliography

    • Hall 1905 p.27, Pl.20 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    fair (incomplete?)

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • O.Brit.Mus.Copt. I 20:4 (text edition abbreviation according to Oates et al 2001)


If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: YCA37601

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