§183 Hananiah the Centurion

Hananiah the Centurion

(0183) Text: Θερμαῦθ(ος) δοῦλ(ος) Ἀνιν(ίου) | κεντ(ουρίωνος) Ἰουδ(αικοῦ τελέσματος) ιθ’ ˪ Τραιανοῦ | Ἀρίστου τοῦ κυρίου (τριώβολον). ˪ ιθ’ Παχὼ(ν) κγ’.

Translation: Thermauthus, slave of Hananiah the centurion paid the Jewish tax of three obols in year 19 of greatest Lord Trajan. Year 19 Pachon 23. (Trans. Christopher B. Zeichmann)

Commentary: Receipt for the fiscus Iudaicus. It is possible that another receipt from Edfu’s Jewish quarter dating to 107 CE attests the same Hananiah (CPJ 2.212), however the name is common enough that one cannot be certain. Though Thermouthis is evidently Jewish, his name is based on that of the Egyptian deity Thermouthis – a serpent form taken by the goddess Isis. Though Egyptian Jews of the Roman period often took Egyptian names, it is somewhat striking that he is named after a foreign deity.  It is possible that Thermauthus took was identified as Jewish because it was the household religion of his master Hananiah (a common Jewish name).

Provenience: Apollinopolis Magna, Egypt (Edfu, Egypt) 18 May 116 CE

Bibliography: O.Edfou 159; CIJ 2.229; Shimon Applebaum, “Jews and Service in the Roman Army,” in Roman Frontier Studies 1967, ed. Mordechai Gichon (Tel-Aviv: Students’ Organization of Tel-Aviv, 1971), 181; Joseph Mélèze-Modrzejewski, The Jews of Egypt: From Ramses II to Emperor Hadrian, trans. Robert Cornman (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995), 215; Raúl González Salinero, “El servicio militar de los judíos en el ejército romano,” Aquila Legionis 4 (2003): 72-73.