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Papyri Point to Practice of Voluntary Temple Slavery in Ancient Egypt

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posted on Jan, 3 2013 @ 02:31 PM
About one hundred of 2,200-year-old papyrus slave contracts have revealed that ancient Egyptians voluntarily entered into slave contracts with a local temple in the Egyptian city Tebtunis for all eternity, and even paid a monthly fee for the privilege.

The papyrus slave contracts were found in a rubbish dump next to the Tebtunis temple during excavations and were subsequently scattered across Egypt, Europe and the United States. So it has taken Dr Ryholt years to collect and analyze the contracts.

“I am your servant from this day onwards, and I shall pay 2,5 copper-pieces every month as my slave-fee before Soknebtunis, the great god,” say the papyri from the temple city of Tebtunis, as translated by egyptologist Dr Kim Ryholt of the University of Copenhagen.

“Many therefore chose to live as temple slaves because it was the only way of avoiding the harsh and possibly even deadly alternative; the temple was simply the lesser of two evils for these people. And for the temples, this was a lucrative practice that gave them extra resources and money.”
Full Article

So if one was too lazy to perform hard labor, they could take an easier way out. Not sure how much easier it actually was but I guess it beats hauling extremely large stones around. I found it entertaining that the slaves had to actually pay a "slave-fee" as well. Kind of reminds me of credit card companies.
edit on 1/3/2013 by mcx1942 because: fix

posted on Jan, 5 2013 @ 06:36 PM
Life for the non-privileged was brutal.

Some of these people undoubtedly had no family to take care of them, and rather than beg (and starve), they sold themselves as slaves. Selling oneself or one's children into slavery to avoid starvation and death was very common in earlier times.

It still happens in modern times, I should add.

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