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Coptic Ostrakon, 7th century, Egypt


Coptic Ostrakon, 7th century, Egypt



Public domain photo of a 3d object, Coptic, Egypt, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description

An ostracon is a piece of pottery or stone used as a ballot or writing surface in ancient Greece and Egypt. The word "ostracon" comes from the Greek word "ostrakon", which means "shell" or "potsherd". In ancient Greece, ostracons were used for a process called ostracism, where citizens voted to banish a prominent person from the city for a period of ten years. Each citizen would write the name of the person they wished to banish on an ostracon and submit it. When a certain number of votes were reached, usually around 6,000, the person named on the ostracon would be banished. In ancient Egypt, ostracons were used as writing surfaces for a variety of purposes. They were often used for informal or draft documents such as letters, lists or sketches. Ostracons were made from materials such as limestone, pottery shards or pieces of broken statues. They were cheap and readily available, making them an ideal medium for everyday writing. Today, ostracons provide valuable insights into ancient cultures and societies. They offer glimpses into the daily lives, thoughts and concerns of people thousands of years ago. Ostracons have been found in archaeological digs and are studied by historians and archaeologists to gain a better understanding of ancient civilisations.



0600 - 0700


Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication ("CCO 1.0 Dedication")

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