The titles of Petra in the sixth century: the evidence from the Petra papyri

Mohammed I. Al-Nasarat, Sa'ad A. Twissi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Since their discovery in 1993, the Petra papyri have drawn the attention of both historians and archaeologists because of the amount of information they contain. The content of the papyri essentially deals with the property inheritance and transaction of a certain Theodoros son of Obodianos and his family in Petra and its vicinity, in the period between AD 537 and 593. The present paper focuses on the titles of Petra mentioned in these papyri and on their importance for the understanding of Petra in the Roman and Byzantine periods. Petra's full titles are: ‘Imperial Colony Antoniana, Distinguished, Holy (?), Mother of the Colonies, Hadriana Petra, and Metropolis of [the Province] Tertia Palaestina Salutaris’. The main components of these titles are attested elsewhere, but they appear in their entirety in the Petra papyri for the first time. The various titles of Petra as they appear in the papyri concerned clearly indicate that Petra continued to style itself as an important place in the Byzantine Empire. The picture that emerges from Petra's titles and other evidence from the papyri is that, in the sixth century Petra was still a place inhabited by relatively wealthy people, which had a major role in the economy of the Byzantine Empire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalArabian Archaeology and Epigraphy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Byzantine period
  • Nabataean kingdom
  • Petra papyri
  • Petra titles
  • inscriptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • General Arts and Humanities


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