COPTS, the early native Christians of Egypt and their successors of the Monophysite sect, now racially the purest representatives of the ancient Egyptians. The name is a Europeanized form, dating perhaps from the 14th century, of the Arabic ķibt (or ķubt), which, in turn, is derived from the Greek , "Egyptians" (the Copts in the Coptic language likewise style themselves , "people of Egypt," "Egyptians").
The limited application of the name is explained by the circumstances of the time when Mahomet sent forth his challenge to the world and 'Amr conquered Egypt (A.D. 627-641). At that time the population of Egypt was wholly Christian (except for a sprinkling of Jews, etc.), divided into two fiercely hostile sects, the Monophysites and the Melkites. The division was in great measure racial. The Melkites, adherents of the orthodox or court religion sanctioned by the council of Chalcedon, were mainly of foreign extraction, from the various Hellenistic races which peopled the Eastern Roman empire, while the bulk of the population, the true Egyptians, were Monophysite. Amongst the latter political aspirations, apart from religion, may be said not to have existed. It has generally been held that the Copts invited and aided the Moslems to seize the country in order that at all costs they might be freed from the yoke of the state religion imposed by the Eastern Roman Empire; but Dr A. J. Butler has shown this view to be untenable, while admitting that the religious feuds of the Christians made the task of the Arabs easy. The mysterious Muķauķis, who treacherously handed over Alexandria, impregnable as it was for Arab warriors, and then capitulated, was none other than Cyrus, the Melkite patriarch and governor of Egypt; the native Monophysite party, however, smarting under the persecution of the Emperor Heraclius, seemed to have most to gain by a change of masters. The prophet Mahomet himself had prescribed indulgence to the Copts before his death, and 'Amr was mercifully disposed to them. Although they offered resistance in some places, after the Roman forces had been destroyed or had abandoned Egypt they generally acquiesced in the inevitable; and when in 646 a Roman fleet and army recaptured Alexandria and harried the Delta, the Copts helped the Moslems to cast out the Christian invaders. Some of the Copts embraced Islam at once, but as yet they formed practically a solid Christian nation under the protection of the conquering Arabs, and the religious and political distinction between the "true believers" and the Christians was so sharp that a native Christian turning Moslem was no longer a Copt, i.e. Egyptian; he practically changed his nationality.
The beginnings of Christianity in Egypt are obscure; the existence of it among the natives (as opposed to the mixed "Greek" population of Egypt and Alexandria which produced so many leading figures and originated leading doctrines in the early church) can be traced back as far as the Decian persecution (A.D. 249-251) in the purely Egyptian names of several martyrs. St Anthony (c. A.D. 270) was a Copt; so also was Pachomius, the founder of Egyptian monasticism at the beginning of the 4th century. The scriptures were translated into Coptic not later than the 4th century. A religion founded on morality and with a clear doctrine of life after death was especially congenial to the Egyptians; thus the lower orders in the country embraced Christianity fervently, while the Alexandrian pagans were lost in philosophical speculation and Neoplatonism was spread amongst the rich "Greek" landowners; these last, partly out of religious enthusiasm, partly from greed, annoyed and oppressed their Christian peasantry. Egypt was then terribly impoverished; the upper country was constantly overrun by raiders from Nubia and the desert; and the authority of the imperial government was too weak to interfere actively on behalf of the Christians. The monasteries, however, were refuges that could bid defiance to the most powerful of the pagan aristocracy as well as to barbarian hordes, and became centres of united action that, at the summons of Shenoute, the organizer of the national church, swept away the idols of the oppressors in riot and bloodshed. In the course of the 5th century the Christians reached a position in which they were able to treat the pagans mercifully as a feeble remnant.
The Copts had little interest in theology; they were content to take their doctrine as prepared for them by the subtler minds of their Greek leaders at Alexandria, choosing the simplest form when disputes arose. In 325 their elected patriarch, Athanasius, and his following of Greeks and Copts, triumphed at the council of Nicaea against Arius; but in 451 the banishment of Dioscorus, patriarch of Alexandria, by the council of Chalcedon created a great schism, the Egyptian church holding to his Monophysite tenets (see Coptic Church, below), while the Catholic and imperial party at Constantinople ever sought to further the "Melkite" cause in Egypt at the expense of the native church. Thenceforward there were generally two patriarchs, belonging to the rival communities, and the Copts were oppressed by the Melkites; Heraclius, in 638 after the repulse of the Persians, endeavoured to unite the churches, but, failing in that, he persecuted the Monophysites more severely than ever before, until 'Amr brought Egypt under the Moslem rule of 'Omar, as has been related above. Under the persecution many Copts had gone over to the Melkites, but now it was the turn of the Melkites, as supporters of the emperor of Constantinople, to suffer, and they almost entirely disappeared from Egypt, though a remnant headed by a patriarch of Alexandria of the Orthodox Christians has survived to this day.
But after a few years of the mild rule of 'Amr the Egyptians began to be squeezed for the benefit of the Moslem exchequer and persecuted for their religion. Many of the more thoughtful and sober Christians must long have been disgusted with religious strife, and had already embraced the simple and congenial doctrines of Islam; others went over for the sake of material gain. Conflicts arose from time to time between the Mahommedan minority and the Christians. The Copts were excellent scribes and accountants and were continued in their posts under the Arab rule; the government offices were full of them; sometimes even the wazirate (vizierate) was held by a Copt, and that too in a time of persecution of the Christians. The pride of the Copts, still seen in the objection which the poorest among them have to engaging in any mean work or trade, was a serious danger, perhaps even a chief source of their troubles, in earlier days; devout Moslems on more than one occasion stirred the mob to fury when they saw Christians lording it over "true believers." The lower orders of the Copts were continually oppressed. Thus there was every inducement amongst the Christians to turn Mahommedan. Arab tribes, too, were encouraged to settle in Egypt until the Mahommedans exceeded the Copts in numbers.
The history of the Copts consists on the one hand of the record of religious strife, of growing scandals in the church, such as simony, and attempted reforms; and on the other hand of persecutions at the hands of the Moslems. As examples of the severity of the persecutions, it may be noted that, in the 8th century, the monks not only were compelled to pay a capitation tax, but were branded with name and number, civilians were oppressed with heavy taxation, churches demolished, pictures and crosses destroyed (722-723). Degrading dresses were imposed upon the Christians (849-850); later, under Hakim (997), they were compelled to wear heavy crosses and black turbans as an ignominious distinction. Salaheddin (Saladin) in 1171 reenforced these statutes and defiled the churches. In 1301, the blue turban was introduced, but many Copts preferred a change of religion to the adoption of this head-dress. In 1348 a religious war, attended by the destruction of churches and mosques and great loss of life, raged at Cairo between the Copts and Mahommedans, and large numbers of the former embraced Islam. Their oppression practically ceased under Mehemet Ali (1811).
There have been very few cases of conversion from Mahommedanism to Christianity; and, as intermarriage of Christians with Mahommedans implied conversion to Islam, the Copts have undoubtedly preserved the race of the Egyptians as it existed at the time of the Arab conquest in remarkable purity. The Coptic agricultural population (fellahin) in the villages of Upper Egypt and elsewhere are not markedly different from the Mahommedan fellahin, who, of course, are of the same stock, but mixed with Arab blood. The Copts in the towns, who have always been engaged in sedentary occupations, as scribes and handicraftsmen, have a more delicate frame and complexion, and may have mingled with Syrian and Armenian Christians.
According to the 1907 census, there were 667,036 orthodox Copts in Egypt, or less than 1/14th of the total population, this being the same proportion as in 1830, when, according to Lane, they numbered about 150,000. The number of churches and monasteries at the same time had risen from 146 to 450, not including Protestant chapels nor Coptic Catholic churches. At the 1907 census the total number of Christians in Egypt described as Copts was 706,322; among them there were 24,710 Protestants and 14,576 Roman Catholics.
Monogamy is strict among the Copts, and divorce is granted only for adultery. Circumcision of both sexes is common before baptism. In regard to dress, at present only the clergy retain the old distinctive costume and black turban. The rest of the Copts dress exactly like their Moslem brethren, from whom they can be distinguished only by the cross which many of them still have tattooed just below the palm of the right hand. Since the British occupation of the country there has been a tendency amongst the Coptic women to give up the veil, which they had borrowed from the Mahommedans; this is especially noticeable at places like Assiût, where, thanks to the efforts of American missionaries, female education has made much progress.
In trades and professions, so long as the Copts had no foreign competition to contend against, they maintained their supremacy over the rest of the population. They filled government offices; in towns and villages they monopolized trades and professions requiring care and skill. They were the accountants, the architects, the goldsmiths, the carpenters, the land-surveyors, the bonesetters, etc. But, with the extension of railways and agricultural roads and the increased facilities of communication and prosperity, there has been a great influx of Italian, Greek, Armenian and other Levantine workmen, who, with their better tools, are undoubtedly superior to the Copts, and have proved most formidable rivals. Furthermore, the importation of cheap European wares of every description is slowly killing all native industry. Lastly, since the British, as the dominant race, have filled most posts of responsibility in the government, the Moslems, in general, are obliged to content themselves with the subordinate posts which in the past they left to the Copts. Some Copts have attained high office, and in 1908 a Copt became prime minister. Moreover, the Copts have to a certain extent made up for the ground they lose elsewhere by engaging in agriculture and banking, and there are now to be found many rich Coptic landowners and farmers, especially in Upper Egypt.
Language. - The language spoken by the Copts was of various dialects, named Sahidic, Akhmimic, Fayumic, etc., descended from the ancient Egyptian with more or less admixture of Greek (for the Coptic dialects see Egypt: Language). Coptic, however, has been entirely extinct as a spoken language for over 200 years, having been supplanted by Arabic; in the 13th century it was already so much decayed that Arabic translations of the liturgies were necessary. The Gospels, however, are still read in the churches in the Bohairic dialect. This dialect appears in literature later than the others, having become of importance only with the extinction of Greek in Lower Egypt; for a time it shared the field with Sahidic, after the disappearance of Akhmimic and Fayumic, but eventually displaced it in the churches, where it now survives alone.
Coptic literature is almost entirely religious, and consists mainly of translations from the Greek. Such was the enthusiasm for Christianity amongst the lower classes in Egypt that translations of the Bible were made into three of the dialects of Coptic before the council of Chalcedon; they probably date back at least as early as the middle of the 4th century. For the dwellers in the Delta the Greek version was probably sufficient, until the break with the Greek (Melkite) Church in the 5th century induced them to make a separate translation in their own native northern or Bohairic dialect. The Gnostic heresy, otherwise known only through the works of its opponents, is illustrated in some Coptic MSS. of the 4th century, the so-called Pistis Sophia or Askew Codex, and the Bruce Codex, respectively in the British Museum and Bodleian Libraries. According to Schmidt and Harnack, they are translations dating from the 3rd century and belong to an ascetic or encratitic sect of the Gnostics which arose in Egypt itself. There is abundance of apocryphal works, of apocalypses, of patristic writings from Athanasius to the council of Chalcedon, homilies, lives of saints and anecdotes of holy men, acts of martyrs extending from the persecution of Diocletian to that of the Persians in the 7th century, and lives of later ascetics and martyrs reaching down to the 14th century. Unless some of the Egyptian acta sanctorum et martyrum should prove to have been originally written in Coptic, almost the only original works in that language of any importance are the numerous sermons and letters of Shenoute, a monk of Atrēpe near Akhmim, written in the Sahidic dialect in the 4th century. After the Arab conquest, as a defence to the threatened church, language and nationality, versifications of the Proverbs, of Solomon's Song and of various legends were composed, with other religious songs. They are mostly antiphonal, a number of stresses in a line marking the rhythm. There is no musical notation in the MSS., but traditional church tunes are generally referred to or prescribed for the songs. Of secular literature strangely little existed or at least has survived: only a few magical texts, fragments of a medical treatise, of the story of Alexander, and of a story of the conquest of Egypt by Cambyses, are known, apart from numerous legal and business documents.
Coptic was occasionally employed for literary purposes as late as the 14th century, but from the 10th century onward the Copts wrote mostly in Arabic. Severus of Eshmunain (c. 950), who wrote a history of the patriarchs of Alexandria, was one of the first to employ Arabic; Cyril ibn Laklak and others in the 13th and 14th centuries translated much of the older literature from Coptic into Arabic and Ethiopic for the use of the Egyptian and Abyssinian churches. From this period also date the native Coptic grammars and lexicons of Ibn 'Assal and others. At the present time literature among the Copts is represented by Claudius Labib, an enthusiast for the revival of the Coptic tongue, Marcus Simaika, a leader of the progressive movement, and others.
(F. Ll. G.)
The Coptic Church. - Up to the 5th century the church of Alexandria played a part in the Christian world scarcely second to that of Rome: the names of Origen, Athanasius and Cyril bear witness to her greatness. But in the time of the patriarch Dioscorus the church, always fond of speculation, was rent asunder by the controversy concerning the single or twofold nature of our Lord, as stated by Eutyches. The Eutychian doctrine, approved by the council of Ephesus, was condemned by that of Chalcedon in 451. But to this decision, though given by 636 bishops, the Copts refused assent - a refusal which profoundly affected both the religious and the political history of their country. From that moment they were treated as heretics. The emperor appointed a new bishop of Alexandria, whose adherents the Copts styled Melkites or Imperialists, while the Copts are distinguished as Monophysites and Jacobites. The court party and the native party each maintained its own line of patriarchs, and each treated the other with bitter hostility. For nearly two centuries strife and persecution continued. The well-meant ecthesis of Heraclius was a failure and was followed by repression, till in 640 the Copts were released from the Roman dominion by the Saracen invasion. But it was only after prolonged resistance to the Arabs that the Copts accepted a change of masters, which gave them for a while religious freedom. The orthodox or Melkite party, consisting mostly of Byzantine Greeks, was swept away, and the double succession of patriarchs practically ceased. True, even now there is an orthodox patriarch of Alexandria living in Cairo, but he has only a few Greeks for followers, and scarcely a nominal succession has been maintained. But the Coptic succession has been continuous and real.
The distinctive Monophysite doctrine of the Copts is not easy to state intelligibly, and yet they cling to it with something of the tenacity which has marked their whole history. They repudiate the heresy of Eutyches as strongly as that of Nestorius, and claim to stand between the two doctrines teaching that Christ was one person with one nature which was made up by the indissoluble union of a divine and a human nature, but that notwithstanding this absolute union the two natures remained after union distinct, unconfounded and uncommingled, separate though inseparable. The creed thus savours of paradox, not to say contradiction. It is set forth in the Liturgy and recited at every Coptic mass in the following words: - "I believe that this is the life-giving flesh which thine only Son took from the ... Holy Mary. He united it with His Divinity without mingling and without confusion and without alteration.... I believe that His Divinity was not separated from His Manhood for one moment or for the twinkling of an eye." On all other points of dogma, including the single procession of the Holy Ghost, the Copts agree with the Greek Church.
"The most holy pope and patriarch of the great city of Alexandria and of all the land of Egypt, of Jerusalem the holy city, of Nubia, Abyssinia and Pentapolis, and all the preaching of St Mark," as he is still called, had originally jurisdiction over all the places named. Jurisdiction over Abyssinia remains, but from Nubia and Pentapolis Christianity has disappeared. The ancient rule is that no bishop is eligible for the patriarchate. The requirement of a period of desert life has so far prevailed that no one but a monk from one of the desert monasteries is now qualified. This rule, harmless perhaps when the monasteries were the great schools of learning and devotion, now puts a premium on ignorance, and is disastrous to the church; more particularly as even bishops must be chosen from the monks. The patriarch is elected by an assembly of bishops and elders. The candidate is brought in chains from the desert, and, if only in monk's orders, is passed through the higher grades except that of bishop. The patriarch's seat was transferred some time after the Arab conquest from Alexandria to the fortress town of Babylon (Old Cairo), and in modern times it was shifted to Cairo proper. The other orders and offices in the church are metropolitan, bishop, chief priest, priest, archdeacon, deacon, reader and monk. The number of bishoprics in ancient times was very large - Athanasius says nearly 100. At present there remain ten in Egypt, one at Khartum and three in Abyssinia.
The numerous remaining churches in Egypt but faintly represent the vast number standing in ancient times. Rufinus says that he found 10,000 monks in the one region of Arsinoe. Later, in 616, the Persians are described as destroying 600 monasteries near Alexandria. Abu Salih (12th century) gives a list of churches surviving in his day, and their number is astonishing. The earliest were cut out of rocks and caverns. In the days of Constantine and Justinian basilicas of great splendour were built, such as the church of St Mark at Alexandria and the Red Monastery in Upper Egypt. This type of architecture permanently influenced Coptic builders, but there prevailed also a type, probably native in origin, though possessing Byzantine features, such as the domed roofing. There is no church now standing which bears any trace of the fine glass mosaics which once adorned the basilicas, nor is there any example of a well-defined cruciform ground-plan. But the use of the dome by Coptic architects is almost universal, and nearly every church has at least three domes overshadowing the three altars. The domes are sometimes lighted by small windows; but the walls are windowless, and the churches consequently gloomy. Among the most interesting churches are those of Old Cairo, those in the Wadi Natron, and the Red and White Monasteries (Der el-Abiad and Der el-Ahmar) near Suhag in Upper Egypt.
Every church has three altars at the eastern end in three contiguous chapels. The central division is called the haikal or sanctuary, which is always divided from the choir by a fixed partition or screen with a small arched doorway closed by double doors. This resembles the Greek iconostasis, the screen on which the "icons" or sacred pictures are placed. Haikal screen and choir screen are often sumptuously carved and inlaid. A marble basin for the mandatum in the nave, and an epiphany tank at the west are common features. The altar is usually built of brick or stone, hollow within, and having an opening to the interior. A wooden altar-slab covered with crosses, etc., lies in a rectangular depression on the surface, and it is used in case of need as a portable altar. Chalice and paten, ewer and basin, crewet and chrismatory, are found as in the Western churches. The aster consists of two crossed half-hoops of silver and is used to place over the wafer. The flabellum is used, though now rarely made of precious metal. Some examples of silver-cased textus now remaining are very fine. Every church possesses thuribles - the use of incense being universal and frequent - and diadems for the marriage service. The use of church bells is forbidden by the Moslems, except in the desert, and church music consists merely of cymbals and triangles which accompany the chanting.
Rites and ceremonies
The sacramental wine is usually made from raisins, but the juice must be fermented. Churches even in Cairo have a press for crushing the raisins. The eucharistic bread is baked in an oven built near the sanctuary. The wafer is a small loaf about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick, stamped with the trisagion and with crosses. Communion must be received fasting. Confession is required, but has somewhat fallen into disuse. Laymen receive in both kinds. The wafer being broken into the chalice, crumbs or "pearls" are taken out in a spoon and so administered, as in the Greek rite. Reservation is uncanonical. Renaudot states that it was permitted in cases of great extremity, when the host remained upon the altar with lamps burning and a priest watching, but it is not now practised, and there is no evidence of any such vessel as a pyx in Coptic ritual. Small benedictional crosses belong to each altar, and processional crosses are common. The crucifix is unknown, for while paintings and frescoes abound, graven images are absolutely forbidden. The liturgy was read exclusively in the extinct Coptic language till the end of the 19th century, but parts are now read in Arabic, while the lessons have long been read in Arabic as well as in Coptic. The services are still excessively long, that of Good Friday lasting eleven hours; but benches are now provided in the newer churches. Seven sacraments are recognized - baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, orders, matrimony, and unction of the sick. The chief fasts are those of Advent, of Nineveh, of Heraclius, Lent and Pentecost. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem is a duty and sometimes a penance.
The Coptic ritual deserves much fuller study than it has received. Since the 7th century the church has been so isolated as to be little influenced by changes affecting other communions. Consequently it remains in many respects the most ancient monument of primitive rites and ceremonies in Christendom. But centuries of subjection to Moslem rule have much weakened it. For the liturgical dress see Vestments; Chasuble, etc.
Present state of the church
The British occupation of Egypt profoundly modified Coptic religious life. Before it the Copts lived in their own semi-fortified quarters in Cairo or Old Cairo or in country or desert Dairs (Ders). Walls and gates were now thrown down or disused: the Copts began to mix and live freely among the Moslems, their children to frequent the same schools, and the people to abandon their distinctively Christian dress, names, customs and even religion. Freedom and prosperity threatened to injure the Church more than centuries of persecution. Many of the younger generation of Copts began openly to boast their indifference and even scepticism: in the large towns churches came to be too often frequented only by the old or the uneducated, confession and fasts fell into neglect and the number of communicants diminished; while the facility of divorce granted by Islam occasioned many perversions from among the Copts to that religion. On the other hand the necessity of resistance to these tendencies and of reform from within was strongly realized. Unfortunately, the institution of a lay council of eminent churchmen, which has been formed for the patriarch and for every bishop in his own diocese, has led to prolonged struggles and on one occasion to a serious crisis, in which the patriarch and the metropolitan of Alexandria were for a while banished to the desert. A principal object of these lay councils is to control the financial and legal powers vested in patriarch and bishops - powers which have often been greatly abused. Other objects are (1) to provide Christian religious education in all Coptic schools and to raise these schools to a high standard in secular matters; (2) to promote the education of women; (3) to apply church revenues to the maintenance of churches and schools and to the better payment of the clergy, who are now often compelled to live on charity; (4) to ensure prompt administration of justice in ecclesiastical causes such as divorce, inheritance, etc.; and (5) to establish colleges for the efficient training of the clergy. Educated Copts remember the time when the church of Alexandria was as famous for learning as for zeal. They desire also to resist the serious encroachments of Roman Catholic, American Presbyterian, and other foreign missions upon their ancient faith.
(A. J. B.)
AUTHORITIES - (1) History and Religion: Johann Michael Wansleben (Vansleb), a Dominican and learned orientalist (1635-1679), Hist. de l'église d'Alexandrie (Paris, 1677), written at Cairo in 1672 and 1673 mainly from original native sources, and Nouvelle Relation ... d'un voyage fait en Egypte, etc. (Paris, 1677 and 1698, Eng. trans., London, 1678); Eusèbe Renaudot the younger (1646-1720), Historia Patriarcharum Alexandrinorum (Paris, 1713); Abu Dakn (Josephus Abudacnus), Historia Jacobitarum (Oxford, 1675, Eng. trans. by Sir E. Sadleir, London, 1693); S. C. Malan, Original Documents of the Coptic Church (London, 1874); Denzinger, Ritus Orientalium (Würzburg, 1863); Hon. Robert Curzon, Visits to Monasteries in the Levant (London, 1849); J. M. Neale, Hist. of the Patriarchate of Alexandria (2 vols., ib., 1847), in the Hist. of the Holy Eastern Church, coloured by the writer's Anglo-Catholic point of view; A. J. Butler, Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt (Oxford, 1884); B. T. A. Evetts and Butler, Churches and Monasteries of Egypt, by Abu Saleh (Oxford, 1895); E. Amélineau, Monuments pour servir à l'histoire de l'Egypte chrétienne aux IVe et Ve siècles, Coptic and Arabic documents published and translated for the first time, in Mém. de la mission archéolog. franç. au Caire, t. iv. (Paris, 1888), and Monuments ... au IVe siècle in the Annales du musée Guimet, t. xvii. (Paris, 1889); P. Rohrbach, Die alexandrinischen Patriarchen (Berlin, 1891); Jullien, L'Egypte: souvenirs bibliques et chrétiens (Lille, 1891); Macaire, Histoire de l'église d'Alexandrie (Cairo, 1894); Porphyrius, The Christian East: Alexandrian Patriarchate (St Petersburg, 1898; in Russian); Strzygowski, Orient oder Rom? (Leipzig, 1901); De Bock, Matériaux pour servir à l'archéologie de l'Egypte chrétienne (St Petersburg, 1901); Kitab al Hulaji al Muķaddas (Cairo, 1902); A. Gayet, "Les Monuments coptes du musée de Boulaq," in the Mém. miss. archéolog. franç. au Caire, t. iii. (Paris, 1889); id., L'Art copte (Paris, 1902); Horner, The Statutes of the Apostles (London, 1904); Egypt Exploration Fund Reports, section "Christian Egypt"; W. E. Crum, article "Koptische Kirche" in Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche, 3. Aufl.; J. M. Fuller's article "Coptic Church" in Smith's Dictionary of Biography; A. J. Butler, The Arab Conquest of Egypt (Oxford, 1902); J. Leipoldt, Schenute von Atripe und die Entstehung des national-ägyptischen Christentums (Leipzig, 1903), Die Entstehung der koptischen Kirche (a valuable essay printed as the introduction to R. Haupt's Katalog 5, Halle, 1905); B. T. A. Evetts, "The Patriarchal History of Severus" in Graffin's Patrologia orientalis (Paris); J. Milne, A History of Egypt under Roman Rule (1898).
Literature. - See Crum's article above referred to, his Catalogue of Coptic MSS. in the British Museum, and his annual reviews in the Archaeological Report of the Egypt Exploration Fund; J. Leipoldt in Geschichte der christlichen Literaturen des Orients (Leipzig, 1907); H. Junker, Koptische Poesie des zehnten Jahrhunderts, 1. Teil (Berlin, 1908); Archdeacon Dowling, The Egyptian Church (London, 1909).
Modern People. - E. W. Lane's description of the Copts in his Modern Egyptians is interesting, but founded on imperfect information, and, moreover, coloured by prejudices in favour of the Moslems whom he studied with so much sympathy. See Klunzinger, Upper Egypt, pp. 61 et sqq.; also the last chapter of The Story of the Church of Egypt, by Mrs E. L. Butcher (1897), on the social life and customs.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)