About 6 miles (10 km) northwest of Armant is a small temple erected by the Roman emperors Hadrian and Antonius Pius in honor of the goddess Isis that is described by the local inhabitants under the name Dayr al-Shalwit. It was occupied by a Christian community, as is shown by numerous graffiti traced on the roof, but no one can say which community, Pachomians or semi hermits. A Coptic contract of the seventh or eighth century makes mention of the castrum (camp) of Shlout as the place of residence of one of the signatories, while the others are of the nome of Armant (Hall, 1905, pl. 74, no. 21293/2; Till, 1956, no. 19/2).
It is probable that this gives this site its Coptic name. The present Arabic name takes up the Coptic name, playing on the fact that the Coptic name has a parallel in Arabic: shalwit (distant). It is curiously called Dayr Katreh in the Description de l’Egypte (Jomard, 1821, Vol. 2, p. 141), but the name Dayr al-Shalwit was attested in 1830 by Bononi (Newberry, 1906, pp. 78-86). It was described by J. Doresse (1949, p. 343) and by O. Meinardus (1965, p. 320; 1977, p. 434-35).
- Description de l’Egypte. Paris, 1821-1829.
- Doresse, J. “Monastères coptes aux environs d’Armant en Thebaïde.” Analecta Bollandiana 67 (1949):327-49. Hall, H. R. Coptic and Greek Texts. London, 1905.
- Meinardus, O. Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern. Cairo, 1965; 2nd ed. 1977.
- Newberry, P. E. “Topographical Notes on Western Thebes Collected in 1830 by J. Bononi.” Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte 7 (1906):78-86.
- Till, W. “Die koptischen Arbeitsverträge.” Eos 481 (1956):273-329.
MAURICE MARTIN, S.J.