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Artefact ID143
TM IDTM 34163
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumOstracon
Text contentDocumentary

O.Bahria Div. 1; SB XX 14923: Letter to the abba Kosmas.

This ostracon contains a letter sent by the "most humble" (elachistos) Elpidios, probably a monk, to the abba Kosmas. The text is difficult, but, according to Wagner, Elpidios says that he has learnt that a "brother from the outside" was sent to Constantinople to study and he is now expecting news from someone travelling by water.

Selection criteria-
Date from350
Date to499
Dating criteria

Palaeography. Choat (2017: 47, n. 165) notes "the use of elachistos here invites suspicion that this letter is dated too early, as the many other uses cluster in the sixth

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

According to Wagner 1987: 86-87, this ostracon is part of a lot of 68 Greek, Coptic and Arabic ostraca only known to him by photographs. He found those photographs in an envelope with the mention "Bahria oasis" in A. Fakhry's archive which were deposited at the DAIK after his death.

Accession number

Location unknown


Editio princeps:

Wagner, Guy. 1987. Les oasis d'Égypte à l'époque grecque, romaine et byzantine d'après les documents grecs : recherches de papyrologie et d'épigraphie grecques. Bibliothèque d'étude 100, Cairo: Ifao, 104-105.

Additional bibliography

• Choat, Malcolm and Maria Chiara Giorda. 2017. Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 9. Leiden, Boston.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 143", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,
External links