|TM ID||TM 78082|
|Findspot (DEChriM ID)||47 (Saqqāra (North))||Class||Textual|
P.Bingen 121: Letter to Apa Antinos.
Complete sheet of papyrus containing a letter addressed, with great deference, by two officers, the praepositus Pergamios and the princeps Eulogios, to their “beloved and most pious” Apa Antinos. They inform him that his request to withdraw a certain Horos from the service of the agraria in the Oasis has been approved – Apa Antinos had apparently interceded for Horos on grounds that he was a humble man and an old soldier. The officers apologise for the lack of soldiers, saying they would have taken him only out of necessity, but as soon as they received the letter of the Apa, they released him from the journey. In the end, they ask the Apa to mention them in his holy prayers.
The agraria is a guard service outside the military camps in casual lodgings. The soldiers mentioned here could possibly belong to the legio V Macedonica stationed in Memphis, and their guard may have served the Little Oasis: the journey there was certainly a burden (Gascou and Pintaudi 2020: 516-517).
Another letter, from the same period, sent to a holy man (Apa Iohannes) to help exempt someone from the army is P.Herm. 7.
For an Apa Aiantinos (Antinos?) in "the monastery (mone) of Ankyronites", see also SB VIII 9683, 11-12.
Recto: The text runs parallel with the fibres in a legible cursive hand, although phonetic spellings and paratactic syntax make it sometimes difficult to understand the details; two different hands wrote the final greetings. The bottom part of the sheet seems to have been repaired in ancient times.
Verso: Address, parallel with the fibres, in the same hand as the body of the letter.
|Selection criteria||Mention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Mention of Christian individuals/communities, Archaeological context associated with Christian markers|
Palaeography, archaeological context and dossier connexion.
|Absolute/relative date||Relative date|
This papyrus was uncovered during excavations led by W.B. Emery in the area of the Sacred Animals Necropolis in North Saqqara. The papyrus was part of a Greek archive found in a Christian structure that was probably established at the end of the fourth or early fifth century on the terrace of the great temple of the necropolis. The editors of the text suggest that the Apa Antinos of the letter was the founder of the monastery which is mentioned later as the koinobion tou hagiou Abba Antinou in the ostraca of the archive (P.Bingen 122-126, to be dated in the middle of 5th c. according to a pers. comm. from Jean Gascou). At the time of the letter, the koinobion was probably still only a modest hermitage (Gascou and Pintaudi 2020, 511-513; 518).
Egypt, Saqqara, excavations EES 1970/71 H5-2683, EAO 4963.