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Artefact ID186
TM IDTM 10065
Findspot (DEChriM ID)50   (Qaṣr Qārūn)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Abinn. 8, P.Lond. II 243: Letter to Abinnaeus from Apa Mios.

One of the three letters sent by Apa Mios (P. Abinn. 6, 7, 8, and probably P. Abinn. 19) to his "beloved brother" (τῷ ἀγαπητῷ | ἀδελφῷ) Abinnaeus, with "greetings in the Lord" (ἐν κ(υρί)ῳ χαίρει(ν)). Mios notifies Abinnaeus of the dispatch of some wine, and requests him to pay the price and release the camel drivers immediately, because the festival (ἑορτή) is on. After mentioning other gifts which he is sending, he asks that "if the brethren (οἱ ἀδελφοὶ) come", Abinnaeus will have the ointment made for them and sent off.

On the question whether Abinnaeus, commander of the cavalry (praefectus alae) in Dionysias, was a Christian and for his relationship with monks and clergy, see Bell et al. 1962: 32-33, Barnes 1985: 373-374, Choat 2006: passim, Luijendijk 2008: 35, n. 42, Kaiser 2015: 383, Choat 2017: 47.


Recto: use of nomina sacra; text written along the fibres with postscript in the left margin (greetings to a certain Syrus and his family); signature of Apa Mios in an illiterate hand. Verso: address, along the fibers.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Nomina sacra
Date from342
Date to351
Dating criteria

Dated to ca. 346 in ed. pr.

According to Gallazzi (2015: 177-178), all of the dated texts of Abinnaeus archive are dated between 343 and 351 AD, that is, in the period in which Abinnaeus exercised his functions of praepositus of the castra (342-351).

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Purchased as part of a lot comprising Papyri 229-255 from the Reverend Chauncey Murch (b. 1856, d. 1907) on 14 January 1893 (British Library website).

While it was previously thought that Fl. Abinnaeus' archive was found in Philadelpheia where he went to live after his retirement, Gallazzi 2015 argued that Fl. Abinnaeus should have left his papers in his office (or in his lodgings), in Dionysias, when he left the army and handed over the command of the castra to others. The material would have been recovered in Qaṣr Qārūn, at the end of the nineteenth century, by antiquities seekers or sebâkh quarrymen and given to merchants of Medînet el-Fayûm, where they would have been intermingled with the documents recovered at Kharabet el-Gerza (Philadelphia), before reaching European collections.

Accession number

London, British Library, Pap 243


• Bell, Harold Idris, Victor Martin, Eric G. Turner and Denis van Berchem, 1962. The Abinnaeus Archive. Papers of a Roman Officer in the Reign of Constantius II. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 48-50, no. 8
• Kenyon, Frederic G. 1898. Greek Papyri in the British Museum II. London: British Museum, 300-301, no. 243.
• Tibiletti, Giuseppe. 1979. Le lettere private nei papiri greci del III e IV secolo d.C.: tra paganesimo e cristianesimo. Milano: Vita e Pensiero, no. 26.

Other studies
• Barnes, Timothy D. 1985. “The Career of Abinnaeus.” Phoenix 39, 368-374.
• Choat, Malcolm. 2006. Belief and Cult in Fourth-Century Papyri. Studia Antiqua Australiensia 1. Turnhout: Brepols.
• Choat, Malcolm and Maria Chiara Giorda. 2017. Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 9. Leiden-Boston.
• Gallazzi, Claudio. 2015. “Dove è stato ritrovato l’archivio di Abinneo?” Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete (AfP) 61, 170-179.
· Kaiser, Anna Maria. 2012. “Die Fahndung nach Deserteuren im spätantiken Ägypten.” In Actes du 26e Congrès international de papyrologie, Genève 16-21 août 2010, edited by Paul Schubert. Genève: Droz, 381-390.
• Luijendijk, AnneMarie. 2008. Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians and the Oxyrhynchus papyri. Cambridge, Mass.-London: Harvard University Press.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 186", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,