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Artefact ID217
TM IDTM 16852
Findspot (DEChriM ID)55   (Qarāra)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Lond. VI 1914: Report from Alexandria.

Callistus, a Melitian monk or cleric, reports to Paieous and Patabeit, priests of the monastery of Hathor, on events that took place in Alexandria. He gives a circumstantial account of the sufferings of his fellow Melitians at the hands of Athanasius' adherents and of Athanasius himself, who was at the time in actual possession of the see of Alexandria.


Hand: Stylish, bureaucratic cursive with a few diacritics: diaeresis, apostrophes, nomina sacra (see Bagnall 2018: 96).

Beginning of the letter on the recto, along the fibres, with 3 lines in the left margin (across the fibres, from top to bottom of the papyrus); the letter continues on the back, also along the fibres (the writing of the verso being at right angles to that on the recto). Address at the bottom edge of the verso, the reverse way up (across the fibres).

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Nomina sacra
Date from335
Date to335
Dating criteria
After 23 May 335 (?).
The letter is undated but mentions May 19 and May 23. The discussion of the historical context led the editor to the conclusion that it is "highly probable that [P.Lond. VI] 1914 is to be dated May-June 335" (Bell 1924: 57).
Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Purchased with a lot comprising Papyri 2486-2542 from Maurice Nahman (b. 1868, d. 1948) in September 1922 (British Library website).

Accession number

London, British Library, Pap 2487


Editio princeps:

· Bell, Harold I. 1924. Jews and Christians in Egypt. The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy. London: British Museum, 53-71, no. 1914.

Additional bibliography:

· Bagnall, R. 2018. "The Educational and Cultural Background of Egyptian Monks." In Monastic Education in Late Antiquity, L. Larsen and S. Rubenson (ed.), Cambridge.

· Choat, Malcolm and Maria Chiara Giorda. 2017. Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 9. Leiden-Boston, 25-29.

· Choat, Malcolm. 2006. Belief and Cult in Fourth-Century Papyri, Studia Antiqua Australiensia 1. Turnhout: Brepols, 17, 130, 133-134

· Fournet, Jean-Luc. 2020. The Rise of Coptic: Egyptian Versus Greek in Late Antiquity. The Rostovtzeff Lectures Book 1. Princeton, 11.

· Hauben, Hans. 2002. "Aurêlios Pageus, alias Apa Paiêous, et le monastère mélitien d'Hathor." Ancient Society 32, 337-352.

· Hauben, Hans. 2004. "Heraiscus as Melitian bishop of Heracleopolis Magna and the Alexandrian see." The Journal of Juristic Papyrology 34, 51-70 (esp. 51-53).

· Van Minnen, Peter. 2011. "P. Harrauer 48 and the Problem of papas Heraiscus in P. Lond. VI 1914." Tyche. Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte Papyrologie und Epigraphik 16, 103-105.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 217", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,