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Artefact ID218
TM IDTM 16853
Findspot (DEChriM ID)55   (Qarāra)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary
LanguageGreek, Coptic

P.Lond. VI 1915; SB Kopt. III 1668: Request for help in the Melitian community.

Herieous writes to the priest Paieous about the sufferings of a fellow member of the Melitian community (ὁ ἀδελφὸς ἡμῶν), a wine seller named Pamonthes. The latter did not have the money to pay his taxes and borrowed a large sum of money. As he was unable to pay off his debts, his creditors forced him to sell all his property and seized his children. Herieous addresses this letter to the priest, asking him to help repay this man’s debts so that he can buy back his children.

Same subject, style and hand as P.Lond. VI 1916.


Hand: neat, clear cursive, rather bilinear and very competent, but not at all stylish; diacritics: nomina sacra, apostrophes, diaeresis (Bagnall 2018: 96). Echoes of Scripture.

Recto: text (Greek) written along the fibres. Verso: five mutilated lines of a postscript in Greek, along the fibres (turned 90°), and lower down two lines of problematic Coptic; address written the other way up.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Mention of Christian individuals/communities, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Nomina sacra, Biblical quote or paraphrase, Coptic language
Date from330
Date to340
Dating criteria

Range of the archive of Apa Paieous.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Purchased with a lot comprising Papyri 2543-2551 from Maurice Nahman (b. 1868, d. 1948) in September 1923 (British Library website).

Accession number

London, British Library, Pap 2544.


Editio princeps:

· Bell, Harold I. 1924. Jews and Christians in Egypt. The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy. London: British Museum, 72-76, no. 1915.

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, 75

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

· Keenan, James G., J. G. Manning and Uri Yiftach-Firanko (eds.). 2014. Law and Legal Practice in Egypt from Alexander to the Arab Conquest: A Selection of Papyrological Sources in Translation, with Introductions and Commentary . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 464-465, no. 9.3.1.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 218", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,