Get Social With Us



Artefact ID223
TM IDTM 21123
Findspot (DEChriM ID)30   (al-Ašmūnayn)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Herm. 4: Letter from John and Leon to Theophanes.
John and Leon write to their "beloved brother" (ἀγαπητῶι ἀδελφῶι), Theophanes, to send him greetings "from all the brethren with us" (οἱ σὺν ἡμῖν ἀδελφοί) and prayers.

Accοrding to M. Choat (in Choat and Giorda 2017: 48n.) "P. Herm. 4 [...] has frequently been assumed to be a non-Christian letter, but the writers are almost certainty Christians themselves, and there is no certainty that Theophanes [a high ranking resident of Hermopolis] himself is not one" (see Choat 2006b, and already Moscadi 1970:130-132, no. 9). E. Wipszycka includes this letter among the Christian letters (with P.Herm. 5) of Theophanes' archive, noting that one of the senders bears a definitely Christian name, Iohannes (Wipszycka 1988: 143).

Recto: literary hand; text written along the fibres; lower part left blank. Verso: Address, also along the fibres.

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts, Christian onomastics
Date from317
Date to323
Dating criteria

Range of Theophanes archive (ca. 317-323).

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Acquired by Grenfell and Hunt, possibly at the same time as 36 other Theophanes papyri acquired in the late 1890s or early 1900s (see the online record on the University of Manchester website).

Accession number

Manchester, John Rylands Library P. Herm. 4


Editio princeps:

• Rees, Brinley R. 1964. Papyri from Hermopolis and Other Documents of the Byzantine Period. Egypt Exploration Society, Graeco-Roman Memoirs 42. London, 7-8 no. 4.

Additional bibliography:

Choat, Malcolm and Maria Chiara Giorda. 2017. Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 9. Leiden-Boston,48

Choat, Malcolm. 2006a. Belief and Cult in Fourth-Century Papyri. Studia Antiqua Australiensia 1. Turnhout: Brepols, 90-92, 158

Choat, Malcolm. 2006b. “The Public and Private Worlds of Theophanes of Hermopolis Magna.” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 88, 41-75.

Moscadi, Alessandro. 1970. "Le lettere dell' archivio di Teofane". Aegyptus 50,  88-154.

Matthews, John. 2006. The journey of Theophanes. Travel, business, and daily life in the Roman East, New Haven, London:Yale University press, 30.

Naldini, Mario. 1968. Il cristianesimo in Egitto. Lettere private nei papiri dei secoli II-IV. Studi e Testi di Papirologia. 3. Firenze: Le Monnier, n°38.

Wipszycka, Ewa. 1988. "La christianisation de l'Égypte au IVe – VIe siècles. Aspects sociaux et ethniques." Aegyptus 68, 177-165 (esp. 143).

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 223", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,