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Artefact ID224
TM IDTM 21124
Findspot (DEChriM ID)30   (al-Ašmūnayn)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Herm. 5: Letter from Hermodoros to Theophanes

Hermodoros sends salutations and good wishes to Theophanes (maybe his brother in law), hoping to hear from him "from the favour of the omnipotent God" (παρὰ τῆς τοῦ παντο|κράτ̣[ορ]ο̣ς θεοῦ χ̣άριτος), and informs him that his sons attend to their business and to their public services.

The similarity of hand and of Christian phraseology with P.Herm. 4 led Moscadi (1970: 133) to suggest that Hermodoros was one of "all the brethren with us" mentioned by John and Leon in P.Herm. 4, thus not unlikely a Christian too. Choat (2006: 92) notes that "in the context of the archive, this places Christians within the family of Theophanes, part of a social circle which included several identifiable non-Christians".


Recto: literary hand using iota adscript, occasional punctuation, breathing and accents over ambiguous words (Turner 1987: 118; Fournet 2009: 35-36; Bagnall 2018: 80). Verso: address, written across the fibres.

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts
Date from317
Date to323
Dating criteria

Range of Theophanes archive (ca. 317-323)

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context-
Accession number

Manchester, John Rylands Library P. Herm. 5


Editio princeps:

• Rees, Brinley R. 1964. Papyri from Hermopolis and Other Documents of the Byzantine Period. Egypt Exploration Society, Graeco-Roman Memoirs 42. London, 8-10, no. 5.

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.

• Bastianini, Guido. 1983. "Note a P. Herm.Rees 5. Lettera di Ermodoro a Teofane." Anagennesis 3, 161-165.

Choat, Malcolm. 2006a. Belief and Cult in Fourth-Century Papyri. Studia Antiqua Australiensia 1. Turnhout: Brepols, 91-92, 107, 158, 173.

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

• Fournet, Jean-Luc. 2009. « Esquisse d'une anatomie de la lettre antique tardive d'après les papyrus. » In Correspondances. Documents pour l'histoire de l'Antiquité tardive, edited by R. Delmaire, J. Desmulliez et P.-L. Gatier. Collection de la Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée 40, Série littéraire et philosophique 13, Paris, p. 23-66 (text, translation and commentary, p. 54-56).

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, 23-25.

• 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. 27.

• Turner, Eric G. 1987. Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World. Bulletin Supplement 46. London (2nd ed. Revised and Enlarged by P.J. Parsons).

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 224", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,