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Artefact ID320
TM IDTM 32411
Findspot (DEChriM ID)34   (Ǧabal al-Ṭārif)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Nag Hamm. 69: Letter from Sansnos to Aphrodisios.

Sansnos writes to his "beloved brother" (τῷ ἀγαπυτῷ ἀδε̣[λφῷ) Aphrodisios about shepherds and animals. Because of spelling and grammar, the details are difficult to understand, but Sansnos seems to be reproaching Aphrodisios for having failed to send food for some paidia and informs him of some matters concerning sheep and goats.

Greetings in the Lord (ἐν κυρίῳ) written in full (l. 2).

Recto: text along the fibres. Verso: blank.


Whereas the ed. pr. states that it is doubtful that this Sansnos is the same as the priest Sansnos of PNH 77-78 and/or monk Sansnos of PNH 72 (see Barns et al. 1981: 8-9), Choat 2017: 35, n. 97 suggests that there is only one Sansnos in the group of letters. See also Bagnall 2018: 80-81 who indicates that "the letter is written by, or in the name of, the monk Sansnos" and "makes a poor impression of the writer’s education. Nonetheless, the hand is practiced enough".

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts
Date from325
Date to375
Dating criteria

Palaeography. Also, other waste papyri recovered from the same cartonnage used to construct the Nag Hammadi codex VII include contracts dated 341, 346 and 348 (PNH 65).

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

The leather covers of eight of the twelve Nag Hammadi codices found in a sealed jar by Egyptian agricultural workers in 1945 (see ID 23) had been strengthened by cartonnage made of waste papyri. This papyrus comes from the richest of these cartonnages, codex VII.

Accession number

Cairo, Coptic Museum Nag Hamm. VII 9 c


Editio princeps

• Barns, J.W.B., G.M. Browne and J.C. Shelton (ed.). 1981. Nag Hammadi Codices. Greek and Coptic Papyri from the Cartonnage of the Covers. Nag Hammadi Studies XVI. Leiden, 61-63: no. 68.

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, 75-100.

• Choat, Malcolm and Maria Chiara Giorda (ed.). 2017. Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 9. Leiden-Boston, 33-36.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 320", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,