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Artefact ID324
TM IDTM 32414
Findspot (DEChriM ID)34   (Ǧabal al-Ṭārif)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Nag Hamm. 72: Letter to Sansnos and Psas.

A woman named Proteria writes "to the monks Sansnos and Psas" (Σανσνῶτ̣ι̣ κ̣α̣ὶ̣ Π̣σ̣άτος | μοναχοῖς̣) to request that they seek out a little chaff that can be purchased for use as fodder for her donkeys. She asks that they inform her about the price and transport cost.

Recto: written along the fibres. Flowing, ligatured hand characteristic of experienced writers of the period. Verso: address, along the fibres.

About the letters addressed to Sansnos, probably the same person as the priest in P.Nag Hamm. 77 and 78 or the "beloved father" in P.Nag Hamm. 68, see M. Choat (in Choat and Giorda 2017: 35-36) and Bagnall 2018: 80-85.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Mention of Christian individuals/communities
Date from325
Date to375
Dating criteria

On palaeographic grounds, Bagnall and Cribiore 2006: 206 date the letter from the 340s or shortly before. Also, other waste papyri recovered from the same cartonnage used to construct the Nag Hammadi codex VII include contracts dated 341, 346 and 348 (P.Nag Hamm. 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 12 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, 69-70: no. 72.

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 (esp. 80-85).

• Bagnall, R. and Raphaella Cribiore. 2006. Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt. 300 BC–AD 800. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan press, 206-207.

• 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.

• Llewelyn, S.R. 1992. New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity 6. Ancient History Documentary Research Centre. Macquarie University, §27.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 324", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,