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Artefact ID335
TM IDTM 32418
Findspot (DEChriM ID)34   (Ǧabal al-Ṭārif)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Nag Hamm. 78: Letter to Sansnos.

Non contiguous fragments of a letter from Zaccheos introducing one Herakleios ("our brother") to Sansnos. According to the address on the back, the letter is sent by Zaccheos "priest" to "[his] beloved brother Sansnos, priest".

M. Choat notes that "Zaccheos calls himself a presbyteros; on the analogy of the many presbyteroi who we encounter connected to monasteries throughout the fourth-century papyri, he could easily have been a monk" (Choat and Giorda 2017: 54).

Sansnos is the same person as the priest in P.Nag Hamm. 77, and most likely also as the monk in P.Nag Hamm. 72 or the "beloved father" in P.Nag Hamm. 68, see M. Choat (in Choat and Giorda 2017: 35-36); about the letters addressed to him, see also Bagnall 2018: 80-85.

Recto: written along fibres. Verso: address, along fibres.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Nomina sacra
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 (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 20 - 21 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, 75-76: no. 78.

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 335", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,