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Artefact ID350
TM IDTM 32659
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Lond. VI 1926: Letter to Papnouthios.

Valeria, a layperson, addresses her letter "to the most valued and Christ-bearing and adorned with every virtue Appa Papnouthios", with "greetings in Christ". The whole letter is a request for the holy man's prayers. She suffers indeed from a great disease, a "terrible shortness of breath" and trusts that by his prayers she will obtain healing "for by ascetics and devotees revelations are manifested".

Although the orthography and grammar of this letter are the poorest of the whole collection, Bell notes that there is no change of hand in the final greeting and the letter is likely to have been written by the sender herself, probably a woman of some position. Even if the object of the letter is merely to ask for prayers, her letter has more detail and a personal touch that is wanting in others.

Recto: clear and fluent hand, with few ligatures; no nomina sacra (but supralinear stroke on εν in ἐν Χριστῷ); text written along the fibres. Verso: address, along the fibres.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, Christian terms/formulas/concepts
Date from325
Date to375
Dating criteria

No date occurs in the archive but palaeographically dated to the middle of the fourth century by comparison with the archive of Abinnaeus (c. 342-351).

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Purchased with a lot comprising Papyri 2486-2542 from Maurice Nahman (b. 1868, d. 1948) in September 1922 (British Library website). According to the dealer, the seven letters of the correspondence of Papnouthios were discovered together, but there is no information regarding the place of discovery (Bell 1924: 100).

Accession number

London, British Library, Pap 2494


Editio princeps:

· Bell, Harold I. 1924. Jews and Christians in Egypt. The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy. London: British Museum, 108-110, no. 1926.

Additional bibliography:

· Bagnall, Roger and Raphaella Criobiore. 2006. Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt 300 BC – AD 800. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 205.

· Choat, Malcolm and Maria Chiara Giorda. 2017. Writing and Communication in Early Monasticism. Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 9. Leiden-Boston, 29-33.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 350", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,