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Artefact ID401
TM IDTM 397802
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentSubliterary

ZPE 194 (2015): 177-183 (no. 1); P.Mich. inv. 4451 a

The fragment preserves parts of two columns with iatromagical text containing an invocation of the Archangels. Its content roughly resembles the christian formulary of Suppl.Mag. II 96 (5th c., Herakleopolites), and is furthermore compared by the to  P.Oxy. XI 1384 (5th c., Oxyrhynchus) for the blend of pharmacological content and Christian apocryphal themes.

The different sections of text are separated by long, horizontal lines (8 lines on the recto, 4 on the verso), similar to the lines used in P.Berl. inv. 17202. The text makes use of one nomen sacrum (for κυριοός "Lord") and two, different magical characters (recto, l. 8).

The text of the recto and verso appears to be written by the same hand, and the changeable text direction between the sides indicates that the fragment is an opistograph. The ed. pr. notes that the script is irregular and slanting, and that the scribe makes substantial use of ligatures which is indicative of sub-literary hand. A kollesis is visible on the recto running down the centre of the fragment.

The verso contains an invocation of "the name of the Lord" τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυριοῦ and three archangels (l. 8-11) which places the text within a Christian context resembling the Jewish magical tradition; see the ed. pr. The Lord's name and the Archangels (Michael, Raphael and Misael) are summoned, in combination with the taking of vinegar, as part of a treatment for dog-bites.

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts, Nomina sacra
Date from350
Date to499
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The ed. pr. dates the fragment to the 4/5 c. from comparisons with  Harrauer 204 (17th of April, 344, Herakleopolites) and Harrauer 230 (20th of September, 462, Oxyrhynchus) and Heitsch XXXII (late 4/early 5th c.,  Mnemoneia-Djeme).

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Provenance is unknown.

The papyrus was part of a lot purchased jointly by Dr. David Askren and Prof. Kelsey Boak in 1925. The ed. pr. suggests an association with the Fayûm due to the involvement of D. Askren.

Accession number

Ann Arbor, Michigan University, Library P. 4451 a [P.Mich.inv. 4451 a]


Editio princeps:

∙ Zellmann-Rohrer, Michael. 2015. "Three Magical Papyri from the Michigan Collection." Zeitschrift Für Papyrologie Und Epigraphik 194. 176-92, papyrus no. 1.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 401", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,