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Artefact ID497
TM IDTM 69065
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumUncertain
Text contentSubliterary

PSI Com6 9

Part of a papyrus folio (7 x 12.5 cm) containing a (possibly Gnostic) hymn or prayer to Christ with the topic of death. The possibility of the folio having belonged to a codex is to be discarded, given that the beginning of the text seems to contain a doxological incipit, while the end of it corresponds to a conclusive anaphora.

The fragment preserves 12 lines of text on the recto, and 14 lines on the verso. The text is written in a single column, and parts of the upper and lower margins have survived; the side margins are lost. 

Although overall informal and rather inexpert, the hand employs the uncial and random ligatures (epsilon-iota and alpha-iota). More interestingly, however, the fragment features an irregular use of supralinear slashes and enlarged space to indicate word division. This was probably done so as to guide the singing/performance of the ode; see Römer 2005: 338. The text contains only one nomen sacrum (for θεόν in vo l. 6).

The hymn itself is of high quality. Römer compares the vocabulary to that of the Church fathers of the 4th/5th c., see Römer 2005: 338. Highly uncommon in an orthodox text, some expressions ("intellectual light" [νοερὸν φῶς], ro l. 2; "dark body" [σώματι σκοτεινῷ], vo l. 11; "impure flesh" [ἀκαθάρτῳ σαρκί], vo l. 12; "blood of death" [αἷμα θανάτου], vo l. 12-13; Christ defined as "son of greatness" [υἱὸς τῆς μεγαλωσύνης], ro l. 3-4) belong rather to the Gnostic repertoire, while the prayer to "not partake in the dark body and impure flesh" betrays ascetic accents. The text ends with a request for "eternal peace", which might suggest a prayer for the dead.

Selection criteriaSubliterary genre (Liturgical), Nomina sacra
Date from300
Date to499
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The ed. pr. places the informal hand in the late 4th or the 5th c.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Provenance is unknown.

Accession number

Florence, Istituto Papirologico ’G. Vitelli’, PSI inv. 1411


Editio princeps:

∙ Azzarà, Silvia. 2005. Comunicazioni dell' Istituto Papirologico G. Vitelli VI. Florence, 72-80, no. 9 (5) and pl. 7-8. 

Additional bibliography:

∙ Römer, C. 2005. "Christliche Texte VIII (2004-2005)". Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete 51 (2), 338-339.

Sofia Heim, Victor Ghica, 2021, 2022
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, Victor Ghica, 2021, 2022, "Artefact ID 497", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,