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Artefact ID522
TM IDTM 33556
Findspot (DEChriM ID)55   (Qarāra)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Neph. 2: Letter from Paulos to Nepheros

Fragmentary letter of which the names of sender and recipient are lost but can be guessed. The letter contains a reminder to the recipient to take the sixteen artabs of wheat which Papnuthis owes the sender,  and the usual request for prayers and greetings to the monastic brothers in Hathor. 
The mention of the loan of wheat suggests that the papyrus comes from a letter of Paulos to Nepheros. It is, however, conceivable that not only Paulos but also his wife Tapiam should be regarded as the sender, for the letter bears certain similarities to P.Neph. 1 which do not occur elsewhere in the correspondence.

Recto: Script written in a hand similar to P.Neph. 1, but more careful, until line 8, when the hand becomes more cursive. Maybe the hand of a different writer who could be Paulos; concluding salutations centered to the right (as usual in 4th c.); the Greek is correct; no diacritics are used (Bagnall 2018: 89). Writing runs along the fibres.
Recto: Address, along the fibres (reused for accounts, edited as P.Neph. 37)

Selection criteriaMention of Christian individuals/communities, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Christian onomastics
Date from350
Date to370
Dating criteria

Palaeography, archive connection and historic context led the editors to suggest a range of date around 360 for the Nepheros correspondence (Kramer and Shelton 1987: 5). According to the study of the prices mentioned in the archive, Bagnall 1989: 75 (= BL IX, 173) suggests a range after 352.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

The P.Neph. were bought on the market but according to the seller they were all found together. Nothing in the archive led the editors to doubt this statement and they add that the archive were probably found in the direct vicinity of the ancient location of the monastery of Phathor (see Kramer and Shelton 1987: 5).

Accession number

Trier, University Library, P.UB Trier S 073-07 9(18) + 20(a)



Editio princeps

• Kramer, Bärbel and John. C. Shelton (ed.). 1987. Das Archiv des Nepheros und verwandte Texte. Part I, Das Archiv des Nepheros. Aegyptiaca Treverensia IV. Mainz, no. 2.

Additional bibliography

• Bagnall, Roger. 2018. "The Educational and Cultural Background of Egyptian Monks." In Monastic Education in Late Antiquity. The Transformation of Classical Paideia, edited by L. Larsen and S. Rubenson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 75-100.

• Bagnall, Roger. 1989. "Dating the archive of Nepheros. " In "Fourth-Century Prices: New Evidence and Further Thoughts." Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 76, 69-76 (esp. 75).

• Choat, Malcolm. 2017. "Monastic Letters on Papyrus from Late Antique Egypt." In Writing and Communication in Early Egyptian Monasticism, edited by M. Choat and M. Ch. Giorda. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 17-72.

• Wispzycka; Ewa. 2009. Moines et communautés monastiques (IVe – VIIIe siècles). Journal of Juristic Papyrology Suppl. 11.  Varsovie, 81-85.


Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 522", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,