Get Social With Us



Artefact ID528
TM IDTM 21449
Findspot (DEChriM ID)55   (Qarāra)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Neph. 8: Letter from Paulos to Nepheros.
Paulos writes to "his beloved lord father and brother Nepheros" to thank him for having sent a letter and inform him about business matters: Gennadios has sold six bundles of an unknown product, and, with the money, bought 5 sextarii of oil, pitch and iron (see P.Neph. 5 about the shortage of iron in Alexandria). The second part of the letter is difficult to understand but Paulos seems to refer to a letter of Nepheros in which one Horion was mentioned who has apparently been promised by a woman in the Parembole, the military camp in Alexandria, to give him money for Paulos. The letter ends with greetings to the community (partially lost). A final postscript was added in the left margin about Papnouthis who still refuses to pay back what he owes and will have to take an oath and not be welcome to the mass anymore.


Recto: upright cursive, spacing in l. 2 before Paulos, final ν replaced with supralinear stroke at the end of lines, irregular use of diaeresis. Text written parallel with the fibres.

Verso: address parallel with the fibres.

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 this letter, 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

Heidelberg, Institut für Papyrologie P.Heid. Inv. G 2143


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. 8.

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 (esp. 85-96).

• 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 (esp. 25-29).

• Wispzycka, Ewa. 2009. Moines et communautés monastiques (IVe – VIIIe siècles). Journal of Juristic Papyrology Suppl. 11. Varsovie, 81-82.


Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 528", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,