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Artefact ID538
TM IDTM 33571
Findspot (DEChriM ID)55   (Qarāra)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Neph. 20: Report from a speculator to a riparius

The letter contains the report of a speculator (whose name is illegible), to a certain Fronto, in whom the editors recognise a riparius of the Herakleopolites. The report concerns the result of his investigation, which he carried out on the occasion of disputes that had broken out between the inhabitants of Nesoi and the police of Thelbo (see also P.Neph. 19). In his account, the speculator seems to believe the statements of the inhabitants of Nesoi and emphasises the bona fides of the priest (πρεσβύτερος) who should be kept out of the matter. The editors suggest that this could be an indication that this priest, in the context of the archive, is the famous priest Nepheros himself.

Recto: indented terminal greetings, in a much more cursive hand. Writing runs along the fibres.
Verso: address, along the fibres.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions, 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

Heidelberg, Institute for Papyrology, P. G 2148


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.20

Additional bibliography

• 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).

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 538", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,