Get Social With Us



Artefact ID539
TM IDTM 21459
Findspot (DEChriM ID)55   (Qarāra)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary

P.Neph. 48: Sale of a house

The text is fragmentary and details are missing, but it contains a sale contract concerning a house. The contracting parties are two inhabitants of the "Mount Phathor" in the Herakleopolites, one of whom, the purchaser, is expressly described as a monk; the seller, who had previously lived in Oxyrhynchites and left it to settle in Phathor, inherited the object of sale from a priest named Dioskoros, which strongly suggests that he too was a monk. These indications make it clear that the "Mount Hathor" here is identical to the desert or mountain where the monastery of Phathor mentioned ten years later in P.Lond VI 1913 was located.

According to the editor, at the time of the contract, the monks on Hathor apparently did not live in a communal monastic complex, but in private houses that belonged to them and, as the text shows, were even quite large and furnished in a way that we do not really expect from a monastic dwelling (at least three rooms here, including a linen weaving workshop, a staircase to an upper floor). Presumably, then, Hathor is a summary name for the settlements of the monks, and it only later became a monastic district and a monastery.

The script is a slightly clumsy cursive typical of the 4th c. The scribe has made many mistakes that could be an indication that he was a Copt.

Selection criteriaMention of Christian cult officials/institutions
Date from323
Date to323
Dating criteria

Dated to the 4th c. in but the date formula was later corrected to September 15th, 323 (BL IX, 174).

Absolute/relative dateAbsolute date
Archaeological context-
Accession number

Heidelberg, Institut für Papyrologie P.Heid. Inv. G 1509


Editio princeps

• Kramer, Bärbel in B.Kramer and John. C. Shelton (ed.). 1987. Das Archiv des Nepheros und verwandte Texte. Part II, Verwandte Texte aus der Heidelberger Papyrussammlung, nos. 43—49 Greek. Aegyptiaca Treverensia IV. Mainz, no. 48.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 539", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,