“Greetings to My Sister”: A Letter Home

This is from the Loeb collection of private papyri. Thanks to .@graham_claytor, here’s a link to the text on line

B.G.U. 7.1680 (CE 2nd Century?=Trismegistos 30955)

“Isis sends her mother the most greetings. I make a prayer for you each day before lord Sarapis and the gods who are with him.

I want to tell you that I made it safely and well to Alexandria in four days. I send greetings to my sister and her children, and Elouath and his wife, as well as Diokorous and her husband and son and Tamalis and her husband and son, and Hêron and Ammonarion and her children and her husband and Sanpat and her children. If Aiôn wants to join the army, have him come. For everyone is joining the army.

I pray for you and everyone in the house to be well.

Your daughter, Isis

Ἶσεις Θερμουθίῳ τῇ μητρὶ πλεῖστα χαίρειν. τὸ προσκύνημά σου ποιῶ καθ᾿ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν παρὰ τῷ κυρίῳ [Σ]αράπιδι καὶ τοῖς συννάοις θεοῖς. γεινώσκειν σε θέλω ὅτι εὖ καὶ καλῶς γέγονα εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν ἐν τέσσαρσι ἡμέραις. ἀσπάζομαι τὴν ἀδε[λ]φήν μο[υ] καὶ τὰ παιδία καὶ Ἐλουᾶθ καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ Διοσκοροῦν καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς καὶ τὰ παιδία καὶ Τ[ά]μαλιν καὶ τὸν 7ἄνδρα αὐτῆς καὶ τὸν υἱὸν καὶ Ἥρωνα καὶ Ἀμμωνάριον καὶ τὰ παιδία αὐτῆς καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ Σανπὰτ καὶ τὰ παιδία αὐτῆς. καὶ ἐὰν θελήσῃ Ἀΐων στρατεύσασθαι, ἐρχέσθω· στρατεύονται γὰρ πάντες. ἐρρῶσθαι ⟦σε⟧ ὑμᾶς εὔχομαι πανοικί.
Verso: – – – π](αρὰ) Ἴσειτος θυγατρός.

Here’s a picture of the letter (again, thanks to @graham_claytor)

papyrus page with legible writing; tattered bottom edge
This is a different letter.

“Greetings to My Sister”: A Letter Home

This is from the Loeb collection of private papyri. Thanks to .@graham_claytor, here’s a link to the text on line

B.G.U. 7.1680 (CE 2nd Century?=Trismegistos 30955)

“Isis sends her mother the most greetings. I make a prayer for you each day before lord Sarapis and the gods who are with him.

I want to tell you that I made it safely and well to Alexandria in four days. I send greetings to my sister and her children, and Elouath and his wife, as well as Diokorous and her husband and son and Tamalis and her husband and son, and Hêron and Ammonarion and her children and her husband and Sanpat and her children. If Aiôn wants to join the army, have him come. For everyone is joining the army.

I pray for you and everyone in the house to be well.

Your daughter, Isis

Ἶσεις Θερμουθίῳ τῇ μητρὶ πλεῖστα χαίρειν. τὸ προσκύνημά σου ποιῶ καθ᾿ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν παρὰ τῷ κυρίῳ [Σ]αράπιδι καὶ τοῖς συννάοις θεοῖς. γεινώσκειν σε θέλω ὅτι εὖ καὶ καλῶς γέγονα εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν ἐν τέσσαρσι ἡμέραις. ἀσπάζομαι τὴν ἀδε[λ]φήν μο[υ] καὶ τὰ παιδία καὶ Ἐλουᾶθ καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ Διοσκοροῦν καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς καὶ τὰ παιδία καὶ Τ[ά]μαλιν καὶ τὸν 7ἄνδρα αὐτῆς καὶ τὸν υἱὸν καὶ Ἥρωνα καὶ Ἀμμωνάριον καὶ τὰ παιδία αὐτῆς καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα καὶ Σανπὰτ καὶ τὰ παιδία αὐτῆς. καὶ ἐὰν θελήσῃ Ἀΐων στρατεύσασθαι, ἐρχέσθω· στρατεύονται γὰρ πάντες. ἐρρῶσθαι ⟦σε⟧ ὑμᾶς εὔχομαι πανοικί.
Verso: – – – π](αρὰ) Ἴσειτος θυγατρός.

Here’s a picture of the letter (again, thanks to @graham_claytor)

papyrus page with legible writing; tattered bottom edge
This is a different letter.

An Epitaph for a Dog

Literary Papyri, 109.2

“A dog is interred beneath this marker—
Tauron who was not undone when faced with a killer.
For he encountered a boar in direct combat-
It could not be passed as it puffed out its jaw
And drove a furrow in his chest as it dripped with white foam.
But the dog struck two feet into its back
And grabbed the bristling beast in the middle of its chest
And drove it down into the ground—he made a gift
Of the beast to Hades and died himself, as is the custom for an Indian.
He saved the life of Zenon, the hunter he followed.
So he is buried here beneath this light dust.”

σκύλαξ ὁ τύμβωι τῶιδ᾿ ὕπ᾿ ἐκτερισμένος
Ταύρων, ἐπ᾿ αὐθένταισιν οὐκ ἀμήχανος·
κάπρωι γὰρ ὡς συνῆλθεν ἀντίαν ἔριν,
ὁ μέν τις ὡς ἄπλατος οἰδήσας γένυν
5στῆθος κατηλόκιζε λευκαίνων ἀφρῶι,
ὁ δ᾿ ἀμφὶ νώτωι δισσὸν ἐμβαλὼν ἴχνος
ἐδράξατο φρίσσοντος ἐκ στέρνων μέσων
καὶ γᾶι συνεσπείρασεν· Ἀίδαι δὲ δοὺς
τὸν αὐτόχειρ᾿ ἔθναισκεν, Ἰνδὸν ὡς νόμος.
σώιζων δὲ τὸν κυναγὸν ὧι παρείπετο
Ζήνων᾿ ἐλαφρᾶι τᾶιδ᾿ ὑπεστάλη κόνει.

From the Medieval Bestiary

Holiday Shopping Advice from Claudius Terentianus

As we are right in the fray of holiday shopping season, it’s a great time to consider a few gifts for the people in your life. Why not look to the Roman Empire—a place of great practicality—for inspiration this year?

Claudius Terentianus, an Egyptian who lived in the 1st-2nd century CE and who served in the Roman military in Egypt and Syria, was quite fond of purchasing gifts of the utmost usefulness. As we add things to our shopping carts (either in-person or online) this year, let’s keep in mind some of the gifts Claudius was happy to give. From warm winter clothing to dinnerware, and, yes, even housing for your chickens, there is something here for everyone.

(Be warned—the Latin is very much non-standard)

P. Mich. 8, 467

[m]isi tibi vac. amphoras II olivarum co[lym]bade [un]a et uṇ[a] ṇigrạ…

“I sent you two amphorae of olives, one jar of brined and the other jar of black.”

P. Mich. 8, 468

mịṣị [ti]bi pater…imboluclum concosu[tu]m in quo habes amicla par unu amictoriạ [pa]r unu sabana par unu saccos par unu…sṭṛ[a]glum lini[u]… et [h]abes in imboluclum amictorium sịnglare hunc tibi mater mea misit…

“Father, I sent you a sealed bag in which you have two cloaks, two capes, two towels, two bags, and a linen cover. You also have in the bag a special cloak which my mother sent to you.”

P. Mich. 8, 468

[e]t acc̣ịpiạs caveam gallinaria in qua ha[bes] sunṭhes[  ̣  ̣] vitriae et phialas quinarias p[ar u]nu et calices paria sex et chartas sc[holare]ṣ d[u]ạṣ et in charta atramentum et c̣ạḷamos q̣[u]ị[nq]ụẹ et panes Alexandrinos viginṭi…

“And, you will get a chicken coop in which you have glasses, two quinarius-sized bowls, twelve cups, two writing scrolls, ink (inside the scrolls), five reed pens, and twenty loaves of Alexandrian bread.”

P. Mich. 8, 468

καὶ διὰ…ἄλλο σοι ἀπέσ[τα]λκα.

“And I have sent another (basket).”

(Unfortunately he didn’t mention the contents of the baskets he sent to his sister.)

RomeMerchants (1)

An Epitaph for a Dog

Literary Papyri, 109.2

“A dog is interred beneath this marker—
Tauron who was not undone when faced with a killer.
For he encountered a boar in direct combat-
It could not be passed as it puffed out its jaw
And drove a furrow in his chest as it dripped with white foam.
But the dog struck two feet into its back
And grabbed the bristling beast in the middle of its chest
And drove it down into the ground—he made a gift
Of the beast to Hades and died himself, as is the custom for an Indian.
He saved the life of Zenon, the hunter he followed.
So he is buried here beneath this light dust.”

σκύλαξ ὁ τύμβωι τῶιδ᾿ ὕπ᾿ ἐκτερισμένος
Ταύρων, ἐπ᾿ αὐθένταισιν οὐκ ἀμήχανος·
κάπρωι γὰρ ὡς συνῆλθεν ἀντίαν ἔριν,
ὁ μέν τις ὡς ἄπλατος οἰδήσας γένυν
5στῆθος κατηλόκιζε λευκαίνων ἀφρῶι,
ὁ δ᾿ ἀμφὶ νώτωι δισσὸν ἐμβαλὼν ἴχνος
ἐδράξατο φρίσσοντος ἐκ στέρνων μέσων
καὶ γᾶι συνεσπείρασεν· Ἀίδαι δὲ δοὺς
τὸν αὐτόχειρ᾿ ἔθναισκεν, Ἰνδὸν ὡς νόμος.
σώιζων δὲ τὸν κυναγὸν ὧι παρείπετο
Ζήνων᾿ ἐλαφρᾶι τᾶιδ᾿ ὑπεστάλη κόνει.

From the Medieval Bestiary

Another Casualty of Childbirth

Amyntas, Lit. Pap. 107 = P.Oxy iv.1904

Tell me, woman, who you are, who is your father, and your country.
What kind of great sickness did you die from?

“Stranger, my name is Praksô, and I am Samian
My father was Calliteles and I died giving birth”

Who provided for your tomb? “Theocritus, the man
To whom they married me.” What age did you reach?

“I was three-times-seven plus one.” Were you then childless”
“No, but I left a three year-old child in my home.”

φράζε, γύναι, τίς ἐοῦσα καὶ ἐκ τίνος, εἰπέ τε πάτρην,
καὶ ποίας ἔθανες νούσου ὑπ᾿ ἀργαλέης.
οὔνομα μὲν Πραξὼ Σαμίη, ξένε, ἐκ δὲ γονῆος
Καλλιτέλευς γενόμαν, ἀλλ᾿ ἔθανον τοκετῶι.
τίς δὲ τάφον στάλωσε; Θεόκριτος, ὧι με σύνευνον
ἀνδρὶ δόσαν. ποίην δ᾿ ἦλθες ἐς ἡλικίην;
ἑπταέτις τρὶς ἑνὸς γενόμαν ἔτι. ἦ ῥά γ᾿ἄτεκνος;
οὔκ, ἀλλὰ τριετῆ παῖδα δόμωι λιπόμαν.

Image result for medieval manuscript childbirth
Royal_ms_16_g_viii_f032r_detail

Chickpeas For a Job Offer

P. Cairo Zen. 59192.255 b.c.

Platon writes to Zêno, Hello.

The father of the Demetrios who is bringing this letter to you happens to make a living in the Arsinoite nome. The boy therefore wishes to work there himself. When he learned that you were friendly, some of his friends asked me to write you about him so that you might hire him on. I’d be thankful to you, should you do this favor for me and think of something he may do, whatever you consider to be appropriate, and also keep an eye out for him the rest of the time, if he is in fact useful to you.

As a token of this goodwill I send you two measures of chickpeas from Sosos which cost me five drachmae each. I will also try to buy more if there are any at Naukratis and I will bring them to you myself. Farewell.

P. Cairo Zen. 59192.255 b.c.

1Πλάτων Ζήνω[νι χαί]ρειν. Δημητρίου τοῦ ἀποδιδόντος σοι τὴν ἐπιστολήν, ὡς ἔοικ[εν, ὁ πα]τὴρ τυγχάνει τὰς διατριβὰς ποιούμενος ἐν τ[ῶι] 3Ἀρσινο[ΐτ]ηι νομ[ῶι. βούλε]ται οὖν κα[ὶ αὐ]τὸς ὁ νεανίσκος ἐκεῖ πράττε[ι]ν τ[ι]. πυνθανόμενος δέ σε εἶναι ἐπιε[ι]κῆ ἠξίωσάν τινές με τῶν φίλων γράψαι [σο]ι περ[ὶ αὐ]τ[οῦ], ἵνα κατατάξηις που αὐτὸν π〚.〛αρὰ σοί. καλῶς [οὖν ποι-]ήσεις εὐχαριστήσας ἡμῖν καὶ φροντίσας ἵνα πράττηι τι, ὃ ἂν σὺ δοκιμάζηις 7ἐπιτήδειον εἶναι, καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιμελόμενος αὐτοῦ, ἐάμπερ σοι ἦι χρήσιμ[ος]. σημεῖον δὲ ὅτι σοι ἀπέστειλα παρὰ Σώσου ἐρεβίνθου κριοῦ ἀρ(τάβας) β ἠγορασμένας ἀνὰ (δραχμὰς) ε, πειράσομαι δὲ καὶ ἐγ Ναυκράτεως, ἐὰν ἦι, προσαγοράσαι σοι εἰς ἀρ(τάβας) κ〚. .〛 καὶ αὐτός σοι ἀναγαγεῖν. ἔρρωσο. (ἔτους) λα μηνὸς Δίου ιβ.

Chickpeas.