Report on Papyri (Dr. Askren): July, August, September 1922

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Oct. 2, 1922

These papyri fall into two lots, viz: (A) a small set of 8 bought separately and to be priced apart from the others; (B) the residue of the Darb el-Gerza find of an archive of the reigns of Gaius, Claudius & Nero, of which some fine rolls and a number of fragments were acquired last year as part of the joint purchase by the B. M., Michigan, Cornell, Princeton, & Geneva, and were divided among the contributors (except Michigan).

Lot A

Apart from the two Coptic papyri, these consist of Greek documents of the 2nd century, very likely all coming from a find recently made at Theadelphia. This I infer from the fact that a number of Theadelphia. This I infer from the fact that a number of Theadelphia papyri, largely but not entirely of about the reign of Hadrian, have appeared in the market lately, several in the collection brought by Nahman this summer and a few in Lot B below. The single pieces are:

1. Coptic account. 7th cent. Writing both sides. Complete 8 3/4" x 3 3/4".

2. Coptic contract. 7th cent. (?) Perfect. 4 1/4" x 8".

3. Very cursively written document dated in the 21st year of Hadrian (A.D. 136-7), character at present uncertain. Theadelphia. Probably nearly complete. 5" x 2 1/4".

4. Receipt for money, apparently dated in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Theadelphia. Very cursively written. Complete but damaged and defaced. 7" x 3 1/4".

5. Receipt. Dated Epeiph 12, 17 Hadrian (=A.D.133). Theadelphia. Slightly imperfect on the left. 6 1/2" x 2 1/2".

6. register (list of names). Parts of 4 columns. 2nd cent. 7 3/4" x 12 1/2".

7. Recto. Money account, probably official; two imperfect cols. 2nd cent. Verso. Account of hay; 1 short complete column, preceded by scanty remains of 1 col. in blacker ink. 2nd cent. 9" x 7 1/4".

8. Imperfect and defaced document, apparently a register or account. 2nd century. 9" x 6 3/4".

Lot B

These belong, as stated above, to the Darb el-Gerza find, and are of the same character as those acquired last year; that is, they are mainly taxation accounts, census lists, and registers of various kinds, with a few letters and some petitions, returns, etc. The presence in this lot of several notifications of death addressed to the comogrammateus of Philadelphia suggests that the archive was that of one or other ( or perhaps of a seccession) of the commogrammateis. Mixed up with the main body of papyri are a few from Thedelphia and one (Packet VI, no.15) 4th cent. petition; but the bulk of the collection consists of the Philadelphia archive. Nearly all the dated papyri are of the reign of Claudius, but there are a few (in this and last year's lot) from the early years of Nero, one or two (in last year's lot only) of Gaius, and one (Packet VI, no.10) apparentyl of the 18th year, which can only be that of Tiberius (A.D.31-2).

The papyri have been rejected by the Cairo dealers on the ground that, being only registers, they were of no value. They are certainly, at first sight (with several notable exceptions), rather unprepossessing; often in bad condition, usually very cursively written, and in difficult therefore to decipher or elucidate; but I believe they will prove to be of very considerable historical interest. They will make it possible to form a fairly complete idea of the population and general condition of Philadelphia in the middle of the 1st cent., and will also throw light on the activities of the comogrammateis. It is highly desirable that the whole collection should be published in one lot, and I venture to repeat the suggestion made last year, that there shoulf be a joint publication of the London, Geneva, Michigan, Princeton, and Cornell papyri from this archive. Such a publication would be of real importance for the economic history of the Fayum.

The majority of these registers are imperfect, and some fragments are too small to be of any (or much) value, but there are several large papyri in excellent preservation, and even the smaller fragments acquire from their connexion with the others and the consequent possibility of dating and localizing them a value which they would not possess in isolation. On the whole, given the present state of the market, the price paid for the collection does not seem to me exorbitant.

The papyri being mostly registers, the exact nature of which is in most cases not possible to determine without a detailed examination of the whole collection, I have not thought it worth while to describe the single pieces separately. I give below notes on the more important of the papyri which are not registers. The references are to the various packets (Roman numerals) and the numbers of the documents in each (Arabic numerals). Documents from Theadelphia are marked Th in the margin.

II.1 Letter. Dated in the reign (perhaps 10th year =A.D. 49-50) of Claudius. Slightly imperfect and somewhat defaced. 11" x 4 3/4".

II.4 Receipt for the dyke-tax. Dated in Mecheir, 11 Claudius (=A.D.51). Slightly imperfect on the right. 6 1/4" x 3".

II.12 Notification of death. Philadelphia. Reign (? 7th year) of Claudius. Imperfect at the foot. 4 1/2" x 3".

III.10 Conclusion of a letter. 6 3/4" x 5 1/2".

III.14 Deposit of money. Theadelphia. Dated 16 Pachon, 13 Hadrian (=A.D.129). Cancelled by lines across it. Practically complete but slightly defaced by rubbing in places. 7" x 3".

III.16 Notification of death, Choiach, 9(?) Claudiius (=A.D.48). Philadelphia. Perfect. 6 1/4" x 3 3/4".

III.17 Report, in the shape of a letter, on________ registered. Very illiterate Greek. Interesting. Lower part lost. 8th year (of Claudius, = A.D.47-8; or does refer to the age of the _________?) 5 1/2" x 5 1/2".

III.19 Letter. Very imperfect. 3 1/2" x 4 3/4".

III.21 Beginning of a letter. 1 3/4" x 2 1/4".

? Th III(22) Receipt. Dated Phaophi 6, 16 Hadrian (=A.D.131). Nearly complete. 5 1/2" x 3 1/4".

? Th III(23) Tax-receipt. 2nd year of Hadrian (=A.D.117-8). 8" x 3 1/2".

? Th III(26) Fragment of a petition. Dated Phamenoth 3, 18 (?) Hadrian (A.D. 134). 3 1/2" x 2 1/2".

IV.11 Notification of death. 7th year of Claudius (=A.D. 46-7). Philadelphia. Slightly imperfect above and below. 7" x 3".

IV.13 Letter, apparently official, to Claudius Nemesion. Probably reign of Claudius. Complete but damaged in places. 11 1/4" x 3 1/4".

IV.15 Letter or petition. Imperfect in the upper part. 8" x 6".

IV.22 Draft of a report by a (Alexander ?), strategus (this seems to be the reading) of the Division of Heraclides and Polemon (sic). Probably of the mid 1st cent. like the others; important therefore for the (temporary) union of these Divisions. 10 1/2" x 9 3/4".

V.19 1 col. of a money account, followed by (in a different hand) a draft of a petition by a _________ of Philadelphia to ---conc. the collection for the 10th year of Claudius -A.D.49-50. 11 3/4" x 9" (at present, but core of roll not unrolled).

VI.1 Beginning of what was probably a notification of death. Philadelphia. 3 1/2" x 3 1/4".

VI.15 Fragment of petition. 4th cent. 6 3/4".

The total number of items in Lots A and B is 130.

H. I. Bell
British Museum

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