‘To the father, many greetings’

Here it is a third post dedicated to private letters from Tebtunis (for the previous two posts see http://blogs.lib.berkeley.edu/tebtunis-papyri.php/snapshot-from-a-letter and http://blogs.lib.berkeley.edu/tebtunis-papyri.php/trip-to-the-city). It was not my intention to create a mini-series of posts focused on one particular type of document, but this new letter somehow complements the previous two already discussed in this blog.

The letter belongs to that category of documents which shed light on the life and activities of the Greeks or Greco-Egyptians of Tebtunis. Dated to the first or second century AD, it is addressed to a father, whose name ends in -ianus. A possible integration is Titanianus. The tone is both familiar and business-like. I won’t give now the full details of the letter, as a proper edition will be provided in due course, but here is the content at a glance. The addressee, whose name is lost unfortunately, is informing his father about some personal matters (something or someone is giving him good rest), and a few references are made about the running of a property. He then adds that a certain Claudis has brought him something, possibly a letter. A last request is made that something should be given to the ‘one who is delivering the letter’. In all likelihood father and son belonged to the Hellenized landowning elite of the village and were partners in business. Letters concerning the management and administration of private (or even public) estates are well attested in Roman Egypt. They are exchanged not only between business partners, or between managers and supervisors, but also between those relatives who were jointly responsible for the running of their estate, like in the case of our letter to the fater. A similar situation is probably to be found in the letter about a trip to the the city discussed on 12 December, 2014 http://blogs.lib.berkeley.edu/tebtunis-papyri.php/trip-to-the-city, where the two correspondents are likely to have been two brothers. Interestingly, the three unpublished letters discussed in this blog all seem to exhibits the ‘world’ of the Greeks or Hellenized Egyptians, where an exchange of information about the correspondents’ personal life and health is combined with requests related to work and business of various kind.