ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 329-333
Silvia Strassi, L'archivio di Claudius Tiberianus da Karanis. Archiv
fir Papyrusforschung, Beiheft 26). Berlin and New York: Walter de
Gruyter, 2008. xlix + 194 pages. ISBN 978-3-11-020119-2.
This volume presents and argues for significant reinterpretations of an
archive of letters from second-century Karanis, discovered together in a niche
under the stairs of a large house. The archive is bound together by the person
of Claudius Tiberianus, a speculator in the Roman army and very likely the
occupant of the house where the papyri were found, although the author of
most of the letters is Claudius Terentianus, first a sailor in the Alexandrian fleet
and then a soldier in an unnamed legion. At first glance the book appears to
be intended as a republication of the archive, but that is not exactly the case.
Except for a few readings (discussed below), the text is taken from earlier
editions, and there are no line notes. Moreover, as Strassi points out, there are
unpublished papyri from the same find still awaiting editing (Arthur Verhoogt
has provided her with information about these, which is cited from time to
time). A full papyrological edition of the archive is thus still to be awaited.
The volume consists of a short introduction, a massive bibliography, texts
with Italian translation and footnotes, an index to the texts, followed by four
chapters with a brief conclusion, an appendix broadly rejecting the connection
of SB 6.9636 with the archive, and indexes to the volume (that is, to the introduction and the chapters). The substance of the volume is in the four chapters,
in which Strassi considers the Schreibort of the letters, their dates, the families
of Tiberianus and Terentianus, and their friends. The texts serve mainly to save
the reader from having to consult the original publication by H.C. Youtie and
J.G. Winter in PMich. 8 (1951).1
The archive is well known, because seven of the letters are written in Latin
and compose one of the most important and coherent groups of letters in that
language.2 Strassi's interest in this archive, however, is not linguistic but historical. It began with her work on Sokrates son of Sarapion, the tax collector.3 From
that basis it extended more generally to second-century society in Karanis.
She found the prevailing interpretations of the letters to Tiberianus, mostly
from Terentianus, unsatisfying. That dissatisfaction, as we shall see, centers
1 Which, as Strassi points out, ignored the archaeological context of the archive, as
with the rest of the Karanis papyri in the Michigan collection published in that era.
2 The introduction discusses this literature briefly; cf. also the review of Strassi's book
by J. Kramer, APF 54 (2008) 248-251.
3 "Le carte di XwKp6Tfl Xctptiw0voR, T(paKTWCp ApyuptKwv a Karanis nel II sec. d. C.,"
Atti del XXII Congresso Internazionale di Papirologia (Florence 2001) 2:1215-1228.