Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 48 (2011) 71-77
A Byzantine Loan of Money
Klaas A. Worp Leiden University
Edition of a sixth-century loan of money with repayment in kind.
This papyrus fragment, measuring 13.5 (H.) x 13.7 (W) cm, was acquired
in 1976 by the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden from a Dutch private
citizen; it is now kept there under the inventory number RMO 1976/4.36.1
Only the right-hand edge has been preserved more or less intact; the other
three sides of the fragment are damaged and incomplete. If the restoration of
the formula in 1. 3 is correct (see note ad loc.), approximately 40 letters are lost
in the lacuna at the left-hand side of the papyrus. Furthermore, there is some
damage in 1. 3 (by <-+ folding), while a dark spot occurs on the left-hand side
of 11. 6-7. At the bottom, some fibers need to be straightened.
The precise provenance of the text is unknown; an Upper Egypt provenance is indicated by the mention of talents.2 Furthermore, there is a vague
indication that it may come from the Hermopolite nome (see 11. 10-11n.).
The handwriting (by a skilled writer against the fibers, i.e. transversa charta) can be assigned broadly to the sixth century CE (though a date to the late
fifth century cannot be excluded).
A few large, X-shaped crosses have been drawn over the text. This chiasmos shows that the text was cancelled after the loan was repaid.
The verso features a diagonal ink smudge and an ink trace that may come
from a letter (pi?). Maybe this character was actually written on the recto, as
at this place a papyrus fiber may need to be turned around.
1 I am grateful to the curator papyrorum of the Museum, Dr. Maarten Raven, for
kindly giving me permission to publish this papyrus. It is my sincere pleasure to record
here with gratitude the assistance given by Drs. Alette V. Bakkers, former assistant of
the Leiden Papyrological Institute, to my work on this papyrus. Finally, I am grateful to
the journal editors and the anonymous referee of this article for submitting a number
of stimulating suggestions and observations.
2 See 1. 4 and my observation on the use of talents in Byzantine Egypt (attested, after
the elimination of some dubious attestations in Oxyrhynchite documents, only in the
Thebaid) in ZPE 172 (2010) 167-169.