P.Mich. inv. 3443 Plate I 13.1 x 14.8 cm
    II AD Alexandria

    The papyrus is broken off at the top, the bottom and at the right-hand side. There is a kollesis 8.3 cm from the left edge of the papyrus. The left sheet's fibers run horizontally, and the right sheet's fibers vertically. The right sheet is glued 2.5 cm on top of the left sheet. The ink of the text written over the kollesis is almost effaced or partially lost. There is a small fragment of 0.6 x 1.3 cm, which comes from the right sheet and preserves a letter, π.

    According to the description in the old catalogue, which was compiled in May of 1925 (by H.I. Bell in London) it is a mysterious text. This papyrus came to the University in October 1926. Some words in the first column, μητρός, πλαγίν, τέχνην, γνωστοί, οἰκῶ, σημήν appear here in almost the same way as they are attested in P.Gen. II 111, which records a specific examination of a candidate for entering the ephebate (eiskrisis), dated in the 21st year (probably of Hadrian, AD 137, or Antoninus Pius, AD 158). However, there are some further similarities and some differences between the Geneva and the Michigan text. In the former after the name and the age (ll. 1–4), there is a set of questions asking for some personal details of the candidate: if he has any scar (l. 4; see correction below), his profession (l. 5), his mother's name (ll. 5–6), who presents him (ll. 7–8), the names of his guarantees (ll. 8–10), his place or residence (ll. 11–12), his order of birth among his siblings (ll. 12–13), the names of his siblings (ll. 14–17), and the group in which he belongs (ll. 17–20). The questions and answers are written continuously without being separated by means of spaces or lines. The year and the day that the examination took place follow (ll. 20–21).[1]

    In the Michigan papyrus, the name of the young boy of fourteen years and probably some more days[2] is not known. Διδυμ̣ο̣[ in l. 1 could be his name, but also the name of his father or grandfather. –ευς in l. 2 is the demos. His mother's name is Serapias, daughter of Soterichos (l. 3). He belonged in the unit of Artemon, son of a person whose name is partially preserved (l. 4, [ ̣]ωδ ̣[) and the certificate was taken from the temple of Hadrian in Alexandria, if α̅ is to be considered an abbreviation of Ἁδριανοῦ. His profession is wool-carder (l. 5) and the persons who guarantee him are the brothers of his father, whose names are lost (l. 6). He stays in the Gamma area of Alexandria or Antinoopolis (l. 7) and he has no scar (l. 8).

    Concerning the arrangement of the details in the Michigan text, the answers, similar to the ones in the Geneva text, are put in the right column, except l. 2, where the first question and answer are put both in the right column. The space between the first letters of the columns is 3.5 cm and the space between the end of the text of the first column and the beginning of the second varies from 1 to 1.8 cm. Just below these two columns of the Michigan text, the regnal year, the 16th, follows and then again in two columns the titles and the names of the gymnasium officials. The offices are in ascending order of importance.

    In the Michigan papyrus the left column contains nouns, adjectives and verbs and not interrogative sentences as in the Geneva text. Of course these words followed by a question mark could be considered as playing the role of simple questions. This could be easily understandable and could apply to the nouns and adjectives, which are given in different cases, nominative (γνωστοί), genitive (μητρός), accusative (τέχνην), nominative or accusative (πλαγίν and the form σημήν, if my proposal below is acceptable). However, it could be difficult to consider the first singular οἰκῶ as a question. If the Michigan text is not exactly a questionnaire, as the Geneva text is, then, what kind of document could this be? There are three periods under which this document could be submitted: before, during and after the examination. All the documents we have so far deal with proceedings before and after the examination and are totally different. They are either applications of the parents of the young boy to enter the ephebate[3] or extracts written at the end of the interview.[4] If it was submitted during the interview (as the Geneva text), the only probable scenario is that the young boy (not his parents, because this is the person who explicitly speaks or writes, and not someone else) entered the room where the examination took place having in his hand this kind of personal application, and he could expect this application to be approved by the mentioned Alexandrian gymnasium officials who were in charge in this year. Or, is it a piece of paper that the young boy kept in his hands as an advisory sheet or a cheat-sheet, so as to answer the right way the expected questions? But, again, why does it bear a date and the gymnasium officials?

    P.Mich. inv. 3420 (= SB III 7239) is an extract from the records of entry among the epheboi, dated from AD 140–141. The fact that these two documents belonged to the same lot, which was acquired by the University of Michigan in 1926, could be a fortuitous one, since they are dated to different periods and concern different persons. If, however, this is not fortuitous, then, these two documents could come from the same office or archive.

    ευς ἰσάγουσιν [         ]  ̣ [  ]ο̣τερ  ̣ [   ]
    μητρός Σεραπιὰς Σ̣ωτη̣ρί̣χ̣ου (vacat) [   ]
    4 πλαγίν α̅ Ἀρτέμ̣ο̣ν̣ο̣ς̣ τοῦ [  ̣]ωδ  ̣[
    τέχνην κτενιστή[ς] (vacat)
    γνωστοί ἀδελφ[ο]ὶ̣ πατρὸς [   ]α̣ρ̣[
    οἰκῶ ἐν τῷ γάμμ̣α̣ π̣  ̣ος  ̣  ̣[
    8 σημήν ἄσημος (vacat)
    (ἔτους) ις
    γυμνασίαρχος Μᾶρκ̣[ος] Οὐλ̣π̣[
    κοσμητής Κλαύδι̣[ος] Ἡράκλε̣ιο[ς]
    12 ἐξηγητής Ἀριστο  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣] ὁ καὶ Α̣σ̣[
    [  ̣  ̣ ]  ̣  ̣ [ ̣  ̣  ̣]  ̣      ̣  ̣  ̣ (vacat)

    2 ευς: Probably it is the ending of his Alexandrian demotic, e.g. Ἀλθαιεύς, preceded by the name of the phyle; see P.M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria (Oxford 1972) 43–46 and W. Schubart, "Alexandrinische Urkunden aus der Zeit des Augustus," APF 5 (1913) 82–84. If it is Ἀλθαιεύς, this is the expected word division at line end. Less likely, despite the layout of the text, is the statement or question about who is presenting the boy, e.g. εἰσαγωγ|εύς.

    ἰσάγουσιν [ ]  ̣ [ ]ο̣τερ  ̣ [ ]: cf. P.Gen. II 111.7 τίς σε εἰσ̣[άγει;

    3 μητρός Σεραπιὰς Σ̣ωτη̣ρί̣χ̣ου (vacat) [ ]: The second α of Σεραπιάς seems to be corrected on top of another letter. The question in P.Gen. II 111.5–6 is τίς σου [ἡ μή]τηρ;

    4 πλαγίν: The meaning of the word is "Rothe," "escouade," "group"; cf. W.Chr. 146.30–33 Ἁδριανοῦ ἐκ πλαγίου Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Ἀντιπάτρου; SB III 7239.25 Ἁδριανοῦ ἐκ πλαγίου Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Ἀμμωνίου; P.Bodl. I 66.21 Ἁδριανοῦ ἐκ̣ π̣[λαγίου Πτολεμαίου]. Cf. Legras, op.cit. (above, n. 1) 156–157; P.Bodl. I 66.21ff. note. In P.Gen. II 111.17–18 the text is restored as τίν[ος πλα]|γ̣ί<ο>υ; J. Bingen, "De quelques documents de Genève," CdÉ 61 (1986) 137–138 (BL VIII, 136) proposed that the question should have been τίν[ος πλα]|γ̣ί[ο]υ Ἁδριανοῦ, but on the evidence of the present document Ἁδριανοῦ is the answer and, furthermore, the text in P.Gen. II 111 should be corrected as τίν[ος πλα]|γίν̣ (cf. the same nu in Νεμεσιανός, l. 15). After iota, a tiny trace of the lower part of the left vertical of nu; the right vertical, as well as part of the oblique joining that vertical, are visible. Upsilon, on the other hand, does not look good (checked by P. Schubert).

    α̅: Read Ἀ(δριανοῦ)? On behalf of (the bureau at the temple of) Hadrian? Or read α̅ Ἀρτέμ̣ο̣ν̣ο̣ς̣ τοῦ [  ̣ ]ωδ  ̣[ as "the first unit of Artemon"?

    Ἀρτέμ̣ο̣ν̣ο̣ς̣ τοῦ [  ̣]ωδ  ̣[ : The name and the patronymic of the chief of the unit. Sodamos, Leodamas, Herodianos? The first two names are more likely, because the letter after δ is rather α than ι.

    5 τέχνην κτενιστή[ς]: Cf. P.Gen. II 111.4–5 [τίς ἡ] τέχνη̣; γράμματα (cf. Legras, op.cit. [above, n. 1] 33. For the "wool-carders" see P.Oxy. XXXI 2599.5n. and P.J. Sijpesteijn, "List of Nomination to Liturgies," in R. Pintaudi (ed.), Miscellanea Papyrologica. Pap.Flor. VII (Florence 1980) 345, n. 27. For young apprentices see M. Gergamasco, "Le διδασκαλικαί nella ricerca attuale," Aegyptus 75 (1995) 97–167, n. 35 and 38, p. 106, for their age see p. 123. The two instances of apprenticeship in the κτενιστικὴ τέχνη (5 and 3 years) so far are both from Oxyrhynchos and the young boys are slaves.

    6 γνωστοί ἀδελφ[ο]ὶ̣ πατρὸς [ ]α̣ρ̣[ : Cf. P.Gen. II 111.8–10 τίνες σε γνοστεύουσ[ι; ἀδελ]φὸς μητρὸς Μητρόδωρος [καὶ ἀνε]ψιὸς μητρός Σαραπάμμ[ων. Also, P.Flor. III 382.80 γν[ωσ]τευ̣[όμε]νος ὑπὸ ἀδελφοῦ Πανίσκου καὶ θείου πρ̣ὸ̣ς π̣α̣τ̣ρὸς Κορνηλίου τοῦ καὶ Ἥρωνος

    Here the restoration ἀδελφ[ο]ί̣ is preferable to ἀδελφ[ό]ς̣. The name of his uncle could be e.g. Sarapion. Then the name of a second uncle should follow, probably short, since there is not much space before the right margin of the papyrus sheet.

    7 ἐν τῷ γάμμ̣α̣ π̣  ̣ος  ̣  ̣[ : cf. P.Gen. II 111.10–12 ποῦ οἰκῖς; ἐν τῷ Ἁδριανῷ πρὸς [  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣] ἐν τοῖς Ἀ[σκ]λ̣αταρί[ου], as corrected by J. Bingen; see BL VIII, 136. Two cities were divided in grammata (districts/quarters), Alexandria and Antinoopolis. For the divisions of Alexandria see Fraser, op.cit. (above, l. 2n.) I, 34–35; P.Oxy. LIV 3756.1 division of Alexandria; (Epsilon district of Alexandria); P.Oxy. XLVI 3271.6 Gamma district of Alexandria; BGU IV 1115.16–17 for Delta district. Antinoopolis was divided into grammata (districts/quarters) and plintheia (blocks); see Calderini, Diz. geogr., I.2 82–83; P.Worp 21.25n.; cf. P.Oxy. XLIX 3476.4 (Gamma district of Antinoopolis). Here, after the division, γάμμ̣α̣, the letter could be read as π, followed by a letter of which only traces of a vertical and a high round stroke are preserved; then the letters ος are certain. That restoration finds a parallel in the Geneva papyrus, where the preposition (?) πρός is also attested. However two (or three) letters at the end of the line are not clear enough to specify another identification or name.[5] The preposition πρός should be translated as "towards, next to."

    8 σημήν, ἄσημος: The reading in P.Gen. II 111.4 was a matter of discussion; see BL IX, 92. But, instead of σημηνάτ̣[ω, we could restore σημήν; ἄ[σημος]? P. Schubert, who checked the papyrus, noted that the preserved text reads σημηνα[ . There is no trace whatsoever of the tau on the original (nor of any other letter). Wehrli may have been misled by a shadow while working on a photograph.

    The word σημήν is not attested in Greek literature or the colloquial language used in papyri. On the contrary the participle σημηνάμενος is found already in the classical period; see LSJ s.v. σημαίνω B II. Could we assume an abbreviation here of this participle because of the lack of space? If the scribe wrote the whole word then the width of the column should exceed the breadth that the other lines set. Also, there is the noun σημήϊον assuming a vowel loss (iota; see Gignac, Gram. I, 304.b2) or contraction of two /i/ (see Gignac, Gram. I, 295–298) and then a vowel loss, –ηον to ην (for -ιον to -ιν see Gignac, Gram. II, 25–29, especially pp. 28–29 §f, where there is a parallel instance: the noun πλοῖον is sometimes written πλοῖν, πλῦν in the first two centuries AD.

    9 (ἔτους) ις: Either of Hadrian (AD 131–132) or Antoninus Pius (AD 153–154). The former is more probable because of the name of the gymnasiarch, attested again in a papyrus of AD 139 (see below).

    10 Μᾶρκ̣[ος] Οὐλ̣π̣[ : The name itself, Marcus Ulpius, is rare but it is attested twice as an exegetes in PSI XII 1225.1–2 (Marcus Ulpius Pasion in AD 155–156; P.Hamb. IV, "Anhang, Prosopographie der Exegeten der Städte und Metropolen Ägyptens: A. Liste der ägyptische Exegeten," p. 251, n. 220) and P.Bingen 69.1 (Marcus Ulpius Herculanus alias Herakleides in AD 113–114), both from Alexandria.

    There is a person, named Μᾶρκος Οὔλπιος Σαραπίων ὃ καὶ Σερῆνος in the Hermopolite nome, entered as no. 80 in Sijpesteijn's list. The document (P.Lond. III 908 [p. 132] 7–8, 20–21 [= M.Chr. 229]) is dated from AD 139, that is, some years after the date of the Michigan papyrus, if it is AD 131–132. Actually, the papyrus records the name of his daughter Eudaimonis, and Marcus Ulpius Sarapion alias Serenos is referred to as τῶν γεγυμνασιαρχηκότων. If these two were not different persons, since the same person could have been a gymnasiarch in two cities, Hermopolis and Alexandria/Antinoopolis, it could be assumed that the participle does not refer to his status. Thus, it was not necessary to have been gymnasiarch in the same city where his daughter made an application to the strategos of the nome.[6]

    12 Ἀριστο  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣] ὁ καὶ Α̣σ̣[ : Ἀριστόν̣ι̣[κος] ὁ καὶ Ἀ̣σ̣[κληπιάδης? Not known so far as an exegetes or other gymnasium official.

    13 [  ̣  ̣]  ̣  ̣ [  ̣  ̣  ̣]  ̣                ̣  ̣  ̣ (vacat): The magistrates εὐθυνίαρχος or ἀρχιερεύς are recorded here, but the number of surviving traces does not provide any secure reading.

    Plate I: P.Mich. inv. 3443
    Plate I
    P.Mich. inv. 3443(Photograph digitally reproduced with the permission of the Papyrology Collection, The University of Michigan Library)


    • *

      I thank Traianos Gagos for granting permission to publish this papyrus and for his remarks. Also, Prof. Dieter Hagedorn, John Whitehorne and James Cook for their help on specific points and Paul Schubert for checking some readings in P.Gen. II 111.return to text

    1. An extract of these proceedings is preserved in P.Flor. III 382, 67–94, where some of these words are also found. For documents concerning the eiskrisis see B. Legras, Néotês. Recherches sur les jeunes Grecs dans l'Egypte ptolémaïque et romaine (Geneva 1999) 151–179; J. Whitehorne, "Becoming an Alexandrian Citizen," Comunicazioni 4 (2001) 29–30.return to text

    2. For the appropriate age see Legras, op.cit. (above, n. 1) 158.return to text

    3. See P.Bingen 68, introd.return to text

    4. Cf. the extract in P.Flor. III 382, 67–94; also an application for extracts in P.Bodl. I 66.return to text

    5. A place as a direction is recorded in the papyri; see New Docs. VII 36–45.return to text

    6. There are no instances of magistrates known to be members of two different gymnasia, not even when it was a compulsory service; cf. B.A. van Groningen, Le gymnasiarque des métropoles de l'Égypte romaine (Paris 1924) 86–90; P.J. Sijpesteijn, Nouvelle liste des gymnasiarques des métropoles de l'Egypte romaine. Stud.Amst. XXVIII (Zutphen 1986); N. Lewis, The Compulsory Public Services of Roman Egypt. Pap.Flor. XXVIII (Florence 19972) 19.return to text