Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 48 (2011) 51-60
Letter from Hermias to Apollon1
Athanassios Vergados Ruprecht-Karls- Universitut Heidelberg
Edition of a letter reminding the addressee of two friends from
Kerkephtha in the Athribite nome the author had previously recom mended to him and Deios the basilikos grammateus there.
P.Duke inv. 913 H x W = 18.1 x 6.7 cm Provenance unknown,
Acquired in 1973 mid-II AD
The upper margin is 0.5 cm; on the left side the margin is 1 cm, while on
the right it is very small and in some lines (4-6, 8) non-existent. The text breaks
off after 1. 25. The letter is written in the vertical format as defined in a recent
study by J.-L. Fournet (a narrow sheet of papyrus was arranged vertically, and
the text follows the direction of the fibres).2 Of particular interest is the hshaped q in 1. 5, as opposed to the H-shaped ones at 11. 13 and 19, and the shape
of the second and third K in 1. 5 (KKXfqKc). Notice also the larger size of the
e at 11. 1, 3 (both times with ekthesis) and 20, 22. The length of each line is not
constant; cf. especially 11. 3-4, 7-8, 11-12, 14, 18-19. Traces of the points where
the document was folded can be discerned at 11. 7 and 14-15. The letter was
first folded in thirds along its breadth; thereafter the sender and the addressee's
names were added on the verso; and finally the letter was folded lengthwise.
In this letter Hermias reminds Apollon about two good friends of his from
Kerkephtha in the Athribite nome whom Apollon has already been asked to
introduce to Deios, the basilikos grammateus of the Athribite. We may assume
'I would like to thank Joshua Sosin (Duke) for providing me with digital photographs
of the papyrus. The information on the physical characteristics of the papyrus derives
from http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus/records/913.html. Thanks are also due
to the editors and the anonymous reader of BASP as well as Amphilochios Papathomas
for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. The final revisions were completed
at the Seminar fur Klassische Philologie (Universitat Heidelberg) during the tenure of
a postdoctoral fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung.
2 J.-L. Fournet, "Esquisse d'une anatomie de la lettre antique tardive d'apres les papyrus," in R. Delmaire, J. Desmulliez, and P.-L. Gatier (eds.), Correspondances. Documents
pour l'histoire de lAntiquiti tardive (Lyon 2009) 26-32.