P.Oxy. XLVIII 3396

Letter from Papnuthis to his Parents

ed. J. C. Shelton

EES: Papyrology Room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

"The letter gives some striking examples of terms of family relationships used simply to express friendship or respect. From other texts we know that the Aphynchis and Maria whom Papnuthis addresses as father and mother were in fact his parents, but the closing lines greet an additional 'mother' and two more 'fathers'."

Revel Coles has suggested that the peculiar cross-hatching on the back — a feature of quite a few letters, and from which the centre is always missing — originally extended over the tie that held the letter rolled up, so that the recipient would be able to tell if the letter had been tampered with en route. Dr Coles found he could reconstruct the process by experimenting with a xeroxed photograph of 3396.

letterback


300dpi image: front / back
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