Tuesday 22 September 2015

Notes on papyri: P.Oxy. XIV 1676

This papyrus letter is often cited (= Sel.Pap. I 151). Its editors introduced it as "a letter couched in very affectionate terms from a man bearing the Roman name Flavius Herculanus to a woman called Aplonarion". They remarked, "The intimacy was therefore not unrecognised; the writer's tone, however, is hardly that of ordinary friendship, and the letter is in fact the most sentimental that has yet [as of 1920] appeared among published papyri".

J.E.G. Whitehorne gave a similar assessment on p. 243 of 'Sex and Society in Graeco-Roman Egypt', in Actes Du XVe Congrès International de Papyrologie, edd. Jean Bingen and Georges Nachtergael. Brussels: Fondation égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, 1978: 240-246.

Of Grenfell and Hunt's remark, he wrote, "this observation is still as true today as it was when it was written over fifty years ago". He continued, "P.Oxy. XLII 3059 may perhaps be held to rival its affectionate tone, but it does not surpass it".

For translations, see also Parsons, (2007: 135 and 240n. 64) and Winter, Life and Letters (1933: 131).

LSJ's citations from this letter can be readily isolated.

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