Theology & Religion, #120


  120.  Aurelius Isidoros (4th century CE).  Petition to Dioskoros Caeso. Papyrus, in Greek. Karanis, 324 CE. -- RBML, Papyrus P. Col. VII 171 (See fuller description below.)
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This petition by Aurelius Isaidoros, the son of Ptolemaios, from the village of Karanis, to Dioskoros Caeso, praepositus of the 5th pagus, is among the earliest known documents relating to the history of the early Christian church. It contains Isidoros's vivid account of how cattle owned by Pamounis and Harpalos had damaged his crops, and how their cow had "grazed in the same place so thoroughly that my husbandry had become useless." He continues: "I caught the cow and was leading it up to the village when they met me in the fields with a big club, threw me to the ground, rained blows upon me and took away the cow ... and if I had not chanced to obtain help from the deacon Antonius and the monk Isaac, who happened by, they would probably have finished me off completely."

An image of this petition, along with the translation used here, in addition to entries for all of Columbia's papyrus holdings, can be found on the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS), a multi-institutional database.