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New Papyri from Karanis

Emily Cole

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

(Coauthor: Lincoln Blumell, Brigham Young University)

This paper will report on the ongoing research carried out by the URU-Fayum Project at Karanis (Kom Aushim). We will begin by providing a brief summary of the archaeological work undertaken at the site between 2007 and 2015, including new excavation, survey work, and specialized study of finds. The focus will then turn to the Greek fragments that have been unearthed to date. In particular, this discussion will focus on a papyrus discovered during the 2010 season that contains the remains of a letter from a certain Antonius Longus to his mother Nilous. While this fragment is in some respects unremarkable, we have determined that the same Antonius Longus also authored BGU 3.846 (II CE; Arsinoite)––a rather noteworthy letter sometimes referred to as the “letter of the prodigal son” because in it he begs his mother, who has apparently disowned him, to receive him back. Using BGU 3.846 we have been able to completely reconstruct the first part of this letter, and it appears that in this new letter, probably written after BGU 3.846, his mother has still not taken him back.  We will thus present an edition of the new fragment along with its archeological context.  

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Culture and Society in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Egypt

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