§398 Gaius Julius Apollinarius

Gaius Julius Apollinarius

(0398) Text: Θέων Ἀπολιναρίῳ τῷ | τιμιωτάτῳ χαίρειν. | εἰ μὴ ἐμάθομεν σὺν θεοῖς σε κα- | λῶς ἐσχηκέναι μεθʼ ἃ γράφεις  | πεπονθέναι, πάντα ἂν καταλιπόν- | τες ἐσπεύσαμεν πρὸς σέ, σοῦ | γὰρ τιμιώτερον οὐδέν ἐστιν. |
ἀλλαὶ καὶ ἐνθάδε ὄντες εὐχό- | μεθά σοι ὑγείαν ἀξίῳ ὄντι. | Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ κτίστης, παρα- | γενόμενος εὐθέως με- | τʼ ἄφιξίν σου καὶ καθηκηθεὶς |
ὡς καὶ διʼ αὐτὸν ἄλλας ἡμέρας | ἐπέμεινας παρʼ ἡμεῖν ἵνʼ αὐτῷ | συνχρονήσῃς, ἐλυπήθη ὅτι | σε οὐ κατέλαβ[ε]ν. καθʼ ὥραν δὲ | σοῦ σὺν ὑμεῖν ἐμέμνητο | […]σ[…]ς ἡμᾶς τιμήσας | [… μετὰ πλ]εί[σ-] | της σπ[ου]δῆς κ[ομ]ι̣σθῇ. τὴν | οὖν τιμὴν δήλωσόν μοι ἵ[ν]α | Ἀπολλωνίῳ τῷ [ἀ]δελφῷ μ[ετ]α- | βάλωμαι. ἀσπαάζον[τα]ί [σ]ε ο[ἱ] παρʼ | ἡμῶν πάντες καὶ αἱ πα[ρʼ] ἡμ[ῶ]ν | πᾶσαι. | ἐρρῶ[σ]θαί σε ε[ὔ]χο[μ]αι, | τιμιώτατ[ε …]α[…]ρως[…].

Translation: Theon to his most esteemed Apollinarius, greeting. If we had not learned that with the gods’ help you are now well after what you write you have suffered, we would have left everything and hastened to you; for nothing is more precious to us than you. But even though we are here, we pray for your health, for you deserve it. Alexander, the builder, came immediately after your departure, and when he was informed that on his account you remained with us a number of days more in order that you might spend some time with him, he was grieved that he did not find you here. He made mention of you constantly in our company […]. Let me therefore know the price, so that I may pay it over to your brother Apollonius. All the men in the household and the women of our household salute you. I pray for your good health, most esteemed […].

Commentary: This papyrus records a letter to Gaius Julius Apollinarius from Theon. Apollinarius probably has some Jewish heritage: his paternal great-aunt bears the name “Sambathion.” While the name Sambathion does not prove with certainty his Jewish ancestry, it remains likely. Tcherikover notes the mix of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian names in the family (CPJ). Several other letters from the family have been found but are omitted from those collected here – these are limited to those mentioning Apollinarius. Apollinarius’ father was also a soldier of legio III Cyrenaica. See the fuller discussion of the family’s archive in Elinor M. Husselman, ed., Papyri From Karanis, Third Series: Michigan Papyri IX  29 (Cleveland: The Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1971), 5-8; K. Vandorpe, W. Clarysse and H. Verreth, Graeco-Roman Archives from the Fayum, Collectanea Hellenistica 6 (Leuven: Peeters University Press, 2015), 186-198. 

Provenience: Karanis, Egypt (near Fayuum, Egypt) 130-150 CE

Bibliography: P.Mich. 8.497*