Archive of Apollonios the Strategos on the War of Quietus
(0376) Text: […] Ἀπολ[λω]νίῳ τῷ τιμιωτά̣τ̣[ῳ χαί]ρει[ν.] | [πάντα τὰ ὅπλ]α [ὧ]ν [ἕνε]κα ἦλθεν Ἑρμίας ἀγοράσα[ς] | [ἔπεμψά σοι] διʼ [α]ὐ[τ]οῦ ἡ[δό]μενος ἐπὶ τῷ κατ[ὰ τ]ὰς | [εὐχὰς γνή]σια καὶ λείαν ἄξια εὑρῆσθ[αι] ὡς καὶ | [ὑπὸ πάντ]ων τῶν ἰδόντων θαυμασθῆναι. | [ὁ μὲν γὰρ] θώραξ ἐκ καλοῦ ὠροχάλκου ὢν καὶ | [τὴν πλοκ]ὴν λεπ[τ]ότατος καὶ τὸ μεῖζον ἐλα- | [φρότατος] ὡς μὴ κ[ά]μνειν τὸν φοροῦντα αὐτὸν | [ἠγορά]σθη πολλῶν [ἀ]ξιολόγων συνεληλυθότων | [μοι] φί[λ]ων ἀργ(υρίου) (δραχμῶν) τξ’ ἀντὶ πλε[ίον]ος ὡς καί σοι | [φανήσ]εται. ἡ δὲ [σα]μσεῖρα Ἰταλικὴ καλουμένη | […ηνατος] ὁμοί[ως ἀντὶ πλεί]ονος (δραχμῶν) π καὶ τὸ | [ἡ]μιλεί[τρι]ον τῆς πορφύρας ἀντὶ (δραχμῶν) σξδ’ [(δραχμῶν)] σνβ’ | [κα]ὶ τὰ δύο μάτια τῶν ἀρτυμάτων (δραχμῶν) π’. παραζώ- | [ν]ι̣ον γὰρ π[ρ]ὸς τὸ παρὸν γνήσιον οὐχ̣ εὑρέθη, ἀλλʼ οὐ- | [δ]ὲ ἐδικ[αί]ωσα ἀγοράσαι ἀποδοκιμασ[θῆ]ναι δυ- | νάμενον. τὸ [ὀν]άριον τὸ χαλκοῦν [ε]ἰ ἐπωλεῖτ[ο] | δραχμῶν κδ’ ἔκτοτε ἂν ἔπεμψά σοι· εἰ δὲ βού[λ]ει | αὐτὸ ἀγορασθῆναι (δραχμῶν) μ’, [ὅ]σω[ν ὁ τε]χ̣ν[είτ]ης πα[ρα-] | καλούμενος [ὑπ]ι̣[σ]χνεῖται δώσειν, δήλωσόν μ[οι.] | ἃς μέντοι δεδώκεις εἰς τοῦτο (δραχμὰς) κδ’ ἔπεμψά [σοι,] | καίπερ Διονυσ[ί]ου τοῦ ἀργυροκόπου κατασχόντος | μου ὅλας (δραχμὰς) μ’ εἰς ἐνεχύρου λόγον τῆς πεμφθε[ί-] | σης μ σοι ὑπὸ τὰ ζῴδια ξυλίνης θήκης· ἥν, ἐὰν δό- | ξῃ σοι, κύριέ μου, ἀναπέμψεις μοι, ἵνα ἀποδοὺς δυνη- | θῶ ἀπολαβεῖν τὸ ἴδιον· [ῥ]ᾳδί[ω]ς γὰρ παρά σοι ὁμοία | αὐτῇ γενέσθαι δύναται. περὶ ῶν ἄλλων βούλει, | [γρά]φε μοι [ἡ]δέως [π]ληρώσον[τι]. [hand 2] [τ]ὸ ἄ[σημ]ον [νῦν ἐστ(ιν)] | [(δραχμῶν) τ]ξβ̣’· ὡς γὰρ ο[ἶδα]ς, ἐν Κ[ό]πτῳ καθʼ ἡμέραν διάφορο[ι] γείνονται τιμαί. | [ἐρ]ρῶσθαί σε εὔχομαι, κύριέ μου. | Π[αῦνι] κε’.
Translation: To the most distinguished Apollonios, greeting. All the weapons because of which Hermeas came, I have bought and sent to you by him gladly that they can be of use and that it was possible to find them cheaply, so that all the persons who saw them were amazed. The cuirass, of very good brass, very finely woven and very light in comparison to its size, so that it does not tire the one who wears it, was bought in the presence of many respectable people, friends of mine, for three hundred and sixty silver drachmas, but it is worth more, as you will realize. Also the sword called Italian was bought beneath Its worth for eighty drachmas, and a half pound of purple cloth for two hundred fifty two instead of two hundred sixty four, and two mathia of spices for eighty drachmas. A dagger could not be found suitable for this occasion, but I did not think it right to buy one which could be rejected as unworthy. I would have sent you the small copper container if it had been sold for twenty-four drachmas; but if you are willing to buy it for forty drachmas — for this price the craftsman agrees to give it to you — then let me know. The twenty four drachmas which you have given me for this purpose I sent to you, although Dionysios the silversmith kept from me full forty drachmas as pledge for a wooden box sent to you for the pictures. Send it back to me, my lord, if it seems right to you, so that I can get back what belongs to me, since something similar to it may be easily found in your place. As to the other things that you want, write to me, I shall gladly carry them out. The uncoined metal is valued at three hundred sixty two drachmas because, as you know, prices change in Koptos on a daily basis. I pray that you may feel well, my lord. 19 June.
Provenience: Hermopolis, Egypt 19 June 116 CE
Commentary: An extensive archive of Apollonios the strategos has survived, much of it relating to the War of Quietus (cf. §377 and §378). That said, despite the military connotations of his office, strategos was a purely administrative position in Roman Egypt. The military equipment seems quite ornate here and is probably for some ceremonial purpose.
Bibliography: P.Giss. 47; Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism in Turmoil, 116/117 CE: Ancient Sources and Modern Insights (Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Culture and Religion 6; Leuven: Peeters, 2005) no. 14*.