BGU II 423 (=SPap I 112) + II 632
Letters from a New Recruit to the Roman Legions

Date: II C.E.

Provenance: Fayûm (Egypt)

Published: Friedrich Krebs, ed., in Ägyptische Urkunden aus den königlichen [staatlichen] Museen zu Berlin, Griechische Urkunden II (Berlin: Weidmann, 1898), nos. 423, 632; John L. White, Light from Ancient Letters (Foundations & Facets; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 159-60 (no. 103).



Apion to his father and lord, Epimachos, very many greetings. Before all else, I pray that you are healthy and that you may have continual good fortune along with my sister


and her daughter and my brother. I give thanks to Lord Sarapis because, when I was endangered from the sea he saved me immediately. When I arrived at Misenum I received three gold pieces as a viaticum from


Caesar; and I am well. Therefore I request, my lord father, that you write to me a little letter, first  concerning your health, second concerning that of my brothers [i.e., my brother and sister],


and third, so that I may to obeisance to your hand(writing), because you trained me well. I hope by this means to advance quickly, if the gods are willing. Greet Kapiton very much and my brother


and sister and Serenilla and my friends. I sent you a picture of me through Euktemonos. My name is Antonius Maximus. I pray that you are well. Centuria Athenonike.


(Along the side)

Serenos the son of Agathodaimon greets you and […], and Toubon the son of Gallonios, and D[…]nas the s[on of][…



To Philadelphia, to Epimachos from his son Apion.


(Another hand) Deliver to the camp of the Prima cohors of the Apameni to Julianus, vice-secretary, (this letter), from Apion to be forwarded to his father Epimachos.



l. 6 Lord Sarapis: a Graeco-Egyptian deity, patron of sailors.

l. 9 Misenum: A naval port near Naples.

l. 9 Travel money worth about 75 denarii.

l. 15 Apion wants a token of his father’s presence.

l. 22 Upon entry into the Legion, a non-citizen became a citizen and therefore received a Roman name.

l. 24 The name of Apion’s company (of 100 legionaries).



BGU II 632



Antonius Maximus to his sister, Sabina, many greetings. Before all else I pray that you are healthy,


for I myself and healthy. Making mention of you before the gods here, I received a little letter from Antonius our fellow citizen. And when I learned that


you were well I rejoiced much. And I do not hesitate to write to you about my welfare and that of my family at every opportunity. Greet Maximus and


Kopres,  my lord. My wife Aufidia greets you and so does Maximos my son, whose birthday is the thirtieth of Epeiph, according to Greek


reckoning, as well as Elpis and Fortuna. Greet my lord […] I pray that you may be well.


(Addressed) To his sister, Sabina, from her brother Antonius Maximus.