The papyrus, of which only a small part is shown here, was bought in Egypt in 1928. It has been dated to the second or third century A.D. It was published for the first time in 1939, and recently again by P.A. Kuhlmann, Die Giessener Literarischen Papyri und die Caracalla-Erlasse, Giessen 1994, 116-131. The Acta are Alexandrian writings, to be understood as protests against the Roman rule in Egypt. Here we read about a voyage of Alexandrian envoys to Rome, through Ostia. They wish to discuss a legal matter with the Emperor Tiberius.
'-ros sagte: "Segle ab, denn was ... den Kaiser." [Die Abgesandten ?] der 173 in Vertretung der 173 Ratsherren sowie Eulalos segelten ab, und sie kamen nach Ostia ... ... 10 000 achtzehn (?) ... [nach ?] Rom; ... begegnete ... der Kammerdiener des Tiberius. Sie begrüssten ihn und fragten: "Wie geht es dem Kaiser? ... [der Kammerdiener] antwortete: "Er ist tot ..."' (translation P.A. Kuhlmann).
'Irenaeus to Apollinarius his dearest brother many greetings. I pray continually for your
health, and I myself am well. I wish you to know that I reached land on the 6th of the
month Epeiph and we unloaded our cargo on the 18th of the same month. I went up to Rome on
the 25th of the same month and the place welcomed us as the god willed, and we are daily
expecting our discharge, it so being that up till to-day nobody in the corn-fleet has been
released. Many salutations to your wife and to Serenus and to all who love you, each by
name. Goodbye. Mesore 9. (Addressed) To Apollinarius from his brother Irenaeus.'
(translation Loeb, A.S. Hunt - C.C. Edgar)
Epeiph 1 = June 25, Mesore 1 = July 25.
A letter from Apollinarius, recruit of the Misenum fleet, to his mother, stating that he has safely reached Portus. Cf. Loeb, Select Papyri, nr. 111. More information is available on the APIS-site.
'Apollinarius to Thaesion, his mother, many greetings. Before all else I wish you good health and make obeisance on your behalf to all the gods. From Cyrene, where I found a man who was journeying to you, I deemed it necessary to write to you about my welfare. And do you inform me at once about your safety and that of my brothers. And now I am writing you from Portus, for I have not yet gone up to Rome and been assigned. When I have been assigned and know where I am going, I will let you know at once; and for your part, do not delay to write about your health and that of my brothers. If you do not find anybody coming to me, write to Sokrates and he forwards it to me. I salute often my brothers, and Apollinarius and his children, and Kalalas and his children, and all your friends. Asklepiades salutes you. Farewell and good health. I arrived in Portus on Pachon 25.
(2nd hand) Know that I have been assigned to Misenum, for I learned it later.
(Verso) Deliver to Karanis, to Taesion, from Apollinarius, her son.'
Pachon 1 = April 26, Pachon 25 = May 20th (in the second century AD).
Register of cargo ships arrived in Alexandria from Ostia and the port stations of the eastern mediterranean.
oil. From Attalion of Crete [the ... (ship) of NN], son of Sozomenos, "Furies(?) and Fortune". Asklep( ) ... art. [transported for NN x] demi-jars of oil, and for Serenos, 41 demi-jars of oil. 26?
From Aigeai. 20. The ship of Diodoros, son of Athenodoros, "Sarapis and Fortune". Harpokrates. 2000 artabae. Transported for the naucleros 700 jars of red wine.
From Aigeai. 20. The ... of Demetrios, [son of NN], "Philometor". Similarly. x artabae. Transported for the naucleros, x jars of red Aigean wine.
From Ostia, 1. [The ship] of Lucius Pompeius Metrodoros, ["(name of the ship)"]
22.500 artabae. To sail in.
From Lib( ), 5. The ship of Publius Aelius Ann..., "Ele..."
2000 artabae. To sail in.
Oil. From the Canal. 26. The ship of Basilon, son of Libus(?), "Athena R..."
1000 artabae. Trasported for Caesar the lord, x semi-jars of oil.
From Paltos. 20. [The ship] of Zenon, son of Protos, "Dragon"
2500 artabae. Transport for Heliodoros 500 jars of wine.
From Laodike, 18. The ship of Kassianos, son of Kyros and of Dominios, son of Agathokles, "Elpis and ...". Isi( )
2000 artabae, transpoterd for Dominios [x jars] of wine.
From Gagai. 6. [The ship] of Neon, son of Varos, "Asklepios and Sarapis". Harpok(rat--)
1500 artabae. Transported for Claudius Crispinus 300 jars of first quality Sidean wine and figs ...
From Side, 7. The ship of Gaius Ulpius Iason, "Elpis and Ourania"
7000 artabae. Transported for the Caesar the lord 32 (?) of pine and for Numerios alias Kallistratos 216 demi-jars of Aspendian oil.
From Anemourion. 13. the ship of Ninos, son of Tounis, "Zeus, Aphrodite and Selene"
arta .... Transported for the naucleros 2500 jars of Sidean wine.
More information is available on the APIS-site. The Greek text and a translation are on papyri.info and here.
Detail of lines 7ff. Lines 9 and 11 begin with chi-rho. From Wikipedia: The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chreston, meaning "good."
The ship coming from Ostia could carry c. 585 thousand kg. of grain. It may well have been 15 m. wide and 50 m. long. To fill the ground floor of the Claudian Grandi Horrea ten of these ships were needed.