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Oxyrhynchus: A City and its Texts, Virtual Exhibition: A Millenium of Documents

Repairs to the buildings of Oxyrhynchus: AD 315-316

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A roll of reports to the senior civic official in Oxyrhynchus, Valerius Ammonianus alias Gerontius. The initial columns (not shown) were published or partly published by Grenfell and Hunt in Part I of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (no.53) in 1898, and are now housed in the British Library and in Trinity College Dublin. The rest of the roll was published in volume LXIV of the series, in subscribers’ hands early this year, so that the roll effectively links the first volume with its own centenary.

The preserved portions cover columns 104-119, so that the roll was once immensely longer than what you see here. Its minimum length can be calculated as around 20 metres, and rolled up it would have had a diameter of at least 12 centimetres.

Two of the items are doctors’ reports, detailing the injuries sustained by wounded persons. The rest refer to buildings, many of them not recorded before, listing either the repairs needed or the building materials needed for the repairs. The buildings were in or adjacent to the East, West, North and South Stoas, a stoa being a covered colonnade. It seems that these colonnades formed the four sides of a very large square. It may not be too fanciful to see the remains of the colonnade discovered by Petrie in 1922 as part of the Northern Stoa.

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri vol.LXIV no.4441