Friday, January 30, 2004

Letters from the Roman Front in Egypt Discovered

"Nearly 2000 years ago a young Roman soldier wrote home, asking his father's permission to marry his girlfriend. In another letter, he asks for boots and socks to keep his feet warm during a cold winter. And he tells how he must violently put down those who revolt and riot in Alexandria.

All this - and more - about life for Tiberianus, who lived in Roman Egypt, is being advanced through the work of a Princeton High School graduate now attending the University of Michigan.
Last fall, Robert Stephan (Class of 2001) found some papyri - ancient writings on papyrus, made from the reed plant - stored but forgotten in the university's vault. The papyri had been collected during UM excavations at Karanius, southwest of Egypt's Nile River delta, in the 1920s and '30s.
Unbeknown to today's scholars, 15 papyri collected from the original excavation had been catalogued by the university but never examined or translated."

I wish these scrolls actually referred to the riots that occurred during Julius Caesar's Alexandrian Wars. It would be fascinating to read a common soldier's opinion of Caesar's command in the field.
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