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Private Letters from the Archive of Claudius Tiberianus

1. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5390
Karanis, 28-B167D2-B

This letter from the archive of Claudius Tiberianus is one of several from a young man who is part of Claudius Tiberianus's extended household. He affectionately calls Claudius Tiberianus "father" and respectfully calls him "lord." The letter describes items that the young man has received from Claudius Tiberianus and other things he has sent to him. This letter was written in Latin. It dates to the early 2nd century A.D.

Claudius Terentianus to Claudius Tiberianus, his father and lord, very many greetings.

Know, father, that I have received the things that you sent me … [including] the short cloak, and I thank you because you considered me worthy and have made me free from care.

I have sent you, father, a bag well sewn, in which you have two mantles, two capes, two linen towels, two sacks, and a linen covering. I had bought the last together with a mattress and a pillow, and while I was lying ill on the ship, they were stolen from me. You have also in the bag a cape of single thickness; my mother sent this to you

I beg you, father, if it meets with your approval, to send me from there low leather boots and a pair of felt socks. Boots with buttons are worthless; I provide myself with footgear twice a month

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Cloth and cloth goods figure in more letters from the archive of Claudius Tiberianus. These letters also tell the story of a family coping with long-distance relationships and the postal service, financial troubles, robbery, and even murder.

2. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5391
Karanis, 28-B167D2-C

This letter from Claudius Terentianus to his father acknowledges receipt of certain articles of clothing (apparently not the items he asked for) and requests military equipment and more clothing.

Claudius Terentianus to Claudius Tiberianus, his lord and dearest father, very many greetings.

Know, father, that I have received ... a cloak, a tunic, and the girdled clothes, and from Nepotianus ... But you gave him rough ones

I ask and beg you, father, for I have no one dear to me except you, after the gods, to send to me by Valerius a battle sword, ... a pickaxe, a grappling iron, two of the best lances obtainable, a cloak of beaver skin, and a girdled tunic, together with my trousers, so that I may have them, since I wore out my tunic before I entered the service and my trousers were laid away new. And if you are going to send anything, put an address on everything and describe the distinguishing features to me by letter lest any exchange be made en route

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3. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5389
Karanis, 28-B167D2-A

In this letter, Claudius Terentianus describes for his father some items that his mother wants. The letter is written in Latin and addressed in Greek.

Claudius Terentianus to Claudius Tiberianus, his father, very many greetings.

My mother salutes you and asks you to buy for her, if it can be done, some merchandise ... a linen garment and ... mattresses that I brought for her buy them at a reasonable price, I beg you, so that you may satisfy her ...

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4. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5393
Karanis, 28-B167D2-E

In this letter to his father, Claudius Terentianus describes his unsuccessful attempts to obtain money (“as” and “aureus” are denominations of coinage) and clothing to go to Alexandria.

he turned over to me a needle and linens; he gave me not a single as but [only] an aureus for my mother, for clothing. “This is,” he said, “what your father told me to do.” When I came, everything was there, even wool; but I found my mother with child; she was able to do nothing … [but she] sold the linens so that I might go to Alexandria.

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5. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5403
Karanis, 28-B167D2-O

In this letter to Claudius Tiberianus, his sister writes of recent family matters and notes the delivery of his belts to him.

Tabetheus to Claudius Tiberianus, her brother, very many greetings.

your daughter Segathis serves me; she is prudent and ... capable. She sent your son Isidoros to you so that he might take your belts to you [where you are stationed] in the company of soldiers

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6. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5401
Karanis, 28-B167D2-M

In this letter to Claudius Tiberianus, his sister complains about an incomplete transaction concerning linen, robbery or embezzlement of other goods, and explains how her son came to be guilty of a murder.

I bought three minai of linen, and I sent them. Do not blame me if you did not deliver them to Metellus the soldier … [You should] deliver them to him immediately…

When I came to Saturnilus's lodging and saw our things (may the evil eye not touch them), I did not approve that he, my son, should trust Menas. … [My son] killed him a madness took hold of him, because he did not approve that he [Menas] and his family should consume [our] rations

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