Historic Textiles from Karanis
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Texts from Karanis
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Cloth Goods


1. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 121, item 1
Provenance unknown

This letter, written in Greek, mentions several transactions regarding garments: purchasing ready-made garments, having cloaks woven, and the transport of a mantle (shawl). The letter is dated February 11, 99 A.D.

Antonius to Apuleius and Valerias both, greeting and continued good health.

Before all else I want to send my salutation by letter.

Please be so good as to take thought about the two purple robes, in order that no one else may take them away, and the upper cloths and their mantle. And ask Apion about the cloaks, and ask him: “How much will the cost of weaving be?” And let Atolessia, the daughter of Isotas, come down. I will write a letter. Let one of you come down.

Thermouthas sends you many, many greetings, and she reproaches you often because you do not send her a letter in reply.

The year 2 of the Imperator Nerva Traianus Augustus Germanicus, Mecheir 17.

And send Daphne’s mantle to her.

(Address) Deliver to Apuleius; deliver to Valerias.

2. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5638, item 2
Karanis, 29-132*-DI

In this letter from the correspondence of Apollinarius, the well-traveled writer mentions a shop specializing in dyes. The letter may be dated to the 2nd century A.D.

Let us nevertheless see their gratitude when the materials are prepared and dressed. Concerning the purple dye I can write you nothing until it comes from the dye shop. If I learn anything about it sooner, I will let you know. In the letters that I sent by Aurelian I wrote you to get from Philetas four which I left with him, but nonetheless I wrote to him also about this, as well as the itinerary that I made through Syria, Asia, and Achaea, as far as Rome. If by luck you come to Alexandria, buy for me Marseilles flasks so that I may not put off giving thanks for the favors of the lord Sarapis

No more of the letter survives.

3. Private Letter
P. Mich. Inv. 5638, item 1
Karanis, 29-132*-DI

In this letter, written in Greek, Rullius asks Apollinarius to send white cotton items from Rome. It is not clear what these items are. The letter may be dated to the 2nd century A.D.

...Send the white cottons, as I requested of you when I was with you, to Menon. If there are soft ones, he said when he was with you, let them be sent from Rome. I will deliver them if you wish to send them

Read the entire letter

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