A “travel blog” of the fourth century AD. The journey of Theophanes through Egypt and Syria.

Cristina Corsi (Università degli Studi di Cassino e del Lazio meridionale)

The sands of Egypt have preserved an astonishing quantity of private documents that represent for us an irreplaceable occasion to peep into the life of people with different social and cultural origins, engaged in daily routine as well as in once-in-a-lifetime enterprises.

This is the case of Theophanes, a high Roman official who lived in the Egyptian town of Hermopolis, in the province of Thebaid. Combining the information extracted from the huge dossier of fragmentary papyri related to Theophanes’ activities, the files of his accountants, the financial and tax records, the household inventories and other memoranda, petitions and personal documents, the many letters addressed to him or sent by his office, we can define Theophanes a scholasticus, i.e. a practicing lawyer (fig. 1). He was undoubtedly a leading citizen of Hermopolis, a wealthy owner who occasionally played a public role.

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