1,800 year old soldier’s letter translated

A new study is being conducted on an 1,800 year old letter written in ancient Greek on papyrus. It’s written by an Egyptian soldier in the Roman legion and was found in Tebtunis, Egpyt, in 1899, but is being translated only now for the first time.

Research has been on-going since 2011 by Grant Adamson, a student at Rice University. The letter has been difficult to translate as it’s pretty broken up and apparently the grammar ain’t that good.

Parts of the letter that have been translated describe the plea from him for his family in Egypt to reply to his previous letters. I don’t know who his family were, but they don’t sound great, they don’t write, they don’t call, nothing! tsk tsk.. But maybe they tried to respond and their letters got “lost”..the plot thickens..but I digress.


Tis been many moons since you last wrote…

Anyhoo, a name has been put to the letter’s author, a young soldier by the name of Aurelius Polion, and was part of a legion that travelled extensively throughout Europe. Adamson believes the letter was written in modern day Budapest.

The letter was dated to around 1,800 years ago due to the handwriting and Greek language style Polion used. The letter is actually pretty sad, and I would imagine even soldiers of today could empathise with this young fellow in the military who just want a little taste of home.

This is part of the letter translated sourced from Heritage Daily:

“I pray that you are in good health night and day, and I always make obeisance before all the gods on your behalf. I do not cease writing to you, but you do not have me in mind. But I do my part writing to you always and do not cease bearing you (in mind) and having you in my heart. But you never wrote to me concerning your health, how you are doing. I am worried about you because although you received letters from me often, you never wrote back to me so that I may know how you.”

*I do not own these images


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