Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 09 May |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Alexandru Rusu
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

This letter from a teen to his father in Roman Egypt is a little salty

PAPYRUS,OXYRHYNCHUS

Public Domain

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/12/18

There’s nothing new under the sun, including adolescent sass.

If you thought teenaged sarcasm was something new, ushered in via the Twitter and Snapchat generation, you need to get woke.

This letter from a boy named Theon to his father, which dates to 2nd- or 3rd-century Roman Egypt, is full of attitude.

The papyrus was discovered in the early 1900s at the site of city of Oxyrhynchos, 124 miles from present day-Cairo, and 250 miles from Alexandria, Roman Egypt’s cultural and administrative center. The letter is now part of Oxford’s Bodleian Library collection, and is translated as follows:

Theon to his father Theon greetings. It was so nice of you not to take me with you to the city. If you refuse to take me with you to Alexandria I won’t write you a letter or speak to you or wish you good health. So, if you go to Alexandria I won’t take your hand or greet you ever again. If you refuse to take me, this is what will happen. And my mother said to Archelaos that he is upsetting me, take him away! It was so nice of you, sending me these great presents, just rubbish. They put me off the track on the 12th, the day when you sailed. Well then, send for me, I beg you. If you don’t, I won’t eat, I won’t drink; there! I pray for your health. Tybi 18th. Deliver to Theon from Theonas his son.

Some things never change.

What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun.
Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us.
— Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1

Tags:
Archaeology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
3
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
4
OUR LADY OF FATIMA,SUN
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
5
CHURCH
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
6
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
7
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.