1. Structure
  2. Format
  3. Layout

A prosangelma (προσάγγελμα) (from the verb προσαγγέλλω ‘to announce/report’) is the formal notification of an offence. These documents are addressed to a local official, usually at village level, and record a crime in a brief statement. They are usually referred to as “early” prosangelmata (e.g. [Baetens 2020 : 197-201], following [Hombert and Préaux 1942 : 264-273]), and specifically concern prosangelmata from III BCE. After this period the report of a crime took on the characteristics of a petition in the form of a ὑπόμνημα, see [petition]. Unlike a petition, III BCE prosangelmata make no formal request for redress; in this way they are procedurally different from petitions where a formal request or plea for a legal resolution is made directly to a high-level official. However, there is evidence that copies of prosangelmata may occasionally have been forwarded to higher authorities [5871 210 BCE, Arsinoite nome].


From II BCE, the typology of these documents becomes that of a contemporary ὑπόμνημα; but they may in some cases continue to have the explicit designation προσάγγελμα / προσαγγέλλει in the body of the text, a reference to their content, which still tends to concern criminal offences [Baetens 2020 : 217], e.g. [7325 II BCE; 3093 109 BCE, Hermopolis]. On the evolution of prosangelmata, see [Baetens 2020 : 197-218; Ferretti Fort]. As these “later” prosangelmata are typologically the same as petitioning ὑπομνήματα, they are described under [petition].


Reports of a crime tend to concern thefts of animals [1934 254 BCE, Philadelphia], grain [4174 II BCE, Arsinoite nome] and vine fruit [5871], or complaints of mistreatment [1952 250 BCE, Philadelphia]; duplicate copies of the same complaint are made by a group of farmers [1543 and 2502 252 BCE, Arsinoite nome]. The earliest example extant is a fragmentary report [2276b 258 BCE, Philadelphia] and the latest securely dated is [7429 210-183 BCE, Gurob]. Most examples are from the Arsinoite nome, with three from the Herakeopolite nome. See [Baetens 2020 : 198] for a complete list. Two from each nome are drawn up as [double documents] [7818 235 BCE; 8188 229 BCE, both Herakleopolite nome; 1934; 2077 241 BCE, Philadelphia].



The [date] comes before the opening in most examples, but it can be found sometimes at the end of the document [1952]. The place of writing may also be mentioned [1934].


Most prosangelmata display the following explicit opening [Baetens 2020 : 214-215], with some variations:


There follows a brief statement outlining the offence. These documents are distinctive in that there is no request and no closing statement or salutation.


From II BCE prosangelmata gradually become more like petitions in the form of a ὑπόμνημα. The explicit designation [προσάγγελμα] is dropped, and they display the same opening address as ὑπομνήματα of the same period, i.e. [to name <dat.>][from παρά name <gen.>]. There is a more expansive explanation of the offence, a plea for redress, and a closing salutation.



Most prosangelmata are written on papyri in pagina format with horizontal fibres [2502; 1952] or with vertical fibres [1934]. There is a squarish example with horizontal fibres [1769]. Some are in demotic format, i.e. long and narrow [2077 (H.30.5 x W.9cm); 3213 (H.38 x W.10cm)], see [Sarri 2018 : 95-97]. A seal is preserved with one of the duplicate reports made by a group of farmers [2502].



These documents predominantly display the text as a single block [1769]. The date, when it is provided at the end of the document, is separated from the main text [1952]. Three complete prosangelmata have survived as double documents and they display a clear space between both iterations of the text, which is displayed in a single block each time [3213; 1934; 2077].


How to Cite

Ferretti, L., Fogarty, S., Nury, E., Schubert, P. Description of Greek Documentary Papyri: Prosangelma. grammateus project. DOI: 10.26037/yareta:yzxoda2yh5ef7kjssmisfmfmyu