P. Lond. VII 1941

The rich business-man Zenon sponsored a poor young athlete.

Hierokles to Zenon, greeting.
If you are in health, and in other respects are progressing as you desire it would be well. I also am in good health. You wrote to me about Pyrrhos, that if we know for certain that he will win, to train him, but if not, that it should not happen both that he is distracted from his lessons and that useless expense is incurred. Well, so far from being distracted from his lessons, he is making good progress in them, and in his other studies as well. As for 'knowing for certain', that is in the lap of the gods, but Ptolemaios says that he will be far superior to the existing competitors, despite the fact that at the moment he lags behind them, because they have got a long start and we have only just begun training. You should also know that Ptolemaios does not charge any fees, as do the other trainers, but simply hopes to win you a crown in return for the kindnesses which you, when a complete stranger, volunteered to him, and are doing everything necessary concerning the palaistra. See about the mattress about which I wrote you earlier, and bring it down with you. And buy a trunk for six drachmae and bring it down. And send two jars of honey, so that we may have some; for it is useful.

On the verso:
Hierokles about the little boy
Year 29, Xandikos 2
in Memphis

(transl. T.C. Skeat)


Zenon worked for the Egyptian minister of finance. He often travelled for his work. On the fifth of May 257 BC (Xandikos 2 of the year 29) he received at Memphis a lettre of Hierokles, who took care of the interests of the absent Zenon in Alexandria. Hierokles wrote his about Pyrrhos, a talented boy Zenon had taken charge of. He paid for education and professional fysical training.

© KU Leuven, 2012