Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik vol:187 pages:239-262
The so-called archive of Gaius Valerius Longus has often been used as an example of an archive found in situ. Famous as the picture of the papyri underneath the threshold in Karanis may be, its name now turns out to be incorrect. Recent research in the records of the Michigan excavations has shown that the crucial, eponymic document has been falsely attributed to the bundle. Though unconnected to the threshold papyri, Longus and his relatives are attested in other sources which illustrate the upward social mobility of his family. They seem to have been part of a bigger group of Gaii Valerii, who settled in Karanis in the first century AD only to disappear again in the third century AD. The papyrological sources allow us to see the close link between the Gaii Valerii, not only with each other but with the other veteran families of the Fayoum as well. As numerous family connections can be observed between the different Gaii Valerii, we are possibly dealing with an extended veteran family. It is clear that these modest landowners were climbing the social ladder with relative ease, helped by their fairly wealthy and Greek-speaking background. After obtaining the Roman citizenship, many of them became citizens of Antinoopolis and a few are attested to have acquired the citizenship of Alexandria. Their official posts, from local responsibilities to metropolitan magistracies and later even Alexandrian magistracies, illustrate chances for social mobility in the first centuries AD in Roman Egypt. Nevertheless, they were not cut off from the original population of Karanis; they lived between and with the Graeco-Egyptian inhabitants.