At the top the first page of Ephesians in Chester Beatty papyrus P46 there is a notation in the Greek letters RMS. I also notice a similar notation at the top of many of the pages, with slight variations. Does anyone know what this is? Is it some sort of page numbering scheme?

I also notice two other things:

  • In the title there is a line above and below the first two letters and last two letters. I am used to seeing this for nomina sacra, but these are not those.
  • Also In the first line and a few other places there are some nomina sacra for χριστοῦ and ἰησοῦ, but it uses three letters rather than the usual two. Is that idiomatic to this particular scribe, or am I showing my ignorance assuming only two letters?

enter image description here

  • Try asking on FB textual criticism group or and Quora Reddit
    – Michael16
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 14:56
  • I'm very rusty with Greek numbers, but it might be the number 146, albeit I have no clue to what it might refer. EPH 1:1 is on leaf 66 in 𝔓46, but PMC (if it's a number) should be greater than 66. However, bit.ly/40WrKJx has more info in re the number 146 in the section labeled "Record Details". (I'd have attached an image but, regretfully, this editor prevents imaging.) Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 21:13
  • A reliable source has told me that the Greek letters "PMC" in 𝔓46 are, indeed, the page number; in this case page 146. Similar numbers appear at the top of the following pages. Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


ⲣⲙⲥ = Page 146 (as one of the commenters noted).

In case you're into this sort of thing, here's a table with the rest of the numbers (courtesy of James Snapp):

enter image description here

To answer your other question, in the early papyri (cp. P66, P75, etc), it's fairly common to see the abbreviated names with three letters (ⲭⲣⲩ...ⲓⲏⲩ). In the later uncials (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, etc), you'll see them contracted to two letters (ⲭⲩ...ⲓⲩ). there are, of course, exceptions. The nomina sacra for David, spririt, and Father are still three letters later on.

  • What does rms mean? And it's purpose?
    – Michael16
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 1:43
  • 1
    It's the uncial greek letters at the top of the picture in the OP. The letters represent the page number.
    – Epimanes
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 2:19
  • You should mention this clearly in the answer bec that's the question.
    – Michael16
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 2:38

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