P.Cair. Zen. I 59036                                                                                257

This papyrus concerns a complicated financial arrangement by crown officials in Egypt and Caria; the probable sequence of events is as follows: Xanthippos, trierarch (captain) of a very large Ptolemaic warship, was not on board when his ship needed repairs in Halikarnassos, one of the Ptolemaic-controlled ports in the Aegean (he was probably in Egypt), so his deputy borrowed the money from the oikonomos there, Apollodotos, who advanced it from various funds he had accumulated from local taxes. Apollodotos writes to Xanthippos asking him to repay the bulk of the money to Apollonios the dioiketes in Alexandria, to whom it would eventually have been transferred anyway. The whole file is sent under cover-letter to Apollodotos' agent Charmides, who is to pay a dunning visit to the trierarch. For detailed discussion, see R.S. Bagnall, Chronique d’Egypte 46 (1971) 356-62.

Apollodotos to Charmides, greeting. I have written below for you copies of my letters to Xanthippos. Interview him therefore, and with regard to the 2465 drachmas find out how he wishes to settle, and if he desires to pay the money to you, take it from him and pay to Medeios the sum of 2000 drachmas, which Straton the keeper of the chest at Halikarnassos has given to Antipatros, the agent of Xanthippos, for the ship of which Xanthippos is trierarch, from the proceeds of the medical tax; and send over to me the 465 drachmas 2 obols [2 chalkoi], giving them to someone to carry guaranteed against risk, and with regard to the 3000 drachmas see to it that he pays them to Apollonios as I have sent word to him. Farewell. Year 28, Apellaios 27.

Apollodotos to Xanthippos, greeting. If you are well in body and other things are satisfactory, it would be as I desire. I myself am well. I wrote to you before that I have given, through Perigenes, for the ship of which you are trierarch, 2000 dr. to Antipatros who is sailing in charge of the ship, requesting you therefore either, if At so please you, to pay this sum, together with the 465 dr. 2 ob. 2 ch. given to Hekatonymos for the nine-oar, to Medeios to the account of the medical tax or, if you choose, to write to Hikesios to refund it to me out of the ship's equipment account (?); but as You have sent no word, I thought it better to write to you again about this affair. You will oblige me therefore by sending word how you wish to make the payment, in order that we may enter it accordingly. If you like to pay the money to Charmides my agent who is delivering this letter to you, do so. Farewell.

Apollodotos to Xanthippos greeting. Besides the 2000 dr. of which I have written to you in the other letter, I have given to Antipatros, who is acting for you as trierarch of the nine-oar, a further 3000 dr., which you will have to make good to Apollonios the dioiketes. You will oblige me then by giving an order to pay him in accordance with the following note. Farewell.

(Owed by) Xanthippos to Apollonios: the sum of 3000 dr. which Apollodotos paid in Halikarnassos through the bank of Sopolis to Antipatros who is in charge of the nine-oar of Xanthippos, being the sum paid in on Peritios 8 of year 27 by the treasurers of Halikarnassos in the magistracy of Demetrios and forming the crown for the king, for which Apollonios made himself responsible for Epikydes, which sum Xanthippos shall have to pay to Apollonios in Alexandria guaranteed against risk.

(Address) To Charmides. (Docket) copies of the letters to Xanthippos.


Translation in Sel. Pap. 410.

Straton: The royal treasurer in Halikarnassos.

Medical tax: A royal tax on the Halikarnassians for medical service. Xanthippos can either repay all of it to Apollodotos or, as Apollodotos would prefer, split the repayment so that 2000 dr. would be credited to Apollodotos' (and thus the Halikarnassians') account in Alexandria and thus saving Apollodotos the trouble of sending it.

Crown: A contribution, generally involuntary, by the city to the king on some special occasion.


SB VI 9215                                                                                                         250

This papyrus contains instructions from the dioiketes Apollonios regarding the cutting of trees to provide wood for royal warships. P.M. Fraser suggested in his commentary to this papyrus (Chronique d’Egypte 24 [1949] 289-94) that it is indicative of contemporary attempts by Ptolemy Il to reassert naval hegemony in the Aegean, which may be correct, but is not by any means demonstrable. The recipient's position is not recorded, but he was probably a high official in the Oxyrhynchite Nome.

Apollonios to Demetrios, greeting. The king has given instructions that native timber, namely acacia, tamarisk, and willow should be felled to provide the breastwork for the men-of-war. On reading this letter you will therefore take with you the basilikoi grammateis, the chiefs of police, the thieves, and the... and [collect] laborers for felling to the number of 500 - - - the required contingent on the spot. [Give this matter your attention and] expeditiously complete your quota [by... or], failing that, at the latest by Choiak 15. [See that the wood is... ] and serviceable for its purpose.

--The king has ordered in respect of this quota - - - to make the survey---.


P.Eleph. 28                                                                                                    223

Elephants were an important part of the Hellenistic army. (Cf. 26.) The Ptolemies maintained a corps of elephant-hunters to provide a steady supply; the hunting grounds were in the far south along the coast of Africa, distant from the regular centers of administration. The troops whose pay is directed here had evidently been out of contact for several months.

Mnesarchos to Antipatros, greeting. I have instructed Paniskos to pay from the bank in Arsinoe"" to Demetrios the secretary of the hunters (hired) through Andronikos for the 231 men who set off with Peitholaos, their wages from Arternision through Panemos, 3 months: 2 talents, 1860 dr., subtracting the advance payment for the month of Arternision made to the advance guard, 60 dr., a balance of 2 talents, 1800 dr. Carry this out therefore as has been written. Farewell. Year 25, Thouth 21.

To Apollonides. Carry this out as has been written. Farewell. Year 25, Thouth 21.


 Cf. the text and introduction in W. Chr. 451.

Arsinoe: A town in the Apollonopolite Nome.

To Apollinides: The note of Antipatros, evidently.


P.Enteux. 12                                                                                            244/3

The complainant here has been dispossessed of part of the quarters assigned to him, evidently by action of the owner of the house. He complains in a petition addressed to the king but in fact directed to the strategos.

To King Ptolemy greeting from Bithys, one of the veterans of Kardendos, from Sebennytos of the Arsinoite. I am wronged by Hellanikos. You gave to us, O king, a lodging with the kleroi so that we might not be wronged by anyone nor have to pay for lodging; but Hellanikos has forcibly entered the house, demolished the wall of the courtyard, and moved in. I earlier submitted a petition to you, O king, about these matters, which was transmitted to Aphthonetos the strategos. But the man is still unwilling to give it to me, and continues to insult me. I beg you therefore, 0 king, if it seems right to you, to order Aphthonetos the strategos to write to... to send him to Aphthonetos, so that he may be judged in our conflict and that 1, by fleeing to you, 0 king, may obtain justice. Farewell.

(Subscription) Agenor to Timoxenos, greeting. I have sent you a copy of the petition that came to me from Aphthonetos. If it was assigned to him, assign to them their shares in accordance with the ordinance. Year 4, Panemos 23. (Docket) Year 4, Daisios 23, Bithys against Hellanikos: ordinance of the king.


Timoxenos: Perhaps a village epistates, but possibly another official connected with quartering.

Ordinance: The legislation (see C.Ord.Ptol. 5-10) ordering that lodgers are to occupy not more than a half of the house, owners the other half.


P.Hib. II 198 278                                                                                       ca. 240

This complex and badly preserved papyrus contains royal regulations in various forms concerning the cleruchic system (assignments, control of stathmoi and kleroi), matters of internal security (particularly for water traffic), administration, (licensing), and judicial procedure (security forfeiture and sale, court disputes). The, emphasis on these areas suggests that this collection of legislation was made for the use of a nome strategos, during a critical period in which the powers of this Official were expanding at the expense of other bureaucrats. See R.S. Bagnall, Bull. Amer. Soc. Papyrologists 6 (1969) 73-118 for the date and purpose of the document, and N. Lewis, American Journal of Philology 89 (1968) 465-9 on the sailors.

--and he does not return (him), let him be liable to the same penalty as the brigand. Likewise, let the guards in the localities keep watch for the sailors bearing the brand ... from the fleet. As many as are caught, let them be sent up to the man in charge of the guardposts. If they do not send them up, upon conviction they themselves shall be sent to the ships. And let those harboring the sailors be liable for theft from the crown. Let brigands and other malefactors and royal sailors be subject to seizure everywhere, and let no one hinder them, or let the one interfering himself be subject to the same penalties as the brigand and the man who leaves the ship. Likewise, let those harboring them themselves, be liable to the same penalties---, it is written---. Let no one hinder them or let him be liable - - - let them make a search, taking the ... of the epistates and the crown investigator - - - but at night let no one go

Let the judges to whom it is appointed to judge brigands judge [them].

Let those sailing toward the river to anchor give notice [during the day] at the appointed places; but at night---. But if any, being driven by a storm [are not able] to anchor on the promontory when they come to the [harbor and its] appurtenances, let them announce to the police the reason and the place in which they have anchored. To those who have reported, the chief of police shall send a [guard] adequate to protect them while they are moored, [so that no] violence may be done. And if any sent from ... sailing in haste and wish [to sail] at night, they shall provide them an escort and- -.

By decree of the king: Officials in the royal administration [or acting on the king's business) and tax-farmers or their checking-clerks are not to... nor to grant tax-exemptions nor to allow any goods to be carried down river unless licenses are presented, and they are those issued by Epikydes, copies of which are deposited with Herakleides. Otherwise these documents are to be null and void. Year 14, Artemisios.

By decree of the king: In the case of persons concerning whom an inquiry is held as being accomplices in the debt of the Crown, if one side (i.e. the debtors to the Crown) accuses the other of owing money to themselves and wishes to bring the other party into court when the debt is disputed, they are to be summoned before the appointed court, and if they pay it they are not to be penalized; but if they deny it, they are to pay the indicated amount - - - the private individual's fine, while the debt to the Crown- -.

But those who bring charges against. . ., or those against whom the latter bring charges are to obtain justice before the appointed court. They are to be judged on [these] charges in conformity with the ordinances before the courts which concern [them] in each district. Should any dispute arise about - - - as is prescribed in the diagramma--the strategos in each [nome] will act as judge conjointly with the nomarch and... Year 5, Peritios.


Lines 85-105, 109-122, 141-153, and 235-245 are translated here, the remainder being too fragmentary for connected translation. The text and translation of the first two sections are from the article by Bagnall cited above.

Bearing the brand: These sailors were in all probability neither slaves nor demonstrably convicts; the branding of persons is not otherwise attested in Ptolemaic Egypt. The principle embodied in this passage is that if an official causes the loss of a man to the Crown, he must be personally liable for it, just as with money. The passage probably reflects problems with the fleet in the aftermath of the Third Syrian War (246-241).

But at night:  Insecure conditions have evidently made night travel very hazardous, and these provisions allow it only under special circumstances.

Herakleides: The internal trade of Egypt was tightly regulated, and private movement of most items was either prohibited or heavily taxed. These officials are probably members of the central administration in Alexandria, and the exemptions they granted were no doubt few in number. Zenon appears to have held one of them.

In the case of persons: This section is heavily restored (by Turner) and frankly conjectural. Individual sections are not bracketed.


P.Mil.Congr.XVII 1 = SB XVI 12720                                                                   142

This petition provides several points of interest. One is the completely formalized character of the succession of military land allotments from generation to generation in the middle of the second century, even if the son was not yet of age for military service (as is apparently the case here). A second is the manner in which cleruchs were able to exchange lands, thus creating a kind of land market that anticipates the cessions of the next century. Not less striking is the role of the orphan’s mother, who is described as being his protector on the basis of her marriage contract (discussed by O. Montevecchi, Aegyptus 51 [1981] 103-115); the laws did not provide for female guardianship.

To Pankrates, chief bodyguard and director of the syntaxis, from Antimachos son of Aristomedes, Macedonian of the unit of Apollonios of the 3rd hipparchy, 100-aroura cleruch, and from Herakleides son of Ariston, Thracian, of the same hipparchy, an orphan, with his guardian on the basis of a marriage contract being his mother Thais daughter of Apollonios. Since the relatives of the aforementioned orphan and his mother have raised further doubts about the boundaries of the 40-aroura allotment, near Kerkesoucha and the village of Ares in the Polemon division, the allotment that the aforementioned Antimachos had formerly presented (for exchange), in place of that which the father of Herakleides, Ariston, exchanged with him near Boubastos of the Herakleides division, we ask you to order a letter written to Nikolaos the epistates of the 5th hipparchy of Ar…, to designate the indicated allotment of the 40 arouras according to the detailed description given to Antimachos, of which a copy is appended. If this occurs, we shall have experienced your kindness. Farewell.

(A detailed description of the land follows.)