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Select Papyri, 1.86


A BYZANTINE WILL

Original text: PLond 1727
Date: A.D. 583-584.

In the 2nd year of the reign of our most godlike master Flavius Tiberius Mauricius the eternal Augustus and Imperator, . . ., at Syene. Aurelius Patermouthis son of Menas and Tsia, sailor, of Syene, and Aurelia Tkako his wife, daughter of Jacob and Tapia, of Syene, bringing also a signatory who signs for them below and witnesses who witness this agreement below as authorized, requested, and required, greeting. Whereas we have been joined together in wedlock, affording each other no ordinary peace and comfort, soothing and comforting and serving and obeying and submitting, in no single matter disagreeing but living in all submissiveness, therefore we, providing against the chance that contrary to our expectation one of us should depart this life and the things of this world and the survivor should find himself reduced to want by our common children, being sane and of clear judgement, having our understanding vigorous, our minds unimpaired, our senses sound, walking on our feet at market, come forward to make this written agreement. Hereby we the aforesaid agree, of our own free will and consent, without any guile or fear or violence or deceit or compulsion or robbery or flattery or intrigue or malice or subjection of any sort, after deliberating twice and thrice, that - though we pray it may be granted us to enjoy, alive and well, all our possessions and deal with them as we choose, yet if (which Heaven avert) it should please Christ the Master of all that one of us should die - the survivor shall receive and keep, of all the possessions left by the deceased, those which were acquired by inheritance from parents and by right of purchase and by sweat and labour, comprising houses and objects of gold and silver and copper and mountain copper and clothes and woven materials and minor objects of all kinds, large or little, and shall be owner and master of these and administer and manage and keep them in repair and out of them shall feed and clothe himself and bury the deceased and execute his bequests, none of our children being able now or in future to proceed against the survivor or bring a claim or call him to account or obstruct him until his death, and that after his death all the possessions left by us shall go to our common children in equal portions, no difference being made between one child and another, and that if the deceased be found to be in debt or to have a debt owing to him, the survivor shall have sole power to pay and receive on his behalf until his own death, and after his death all the contract shall devolve upon our said common children, and that if one of our children or other person should seek to proceed against the survivor or to set aside or transgress or disturb this mutual agreement of ours or start arbitration, the assailant shall in the first place have no interest or portion in any of the property inheritable by the intending transgressor, and secondly shall pay as penalty twelve gold solidi, to be really and truly exacted from the property of the transgressor, while so far from his upsetting this deed it shall hold good in every point. And to all this we have sworn the divine and imperial oath by Almighty God and by the supremacy and permanence of our most gracious sovereigns not to transgress the aforesaid terms, and for our security we have issued this mutual agreement, which is valid and guaranteed and legal wherever produced, with the subscription of him who signs for us and of those who witness below, and in answer to the formal question we have given our assent. {Signed} We the aforesaid, Aurelius Patermouthis son of Menas and Tsia, sailor, of Syene, and his wife Aurelia Tkako daughter of Jacob and Tapia, also of Syene, have made the present mutual agreement and we assent to all its contents as aforesaid. I, Flavius Marcus son of Apa Dius, soldier of the numerus of Syene, have written for them as requested, they being present and dictating to me, as they are illiterate. I, Flavius Cyrus son of John, centurion of the numerus of Syene, witness. I, Flavius John son of Patermouthius, vicarianus of the numerus of Syene, witness. I, Theophilus, most humble deacon, witness the agreement at the request of the principals. I, Flavius Atres Victor, soldier of the numerus of Syene, witness. I, Flavius John son of Colluthus, centurion of the numerus of Syene, witness. Executed by me, Allamon son of Peter, vicarianus. {Endorsed} Mutual agreement of Patermouthius and Tkako.

papyrus 87


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