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Select Papyri, 2.203


THE OIL MONOPOLY OF PTOLEMAEUS PHILADELPHUS

Original text: PRev Col.38-56
Date: 259 B.C.

Year 27, Loius 10. Corrected in the office of Apollonius the dioecetes.

[The persons authorized shall buy the produce from the cultivators at the following rates :] for each artaba of sesame containing thirty choenices, prepared for grinding, 8 drachmae, for each artaba of croton containing thirty choenices, prepared for grinding, 4 drachmae, for each artaba of cnecus, prepared for grinding, 1 drachma 2 obols, for each artaba of colocynth 4 obols, of linseed 3 obols.

If the cultivator does not wish to deliver his produce purified for grinding, he shall measure it out from the threshing-floor after cleaning it with a sieve, and against the further purification for grinding he shall add in the case of sesame 7 artabae to every 100, in the case of croton the same, and in the case of cnecus 8 artabae.

They shall receive from the cultivators for the tax of two drachmae levied on sesame and the tax of one drachma on croton payment in sesame and croton at the price prescribed in the tariff, and shall not exact payment in silver.

The cultivators shall not be allowed to sell either sesame or croton to any other person.

. . ., and they shall give to the comarch a sealed receipt for what they received from each cultivator. If they fail to give the sealed receipt, the comarch shall not allow the produce to leave the village ; otherwise he shall forfeit 1000 drachmae to the Crown, and five times the amount of whatever loss is incurred by the contract through his action.

They shall sell the oil in the country at the rate of 48 drachmae in copper for a metretes of sesame oil or cnecus oil containing 12 choes, and at the rate of 30 drachmae for a metretes of castor oil, colocynth oil, or lamp oil. {Altered to . . . both sesame and cnecus oil and castor oil, colocynth oil and lamp oil at the rate of 48 drachmae in copper for a metretes of 12 choes, and 2 obols for a cotyla.}

In Alexandria and the whole of Libya they shall sell it at the rate of 48 drachmae for a metretes of sesame oil and 48 drachmae for a metretes of castor oil, {Altered to ... 48 drachmae for a metretes of sesame oil or castor oil, and 2 obols for a cotyla.} And they shall provide an amount sufficient for the demands of purchasers, selling it throughout the country in all the cities and towns by . . . measures which have been tested by the oeconomus and the controller.

They shall exhibit the land sown to the director of the contract with the oeconomus and the controller, and if after measuring it they find that the right number of arurae has not been sown, the nomarch and the toparch and the oeconomus and the controller shall, each who is responsible, forfeit to the Crown 2 talents, and to the holders of the contract for each artaba of sesame which they ought to have received 2 drachmae, and for each artaba of croton 1 drachma, together with the profit which would have been made on the sesame oil and the castor oil. The dioecetes shall exact the payment from them.

Before the season arrives for sowing the sesame and the croton, the oeconomus shall give to the nomarch or toparch who is in charge in the nome, if he so desires, for the sowing of each arura of sesame 4 drachmae, and for each arura of croton 2 drachmae, and he shall receive from the threshing-floor in return for these payments . . .

When it is time to harvest the sesame and the croton and cnecus, the cultivators shall give notice to the nomarch and the toparch, or, where there are no nomarchs or toparchs, to the oeconomus, and these officials shall summon the holder of the contract, and the director of the contract shall visit the acreage with them and make an assessment.

The native peasants and the other cultivators shall assess their own crops severally by kind before they harvest them, and they shall make a duplicate sealed agreement with the contractor concerning the assessment, and every peasant shall write down on oath the amount of land which he has sown with each kind of seed, and the amount of his assessment, and shall seal the agreement, and the delegate sent by the nomarch or toparch shall also seal it.

The nomarch or the official in charge in the nome shall report the number of arurae sown, cultivator by cultivator, sixty days before the crop is harvested.

If he fails to report or to show that the cultivators have sown the amount of land appointed, he shall forfeit to the purchaser of the contract the prescribed penalty, and shall himself exact payment from the disobedient cultivators.

All persons throughout the country who are exempt from taxation or hold villages and land in gift or as a subsidy shall measure out all the sesame and croton grown by them, and the other kinds of produce included in the oil monopoly, leaving themselves a sufficient quantity for seed, and shall receive the value in copper at the rate of 6 drachmae for an artaba of sesame, 3 drachmae 2 obols for an artaba of croton, and 1 drachma for an artaba of cnecus.

... to be a factory, and they shall signify their approval by stamping it.

In none of the villages which are held in gift shall they set up any oil factory.

They shall deposit in each factory an adequate amount of sesame and croton and cnecus.

They shall not allow the oil-makers appointed in each nome to migrate to another nome. Any oilmaker who goes elsewhere shall be subject to arrest by the director of the contract and the oeconomus and the controller.

No one shall harbour oil-makers [from another nome]. If anyone does so knowingly or fails to bring them back when ordered, he shall forfeit for each oil-maker 3000 drachmae, and the oil-maker shall be liable to arrest,

. . . and from the surplus of the oil that is manufactured he shall distribute to the oil-makers for every metretes containing 12 choes 2 drachmae 3 obols. Of this sum the oil-maker and the pounders shall receive 1 drachma 4 obols, and the purchasers of the contract 5 obols.

If the oeconomus or his representative fails to pay the oil-makers their wages or their share in the profits from the sale, he shall forfeit to the Crown 3000 drachmae, and to the oil-makers their pay, and twice the amount of any loss incurred by the contract on account of the workmen.

If they fail to set up oil factories in accordance with these regulations, or to deposit a sufficient quantity of produce, and in consequence the contract incurs a loss, the oeconomus and the controller shall forfeit the amount of the deficit thus caused, and shall pay to the purchasers of the contract twice the amount of their loss.

The oeconomus and the controller shall provide the plant in every factory. . . . When he comes down to pay wages, he shall not obstruct the work in any way to the damage of the contract.

If he fails to provide plant or causes any damage to the contract, he shall be judged before the dioecetes, and if he is found guilty, he shall forfeit 2 talents of silver and twice the amount of the damage.

The contractors and the checking clerk appointed by the oeconomus and controller shall have authority over all the oil-makers in the nome and over the factories and the plant, and shall seal up the implements during the time when there is no work.

They shall compel the oil-makers to work every day and shall stay beside them, and they shall each day make into oil not less than 1 artaba of sesame at each mortar, and 4 artabae of croton, and 1 of cnecus, and they shall pay as wages for crushing 4 artabae of sesame . . . drachmae, and for . . . artabae of croton 4 drachmae, and for . . . artabae of cnecus 8 drachmae.

Neither the oeconomus nor the manager of the contract shall make an arrangement with the oilmakers concerning the flow of the oil on any pretext, nor shall they leave the implements in the factories unsealed during the time when there is no work. If they arrange with any of the oil-makers or leave the implements unsealed, each of the guilty parties shall forfeit 1 talent of silver to the Crown and make good any deficit incurred by the contract.

The agent appointed by the oeconomus and the controller shall register the names of the dealers in each city and of the retailers, and together with the managers of the contract arrange with them how much oil and castor oil they are to take and sell from day to day ; and in Alexandria they shall arrange with the traders ; and they shall make a written agreement with each of them, with those in the country every month, with those in Alexandria . . .

Whatever quantity of oil and castor oil the dealers and retailers in each village agree to dispose of, the oeconomus and the controller shall convey the full quantity of each kind to each village before the beginning of the month, and they shall measure it out to the dealers and retailers every five days, and shall receive the price, if possible, on the same day, but if not, before the expiry of the five days, and shall pay it into the royal bank, debiting the contract with the cost of transport.

The quantity which they arrange for in each case shall be put up to auction ten days before the beginning of the month, and they shall publish in writing the latest bid for ten days both in the metropolis and in the village, and shall make an agreement for the finally approved sum.

. . . nor shall they take away (?) mortars or presses or any other implement used in this industry on any pretext ; otherwise they shall forfeit to the Crown 5 talents, and to the purchasers of the contract five times the damage. Persons who already possess any of these implements shall make a declaration before the director of the contract and the agent of the oeconomus and controller within thirty days and shall exhibit their mortars and presses, and the holders of the contract and the agent of the oeconomus and controller shall transfer them to the royal factories.

If anyone is detected manufacturing oil from sesame or croton or cnecus in any manner whatsoever, or buying sesame oil or cnecus oil or castor oil from any quarter except from the contractors, the king shall decide his punishment, but he shall forfeit to the contractors 3000 drachmae and be deprived of the oil and the produce ; and payment of the penalty shall be exacted by the oeconomus and the controller, and if he is without means, he shall be committed . . .

... on any pretext, nor bring oil into Alexandria apart from the government supply. If any persons bring in more than they are likely to use for their own consumption in three days, they shall be deprived both of the goods and of the means of transport, and shall in addition forfeit 100 drachmae for each metretes, and for more or less in proportion.

The butchers shall use up the lard every day in the presence of the oil contractor, and shall not sell it separately to any person on any pretext nor melt it down nor store it up ; otherwise both the seller and the buyer shall each forfeit to the oil contractor for every piece that is bought 50 drachmae.

Those who make oil in the temples throughout the country shall declare before the manager of the contract and the agent of the oeconomus and controller the number of the oil workshops in each temple and of the mortars and presses in each workshop, and shall exhibit the workshops, and deliver the mortars and presses to be sealed up. . . . If they fail to make the declaration or to exhibit the workshops or to deliver the implements to be sealed up, the persons in charge of the temples shall, each of them who is guilty, forfeit to the Crown 3 talents, and to the contractors five times the amount at which the latter estimate the damage. When they wish to manufacture sesame oil in the temples, they shall call in the manager of the contract and the agent of the oeconomus and controller and make the oil in their presence ; and they shall manufacture within two months the amount which they declared that they would consume in the year. But the castor oil which they use they shall obtain from the contractors at the fixed price.

The oeconomus and the controller shall write down the amounts of castor oil and sesame oil used by each temple and send the list to the king, and shall also give one to the dioecetes. It shall not be lawful to sell to any person any of the oil manufactured for the temples ; whoever does so shall be deprived of the oil, and shall in addition forfeit 100 drachmae for each metretes, and for more or less in proportion.

It shall not be lawful to bring foreign oil into the interior for sale, either from Alexandria or Pelusium or any other place. Whoever does so shall be deprived of the oil, and shall in addition pay a fine of 100 drachmae for each metretes, and for more or less in proportion.

If any persons carry with them foreign oil for their personal use, those who bring it from Alexandria shall declare it in Alexandria, and shall pay down 12 drachmae for each metretes, and for more or less in proportion, and shall obtain a voucher before they bring it inland.

Those who bring it from Pelusium shall pay the tax in Pelusium and obtain a voucher.

The collectors in Alexandria and Pelusium shall place the tax to the credit of the nome to which the oil is brought.

If any persons bringing such oil for their personal use fail to pay the tax or to carry with them the voucher, they shall be deprived of the oil, and shall forfeit in addition 100 drachmae for each metretes. All merchants who carry foreign or Syrian oil from Pelusium across the country to Alexandria shall be exempt from the tax, but shall carry a voucher from the collector stationed at Pelusium and the oeconomus, as is prescribed in the law ; likewise for oil which is brought from ... to Alexandria they shall also carry a voucher from the . . . ; but if they transport it without (?) a voucher, they shall be deprived of the oil.

The contractors shall also appoint agents at Alexandria and Pelusium to check the oil which is dispatched from Syria to Pelusium and Alexandria, and these shall keep the store-houses under seal and check the oil as it is issued.

The checking clerk of the oil contract appointed by the oeconomus shall hold a balancing of accounts with the contractor every month in the presence of the controller, and he shall write in his books the amount which he has received of each kind of produce and the amount of oil which he has manufactured and sold at the price prescribed in the tariff, except the oil which is set apart, and the price of the produce received as prescribed in the tariff, together with the price of the jars and the other expenses, namely 1 drachma for each artaba of sesame, . . . for croton, 2 obols for cnecus, . . . for colocynth, . . . for linseed, and for each . . . artabae made into sesame oil . . . drachmae, for each 5 artabae made into castor oil 1 drachma 1 obol, for each 8 artabae made into cnecus oil . . ., for each 7 artabae made into lamp oil 1 drachma, for each 12 artabae made into colocynth oil 1 drachma 1 obol, and the amount out of the profits which is the appointed share of the oil-maker and the contractor, and the expenses, whatever they may be, of the transport of the produce.

The contractors shall receive their pay from the allotted portion of the profits.

In Alexandria the wages for making sesame oil and the brokerage and the contractors' pay shall be given in accordance with the proclamation made at the auction.

Search. If the contractors or their subordinates wish to make a search, stating that certain persons are in possession of contraband oil or of oil-presses, they shall hold a search in the presence of the agent of the oeconomus or the agent of the controller. If the agent of the oeconomus or controller when summoned fails to accompany them or to remain until the search is completed, they shall forfeit to the contractors twice the amount of the latter's valuation of the contraband, and the contractors shall be allowed to make the search within ... days.

... If the searcher does not find what he professed to be looking for, the person whose property is searched shall have the right to make him swear an oath in a temple that he made the search for no other than its declared object and the interests of the oil contract.

If he fails to take the oath the same day or the day after, he shall forfeit to the person who exacts the oath twice the amount at which he valued the contraband before making the search.

The contractors shall present sureties for a sum exceeding their liabilities by one-twentieth, and the taxes which they collect they shall pay into the bank from day to day, and the instalment for each month before the middle of the month following.


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