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Select Papyri, 2.204


EXTRACTS FROM THE INSTRUCTIONS OF A DIOIKETES TO A SUBORDINATE

Greek text:  PTeb 703
Date: Late 3rd cent. B.C.

In your tours of inspection try in going from place to place to cheer everybody up and to put them in better heart ; and not only should you do this by words but also, if any of them complain of the village scribes or the comarchs about any matter touching agricultural work, you should make inquiry and put a stop to such doings as far as possible.

When the sowing has been completed it would be no bad thing if you were to make a careful round of inspection ; for thus you will get an accurate view of the sprouting of the crops and will easily notice the lands which are badly sown or are not sown at all, and you will thus know those who have neglected their duty and will become aware if any have used the seed for other purposes.

You must regard it as one of your most indispensable duties to see that the nome be sown with the kinds of crops prescribed by the sowing-schedule. And if there be any who are hard pressed by their rents or are completely exhausted, you must not leave it unexamined.

Make a list of the cattle employed in cultivation, both the royal and the private, and take the utmost care that the progeny of the royal cattle, when old enough to eat hay, be consigned to the calf-byres. . . . Take care also that the prescribed supplies of corn, of which I send you a list, are brought down to Alexandria punctually, not only correct in amount but also tested and fit for use.

Visit also the weaving-establishments in which the linen is woven, and do your utmost to have the largest possible number of looms in operation, the weavers supplying the full amount of embroidered stuffs prescribed for the nome. If any of them are in arrears with the pieces ordered, let the prices fixed by the ordinance for each kind of stuff be exacted from them. Take especial care, too, that the linen is good and has the prescribed number of weft-threads. . . .

Since the revenue from the pasturage dues, too, is one of the most important, it will most readily be increased if you carry out the registration (of cattle) in the best possible way. The most favourable season for one so engaged is about the month of Mesore ; for the whole country in this month being covered with water, it happens that cattle-breeders send their flocks to the highest places, being unable to scatter them on other places.

See to it, too, that the goods for sale be not sold at prices higher than those prescribed. Make also a careful investigation of those goods which have no fixed prices and on which the dealers may put what prices they like ; and after having put a fair surplus on the wares being sold, make the . . . dispose of them.

papyrus 205


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