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Select Papyri, 2.210


ROYAL INDULGENCES

Original text: PTeb 5
Date: 118 B.C.

King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra the sister and Queen Cleopatra the wife proclaim an amnesty to all their subjects for errors, crimes, accusations, condemnations, and offences of all kinds up to the 9th of Pharmouthi of the 52nd year, except to persons guilty of wilful murder or sacrilege.

And they have decreed that persons who have gone into hiding because they were guilty of robbery or other offences shall return to their own homes and resume their former occupations and shall recover the property which is still unsold out of the . . . And they remit to all persons the arrears for the said period in respect both of rents in corn and of money taxes, except to hereditary lessees for whom security has been given. . . .

And they have decreed that all recipients of grants of land and all holders of temple land and of other liberated land, both those who have encroached on crown land and all others who hold more than their proper portion, shall, on giving up all the excess and declaring themselves and paying a year's rent, be released from responsibility for the period up to the 51st year and have legal possession of the land from the 52nd year.

And that men of the native guard, and native soldiers who own ten or seven arurae, and their leaders, and all others placed in that class, and the native marines, and those of the . . . shall keep the holdings of which they have entered into possession up to the 52nd year, and shall not be subject to accusation or interference.

And they remit to everyone the arrears of the corvee-tax.

And they have decreed that the temple land and the other sacred revenues which belong to the temples shall remain assured to them, and that the temples shall receive the tithes which they used to receive from vineyards and orchards and other land.

And in like manner that the appointed sums or what they received from the Treasury as subsidies for the temples and the other sums awarded to them up to the 51st year shall be paid regularly as in other cases, and no one shall be allowed to appropriate any part of these grants.

Nor shall anyone take away by force anything of what has been dedicated to the gods, nor apply forcible persuasion to the superintendents of the sacred revenues, whether the things in question be villages or lands or other sacred revenues, nor collect the tax on associations or the crown tax or the artaba-tax from property dedicated to the god, nor assume protection of the temple lands on any pretext, but leave them to be administered by the priests themselves.

And they remit to the overseers of the temples and the chief priests and priests their arrears in respect both of the tax for overseers and of the values of linen cloths up to the 50th year.

They likewise remit to holders of honourable offices and prophetships and secretaryships and other functions in the temples the arrears owed by them in respect of the emoluments demanded on certain occasions up to the 50th year.

Likewise to those who have obtained more than their due emoluments up to the said period they remit the penalties.

Likewise to office-bearers in the lesser temples, both Isis-shrines and feeding-places of ibises and hawk-shrines and Anubis-shrines and other similar places, they grant similar remissions up to the same period. . . .

And they have decreed that the expenses for the burial of Apis and Mnevis are to be demanded from the Crown, as in the case of the deified personages. Likewise the normal expenses for the other sacred animals.

The prophetships and honourable offices and secretaryships which have been bought for the temples out of the temple revenues, and of which the prices have been paid, shall remain assured to the temples, but these offices the priests are not permitted to make over to other persons.

And they have decreed that no one is to be taken away or forcibly ejected from the existing sanctuaries on any pretext.

And since it is reported that the corn-collectors and the checking clerks use larger measures than the correct bronze measures appointed in each nome ... in estimating dues to the Crown and in consequence the cultivators are made to pay more . . ., they have decreed that the strategi and the overseers of the revenues and the royal scribes shall test the measures in the most thorough manner in the presence of those concerned in the revenues of . . . and the priests and the cleruchs and the other owners of liberated land . . . and the measures must not exceed [the government standard] by more than the 2 . . . allowed for errors. Those who disobey these orders are punishable with death.

And they have decreed that cultivators of vineland or orchards in the interior, if they plant them between the 53rd and 57th years in the land which has become flooded or dry, shall be left untaxed for five years from the time of planting them, and from the sixth year for three years more they shall be required to pay less than the regular amount, payment being made in the fourth year, but from the ninth year onwards they shall all pay the same taxes as the other owners of productive land ; and that cultivators in the territory of Alexandria shall be allowed an extra three years' grace. And they have decreed that those who have bought from the Crown houses or vineyards or orchards or other ... or boats or anything else in any manner whatsoever shall have their possession confirmed, and the houses shall not be requisitioned for billets. . . .

And they have decreed that owners of houses which have been pulled down or burnt shall be allowed to rebuild them according to the prescribed measurements.

And that persons who have private property (?) in villages shall likewise be allowed to rebuild the private houses to the height of . . . and the temples to the height of 10 cubits, except the inhabitants of Panopolis.

No one is to collect anything in any manner whatsoever from the cultivators and those who work for state interests and those connected with the revenues and bee-keepers and other such persons for the benefit of the strategi or superintendents of the police or chief policemen or oeconomi or their agents or the other officials.

Neither strategi nor holders of official positions nor their subordinates nor any other persons whatever shall take Crown land of good quality from the cultivators by fraud or select it for themselves to cultivate.

Greeks serving in the army and priests and cultivators of Crown land and . . . and all wool-weavers and cloth-makers and swineherds and gooseherds and . . . and makers of oil and castor oil and beekeepers and brewers, who pay to the Crown the sums due from them, shall not have anyone quartered in the individual houses in which they severally live, and of their other houses which may be used for quarters not more than one-half shall be thus occupied.

And they have decreed that the strategi and the other officials shall not impress any of the inhabitants of the country for private services, nor requisition their cattle for any purpose of their own, nor force them to feed calves or pigs, nor force them to provide geese or fowls or wine or corn at a price or on the occasion of renewals, nor compel them to work without payment on any pretext whatever.

And they remit to the policemen throughout the country the penalties entered against them in connexion with the government inspections and in respect of the produce which they have allowed to be lost, and also the sums which have been delivered to them for arrears or for other reasons and which have disappeared, up to the 50th year. And (they have decreed) that those who have failed to deliver to the Crown at a price the oil-yielding produce from cleruchic or temple or other land up to the said period and those who have failed to provide transport for the assembly are released from the consequent penalties.

Likewise those who have failed to provide reeds and light material for the embankments.

Likewise the cultivators of Crown land and the priests and other persons owning liberated land, who have failed to plant the proper number of trees up to the 51st year, are released from the consequent penalties, but they shall plant them from the 52nd year onwards.

Also those who have cut down wood on their own property in contravention of the published decrees.

And they have decreed as follows concerning cases of Egyptians sued by Greeks and Greeks sued by Egyptians and Egyptians by Egyptians, including all classes except the cultivators of Crown land and those who work for state interests and all others connected with the revenues : Egyptians who have made an agreement with Greeks in Greek contracts shall give and receive satisfaction before the chrematistae ; but all Greeks who make agreements (with Egyptians) in Egyptian contracts shall give satisfaction before the native judges in accordance with the national laws ; and suits of Egyptians against Egyptians shall not be taken into their own hands by the chrematistae, but they shall allow them to be decided before the native judges in accordance with the national laws.

And they have decreed that collectors of foreign debts shall not on any pretext whatever attach the persons of the cultivators of Crown land or those who work for state interests or the others whom the previously issued decrees forbid to be brought up for accusation, but the exaction of their debts shall be made from their property in so far as it is not exempted by the present decree.

And they have decreed that in the case of cultivators of Crown land the collectors shall not sell up one house at least, in which their agricultural gear shall be stored, or their cattle or other equipment necessary for agriculture, nor shall they apply these to the cultivation of temple land or any other land on any pretext whatever. And in the same way they shall not sell any factories either of linen-weavers or byssus-makers or wool-weavers or other similar craftsmen on any pretext whatever, nor shall the implements for linen-weaving and byssus-manufacture be acquired or used by any other persons than those who work for the monopoly and the byssus-makers, who alone shall use them in the temples themselves for the contribution due to the sovereigns and the vestments of the other gods.

And that no one holding an official position nor any other person shall impose labour upon the linenweavers and byssus-makers and robe-weavers gratis or at reduced wages.

And they have decreed that no one shall requisition boats for his own use on any pretext whatever.

And that neither the strategi nor other persons who are in charge of royal or civic or sacred interests shall arrest anyone for a private debt or injury or because of a private quarrel and keep him imprisoned in their houses or other places on any pretext whatever ; but if they accuse anyone, they shall bring him before the magistrates appointed in each nome and shall receive or give satisfaction in accordance with the decrees and regulations.


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