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Select Papyri, 2.218


RESCRIPT OF JUSTINIANUS

Original text: PCairo_Masp 67024
Date: About A.D. 551.

(Dioscorus) has approached us and informed us that he comes from this village in the Thebaid and that his own father, being the chief of the proprietors there, used to collect the contributions for the whole place and deliver them to the agents of the local officium ; that on being subjected to some flagrant injustices by the governors of the day they betook themselves to our divine house and had recourse to its protection, and that the most magnificent Theodosius, taking advantage of the absence of the petitioner's father, collected the taxes of the village, but paid nothing whatever into the public account, so that the agents of the local officium exacted a second time over from the suppliants the contributions imposed upon them ; and that concerning this matter they previously obtained from us a divine letter addressed to your excellency, but the intrigues of that person were of more avail than our orders, so that the petitioner had the trouble of undertaking a second journey and of a prolonged delay. We therefore decree that now at least your excellency shall give proper effect to the divine letter about this question which has been given to the suppliant and that he or rather his village shall not be deprived year after year of what is due to them, so that they shall not on this account be shortly reduced to exhaustion over the payment of the public taxes. And whereas he says that some of the proprietors in that village have robbed the petitioner and his brothers of certain property contrary to principles of justice, we decree that your excellency shall examine this case also and, if you find that it is so, shall cause satisfaction to be given to the petitioner and his brothers according to the law. Further, they have informed us that Julianus, pagarch of the Antaeopolite nome, wished to place their village under his own pagarchy, in spite of the fact that they have never been subject to a pagarchy for taxation, but following the system of self-exaction used to pay the public taxes directly to the local officium ; and that when they would not accept this position, he attacked them and was guilty of seizing their property, and shortly, such was the enormity of his conduct to them and their village, that he did indeed place them under his pagarchy, an act of extreme enormity. We therefore decree that your excellency shall examine this case with as much strictness as the law rules, and that, if you find that in truth the inhabitants of the said village have never been subject to a pagarchy for taxation, you shall stop the aforesaid Julianus from meddling with them and cause him to make good to the petitioners the harm which he has inflicted on them according to the provisions of the laws on that subject. And all other persons belonging to your officium or to the civilian class who appear to be answerable to the petitioners in regard to money or accusations your excellency shall force to make good to the petitioners their losses with regard to money according to the law, and concerning the accusations you will take care to subject the guilty persons to the legal penalties so that satisfaction shall be given on both heads, to the petitioners and to the law ; and letters which, as is probable, were obtained by rapacity can possess no force against what we have now decreed , and your excellency and whoever shall in time succeed you in your post and the officium which serves you shall observe those orders closely, a penalty of three pounds of gold being imposed upon those who venture to transgress them or allow them to be transgressed.


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