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Select Papyri, 2.219


EDICT OF METTIUS RUFUS

Greek text:  POxy 237
Date:   A.D. 80.

Proclamation of Marcus Mettius Rufus, praefect of Egypt. Claudius Arius the strategos of the Oxyrhynchite nome has informed me that neither private nor public business is receiving proper treatment owing to the fact that for many years the abstracts in the property record-office have not been kept in the manner required, although the praefects before me have often ordered that they should undergo the necessary revision, which is not really practicable unless copies are made from the beginning. Therefore I command all owners to register their property at the property record-office within six months, and all lenders the mortgages which they hold, and all other persons the claims which they possess. In making the return they shall declare the source from which in each case the possession of the property devolved upon them. Wives also, if on the strength of some native law they have a lien on the property, shall add an annotation to the property-statements of their husbands, and likewise children to those of their parents, if the enjoyment of the property has been secured to the latter by public instruments and the possession of it after their death has been settled on their children, in order that those who make agreements with them may not be defrauded through ignorance. I also command the scribes and recorders of contracts not to execute any deed without authorization of the record-office, being warned that such a transaction has no validity and that they themselves will suffer the due penalty for disregarding orders. If the record-office contains any property returns of earlier date, let them be preserved with the utmost care, and likewise the abstracts of them, in order that if afterwards an inquiry should be held concerning persons who have made false returns, they may be convicted thereby. In order then that the use of the abstracts may become secure and permanent, so that another registration shall not be required, I command the keepers of the record-office to revise the abstracts every five years, transferring to the new lists the last statement of property of each person arranged under villages and kinds. The 9th year of Domitianus, Domitianus 4.

papyrus 220


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