Letters from the Zenon Archive

(2)   255-239 B.C.

Many letters from the Zenon Archive are already available in translation via Some more translations have been collected here. They include documents in letter format, such as petitions and declarations, as well as private letters.

The numbers in brackets are the dates (years B.C.).

← Previous years (259-256 B.C.)


Greek text:   PCairZen_59160
Date:   January 255 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 28)

Nikon had furnished some olive oil for the use of "the men" and he begs Zenon to write and tell Nikanor to repay him . He then proceeds to complain of his own distressing circumstances , which he ascribes to the severity of Apollonios.

Nikon to Zenon greeting. If you are well and everything else is as you desire, that would be a cause for much gratitude to the gods. I too am well. Please write to Nikanor about the olive oil which we have given for the men, and ask him to repay it to us. It amounts to five choeis. As for the matter about which I wrote to you previously, if it seems right to you, please send it to us, because I think you are not unaware that, if we do not receive something from you, I will perish from hunger (?) before I know where I am, since we can only recover with the help of Apollonios, but it so happens that we are thoroughly afraid that we have committed the greatest offence. Menemachos urged me to sail down to Alexandria and see Apollonios, and promised that he would speak on our behalf so that we can achieve something, and he said that it would most help us if we could remind him about the work at Philadelphia. Write to me to say whether you agreee that I should sail down so that we can meet him. And if you decide to give us some corn, so that we do not have to buy it at a high price, order it to be given to Agathinos, so that he may bring it to us. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30 , Dios 18, Athyr 18. From Nikon, concerning olive oil.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59157
Date:   January 255 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 96

The Reserve from which Apollonios promises to send Zenon a further supply of fruit-trees, was the reserved territory round Alexandria, no doubt richer in gardens and orchards than any other district in Egypt.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. It is time to begin planting the vine and the olive and the other shoots. Send for a supply then from Memphis and the other districts and give orders to begin planting. We too will send you from the Reserve another lot of vine shoots and other sorts, as many as may be needed. Farewell. Year 30, Dios 24, Athyr 14.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59166
Date:   March/April 255 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 97

Many cattle for ploughing were kept on the estate of Apollonios and lent out by Zenon to the farmers who were working land for him, perhaps also hired out to other farmers in the neighbourhood.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. Draw up and send us a list of all the present yokes of cattle, female and male, so that we may buy some more and send them to be delivered to you immediately. Farewell. Year 30, Peritios . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59145
Date:   July 255 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 25)

A woman called Sphragis had been robbed on her way to Sophthis, a village in the Memphite nome. She had already presented a petition to Zenon , and she now addresses him for the second time, giving him a list of the objects stolen and begging him to write to Leontiskos the archiphylakites. Leontiskos is again mentioned in P.S.I. 440 in connection with Sophthis , which may be the village of Saft near Meidoum. Sphragis may perhaps have lived at Philadelphia, but the writers of the other petition state that they were inhabitants of Sophthis : apparently then Zenon was regarded as the chief local authority in these parts, though he actually resided in a different nome.

Sphragis to Zenon greeting. I gave you a petition previously about what was stolen from me while I was going to Sophthis, in the Memphite nome, to collect wool. The details of what I lost are: two mantles (12 drachmas), some wool (2 drachmas) and some copper money (2 drachmas); total, 16 drachmas. Therefore I beg you, if it seems good to you, to take pity on me and write to Leontiskos, the chief policeman, to investigate the stolen things, and to return them to me. They have reported to me that they have found them. Farewell. Year 30, Daisios 11, Pauni (?) 11.

{Docketed}   Sphragis, if I would write to Leontiskos.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59180
Date:   July 255 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 98

This is merely a formal approval of an item of expenditure in the account of Apollonios. Hay was bound up in sheaves weighing two minas, and one aroura was supposed to produce about 1200 sheaves. Two hundred drachmas would therefore be sufficient for a very large area.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. You have done well to give the two hundred drachmas of copper to pay for the binding of the hay. Farewell. Year 31, Daisios 16, Pauni 2.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 31, Daisios 17, Pauni 9. Apollonios, concerning the two hundred drachmas to pay for hay.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59179
Date:   July 255 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 99

The scene of the dispute was the estate of Apollonios in the Memphite nome, of which Paramonos was an overseer, apparently under the general supervision of Zenon. Certain cleruchs claimed that part of the vineyards there belonged to their holdings and not to the estate. It was agreed, after what preliminaries we do not know, that the case should come up for trial before Krataimenes.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. Concerning the vineyards about which we have a dispute with the cleruchs in the Memphite nome, I have written to Krataimenes and Paramonos and have sent you copies of my letters to them in order that you may follow the case. Farewell. Year 31, Daisios 16, Pauni 2.

Apollonios to Krataimenes greeting. Since those who agreed to come have not appeared against us for the trial of the case about the disputed vineyards, please give an order to keep the crops under watch. Farewell.

To Pammonos. Since the cleruchs after trespassing on the land give to us by the king have not come to the trial of the case before Krataimenes , make it your care to see that watch be kept on the crops when gathered. Farewell.


Greek text:   PLond_1967
Date:   August 255 B.C.
Translated by:   P-L.Viollet, 'Water Engineering in Ancient Civilizations', p. 117

Psenemous to Zenon greeting. The outlying peasants have taken out their [mules and shovels] and opened the irrigation ditches at the ends of the ten thousand arouras. People from Philadelphia attacked them, [chasing away] the mules and breaking [the shovels]. I sent Pelois, son of Pachos, to [tell you of this]. But I presume that you already know of these ugly incidents. In order that this business be cleared up as soon as possible, you would do well to order that [their land] be supplied with water . . .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 31, Daisios 1, Pauni 11. From Psenemous, concerning . . . of water.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59184
Date:   October 255 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 100

I take this to be the meaning of the letter, but with some diffidence as to whether my restoration of the text is correct.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. As for the [shoots] of the olive trees, take not less than 3000 from our park as well as from the gardens in Memphis. And before the fruit is gathered, mark [each tree] from which you intend to take shoots, especially the wild olive and the (?) laurel; for the Egyptian olive is not suitable for olive-groves, but only for parks. Farewell. Year 31 . . .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 31, Loios 28, Mesore 18. Apollonios concerning 3000 shoots.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59192
Date:   December 255 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.92


Greek text:   PCairZen_59130
Date:   April 256 or April 254 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 90

A farmer on Apollonios' land had been arrested because he had failed to pay the salt-tax or some other tax. It is noteworthy that the persons responsible for the arrest are Boubalos and Spendates, who do not seem to have been Government officials, but merely employees of the land-holder. These agents had evidently power to arrest defaulters, but might exercise leniency if it were to the interest of their employer to do so.

. . . we are privileged because we farm the land of Apollonios. You will do a kindness then by writing to Boubalos and Spendates about the farmer, requesting that he be set at liberty until the tax-collectors arrive, in order that the land may be weeded. I will come to see you immediately. I have added a copy of the letter of Apollonios.

Apollonios to Thrason and Paramonos greeting. Do not worry the farmers in Tapteia about the salt tax. Farewell. Year 30, Peritios intercalary, Mecheir 23.

{P.S.}   Patroklos is also bringing you two wild fowl and six goose's eggs.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59445
Date:   about 255 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.171


Greek text:   PCairZen_59169
Date:   256-254 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 92)

In this fragmentary letter Apollonios orders Zenon to show a distinguished visitor called Antikritos round the new town. One cannot but infer from this and the preceding letter that Philadelphia was practically founded by Apollonios and that, if a native village stood on the site before his time, it was a very small affair.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. [When] Antikritos [arrives, show him] the [whole] village and the place where we intend [to build the temple] of the king and of Arsinoē Philadelphos, [the gods Adelphoi], and the walkway and the sacred precinct. [Show him] also the embankments and the [. . . of my gift], and explain that we have only recently [started work] on building [the village]. Farewell . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59499   L.85-102
Date:   January 254 B.C.
Translated by: T.Evans, in 'Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman Worlds', p. 107

The writer of this memorandum did not find it easy to express himself in Greek, and he made several corrections to his draft.

Memorandum from Petosiris to Zenon greetings. Pais the weigher, the farmer, now this place inhabits now inhabits. It is not his, but belongs to the crown. He borrowed from me for several months until he built his own place, and you have given him and his brother 20 drachmas for the building of this house, this house of which he has sold half to Phanesis the oil-seller for 64 drachmas, but the other half Koroibides he (?) is going to buy. And he has another place from the treasury {i.e. from crown funds?}, and this he sold to Horos, the one in charge of the castor, and he has by no means sold built a house, other than the ones which he has now sold.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59195
Date:   January 254 B.C.
Translated by:   R. Salama, 'Apollonios the Dioiketes as a Woolen Textiles Dealer'

For Apollonios' interest in Milesian wool, see also PCairZen_59142.

Apollonios to Zenon and Panakestor greeting. I sent you Maron to be responsible for the Milesian sheep. Therefore hand over to him the sheep and the sheep enclosure and any other material. Introduce him to the shepherds to work under his orders. Give him also four boys to train. Farewell. Year 31, Apellaios ...


Greek text:   PCairZen_59199
Date:   April 254 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 32)

We have little definite information about the conditions under which the manufacture and sale of beer were carried on. We may infer from this letter that the brewery was Government property, and that probably the monopoly of beer in Philadelphia was leased to the brewer who made the most satisfactory offer.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. . . ., one of the brewers from the Arsinoite nome, has undertaken to take over the beer-shop in Philadelphia, paying 12 artabas of barley per day to the royal treasury. Therefore, draw up a contract with him, and after receiving a written declaration hand over the brewery to him. But you should also instal a reliable collector to exercise control over the work. And the present brewer must settle up for the period during which he has run the business. Farewell. Year 31, intercalary Peritios 28, Phamenoth 6.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Concerning the brewer (?) Pais.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59819
Date:   August 254 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Part of a report from one of the men who looked after Zenon's pigs or who leased them from him paying rent in kind. There is an interesting reference to Kleon the architect, to whom the writer had told the story of his trouble with the police; but whether Kleon was interested in the pigs or was merely appealed to as an influential friend is not clear.

. . . has gone to you, [to say] that his pigs are ready to be counted. Send him to me therefore immediately and I guarantee you with regard to him both the sows and the rent. Horos son of ...ton the chief policeman of Krokodilopolis detained me for three days as I was bringing you down the pigs. Of these the three best disappeared. I informed Kleon (?) the architect also. I have sent the following swineherds to bring you the pigs, Teos son of Paapis, Sontos son of Horos, Onnophris son of Pa..., Psenanouphis son of Tamaus, Sontos son of Pasis. Farewell. Year 32, Epeiph 5.


Greek text:   PLond_1973
Date:   September 254 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.90A


Greek text:   PCairZen_59220
Date:   December 254 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 101

It seems certain that irrigation work on Apollonios' estate were given out by him to contractors and paid for out of his private purse. But the relations between Apollonios, as a landed proprietor, and the Irrigation Service remain to me rather obscure.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. Give out to contractors the work on the canal to the west of the ten thousand arourai. Farewell. Year 32, Hyperberetaios 13, Phaophi 13.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   [Year 32, Phaophi] . . . Apollonios concerning contractors [for the canal].


Greek text:   PCairZen_59223
Date:   December 254 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 103

This is evidently not a private transaction , as the receipts are made out to Python the royal banker in Krokodilopolis and to Philiskos the oikonomos of the Arsinoite nome. We may assume that the price of the crops was put to the credit of Zenon or Apollonios in the royal bank. Thrasymedes , who is not mentioned elsewhere in our papyri , I take to be a representative of the oil monopoly.

Thrasymedes to Zenon greeting. According to what you wrote to us about the 100 artabas of sesame which you measured out on the . . . of M... in the 31st year, Etearchos having come to us , we wrote the receipt to Python , as well as for the 105 artabas of cnecus which you measured out on the 10th of Epeiph in the 32nd year. As for the poppy seed , if a note be given us of the amount , we will write a receipt to Philiskos , together with one for the 300 artabas of sesame , if you will write or instruct us accordingly, in order that the sesame may be used for the oil-factory. Farewell. Year 32, Phaophi 26.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 32, Phaophi. Thrasymedes . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59225
Date:   January 253 B.C.
Translated by: T.Evans, in 'Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman Worlds', p. 121

Artemidoros to Zenon, greetings. If you are well, it would be good; and I am well too, and Apollonios was well, and the rest was according to our wishes. The sons of Leptines, Nikandros and Myrikon, have a stallion in Pharbaithos, a black one, which has large swellings [on its legs] and is useful for nothing else apart from impregnating [the mares]. And I learn that the young men are very well known to you. So would you please make a particular effort to buy me the stallion from them for impregnating [the mares], if it is possible to get it cheaply; but if it is not for sale, borrow it for me for the mounting impregnating [of the mares] - for if you are keen, they will certainly not oppose you - and it will receive every attention. And in whichever way you manage the business, you will gratify me by writing as quickly as possible, in order that I may know if it is mine. For since the stallion at my place is now rather old he does not lord it over the mares. And I sent word to you also about the sesame crop which I have in the holding, in order that you should be attentive about the harvest, so that it should be harvested in a certain manner, and you should write to me how much there is. So would you please send me word also about these matters. Farewell. Year 32, Apellaios 5.

{Addressed}   To Philadelphia. To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 32. Artemidoros, doctor.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59224
Date:   January 253 B.C.
Translation at:   by J. Bauschatz


Greek text:   PCairZen_59820
Date:   February/March 253 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

The letter is written in the chancery hand used by the scribes of Apollonios. But some phrases suggest that the author may not have been the dioiketes himself, but one of his subordinates - perhaps Metrodoros, whose letters are written in the same hand. The writer acknowledges receipt of a consignment of wildfowl and other game sent as a gift to the king at the festival of the Theoi Adelphoi, which, so far as I know, it is not mentioned elsewhere.

Metrodoros (?) to Zenon greeting. Know that [the gifts which you sent on behalf of Apollonios?] to be given to the king for the . .. and the festival of the Brother gods, under the charge of . . ., have arrived and have been presented. I have appended a list of them for you. And in order that for the future they may be carried tax-free according to custom, [send with them a note?] to the toll-houses. Farewell. Year 32, Audnaios . . .

2 [hares], 2 wild birds, .. white-browed . . . and of dead creatures 35 (?) : . . . 22 hares, 9 wild birds, .. white-browed . . .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PLond_1976
Date:   March 253 B.C.
Translated by:   Bagnall & Cribiore, 'Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt', p. 102

Haynchis to Zenon greeting. Taking beer from the large beer shop I dispose of 4 drachmas' worth daily and pay regularly. But Demetrios the vine dresser has deceived my daughter and taken her away; he keeps her in hiding, saying that he is going to live with her without me. But she was managing the store with me and supported me, since I am old. Now, therefore, I sustain loss since she is gone, and I myself do not have the necessities. But he also has another wife and children so that he cannot live with the woman he deceived. I ask you then to help me because of my old age and give her back to me. Farewell.

{Docketed}   Year 32, Mecheir. From Haynchis.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59822
Date:   March 253 B.C. ?
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Written in a beautiful hand of the same type as no. 59036. About four years previously, as appears from P. Mich. Zen . 18, a slave called Stachys, employed by Zenodoros, had run away but had been caught almost immediately. Whether it was the same Stachys about whom Perdikkas reports to Zenon in the present letter we can only guess; but the context suggests that he was a runaway slave and not the property of Asteropaios who was keeping him.

In accordance with what you wrote I examined Aristomachos the brother of Asteropaios, in the presence of Thrason your agent, about the boy Stachys, and he said that Asteropaios had left the nome more than a year ago nor did he know where he was, but that he, Asteropaios, had the boy and if he hears where he is he will give us word. I have therefore written to let you know. Farewell. Year 33, Mechir 7.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PSI_352
Date:   May 253 B.C.
Translated by: A.C.Smith

Another papyrus ( PCairZen_59763 ) contains details of payments made to Artemidoros and others for encaustic work.

Sell off the encaustic works that are available, so that you can make a profit . . . for an obol a day is sufficient for me . . . They are forever in prostitutes and wine; and recently, during the allocation of the work, when they noticed that I wanted to do something more for you, the three of them subjected me to drunken abuse and brought me into the same state. Therefore I beg you, if you agree, to come to my aid, so that it does not happen again that I suffer drunken abuse while applying for work. Farewell.

{Docketed}   Year 32, Phamenoth 22. From Artemidoros the encaustic painter.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59240
Date:   July 253 B.C.
Translated by: Meijer & van Nijf, 'Trade, Transport and Society in the Ancient World', no. 94

Kleanax to Zenon greeting. Re: the mules for which I sent slaves to you, so that they might buy them for us, hand them over to you, and send them off with those of Apollonios to the estate of Apollonios in Memphis. It would be good if you had already taken care of the matter, but if you have not, see to it that they send them off safely, with yours as if they belonged to Apollonios, to prevent them being troubled in any way with taxes. And it would be good if you had already informed us, otherwise, write to us about them to say whether they have arrived, and whether they have been sent off and what steps you have taken to let us know that they are at our disposal, and that they are safe and well. But, if they have not yet arrived, please order your men, as we have asked you to do. Farewell. Year 33, Daisios 13.

{Docketed}   Year 33, Pauni 19. Kleonax to Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59241
Date:   September 253 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 108

This is one of a few letters from Zenon himself which by some chance have been preserved in his archives. Krotos was a commercial agent , and Peisikles a rather important person , a sort of paymaster , in the service of Apollonios.

Zenon to Krotos greeting. As soon as you get my letter, get twenty-five minas of wool from Pasis the Jew and contract with Artemidoros for the making of a mattress , long enough for a seat for two , or a little longer, and double-fronted : for it is required for Peisikles ; and as soon as you get the wool , send it to Memphis to Artemidoros and try to have it finished in fifteen days. We have written also to Pasis to give you the wool. Farewell. Year 33 , Epeiph 28.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59837
Date:   Before 252 B.C.
Translated by: A.C. Smith

Euphragoras, who is not otherwise known to us, writes that a slave girl has escaped; and in the missing part of the letter he probably asked Zenon to arrest and send her back. The Macedonian date in the docket suggests that the letter was written some time before 252 B. C.

Euphragoras to Zenon greeting. The slave girl of a relative of mine has gone away from Herakleopolis, and we hear that she is staying [near] you . . .

{Docketed}   Peritios 26 . . . Euphragoras.


Greek text:   P.Lond_1979
Date:   January 252 B.C.
Translated by:   (first half) O. Tammuz, "Mare Clausum?" (2005)

Demetrios to Zenon, greeting. It would be well if you are in good bodily health and if in other respects you are prospering. I myself am in good health. Know that your father and Akrisios have arrived safely home. For some people arriving in Rhodes bring the news that the ship of Timokrates was in Rhodes, having just arrived from Kaunos. When they sailed away, they left behind cushions and leather pillows, which they asked Kimeon to send on to Kaunos. For the moment it is impossible for him to send them, but as soon as possible, when the fair weather comes, he will send them off immediately. The reason that the ship captain did not take the cushions with him was that he could not release them from customs, but he wasted several days while the ship was riding at anchor in the sea. And know that we did not receive the mina of silver, which you arranged for us to receive from Sostratos. Demetrios showed us the memorandum from you, in which you write with instructions to give it to us from the honey. The honey had already been sold by Isokrates the banker and his associates, and they said that the money was not sufficient even for them. So Sostratos has cheated us; after arranging that Proitos should give the money to us from the honey, again he ran off and contrived that the honey was never delivered to Proitos.   I myself am anxious to sail up to meet you, but I did not have time to do so. For Antileon is writing the letter to you on my behalf. Farewell.

{Docketed}   Year 33, Athyr 1. Demetrios to Zenon.   Concerning the mina of silver that he has not received, and concerning the cushions that are missing.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59243
Date:   February 252 B.C.
Translated by:   D.Thompson, 'New and Old in the Ptolemaic Fayyum', p. 136

Horos to Zenon greeting. By 12 Choiak there will be 130 arourai sown with poppy. Please, do come and visit so you may feast your eyes on the sight. Farewell. Year 33, Choiak 12.

{On the back}   We have an allotment to the north which give us 20 arourai on which to plant castor-oil {kiki}. Zenon, take the two parts and the owner can keep the third part.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59245
Date:   February 252 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 40)

The peasants mentioned in line 1 probably cultivated the land, by agreement with the land-holders, under certain conditions. Being dissatisfied with their treatment they had fled to a place of refuge, the ancient equivalent to going on strike.

Kollouthes to Zenon greeting. After leaving you, I found that the peasants belonging to the land which has been portioned out among the soldiers have fled to the temple of Isis in the Memphite nome. So at the time when I received your letter, I was setting out for Krokodilopolis to ask Maimachos to rout them out. As soon as this is done I will come to you; for Maimachos was not staying in the village. Farewell. Year 33, Choiak ..

{Docketed}   Year 33, Tybi 2. From Kollouthes.


Greek text:   PSI_569
Date:   March 252 B.C.
Translated by:   T.V. Evans, "Counting Chickens in PSI VI 569" (2010)

Philinos to Zenon greetings. It would be good if you are well. I am well too myself. I have sent you nest-boxes (?), which . . ., and 60 pine-cones (?), and 22 pomegranates, and a cock-bird, red and fiery-eyed, and its sister {i.e. mate?}, fiery-eyed and black, another red bird from Nausinikos' ones, and its sister, black and goat-eyed . .. of these one grey, another male, ash-coloured and sharp-eyed, and this one's sister, white and fiery-eyed, another ash-coloured male and two black females, somewhat fiery-eyed, one black female with a broken tail (?) . . ., another large one, bronze-winged, with the eye white-edged, four black females and one speckled. Would you please give the double cloaks to my man Moschos, but the cages to Telestes' man Libanos. Farewell. Year 33, Tybi ..

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   [Year 33, Tybi] 5 (?), Philinos about the things which he sent.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59251
Date:   April 252 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.93


Greek text:   PCairZen_59253
Date:   June 252 B.C.
Translated by: N.Lewis, 'Greeks in Ptolemaic Egypt', p. 53

The banker who wrote this letter is known from one other papyrus, recording a business agreement with Panakestor (P. Lond. 1963).

Po[seidon]ios to Zenon, greeting. As you wrote to me, I have given [your employee] Pyron the latest statement of your private account and pointed out to him the erroneous amounts of the discrepancy. He was detained here a few days because I was busy. Farewell. Year 34, Phamenoth 22.

{Docketed}   Year 34, Phamenoth 28. . . . account.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59254
Date:   July 252 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 109

Phanias was a secretary of the cavalry. One of his duties was to inspect the troops in his district and see that they were properly mounted and equipped. In the present case he was coming to Philadelphia to review all the cadets in the Arsinoite nome and to administer an oath , which was perhaps required before they could be definitely confirmed in the possession of their allotments.

Phanias to Zenon greeting. I have decided to review all the cadets who have received allotments in the Arsinoite nome and to administer the oath to them in Philadelphia. Will you kindly then prepare me a lodging , for I am not very well at present and also I wish to be with you as long as possible. Farewell .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 34 , Pachons 22. From Phanias , about his visit to Philadelphia.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59379
Date:   254-251 B.C.
Translation at:   by J. Bauschatz


Greek text:   PCairZen_59256
Date:   252/1 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 110

The title of Philiskos has not yet been found in writing , but there is little doubt that he was at this time the chief oikonomos of the Arsinoite province. It is interesting to see that the complaint of the villagers was sent straight to the chief oikonomos and that he in turn ordered the nomarch to do what was necessary.

Philiskos to Zenon greeting. Before your letters arrived the people in Tanis wrote to me that the water . . . I therefore sent to Maimachos and ordered him to make haste to repair the mouth of the canal at Psenuris. So I have written to you to let you know. Farewell. Year 34 . . .


Greek text:   PSI_571
Date:   252/1 B.C.
Translated by:   A. Sarri

Pyron was the chief secretary of Zenon. The translation is by A. Sarri, Material Aspects of Letter Writing in the Graeco-Roman World (p. 102), who comments on the elegant style of Pyron’s letters. An aolion (or aōilion) was an Egyptian measure of capacity.

To Zenon greeting from Pyron. You will do well, regarding the wheat that we have for the 12th year, to pay through Petechon the 500 artabas of barley in money instead of kind, in compensation for the aolia that we have worked, so that we are not in debt since we have paid. And regarding the 40 artabas of wheat of the 34th year and the 150 artabas of barley, which our brother Menodoros has announced to us that you have given up to us, make an arrangement in a similar manner, so that we are not in debt.

And for the future, in order that we do not disturb you for a little corn, you will do well to see to it that from this year onwards we receive a plot of land, to which you will provide the first seeding, in order that we are able to live decently. For, from the 2 artabas that I receive, nothing remains. For, besides the secretaries that have been given to me by you, I also feed another one, and I give 1½ corn artabas, 3 drachmas in money, 3 kotylai of olive oil, and clothing worth 10 drachmas. And I additionally give to Hermolaos 2 kotylai of oil every month, and for clothing, which you yourself know, besides the daily provisions.

And for the travel to the north, in order that we do not travel in complete dishonour, if you agree, pleasing us and giving up 150 artabas of poppy seed for us, which you will set forth for sale together with your poppy seeds, and you will provide us with 100 drachmas for wheat which you will get from the sale of the poppy seed. May you prosper.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59263
Date:   April 251 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 44)

This letter may have been written in Alexandria, though Greeks living in the capital seem as a rule to have used the Macedonian calendar. It may be assumed that the Apollonios mentioned in the letter is the well-known dioiketes. ln that case, as we know that he was dioiketes both before and after year 34 , the writer probably means that he had resumed office after a temporary absence.

Philon to Zenon greeting. If you yourself are well, and the rest of your affairs are satisfactory, that would be as I wish. I too am well. Maiandria has written to me about a cloak which you ordered her to weave. At present she is ill, but as soon as she is better you shall have the garment. Know that Apollonios has taken over the direction of public affairs and that Dionysodoros is acting as chief accountant. I have written this for your information. Farewell. Year 34, Mecheir 9.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30 {sic}, Mecheir 27. From Philon, concerning a cloak.


Greek text:   PSI_514
Date:   April 251 B.C.
Translated by:   A.C. Smith

See S. West, "Unremitting Activity: Herodotus' Mycerinus and Zenon's Correspondents" ( PDF ).

Apollonios to Zenon, greeting. The king has repeatedly given urgent orders regarding the gifts for the Stephanephoria festival. Therefore turn night into day and send down what is specified from Philadelphia; and make every effort to have them delivered in Alexandria before any longer, or within three days at the latest, so that they are not too late for the occasion; and especially, because the need is so urgent. And immediately after this, send down what was ordered for the birthday of the king, at the time which we said in the previous letter. Farewell. Year 34, Peritios 28, Phamenoth 3.

{Docketed}   Year 34, Phamenoth 7. From Apollonios the dioiketes . . . [Stepha]nepho[ria] . . . birthday of the king.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59270
Date:   July 251 B.C.
Translated by:   L.Casson, in 'The Philosophy of Shipbuilding', p. 97

Sōsos to Zenon greeting. You wrote to me to send you sycamore wood to Kersat. As soon as the mules arrive, we'll load and send it off. They {? the shipwrights} told you that Palous had said there was no acacia wood. On the 15th {of Pachons} the muleteers brought some from Mea, while on the the 16th, when they didn't show up, he brought some in a cart. I had written to you to let you know that they're not short of acacia wood, they have enough, but there will be a need for sycamore, since what has been cut and brought won't be enough. The ibis-feeders, the ones from Mea, approached me yesterday willing to sell rather cheaply. Send Theopompos to buy, so that the shipwrights won't have an excuse for not working. For they're scoundrels and always looking for an excuse. Farewell. Year 35, Pachons 17.

{Docketed}   Year 35, Pachons 17. From Spondates, concerning wood.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59426
Date:   260-250 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.91


Greek text:   PSI_362
Date:   January 250 B.C.
Translated by: N.Lewis, 'Greeks in Ptolemaic Egypt', p. 54

Sosos was a commercial agent of Apollonios and Zenon; see also PCairZen_59270.

Sōsos to Zenon greeting. Sailing down to Mendes, I delivered your letter and Iatrokles' to Dionysios and Promethion. As luck would have it, Apollonios the tax collector was there, so that Dionysios had that excuse for delay, and as I stayed there ten days Promethion, excellent gentleman that he is, seeing me wasting several days there, gave me a letter to Diodotos in Alexandria to pay me 2,000 copper drachmas, and he said he had given Limnaios 1,200. So we are on the point of getting all the money. Farewell. Year 35, Choiak 1.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59481
Date:   June 250 B.C.
Translated by: T.Evans, in 'Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman Worlds', p. 119

To Zenon greetings, Paēsis. So that it doesn't turn out that the potters who coat jars with pitch make a hash of it in some of the jars and by recoating them again use up too much pitch without reason, if it seems good to you I shall manage the coating, together with Lysimachos and Nephoreites and Herieus; for if this happens, more jars will be coated with pitch, and in the right way, and the pitch will be conserved. And know too that I am being slandered by the potters; for they say that I am always writing something damaging against them to you. So I take no notice of them; for I would never stop reporting what is useful for you. For also, while I have given Anosis 2,000 jar-lids, the rest of the potters have not given any, but even cast angry glances at me. Be fortunate.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59308
Date:   October 250 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 47

Apparently the temple of Thoeris in Philadelphia received a small contribution towards its upkeep from a more important temple of the same goddess in another town. We may perhaps picture it as one of a number of newly founded and poorly endowed little temples , in which Zenon took a paternal interest as the representative of Apollonios , who was the real creator of Philadelphia.

Zenon to Axates greeting. We wrote to you once before about Kollythes the priest of Thoēris of Philadelphia, requesting that the amount due from the priest of Thoēris for the temple in Philadelphia should be paid to him regularly, and you replied that he is entitled to 12 drachmas for the year. But the fact is nobody ever pays anything. So please give an order yourself that the whole amount now owing shall he paid to him , for they depend on this subsidy for performing the sacrifices. Farewell. Year 36, Mesore.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59317
Date:   November 250 B.C.
Translated by: J.Kloppenborg, 'The Tenants in the Vineyard', p. 401

Horos to Zenon, greetings. From the month of Choiak until Mesore is nine months. I must apportion the work, and there are many things to be done. Now I will use four papyrus rolls on these things, three for the construction account and one for the work of the vine-dressers. Therefore please arrange to give me more so that I can apportion the work quickly. Farewell.

Now in regard to my monthly salary: from the months of Pachons to Mesore is four months, making 40 drachmas. In payment I have received from Kallon 10 dr., leaving 30 dr. From this you should deduct the 15 dr. that I still owe you. This leaves 15 drachmas. It would be good if you could give this to me so that I will be conscientious in regard to my job.

{Docketed}   Year 36, Thoth 30. Horos, regarding papyrus scrolls and his monthly salary.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59322
Date:   March 249 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 50

The persons named in this letter are not known to us from papyri hitherto published. As Philokles was a toparch, Moschion must have been either a nomarch or an official of still higher rank. Philokles seems to have claimed the wheat as rent or taxes on some land in his district, but the circumstances of the case can only be guessed at. Seeing that the letter was found in Zenon's archives, we may suppose that he had been consulted about it.

Kriton to Moschion greeting. Demokrates the bearer of the letter has begged my aid, saying that he is being wronged by Philokles who is serving under you as toparch and that he {Philokles} has taken from him fifty artabas of wheat, though he owes nothing to the king nor has farmed any land under his control, but has merely bought a quantity of corn from the harvesters. Will you kindly see to it then that he recovers the said amount and is not wronged. He says that he is being wronged too by some of your other subordinates. Forbid them to treat him thus, I beg of you, for he is an agent of mine. Farewell. Year 36, Tubi 15.


Greek text:   PSI_369
Date:   March 249 B.C.
Translated by: S. von Reden, 'Money in Ptolemaic Egypt', p. 167   (first half)

Dorion to Zenon greeting. I have found out since when the cups and jewellery which Charmos has pledged have been deposited. The principal is 600 drachmas in silver, and the interest ... drachmas per month in silver, and the duration has been 2 years and 11 months. Similarly for the other items: the principal is 900 drachmas, of which the people of Petalis received 600 drachmas in silver, and Kallon received in Memphis 300 silver drachmas. This is together 900 drachmas, and the duration has been 1 year and 5 months. About the interest for the 900 drachmas you do not have to worry, but I shall arrange as you wish. Please arrange with Sostratos that the 32 drachmas of silver, which I have through the bank on behalf of Dionysios, are sent to me. He agreed that one talent should be paid in Memphis, which he instructed should be given to Pais and Phalous as salary, and another two talents, in total three talents. He wrote for me a letter to Thrason, that he should take account of the items for which no-one has given the price. Farewell. Year 36, Mecheir 2.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 36, Mecheir 12. From Dorion concerning the cups, and the 32 silver drachmas of Sostratos.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59329
Date:   April 249 B.C.
Translated by: J.Kloppenborg, 'The Tenants in the Vineyard', p. 404

Apollonios and Menippos, vine-dressers, to Zenon, greetings. Please pay attention to us and remind Metrodorus to pay us the wages for the night guarding, whatever wage seems to you to be appropriate. For be assured that we . . . in the work. We went also to Bacchias and we conducted an inspection. You should know, then, that the fruit is beginning to develop nicely. We discovered that Atpheus had fled after a fine (?) was imposed on him in regard to some vegetables. Farewell. Year 37, Mecheir 28.


Greek text:   P.Lond_2033
Date:   257-248
Translated by: J. Muir, "Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World" (2009), p. 81

Epharmostos, the brother of Zenon, is mentioned in a previous letter ( P.Cair.Zen. 59148 ).

Epharmostos to his brother, greetings. The letter which you wrote to Menon about Kallikon's money has been eaten by mice. You would oblige me by writing quickly so that Kallikon may not be delayed. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59330
Date:   June 248 B.C.
Translated by:   T.Evans, 'Oral Performance and Its Context', p. 200

Pemnas to Zenon greeting. Concerning the debts among the swineherds from the previous periods together with the rent for the 37th year, Herakleides acted in collusion with Thoteus and they themselves calculated the amounts without our consent and we are not able to follow closely what they have done up to now, and although they were asked for the account they did not have the courage to give it to us. And so concerning these things I appealed to Iason several times to the effect that being in collusion they were not acting in an upright manner. And Herakleides also holds all the contracts made with the swineherds. Therefore, I have written to you in order that you should know. Farewell. Year 38, Pachons 10.


Greek text:   PSI_382
Date:   August 248 B.C.
Translated by:   L.Casson, in 'The Philosophy of Shipbuilding', pp. 96-7

Pais to Zenon greeting. You know that I arranged with you to repair the prow of the boat. But it's turned out to involve dismantling and reconstructing the whole boat. We've searched for wood everywhere. We've located with great diffulty one piece of acacia on which Demetrios, collector of the grain-tax, put down a deposit of 50 drachmas. Please write to him to let us have it. It's worth 80 drachmas. Otherwise write to Hermolaos about the acacia in Kerke during these ten days to give orders to cut it for us. They value it at 28 drachmas. If you write to Hermolaos, they will give 20 drachmas. Let's keep moving until we get enough wood and keep the shipwrights from hanging around doing nothing. So write to me about this. I received 60 copper drachmas from Spondates. Farewell. Year 38, Pauni 24.

{Docketed}   Year 38, Epeiph .. From Pais to Zenon.


Greek text:   PSI_417 + PCairZen_59831
Date:   September 248 B.C.
Translated by:   (second half) C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Pyrrhos had sent a previous letter to Zenon and Epharmostos on the same subject, which is P. Mich. 58.

Pyrrhos to Zenon and Epharmostos, greeting. If you are both well, that would be good; we also are well. I have written to you before about Etearchos, that he brought an action against me at the logisterion, claiming that I owe 240 artabas of wheat, and I am obliged to pay . . . . . . Then Nikanor replied to me, "It is not Etearchos, but Zenon who does you wrong."

I have therefore bound myself by a written declaration to bring letters from you to Theophilos and Nikanor and Hermaphilos before the end of Mesore, saying that I do not owe this corn. Please then write in haste about this matter, lest I become liable to the consequences of my oath and be left to languish in prison. For unless I am undisturbed I shall not be able to pay what is due to you either. The weaving of the himation proceeds and the third cubit has been reached. Write to Jason to advance to me for seed 12 artabas of chickpeas. Farewell. Year 38, Mesore 10.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59337
Date:   October 248 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 52

We do not know what Leon's official title was, but in the present case he acts as if he were a praktor collecting arrears. The vineyard and orchard in which Iason is interested had apparently not paid the eparourion or ground-tax for five years, and Leon was about to exact the amount due to Government by seizing and selling the wine of the recent vintage, the season being now late autumn.

Iason to Zenon greeting. I went over to Moithymis . . . to see Leon about the ground-tax which he is trying to exact on the vineyard and orchard, for five years past, at the rate of three drachmas for each aroura. I asked him then to wait and not sell the wine until I wrote to you. So he has given us three days in which he is prepared to receive a settlement of accounts. Metrodoros also wrote to Hermolaos to stop proceedings until you had been written to. Farewell. Year 38, Mesore 19.


Greek text:   P.Lond_2007
Date:   December 248 B.C.
Translated by:   A.C. Smith

Horos to Pemenes, greeting. Erienouphis the swineherd has gone off to the altar of the king, saying "I will not feed the pigs if you do not pay me the four months' wages,” saying "I am a sailor, no-one can lay hold of me or force me to feed your pigs." You will do well then to meet with Zenon and speak to him about the wages, that they should be sent to us so that the man does not go away, but feeds the pigs. Know then that I am reporting this to you, so that you do not blame me later. As a result, your pigs are starving. Therefore more of them have been killed and died from hunger, than have been killed by the disease that attacks the pigs. Therefore say to Zenon that he should send another person to us, so that we may lead the pigs out to the arakos; for one man is not enough to feed 60 pigs there, but two will be sufficient. And thus another man will be needed for the rest of the pigs, because the rest cannot yet eat the arakos. Farewell. Phaophi 23.

{Addressed}   To Pemenes.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59470
Date:   256-246 B.C.
Translated by:   R.J.Forbes, 'Studies in Ancient Technology', vol. 4. p. 39

Molossos was a travelling agent, used by Zenon to sell the produce of the estate at Philadelphia.

Molossos to Zenon, greetings. When I had written to you the first letter which Horos our agent has handed to you, Theogenes arrived at Mendes on the 23rd . . . with the three . . . sealed parcels of flax stalks which you gave him as samples. They sell at . . . we have asked the merchants whether they could sell 10,000 parcels. They say yes. Therefore send quickly as many parcels as seems advantageous and the agent who will sell them. Give orders that they be sold at the highest price; and write to Promethion the banker, asking him to stay and assist with these transactions.

We have written to you about the papyri rolls . . . and when I met Kriton in the Delta I asked him to inform you. Therefore after finding out from him, write and tell me what to do, so that it may be done. Also write to me about yourself, to let me know whether you are well. Farewell. Year 3., . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59341
Date:   247/6 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 54

For parts A and B of this papyrus, see BD_57. In part C Zenon made a rough draft for a letter or memorandum, in compliance with Neon's request. The person for whom the memorandum was intended can scarcely be anyone but Apollonios the dioiketes. It is another illustration of how he could interfere between the Government and the citizens of a subject state, either by a direct order or at any rate by a request which the local authorities would not venture to disregard. In spite of what Neon says in his letter, it is doubtful if official etiquette would have permitted Zenon to write directly to the council and people. The natural intermediary in such a case was his patron Apollonios.

From Zenon.   On behalf of Therarchos who married my father's sister, who lives in Kalynda, you wrote that he was not to have soldiers quartered on him and that he was to be exempted from providing hay and green fodder. But now that Therarchos is dead his family has to lodge soldiers and is compelled to provide hay and green fodder. Will you kindly therefore write to Diodotos the oikonomos and to the council and people to see that Neon enjoys the same privileges as his father.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59344
Date:   April 246 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 55

The letter has no address on the back, but was probably intended for Zenon. Iason, Theopompos and Sostratos are familiar names in his circle. The restoration of line 4, and consequently the meaning, is uncertain.

Greetings. Will you kindly write to Iason to let the stathmos of Theopompos be given to me to serve as a dwelling-place. For the one in which I am living used to belong to Phileas who was formerly scribe for the Arsinoite nome, and as he has recovered his property from the dioiketes they are ordering me to leave it. If it is not possible to obtain that of Theopompos, get a letter from Sostratos to his people requesting them to let his house be put at my disposal. Farewell. Year 1, Mecheir 11.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59351
Date:   244/3 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 58

The petition is carefully written out, without corrections, and does not seem to be merely a draft. Nevertheless, as it was found among Zenon's papers and as it bears no date or annotation, it is doubtful whether it was really laid before Agenor in its present form; perhaps it is only a copy of the original. The writer uses the ordinary formulae of petitions addressed to the king, though really intended for the local strategos, but the diction is somewhat curt. He does not describe himself by his full name and title, nor does he give any details about his opponent Herakleides. The 400 drachmas which Zenon owed to the Government were probably a tax of some sort.

To king Ptolemy greeting from Zenon. I am being wronged by Herakleides. For in year 3 I gave him through Demeas 400 drachmas in gold, requesting him to pay into the Treasury on my account 400 drachmas in copper, on condition that on receiving from me the said amount in copper he should give me back the gold; and though I have been offering him the copper and demanding the gold from him, he has not given it back but has put me off up till now. I beg you therefore, if it seems good to you, to order Agenor the strategos to summon him and, if my story he found true, to force him to accept the 400 drachmas of copper and give me back the four hundred drachmas of gold, and so by your grace may I obtain justice. Farewell.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59362
Date:   November 243 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 60

Zenon appears here as a person of influence, but not necessarily of any official standing; indeed I suspect it was merely as a sheep-owner that he was interested in the question.

. . . to Zenon greeting. You wrote . . . [That they should tell you lies?] is not surprising, but it is surprising that they should have prevailed on you to write bidding me act fairly as Demetrios is according them justice. Yet I had given them not only the place which they leased, but an additional piece at the request of Ammonios, not allowing myself to accept a price from others. But so senseless are these people that they want me next to hand over to them the land which I have let to others by contract. The land I speak of is scattered through all the plains, for in each basin there are six or seven arourai of it, sometimes ten. Land of this sort I have not given up to anyone, but after you wrote I gave them the untilled land which lies in a single plain, comprising 200 arourai. I will inform you more fully when I am on the spot. Farewell. Year 5, Thoth 14.

{P.S.}   If any goads or spears are to be had cheap, buy me two for guarding the wild cattle and give them to Straton and Peromin (?).


Greek text:   P.Lond_2056
Date:   243-242 B.C.
Translated by: J. Muir, "Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World" (2009), p. 77

It appears that king Ptolemy III visited Philadelphia early in his reign; Philinos was arranging a reception for him.

Philinos to Zenon, greetings. You would oblige me by giving to Poseidonios the jar of sweet wine as you agreed, and likewise send me the boiled grape-juice and the honey. Send the pig too quickly so that we are not too late for the arrival of the King. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PLond_2017
Date:   242-241 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Muir, 'Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World', pp. 79-80

Memo from Herakleotes to Zenon and Nestos, my appointed guardians. I have given you previously a memo about the instrument which was left to me in his will by Demeas, my teacher, and, when it vanished from his quarters, asking that you should either find it and give it to me, or give me another not inferior one on which I can practise and compete, so that I am not left behind by many of my fellows through being out of practice.

I sent you another memo about the instrument asking that, since Hieron agreed he was keeping the lost instrument at his place as security for a loan of one hundred and five drachmas, you should get it back and give it to me or else buy me another one not inferior so that I can practise and compete and not be left behind by many of my fellows because I am out of practice. You have not bothered about any of these matters.

And I sent you a third memo asking that since Demeas, my teacher, left in his will that I should be supported with all that a free man should and must have who is being trained in lyre-playing up to the stage of entering a competition; and since you are providing me every month with three drachmas four and a half obols for meat, three drachmas and three choes for oil, two drachmas and a half-obol for fish and seven and a half measures of wine; and since I said these were not enough for my training, I asked you for Demeas' sake and for the sake of not making a fuss to give me a monthly allowance of: for meat, seven drachmas three obols; for oil, six drachmas, six choes; for fish, seven drachmas three obols; and fifteen choes of wine. You have done none of what I asked in my memos.

So I ask you once again that either my instrument should be given back to me, the one that Hieron says he has and that was left to me in the will, or that another, not inferior, should be bought and given to me so that I may practise and enter the competition and should not be left behind by many of my fellows for the reason that I do not have an instrument. And I ask that you provide me with the necessaries specified in my letter to you according to the requirements of the will that I should be provided with all that a free man should and must have who is to be trained in lyre-playing up to the stage of entering a competition.

If it is not your choice to make this provision, I ask you to give me the monthly monetary equivalent for two years so that, looking after myself and finding a manager, I may enter the competition proclaimed by the King and not rot here - but be able to help myself. Farewell. Year 6, in the month . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59367
Date:   January 241 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 62a

The text fills one column of a papyrus which originally contained a number of drafts, not copies, of letters on various subjects. The first letter is addressed to Sostratos, a partner or agent of Zenon.

What was Zenon's connection with the farming of this tax? I can see no indication that he was acting as a Government official. One possible explanation is that though Dionysodoros was the nominal surety, Zenon stood behind him and was ultimately responsible for the money. But I am more inclined to think that Zenon was in reality a partner in the farming of the apomoira. As for the general meaning of the text I take it that the guarantee had not yet been definitely exacted from Dionysodoros and that if the order of the dioiketes arrived in time no farther steps would be taken about it, but that if it was exacted before the order arrived it would be difficult to obtain restitution from the Treasury.

Year 6, Choiak 1. To Sostratos. When Demetrios, who is engaged in farming the apomoira, was starting down the river to see Zenodoros about the farm and to ask that an order be sent to Hermaphilos and the accountants to make inquiry and, if it should appear that in year 5 not only the sums due for that year but also the arrears of year 4 are being paid up, to let the . . . be returned to the sureties, I wrote to you also to attend to this question and ask Kraton the praktor to deal indulgently with Dionysodoros about the 3000 drachmas for which he guaranteed the firm of Hippokrates and Demetrios. But I hear that Zenodoros has sailed up to Sebennytos and I suspect that Demetrios has not found him in the capital. If then you have spoken to Kraton and he has agreed, it will be all right; but if not, do so even now without delay, for fear that while the deficit is being paid up the guarantee be exacted from Dionysodoros and we lose 3000 drachmas, for you know well that it is not easy to recover money from the Treasury.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59367.b
Date:   January 241 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 62b

The second letter is to Kraton the praktor.

To Kraton. Demetrios and Hippokrates, who have been engaged in farming the apomoira of Philadelphos for the Arsinoite nome, and for whom Dionysodoros is surety for year 4 , having made up in year 5 the arrears of year 4 as well, have sailed down to see Zenodoros . . .


Greek text:   PSI_4.393
Date:   March 241 B.C.
Translated by: Tcherikover & Fuks, C.Pap.Jud. I 14

Year 6, Tybi 17. Declaration made to Andromachos, the chief of police of Philadelphia, by Samoēlis and Alexandros, vine-dressers, the tenants of the vineyard belonging to Zenon and Sostratos.

On the night of the 15th, thirty thousand reed canes disappeared from the vineyard of Zenon and Sostratos. On the 16th we reported the matter to you, to who was also sent out from among those under the control of Agenor the strategos, and to Theopompos the policeman; there were others present too in Keleēsis' vineyard. We value them at 14 copper drachmas per ten thousand, making 42 copper drachmas altogether.

Year 6, Tybi 17. Declaration made to Andromachos the chief of police of Philadelphia, by Samoēlis and Alexandros, vine-dressers, the tenants of the vineyard belonging to Zenon and Sostratos.

On Tybi 16th, at night, thieves got into the 60-arourai vineyard at Philadelphia belonging to Zenon and Sostratos and made off with [reed canes] worth 14 drachmas per ten thousand. On the 16th [we reported the matter to you, to who was sent out as well from among those under the control of] Agenor [the strategos] and to Theopompos the policeman; there were others present too in Keleēsis' vineyard. We value them at 14 copper drachmas per ten thousand, making 42 copper drachmas altogether.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59834
Date:   March 241 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Written in a good official hand, the 'farewell' and the date being added by the author himself. The papyrus is in a wretched state of preservation, but we are able to make out the main gist of the text. It is an order to Zenon to deliver to a certain official 10 11/12 metretai of wine as the equivalent of his salary for a certain period. That would be worth about 60 drachmas, quite a large sum. It seems probable that the official in question was either the komogrammateus of Philadelphia or the topogrammateus of the district and that the order came from his superior the oikonomos, who at that time was Hermaphilos.

[Hermaphilos?] to Zenon greeting. [Deliver] from the proceeds of the ⅙th due to the goddess Philadelphos from the vineyards round Philadelphia to . . . the topogrammateus (?), in lieu of the salary due to him for . . ., ten and 11/12 metretai of wine and [make out a receipt?]. Farewell. Year 6, Tybi.

{Subscribed}   Deliver 10 11/12 metretai of wine.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59368
Date:   July 241 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 63

P.S.I. 524 is another letter on the same subject , written a week later. It appears from this that the messenger had not delivered the letter of Sosibios to Zenodoros. Sostratos therefore asks Zenon and Xenophon , as soon as they get the letter, to send it back to him in order that it may be given to Zenodoros , who was apparently staying in his neighbourhood , and also to write to the bee-keepers to send a delegate with a statement of their grievances against Ammonios.

Sostratos to Zenon and Xenophon greeting. I have subjoined a copy of the letter that Sosibios wrote to Zenodoros about the bee-hives . . . the memorandum from us . . . If even now Ammonios does not admit your claim and . . . the bee-hives, send the bee-keepers and Rodon to us, bringing all the justificatory documents, so that the case may be judged for us here, as we have requested. We have also written to Zenodoros about these matters and about the house of Patis. Farewell. Year 7, Pauni 8.

Sosibios to Zenodoros greeting. I have sent to you a copy of the memorandum that was given to us by Kleon son of Iason and Sostratos his brother, concerning the matters in which they say they were wronged by Ammonios the oikonomos. Therefore act promptly so that they receive justice as they request.

A memorandum to Sosibios from Kleon and Sostratos. We own one thousand beehives, which have belonged to us from the time of the king's father and which had been leased to Horos and sons by a contract passed in the office of Simaristos. Some of them were in the Herakleopolite nome, and for these Tou . . . . . . . has duly settled up to year 6. Others were in the Memphite nome under the management of Pames and Amenneus , and now we hear they have transferred them to the Herakleopolite nome without asking our leave , and Ammonios the oikonomos has sent them to prison and is ruining the hives by obstructing their work. Therefore , seeing that he was by force depriving the bee-keepers of a hundred hives , Sostratos who happened to be staying there , having gone up the river to see to the extraction of vegetable juice , spoke to Dionysios the agent of Zenodoros and explained the matter, and Ammonios getting alarmed released the bee-keepers. The same individual , at the time when we were abroad with the king and had 150,000 sheaves ( ? ) of hay lying at Bousiris in the Herakleopolite nome , sent Rodon the hay-guard to prison , bound him in fetters and kept him in custody for eight months , and in the meantime 120,000 sheaves disappeared , stolen by the natives. About this affair a preliminary inquiry has been made , and he more than once promised to exact the price and pay it back to us. Another result is that we have had a claim for freight presented against us for Kriton's boat , which was hired for carrying hay down to Alexandria for 1200 drachmas. For when the boat arrived at the port , his people interfered and it went away empty. We beg you therefore , since it is not convenient either for us to leave home or for him to come here , to write to him to send the bee-keepers and a delegate to represent him at the trial , in order that we may not be overborne by him in his own district ; and from the facts of our case you will learn how he treats the other people belonging to the nome.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59371
Date:   March 239 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.20, no. 64

Ariston appears to have attended an auction in order to bid on Zenon's behalf. But finding that the baths were being let without the expected deductions ( for upkeep etc. ? ) he does not know how much to offer and asks Zenon to come himself and make his calculations on the new basis.   Ammonios may be the oikonomos of no. 63.

Ariston to Zenon greeting. On the 8th of Mecheir Ammonios began to put the farms up to auction , and you must know that the baths are now being let without deduction of any sort. I thought it best therefore to make no bid until you came. Come and join me then , if it be convenient for you , in order that we may bid according to what you decide. Farewell. Year 8, Mecheir 9.

Undated letters →

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