Letters from the Zenon Archive

(1)   259-256 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.

Most of these letters have been taken from "Selected papyri from the archives of Zenon" by C.C.Edgar, which was published in instalments in ASAE up until 1924. All the instalments have been made available online as part of the Archives Perdrizet. In letters taken from this source, a small part of the translator's introduction is displayed before the translation.

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

Contents:-     most of the letters are taken from the P.Cair.Zen. series of papyri, with a few from the P.Lond. and PSI series.   There are a couple of letters from other sources: PPetr_2.13,5 & PPetr_2.13,11.   Translations of the P.Col.Zen., P.Mich., and P.Ryl. series of papyri are available at

    (2) Letters of 255-239 B.C. →     (3) Undated Letters →


Greek text:   PCairZen_59016
Date:   December 259 B.C.
Translated by:   A.C.Smith

Demetrios to Zenon greeting. In Tyre I spent all my travelling allowance in making some purchases. Therefore please give 150 drachmas to Nikiadas, who is presenting the letter to you. Charmos has already gone off, otherwise I would have sent him as well. Take care to send Nikiadas safely to Berytos. Write to tell me where I should send the cash. Farewell. Year 27, Apellaios 13.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Demetrios the secretary in Cyprus, concerning 150 silver drachmas.


Greek text:   PSI_4.406
Date:   260-258 B.C.
Translated by: A.C.Smith

Memorandum to Zenon from Herakleides the chariot-driver {synōristēs} concerning the activities of Drimylos and Dionysios . . . a slave girl and after using her he handed her over to the desert guard {orophylax}, providing her with whatever she had. And she is in Pēgai with the desert guard. They bought another girl from the Ammonites and they sold her in Ptolemais. This is the fourth time he has brought a sacred prostitute down to Joppa. And he went away to Aurana taking a female slave with him and got 150 drachmas. And when he returned from there he collected a band of Nabataeans. There was an outcry, and he was taken away to prison, where he was locked up for 7 days. And Drimylos bought another slave girl for 300 drachmas. They went on outings every day, and they were doing very well for themselves. While they were doing this they paid no attention to the animals, but every day Drimylos heated two cauldrons of water for his girlfriend. He has sold the female donkey and the wild ass. And there are witnesses of these things. You can find out all the truth about the rest, if you ask me.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59018
Date:   April 258 B.C.
Translated by: Tcherikover & Fuks, C.Pap.Jud. I 14

[Alexan]dros to Oryas, greeting. I have received your letter, to which you added a copy of the letter written by Zenon to Jeddous, saying that unless he gave the money to Straton, Zenon's man, we were to hand over his pledge to him {Straton}. I happened to be unwell as a result of taking some medicine, so I sent a lad, a servant of mine, with Straton, and wrote a letter to Jeddous. When they returned they said that he had taken no notice of my letter, but had attacked them and thrown them out of the village. So I am writing to you for your information. Farewell. Year 27, Peritios intercalary 20.

{Addressed}   To Oryas.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59804
Date:   September 258 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Westermann (on P. Columbia, 3) has argued that the tax which is the main subject of the letter was the sales tax on slaves, and it must be admitted that the use of ōnē in l. 6 gives some support to this view. On the other hand one would expect the sales tax to be paid at the time of the purchase and not at the last moment when the slaves were at the port of embarkation. On the whole it seems to me more probable that the tax in question was an export tax, such as seems to be alluded to, though not actually mentioned, in no. 59093.

Philotas to Zenon greeting. Krotos requested us to write to you about the slaves who escaped from the harbour of Gaza. For I happened to have been called in by Apollophanes and him to help them to settle with the tax-collectors and [recover and dispatch the slaves to them?] with all speed. I therefore went to see Herodes the tax-collector and found that Apollophanes had made an agreement with him to pay a tax of 80 drachmas in the name of Apollonios. That contract therefore I annulled, making another in the name of Apollophanes, and I reduced the tax agreed upon by 40 drachmas and I conveyed the slaves to the harbour and we brought in the slaves to Herakleides and delivered them to Apollophanes and he said that he would guard them himself and did not let us trouble although we were willing to share the watch. I have therefore written to you to let you know. You would do me a favour by buying and sending me the things about which I gave you the memorandum. And write to us on your part about anything that you want, for we will do it for you willingly. Farewell. Year 28, Panemos 27.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Philotas.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59015.V
Date:   ? September 258 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Muir, 'Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World', pp. 65-66

On the other side of a papyrus containing an account of a consignment of oil, Zenon wrote the drafts of five letters about some runaway slaves.

To Pasikles. If you are well, that is good. I too am in good health. Krotos reported to me that you had written to him to say that there is information that the slaves who have run away are with Kollochoutos, the brother of Zaidelos, and they are asking one hundred drachmas for returning them. You would be doing us a service if you would make every effort to recover them . . . handing them over to Straton who is bringing you this letter. If you do this we should be much obliged . . . and if you have expenses, we will pay. There is an alabaster chest which was bought . . . If you don't want it, the man who bought it will return it. If you need anything locally, write to us for we are grateful to you. Farewell.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59015.V(b)
Date:   ? September 258 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Muir, 'Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World', pp. 65-66

To Epikrates. When we were staying in Marisa, we bought some slaves from Zaidelos' stock, of whom, while we were on the journey to Egypt, two brothers escaped whose names and descriptions I have attached to this letter. It has been reported to us that they are with Kollochoutos . . . you would oblige us if you would make every effort to recover them and hand them over to Straton. What you spend on getting them back . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59015.V(c)
Date:   ? September 258 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Muir, 'Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World', pp. 65-66

To Pesistratos {sic}. If you are well that is good. I too am in good health. Krotos has sent information that Pasikles has written to tell us about the runaway slaves which we bought in Marisa from Zaidelos. We therefore wrote asking him to make every effort to bring about their recovery and to hand them over to Straton who is bringing you this letter. We should be much obliged therefore if you reminded him and took the trouble to see that they do not escape. And you will be in our debt if you write . . . if you need anything from the country here. For we shall act as friends do. Farewell.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59015.V(d)
Date:   ? September 258 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Muir, 'Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World', pp. 65-66

To Epainetos. Some of our slaves happen to have escaped and they have been said to be in Idumaea. We have sent Straton for that task. You would oblige us by giving instructions to your son not to hinder him in matters concerning taxes so that he can recover the slaves.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59015.V(e)
Date:   ? September 258 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Muir, 'Life and Letters in the Ancient Greek World', pp. 65-66

To Ammon. Ditto. You would oblige us if you could write to Dorotheos and Demainetos so that he should not be hindered in matters concerning taxes.


Greek text:   PLond_1934
Date:   Sept./Oct. 258 B.C.
Translated by:   S.B.Chute

Apollonios to Zenon, greeting. We have sent you a copy of the letter from Dionysios the oikonomos. Receive therefore the three talents from Demetrios. Farewell. Year 28, Mesore ...

Dionysios to Apollonios, greeting. As you instructed us, we have given to your servant Demetrios, on account of the allowance accruing to you, in accordance with the warrant written to us by you, three talents, viz. 1 talent in silver, 1 talent in gold, and l talent in copper at 25½ obols to the stater. I have therefore written to you to let you know. Farewell. Year 28, Mesore ...


Greek text:   PCairZen_59021
Date:   October 258 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_2.409


Greek text:   PSI_495
Date:   November 258 B.C.
Translated by: A.C.Smith

Most of Zenon's acquaintances wrote letters that were brief and to the point. Herakleitos was the exception; for another example see PCairZen_59093.

Herakleitos to Kriton greeting. [If you are well] . . . we too are well.   Zoilos the . . . in Ptolemais came to us . . . [that (?) Kallianax] had met with you and talked idly about him . . . reporting to Zoilos from you about the cash and that to no-one . . . except to Apollonios. Zoilos swore to us by all the gods and [asserted] that Kallianax had [neither done] nor said any such thing; but on the contrary he said . . . you wrote such a thing to him neither previously nor when Zenon was present . . . Kriton it was not fitting to write to you about such things. He said to beware lest you . . . Zenon to follow . . . to vilify me. Now he has changed his mind because of being rebuked by each . . . He said that he wished to give back . . . to agree if anyone was willing to provide the service. Therefore I have written to you about these things.

Zoilos . . . and Nikanor when he came to Ptolemais met with Ammonios and asked . . . to Tripolis to gather the band of soldiers for Spintharos the hipparch . . . become sufficient. He said that he would see to it that the horse should be produced for me and . . . After that nothing happened to us until now; for Ammonios is dragged around with . . . to Tripolis, and our travelling allowance has run out and we are eking out our existence by borrowing money. Please write to him and ask him to register us as quickly as possible, because I know that if you write . . . he will appoint us promptly. I would be grateful also if you would . . . from Iatrokles and . . . [send] letters to him so that he exerts himself for us; for you do not know what a change has happened . . .

Please take care of yourself and keep well, because nothing is more important than that, [and let us know that] you are well, so that we do not worry. We hope that you are well both in body . . . as he chooses, because I know that in this respect you are far superior to the others . . . and with your character. May you prosper and be successful in everything. Farewell.   Year 28, Hyperberetaios 23.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59029
Date:   November/December 258 B.C.
Translated by: O. Tammuz, "Mare Clausum?" (2005)

Zenon came from Kaunos in Caria and had many friends and relations living there. This letter from Zenon's friend Antimenes sends him word from Caria about the voyage of a lady in whom he evidently took an affectionate interest. Whether she was sailing to Egypt or elsewhere is not quite clear, but we may suppose that she embarked at Kaunos.

Antimenes to Zenon greeting. If you are well it would be excellent. I too am in good health.   In the beginning, because of Zenon, son of Heracleides, having misled us many times and because of Doris having been weak and not able to sail, we hesitated to write to you; now know that we have sent her [with Ariston] in Zenon's ship, and we commanded Zenon to take all care of her, and we provided [her with the things that] she requested for the voyage. Farewell.   Year 28, Hyperberetaios ..

{Addressed}   To Zenon who is with Apollonios.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59031
Date:   December 258 B.C.
Translated by: D.J. Thompson, "Memphis Under the Ptolemies" (2012)

Poseidonios, who write this letter, was an official at court in Alexandria.

Poseidonios to Apollonios, greetings. When one of my corn ships was sailing up into the countryside {chora}, Sosistratos' men in Memphis boarded her and confiscated the iron which needs to be on board in case of emergency. In my view it is not possible for ships to sail without the necessary fitments. And when I wrote to them, on more than one occasion, to give the metal back, they paid no attention, but they sold it. I have written to you therefore to inform you that these are the type of men in charge of the guard-posts. Farewell. Year 28, Dios 21.

{Docketed}   To Apollonios. Letter of Poseidonios, steward, about the customs officer.


Greek text:   PSI_413
Date:   259-257 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.170


Greek text:   PCairZen_59028
Date:   258/7 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 78

Satyra was a female harp-player employed in the palace of Apollonios in Alexandria. She did not accompany her master on the long tour of inspection on which he started in the summer of 258 B.C.: and it was probably during his absence that she addressed this complaint to Zenon. From no. 10., written in the spring of 257 B. C., we learn that she had lately received two month's wages and was now by Zenon's order about to be paid up to date along with the butler, the gardener and other important members of the household. It appears moreover from no. 77 that, as soon as Zenon returned to Alexandria, a linen garment was given her from the store and that on his departure about two months afterwards, she received another. So whatever the immediate effect of her petition may have been, Satyra did not fare badly in the end .

Satyra to Zenon greeting. Though Apollonios ordered an allowance of clothing to be given to me and my mother, and you will find the memorandum which Apollonios wrote about it, from that day to this we have received nothing, and it is now more than a year ago. Will you kindly then inquire and inform Apollonios . . . remember us and see that we have something to wear. And let him make the gift come privately from you. Inquire also about our· wages: only once have we received anything, and that was what yon sent to give us at the feast of Demeter. Will you kindly then inquire about this matter also, if you please, as quickly as possible. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From the girl Satyra.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59579
Date:   258/7 B.C.
Translated by: A.C. Smith

From a lady, probably a relative or at least a member of the same Carian circle, asking Python and Zenon to look after Panakestor, whom she has left in their charge. Panakestor, who came from Kalynda in Caria and whose father was called Antipatros, must have been either her son or her husband. The hand of the present letter has a family resemblance to that of Panakestor himself.

. . . to Python and Zenon, greeting. If you are both well and your other affairs are going as you wish, [that would be good]; I too [am well]. You will do well if you continue to show goodwill to Panakestor, as I asked [you when I left] him in your charge. I have also now sent Antipatros and Aia… . . . you may take care of him until, most of all, you are all present in good health, [and if not] . . . his father sends him to me. And for the rest, act like men and take care [of yourselves, that you are well] . . . and I too [will do] what I can for your mother.

{Addressed}   To Python and Zenon.


Greek text:   PSI_328
Date:   January 257 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_2.411


Greek text:   PCairZen_59033
Date:   January 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 79

This letter is followed by a list, comprising fig-trees of six different kinds, a special sort of pomegranate, an early apple or apricot, an apple that bore fruit twice in the year (the malus bifera of the Romans), and no less than eleven varieties of vine. Yet Nikias speaks apologetically of his plantations and regrets that a messenger had not been sent on to Lysimachos in Alexandria. The letters of Apollonios himself are full of instructions about the planting of fruit-trees, and evidently the rich land-holders in the interior took good care to have their orchards and vineyards stocked with the best varieties and to make their surroundings as pleasant as nature allowed.

Nikias to Apollonios greeting. You wrote to Lysimachos about fruit-trees, asking him to give some to your people. Now Lysimachos happened to be in Alexandria, but I took your messengers round all the orchards and showed them that we have no young shoots nor are they wont to grow here, of which indeed they were themselves aware, but that we have them brought from the Isle of Arsinoē, for there by work . . . because water is always procurable: and I advised that one of your people should be despatched to Lysimachos , who could have given them a supply from down the river. But they said it was enough for them if they got something to plant from our stock here. So we gave them as much as they wanted , and below is a detailed list. Farewell. Year 28, Athyr 25.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59034
Date:   February 257 B.C.
Translated by: G.H.Renberg & W.S.Bubelis, The Epistolary Rhetoric of Zoilos of Aspendos and the Early Cult of Sarapis

Zoilos of Aspendos . . ., who was recommended to you by the friends of the king, greets Apollonios. It happened to me as I was paying worship to the god Sarapis on behalf of your health and success with King Ptolemy that Sarapis instructed me again and again in my sleep that I should sail over to you and inform you of this oracle that there must be constructed for him [(?) a temple] and sacred precinct in the Greek . . . near the harbour and a priest must preside and sacrifice at the altar on behalf of you [(?) and your household]. Because I implored [(?) the god Sarapis] that he excuse me from (?) this work, he visited upon me an illness so great that I was in danger of my life. When I had offered up prayers to him, that if he should heal [me] I would perform this service and do what had been ordered by him, and when I quickly had recovered, a certain individual from Knidos appeared who undertook to build a Sarapieion in that place and brought in stones; thereupon, however, the god forbade him from building, and he left. When I had come to Alexandria and hesitated to talk to you concerning these matters instead of the business matters which you had agreed to with me, once again I suffered a relapse that lasted for four months, on account of which I was unable to come to you right away. Therefore, Apollonios, it would be good for you to heed the god’s commands so that Sarapis will be merciful to you and greatly enhance your status with the king and give you good health. So, do not be disheartened about the cost, as will arise from a great expenditure by you – on the contrary, it will be altogether profitable for you, for I will jointly supervise everything. Farewell.

{Docketed}   From Zoilos, concerning Sarapis. To Apollonios.

{Dated}   Year 28, Audnaios 9, at Berenikēs Hormos.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59038
Date:   February 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 80

The Haven is the Berenikēs Hormos where Apollonios and Zenon were then staying, perhaps on board their boats. I believe that it lay somewhere below (or downstream from) Memphis. Amyntas lived in Alexandria and held a position of authority in the household of Apollonios. He returns to the same subject in no. 81, in which the misfortunes of Demetrios and his own perplexities are recapitulated in fuller detail.

Amyntas to Zenon greeting. Demetrios . . . . . being ill provided, we lent him at his request some drinking-vessels, a small wine-cooler standing on its own base, holding a chous and rather more, which Apollonios left abroad in the hands of Tryphera, two Antipater-cups which do not match, a wine-cooler and a ladle. But we hear that he has been arrested . . . So if you approve, will you kindly recover them if his belongings are being confiscated to the Treasury, and if not, allow him to keep them. And for the rest you will do me a favour by showing him as much consideration as possible until we find a good opportunity of entreating Apollonios on his behalf. Farewell.

{Docketed}   From Amyntas about the silver vessels lent to Demetrios.

{Dated}   Year 28, Audnaios 25, at the Haven.


Greek text:   PSI_483
Date:   February 257 B.C.
Translated by: (adapted from

The word kinaidos seems to be used in this letter simply as an insult; see T.Stafford, 'The Wages of Effeminacy?: Kinaidoi in Greek Documents from Egypt', p. 112 ( PDF ).

Amyntas to Zenon, greetings. Kallianax the builder, the kinaidos, got drunk and . . . the couches which he has readied for Apollonios. And he, receiving in advance from us for . . . money, they are altering . . . by us . . . the debt collector, he has sailed up, as it seems, to have an audience with Apollonios against the . . . the man who tracked him down. If, therefore, you meet somewhere, it is good that you should not be unaware . . . to explain to Apollonios not to trust him. Farewell . . .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Amyntas concerning Kallianax. Year 28, Audnaios 25, at the Haven.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59056
Date:   March 257 B.C.
Translated by:   A.C.Smith

Apollodotos to Zenon greeting. If you yourself are well, and the rest of your affairs are satisfactory, that would be as we wish. We too are well . . . your father and your brothers met us in Kaunos. We made . . . to them and we urged them in the future too . . . [when] they meet with us. Please write to them . . . to say about what they need, and write to us [to say what] we can do to oblige you. For now in all . . . we are wondering what the reason is [that we have not heard] from you. Farewell. Year 28, Peritios 10.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Apollodotos, a friendly message about my father. Year 28, Dystros 24, in Memphis.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59805
Date:   March 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

It appears from the text that a certain Herakleides or Herakleitos, had sent his son to obtain from the dioiketes a bounty to which he and his companions were entitled. The fact that the request was made through Amyntas, who does not seem to have been a government official, and his proposal to deliver the money personally might suggest that this was a private grant from the purse of Apollonios. But there is a strong presumption that they were in fact recipients of a grant from the Crown. If they received a small subsidy from state funds, they would naturally apply to Apollonios or, if he were absent, to his chief agent in Alexandria. And the reason why Amyntas wrote to Kriton rather than to Zenon may have been that Kriton was acquainted with the applicant, being himself a sailor.

Amyntas to Kriton greeting. Charminos who brings you the letter is a son of Herakleides the under-officer on the sacred ship and he has been sent by his father and the other recipients of the grant to get it for them. You will do me a favour then if you help him to obtain it as soon as possible and put him on a boat if any is sailing down, for he is inexperienced, or else take the money from him under seal and send it to us to pay to them. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Kriton.

{Docketed}   From Amyntas about Charminos. Year 28, Peritios 5, in Berenikes Hormos.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59043
Date:   March 257 B.C.
Translated by:   A.C.Smith

Amyntas to Zenon greeting. We wrote to you before that the servants are pestering us for their wages, and now they are demanding that something is given to them, to ensure that they remain dutiful. Therefore please write to us to say whether you will give them something. For Apollonios [has no time] to think of such things. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Amyntas, about wages for the slave-boys. Year 28, Peritios 20, in Boubastos.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59044
Date:   March 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 81

We learn from the copy that Demetrios had formerly been an antigrapheus, or controller of the accounts of the oikonomos, in the Prosopite nome. When Apollonios was sailing up the river in the preceding summer, he had sent Demetrios on Government business to Herakleia in Phoenicia. When Demetrios returned to Alexandria, he apparently fell under suspicion and was detained there by Apollonios' order. It was then that Amyntas rather rashly lent him the silver vases. We may suppose that Demetrios was next summoned to appear before Apollonios , who placed him under arrest and ordered his property to be confiscated to the Crown.

[Amyntas to Zenon greeting. We wrote you lately about Demetrios, to whom on his return from] Herakleia we lent some silver plate. And now again, as he is under arrest and his belongings are being sold up, we have written a letter to Apollonios, of which a copy is subjoined for you to see. You will oblige me then by taking counsel with Artemidoros the physician whether you think it advisable to deliver the letter to him or to let it be hanged. For to show that the silver vessels mentioned below are ours, the wine-cooler and the little wine-cooler and one of the Antipater-vases are described in a list, now in possession of the king, in the letter from Hikesios, and there is also a declaration in the Exchange, while of the other vases we possess the rest of the set. But if you think it best not to deliver the letter, you will at least do me a favour by looking after Demetrios, for now we hear he is being badly treated. Farewell.

To Apollonios. Demetrios, the controller appointed by you in the Prosopite nome, having left home without intending to be long away and having moreover been fleeced of his travelling-allowance and his servant by Lysimachos the robber, as he was being detained by you, begged us to advance him a little cash, that he might provide himself with the necessaries of life. Money we had none to advance him, but we lent him some of the plate which you left abroad in the hands of Tryphera , a little wine-cooler standing on its own base, holding rather more than a chous and weighing . . . according to the list in our possession , another wine-cooler , two Antipater-vases . . . Will you kindly grant us your pardon, for we never dreamed that he would so shortly have come to grief. Farewell.

{Docketed}   Amyntas, about Demetrios. Year 28, Peritios 22, in Boubastos.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59045
Date:   March 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 82

The writer of this letter is apparently different from the Amyntas of letter 81. The letter exhibits Zenon in the character of a tactful private secretary who receives callers and chooses the opportune moment for presenting them to the Minister, who, one imagines, was not the easiest of men to approach. In the present case Zenon would be all the more willing to help as Zopyros belonged to a Kaunian family, and was therefore a fellow countryman of his own.

Amyntas to Zenon greeting. Zopyros the bearer of this letter is a son of Sosigenes the Kaunian; and we have also written to Apollonios about him, at the request of certain people. You will oblige me then by presenting him as soon as you find Apollonios in a favourable mood, in order that he may speak of the matter for which be has made the journey. Farewell.

{Docketed}   Amyntas about Zopyros the son of Sosigenes. Year 28, Peritios 22, in Boubastos.


Greek text:   PSI_329
Date:   April 257 B.C.
Translated by: M.Rostovtzeff, 'A Large Estate in Egypt in the Third Century B.C.', p. 30

Amyntas to Zenon greeting. You must know that the cook whom you bought ran away taking with him the 80 drachmas which he received for buying hay for the horses. He was met by some people near Athribis. He is now with the Cappadocians who have their camp there. You would do well if you would announce to all our servants, and if you would write to everybody whom you find useful, to catch him and to help in sending him to [you]. Farewell. Year 28 . . .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 28, Dystros 8, in Mendes. From Amyntas, about the runaway cook.


Greek text:   PSI_330
Date:   April 257 B.C.
Translated by: A.C.Smith

Zo[ilo]s to Apollonios greeting. If you are well, it would be good; I too am well. Know that I [have] not . . . therefore I thought it best to write to you before reacting, so that . . . Please write to me and ask me to come to you, so that I can give you an account about everything in detail; for I have decided not to leave here without your permission. Do not overlook us while we are ruined, but come to our assistance. For you considered that we should receive honour, but this man has brought me into the greatest dishonour. Concerning the sum of money, I am not discussing how much I have paid, when I was violently and unlawfully abused. Year 28, Dystros 18.

{Addressed}   To Apollonios.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59057
Date:   April 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 83

PSI 330, which was addressed by Zoilos to Apollonios himself and was written a few days before the present letter, contains a bitter complaint about his treatment by a certain individual. He now appeals to a friend to help him; but it is doubtful if Alexandros did anything more than transmit the letter, somewhat indiscreetly, to Zenon.

Zoilos to Alexandros greeting. I trust that you are in good health, as I am myself. I received the letters and am not neglecting anything about which you write to me. And on your side, please endeavour to get the things I requested done for me according to the memorandum; and if you succeed, be sure that I will owe you no end of gratitude. Bring some others then from among your friends to speak to Apollonios, and . . . if Antiochos also approves. Do not be idle then. And from Zenon, Apollonios' friend, get a donkey, any that he will give you, and export it to me; and be serious about it; for I know that you will be able to manage the exportation. Farewell. Year 28, Dystros 22.

{Addressed}   To the hipparch, the son of Nikanor, Alexandros.


Greek text:   PLond_1941
Date:   May 257 B.C.
Translated by:   R.Cribiore, 'Gymnastics of the Mind', p. 52

This letter is similar to the following letter from Hierokles to Zenon, SelPap_1.88.

Hierokles to Zenon greeting. If you are well, and in other matters you are getting along as you wish, that would be good. I also am well. You wrote to me about Pyrrhos, to train him if we know for certain that he will win, but if not, that it should not happen both that he is distracted from his studies and that useless expense is incurred. Well, far from being distracted from his lessons, he is making good progress in them, and in his other studies as well. As for "knowing for certain", only the gods would know; but Ptolemaios says that he will be far superior to the existing competitors, despite the fact that at the moment he lags behind them, because they have got a long start and we have only just begun training. You should also know that Ptolemaios does not charge any fees, as do the other trainers, but simply hopes to win you the crown in return for the kindnesses that you, when a complete stranger, volunteered to him and are continuing concerning the palaistra. Don't forget to bring the mattress about which I wrote to you previously. Also, buy a chest for six drachmas and bring it down; and send two jars of honey for us to have, because it is useful.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Hierokles, about the boy. Year 29, Xandikos 2, in Memphis.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59060
Date:   May 257 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.88


Greek text:   PCairZen_59077
Date:   May 257 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.18, no. 12)

We know that Krotos was trading in Palestine about the beginning of year 29, and it may be assumed that the present letter was written from abroad. For some reason which can only be guessed at, it took two months or more to reach its destination. Certain persons who had sailed in charge of a cargo of olive oil, presumably from Palestine to Egypt, had not fulfilled their financial engagements towards Krotos, and a judgement had been given against them. But Alexis, apparently the local officer responsible for the execution of the judgement, had taken no steps in the matter.

Krotos to Zenon greeting. Know that Alexis has done nothing about the slave-girl, who was offered to us as surety by the men who were sailing in charge of the oil, in accordance with the judgement made against them, for they have not given us either the money or the slave-girl. It is a similar situation with Theron, the sailor from the boat, because Alexis has let him out of the prison, and he is nowhere to be found. Farewell. Year 29, Xandikos 5.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   [From Krotos], concerning the slave-girl, who was offered to him as surety by the men who were sailing in charge of the oil, and concerning Theron from the boat. Year 29, Daisios [.., in] Alexandria.


Greek text:   PLond_1948
Date:   May 257 B.C.
Translated by:   G.Shipley, 'The Greek World after Alexander', p. 345

Baitanōta or Baitanata was the biblical Beth-Anath, in Galilee.

Glaukias to Apollonios greeting. About the things you instructed me to report to Nikanor and Antiochos, we reported them. Know that they are conforming to them. The other things we will report to you whenever we arrive. Arriving at Baitanōta and taking Melas with me, I visited the plants and all the other things. Well, they seem to me to be satisfactorily cultivated, and he said the vineyard was 80,000 in number. He has also constructed a well and a satisfactory building. He gave me the wine to taste, and I did not distinguish whether it was Chian or local. So you are doing well, with good luck in all things. Farewell. Year 29, Xandikos 7.

{Addressed}   To Apollonios.

{Docketed}   From Glaukias, about what he was told to report to Antiochos and Nikanor, and about the wine in Baitanata. Year 29, Xandikos .., in Alexandria.


Greek text:   PSI_502
Date:   July 257 B.C. B.C.
Translated by: Erik Jensen

See the comments on this letter in the History for Writers blog, Bad Day at the Office, 257 BCE.

Panakestor to Zenon greeting. If you are well, and other matters are turning out in a satisfactory way for you, that would be as we wish. We too are well. Please remember us, and when you find a suitable moment with Apollonios, remind him about the notes I gave you in Memphis, and you said that you would take care of it. Be sure to remind him that he should get instructions from the king, as he agreed with us; for I know that if you want, everything will be achieved for us. I have appended for you a copy of the letter sent to me by Apollonios, and also a copy of the letter I sent to him. Farewell. Year 29, Pachons 15.

From Apollonios to Panakestor . I was astounded at your negligence that you have written nothing, either about the estimation or about the harvest of the grain. Write to me now how each matter stands. Year 29, Artemisios 23, Pharmouthi 30.

From Panakestor to Apollonios. I received your letter on 14th of Pachons from Zoilos, in which you write that you are astonished that I have sent you nothing concerning the estimation or the harvest of the crop. I happened to be present in Philadelphia on the 16th of Phamenoth and wrote at once to Zoilos and Zopyrion and to the royal scribes to join me and help manage the operation. Now, Zoilos happened to be making the inspection rounds with Telestes; he was therefore unavailable, but the royal scribes and Pauēs, Zopyrion's assistant, came twelve days later. Together we went out into the fields and spent five days measuring the land by farmer and by crop.

We completed this, sent for the farmers, and announced your order to them. We then thought it right to call on them to make an estimation, just as you directed, or to work with us and draw up plans for an alternative. They said that they would inform us when they had considered the matter. Four days later they sat down in the temple and said they would not make an estimation, justly or unjustly, but would rather abandon the crop, for there was already an agreement that they should give you a third of the produce. Damis and I said many things to them, but we accomplished nothing; so we went to Zoilos and asked him to come along with us, but he said he was busy with the dispatch of the sailors.

Therefore when we returned to Philadelphia after three days we decided that since, as is written for us in the memorandum, they would not allow us to conduct an assessment or make any progress, we should ask them to give us their own assessment of their liability, whatever seemed appropriate to each of them. They gave us the assessment, which we sent to you previously. After arranging this, we were occupied in measuring the land planted with sesame and trees, in the company of the royal scribes, who gave us their account on the 22nd of Pharmouthi. Therefore please do not charge us with any negligence, because it is not easy for anyone working for you to be negligent. That should be clear to you from the fact that the corn was brought in, even though there was not much supply in this area.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Panakestor, a copy of his letter to Apollonios. Year 29, Daisios 14, in Alexandria.


Greek text:   PSI_500
Date:   July 257 B.C.
Translated by: M.Rostovtzeff, 'A Large Estate in Egypt in the Third Century B.C.', p. 56

Maron to Zenon greetings. If you are in good health and everything else is going according to your wishes, all is going as I would have it. I am in good health myself. Apollonios writes to me in his memorandum that the affairs of the constructions are in the hands of Diodoros and those concerning the land in the hands of Damis. The constructions are not yet finished, but the gathering of the crops, the cutting of brushwood, the planting of sesame, the firing, the planting of castor-oil {kiki} are going on. All the expenses for the last operations go through the hands of Damis and Etearchos and their brother Sostratos, and the day-expense is sealed by them. But Diodorus contradicts every day more than is reasonable makes difficulties all the time, but nevertheless the expense is registered daily. About the rest Jason and Panakestor himself, to whom I wish a happy arrival, will inform you. Be in good health. Year 29, Pachons 14.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   From Maron, about Diodoros and the constructions and about Damis and the land. Year 29, Daisios 14, in Alexandria.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59093
Date:   ? August 257 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.18, no. 14)

From this letter and from other documents it appears that the business of Zenon and his friends in Syria, and in Egypt also, was largely commercial. But to what extent his work was official and to what extent he was engaged in private affairs, whether his own or those of Apollonios, is a question which we cannot yet attempt to examine.

Herakleitos to Zenon greeting. If you yourself are well, and the rest of your affairs are in order, that would be as we wish. We too are well, and we continue to think of you at every opportunity. Concerning the pony, we asked Nikanor to buy it for us. Since he did not comply, we were forced to buy a horse for 800 drachmas and to brand it. The horse that came from you has died and . . . Apollophanes also arrived in Syria, and when we travelled to Massyas we met him in Sidon, and he told us that Krotos is in Joppa, with the intention of exporting . . . and mattresses. Then he said that he could not sail there at present, because he had been ordered by Dionysodoros to bring his baggage to Herakleia. He informed us too that those at home were all well. And Menekles of Tyre, he said, had brought some slaves and merchandise from Gaza to Tyre and landed them in Tyre for trans-shipment without notifying the Customs officers and without having a permit to export the slaves; and on learning this they had taken them from him. So Apollophanes coming to the aid of Menekles declared that the slaves and the merchandise were yours, and Menekles was obliged to back him up. I have written to you so that you can instruct Apollophanes not to register anything to your name, unless it seems helpful to you. Know that after much suffering we were grudgingly given a post in the month of Daisios of year 29, because Nikanor treats us as one would treat an enemy. Please take care of your health. Farewell.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59814
Date:   October 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

In the later months of 257 B.C. Panakestor, Zenon's predecessor at Philadelphia, was making an effort, under pressure from Apollonios, to cultivate as much of the estate as possible. When in want of seed for the various crops, he was accustomed to apply to Zoilos the oikonomos, who had evidently been instructed by Apollonios to assist him.

Zoilos to Panakestor greeting. We have written to Kraton to give you an order on the sitologos for the 100 artabas of hay seed which Apollonios requested us to measure out to you. Send someone to him therefore to get the warrant and receive the seed. There is no arakos at our disposal in the nome, nevertheless we have written to our agents to inquire if there is any in private possession, in order that you may obtain it. And on your part send to the Memphite nome and inquire, and if it is on sale anywhere write to us, in order that we may send the money and that you may obtain and use it. Farewell. Year 29, Mesore 12.

{Addressed}   To Panakestor.

{Docketed by sender}   About hay seed.

{Docketed}   Year 29, Mesore 16. Zoilos about hay seed.


Greek text:   PZenPestm_C   ( PPetr_2.13.5 )
Date:   October 257 B.C.
Translated by:   P-L.Viollet, 'Water Engineering in Ancient Civilizations', p. 117

Kleon was the chief engineer of the irrigation works in the Arsinoite nome.

Panakestor to Kleon greeting. We sent you a letter on the 19th, asking you to provide us with a team to do maintenance on the bends of the small canal. Well, it seems that you have left us aside in going toward the Small Lake. Instead of avoiding us as you have done, your duty was to meet with us briefly, and having seen for yourself that the land is not being watered, to ask yourself why. Your job is not only to direct the infrastructure works in the region of the Small Lake, but also here. So, at least come meet us tomorrow at the lock and sketch out for us the path canal bends should take, for we do not have this experience. We will provide you with the labour and other facilities, whatever you command. But if you do not come, we will be obliged to write to Apollonios that his land is the only land not to be irri­gated in the region of the Lake. So, we are more than ready to make all needed facilities avail­able for you. Farewell. Year 29, Mesore 21.


Greek text:   P.Lond_1954
Date:   October/November 257 B.C. ?
Translated by:   D.J. Thompson, "New and Old in the Ptolemaic Fayyum" (1999)

See M. Rostovtzeff, "A large estate in Egypt in the third century B.C.", pp.73-75 ( ).

To Apollonios the dioeketes, the farmers from the Heliopolite nome, from the village of Philadelphos in the Arsinoite nome from your 10,000 arouras, greetings. After you gave us 1,000 arouras out of the 10,000, which we worked and sowed, Damis took away from us 200(?) arouras and, when we protested, carried off three of our elders until he compelled them to sign a deed of renunciation. And although we were willing to move from the 1,000 arouras, and asked him to bear with us only until we had cultivated and sown, he still refused, and allowed the land to remain unsown. There is also another scribe, an Egyptian, one of an evil tribe, who does not allow the city to be settled, but drives away those who are there. And there are not a few mistakes which have been made in the 10,000 arouras, because there is no one with experience in agriculture. We therefore implore you, if it seems good to you, to call some of us in and listen to what we wish to tell you. For this is the twentieth day since our arrival. We wish . .. are unable, but we have spent whatever we had when we moved in. Farewell.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59106
Date:   November 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 85

Panakestor was at this time Apollonios' chief agent in the Fayoum and, like Zenon after him, was continually receiving written instructions from his master. The wood was probably required for house-building at Philadelphia.

Apollonios to Panakestor greeting. Concerning the wood, we are not able to send you any, and you must proceed to buy up from your own nome and send someone to the Memphite, as well as to the Aphroditopolite and Herakleopolite nomes : and wherever else you can procure it, buy up as much as you need. Year 29, Hyperberetaios 20, Thoth 21.

{Addressed}   To Panakestor.

{Docketed}   25th of the month ; about wood.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59107
Date:   November 257 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.18, no. 19)

It seems probable that when Zenon superseded Panakestor as the chief representative of Apollonios at Philadelphia, he took over the papers which he found in his office.

Apollonios to Panakestor greeting. We would have sent you a boat even before this, but we can see that there would be a great expense connected to the sailors. Therefore if you can give the boat to those in Kerkē, who can make use of it and maintain the sailors, and who can lend it to you when you have need of the boat, write to inform us and we will send it to you. Otherwise I do not see how we can continue to pay the sailors, if they are sitting idle for most of the time. Year 29, Hyperberetaios 23, Thoth 24.

{Addressed}   To Panakestor.

{Docketed}   Year 29, Phaophi 2. From Apollonios, concerning planting {sic}.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59815
Date:   December 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Another letter on the same subject as no. 59814. There is an interesting reference in line 3 to a festival at the Labyrinth, probably in honour of Pramarres or Poremanres, the deified Amenemhet III.

Zoilos to Panakestor greeting. We received the letter which you have written about the seed. Now at present our people from the nome are attending a festival at the Labyrinth, but as soon as they return we shall order them to search and when we have obtained as much as may be found we shall write to you in order that you may send a man to receive it. Send us also the men who are to take delivery of the timber. Farewell. Year 29, Phaophi 11.

{Addressed}   To Panakestor.

{Docketed}   Year 29, Phaophi 12. Zoilos about seed.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59816
Date:   December 257 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, Zenon Papyri, vol. 5

Written in a remarkably fine book hand.The author of the present letter was no doubt Artemidoros the physician, companion of Apollonios on many of his tours and author of nos. 59225 and 59251, which by the way are in a much more cursive hand. It was written shortly before Panakestor was superseded at Philadelphia by Zenon, who was at present residing at Memphis.

Artemidoros to Panakestor greeting. When I was coming from Boubastos to Memphis, Apollonios ordered me, if possible, to go across to you myself or, if not, to send one of my people to give you his instructions; for he had heard that the land forming the ten thousand arouras was not being sown all over. He bade me therefore tell you that it was all to be cleared of wood and irrigated and that, if possible, you were to sow the whole of it or, if not, that what you were unable to sow . . . was to be sown with sesame and that no portion of the land was to remain unworked. Since therefore I have not been able to come myself because of illness, I have sent you a written message in order that you may know and act accordingly. For his orders were to hire and put to work numerous . . . and after the sowers (?) men to hoe and hands to assist these. Do so therefore while it is still seed-time. I have also told Zenon and Artemidoros of Memphis, as Apollonios ordered me, that they are to supply you with as much copper as you need for this work. Arrange therefore to get it, for it will be given to you. They said [that they had already given] Maron 10.000 drachmas. Farewell. Year 29, Apellaios 2.

{Addressed}   To Panakestor. To Philadelphia.

{Docketed}   Year 29, Athyr 9. Artemidoros.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59019
Date:   258-256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.22, no. 69

The writer has not yet been identified, but I think it is safe to assume that he was one of Zenon's early correspondents. I venture to suggest that the letter was written in Alexandria or in Palestine between years 26 and 29. I imagine that the writer was one of Zenon's subordinates and that Zenon had lately parted from him on one of his voyages between Egypt and Syria.

. . . to Zenon greeting. If you are well, it would be good. I myself am well. After you sailed out I brought in the man who cures the dice made from gazelles' bones, and after examining them he said that they had been extracted from the raw flesh, and for that reason ... He said therefore they could not be made wax-like, for after a year he said they would change, but he said that he would make them [passable], but with great trouble he said, so much so that he did not think they were worth it. As for the treatment we shall try to get them done for a chalkous each, or at most for two chalkoi; for he himself pretends that he does dice for people at court (?) for half an obol each; and he said we might ask Antipatros the Etesian (?), for he has cured dice for him he said. As soon as you receive my letter then, write to me what to do about this before the time runs away. Know too that Patron was not willing to take Apollophanes with him, but has given us a great deal of trouble. But I went to see Melas and declared myself ready to be inscribed as a warrantor along with another of the citizens. And he seeing by this that Apollophanes was not by any means going to be left behind, as we too were fighting against him, took him on board. My further news I will write to you in greater detail than it was possible for me to do now. And try to write to me promptly about everything. Farewell.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59025
Date:   258-256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.22, no. 72

The letter is not dated , but there is good reason for attributing it to the early years of the correspondence.

Archelaos to Kriton greeting. We are in need of two spars forty cubits long ( twenty cubits each ) and a boat of three sculls. So by Zeus and the gods lose no time in going over to the market and buying them, for this is the only thing that detains us, so that we may not be behindhand with our business. Get the money to pay for them from Apollophanes. Seeing myself obliged to make the journey I have left my wife behind, as she is with child. Please then be attentive in sending to them and doing for them anything they may require. And if it be possible, buy six choes of olive oil from Charmides and give it to them ; for they say that he is selling. Farewell.


Greek text:   PSI_616
Date:   258-256 B.C.
Translated by: A.C.Smith

Although the name of the sender has been lost, this extract gives a good indication of the geographical range of Zenon's interests during these years - from Miletos and Zenon's home city of Kaunos in Caria, down to Gaza and Rabbatammana {modern Amman}.

. . . Also in Kaunos he exchanged one new pillow for an old one (and he received the price), for . . . who came from Nikanor, and he exchanged another two old pillows for new ones, for Troilos the slave; and he has the price of the bed-cover and one pillow, which he writes that Hermokles has; he sent these from Miletos to Halikarnassos at the time when he sent the bedsteads and the rug; and he exchanged the bed-frame for his own bed, which his wife now has in Alexandria; and he has another bed-cover in Gaza, which he said was lost; and after buying another cheap bed-cover from Stachys for 6 drachmas he sold the expensive bed-clothes in Rabbatammana; and another one, which he said was lost in Halikarnassos, was not lost, but he still has it. And you should force him to swear concerning the bed-band [that . . .] in Ptolemais, if you so wish. The slave-boy will report the rest, if you question him. And if Herakleides had been there, he would have reported to you about the bed-covers . . .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59421
Date:   258-256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 86

We gather that Dionysios was employed on one of the estates of Apollonios , under the immediate orders of Nikon and Addaios. Dionysios , whose duty it was to measure out corn on the estate , had got in to trouble and had apparently been arrested . The accusation against him seems to have been that he had used the wrong measure , and as he speaks of a difference of ten per cent it is probable that he had been reckoning thirty-six choinikes to the artaba instead of forty. The choinix was a fixed quantity, the artaba a very variable one.

To Zenon greeting from Dionysios the corn-measurer. I beg and beseech you , praying you by your ancestral gods and the health of Apollonios , not to allow me to be wronged , but , if possible , to inquire yourself about my case , or if not , to order Artemidoros to accept securities for my presence until Apollonios shall arrive and inquire about these matters : for I have made no profit through the business , I was merely the servant of his agents Nikon and Addaios , drawing a salary and a corn-allowance : or at least order them to credit me with the amount measured out by the official measure , and in future we will pay up the extra ten per cent as Apollonios writes . To you then I flee for refuge , counting you equal to Apollonios ; for whatever judgement you may pass on me , I will carry it out as far as my part is concerned. May you prosper.


Greek text:   PSI_538
Date:   258-256 B.C. ?
Translated by:   A.C. Smith

See the Inventory of Ancient Associations.

Demetrios and Petechon, dekadarchs of the Arabs in Philadelphia, to Apollonios, greeting. We beg that you will give us an overseer - for we do not have one - either Sostratos or Maron; and they are some amongst the Arabs with us, who could provide what is needed. Therefore we beg that you write to Zoilos with instructions that he should assign to us whoever we set forward. And concerning the wages, give instructions that they should be paid to us without fail every month, because you know that we rely (?) on the wages. Farewell.


Greek text:   PSI_333
Date:   February 256 B.C.
Translation at: SelPap_1.89


Greek text:   PCairZen_59125
Date:   February 256 B.C.
Translated by:   (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.18, no. 21)

By the end of year 29 Zenon's name begins to appear on contracts and receipts written at Philadelphia. The present letter shows that he was giving orders about his master's property in the winter of that year, but whether he was already settled at Philadelphia is not certain.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. You have done well to order that the garden olive and laurel shoots should be planted in our park. Farewell. Year 29, Audnaios 14, Choiak 14.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 29, Peritios 11, Tybi 11. From Apollonios, concerning garden olive trees.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59132
Date:   April 256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 88

Zenon was now established at Philadelphia , and Symbotes was no doubt a cleruch to whom a portion of land was being allotted in the neighbourhood. The land which was to be given to him had been already sown , and Zenon was interested in it ; but the crop could not be dealt with until the new kleros had been properly delimited.

Mys to Zenon greeting. Concerning Symbōtes I wrote you once before that we have frequently asked him , both by letter and by word of mouth , to take possession of the land , and now again I thought it well to remind you ; for on account of the land having been selected for him and not yet measured out we can not touch the crops from this area , with the result that they are being ruined . And though we keep on explaining about this to Symbotes , he pays no heed but disputes with the royal scribe , opining that his allotment ought to be measured with the regular schoenion , which makes a difference of ten arouras in the hundred. You will oblige me then by sending me word as soon as possible whatever you may decide about this. Farewell. Year 29 , Mecheir 30 .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 29, Phamenoth 1. Mys concerning Symbotes.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59168
Date:   April 256 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 91)

It is much to be regretted that this and the following letter of Apollonios are so incomplete. Both are concerned with the laying-out of the town of Philadelphia. The text shows the interest that Apollonios look in the planning of the town and the arrangement of public buildings.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. [Arrange for] a temple of Sarapis to be built [as well as the] temple of Isis, [alongside the] temple of the Dioskouroi and the [space] that has been left . . . [Take care] that there is one walkway [for both] temples alongside the canal. Farewell. Year . . .

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year .., Dystros 4, Phamenoth 4. Apollonios concerning a temple of Sarapis.


Greek text:   PSI_345
Date:   July 256 B.C.
Translated by: M.Rostovtzeff, 'A Large Estate in Egypt in the Third Century B.C.', p. 95

Kritias to Zenon greeting. They are preparing to gather the grapes. Send guards, not less than ten, and write to my men to help guard. Write also to Hegesianax lest some violence should occur. Farewell. Year 30, Pachons 25.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30, Artemisios 26, Pachons 26. From Kritias, concerning guards for the grapes .


Greek text:   PCairZen_59142
Date:   July 256 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 24)

The fame enjoyed by Milesian wool is alluded to by Theocritus, xv.126. But it is not necessary to suppose that the wool of which Apollonios speaks was imported from Miletos , for in another letter of his we hear of Milesian sheep in the Fayoum.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. You have done well to distribute Milesian wool to the slave-girls in Memphis, and now give orders to let them have as much as they need. Farewell. Year 30, Artemisios 10, Pachons 9.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30 , Artemisios 29, Pachons 29. From Apollonios , concerning Milesian wool, that the slave-girls have some and that more should be given to them.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59148
Date:   August 256 B.C.
Translated by: A.C.Smith

This letter was sent from Alexandria, where Zenon's brother Epharmostos was staying.

Hierokles to Zenon greeting. If you are well, and in other matters you are getting along as you wish, that would be good. I also am well, and so is Epharmostos. Kallikon has sent a slave called Onesimos to Herakleopolis, to fetch something for him, and Ptolemaios has asked him to visit you on the way. Please buy a himation and another chiton summer himation for Ptolemaios, and give them to the slave so that he can bring them, since it would take too long for you to do it, and Ptolemaios is in need of them. He has not bought them from here, because he has heard that they are cheaper up the river. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30, Panemos 12, Epeiph 2.   From Hierokles, concerning (?) purchases.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59150
Date:   September 256 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 26)

In the course of the 28th year ninety artabas of wheat , which Theodoros had paid in from somewhere in the interior, had been sent down to Alexandria to be placed to his credit. During the first half of year 29, fifty-five artabas had been delivered to him by Artemidoros, the steward of the household of Apollonios in Alexandria. Now after the lapse of a year he asks Zenon to give an order for the delivery of the remainder.

Theodoros to Zenon greeting. In year 28, 90 artabas of wheat, which we had measured out from the countryside, were transported to Alexandria for us. Of these there has been measured out to us on your instructions by Artemidoros in Alexandria, on 11th Xandikos: one artaba, on the 20th: 4 artabas, on the 30th: 10 artabas, on the 26th Artemisios: 10 artabas, on the 5th Loios: 30 artabas, total: 55 artabas, and there is still owed to us by you 35 artabas. You will do well then to write and say from whom we shall receive the rest. For we have borrowed corn from Artemidoros the scribe, and we are anxious to repay it. And now, as we are staying in Alexandria, we have requested it from Artemidoros the steward of the household, and told him that you still owe it to us, but he said that it was not his business and that even if you wrote to him he could not execute the order. Therefore see to it that it is delivered, as otherwise we will have to hold you responsible for the price of it, unless (lastly) you approve that the others and the associates of Simylos should receive their due, but that what is owed to me should be neglected by you. Artemidoros the scribe says that you have written that the corn should be measured out to me, but no-one has paid any attention. Farewell.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30 , Loios 2, Mesore 2. From Theodoros , concerning amounts of corn.


Greek text:   PSI_341
Date:   November 256 B.C.
Translated by: S.B.Pomeroy, 'Women in Hellenistic Egypt', p. 169

Greetings to Zenon from Apollophanes and Demetrios, brothers, producers of all kinds of woollen clothing for women. If you would like to, and if by chance you have need, we are ready to supply what you want. We have heard speak of the glory of the city {Philadelphia} as well as of the goodness and justice with which you administer it. That is why we have decided to come to you, to Philadelphia, with our mother and wife so that we might be workers. Summon us if you would like us to work. We make, as you wish, cloaks, tunics, girdles, dresses, belts, ribbons, split tunics, trimming, everything to size. And we can teach our trade, if you like. Tell Nikias to provide lodging for us. So that we won't seem strangers to you, we can supply references from people known to you, some from here whom you can trust, others from Moithymis. Farewell.

{Docketed}   Year 30, Gorpieios 28, Thoth 28.   From Apollophanes and Demetrios, brothers.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59155
Date:   December 256 B.C.
Translated by: (C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.19, no. 27)

What was this land about which we find the king giving instructions to his minister? It is difficult to say. Probably it was either a part of the estate which Apollonios held as a gift from the king, or else a special piece of unleased Crown land which Zenon had been charged to cultivate.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. The king has ordered me to sow a second crop on the land. Therefore, as soon as you have harvested the early corn, water the land by hand, or if that is not possible, erect several shadoufs so that you can water it, but do not flood the land for more than five days; and as soon as it dries, sow the three-month corn. Write to us to say when you will be able to harvest the crop. Farewell. Year 30, Dios 13, Athyr 3.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   . . . concerning sowing.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59154
Date:   December 256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 93

The letter shows how thoroughly Isis had been already adopted by the highest Greek circles in Alexandria. In a great household like that of Apollonios religious festivals were welcome events. Money and clothes were distributed among the servants; coal and firewood were used in large quantities: and many animals were sent down the river to be sacrificed and eaten.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. From your store of dry wood load a boat with logs, as many and as thick as possible, and send them immediately to Alexandria, in order that we may have a supply for the festival of Isis. Farewell. Year 30, Dios 3, Phaophi 23.

{Docketed}   Year 30, Dios 18, Athyr 18. Apollonios concerning wood for the festival of Isis, to Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59156
Date:   December 256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 94

Apollonios had an establishment at Memphis, including a large garden which helped to stock his new orchards at Philadelphia. The shoots would probably be carried on donkeys by the desert track which is still in use.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. Fetch over from Memphis as many pear shoots and nurslings as possible, both from our own garden and from the palace, and get also some sweet-apple trees from Hermaphilos, and plant them. Farewell.   Year 30, Dios 13, Athyr 3.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30, Dios 23, Athyr 23. Concerning pear shoots.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59157
Date:   December 256 B.C.
Translated by: C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.24, no. 95

Apollonios was probably thinking of masts and spars for the king's navy. In the other letters the trees about which he gives instrudions to Zenon are fruit-trees, grown for the sake of the fruit; here for the first time we find him planting for the sake of timber.

Apollonios to Zenon greeting. Plant fir-trees all over the park and round the vineyard and the olive groves, and see that you put in not less thau three hundred and, if possible, more. For the tree has an attractive appearance and will be useful for the king. Farewell. Year 30, Dios 13, Athyr 3.

{Addressed}   To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 30, Dios 23, Athyr 23. Concerning fir-trees.

FROM ZENON TO KLEON   ( 256-255 )

Greek text:   PZenPestm_B   ( PPetr_2.13.11 )
Date:   October 256 or October 255 B.C.
Translated by:   P-L.Viollet, 'Water Engineering in Ancient Civilizations', p. 117

Zenon to Kleon greetings. The water in the canal has not risen more than a cubit, so the land cannot be watered from it. Therefore you would be well advised to open the gates to water the land. Farewell. Year (?) 28, Mesore 23.

{Addressed}   To Kleon.

{Docketed}   Year .., Mesore 24 . . .

Following years (255-239 B.C.) →

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