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Select Papyri, 2.256A


SALE BY AUCTION OF A DEBTOR’S PROPERTY

Greek text:   BGU 14.2376
Date:   35 B.C.

This papyrus was not in the original collection. The translation is adapted from S.R. Llewelyn, "New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity", vol. 7, pp. 197-200 ( Google Books ).   For some comments on the legal procedure, see J.G.Manning, in "Law and Legal Practice in Egypt from Alexander to the Arab Conquest", pp.262-5 ( Google Books ).

This is the earliest surviving evidence of the new titles which Cleopatra had adopted around the same time that she started to use a double series of regnal years; modern scholars have attempted to find a political motive for the titles - see Chris Bennett, Cleopatra VII, note 14.


In the reign of Cleopatra, goddess, the newer Philopator and Philopatris, and Ptolemy also called Caesar, god, Philopator and Philometor, year 17 which is also the year 2, at the time of the priest of Alexander officiating in Alexandria and of the others so recorded in Alexandria, in the month of Artemisius, that is Phamenoth, in Heracleopolis above Memphis. Musaeus, praktōr xenikōn and nomophylax of the aforementioned nome, has knocked down at auction to Ptolemaeus son of Heroides on the basis of the verdict which Ptolemaeus transferred from the court which is dated the past year 16 which is also year 1, Thoth 10 {September, 37 B.C.}, with respect to the complaint he brought before the chrematistai holding court locally and Dorotheus, their administrative officer {eisagōgeus}, against Heracleides also called Harthotes son of Hephaestion, regarding a right of action for 3,080 silver drachmas and damages and expenses amounting to 5 bronze talents, the land designated by Ptolemaeus for distraint in the present proceedings belonging to [Issa]cleides (?) son of Lochus. There remains to Ptolemaeus the right of action for the remaining capital sum both from him and whatever other property he finds belonging to Heracleides; not only the days determined for the distraint and knocking down at auction having passed but also further days having elapsed. No one in the meantime has yet come forward for the sworn denial or retraction of that which has been distrained or, following what was written by us to the royal scribe {basilikogrammateus}, has spoken out suitably in opposition; inasmuch as the land has been proclaimed by a herald when the agora was full, in the presence of Ptolemaeus and the deputy of the royal scribe, Heracleides son of Heracleides; and inasmuch as no one has come forward whether to make a higher bid or even a lower it has been knocked down to Ptolemaeus, the one who has distrained, about 38 years old [. . honey-skinned, white-haired, manly, with a scar on his chin. Redeemable upon 2 bronze talents as the decree {diagramma} specifies. All the property is in the village of Sobthis near Heracleopolis, consisting of a deserted orchard with trees and a well, 2¾ arouras or however many they are, with the attached appurtenances, the half at 2 bronze talents. The neighbouring properties of the whole orchard are: south, a canal called "the Navel"; north, a royal road and Tecbēs; east, dry land belonging to [Iss]acleides (?); west, a village and property(?) formerly belonging to Eumelus.

papyrus 257


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