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ddbdp.2015.2 = HGV P.Got. 29 (DDbDP 2015 2) = Trismegistos 36148 = gothenburg.apis.22 =

DDbDP transcription: ddbdp.2015.2 [xml]

[Reprinted from:] P.Got. 29


A Requisition of Workmen and Donkeys

Andrea Bernini

The papyrus is preserved at the Gothenburg University Library (inv. 10) and measures 13 (h) x 28 (w) cm. Broken on the right and at the bottom, it is written against the fibres transversa charta and contains parts of eleven lines of a letter; the editio princeps transcribed only ll. 2-6. If the restoration at l. 2 is correct (see the commentary), we would have a loss of 19 letters on the same line (i.e. around 8-9 cm), which would suggest an overall breadth slightly exceeding the usual 30-32 cm. Whether something was written on the back, such as the name(s) of the sender and/or the addressee, is unknown, because no image is available. The document was dated to the 6th-7th cent. AD in the ed. pr.; however, the handwriting and the presence of the substantives γαϊδάριον and χωρίον suggest a date after the Arab conquest (see note on CPR 30 20.5). Despite some affinities with texts coming from the archive of Senouthios, the text is not likely to belong to this archive, as F. Morelli informed me (mail 06.08.2013); if the restoration at l. 9 is correct, it may come from the Arsinoite nome. Because of the damaged condition of the text, the content is not completely clear, but the general context is understandable: the sender is an estate employee (as suggested by the presence of ἀντιγεοῦχος) who deals with the requisition of donkeys and workers to be employed for transport duties (as the verb κοβαλεύω indicates). The workers are to be sent to Memphis and Babylon, the Arab capital. The requisition of workers, animals, and assorted provisions was put into practice by the Arabs after the conquest of Egypt. Although they seem to be ad hoc measures, such requisitions fit into a large and centrally controlled administrative network, see P.M. Sijpesteijn, in: R.S. Bagnall (ed.), Egypt in the Byzantine World, 300-700 (2007) 437-459.

(This papyrus was discussed in a class on digital papyrology offered in the summer semester 2014 by R. Ast, L. Berkes, and J.M.S. Cowey at the University of Heidelberg's Institute for Papyrology. The author expresses his gratitude to all those who took part in the course and to the referees who commented on the edition. Thanks is also due to Anders Larsson, Senior Librarian in the Gothenburg University Library, and Karin Kulneff for supplying the digital images and catalog records that made this edition possible, and to Josh Sosin, Hugh Cayless and Ryan Baumann at the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing for technical support.)

⁦ vac. ? ⁩
† διὰ τῆς ἐλαχίστου(*) μου ἐπιστολῆς γράφω, προσκυνῶ(*) καὶ(*) ἀσπάζομ̣[α]ι̣(*) τὰ [τί]μια ἴ(*)χνη τοῦ θεο[φυλάκτου](*) [⁦ -ca.?- ⁩.]
ἐπειδὴ γεγράφηκεν δὲ ὁ θεοφύλακτος ἀντιγεοῦχος χά̣ρ̣ι̣ν τ  ̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
καὶ εἰς Μέμ̣φιν ἄλλας(*) ἑπτὰ ἐργάτας, καὶ ἰ(*)δοὺ τοὺς τέσσαρας ἐπε̣μ̣[ψ-⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
5καὶ περὶ ν(*) γαιδάριν(*)(*)να πέμψω εἰς Βαβυλῶνα μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶ̣[ν⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
ἐκέλ̣ευσεν ὁ̣ π̣ιστικὸς ἵ(*)να ἀπολύσουσιν(*) ὅλα τὰ γαιδάρια καὶ ἰ(*)δ̣[οὺ ⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
  ̣[- ca.4 -]  ̣σ[ -4-5- ]  ̣το διὰ τὸ μ̣ὴ ἔχω(*) ἐργάτας \εἰς κο̣βαλευθῆναι/. λο[ι]πὸν παρα̣καλῶ τὸν̣ [⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
[ -3-4- ]  ̣[ -2-3- ] -2-3- ε̣ ̣[ -1-2- ] ̣[ -1-2- ] ̣ς εἰς̣ το[ύ]τους ἵ(*)να κοβαλεύσουσ̣ιν(*) λι̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩π]εμφ̣θ̣ῆναι   ̣  ̣  ̣ εν(*) φυλακ  ̣(*) [ἀ]πὸ καινοῦ τοῦ χω  ̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
10  ̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]  ̣σ  ̣ρτ  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣ [- ca.4 -]  ̣[ -3-4- ἵ]να ἀγοράζητε [  ̣  ̣  ̣   ̣](*) [⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩  ̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]  ̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]  ̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]π[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩]
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


^ 2. l. ἐλαχίστης
^ 2. προσκυνῶν prev. ed.
^ 2. καϊ papyrus
^ 2. ἀσπαζόμ̣[ενος] prev. ed.
^ 2. ϊχνη papyrus
^ 2. BL 2.2 70 : θ̣ε̣ο̣[⁦ -ca.?- ⁩] prev. ed.
^ 4. l. ἄλλους
^ 4. ϊδου papyrus
^ 5. l. ἑνός
^ 5. l. γαιδαρίου
^ 5. ϊνα papyrus
^ 6. ϊνα papyrus
^ 6. l. ἀπολύσωσιν
^ 6. ϊδ̣[ου] papyrus
^ 7. l. ἔχειν
^ 8. ϊνα papyrus
^ 8. l. κοβαλεύσωσιν
^ 9. or ν (l. ἕνα)
^ 9. or φύλακα̣, or φύλακο̣ς̣
^ 10. ̈ papyrus


  • 2.

    The wrong form, ἐλαχίστου, may be due to analogy with the following μου. A possible restoration at the end of the line is μου δεσπότου, see P.Lond. 5 1739.2 (650-749 AD) τὰ τίμια ἴχνη τοῦ θεοφυλάκτου μο(υ) δ[εσπότου.

  • 3.

    The ἀντιγεοῦχος (vicedominus) occupies the highest position in the hierarchic structure that administers the estate, see B. Palme, Chiron 27 (1997) 112-115. The term appears in only one other papyrus clearly dating to mid-7th century Fayum, CPR 24 33.5 (653 AD). At the end of the line, possible readings are χά̣ρ̣ι̣ν το̣[ῦ or τῶ̣[ν: see BL 2.2 70 where Bell's suggestion of χάριν τ[ῶν is reported.

  • 4.

    The feminine form of the adjective (ἄλλας) instead of the masculine may result from an analogy with the ending of the substantive ἐργάτας. τούς is perhaps corrected from τάς.

  • 5.

    The supralinear stroke above ἕν (see also l. 9) indicates that the word is a numeral. The substantive γαϊδάριον, which comes from Arabic, is found in papyri after the Arab conquest: see e.g. P.Ross.Georg. 3 50.12 (21.07.643 AD) and P.Amh. 2 153.5 (643-644 AD); cf. note on CPR 30 20.5.

  • 6.

    The term πιστικός (both adjective and noun) identifies people involved in various business occupations (see note on CPR 25 30.4, pp. 179-180 for a general overview), such as the transportation of wheat (e.g. O.BawitIFAO 1.9, 7th-8th cent. AD) and the arrangement of village expenditures (CPR 8 67.19, 6th-7th cent. AD). In some cases a πιστικός is mentioned in contexts similar to that of the present papyrus: in CPR 22 54.7 (beginning 8th cent. AD), a requisition of workers, and in P.Amh. 2 153.6 (ca. 643-644 AD), where some γαιδάρια are to be given to a πιστικός (restored by CPR 30 p. 154, n. 4).

  • 7.

    The scribe writes the indicative form ἔχω instead of the usual infinitive, a usage found in papyri dating from the 3rd to 7th cent. AD, see B.G. Mandilaras, The Verb in the Greek Non-Literary Papyri (1973) 341-343. The verb κοβαλεύω is used in combination with ἄχυρον in P.Lond. 1 131.84 (26/04-25/05/78 AD) and χόρτος in P.Mich. 11 624.14 (early 6th cent. AD). Both ἄχυρον and χόρτος are objects of κοβαλεύω in P.Oxy. 1 146.2 (555 AD); given the presence of donkeys in the P.Got. text, κοβαλευθῆναι, might also refer to ἄχυρον or χόρτος (or both). We would expect εἰς τὸ κοβαλευθῆναι; however, the absence of τό might also suggest the reading εἰσκοβαλευθῆναι, which would be a hapax. In the lacuna at the end of the line ἐμὸν ἀγαθὸν (or θεοφύλακτον) δεσπότην is a possible restoration.

  • 8.

    The curved trace below the uncertain ε could belong to the following uncertain letter (not a ρ) or to a previous λ.

  • 9.

    After πεμφθῆναι it is perhaps possible to read μοι. In καινοῦ the supralinear stroke indicating υ goes beyond ο and continues above τοῦ. The traces at the end of the line are compatible with the upper part of a ρ: in this case, a possible restoration might be Καινοῦ τοῦ χωρ̣[ίου. χωρίον, a word typical of Arab administration, was introduced into Egypt not later than 8 January 643, thus replacing the traditional notions of κώμη and sometimes ἐποίκιον within the context of the new division of the country. The change was also substantial: by χωρίον Arabs identified the tax and requisition districts, see J. Gascou, ZPE 177 (2011), 247; J. Gascou, Arabic Taxation in the mid-seventh-century Greek papyri (2013) 672-673 (while a continuity in the administration at the local level during the Late Byzantine and Arab periods is supported by CPR 30, p. 59). The word order of καινοῦ τοῦ χω ̣raises some doubts, since χωρίον Καινοῦ would be the usual order, see e.g. P.Ross.Georg. 3 53.20 (674-675 AD) and Stud.Pal 10 151.1 (7th cent. AD).

Editorial History; All History; (detailed)

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HGV 36148 Translation (English) [xml]

1  Through my most humble letter I write, do reverence, and greet the honourable footsteps of my God-protected lord (?). Since the God-protected vice-dominus has written in regard to the […] and further seven workers to Memphis, and the four were sent […] and concerning one donkey, so that I will send to Babylon together with the workers 5  […] the pistikos ordered them to release all the donkeys and […] because I have no workers for transporting. Then, I will ask […] workers to these, so that they can transport the … […] be sent one guard to me (?) from Kainou, the chorion (?) […] 10  ... […] so you can buy […]