Letters from the Zenon Archive

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:-     (from P.Cair.Zen. series, unless otherwise stated)

59018 -   59019 -   59025 -   59028 -   59033 -   59038 -   59044 -   59045 -   59057 -   59106 -   59130 -   59132 -   59145 -   59154 -   59156 -   59157 -   59168 -   59169 -   59225 -   59240 -   59300 -   59317 -   59322 -   59329 -   59337 -   59341 -   59344 -   59351 -   59362 -   59367 -   59368 -   59371 -   59421 -   59451 -   59481 -   59519 -   PLond_2052 -   PSI_393


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_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}   From the girl Satyra to Zenon.


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

P.S.I. 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, and a request that he may be allowed to come to Egypt and state his case in person. 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:   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.

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


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:   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:   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 arourai 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 .

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


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 . . .

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


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.

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


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.

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.

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


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/A>), 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_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_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_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 Philadelpheia. To Zenon.

{Docketed}   Year 32. Artemidoros, doctor.


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

Cleonax 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_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_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:   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:   PCairZen_59337
Date:   October 247 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:   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:   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 Philadelpheia, by Samoēlis and Alexander, 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 Philadelpheia, 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 Philadelpheia 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_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.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59451
Date:   247-240 B.C.
Translated by:   T.Evans, in 'Multilingualism in the Graeco-Roman Worlds', p. 115

To Zenon greetings, from the temple-slaves of Boubastis, who are cat-feeders. The king, doing well, exempted this class throughout the land from public service, and just so also Apollonios. And we are from Sophthis. So Leontiskos sent us by force to the harvest, and in order not to bother you, we performed the service which came about for us. But now for a second time again Leontiskos has sent us to work on the harvest to make bricks; and there are two of us; but he is sheltering the brick-makers who are in Sophthis, Amerōis and Bēsas, who should now have been performing public service, for his own advantage. So would you please, just as both the king and Apollonios the finance minister has {sic} ordered, also yourself attend to things just so; for we have no one [else] to whom we may call for help while you are here. Be fortunate.


Greek text:   PLond_7.2052
Date:   245-240 B.C.
Translated by:   S.R.Llewelyn, 'New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity', vol. 8, p. 17

Memorandum to Zenon from Sosikrates concerning those {slaves} formerly belonging to Apollonios, the ex-dioiketes, but now belonging to Paideas. If anyone encounters them, let him arrest them and write to us.

Pindaros, Lycian, about 29 years of age, medium height, honey-complexion, with meeting eyebrows, hook-nosed, scar under left knee.

Philonides, who is called Beltenouris, about 24 years of age, medium height, honey-complexion, scar on left eyebrow and under lip on right.

And those belonging to Alexandros who was a hostage:

Philinos, Babylonian, shampooer, about 44 years of age, short, black-skinned, hook-nosed, with meeting eyebrows, having a mole on the left temple.

Amyntas, Mede, coachman, about 34 years of age, medium height, black-skinned, scar to forehead and nose.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59300
Date:   261-239 B.C.
Translated by:   J.Kloppenborg, 'The Tenants in the Vineyard', p. 398

Euempelos to Zenon, greetings. After the farmers of the district had seeded the vineyards {with vegetables} for the 25th year {sic} I asked Herakleides to give me an assistant to make the rounds of inspection, so that I could register the cucumbers that had been planted and the gourds and the shallots and anything else, so that they can pay the one-half rent after the valuation, just as happened before. Herakleides gave me an assistant and asked him to do his job well. Although none of the other tenants objected, Apollonides said that he would not allow me to come into his vineyard. Knowing how crazy he is and that he would hinder me, I ordered the assistant to be present when I made my rounds.

Now Apollinides is really playing the fool. For if, as you once said, the money from farming out a 100 arourai vineyard to various tenants had been collected, he would not now be such a fool. For while I farmed out not even 5 arourai belonging to Python for 20 drachmas and 7 arourai belonging to Neoptolemos for at most 41 drachmas and did this by auction with Anosis' help (as you had ordered), Apollonides, without the assistance of anyone, not even Anosis, said that by going to anyone he wanted and making an agreement on his own with them he had negotiated 50 drachmas; he did not even keep back the new grapes for the Isieia, telling them all (?) to take as much as they wanted of what belongs to you.

But concerning the other matters, you yourself will investigate when you come. No one is preparing the wine vats nor are they building new ones and harvest time is near. For last year we began to gather the grapes on Pachons 28; but they are not even ready to catch mice. Thus unless you come in a hurry and start giving orders in regard to all these matters, by spending the time on other matters you will lose a great deal. Year 25 {sic}, Pachons 2.

{Docketed}   Year 36, Pachons 6. Euempelos, concerning the harvest, to Zenon.


Greek text:   PCairZen_59519
Date:   261-239 B.C.
Translated by:   C.C.Edgar, ASAE vol.23, no. 87

In this short letter we have another picture of a sitometrēs in trouble. Phaneisis , though he writes Greek with perfect fluency, was an Egyptian from up the river and knew nobody in Alexandria except Zenon. Evidently he had not come down for a holiday, but to appear before Dionysodoros and explain some fault in his accounts . Dionysodoros was the chief accountant of Finance , a person of great authority.

Phaneisis the corn-measurer to Zenon greeting. It is now three days since Dionysodoros saw me and ordered me to be taken to prison. Will you kindly then send one of your people to me along with the messenger who hands you this letter, because I have no friend in the city, and send me a cloak or some money, as much as you please , to serve until one of my folk sails down. Farewell.

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