Ancient Egyptian Texts:  7.3


Text:   P. Berlin 13621 + P. Giessen UB 101.3
Date:   3rd or 2nd century B.C.
Language:   Demotic
Translated by:   B. Muhs
Format:   see key to translations

This document, usually known by its German description 'Zivilprozeßordnung', probably comes from Hermopolis. Along with the Legal Code of Hermopolis, it provides evidence that the native Egyptian legal system continued to be promulgated during the Ptolemaic period.   For an explanation of the terms sẖ-document and šʿ.t-document, see J.G. Manning et al., "Law and Legal Practice in Egypt from Alexander to the Arab Conquest", p. 32 ( Google Books ).

The translation is taken from B. Muhs, "The Ancient Egyptian Economy: 3000-30 BCE", pp.217-8 ( Google Books ).


. . . 2 Number 13. Concerning a document, which one will take.

3 Makes 43 its year.  

4 [The] person who writes concerning something, and [the] person for whom he makes the sẖ-document: writes concerning something means he will be far from the law of the sẖ-document, which he has made for him.

5 [The] person, who complains [against a man, saying] "he has seized a house, agricultural land, or cattle/an office belonging to me": If one of the people brings a sẖ-document concerning it, saying: "He has written concerning [the thing . . .]" 6 one will cause that he is far from him. [If he says]: "I have not written," one will cause that he swears after his statement upon the sẖ-document, "I am after you . . ."7 upon it . . .  

8 If a person complains [against a person] saying: "he made for me a šʿ.t-document . . . money for me. He has not given it to me." If the person against whom he complains [says . . .] 9 If he says: "I have not made it for him," one will cause that he swears. The šʿ.t-document possesses no witness. If it happens that it possesses witnesses . . . 10 the one who will do it. 

11 The person who complains verbally, gives to them an oath, the one that they will make him, according to their words.

12 The person who complains against a person, and whose law is drawn up, if it happens that they are before the judges, if it happens that they read . . . 

13 [The person] who complains against his companion, saying: "He seized something belonging to me until Year 20 before today," one will not listen to him. If it happens that . . .

14 If a person complains against a person concerning money, while he says: "I will give it to him in such-and-such a town." If the person against whom he complains . . . 15 in the town in which he complained against him.

16 If [a person] complains against a person, saying: "he has seized such-and-such a document belonging to me," while he says "I have not taken it," one will cause that he swears, saying: ["the document which he says 'you have taken it from me,'] 17 I have not taken it, I have not caused that one take it, I have not done anything on the earth to cause that one take it, I have not destroyed it, [I have not caused that one destroy it, I have not done anything on the earth to cause] 18 that one destroy [it, I have not erased it, I have not] caused that one erased [it, I have not done] anything [on the earth to cause that one erased it] . . .  

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