ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 44 (2007) 167-174 The Case for 8,000,000 Modii in Justinian's Edict 13.8 Philip Mayerson New York University Abstract The number of 8,000,000 in Justinian's Edict 13.8 has occasioned a considerable amount of discussion. Are these measures of wheat for the annona of Constantinople artabas or modii? The penalty clause in Â~Â~6 and 8 (Ka-rT TptV kpT3apv) has led some scholars to assume that the number of 8,000,000 must also refer to artabas. In this contribution, the focus is on Constantinople, the ultimate destination of the wheat, rather than on the penalties exacted in Egypt. Would Justinian have counted the City's annona in artabas or modii? Justinian's thirteenth edict, dated to ca. 538/9, on the reorganization of Egypt and its administration, offers a tantalizing datum in Â~8: "the wheat shipment of good fortune of 8,000,000 (otrooriac eicq oKTOKOJiaGt PUpta6ac eruvXoi)." Eight million of what measure? The edict does not say, leaving it in the hands of historians to judge which of two possible measures is meant, the Egyptian artaba or the Latin modius. Schnebel, on the first page of his introduction to his Landwirtschaft, cites two opposing judgments on the issue: Mommsen (Romische Geschichte 5:560, n. 1) held that the appearance of KaTt trptCiv apTlapev in the penalty clause in Â~6 indicated that the 8,000,000 were of that measure; Rostovtzeff (P-W, RE 7:136, s.v.frumentum) opted for modii. It was Mommsen's view that was taken up by later historians. G. Rouillard (L'Administration civile, 124-126) attempted to demonstrate that the large amounts of taxed wheat in P.Oxy. 1.127 and P.Cair.Masp. 1.67057 - by extrapolating the 80 Egyptian cities cited by George of Cyprus - would produce about 4,933,920 artabas or an excessive figure of 14,801,760 modii. Hence she believed that Edict 13.8 called for artabas. Johnson and West (Byzantine Egypt, 236) approached the problem cautiously, calling the 8 million "units, presumably artabae." A.H.M. Jones (LRE 1:463; 2:1198, n. 126), attracted by the large number of artabas of taxed wheat in POxy. 16.1907, 1909, and P.Cair.Masp. 1.67057,
Top of page Top of page