ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 45 (2008) 87-100
An Inconvenient Truth?
P.Oxy. 18.2196 verso, the Apion Estate, and
fiscalite in the Late Antique Oxyrhynchite'
Todd M. Hickey University of California, Berkeley
To James Keenan, mentor and friend
Ed elli a lui: Tu prima m'inviasti
verso Parnaso a ber ne le sue grotte
(Dante, Purgatorio 22.64-65)
A preliminary interpretation of the contents of POxy. 18.2196 verso
descr., an account deriving from the high-level administration of the
Apion estate at Oxyrhynchus ca. 586/7. This text is important for the
historiography of the late antique Oxyrhynchite in that it furnishes
additional confirmation of Gascou's model of "fiscal shares," which
concerns the administrative functions of great estates, or oikoi. Although a ca. 30% rise in gross receipts is indicated as compared with
the 540s, this does not prove that agriculture on the Apion estate
was transformed by increased investment or productivity during the
second half of the sixth century.
Part 1: Description and Preliminary Interpretation of the Text
In his introduction to the recto of POxy. 18.2196, C.H. Roberts read 11.
5-6 of the verso as ]" b(rtip) to0 Xi i(caTroc) t-cv KW[IWV (ptr.) io(tptd6 ) 81y[
6] yi(v.) Xi jit(CTa) Oi(tOU) K(CtyK.) (p-r.) io(tpta6e) tL/[Ty, and described
1 An earlier (and shorter) version of this paper was presented as part of the Late
Antique Oxyrhynchus Panel at the XXV International Congress of Papyrology in Ann
Arbor. I thank Roger Bagnall for his comments on that occasion and Nick Gonis,
Dominic Rathbone, Peter van Minnen, and John Whitehorne for their criticism of the