JAMES G. KEENAN
4. In 570, land of unknown area and location which he
himself leased out.
5. In 572, again with Victor, son of Kollouthos, a pasturage in Aphrodite's eastern plain.
6. At an unknown date, an estate adjacent to a monastery's estate in Aphrodite's western plain.33
Thus Phoibammon's landholdings were varied-farms, estates, pasturages34-but usually of unknown size and of unknown,
or diverse but local, situations. That he is once labeled a possessor
is probably important.35 How he came by the title and the processes by which he added to his holdings to earn that recognition
can be imagined but only partly supported from the documentsbut why not engage in some speculations? Speculations to the
effect that he began as an average farmer and achieved success
through diligence and hard work; that he had little or no family,
possibly therefore only his own mouth to feed;36 that he increased
his wealth by his practice of taking land in lease, especially from
absentee landlords and ecclesiastical and monastic institutions; that
he was so successful in this that he accumulated enough wealth in
kind to be able to pay some of his rents in advance or even to
make substantial loans to his lessors; that his lessors and other
debtors eventually mortgaged some or all of their property to
secure the loans; that they sometimes could not repay them and
either left Phoibammon unmolested as de facto possessor of the
mortgaged property or, in extremis, arranged to transfer their
mortgaged land to Phoibammon so as to have their debts cancelled. Who found themselves in such straits? Certainly, it is clear
from one of the papyri,37 some of the village shepherds, belonging
to one of the lowest groups in any socio-economic "register,"
especially one constructed by sedentary farming folk;38 and,
probably also, Flavius Samuel and his unnamed daughters.
LO YOLA UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO JAMES G. KEENAN
33 1. P.Lond. V 1841. 2. P.Michael. 45. 3. P.Michael. 46. 4. P.Michael. 47.
5. P.Michael. 48. 6. P.Mich. XIII 667.
34 yWCpyw, KTT)raTa, 0otOTK).laTc7a.
35 P.Mich. XIII 667.3.
36 Perhaps the least warranted of the speculations advanced here, supported only
by the silence of the papyri on any relatives and descendants of Phoibammon and
the guess that this may be the reason why he associates with a partner, Victor, son
of Kollouthos, toward the end of his career: P.Michael. 46 (559), 48 (572).
37 P.Michael. 45, though for possible reservations cf. n.10 above.
38 Cf. in general the graphic descriptions in Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie,
Montaillou: the Promised Land of Error (New York 1979) 69-135. For the shepherds
of Aphrodite, P.Cair.Masp. I 67001 remains a basic document.