P.Berol. 21396 Plate I 20.2 x 7.2 cm (fr. 1)
    Late 2nd cent. CE Hermoupolis?

    P.Berol. 21396 →[1] consists of one main fragment (Fr. 1) and five minor unplaced scraps of the same sheet with few – mostly illegible – traces of script. The scribe wrote along the fibers. The verso of the papyrus bears an anonymous astrological treatise[2] written upside down in relation to the text on the recto; on palaeographical grounds we may assume that the recto preceded the verso.

    An informal, round, neat book-hand with a tendency to lapse into documentary cursive forms, especially in the letters ε, ξ and the rounded κ. Writing is mostly bilinear. The scribe tends to connect letters; ligatures esp. from ε, θ and ϲ to following letters. ο and ω are especially large and rounded. The hand is similar to that of P.Oxy. VI 853[3] or P.Beatty VI fasc. V, Pl. 5,[4] and should be assigned to the latter part of the second cent. CE; the script is not likely to be later than 200 CE. Also the fact that the speeches are introduced by the εἶπεν-formula (ll. 7, 11) suggests a dating of the text anywhere from the early 2nd to the early 3rd cent. CE.[5]

    The text is provided with lectional signs written by the original hand (same ink). Two oblique strokes of doubtful significance are placed over τ̏ in line 3, possibly to distinguish the utterances of the presiding official.[6] An apostrophe after ετερ ̣[ ̣] in line 7. The scribe uses the high point once (l. 24). A decorative space-filler is visible in line 31 apparently in order to close a period.

    The subject of this text is clearly a trial before some Roman authority; the particular court is not specified as the fragment is broken off on all four sides. There are at least two litigants. The exchanges are relatively brief: apparently short questions from the presiding official and short answers from the defendants. Both the beginnings and ends of lines are lost throughout and the papyrus is increasingly damaged towards the last lines where the recovery of the text is more or less hopeless as the horizontal fibers are, for the most part, badly distorted or even stripped (l. 30). The decipherment of the text presents a lot of difficulty as the ink is at places completely faded.

    The text fits the structure and some of the formulae of a report of proceedings. However, the elaborate appearance of the text as well as the vocabulary, which tends to be literary, raise the question whether this fragmentary text might preserve an extract from the Acta Alexandrinorum.[7] The parallels to the Acta cited in the notes to the lines (see esp. ll. 5, 6, 15) are puzzling. Nonetheless, against this assumption should be set the occurrence of some form of βιβλιοφύλαξ in lines 4 and 7, on the one hand, and the absence, on the other hand, of any allusion to an emperor or other personalities attested in the Acta – for what it is worth in such a fragmentary text – as well as of any clearly defined incidents proving either the ascription of our fragment to any of the known Acta or at least the Alexandrian background of the text: indeed, there is no indication in the preserved part of the text of any Greek-Jewish confrontation.[8] Consequently, the idea of identifying this text as part of the Acta Alexandrinorum must be abandoned, at least till additional fragments eventually turn up and thereby clarify and elucidate the points that are still obscure.

    Owing to the mutilation of the papyrus, the precise nature of the question at issue is not clear. However, provided that the supplement of some form of βιβλιοφύλαξ (ll. 4, 7) is correct, we might surmise that the text refers to a transfer of property. The subject of the trial is dimly seen to be a dispute over an estate or estate land[9] that was probably confiscated due to unpaid debt (l. 15).[10] A lien on the property of a person who was in debt was a common practice in Roman Egypt.[11] But also common was the practice of placing property under lien as a surety for the fulfillment of office (κατοχή) in regard to state liturgies and posts.[12] Unfortunately, the fragmentary state of the papyrus denies us a clear perception of the events described.

    For a discussion of this type of text see J. Lallemand, L'administration civile de l᾿Égypte de l'avènement de Dioclétien à la création du diocèse (284–382 A.D.). Mém. Acad. Belg. Cl. d. Lettr., IIe sér., LVII.2 (Brussels 1964) 139ff.; Coles, op.cit. (above, n. 5) passim, esp. 36–38; R. Katzoff, "Precedents in the Courts of Roman Egypt," ZRG 89 (1972) 256–292, esp. 271ff.; N. Lewis, "The Prefect's Conventus: Proceedings and Procedures," BASP 18 (1981) 119–129, esp. 124ff.; and J. Rea, P.Oxy. LI 3619 for a list of bilingual records of proceedings (Greek and Latin). Further bibliography on judicial proceedings in Graeco-Roman Egypt is cited by J. D. Thomas, "The Administration of Roman Egypt: A Survey of Recent Research and Some Outstanding Problems," in Atti del XXII Congresso Internazionale di Papirologia (Florence 2001) II 1245–1254, esp. 1246 n. 8. For similar texts cf. e.g. P.Oxy. LI 3627; J.R. Rea, "Proceedings before Q. Maecius Laetus, Praef. Aeg. etc.," JJP 19 (1983) 91–101; P.Wisc. II 48; P.Vind.Tand. 7 and 8; P.Vind.Worp 1 etc.

    Fr. 1 Fr. 1
    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
    ]  ̣ ο̣[±3]ϲ[±2]ω̣ν̣ο[     ]  ̣ ο̣[±3]ϲ[±2]ω̣ν̣ο[
    ]ν̣ο̣νδεινμη[     ]ν̣ο̣ν δεῖν μη[
    ]ν̣εϲτ̏ιν̣αλε  ̣ ω[     ]ν̣ ἐστιν̣ ἃ λέγ̣ω[
    4 ]φ̣ωνω̣ϲ̣ο̣βιβλ̣ι̣[ 4     ]φ̣̣ωνω̣ς̣ ὁ̣ βιβλ̣ι̣[οφύλαξ
    ]τ̣ε̣ραπ̣[±3]ϲ̣ατα[  ̣]π̣[  ̣]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[     ]τ̣ε̣ρα π̣[±3]ϲ̣α τα[  ̣]π̣[  ̣]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[
    ]ν̣ει̣ϲελθοντοϲτ̣ουων̣η̣[     ]ν̣ εἰ̣σελθόντος τ̣οῦ ων̣η̣[
    ]  ̣ ετερ  ̣[  ̣]᾽ειπεν (vac.?) βιβλιοφ̣[     ]  ̣ ἑτέρω̣[ι] εἶπεν (vac.?) βιβλιοφ̣[ύλ-
    8 ]θαρατα[  ̣]τ̣α̣ταυπαρχοντα[ 8 κα]θαρὰ τα[ῦ]τ̣α̣ τὰ ὑπάρχοντα [
    ]  ̣ ουδικ̣αιωϲ̣πεπρατ̣α[  ̣]μ̣[     ]  ̣ οὐ δικ̣αίως̣ πέπρατ̣α[ι] μ̣[
    ]ε̣πικρατειντου  ̣[±3]τ̣ω[     ] ἐ̣πικρατεῖν του  ̣[±3]τ̣ω[
    ]τ̣εαπ  ̣[±3]  ̣εινοϲει̣π̣ενπ  ̣[     ] τ̣ε απ  ̣[±3]  ̣ εινος εἶ̣π̣εν· π  ̣[
    12                  ]  ̣  ̣  ̣δ̣ο̣ν̣  ̣νον[ 12                       ]  ̣  ̣  ̣δ̣ο̣ν̣  ̣νον[
                    ]  ̣[  ̣]υ̣π̣αρχονταϲ̣[                      ]  ̣[  ̣] ὑ̣π̣άρχοντα σ̣[
                  ]τραϲτου̣[  ̣]ϲ̣̣ανιϲτ̣[                    ]τραστου̣ [ὃ]ς̣ ἀνιστ̣[άμενος εἶπεν?
                 ]β̣εντην̣ουϲι̣α  ̣[                   -έλα]β̣εν τὴν̣ οὐσι̣α  ̣[
    16              ]ο̣[  ̣  ̣]θ̣οραμοιτον[ 16               ]ο̣[  ̣  ̣]θ̣ορα μοι τὸν [
                    ]ρια̣ταυταεϲτιν[                       ]ρια̣ ταῦτά ἐστιν [
                    ]ο̣παειϲ̣ηλθεν̣[                       ]ο̣πα εἰσ̣ῆλθεν̣ [
                    ]  ̣ναυτακαθαρα[                       ]  ̣ν αὐτὰ καθαρὰ [
    20                 ]ειϲ̣γεγοναανα[ 20                       ] εἰσ̣γέγονα ἀνα[
                    ]ν̣πεπρακ̣εν  ̣[                       ]ν̣ πέπρακ̣εν  ̣[
                    ]  ̣ω̣αναγνωϲ̣[                       ]  ̣ω̣ ἀναγνωσ̣[θέντ-
                    ]γ̣ο̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣]ξην̣[                       ]γ̣ο̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣]ξην̣[
    24                   ]  ̣  ̣[  ̣]δ̣ικ·ν[ 24                         ]  ̣  ̣[  ̣]δ̣ικ ( )· ν[
                              ]  ̣κ̣οντ̣[                                 ]  ̣κ̣̣οντ̣[
                              ] (vac.?) οκ[                                  ] (vac.?) οκ[
    27a                           ]  ̣  ̣βε̣ϲ̣[ 27a                                 ]  ̣  ̣βε̣ϲ̣[
    27                   ]ο̣υ[  ̣]  ̣  ̣α̣ταν̣[ 27                         ]ο̣υ[  ̣]  ̣  ̣α̣ταν̣[
    28                   ]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣φ̣η̣α[ 28                         ]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣φ̣η̣α[
                      ]  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣]  ̣δο[                         ]  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣]  ̣δο[
                                ]  ̣[                                  ]  ̣[
                      ]ο̣ρ̣η̣ζ–––––– [              Μεσ]ο̣ρ̣ὴ̣ ζ –––––– [
    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

    1 ]  ̣ ο̣[±3]ϲ: Though the traces of a short descender as of ρ at line beginning are barely visible, the restoration of πα]ρ̣ό̣[ντο]ς seems suitable. The "presence" formula, a common convention in the judicial proceedings, precedes the "participants" when used with reference to legal advisors of the presiding official and follows the participants when it refers to persons assisting the participants or other non official–figures such as witnesses (see Coles, op.cit. [above, n. 5] 33 and n. 3). The restoration πα]ρ̣ό̣[ντο]ς would mean that our fragment begins with the introductory formulae preceding the opening speech in the main body of the trial. In this case only a small portion of the text is missing; the basic pattern includes the "extract" phrase (ἐξ ὑπομνηματισμῶν vel sim.) followed by the names and title of the presiding official, the date and the location, and finally the names of the parties involved in the case, i.e. the "participants" (see Coles, op.cit. [above, n. 5] 29–38). However, we might also consider other possible restorations for ]  ̣ο̣[±3]ϲ, since it is impossible to ascertain how much of our text is missing.

    [±2]ω̣ν̣ο[ς?: After the "presence" formula comes probably the ending of a name in genitive, possibly belonging to one of the legal advisors of the presiding official or other functionaries of the trial. F. Dornseiff and B. Hansen (eds.), Rückläufiges Wörterbuch der griechischen Eigennamen (Berlin 1957) and P. Kretschmer and E. Locker (eds.), Rückläufiges Wörterbuch der griechischen Sprache (Göttingen 19632) cite numerous names (attested also in F. Preisigke's, Namenbuch, and D. Foraboschi's, Onomasticon) that could be considered as possible supplements: e.g. [Ἄρ]ωνος, [Ἄσ]ωνος, [Ἄτ]ωνος, [Ἀκ]ῶνος, [Αἰ]ῶνος, [Βί]ωνος, [Δί]ωνος, [Θ]ῶνος, [Θί]ωνος, [Ἴ]ωνος, [Πι]ῶνος, [Χί]ωνος etc.

    3 ]ν̣εϲτιν̣αλε  ̣ ω[ : I see two possibilities (i) ]ν̣ ἐστιν̣ ἃ λέγ̣ω [ (ii) ]ν̣ές τιν̣α λέγ̣ω or ]ν̣ες τιν̣ὰ λέγ̣ω [ .

    4 ]φ̣̣ωνω̣ς̣ ὁ̣ βιβλ̣ι̣[οφύλαξ?: At line beginning a longish upright with upper traces suggesting φ or ψ; ρ in this hand has a shorter downstroke. After ν left side of round letter, rather ω than ο, followed by a damaged ϲ; then the upper right quadrant of round letter, possibly ο (not α). There are many possible supplements: an adverbial phrase like τοῖς πρότερον δηλουμένοις / εἰρημένοις vel sim. συμ]φ̣ώνω̣ς̣ ὁ̣ βιβλ̣ι̣[οφύλαξ εἶπεν vel sim., "in agreement with the aforementioned the property registrar said," or a participial construction like γρά]φ̣ων ὡ̣ς̣ ὁ̣ βιβλ̣ι̣[οφύλαξ εἶπεν vel sim., "writing that the property registrar said."

    According to N. Lewis, The Compulsory Public Services of Roman Egypt (Florence 19972) 17 s.v., a βιβλιοφύλαξ normally had to be ex–gymnasiarch to perform this liturgy; from the third cent. onwards the bibliophylaces were normally of the bouleutic class; cf. also eund., "A Note on the Recruitment of Bibliophylakes Enkteseon," SO 41 (1966) 81–82 (= N. Lewis, On Government and Law in Roman Egypt. Collected Papers of Naphtali Lewis. Am.Stud.Pap. XXXIII [Atlanta 1995] 104–105); eund., "Leitourgia Studies," in Proceedings of the IX International Congress of Papyrology (Hertford 1961) 233–245 (= Lewis, On Government and Law, 81–93). For a list of βιβλιοφύλακες see P.J. Sijpesteijn and K.A. Worp, "Ein Hausverkauf aus Soknopaiu Nesos (P. Lond. inv. 1976)," in R. Feenstra et al. (eds.), Collatio iuris Romani. Études dédiées à Hans Ankum à l' occasion de son 65e anniversaire. Stud.Amst. XXXV B (Amsterdam 1995) II 513–532. For a general discussion of registration in the record office (βιβλιοθήκη ἐγκτήσεων) in Roman Egypt see the locus classicus of H.J. Wolff, Das Recht der griechischen Papyri Aegyptens in der Zeit der Ptolemäer und des Prinzipats. Hdb. der Altertumswiss. X, 5, 2 (Munich 1978) II 222–255. B. Kramer and D. Hagedorn, P.Hamb. IV 241 introduction, cite extensive literature on the subject; cf. also A.M. Harmon, "Egyptian Property Returns," YClS 4 (1934) 135–234; Taubenschlag, op.cit. (above, n. 10) 222–230; E. Kiessling, "Ein Beitrag zum Grundbuchrecht im hellenistischen Ägypten," JJP 15 (1965) 73–90; E. Husselman, "Procedures of the Record-Office of Tebtunis in the I. c. A.D.," in Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology. Am.Stud. Pap. VII (Toronto 1970) 228ff.

    5 ]τ̣ε̣ρα: Possibly the μεθ᾿ ἕτερα-phrase that usually indicates omissions in reports of proceedings; cf. Coles, op.cit. (above, n. 5) 48–49; see also P.Ryl. II 102.10 note.

    <ἐ>π̣[ώλη]σ̣α?: Cf. H. Musurillo, Acta Alexandrinorum. De mortibus Alexandriae nobilium fragmenta papyracea Graeca (Leipzig 1961) XI A col. II 5f.: τοῦ τετραπλοῦ πωλοῦσι ἵνα σώσ̣ω̣[σι] ἃ ἐδώκασι. On the omitted syllabic augment after other vowels, see F.Th. Gignac, A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods. Vol. II: Morphology (Milan 1981) 225.

    τα[  ̣]π̣[  ̣ ]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[ : After the lacuna ink at bottom, low enough for descender of ρ, followed by the left arm of χ and negligible traces of two more letters; τὰ [ὑ]π̣[ά]ρ̣χ̣ο̣ν̣[τα (as in l. 8) seems a likely reading. If the supplement <ἐ>π̣[ώλη]σ̣α is correct, it would mean that one of the parties involved sold his possessions (τὰ [ὑ]π̣[ά]ρ̣χ̣ο̣ν̣[τα) in order to get out of debt; but, perhaps, due to his failure to settle all the claims, his property seems to have been let to another person (see l. 15 note).

    6 ]ν̣ εἰ̣σελθόντος τ̣οῦ ων̣η̣[: Though ι is covered by a blob of ink, the reading of the Genitive Absolute participial construction εἰ̣σελθόντος seems secure. εἰσέρχομαι (cf. also l. 18), "come into/before the court" (see LSJ s.v. III), is used as a law-term in judicial and literary oratory; cf. e.g. the instances in Demosthenes LIX.5.91; Lysias XIII.37; Isaeus V.8; Dinarchus I.58. The verb occurs several times in the Acta Alexandrinorum (Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] II 29; III col. II 14 (?); VIII 28f.; 32f.; XI B col. IV 3; XVIII col. II 30; P.Oxy. XLII 3021.4; cf. also προσῆλθεν in P.Oxy. XLII 3023 col. I 8, proceedings before an emperor, 2nd cent. CE) but is rarely attested in the judicial proceedings, at least in the aforementioned sense: the only instances known to me occur in the bilingual protocol P.Lips. 40 (= ChLA XII 518) l. 12f.: ἀξιῶ τὸν σκρίβα εἰσελθεῖν καὶ εἰπεῖν, l. 21 and l. 31 (4th/5th cent. CE).[13] We find, however, the ἐξῆλθεν ὁ δεῖνα ὑπηρέτης formula in the concluding section of the reports (see Coles, op.cit. [above, n. 5] 52). Furthermore, παρέρχομαι occurs in P.Oxy. XVII 2110.3 (proceedings of the Senate, 370 CE), and προσέρχομαι in P.Oxy. II 237 col. VII 21 (proceedings, 186 CE); XVI 1880.7 (abandonment of legal proceedings, 427 CE).

    τ̣οῦ ων̣η̣[ : After ω possibly a ν in some way unlike those of the rest of the text, but μ not ruled out; then the lower part of an upright with a horizontal extending at mid–level as of η. τ̣οῦ ὠν̣η̣[σαμένου or ὠν̣η̣[τοῦ δούλου vel sim. seems to be a plausible supplement. But also other possibilities might be considered, e.g. a noun like τ̣οῦ ὠν̣η̣[τοῦ or the later form τ̣οῦ ὠν̣ή̣[τορος, "buyer, purchaser." Though the adj. ὠνητός, "bought," is attested well in papyri, the noun ὠνητής occurs rarely (cf. P.Dryton 31.7 [140–131/130 BCE]); P.Cair.Masp. I 67057 col. I 11, [6th cent.]), whereas ὠνήτωρ is unknown from papyri. However, such a supplement would make good sense with the emended <ἐ>π̣[ώλη]σ̣α in l. 5. Furthermore, we could take ων̣η̣[ to be part of a name, though I was unable to find a completely satisfactory supplement. Papyrological Onomastica cite only one name beginning with Ων–, i.e. Ὠνῆς, for which we should expect the gen. Ὠνέους. In P.M. Fraser and E. Matthews (eds.), A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (Oxford 1987–2005) vol. I s.vv. we find Ὠνησίλεως and Ὠνησιφόρος, both unknown from papyri. No name beginning with Ωμ– is hitherto attested. At any rate, it is commonly known (cf. E. Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemäerzeit [Berlin-Leipzig 1934] II.2 §54) that proper names omit articles (cf. Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] XI B col. IV 2–3: Ἀππιανὸς εἰσελθὼν εἶπεν) unless previously mentioned or specially marked as well known (cf. ibid., II col. II 42f.: ἐ]πῆλθεν ὁ Φλάκκος). Since at line beginning there are traces of an upright, as of ν, it is impossible to read the ending –ο]υ or –ο]ς; in this case the name could not have preceded εἰ̣σελθόντος. Hence, either Ὠνη– had already been mentioned in the lost portion of the text or is a well known personality.

    7 ]  ̣ ἑτέρω̣[ι] εἶπεν (vac.?) βιβλιοφ̣[ύλ- : At line beginning the end of a leg arching out at lower right, as of α or μ ligatured to ε; hence, the restoration of the common μεθ᾽ ἕτερα-phrase (see l. 5 note) is impossible here. After ρ there is the left side of round letter (ω or ο, not α, suggested) followed by damaged papyrus. Reading omega, we could restore ταῦτ]α̣ ἑτέρω̣[ι] εἶπεν or ἡγεμόνι ἡ]μ̣̣ετέρω̣[ι] or ῥήτορι ἡ-, ὑ]μ̣ετέρω̣[ι] εἶπεν. On the εἶπεν-formula see the introduction to the text. εἶπεν c. dat. occurs e.g. in the following reports of proceedings: P.Oxy. IV 706.11 (115 CE): καὶ τῷ Δαμαρίωνι εἶπεν; P.Oxy. XXII 2431 col. ii 24 (208 CE): Διδύμῳ στρατηγῷ εἶπεν; SB V 7696.6 (250 CE): α]ὐτῷ εἶπ(εν); P.Oxy. XXXI 2612.7 (3rd cent. CE): αὐ[τ]ῷ εἶ(πεν); P.Vind.Tand. 8.3.4 (3rd/4th cent. CE): αὐτῷ εἶπ(εν). However, traces and spacing do not rule out an ending like ἕτερο̣[ς] or ἡ]μ̣-, ὑ]μ̣έτερο̣[ς].

    At line-end there is a tiny remnant of ink below bottom line, perhaps a deep descender as of φ; it is impossible to read the rest of the letter as the horizontal fibers are stripped. Some form of βιβλιοφ̣[ύλαξ seems a likely supplement. Noticeable is the space employed between εἶπεν and βιβλιοφ̣[ύλ- (as indicated in the transcript above); it is difficult to say whether the script was abraded or word-spacing is interposed. If we suppose that the script was abraded after εἶπεν, we might well supplement εἶπεν [ὁ] βιβλιοφ̣[ύλαξ. But εἶπεν· βιβλιοφ̣[ύλαξ, βιβλιοφ̣[ύλακ- is also possible.

    8 κα]θαρὰ τα[ῦ]τ̣α̣ τὰ ὑπάρχοντα [ : "These possessions (are) clear of debt or other liabilities" (e.g. ὑποθήκη, κατοχή, ὑπάλλαγμα etc.). It remains uncertain whether this statement derives from the keeper of the property register or from one of the defendants. A similar construction in BGU I 112.10–12 (60/61 CE): τὰ ὑπάρχοντά μοι ὄντα καθαρὰ ἀπό τε ὀφείλης καὶ ὑ[π]οθήκης καὶ παντὸς διεγγυήματος; cf. also BGU I 197.14–15 (17 CE). ὑπάρχοντα is frequently attested in the sense of "property, possessions"; cf. e.g. P.Hamb. IV 244.10 (3rd cent. CE); P.Oxy. XII 1417.5f. (proceedings from the early 4th cent. CE): τῶν] ὑ̣π̣α̣ρχ̣ό̣ντων καὶ πάντα μου̣ τ̣ὰ̣ ὑπάρ[χοντα; 8: ὅσα ὑπάρχοντα ὑπόκειται.

    9 ]  ̣ οὐ δικ̣αίως̣ πέπρατ̣α[ι] μ̣[ : At line beginning traces of an upright, η or ι suggested. After ω an unusually rounded ϲ. The letter at line-end could be taken for μ or ν.

    10 ] ἐ̣πικρατεῖν του  ̣[±3]τ̣ω[ : At line beginning a horizontal extending stroke ligatured into following π, most likely ε. ἐπικρατέω c. gen. (LSJ s.v. II.4) occurs frequently in the sense "to be in possession of"; cf. e.g. P.Oxy. XXXVIII 2852.8–9 (104/105 CE); Stud.Pal. XXII 36A.7 (148 CE); P.Münch. III 74.7–8 (158 CE). The verb, however, is attested also in the sense "prevail over" (LSJ s.v. II.2). It is difficult to decide which meaning applies here, as the restoration of the rest of the line remains doubtful: ἐ̣πικρατεῖν τούτ̣[ων] τ̣ῶ[ν ὑπαρχόντων would make good sense in this context. However, after του there are traces of a round letter (ε, ϲ, ω or ο suggested) whereas the letter after the lacuna might be also taken for γ. Provided ἐ̣πικρατεῖν is attested here in the sense "prevail over," the restoration of a name in genitive after τοῦ seems suitable. In this case it is tempting to infer that the phrases ἐ̣πικρατεῖν τοῦ ΝΝ as well as οὐ δικ̣αίως̣ πέπρατ̣α[ι] in the previous l. 9 might be indications for a rehearing of the case; see E. Berneker, "Das wiederholte Prozessieren in den antiken Rechten," JJP 4 (1950) 253–264; on ἀναδικία cf. D. Kaltsas, P.Heid. VIII 412 introduction, and note to l. 15.

    11 ] τ̣ε απ  ̣[±3]  ̣ εινος εἶ̣π̣εν· π  ̣[ : The restoration of this line is a doubtful matter. After π a speck of ink; after the lacuna ghost of an upright, curving slightly out at bottom, most likely κ, but μ, π or ν not excluded. Reading κ, we could restore ] τ̣ε ἁπλ̣[ῶς ἐ]κ̣εῖνος εἶ̣π̣εν; cf. Arist. Pol. 1285a31: ὡς ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν. Spacing does not allow the longer supplement ] τ̣ε ἀπα̣[ντῶν ἐ]κ̣εῖνος εἶ̣π̣εν that would make good sense in this context. On the other hand, reading μ in a construction like ] τ̣ε ἅπα̣[ξ Ἑρ]μ̣εῖνος εἶ̣π̣εν also seems plausible. Reading π or ν after the lacuna, we might consider many possible restorations, e.g. τὸν ΝΝ] τ̣ε ἀπο̣[πέμ]π̣ειν, ἀπε̣[λαύ]ν̣ειν, ἀπο̣̣[κτε]ν̣εῖν etc. ὃς εἶ̣π̣εν.

    At line-end traces of a round letter; perhaps ω, ο or ε (not α). πῶ̣[ς might be a suitable restoration (as in Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] XI B v.2: αὐτ[οκράτωρ· πῶς;]), though there are many other possibilities, e.g. πε̣̣[ρί. On εἶπεν see l. 7 note.

    12 ]  ̣  ̣  ̣ δ̣ο̣ν̣  ̣νον[ : After ν cross-bar with descender dipping below, possibly η? But I have not found a restoration which satisfies spacing and traces.

    13 Perhaps ] τ̣[ὰ] ὑ̣π̣άρχοντά σ̣[ου?

    14 ]τραστου̣̣: Possibly the ending of a name in genitive. Dornseiff and Hansen, op.cit. (above, l. 1 note) and Kretschmer and Locker, op.cit. (above, l. 1 note) cite no name ending in –τραστος. But we might have a misspelling for Ἄδραστος, a well-known name from papyri and inscriptions; cf. e.g. BGU XVI 2577 passim (30 BCE–14 CE); P.Oxy. LII 3690.3, 5, 10; 3691.3 (both dated in 139 CE). F. Bechtel, Die historischen Personennamen des Griechischen bis zur Kaiserzeit (repr. Hildesheim 1982), cites also the Athenian name Εὔδραστος (not in Preisigke, Namenbuch, op.cit. [above, l. 1 note] or in Foraboschi, Onomasticon, op.cit. [above, l. 1 note] or in WörterListe).

    [ὃ]ς̣ ἀνιστ̣[άμενος εἶπεν? : For similar phrases cf. the following reports of legal proceedings: P.Tebt. II 286.15ff. (131 CE): ἀνασ[τὰ]ς εἰς [σ]υμ[βούλιον κ]α̣ὶ σκεψάμ[ενος με]τ̣ὰ̣ [τ]ῶ̣ν̣ [π]α̣[ρό]ν̣τω[ν ὑπηγόρ]ε̣υσ̣ε̣ν̣ ἀπόφασιν; P.Oslo III 80v.16 (161 CE): ]ο̣υ ῥήτορος ἀνα̣στάντος. Similar constructions occur frequently in judicial and literary oratory (cf. e.g. Demosthenes XIX.117; Andocides I.70; 115; Lysias XIII.9; XXII.3) and at least once in the Acta (cf. the Acta Isidori in Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] IV A col. I 2.[8]). However, traces and spacing do not rule out a completely different reading like ]τρας τοῦ̣̣ [ν]ε̣ανίσκ̣[ου?

    15 ?μετέλα-, ἀνέλα-, ἀπέλα]β̣εν τὴν̣ οὐσι̣α  ̣[ : After α ghost of a descender (ν or κ suggested); hence both τὴν̣ οὐσί̣αν̣ [ and τὴν̣ οὐσι̣ακ̣[ὴν γῆν are palaeographically possible. "NN got a share of / confiscated / retrieved / received / the estate or the estate land." Though οὐσία is normally expected in judicial proceedings, it occurs at least once in the Acta Alexandrinorum in a very similar phrase; cf. Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] VII col. IV 97–100: τὴν οὐσίαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ τῶν περὶ αὐτῶν ἀναλημφθῆναι κελεύεις. On estate land see H.-Chr. Kuhnke, Οὐσιακὴ γῆ. Domänenland in den Papyri der Prinzipatszeit (Diss. Köln 1971).

    16 ]ο̣[  ̣  ̣]θ̣ορα μοι τὸν [ : At line beginning traces of a round letter, most likely ο, but ϲ cannot be ruled out; after the lacuna traces of a round letter with a faint cross-bar as of θ. Perhaps κα]θ̣όρα (imp.) or κα]θ̣ορᾷ (indic. or subj.) μοι τὸν [. But φ]θ̣ορά is also possible, though I cannot think of a connected sense to complete the line. The noun φθορά is well attested in papyri in the sense "destruction," "damage" (cf. e.g. PSI VIII 893.19: μάρτυρα τῶν φθορῶν), or even "death" (cf. e.g. P.Sarap. I 52.26, 29, 34, 40, but also Strabo, Geography XII 3.40).

    17 ]ρια̣ ταῦτά ἐστιν [ : Cf. exempli gratia κριτή]ρια̣ ταῦτά ἐστιν [. Or alternatively we could suppose the beginning of a new sentence with ταῦτα; cf. e.g. μαρτυ]ρία̣ or κατηγο]ρία̣· ταῦτά ἐστιν [. At any rate, the latter construction (frequently used in Attic prose) presumes a rather rhetorical style.

    18 ]ο̣πα εἰσ̣ῆλθεν̣: For εἰσέρχομαι cf. the instances quoted in line 6 note.

    19 ]  ̣ν αὐτὰ καθαρὰ [ : The text refers presumably once again to property free of debt or other liabilities; see l. 8 note.

    20 ] εἰσ̣γέγονα ἀνα[ : After ει upper part of a bowl as of ϲ falling forward. εἰσγίγνομαι, "arrive," is attested e.g. in P.Giss. III 69.17 (118/119 CE): ταχέως  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣ ]  ̣ <ε>ἰσγένηται. After εἰσ̣γέγονα perhaps a participial construction like ἀνα[πεμφθείς?, ἀνα[ζητῶν?, ἀνα[φθεγγόμενος? etc.

    22 ]  ̣ω̣ ἀναγνωσ̣[θέντ- : At line beginning traces of a short descender, as of τ or ρ, followed possibly by ω. A plausible supplement might be ὁ δὲ πα]ρ̣ὼ̣<ν> followed by the Genitive Absolute participial construction ἀναγνωσ̣[θέντος (e.g. τοῦ βιβλιδίου) or ἀναγνωσ̣[θέντων (e.g. τῶν ὑπομνηματισμῶν) and a verb like εἶπεν / ἐσιώπησεν vel sim. (cf. e.g. P.Oxy. II 237 col. V 13: ὁ̣ δ̣ὲ παρὼν ἀναγνωσθέντος τοῦ βιβλιδίου πρὸ βήματος ἐσιώπησεν). Line 22 apparently preserves the so-called "reading-phrase," a common form in the judicial proceedings of the first two centuries CE, that indicates the reading of written evidence or other documents in the court (Coles, op.cit. [above, n. 5] 47 n. 2, quotes numerous examples in judicial proceedings; cf. also Musurillo, op.cit. (above, l. 5 note) XVIII col. I 24; II 5.24). The "reading-phrase" forms part of the intermediate narrative passages that were generally brief, recording only essential details; on the subject cf. Coles, op.cit. (above, n. 5) 46–47. The restoration of the closing formula μετὰ τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν (cf. P.Oxy. XXXI 2562.4 note), a third common phrase, which is usually found after the two Genitive Absolute forms mentioned above, should be excluded as I see no way of reading the traces at line-beginning as τήν.

    23 ]γ̣ο̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣]ξην̣[ : After γ̣ο̣ no shortage of traces but nothing distinct. After the lacuna ἐ]ξῆν̣ might be a suitable restoration; cf. e.g. Musurillo, op.cit. (above, l. 5 note) IX C col. III 24; col. IV 29. Noteworthy is the documentary cursive form of ξ that runs into the following line.

    24 ]  ̣  ̣[  ̣]δ̣ικ ( )· ν[ : At line beginning only indistinct traces here and there. After κ a high point crossed through the tail of ξ from the previous line. Perhaps some form of ἀ]ρ̣χ̣[ι]δ̣ικ(αστής) would suit the traces; a similar case, where the archidikastes is involved in a conflict over the ownership of property, in P.Coll.Youtie I 65. However, archidikastes is attested also in the Acta Alexandrinorum; cf. Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] VII A.146; VII B.55. On archidikastes cf. P. Jörs, "Erzrichter und Chrematisten," SZ 36 (1915) 230–339; A. Calabi, "L᾿archidikastes nei primi tre secoli della dominazione romana," Aegyptus 32 (1952) 406–424; Taubenschlag, op.cit. (above, n. 10) 489 n. 63; P.Theon., App. B, 129ff.; P.J. Sijpesteijn and K.A. Worp, "P.Lond. inv. 2175: A Full Edition," ZPE 110 (1996) 175–182, esp. 181–182 supplementing the list in P. Theon., App. B.

    25 ]  ̣κ̣̣οντ̣[ : Perhaps τρι]ά̣κ̣̣οντ̣[α? But also ] ἐ̣μ̣ὸν τ̣[ὸν is palaeographically possible.

    26 ] (vac.?) οκ[ : Though spacing suggests at least three more letters before ο, the ink is totally faded.

    27α Perhaps ?μετέ–, ἀνέ–, ἀπέ]λ̣α̣βε̣ς̣ [ : See l. 15 note.

    28 ]  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣  ̣φ̣η̣α[ : Though the traces before φ̣ are illegible, ὁ̣ δ̣᾽ ἔ̣φ̣η̣ α[ὐτῷ, –οῖς might be a plausible restoration; cf. e.g. Musurillo, op.cit. (above, l. 5 note) III col. II 11, 12; X 65; XXII 46, 53; P.Oxy. XXV 2435.9 (Acta Alexandrinorum?, dated in the early first c. CE). The form φησίν occurs e.g. in P.Oxy. XXII 2340.16 (judicial proceedings, 192 CE); P.Berol. inv. 7347.8 (3rd c. CE, ed. J.R. Rea, "Proceedings before Q. Maecius Laetus, Praef. Aeg., etc.," JJP 19 [1983] 91–101). On the occurrence of ἔφη as a rather dubious indicative verb in report of proceedings see Coles, op.cit. (above, n. 5) 43 n. 1.

    29 ]  ̣  ̣[  ̣  ̣  ̣]  ̣δο[ : At line beginning confused traces of uncertain distribution on damaged surface.

    31 Μεσ]ο̣ρ̣ὴ̣ ζ –––––– [ : At line beginning traces of a round letter followed by descender slightly below bottom line with traces of a tiny bowl on its top, as of ρ; then feet of two uprights (η suggested). The ending of the Egyptian month Mesore seems a suitable restoration at the end of a section supported also by the presence of ζ (possibly numeral) at line-end. Egyptian month names are attested in the Acta Alexandrinorum (cf. Musurillo, op.cit. [above, l. 5 note] IV A col. I 20; XXI 19) and most frequently in judicial proceedings.

    Unplaced fragments
    Fr. 2 (1.4 x 0.8 cm)
    – – – – – –
    ]  ̣  ̣[
    – – – – – –
    Fr. 3 (2 x 1.6 cm)
    – – – – – –
    ]  ̣[
    – – – – – –
    Fr. 4 (2.8 x 1.4 cm)
    – – – – – –
    ]κ̣  ̣[
    – – – – – –
    Fr. 5 (1.5 x 1.3 cm): No traces of script are visible.
    Fr. 6 (2 x 1.6 cm): There are remains of two columns.
    – – – – – –
    ]        α[
    ]––      [
    ]           ̣[
    – – – – – –
    Plate I: P.Berol. 21396
    Plate I
    P.Berol. 21396


      1. The papyrus belongs to the Papyrussammlung of Berlin's Egyptian Museum. It was found presumably during the excavations conducted by Otto Rubensohn in Eshmunên (Hermoupolis) on 26 May, 1905, though the museum's records are not clear on this point. I would like to thank Professor Dietrich Wildung, director of the Papyrussammlung in Berlin, for his kind permission to publish this papyrus text and Margarete Büsing for the excellent photograph of the papyrus. My sincere thanks are due to Professors Herwig Maehler and Hans-Albert Rupprecht as well as to Dr. Claudia Kreuzsaler for reading through and commenting on a former draft of this manuscript; special thanks also to Professor Katelijn Vandorpe for her helpfulness concerning bibliography inaccessible to me. return to text

      2. Ed. P. Sarischouli, "Fragment of an Anonymous Astrological Treatise: Another Apotelesmaticon," APF 52.2 (2006) 181–196. return to text

      3. W. Schubart, Palaeographie, I. Teil: Griechische Palaeographie (Munich 1925) 130f., Pl. 86.return to text

      4. R. Seider, Paläographie der griechischen papyri, II: Literarische Papyri (Stuttgart 1970) n. 28, Pl. XIV.return to text

      5. See R.A. Coles, Reports of Proceedings in Papyri. Pap.Brux. IV (Brussels 1966) 40–44.return to text

      6. Ibid., 54, n. 3, with several examples. In literary texts strokes usually serve to mark off either the whole phrase or an individual word (cf. E.G. Turner and P.J. Parsons, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World. BICS Suppl. 46 [London 19872] 7–8). Furthermore, the double pen-stroke occasionally marks a citation (cf. K. McNamee, Sigla and Select Marginalia in Greek Literary Papyri. Pap.Brux. XXVI [Brussels 1992] 25 n. 96).return to text

      7. The dating of the papyrus in the late second cent. CE would fit our hypothesis, as the Acta are for the most part dated in the late second to the third cent., and only occasionally in the first or third cent. CE (see P.Schub. 42 introd., 83). The occurrence of the εἶπεν-formula in our text should not be set against this assumption, as the εἶπεν-form of introduction is attested in some of the early fragments of the Acta Alexandrinorum (Coles, op.cit. [above, n. 5] 42 n. 1). Nonetheless, the lectional signs are no further evidence for identifying this text as part of the Acta, as they occur frequently also in judicial proceedings (ibid., 54 n. 3). return to text

      8. The hostility between Jews and Greeks in Alexandria or more probably the hostility of the Alexandrians to the Roman government was the essential topic of the Acta; however, charges involving money or property occur in the Acta Appiani and the Acta Maximi. Though the subject of the trial on our papyrus recalls similar charges, nothing further can be made out.return to text

      9. Cf. e.g. the judicial proceedings in P.Bingen 78 (late 2nd cent. CE) and P.Oxy. XLI 2955 (218 CE).return to text

      10. Cf. e.g. P.Oxy. L 3562 (178/179 CE), where the trial concerns failure to repay a debt secured by a mortgage. On this procedure see R. Taubenschlag, The Law of Greco-Roman Egypt in the Light of the Papyri. 332 B.C. – 640 A.D. (Warsaw 19552) 533–535; for the formulae used in these documents see H. Kupiszewski, "Les formulaires dans la procedure d'execution," in Symbolae Raphaeli Taubenschlag dedicatae, vol. 3 (Warsaw 1957) = Eos 48.3 (1956) 89–103. return to text

      11. Cf. e.g. P.Oxy. L 3560; this practice is discussed by C.A. Nelson, P.Coll.Youtie I, 209ff., who cites further bibliography. return to text

      12. On the subject see P.Oxy. XLIV 3188.8–10 note; F. Oertel, Die Liturgie. Studien zur ptolemäischen und kaiserlichen Verwaltung Ägyptens (repr. Aalen 1965) 358–359; Taubenschlag, op.cit. (above, n. 10) 689–690; O. Eger, Zum ägyptischen Grundbuchwesen in römischer Zeit. Untersuchungen auf Grund der griechischen Papyri (Leipzig-Berlin 1909) 72.return to text

      13. εἰσέρχομαι occurs in another sense in the following reports of proceedings: P.Wisc. II 48.26: μὴ κρεινόμενος ἄλλως ἰσῆλθον ἐν τῷ πραιτωρί̣[ῳ; P.Laur. III 65.13: εἰσέρχεται τὸν ἀγῶνα σήμερ[ον; P.Oxy. II 237 col. VIII 17: τὸν μείζονα ἀγῶνα ε[ἰ]σελεύσεται.return to text