Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: Procès verbal
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Procès verbal from the Ptolemaic Period
Papyrus BM 10591

  Year 11, 1st month of Summer of Pharaoh Ptolemy (VI) son of Ptolemy, while the judges, namely the wab-priests of ... were sitting in the judgment hall of Siut, Andromachos the "introducer" sitting with them.
Copy of a suit which he brought before them:
 
An annuitized woman, Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, is the one who speaks before her superiors, the judges, namely the wab-priests of Wepwawet and the gods who dwell with him:
- Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205-180)
Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-164)
This law suit was brought in 170 BCE.
  'O may they live!
I am suing Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, the lector-priest. There is an annuity document of 50 pieces (of silver) of the Treasury of Ptah, refined, which the eldest son of an annuitized woman, Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, made to me in year 21 of Pharaoh the father of the ever-living <Pharaoh> while Pa-ti-Atum, son of Tot, his father, endorsed the said deed saying:
"Accept the above document from the eldest son of an annuitized woman, Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my eldest son; let him act in accordance with everything above. My heart is satisfied therewith."
  O may they live!: O may the gods live!
  annuity: concerning annuities cf. the Demotic legal code.
  year 21 of Pharaoh: 184 BCE
Pa-ti-Atum's family
  The above document is in my possession; it if is desired, I will bring (it). [It] happened in year 25, 2nd month of Inundation of Pharaoh, the father of the Pharaoh who lives forever, that Pa-ti-Atum was about to die. He made a division document for Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, against whom I am suing, the younger brother of Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband (a son of the [same] father while he is not a son of the [same] mother) concerning the 1/3 share of his properties while he (i.e. Pa-ti-Atum) did not have legal control over the property (he or any son at all) because of the annuity document which he had made to Tasheren-Isis, the mother of Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband.   in year 25: 180 BCE
Now it is written in the law of year 21:
  "If a man lives with a woman and he writes for her an annuity document and they have a son and he separates from her and he lives with another woman and he writes for her an annuity document and they have a son and the aforesaid man dies, it is to the children of the first wife, to whom he wrote an annuity document first, that his properties are given."
  Moreover, the said man died before he had completed the said division document with witnesses. I filed three "public protests" at the request of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, son of Tot, my eldest son, after the said document.
  year 21: 184 BCE
  In year 8 of Pharaoh who lives forever, Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, above mentioned, sued Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, while Theomnestos was chief administrator of the Thebaid. Now Dionysius, who was his cattle-herder, and Hori, his camel-herder, who were the brothers of the mother of Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, against whom I am suing above, had Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, thrown in the stocks(?). He was forced to make a division document concerning the 1/3 share of the properties of Pa-ti-Atum, his father, and I was forced to endorse it through the force which was used against me. Now after Theomnestos went away to the north, Timarchos, the chief administrator of the district of Siut reported concerning the above things.
  Likewise, I petitioned Numenios, the chief administrator of the district, concerning the illegal things which had been done to me. I had him write before you (i.e. the judges) to hear my plea against him (i.e. Tef-Hapy). There are 10 arouras of land which belong to Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, he taking possession of them since his father died, leases being made to him concerning them, their rent being paid to him annually, they serving as security for the annuity document. Tef-Hapy, against whom I am making complaint above, leased the said lands to Herakleides, who is in the cavalry, without my having known, he taking a Restraining Order against me, he not having allowed that it (the restraining order) give me the ability to approach them (i.e. the land in question).
  year 8: 172 BCE
  aroura: about 2700 square metres
  I beg of you, have the said man brought and hear my plea with him and don't let him have access to any property at all which belonged to Pa-ti-Atum, the father of Tot. For it belongs to Pa-ti-Wepwawet, son of Tot, my eldest son and his brothers by reason of the annuity document which the eldest son of an annuity woman, Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, made for me, it being endorsed by Pa-ti-Atum, his father in accordance with what is written in the law which I have already submitted above. (As for) the said man, there is another matter which I will say against him. This is my first plea.'
Written in year 11, 4th month of Winter, day 22.
 
  Copy of his answer: The son of an annuitized woman, Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, is the one who speaks before his superiors, the judges, namely the wab-priests of Wepwawet and the gods ...:
'O may they live!
As for the things which Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, wrote before the judges while suing me, there is falsehood therein and the remainder are my justification.
The claim that she made
  "In year 21, 2nd month of Inundation of Pharaoh the father of the everliving Pharaoh, Pa-ti-Atum was about to die. He made a division document for Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, against whom I am suing, the younger brother of Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband (a son of the [same] father while he is not a son of the [same] mother) concerning the 1/3 share of his properties while he (i.e. Pa-ti-Atum) did not have legal control over the property (he or any son at all) because of the annuity document which he had made to Tasheren-Isis, the mother of Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband.
Now it is written in the law of year 21:
'If a man lives with a woman and he writes for her an annuity document and they have a son and he separates from her and he lives with another woman and he writes for her an annuity document and they have a son and the aforesaid man dies, it is to the children of the first wife, to whom he wrote an annuity document first, that his properties are given.'
Moreover, the said man died before he had completed the said division document with witnesses.
I filed three "public protests" at the request of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, son of Tot, my eldest son, after the said document."
  year 11: 169 BCE
There is falsehood therein. Now (it is a fact that) there is an annuity document of 50 (pieces of silver) of the Treasury of Ptah, refined, together with its food and clothing which Pa-ti-Atum, son of Tot my father, made for Tawa, daughter of Wepwawet-iw, my mother in year 25 of Pharaoh the father of the everliving Pharaoh, it being endorsed by Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, her husband, in which name she is coming, he signing at its bottom in his own handwriting. It is in my possession today; if it is desired, I shall bring it before the judges.
  As for the division document which Pa-ti-Atum, my father, made for me concerning my 1/3 share of everything belonging to him, they being inventoried in year 25, 2nd month of Inundation of Pharaoh the father of the everliving Pharaoh, it being endorsed by Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, he signing at its bottom in his own handwriting, it being completed with 16 witnesses, <it is> in my hand today; if it is sought, I shall bring it before the judges.
  This statement which she made:
  "In year 8 of Pharaoh who lives forever, Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, above mentioned, sued Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, while Theomnestos was chief administrator of the Thebaid. Now Dionysius, who was his cattle-herder, and Hori, his camel-herder, who were the brothers of the mother of Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, against whom I am suing above, had Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, thrown in the stocks(?). He was forced to make a division document concerning the 1/3 share of the properties of Pa-ti-Atum, his father, and I was forced to endorse it through the force which was used against me."
This is a falsehood which she has said. Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, was not thrown in the stocks(?); he never made me a division document while Theomnestos, the chief administrator of the Thebaid, was here in the district of Siut. In truth, I gave a petition to Theomnestos, the chief administrator , in year 8, 4th month of Winter, day 15. He sent on my behalf to Timarchos, the chief administrator of the district of Siut, to hear my plea against him (against Tot).
The letter which he made on my behalf is in my possession together with a copy of the petition which I gave to him. The said man (i.e. Tot) found that it was he who was robbing me. He was not able to come to the Registration Office with me and he made a division document in year 8, first month of Summer, day 2 concerning the 1/3 share of everything which had belonged to Pa-ti-Atum, my father, it being endorsed by his wife. The aforesaid document is in my hand today; if it is desired, I shall bring it, it exhibiting the division document which my father made for me in year 25 on its back as check on the falsehoods which she was saying, the said documents being provided with witnesses on the dromos of Wepwawet.
  This statement which she made:
  "Now after Theomnestos went away to the north, Timarchos, the chief administrator of the district of Siut reported concerning the above things. Likewise, I petitioned Numenios, the chief administrator of the district, concerning the illegal things which had been done to me. I had him write before you to hear my plea against him (i.e. Tef-Hapy)."
This is not something by which she has any justification. When any man brings suit, then, according to the law, the chief administrator writes on their behalf to hear their pleas.
  This statement which she made
  "There are 10 arouras of land which belong to Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, he taking possession of them since his father died, leases being made to him concerning them, their rent being paid to him annually, they serving as security for the annuity document. Tef-Hapy, against whom I am making complaint above, leased the said lands to Herakleides, who is in the cavalry, without my having known, he taking a Restraining Order against me, he not having allowed that it give me the ability to approach them."
This is false. The said lands are mine. I ploughed them with Tot in year 9. In year 10, I leased them to Agylos, son of Lysimachos, the cavalryman (most of their [area] is sown in clover). He made a lease in both our names at the rate of 1/3 for me and 2/3 for Tot. We split their rent as our shares. In year 11 I leased my own 1/3 share to Herakleides, the cavalryman, while Agylos and Apylos, who are in the infantry, are the ones who plough the other 2/3 share at the request of Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my brother.
  This statement which she made
  "There is an annuity document of 50 pieces (of silver) of the Treasury of Ptah, refined, which the eldest son of an annuitized woman, Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, my husband, made to me in year 21 while Pa-ti-Atum, son of Tot, his father, endorsed the said deed."
This is a falsehood which she has said. Pa-ti-Atum, my father, never endorsed the aforesaid document at all.
I beg that you dismiss Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, above, in the unjust suit which she has brought against me in which she has no justification.'
Written in year 11, 4th month of Winter, day 24.

 
The annuitized woman Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, is the one who says:
'My words are still my words. The words which Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, sent before the judges as answer to the first plea which was given to him, there is falsehood therein and the remainder provide him no justification.
The statement which he made
  "........."
...
The said man, I have another matter which I will say against him. This is my second plea.'
Written in year 11, 4th month of Winter, day 29.

 
Copy of his answer:
The son of an annuitized woman, Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, is the one who speaks:
'My words are still my words. The things which Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, wrote before the judges while suing me today in her second plea, there is falsehood therein and the remainder provide her no justification. This statement which she made
  "........."
...
I beg you: "Dismiss Kherti-ankh, above, in the unjust suit against me in which she is engaged and may it come about for me according to the 6 Laws!"
I have another matter which I will <say> against her. This is my 2nd plea.'
Written in year 11, 1st month of Summer, day 1.

 
  Completion of their pleas.
The scribe of the judges read them (i.e. the pleas) to them while they, the 2 parties, were standing in the middle. They said to them 'Are these your words which you said?'
They said: 'They are our words which we said.'
 
  They questioned Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, saying 'Is there a man who will make your plea?' (i.e. a witness)
She said, 'Ouertas is the one who will make my plea. My plea is his plea; if he is justified, I am justified; if he lies, I lie.'
 
  They questioned Ouertas, who makes the plea for Kherti-ankh. He said 'There is a registration document (?) which was made to Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, the husband of Kherti-ankh, by the Chief of Police(?) in year 11, 4th month of Winter, concerning 1½ arouras of land as surplus fields (which had materialised after the inundation) which were found concerning them (the 10 arouras of land) in addition to what was written in the tax (rolls). He (the plaintiff's husband Tot) paid their deliveries to the bank of Pharaoh. We have a claim against him (i.e. Tef-Hapy) because of them. May they judge according to our pleas; in them is our justification. There is no matter of "His mouth was closed".'

 
  They questioned Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, about what was written above. He said:
'The statement which she made
  "There is a registration document which was made to Tot by the Chief of Police(?) in year 6, 4th month of Summer, concerning 1½ arouras of land which were found as an increase of measure concerning them."
<is false>, the document of year 8, 1st month of Summer, day 2, being made to us concerning the 1/3 of the 10 arouras, amounting to 3 1/4 1/8, their boundaries being written. If my 3 1/4 1/8 arouras completed them (i.e. the 10 arouras) in accordance with what is written on my documents, let them judge according to my documents; on them is my justification. I have no other <man> of whom I shall say "They closed his mouth".'
 
They said to Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, 'Bring the document which Pa-ti-Atum, your father, made to Tawa, your mother and the division document which was made for you.'
He brought an annuity document before us. Its contents:
  Year 25, 2nd month of Inundation, day 5 ... The lector-priest of the necropolis of Ta-ankh of Siut ... Pa-ti-Atum, son of Tot, whose mother is Tasheren-tot, said to the woman Tawa, daughter of Wepwawet-iu, her mother being Ta-Isis: "You have given to me 50 pieces of silver of the Treasury of Ptah, refined ..., as your annuity and I shall give you 125 artabas of barley ... and 5 pieces of silver of the Treasury of Ptah, refined, ... (for) your clothing yearly. To you and the children whom you have born me and those whom you will bear me belongs the 1/3 of everything and all property which I have and which I shall acquire (delivered) at the place which you prefer and you are entitled to the arrears of your food and clothing which is my responsibility; and I shall give them to you without being able to say to you 'Accept your annuity!' On your day of wishing to receive it, I shall give it to you therein. Everything I have and what I shall acquire are the security for your annuity."
The eldest son of an annuitized woman, Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, whose mother is Tasheren-Isis, was standing, saying 'Write: "Accept the document from the lector priest of the necropolis of Siut Pa-ti-Atum, son of Tot, whose mother is Tasheren-tot, my father, above. May he act in accordance with everything which is above. My heart is satisfied therein".'
it being written that Hori, son of Pa-ti-Isis, who writes in Siut wrote (the document) while Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, signed in his own handwriting.

 
  They questioned Kherti-ankh concerning the aforesaid document and she did not deny it. He brought a division document. Its copy: ...
 
 
  Decree of the judges:
'Inasmuch as Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, sued Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, saying "..." while Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, wrote in his answer saying "...". Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, brought before us the annuity document which had been made to his mother (its copy is included) concerning the 1/3 share of everything as security thereof, he writing, saying "I shall not be able to say to you 'Accept your annuity!'' it being endorsed by Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, he signing at its bottom in his own handwriting. And he brought the division document which Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, had made for him in year 8 of the everliving Pharaoh, it being endorsed by Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, who had brought suit against him above, she being present(?) therein also saying "I have endorsed it," it revealing on it the division document which his father had made for him in year 25.
We have found it written in the Law of Year 21
  "If a man writes an annuity document for a woman and he gives (any) property of his to another man without the woman or her eldest son having assented to the said document, it is against the man to whom the property was given that the woman or her eldest son brings suit. <The property> is not cleared (legally) for him; he is not put in possession thereof."
Inasmuch as the division document which Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, made for Tef-Hapy, above, concerning the 1/3 share in year 8, 1st month of Summer, day 2, it being endorsed by Kherti-ankh, above, who clears for him, she not having sued or made "Public Protests" against him, it is not appropriate to take up suits concerning the "Public Protests" of which she said "Pa-ti-Wepwawet, my son, made them." Now the division document is endorsed by Kherti-ankh.
It is appropriate to put Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, above, in possession of the houses, empty lands, fields, storehouses, and everything above which is written in the division document which Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, above, made for him in year 8, 1st month of Summer, day 2 of the everliving Pharaoh concerning his 1/3 share of the properties of Pa-ti-Atum, his father, and which is endorsed by Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, above.
We have decided to put Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, above, in possession of everything which is written in the division document whose copy is written herein and which reveals his 1/3 share of the properties of his father. We said to Hori, (son of) Iyemhotep, the bailiff, and Andromachus, the "introducer", to put Tef-Hapy, son of Pa-ti-Atum, in possession of the properties which are written in the division document which Tot, son of Pa-ti-Atum, above, made for him in year 8 (as) his 1/3 share of the properties of his father, which (document) is endorsed by Kherti-ankh, daughter of Pa-ti-Wepwawet, above. And he shall give the above cession document as a renunciation of title after the suit which she made.

 
Hor-pa-Isis, one of the scribes who writes before the judges, namely the wab-priests of Wepwawet and the gods who dwell with him, wrote (the document). The High Priest ... , one of the judges who recorded the decision, signed. ...
The High Priest ... , one of the judges who recorded the decision, signed....
The High Priest ... , one of the judges who recorded the decision, signed....

Sir Herbert Thompson, A Family Archive from Siut from Papyri in the British Museum, including an Account of a Trial before the Laocritae in the year B.C. 170 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934) pp. 1-33;

 


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