Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: Promissory note

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Promissory note

promissory note

Promissory note written in hieratic dating to the reign of one of the Takelots of the 22nd dynasty. This text is written on the verso of a papyrus with hymns in praise of Ptah and Re-harmachis. Its dating is based on the mention of the royal name Takelot in a marital contract, which is also found there, as are notes, lists, and other texts.(Möller 1921, p.298)
Year 13, Pachons day 11
Petekhons is speaking, son of Djedekhonsefankh, to the prophet of Amen, supervisor of the treasury of pharaoh, Ankhefenchons, son of Naatefnakht: You have entrusted [me] with 5 deben of silver from the treasury of Harsaphes. I shall give them back to you, them being 10, in the year 14, Pakhons, day 11, without having to exchange a word with you.
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-treasury of Harsaphes: Before the introduction of coined money by state authorities, the treasury of Harsaphes–probably at Heracleopolis–seems to have issued silver of a guaranteed standard from the 21st dynasty on, a role taken over by a temple treasury at Thebes under the Saite kings and by the treasury of Ptah at Memphis under the Persian occupation.(Haring 2009)
-them being 10: It is assumed that the dates refer to the reign of the same king. An interest rate of 100%, while not unknown, was even in these pre-capitalist times of high interest rates rare. (cf. Interest) The 22nd dynasty was a period of unrest and dearth of means of payment. Silver was expensive as can be seen when one looks at prices for various goods: a house is known to have been sold for 2 deben of silver and 32 slaves were sold for less than half a deben a head, when under the previous dynasty a male slave would have fetched about three deben. In the middle of the sixth century the interest rate was, according to another promissary note, down to 40%.(Möller 1921, p.302)
By the maker of documents, the scribe Harsiese, son of Djedmonthefankh, son of Aafenmut.
[Thus he spoke] before the prophet of Khonspekhrod Ankhpekhrod, son of Naatefnakht.
Thus he spoke before the prophet of Amen [supervisor of pharaoh], Ankhran, son of Ankh-Nesuden.
Thus he spoke before the Father of the God of Amen Harsiese, son of Merkhons.
Thus he spoke before the prophet of Amen-Re-sonther Ankh-Nesuden, son of Ankhhor.
Thus he spoke before the Father of the God of Amen Hor, son of Merkhons.
Thus he spoke before the prophet of Amen-Re-sonther, supervisor of the treasury of pharaoh, Djedmonthefankh, son of Aafenmut.
Thus he spoke before .......
(The name was not filled in)
-The document was witnessed by six priests, among them three prophets, high ranking priests looking after the god's cult statue.

After Georg Möller, "Ein ägyptischer Schuldschein der 22. Dynastie" in Sitzungsberichte der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1921, p.298-299.


Bibliography:
Georg Möller, "Ein ägyptischer Schuldschein der 22. Dynastie" in Sitzungsberichte der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1921, 298ff.
Haring, Ben, 2009, Economy. In Elizabeth Frood and Willeke Wendrich (eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Los Angeles. http://repositories.cdlib.org/nelc/uee/1028

 


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