Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: A taxcollector's oath
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A taxcollectors' oath

Harpaese, son of Paup[(?)], Nespameter, son of Thotomus, (and) Parates, son of Payris, a total of three persons, are speaking unanimously:
We perform an oath before pharaoh Ptolemy l.p.h., son of Ptolemy l.p.h. and Arsinoe, the lover of her brother, and the brother gods, the beneficient gods, and queen Berenike, his sister, his wife, [and the brother gods, the beneficient gods] and Isis and Osiris and all gods of Egypt.
We shall raise of the taxes of the eleventh year the salt money and the veil money of the region of Elephantine, namely three persons, according to what will be computed with us in the royal chancelleries, without any person having spoken a falsehood to his companion from among us three persons. And we shall pay them to the royal banks until they are paid up. And we shall pay for the expenses (and) any loss among us three. The amount which will remain as profit we shall share among us three, there being no falsehood in the oath. And we shall enter the money which will be paid into the hands of us three and the expenditures which will arise because of them, in our book, and we shall seal it.
- -unanimously: lit. with one mouth
-Ptolemy: Ptolemy III Euergetes I (246-222 BCE)
-l.p.h.: life! prosperity! health!, well-wishes used in documents when mentioning the name of somebody above oneself on the social ladder.
Whoever withdraws from acting according to what is written above, shall pay his partner 5 silver deben.
Written by Parates, son of Payris, according to their speech, namely of the three persons, in
the year 11, month 2 of the shemu-season, of Pharaoh Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy

Demotic papyrus from Elephantine
After the transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae web site
G. Vittmann, ed.: Demotische Textdatenbank, Akademie für Sprache und Literatur Mainz => administrative und dokumentarische Texte => Eide => Königseide => Berlin P 13535+23677

-Written by Parates, son of Payris: most legal documents were written down by scribes who were not a party to the contract.
-the year 11, month 2 of the shemu-season, of Pharaoh Ptolemy: 236 BCE


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© February 2007