Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Letter About Litigation by a Guild against Theophilos (248 BCE) Philadelphia - Fayum region

Philadelphia (Fayum region, Egypt — Pleiades map), 248 BCE (July 4)
GRA III 185 = PMichZen 57 = TM 1957 = AGRW ID# 31064


Papyrus (17.5 x 33.5). Now in the Zenon archive at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor library (P.3114)


Lysanias to Theophilos, greetings.

I suppose not only that you are not ignorant of the ambition and zeal that we have for you, but also how from the beginning we protected you when we saw you falsely accused by Demeas and the way that there was cooperation among those associated with the guild (synergion) to have you condemned unjustly. After my brother Alketas, who stood surety for you and went to some trouble with his friends to produce you for trial within five days of the summons by means of a written bond or else pay the money that was claimed, you were so fainthearted as to slip away without our knowledge .  Do you not know that, first, if you wished to sail down the river, we would have furnished you with money for the journey and provided you with counsellors . . . to return to confront your opponents and those associated with the guild.  For we would have given you arguments that would have made your opponents wail.

Even now, then, if you are able on your own to present a petition, do so.  For it was not expedient for us to write, and we have heard that it is possible for you to provide decrees that will punish them.  You should know, then, that Demeas has made a petition to Phanias against Alketas, saying that after taking responsibility by a written bond to produce Theophilos for trial, he is not producing him, and that Phanias has written to Eperatos to withhold the crops of Alketas until he presents himself at hearing. Therefore, before Phanias comes up the river, try to come up yourself and be here before him; otherwise, if you are not here, Alketas will be condemned and will be in danger of having to pay the 300 drachmas.  But if it is possible to obtain a decree, do so.  If not, come up the river yourself so that you and Alketas may be acquitted and that, even through he did not produce you at the trial, Alketas may not have to pay the sum claimed, which has been stated above (i.e. 300 drachmas). You would do well to come quickly. Farewell. Year 38 on the 14th of Pachons.

To Theophilos.
(upside down)  To the agent of Epistratos.

Translation by: Kloppenborg

Λυσανίας Θεοφίλωι χαίρειν. οἶμαι μέν σε οὐκ ἀγνοεῖν τ̣ὴ̣ν ἡμετέραν φιλοτιμίαν καὶ προθυμίαν εἰς σέ, καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς δὲ | ὥς σου προέστημεν, ἰδόντες δέ σε ὑπὸ Δημέου συκοφαντούμενον καὶ ὃν τρόπον ὑπὸ τῶν περὶ τὸ συνέργιον | συνεργούμενον εἰς τὸ κατακρεῖναί(κατακρῖναί) σου ἀδίκως, καὶ Ἀλκέτου δὲ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σε ἐγγυησ̣α̣μένου ἐ|νοχληθέντος αὐτοῦ τε καὶ τῶν φίλων κατὰ σύμβολον παρέξεσθαι εἰς κρίσιν ἐν ἡμέραις πέντε ἢ ἀποτίσειν || τὸ ἐπικαλούμενον, σὺ δὲ οὕτως ὠλιγοψύχησας (ὠλιγοψύχησας) ὥστ̣ε̣ κ̣αὶ ἐκχωρῆσαι ἄνευ ἡμῶν, πότερον, εἰ καὶ ὣς ἠβούλω (ἠβούλου) κατα|πλεῖν, οὐκ ἂν καὶ ἐφοδιάσαντές σε καὶ συμβούλους αδ[ ̣] ε̣ρ̣ε̣σ̣οπηκτας ἔχοντα ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀντιδίκους καὶ τοὺς | περὶ τὸ συνέργιον ἀναπλεῖν· ἐδώκαμεν γὰρ ἄν σοι ὑποθέσεις διʼ ὧν οἱ ἀντίδικοι ἂν οἴμωζον. ἔτι οὖν καὶ νῦν | εἰ μὲν δύνῃ αὐτὸς ἀπὸ σαυτοῦ ἀπομεριμνήσας ἐντυχεῖν· οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτήδειον ἦν ἡμᾶς γράφειν, ἀκηκόαμεν δὲ | καὶ δυνατόν σε πορίσαι προστάγματα εἰς τ[ὸ] τ̣ιμωρηθῆναι αὐτούς. γίνωσκε οὖν ἐντυχόντος Δημέου Φανίαι κατὰ || Ἀλκέτου ὅτι ἐγδεξάμενος Θεόφιλον \κατὰ σύμβολον/ παρέξεσθαι κρινόμενον οὐ παρέχεται καὶ Φανίου γεγραφότος Ἐπηράτωι | κατασχεῖν τὰ γενήματα Ἀλκέτου ἕως ἂν παραγενόμενος ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ διακούσηι. σὺ οὖν πειρῶ πρὸ τοῦ | Φανίαν ἀναπλεῦσαι αὐτὸς φθάσαι καὶ προαναπλεύσας. εἰ δὲ μή, οὐ παρόντος σου κατακριθήσεται καὶ κινδυνεύσει ἀπο|τῖσαι(αποτ⟦ε⟧ισαι) Ἀλκέτας τὰς τ (δραχμὰς). ἀλλʼ εἰ μὲν δυνατὸν πρόσταγμα λαβεῖν, εἰ δὲ μή, αὐτὸς ἀνάπλευσον, ἵνα σύ τε καὶ Ἀλ|κέτας ἀπολυθῆτε καὶ μὴ συμπέσῃ μὴ παρεχομένου σε ἐπὶ τῆς κρίσεως ἀποτίνειν τὸν Ἀλκέταν τὸ ἐπικαλούμε||νον, ὃ ἄνω σοι ὑπογέγραπται. καλῶς ἂν ποήισαις(ποιήσαις) παραγενόμενος ἐν τάχει. | ἔρρωσο. (ἔτους) λη, Παχὼς ιδ.

verso: Θεοφίλωι. τῶι παρὰ Ἐπι|στράτου.

Item added: March 31, 2020
Item modified: March 31, 2020
ID number: 31064
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