Grain Taxes and The Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS)

Egypt- the Fayum www-lib-umich-edu.jpg

Egypt- the Fayum www-lib-umich-edu.jpg

Major sites in the Fayum; sources of manuscripts and archaeological work.  Source -

Major sites in the Fayum; sources of manuscripts and archaeological work. Source – http://www.lib.umich.ed

PLAN OF GRANARY C123, ONE OF SEVENTEEN SUCH STORAGE FACILITIES EXCAVATED AT KARANIS www.umich.edu

PLAN OF GRANARY C123, ONE OF SEVENTEEN SUCH STORAGE FACILITIES EXCAVATED AT KARANIS; source – http://www.umich.edu

2009figure2  Granary C123 in 1920s. Source - www.archbase

2009figure2 Granary C123 in 1920s. Source – http://www.archbase

The manuscripts and archaeological remains from the Fayum have provided us with an important view of administration and life in Ptolemaic and Roman times in Egypt.  As the plan and photo of a granary in Karanis above shows, this was a region of important grain storage and taxation:

Ten large granaries and seven smaller ones revealed by the excavators underscore the dominant role that grain production played in the local economy. These buildings housed the tax-grain but were also leased for private use.

All of the large granaries at Karanis were constructed along lines similar to Roman military storehouses. Rooms used as offices or living quarters fronted onto the street. Behind them was a central courtyard, three sides of which were lined with storage bins or, more often, chambers with vaulted ceilings that reached a height of about three meters above the floor.

The interiors of these chambers were subdivided into four or six bins, each about a meter deep. A small window high in the arch provided ventilation.14 This arrangement conforms remarkably well to the type prescribed by Columella, in his agricultural treatise of the first century AD:

[The] best place for storing grain … [is] a granary with a vaulted ceiling … [and] divided into bins to permit the storage of every kind of legume by itsef.

Source – Columella, I.6,   http://www.umich.edu/

Below follows a bit more information on these important sources, as being developed in the important APIS project, about which more to follow:

The Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS) was planned, starting in 1995, by Roger Bagnall, †Traianos Gagos, and †John Oates, representing Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and Duke University. Berkeley, Princeton, and Yale joined the effort soon after.

The project was launched in 1996/7 with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the six original institutions.

The goal was to create a collections-based repository of information about and images of papyrological materials (e.g., papyri, ostraca, wooden tablets, etc.) located in collections around the world; it was envisaged as a first stage in creating a comprehensive papyrological working environment online. A total of six NEH grants, along with institutional support, foundation grants, and private donations, sustained the development of APIS through 2013.

At present it includes twelve full member institutions along with another fifteen collections that have contributed data, including some archaeological field projects.

Its founding vision was more completely realized when it was systematically linked to the other resources in the Papyrological Navigator through the Integrating Digital Papyrology project, in several phases, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and directed by Joshua Sosin.

APIS contains physical descriptions, provenance, dating, and bibliographic information about these papyri and other written materials, as well as digital images and English translations of many of these texts.

For many there is also information about the acquisition history of the objects. APIS includes both published and unpublished material in all languages. Generally, much more detailed information is available about the published texts. Unpublished papyri have often not yet been fully transcribed, and the information available is sometimes very basic.

If you need more information about a papyrus, you should contact the appropriate person at the owning institution. Active development and hosting of the APIS technical infrastructure was carried out at a number of APIS partner institutions over the period 1996-2013, principally Columbia University, the University of Michigan and New York University. As of 1 July 2013, the host and steward of canonical APIS data is papyri.info, which is served by the DC3 and Duke University Libraries.

The collections module, with a metadata record editor, of papyri.info is now open to all institutions, whether or not they are APIS members. Collections of any size may contribute catalog records, images, texts, translations, and metadata to papyri.info directly, once they establish an authorized editorial structure. Interested collections should contact dcthree AT duke DOT edu.

Source – APIS – Advanced Papyri Information System

tebtunis crocodile inscription source - www.lib.berkeley.edu

tebtunis crocodile inscription source – http://www.lib.berkeley.edu

The Tebtunis papyri were found in the winter of 1899/1900 at the site of ancient Tebtunis, Egypt. The expedition to Tebtunis, which was led by the British papyrologists Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, was financed for the University of California by Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst.

The Tebtunis papyri form the largest collection of papyrus texts in the Americas. The collection has never been counted and inventoried completely, but the number of fragments contained in it exceeds 30,000.

This web site, which is under continuous development, will provide electronic access to images of the Tebtunis papyri as well as textual information.

Source – APIS – Advanced Papyri Information System

 Umm el-Breigat, ancient Tebtunis, is situated in the southwest corner of the Fayum basin in Egypt. Its history covers some 3,000 years, from the early second millennium B.C. into the thirteenth century A.D. Its best documented epoch is the Graeco-Roman period, roughly from the third century BC through the third century AD.

Tebtunis’ center was marked by the temple of the crocodile god Soknebtunis (“Sobek, lord of Tebtunis”). The temple enclosure itself and the ceremonial way (dromos) leading up to it can easily be recognized on an aerial photograph made of the site in the thirties.

Karanis 1934 aerial photograph, Source - http://quod.lib.umich.edu/

Karanis in the Fayum, near the site of Tebtunis, 1934 aerial photograph in which the cereonial way [dromos] leading up to the temple can be seen. Source – http://quod.lib.umich.edu/

The subjects illustrated by the written material from Tebtunis [and Karanis] vary. They include the contents of the temple library and the notary office, family archives of various village dignitaries, and much, much more.

Besides texts from Tebtunis itself, the site has also yielded papyri from neighboring villages, such as Kerkeosiris and Oxyrhyncha, that were used in the mummification of both humans and crocodiles that were buried in the necropolis of Tebtunis.

Research into this rich corpus of documents (and their related archaeological objects) is being done at various institutions worldwide and will significantly enrich our understanding of the administrative and socio-economic history of the entire ancient Mediterranean world.

Source – The Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Several Examples of manuscripts in the APIS collection that were retrieved from crocodile cartonnage at Tebtunis 18.5 –

APIS ID:
262
Holding Institution:
Bancroft Library, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley
Call Number: 
P.Tebt.0001 (1) Recto
Location: 
Vault; 1 frame
Author: 
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, King of Egypt, d. 116 B.C.
Type of Text/Title: 
Decrees of King Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II : copy
Section/Side: 
On recto Col. II, Anthology: fragments; on verso, list of names and numbers.
Publication/Side: 
Recto Col. II, published; verso unpublished.
Connections: 
Copy of the decrees found in P.Tebt.5.
Material: 
Pap
Items: 
1
Size: 
25 x 22.3 cm.
Lines: 
10 lines, on recto along the fibers.
Physical Properties: 
Margins: top, 3 cm.; left, 1.5 cm.; bottom, 13 cm.; in top margin, in red ink “1”.
Paleographic Description: 
Well-formed semi-uncial, with occasional lapses to cursive forms.
Publication Status: 
published
Modern Date: 
ca. 100 B.C.
Origin: 
Kerkeosiris?
UC Inventory Number: 
1903
Provenance: 
Crocodile cartonnage at Tebtunis 28.5
Language: 
Greek
Genre: 
Royal ordinances (Ptolemaic law)
Content: 
Commencement of the decrees of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II.
Subject: 
Constitutional law, 332-30 B.C.; Politics and government, 332-30 B.C.; Ptolemaic dynasty, 305-30 B.C.
Geographica: 
Kerkeosiris
Publications: 
P.Tebt., I.1; C.Ord.Ptol., no. 53 bis; Plate: C.Ord.Ptol., fig. 1

PAPYRUS – On recto col. I, Decrees of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II: copy; On verso, Lists of names.

APIS ID:
284
Holding Institution:
Bancroft Library, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley
Call Number: 
P.Tebt.0001 (2) Recto
Location: 
Vault; 1 frame
Type of Text/Title: 
Anthology : fragments
Section/Side: 
On recto col. I, Decrees of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II: copy; On verso, Lists of names.
Publication/Side: 
Recto col. I published; verso unpublished.
Connections: 
For another copy of the same anthology by the same scribe see P.Tebt.2 (a-c).
Material: 
Pap
Items: 
1
Size: 
30.5 x 30.4 cm.
Lines: 
19 lines, on recto along the fibers.
Physical Properties: 
Margins: top, 3.7 cm.; bottom, 9 cm.; right, 2.2 cm.; in top left corner, and in lower left intercolumnar space, in red ink “1”; sheet join 4.7 cm. from right edge.
Paleographic Description: 
Well-formed semi-uncial, with occasional lapses to cursive forms.
Publication Status: 
published
Modern Date: 
ca. 100 B.C.
UC Inventory Number: 
3058
Provenance: 
crocodile cartonnage at Tebtunis 18.5
Language: 
Greek
Genre: 
Literary papyri, Unidentified authors; Poems
Content: 
Lyrics addressed by Helen of Troy to her husband Menelaos; an elaborate lyrical description of woodland solitude; and 2 epigrammatic couplets concerning the passion of love.
Publications: 
P.Tebt., I.1; Page, D.L. Gr.lit.pap., I.92; Plate: P.Tebt. I.p1. I; Plate: Roberts, C.H. Gr. Lit. hands, pl. 7. no. 1606
Bibliography Corrections: 
Pack, R.A. Greek and Latin literary texts from Greco-Roman Egypt (2nd ed.) no. 1606; I.O. Powell, Collectanea Alexandrina, p. 185-186, nos. 6-8.
Translation: 
(Lines 1-4) O sweet delight didst thou seem to me, when thou lovedst me, when with hostile spear thou didst sack the Phrygians’ city, desiring to take me only as thy spouse back to thy native land; but now, heartless one, wilt thou depart, leaving me a lonely wife, for whom went out the band of the Danaids, for whose sake Artemis carried off the unwed maid, Agamemnon’s victim?
(Lines 5-11) The brown birds singing hard-by through the wood deserted of commanders, perched on the topmost branches of a pine, chirped and twittered in mingled chorus, some beginning, others pausing, others silent, others in full song; then the hills speak with voices, and chattering Echo, lover of solitude, answers in the dells; the willing busy bees, blunt-faced and dusky-winged, summer’s thronging toilers, who leave their sting behind, deep-toned, workers in clay, full of eagerness, unsheltered, draw out the sweet nectar, honey-laden.
(Lines 12-13) In admonishing a lover you are ignorant that you are seeking to quench a smoldering fire with oil.
(Lines 13-14) A lover’s spirit, as a torch fanned by the wind, is now ablaze, and now again dies away.
(Lines 15-16) We are drunk with drinking and no longer in our senses, and love has consumed me with … that are like fire.
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About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in APIS, Egyptian Temples, Egyptology, Graeco-Roman, History-Ancient, Karanis and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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