Oxyrhynchus Papyri 85

Column IV
Φλαουίω Εύσεβιω λογι-
στῆ [[τ’]]’Οξυρυγχείτου
παρὰ τοῦ καινοῦ τῶν
ζυθοπωλῶν τῆς α(υ-
τῆς πόλεως
. . .
Προσφωνοῦμ(εν ἰδί-
ω τιμ[ή]ματι τ[ὴν ἐξῆς
ἐγγεγραμμ[ένην τι-
μήν αν χιρίζομεν
ἀνίαν ἐιν[αι ἐπὶ τοῦ-
δε τοῦ μην[ός, και] ὀ-
μνῦομεν τόν [θ]εῖ-
ον άρκον μηδὲ[ν δι-
εψεσθαι. ἐστι δέ
κριθῆς (ἀρτάβαι) ἀταλ(   )  ιγ
(δηναρίων) Φ.

To Flavius Eusebius, logistes of the Oxyrhynchite nome,
From the guild of beer-sellers of this city
We proclaim that our own value of the goods, which
are in stock, are the values for this very month, and we swear
by an oath of the gods that it is correct.
For 13 artaba of barley . . . it is worth 500 denarii

The Oxyrhynchus papyri comprise a number of manuscripts that were recovered from the Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus. Such texts are quite rare finds, but the dry climate of Egypt helped to preserve the documents. In this papyrus, declarations for the value of goods by guildworkers are recorded.

According to the LSJ, an artaba is a Persian measurement worth 1 medimnus and 3 choenices. This is equivalent to 40 liters/30 kg of Egyptian wheat for each artaba (von Reden 2010, 149). These Egyptian brewers were dealing with large quantities of grain – potentially 390 kg (858 lb) on hand. If we follow the amount of grain in this recipe for Egyptian beer, the amount of barley recorded in this account is enough to produce 18.5 barrels of beer (37 kegs)!

Aurelius Thonis (ca.338 CE)
A literate man who lived in Egypt

Text Source: Greenfell, B.P. and A.S. Hunt, 1898. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part I. London: Egypt Exploration Fund, pp. 147-148.

Other Sources: von Reden, S. 2010. Money in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.


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