Egypt Exploration Fund [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1895-1896

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Progress of Egyptology.

Mahaffy's history of the empire of the Ptolemies. Some account of
these works in detail may be of interest.

Mr. GrenfelPs Revenue Laws of Ftolemii Philadelphus.1 to which Prof.
Mahaffy has prefixed an introduction, contains the text of a very long
papyrus roll acquired by Prof. Petrie in the winter of 1893-4, with the
fragments of another acquired by Mr. Grenfell himself in the following
season. Admirable facsimiles of parts of the papyrus have been made
by the Clarendon Press. The date of the roll is b.c. 259-8, and its
contents are the regulations for the farming of certain parts of the public
revenue. It falls into five sections, each of which was probably at first
a separate document, though they are now joined together. The first
contains general regulations as to the relations between the government
and the tax-farmers, and is much mutilated. The second deals with the
tax on vineyards and orchards,,which was at the rate of one-sixth of the
produce (except for certain privileged classes, such as soldiers, who paid a
tenth), and, having formerly been paid to the temples, had recently been
diverted to the purse of the queen, Arsinoe Philadelphus. The tax was
farmed out, but careful regulations are made to protect the interests
both of the state and of the cultivator. If the tax-farmer does not come
when he has received notice that the crop is going to be gathered, the
cultivator can proceed without him, in the presence of the representative
of the government. Written certificates are required from both tax-
farmer and cultivator as to the amount of the produce and the tax, the
tax-farmers being penalized if they fail to give their certificate to the
cultivator. The tax is paid in kind, and is transported by the cultivators
to the state storehouses, the state supplying the jars for transport. The
government officials then sell the wine, retain for the state the amount
which the tax-farmer had bid for the tax, and hand over the surplus to
him; or if there be a deficit, exact it from him or his sureties. A
register was kept of the land under cultivation as vineyards, and the
State Secretary of the nome was responsible for its accuracy.

The third section of the papyrus deals with the revenue from oil, of
which several sorts were produced in Egypt. Here the whole transac-
tion was very closely supervised by the state. All the oil-seed produced
in the country had to be sold to the contractors appointed by the
government, but at a fixed price. The contractors then made the oil
and sold it to the retail dealers, who disposed of it to the people at a
fixed price. A fixed proportion of the amounts received by the con-
tractors went to the state as tax. It will be seen that the margin of a
profit for the contractor must have been small, consisting of the difference
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