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Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of “laografia”

Receipt of payment of laografia (head tax). In Roman times, Jews inhabited district IV in Apollinopolis Magna. The regular head tax in the 1st-2nd century was 16 drachmas a year. Receipt for payment of 8 drachmas (as in this document) or 4 drachmas are proof of the tax having been paid in installments.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of a monetary equivalent for a tax in nature

Receipt of payment of a monetary equivalent for a tax in nature. Date: December 21, year AD 78 or 91. “Daleas son of Abraimos, as an equivalent for the price of the dates from sacred land, 6 drachmas 4 obols. Year 11, Choiak 25.” Commentary: The divergence in the dating of this document results from the fact that the eleventh year may equally well refer to the emperors Vespasian or Domitian. Abraimos is well evidenced as a variant of the name Abraham.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of the “merismos” tax

Receipt of payment of the merismos tax. Date: April 21, AD 113. “Nikias son of Pasion, for merismos for the 16th year [of the reign] of Trajan, our lord, 4 drachmas. Year 16, Pharmouthi 26.” Commentary: Merismos was not a specific tax, but part of the tax burden concerning a specific community.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of the Jewish tax

In AD 72, after suppressing the Jewish uprising in Palestine, the Romans levied a Jewish tax (ioudaikon telesma) on all Jews living in the Roman Empire. It exceeded 8 drachmas and was a considerable burden on the mostly poor residents of the Jewish district in Apollinopolis Magna. This document is a receipt for only part of the yearly burden.

Greek ostrakon – instructions to issue wine

Instructions to issue wine. Data: March 20, 15th indiction (6th–7th century) “To Martyrios, rogator. Deliver on the account of buccellarii three koloba of wine, that is koloba of wine 3, only. Written on 27th of Mesore, indiction XV. Pythidoros agreed.”

Greek ostrakon – receipt for grain tax payment

Ostraka, pieces of broken pottery vessels, were used for writing a variety of different texts, most often tax receipts. They were used instead of the more expensive papyrus. Most ostraka come from Upper Egypt and the oases, where, unlike in Fayum and the localities of Middle Egypt, papyrus was not cultivated on a broad scale.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of tax payment in cash

Receipt of tax payment in cash. Date: November 5, AD 108. “Bokchoris son of Iosepos, [as] payment of k... tax for the 12th year [of the reign] of Trajan, our lord. Year 12, Hathyr 9.” Commentary: Iosepos is a variant of the name of Josephus. The name of the tax is preserved but illegible.

Greek ostrakon

An ostracon from the collection of the Field Museum No. 2 which was established thanks to the Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade that fought in the Middle East during the World War II and reached Egypt where they managed to obtain museum exhibits.