July 18, AD 142 )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 208, n. 251


      Dionysia of Oxyrhynchus was married to Horion and became involved in litigation with her father Chaeremon. The litigation was protracted and her father adopted various legal stratagems to avoid the execution of the judgment against him. In the final summation of her case Dionysia cites decisions of officials and edicts of prefects bearing on the case. The long and complicated story is summarized in Grenfell and Hunt's commentary on this document, edited in 1899 from a papyrus. One of the edicts cited is that of Valerius Eudaemon. The most recent commentary on this edict is given by A. Memkman (Symbolae J. C. van Oven [Leiden 1946], 191-201).


      Year 22 of the deified Hadrian, Mechir 20.
      Copy of an edict.
      Valerius Eudaemon, prefect of Egypt, proclaims :
      In availing myself of the opinion of the most excellent Mamertinus, which forms a most valuable precedent, and by my own personal observation, it has been observed that many persons, when requested to settle their debts, refuse to do what is just for their creditors and by threatening to bring more serious charges attempt either to ward off their creditors completely or to delay the payment. Some of the debtors hope to intimidate those persons who possibly may dread the danger and for this reason will compound for a less amount, while others think that by the threat of a lawsuit their creditors will not dare to press their claims.
      Therefore, I issue instructions that debtors shall refrain from such pernicious conduct and either shall pay their debts or shall use persuasion on their creditors to delay a settlement. For when an action for debt is brought and the defendant does not immediately deny the debt, that is, he does not straightway claim that the document is a forgery and put in writing that he will so make accusation, but if later he tries to bring a charge of forgery or knavery or fraud, he shall have no benefit from such a trick, but he shall be compelled to pay the debt at once ; or else he shall deposit the amount, that the recovery of the debt may be secured.
      When the action for the recovery of the debt has ended, he then shall enter upon the more serious suit, if he has confidence that he can prove his case. Not even then shall he be immune, but he shall be subject to the prescribed penalties. . . .