AD 135-136 )


( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 207, n. 249


   Because of a failure of the Nile flood, Hadrian grants a delay to those persons whose taxes were paid in money, presumably to those who had vineyards, olive groves, palm groves, or orchards. The tax on arable land was determined by the height of the flood and no edict was necessary for this.
   The papyrus containing this edict was reported in 1920.

Imperator Caesar, diui Traiani Parthici filius, diui Neruae nepos, Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, pontifex maximus, tribuniciae potestatis XX, imperator II, consul II, pater patriae dicit :
Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, son of the deified Trajan Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power for the twentieth time, saluted imperator for the second time, consul for the third time, father of the fatherland, proclaims :
Cum certior factus sim rursus Nili proluuiem non secus ac superiore anno exiguam esse et imperfectam ( quamuis praecedentibus exinde annis non modo perfectam proluuiem fecerit sed maiorem quam umquam fuisset, et totum territorium inundans aptus uisus sit plurimis optimisque fructibus afferendis ), statim intellegi agricolis beneficium quoddam tribuendum esse, equidem praeuidens — cum deo dicatur — si quid hodie defuerit insequentibus annis restituturos et Nilum et terram : ( nam talis est ? ) natura rerum, ut ex copia quidem et fertilitate in inopiam, ex inopia uero in abundantiam procedatur.
Since I now learn that the Nile flood is somewhat below normal, as it was last year, although in former years it was not only perfect, but was higher than even before and, covering the whole land, was the cause of most excellent and abundant harvests, I have decided that it is necessary to offer some boon to the farmers, although I expect–be it said in the narre of god-that in the years to come, if this year there is any deficiency, the Nile again will cover the land and renew its fertility . . . for it is the nature of things that plenty and abundance are followed by poverty and that after poverty there follows abundance.
Bona igitur fortuna :
With Good Fortune.
pecuniarium huiusce anni tributum diuisum iri scitote, quod ad Thebaidis habitatores attinet, quos maximum ex inopia damnum subituros esse constat, in quinque annorum praestationibus, quod ad homines in VII pagis degentibus in quattuor, quod ad inferioris regionis habitatores in tribus ; ut facultas sit uolentibus et per semestria soluere, manente Thebaidis hominibus quinquennii, VII pagorum quadriennii, inferioris regionis triennii dilatione.
Be informed that the farmers of the Thebaid who have suffered the greatest loss shall be permitted to pay their money tax on land in five annual instalments, those of the Heptanomia in four, those of Lower Egypt in three ; and those who wish can pay their yearly quota in semiannual instalments, although the appointed time remains : five years for the Thebaid, four years for the Heptanomia, three years for Lower Egypt.
Datum Alexandreae anno XXI, mense Payni XVI.
Posted at Alexandria. Year 21, Payni 16.