RESCRIPTA SEVERI ( ἀποκρίματα )
Rescripts of Septimius Severus on legal matters
( AD 199-200 )

SB VI, 9526 = P. Col. VI, 123, inv. 516 ( Duke Data Bank of Documentary Papyri ).

Presentation of the document

Among the few papyri which preserve direct replies by a Roman emperor to petitions, the Apokrimata is a collection of thirteen decisions rendered in Egypt by Septimus Severus, Emperor of Rome (193-211). Apparently transcribed by a notary for his own use or for the use of an up-country judge or lawyer, the decisions deal with civil, criminal, and administrative laws and reflect the various legal systems simultaneously in effect in the province at the time; they add significantly to our knowledge of Roman law and its application to non-citizens within the Empire. In addition, the text incidentally helps fix the date of the visit of Severus to Egypt in the year 200 and establishes the presence of a Stoa in the Gymnasium at Alexandria which was prominently used in the time of Severus as a place for publication of edicts.

Greek text

ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ | ἀντίγραφα ἀποκριμάτων <προ>τεθέντων ἐν τῇ στοᾷ | τοῦ γυμνασίου η (ἔτους) Φαμενὼθ ιη· (hand 2) Αὐτοκράτωρ Καῖσαρ Λούκιος | [Σεπ]τίμιος Σεουῆρος Εὐσεβὴς Περτίναξ Ἀραβικὸς Ἀδιαβηνικὸς Παρθικὸς μέγιστος | Σεβαστὸς καὶ Αὐτοκράτωρ Καῖσαρ Μάρκος Αὐρήλιος Ἀντωνῖνος Σεβαστὸς | (hand 1) Οὐλπίῳ Ἡρακλάνῳ τῷ καὶ Καλλινίκῳ | τὰς ἐπιβληθείσας Ἀλεξανδρεῦσι ἢ Αἰγυπτίοις ζημί-|ας τῇ δωρεᾷ χρόνον προσαγα[γό]ντες ἀνήκαμεν. | Ἀρτεμιδώρ[ῳ] τῷ καὶ Ἀχιλλεῖ. | τοῖς ἐγνωσμένοις συνκαταθέμενος βραδέως | μέμφῃ τὰ δόξαντα. | Αὐρηλίοις Ἀρτεμιδώρῳ καὶ Ἀνουβίωνι καὶ ἄλλοις. | τοῖς ἐγνωσμένοις πείθεσθει. | Κιλ.[..]δις τῷ καὶ Μίδᾳ διὰ Φιλοκράτους υἱοῦ. | ὥσπερ ἀνατραπῆναι τὴν πρᾶσιν τῶν ὑποθη-|κῶν οὐ δικαίως ἀξιοῖς οὕτως ἀπολαβεῖν σε | τὴν νομὴν τῶν χωρὶς συνβάσεως κατεχομένων | πρὸς βίαν χωρίων ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ ἔθνους κελεύσει | ..[.]θαλγη Ἀμβρ̣ήλου διὰ Ἀβδομάνχου υἱοῦ. | ἀργύριον γυναῖκες δανίζεσθαι καὶ ὑπὲρ ἄλλων | ἐκτίνειν οὐ κωλύονται | ι̣θ̣ ὁμοίως προ̣ετέθη ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ στ̣ο̣ᾷ· | [Ἀ]πόλλωνι Ἁρνεκτώτου καὶ ἄλλ[ο]ις. | αἱ περὶ τῶν ἐπισκέψεων κρίσεις κοινῇ παρέσχον | πρόνοιαν Αἰγυπτίοις. | Αὐρηλίῳ Σαρ[α]πίωνι. | τὰς ἱε[ρ]ω[σ]ύ̣νας ἐκ μητρῴου γένους εἰς διαδοχὴν | κατέρχεσ[θ]αι πρώην ἐκωλύσαμεν. | Π̣[ρ]όκλῳ Ἀπολλ[ω]νίου. | τοὺς γεγρ[α]μμένους κληρονόμους, καὶ ἐὰν αἱ διαθῆκαι | π[ε]πλάσθαι λέγωνται, τῆς ν[ο]μῆς οὐκ ἔστιν | δίκα[ι]ον ἐκβληθῆναι. φροντ[ί]σουσιν δὲ οἱ | τὰ[ς] δίκας ἐπιτετραμμένοι καλέσαι τοὺς | εὐ[θ]υνομένους εἴ γε τὸ πρᾶγμά ἐστιν ἐν τῇ | τάξει τῶν διαγνώσεων. | Κρονίῳ Ἡρακλείδου. | αἱ πρόσκαιροι νόσοι τῶν πολιτικῶν οὐκ ἀπαλλάσσου-|σιν λειτουργιῶν, καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς δὲ τῷ σώματι λειτουρ-|[γ]οῦσιν ἐὰν τῇ φροντίδι τῶν οἰκείων πραγμάτων | ἐξαρκεῖν δύνωνται. | κ ὁμοίως· | Διοσκόρῳ Ἡφαιστίωνος καὶ Πιεσῆϊ Ὀσίριος | καὶ ἄλλοις. | ἀργύριον ἀντὶ πυροῦ καταβάλλειν ὑμᾶς ἐκω-|λύσαμεν. | Ἰσιδώρῳ Δείου. | τὰ μὲν ὑπὸ Κόμωνος τετολμημένα | Φούλουϊος Πλαυτιανὸς ὁ κράτιστος ἔπαρχος | τῶν στρατοπέδων καὶ οἰκεῖος ἡμῶν | ἐξετάσει. πρὸς δὲ Ἀπίωνα τὸν τελώνην, εἰ μὴ | κοινωνεῖ τῶν ἐνκλημ[ά]των Κόμωνι, τὸν | ἡγούμενον τοῦ [ἔ]θνους ἕξ̣ε̣ις δικα[σ]τήν. | [Ἰσ]ιδώρῳ τῷ καὶ Ἡρακλ[είδ]ῃ [διὰ Ἀ]πολλων<ί>ου. | τῆς πατρῴας κληρονομίας ἀποστὰς καὶ | τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἡλικίας οὐ[κ] ἔχων βοήθειαν τῷ | νόμῳ τῶν πράσεων, ἐπεὶ τὴν οὐσίαν δε-|δημεῦσθαι φῄς, πείθ[ο]υ. | .[..]ελαθήῳ Καιρένου. | ἐὰν τοῖς ὀρφανοῖς ἐπιτρόπους λ[ά]βῃς | ἔξωθεν τάξεως, ὑπὲρ τῶν χωρίων πρὸς τοὺς | νεμομένους δικαστὴς δοθήσεται.

English translation ( APIS )

In Alexandria. 1-4 : Copies of responsa posted in the Stoa of the Gymnasium. Year 8, Phamenoth 18. Imperator Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus Augustus and Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus 5-7 : To Ulpius Heraclanus, also called Kallinikos. We remitted the penalties which had been imposed upon Alexandrians or Egyptians but added a time limit to the benefaction. 8-10 : To Artemidoros also called Achilleus. Having placd yourself in agreement with the decisions (rendered), too late you take umbrage at the judgments (given). 11-12 : To the Aurelii Artemidoros and Anoubion and others. Comply with the opinions rendered. 13-17 : To Kill.[..]dis alias Midas, through Philokrates his son. Since you feel decisively that the instrument of sale of the mortgages was unjustly voided, the prefect of the province will issue the order that you regain possession of the plots seized by force without an agreement. 18-20 : To ...thalge, daughter of Ambrelos, through Abdomanchos her son. Women are not forbidden to obligate themselves for loans or to exact payment in behalf of others. 21-24 : On the 19th, likewise published in the same Stoa: To Apollon son of Harnektotes, and others. The judgments regarding inspections (of land) have generally provided due care for Egyptians. 25-27 : To Aurelius Sarapion. Some time ago we forbade that priesthoods come down in succession from the mother's side. 28-34 : To Proklos son of Apollonios. It is not just that the heirs designated (in the will)-even if the will is said to have been forged-should be dispossessed. The officials charged with (the supervision of) legal proceedings shall take pains to cite the accused persons, if indeed the matter comes within the category of cognitiones. 34-39 : To Kronios son of Herakleides. Transient sicknesses do not afford relief from municipal liturgies, and those who are physically sick are subject to liturgical services if they are mentally capable of conducting their household affairs. 40-44 : On the 20th, likewise: To Dioskoros son of Hephaistion anda to Pieseis son of Osiris, and others. We have forbidden you to pay money in place of grain. 45-51 : To Isidoros son of Dios. His excellency, Fulvius Plautianus, prefect of the camps and our household companion, will conduct the investigation of the audacious actions (emanating) from Komon. In respect to Apion, the tax collector, if he is not involved with Komon in the charges, you will have the prefect of the province as your judge. 52-56 : To Isidoros also called Herakleides, through Apollonios. As you withdrew from your paternal inheritance and you do not have any assistance on the basis of your age, comply with the law concerning (bankruptcy) sales, since you assert that the estate has (already) been confiscated. 57-60 : To ...elatheos son of Kairenos. If you take guardians for orphans outside of the (regular) order, in respect to their properties a judge will be given against those who are administering them.

►  Bibliography
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  Source : Papyrus from Tebtynis (?) dated March 14 AD 200.


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