In Roman Egypt, privately owned animals such as sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys had to be declared by their owners to the relevant authorities. Among these animals, camels were used for transport. A tax on camels is attested for a limited period, between the second and the early third century, in the Fayum region, mostly in documents originating from Soknopaiou Nesou (Dimeh), located on the northern shore of Lake Moeris.
This papyrus sheet contains a declaration headed ‘camels 3’ and dates to 28 January 146. The declarant is a certain Stotoetis, of the village of Soknopaiou Nesos. Stotoetis stated that of the four camels registered in the previous year one had died, so he declared only three camels for the current year.
The report is addressed to two high officials, whose dockets are to be found at the end of the sheet, written in different cursive hands. The same officials were in charge of the census of the livestock, which enumerated herds and flocks present in the district under their administration.
- Article by:
- Matthew Nicholls
- Papyri, Scholarship, The makers of Greek manuscripts
How were books stored and accessed in the ancient world? Matthew Nicholls explores what the surviving evidence of ancient books can tell us about libraries in antiquity.