1. Structure
  2. Format
  3. Layout

A proclamation is a formal announcement, distinct from an [edict] or a [royal ordinance], and can be issued by high ranking officials of the administration and judiciary; some of these documents revolve around the verb παραγγέλλω ‘transmit a message/give an order’. As with all announcements, they were publicly posted to be seen by all, see [Jördens 2001; Schubert 2022a]. The term for a proclamation from the strategos is παράγγελμα, but there are few references to this word, see [Stroppa 2017 : 1-2]. Announcements by the strategos also fall under the general term πρόγραμμα, regardless of their content [Stroppa 2017 : 2; Stroppa 2004]. However, this same word can also have a more specific meaning as a stage in the nomination to a liturgy where the notice of appointment to a liturgy is confirmed through a πρόγραμμα; some of these may also include the verb παραγγέλλω, see [approval of nomination].


Other proclamations are orders or judicial summonses, e.g. to appear before the strategos to answer a charge [5699 47 BCE, Herakleopolite nome], or to seize a fugitive slave [4855 64-44 BCE, Herakleopolite nome]; the term for such a summons is παραγγελία, [Schäfer 1933].


Many of the extant self-contained proclamations come from III CE Oxyrhynchus. Proclamations can be embedded in other types of documents, usually [circular letters], ensuring the announcement can reach more than one official, e.g. [78769 111 BCE, Tebtunis]. Some are to be found in the register of correspondence of the strategos of Panopolis, e.g. [44881 col.viii. l.205-212]. A copy of a proclamation by a iuridicus to register all private stocks of corn is followed by a copy of the submitted registration [16446 246 CE, Oxyrhynchus].


A variety of purposes are served through these announcements – a prytanis and a strategos convene meetings [21574 254 CE; 21822 284 CE, both Oxyrhynchus]; a strategos announces a crop survey [13451 226 CE, Arsinoite nome], or orders banks to use the new coinage [21821 260 CE, Oxyrhynchus].



A proclamation can open with a simple [name <nom.>] followed by [place] indicating the authority issuing the order [21821]; one prytanis cites an impressive array of former titles [21822]. This is followed immediately by the main text and a [date@end]; the prytanis further endorses the proclamation with ἐσημειωσάμην ‘I have signed’ [21821 l.20]; see also [21574 l.20].


Other proclamations follow the opening [name <nom.>] and [place] with παραγγέλλεται ‘it is proclaimed/announced’ and continue with the main text [13451].


Some III CE proclamations do not contain the verb παραγγέλλω but open the announcement with ἐξ αὐθεντείας [name <gen.>] ‘on the authority of N’ followed by a title [16446, a iuridicus; 16869 245-249 CE, Oxyrhynchus, a rationalis and procurator]. The editor of [16869] states that ἐξ αὐθεντείας “looks like a latinism” (note to line 1); this is borne out by line 9, where Ῥωμαικά suggests that the original proclamation was posted in Latin. The same opening is also found in the copies of proclamations in the register of correspondence of the Panopolite strategos [44882 col.iv. l.92-97, l.156-160, col.ix. l.222-244]. Documents with this opening carry an order to post the proclamation in public, between the main text and the date, προθές ‘post’.


A summons can open with the more general διὰ προγράμματος ‘through/by way of public notice’ [5699; 5700 51 BCE, Herakleopolite nome].



In most cases the proclamations that have survived are copies of an original and as such there is no certainty regarding the format and layout. These copies are written in pagina format along the fibres [13451; 21821]; or horizontally oriented with the writing along the fibres [16869; 31285]. One notice is written on a narrow piece of papyrus [21574 H. 21.5 x W. 7.2cm] with a kollesis and change of fibre direction.



Most documents appear to be written as a single block of text with no differentiation between the opening and the main text. One example places the opening in ekthesis to the rest of the text [31285]; on another the scribe has written the second line of the opening in eisthesis to the rest of the text [21574]. There can be a space between the end of the text and the date [13451]. Some documents may have an indented transitional clause before a list [16869; 31285].


How to Cite

Ferretti, L., Fogarty, S., Nury, E., Schubert, P. Description of Greek Documentary Papyri: Proclamation. grammateus project. DOI: 10.26037/yareta:dvr7tlrbqfgklpicyq2b7uavh4