Rent Receipt


  1. Structure
  2. Format
  3. Layout

A rent receipt is evidence of the payment of rent on a previously signed lease agreement. This variation of receipt in most cases concerns the rent due on land [10318 280-281 CE, Karanis], or garden land (orchards and allotments) [10209 169 CE, Theadelphia], but there are also receipts for rent payments on property such as houses [30255 III-IV CE, Oxyrhynchus], rooms [9050 II-III CE, Arsinoite nome], machinery [21238 167-168 CE] (a water-wheel), and equipment [9262 57 CE, Arsinoite nome] (an oil-press). Rent receipts for the lease of vineyards are not usually found as these agreements were generally based on sharecropping or a wage payment [Rowlandson 1996 : 229, 234].


Different types of rental arrangements are reflected in the variable terminology used for the rent payments. The basic term for rent [ὁ φόρος] usually meant an amount paid in money and this was generally the medium of payment for fodder crops or perishable goods, e.g. [10209]. Another term [τὸ ἐκφόριον] indicated a rent payment in-kind – this was usually a predetermined amount of wheat for cereal crops, e.g. [10318] [Herrmann 1958 : 99], [Rowlandson 1996 : 240-243]. A rent payment could also be a combination of both depending on the crops produced, or where the land leased was used for mixed cultivation, e.g. [9437 II CE, Theadelphia], a mix of grain and fodder, with rent paid in grain and cash. The term for the rent paid on a house or room is τὸ ἐνοίκιον. Also found is [ἀπότακτον] signifying a fixed rent in money [11882 182-183 CE, Arsinoite nome].


Some rent receipts indicate payment by instalments ὑπὲρ φόρου ἐπὶ λόγου [12279 177 CE, Arsinoite nome], ὑπὲρ ἐκφορίου ἐπὶ λόγου [20965 156 CE], lit. a payment ‘on account’. This corresponds to the stipulations in some lease agreements, e.g. [11396 89 CE, Philadelphia] ἐν ἀναφοραῖς δυσὶ μηνὶ Φαῶφι, rent ‘in two instalments in the month of Phaophi’.


Two part-payments were made by two people on behalf of a village, for pasture land, formerly crown land (ousiac land), in [9698 208 CE, Soknopaiou Nesos], and also [15047 194 CE, Soknopaiou Nesos].


A payment of rent made in advance is variously expressed as [ἀναφόριον] [11437 107 CE, Tebtunis] or ἐν προδόματι τὸν φόρον ‘the rent in advance’ [13148 91 CE, Theadelphia].


Rent receipts often refer to payments for the period of one year [9574 223 CE, Theadelphia] but are also found for longer periods [9437], a payment for two years; [9035 147-151 CE, Arsinoite nome] lists payments over a period of 5 years and part of a 6th year, three years of which show payments by monthly instalments. Five separate rent receipts were issued by the landowner Haryotes to the same tenant Horos, in almost consecutive years, [11993, 11994, 11995, 11996, 11997 121-126 CE, Bacchias], and pertain to the same lease agreement [11987 II CE, Bacchias].


Rent receipts are categorised under both Epistolary Exchange and Objective Statement; the former tend to concern private lease agreements, while the latter usually concern the rent payments due on the use of public land. The payment of rent in-kind for private agreements usually took place at the local threshing floor [Herrmann 1958 : 109-111], [Rowlandson 1996 : 219-220]. Rent payments due on public land were facilitated through the granaries, e.g. [13525 265 CE, Tebtunis] records the rent paid in kind by a representative of the village of Tebtunis, through the granary at Tebtunis, to the official in charge of the tenancy, for the use of public land. Rent receipts for the use of public land could also be issued by a sitologos [14231 163 CE, Karanis].


While a variation of receipt specifically concerning rent payments is easily discernible, rent receipts are also found which have been constructed as more formal documents. A rent receipt from Oxyrhynchus is written as a [cheirographon], [23263 235 CE] on a long and narrow sheet rather like the [private protocol] contracts from the same area. Rent payments are also recorded as a [syngraphe] in the form of a [double document] e.g. [2063 249-248 BCE; 2065 248-247 BCE; 1765 252 BCE, all Philadelphia], or as an [objective homologia], the receipts from Haryotes to Horos. Some rent receipts can be issued through a bank, e.g. [10938 143 CE, Theadelphia] indicates that payment of rent on an oil-press was paid in kind with 5 measures of oil.


Studies on lease agreements invariably include references to types of rent payments and passing references to receipts, cf. [Herrmann 1958 : 98-114] and more specifically for tenancy in the Oxyrhynchite nome [Rowlandson 1996 : 202-279, particularly 236-252].



Rent receipts under Epistolary Exchange have the standard opening address [from name <nom.>][to name <dat.>][χαίρειν], the receipt being issued by the landlord to the tenant.


An unusual opening address appears in [9050] with a simple [from name <nom.>][to name <dat.>] and no [χαίρειν].


The main statement is based around ἔχω, usually [ἔχω παρά σου…] ‘I receive from you…’ [4311 165 BCE, Arsinoite nome], ἔσχον [9437], ἀπέχω [9262], and follows with the type of rent, in money (ὁ φόρος) or in-kind (τὸ ἐκφόριον), the facility being rented, and the amount being paid. An amount may not always be mentioned [9262].


Some private rent receipts also use the verb [μεμέτρημαι], e.g. [17053 125 CE, Hermopolite nome] μεμέτρημαι παρὰ σοῦ ‘I have had measured by you’ – this is the same verb used in [sitologos receipts], but these private rent receipts are not issued by the sitologoi.


The [date@end] may follow but is not always present. A closing salutation may be added [2074 243-242 BCE, Philadelphia; 4311 165 BCE, Arsinoite nome; 8082 165 BCE Soknopaiou Nesos].


Rent receipts in the form of a cheirographon follow the typical construction [ὁμολογῶ ἔχειν] and may also carry a closing salutation [8082 165 BCE, Soknopaiou Nesos].


Rent receipts under Objective Statement, as they are issued by an official, are usually objectively styled and have a [date@start]. The main statement can begin with [ἔχει] [8236 261-260, Hibeh], where the official states that he receives the rent payment, or with [παρέσχον] e.g. [9698 208 CE, Soknopaiou Nesos], παρέσχον πρ̣εσβύτεροι, where ‘the village elders have provided’ the payment. The rent payment through a bank has [ἀπέχειν] [10938].


Also found is the construction [διέγραψεν to name <dat.>] [by name <nom.>] ‘paid to N, by N’ [11882 183 CE, Arsinoite nome].


Some rent receipts under Objective Statement also use the verb [μεμέτρημαι], but again these are not issued by a sitologos [13525 265 CE, Tebtunis].


The main statement includes the type of rent (in money or in-kind), the facility being rented, and the amount being paid. In most cases there is nothing further added, but occasionally there may be a [subscription] e.g. [13525].



All shapes of papyri are found: pagina format with horizontal fibres [4311; 11413], and vertical fibres [13126 83 CE, Theadelphia; 20078 286 CE]; transversa charta [2074, 9437], and this orientation with horizontal fibres [17046 90 CE, Hermopolite nome]; and squarish with horizontal fibres [15944 250 CE, Oxyrhynchus] and vertical fibres [14287 209 Euhemeria]. In one example a list of rent payments is written in a single column on horizontal fibres to which is added on the right a sheet with vertical fibres [9035]


Many rent receipts are found on small slips of papyrus [30255 (H. 6 x W. 8 cm), 14287 (H. 7.8 x W. 7.3 cm), 13796 152 CE, Theadelphia (H. 10.2 x W. 8.5 cm)]. Some are quite long [4311 (H. 30.1 x W. 10.3 cm)], or long and narrow [13125 (H. 24 x W. 6.7 cm). The double document [2063] still retains the seal.



The receipt is usually written as a single block of text [13126; 14287] sometimes with an enlarged first letter [9262; 9698], and occasionally with the final line indented [11275 90 CE, Arsinoite nome]. The greeting may be indented [9437] - this same receipt has a line drawn between the two payments. There can be large top and bottom margins [14363 151 CE, Theadelphia; 20078]. Another receipt carries some line end fillers [12279], while [17053] ends the text with a series of crosses. The text can be written uniformly [17046], or can be more cursive [10442 53 CE, Arsinoite nome]; the second hands in [13132 127-128 CE, Theadelphia] and [13136 133 CE, Theadelphia] are clearly those of a slow writer.


Some papyri carry more than one receipt, e.g. [20078] has two receipts for different payments made to two different recipients, with a vacat between the two. Another receipt with two payments has the start of the second payment written in ekthesis to the first [9698].


One document [21634 169-171 CE, Oxyrhynchus] carries a collection of receipts regarding the land of Julius Theon, a former office holder in Alexandria. The text is written out on a single sheet over three columns with vacats between each entry.


Another rent receipt is to be found added to the end of a five column list of rent payments [17055 128 CE, Hermopolite nome].


A text written in red ink concerning a rent payment is not formulated as a typical receipt and may in fact be a simple note of payment [29480 II-III CE, Karanis].


How to Cite

Ferretti, L., Fogarty, S., Nury, E., Schubert, P. Description of Greek Documentary Papyri: Rent Receipt (Epistolary Exchange and Objective Statement). grammateus project. DOI: 10.26037/yareta:bzaqlnvrm5ck7jwuxacc2itrae