1. Structure
  2. Format
  3. Layout

A document of registration is an application to publicly register a private action or event. As with a [proposal to contract] a registration is styled as a request and as such is different to a formal [declaration]. These registrations are Roman period documents spanning I – III CE. The same typology is used for a variety of content such as applications to register a birth or an ephebe [21779 209 CE, (a 3 year old); 22242 291 CE, (a 13 year old), both Oxyrhynchus], registration of an apprenticeship [79360 70 CE, Oxyrhynchus], the transfer of property [18694 224 CE, Herakleopolite nome (land); 14000 124 CE, Arsinoite nome (a slave)], registration of a mortgage [11539 143 CE, Tebtunis]. There is also an example with this typology of an application for the anakrisis of a slave [22508 227/8–281/2 CE, Oxyrhynchus]. These documents are addressed to various officials depending on the process required. On the registration of a birth or ephebe, see [Cohen 1996] and [Kruit 1998 : esp. 38 n.3 for amended list]. On apprenticeships, see [Forselv 1998].



The document opens with the standard hypomnematic address: [to name <dat>][from παρά name <gen>] and follows with [βούλομαι + infinitive].


All applications to register a birth or an ephebe found in Oxyrhynchus have the formulation βούλομαι ἀπογραφῆναι... N ‘I wish that N be registered’ [20615 157 CE] or βούλομαι ἀπογράψασθαι ‘I wish to register’ [22242]. Documents from the Arsinoite nome during the II-III CE make a more formal declaration, similar to a [census] declaration, with ἀπογράφομαι ‘I register’, e.g. [15094 148-149 CE, Soknopaiou Nesos].


There can be a number of different addressees, reflecting the rapid administrative changes of the period, e.g. to the secretary of the city (γραμματεὺς πόλεως) [22245 171 CE] or of the local area (ἀμφοδογραμματεύς) [21779], to the phylarch (φυλάρχης) [17417 249-250 CE] or administrators of the office of the phylarch [15760 285 CE], to the board of the λαόγραφος (κοινόν τῶν λαογράφων) [22242], or to the systates (συστάτης) [20910 291 CE] or board of systates (κοινόν τῶν συστατῶν) [16016 295 CE].


For the registration of an apprenticeship the phrase is βούλομαι ἐκδόσθαι ‘I wish to apprentice (lit. hand over)’ and the addressee is the tax farmer concerned with the trade, e.g. [21335 62 CE Oxyrhynchus] an apprentice weaver.


Documents with applications to register the transfer of ownership of a property have βούλομαι ἐξοικονομῆσαι ‘I wish to dispose of’ [18694; 14000]. For the cession of catoecic land the phrase is βούλομαι παραχωρῆσαι ‘I wish to cede’ [11682 129 CE, Arsinoite nome]. Registrations of a mortgage have βούλομαι ὑπαλλάξαι ‘I wish to mortgage’ [11539, in this case the mortgage of some catoecic land] or [13718 116 CE, Ptolemais Euergetis, the mortgage of a slave]. Some of these registrations may begin the main text with a relative clause indicating the object to be registered, before βούλομαι + infinitive, e.g. [27757 II CE, Arsinoite nome; 9142 67 CE, Karanis].


The [date@end] invariably follows the main text. Subscriptions may be appended underneath by the applicants [22242; 27757]; an official may subscribe a signature [21335] or deliver an instruction [9142]. Official signatures may also be found at the top of the sheet e.g. [11682; 14000; 11539].



These Roman period documents are in pagina format with the writing along the fibres. A registration of an apprentice is particularly tall and narrow [21335 H. 36.5 x W. 8.5cm].



The text is laid out on the sheet in a single block; the παρά clause always begins a new line sometimes with an enlarged first letter [13718] or in ekthesis [22242]. The second line of the addressee may be indented before the παρά clause [11682; 13718], or there can be a space between the two [18694]. There can be a stroke [9142] or a space [18694] after the main text, and before the subscription [20011 287 CE, Oxyrhynchus]. The subscriptions in [18694] run into a second column. The registration of the slave in [13718] was later cancelled by a series of crosses over the text, i.e. κεχιασμένον ‘marked with a chi’.


How to Cite

Ferretti, L., Fogarty, S., Nury, E., Schubert, P. Description of Greek Documentary Papyri: Registration. grammateus project. DOI: 10.26037/yareta:yv2untrmibaxtagh46r5waeq4u