Law

A Harvester’s Plea
By Gareth Wearne
What legal rights did a farm labourer have in ancient Israel? A rare glimpse is offered by an ostracon (inscribed pot-sherd), which was discovered in 1960 in the guardroom of a small Iron Age fortress, approximately 17 km south of Tel Aviv. Read more here.

Death of a Slave Boy
By Jenny Cromwell
Cymbals struck as festival performers wound their way through the village’s streets . But then tragedy struck. Leaning over the balcony to view the players below, a young slave boy Epaphroditos fell and died. Was it an accident? Was it murder? Read more here.

Imperial Decrees, Animal Sacrifices, and Christian Persecution
By Jenny Cromwell
On 17 June 250 CE, Aurelius Sakis had a certificate drawn up that proved he and his children Aion and Heras had participated in the sacrifice of an animal to pagan gods. Read more here.

Law and the Art of Bookroll Maintenance
By Mark de Kreij
In 133 CE Herakleides-Valerius, inhabitant of Antinoupolis, which had only recently been founded, put his signature to a brief document renouncing his father Herakleides’ inheritance. He came to his decision because his father had become embroiled in a protracted dispute over the state of the public archives of the Fayum. Read more here.

On a Document Signed by Cleopatra
By Jenny Cromwell
On 23 February 33 BCE, the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII, issued a royal ordinance granting financial privileges to a Roman absentee landlord. These privileges include tax exemptions and protection of his workers and other property from various impositions. Read more here.

Police Brutality in Ptolemaic Egypt
By Jenny Cromwell
On 14 September 194 BCE, the chief of police of the Polemon district and several other men raided the workshop of Petermouthis son of Peteësis. Forcibly removing him from his workshop, they dragged him through his village, Oxyrhyncha, physically abusing him and ultimately taking from him money and even the shirt off his back. Read more here.