Antichresis and dioikesis: Negotiating public and private debt in the Egyptian Delta

Andrew James Connor, Taylor Coughlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article publishes P.Mich. inv. 4000. The text on the front is a report concerned with competing private and public claims to debt collection, which likely originated in the office of the διοικητής of the Diopolite nome. The report illustrates the multi-step process by which a private creditor sought repayment of an antichretic loan after the state had confiscated the property of the debtor. The body of the report is a copy of the original petition of the private creditor to the διοικητής Julius Crispinus seeking a remedy for the loss of the right of inhabitation of the property, and a letter of instruction from the διοικητής to the στρατηγός of the Diopolite nome. The remainder of the report is concerned with the favorable outcome of the investigation following the petition. The guiding principle, that the earliest creditor (not necessarily the state) could petition to receive the right of first repayment (πρωτοπράξιον), was first formulated by the διοικητής Mallius Crassus in 159 CE, and later cited in P.Oxy. XXIV 2411 (173/174 CE) in a similar case. Here, the antichretic nature of the loan complicates the issue. The text also offers new evidence for the Diopolite nome of Lower Egypt and the terms of office of two successive διοικηταί, Julius Crispinus and Vessidius Rufinus. The text on the back of the document is a list of donkey loads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalZeitschrift fuer Papyrologie und Epigraphik
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Papyrology
  • Roman Egypt
  • Legal history

Cite this