[b-greek] Cleopatra's signature

From: Wieland Willker (willker@chemie.uni-bremen.de)
Date: Mon Sep 25 2000 - 16:49:59 EDT

-----Original Message-----
From: The papyrological bulletin 'PAPY@listserv.hum.ku.dk'
[mailto:PAPY@LISTSERV.HUM.KU.DK] On Behalf Of willy Clarysse
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2000 9:36 AM
Subject: Cleopatra's signature

Some more life was just thrown into our list by H. Melaerts. Perhaps
I should explain a bit more about Pėter van Minnen's recent find.

P.Bingen 45, now housed in the Egyptian Museum, Berlin, is edited as
a synchoresis, a private contract. In fact it is a royal ordinance to
give extensive tax and customs exemptions to a wealthy landowner in
Egypt, no doubt a Roman. Both the fisc (dioikesis) and "the private
account of ourselves and the children" are involved. The author
therefore cannot be anyone else but the reigning sovereign. As the
text is dated in year 19 = 4 (33 B.C.) this must be the famous
Cleopatra VII herself. The last line of the text is a subscription in
a different hand, stipulating "genesthoi" i.e. "so be it". This must
be the original signature of the queen. Given the date of the text,
only a couple of years before the battle of Actium, the priviliged
person, perhaps called Publius Cassius (?), was no doubt a major
supporter of Mark Antony in the civil war against Octavian.

This is an extraordinarily important historical document. A revised
edition by Peter van Minnen is now in press in Ancient Society 30
(2000). Van Minnen is at this moment a Dutch Academy Research Fellow
in Religious Studies at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
and Visiting Assistant Professor in Ancient History at the University
of Leuven (Belgium).

Feel free to post this message to other list servs.

Willy Clarysse

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