Through a donation of the Society of Friends and Sponsors of the University of Munich, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and, most significantly, of the banker, classical philologist and art collector James Loeb
was able to acquire the so-called Loeb-Papyri in January 1927 from the well-known antique dealer Maurice Nahman in Cairo. These papyri were presented in the same year by Loeb
as a gift to the papyri collection of the Egyptological Institute of the University of Munich (Spiegelberg, Papyri LoebSpiegelberg, W., Die demotischen Papyri Loeb (Papyri der Universität München 1; München, 1931).
, V; Hagen / Ryholt, Antiquities TradeHagen, F. 7 Ryholt; K., The Antiquities Trade in Egypt 1880-1930. The H.O. Lange Papers (Scientia Danica : Series H, Humanistica, 4 ; vol. 8; Copenhagen, 1962).
A convolute of these Loeb-Papyri, to which also P. Loeb 4 belongs, originates from Tehene - Hakoris
(Spiegelberg, Papyri LoebSpiegelberg, W., Die demotischen Papyri Loeb (Papyri der Universität München 1; München, 1931).
, IX-X.). The P. Loeb 5 (TM 43378; BC 308 Mar 8?) was found together with P. Loeb 4 (TM 43380; BC 308 Nov 8) and P. Loeb 6 (TM 43381; BC 308 Nov 8), (Spiegelberg, Papyri LoebSpiegelberg, W., Die demotischen Papyri Loeb (Papyri der Universität München 1; München, 1931).
, 9-11; Seidl, SAK 6Seidl, E., 'Studien zu Urkunden aus der Satrapenzeit Ptolemaios‘I.', Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 6 (1978), 177-184.
, 177-179). All three papyri were still closed and sealed with clay. The seals of P. Loeb 4 and P. Loeb 6 showed the same stamp imprint, which could not be read until now. The seal of P. Loeb 5 was not stamped.
So far the Loeb-Papyri 4-9, 11, 14, 17-18, 20-22 and 57 have been assigned to the ancient private archive of Osor-cha
from Tehene (Seidl, Ptolemaic legal historySeidl, E. , Ptolemaic legal history (Egyptolgische Forschungen 22; Glückstadt, 1962).
, 44). The assumption of a private archive of Osor-cha is implausible for some reasons. At first, there are several different persons in the papyri with the name Osor-cha: Osor-cha son of Achoapis, Osor-cha son of Auibre and a decree writer Osor-cha, whose father is not mentioned. Furthermore, the Papyri Loeb 4-6 were found, as mentioned, rolled up and sealed together. These letters, which refer to a conflict over 10 aroura of farmland, were written by Osor-cha son of Achoapis, and sent to the responsible overseers of the farmland. These three letters (P. Loeb 4-6) are not copies but the original correspondence. So why should these letters be deposited in the archive of Osor-cha? The last reason to reject a private archive of Osor-cha, is that the other Loeb-Papyri, which originates from Tehene and does not mention an Osor-cha, are more or less all connected with processes of agricultural administration. Thus it would rather be assumed that the Loeb-Papyri from Tehene were originally collected in a temple archive.
The Papyri Loeb 4-6, which were found together as sealed rolls, and also P. Loeb 22 concern a conflict over 10 aroura of arable land in the domain of Sobek, which was actually owned by Osor-cha, son of Achoapis, who probably lived north of Tehene. This arable land was either unlawfully claimed by the farmer Pemsais (P. Loeb 5.17 rto and P. Loeb 6.15-16, in P. Loeb 5.37-38 and P. Loeb 4.13 rto referred to as "lepra" and "drunkard"), or it was given to him by an overseer of the field.
Because of this matter Osor-cha writes (P. Loeb 5) to the responsible official Achoapis (title lost) in the year 9, 1st (month) of the Peret?, (day) 1st, referring to an earlier letter of complaint to the responsible overseer of the field (name??). In this letter, he explains another time that the 10 acres of arable land were given to him by oath, and asks Achoapis to prevent his arable land from being left to the drunken and leprous farmer Pemsais.
Since this conflict has still not been settled by the temple administration, Osor-cha wrote three letters of complaint in the year 10, 1st (month) of the Achet, (day) 1.
Unfortunately, the addressee of the letter of complaint P. Loeb 6 remains unknown. However, he probably held a higher administrative position. In it, Osor-cha describes that he have had 10 acres of arable land in the domain of Sobek, which he had cultivated and planted. Now Pemsais, son of Harsiese, had simply taken over the field and its cultivation for another year, although Osor-cha had written to the Lesonis of the Sobek temple, Horos, early on, that he himself wanted to continue to use this arable land, and this had already been assured to him. With the remark that he would pay the harvest tax regularly, but this simple farmer Pemsais never, Osor-cha asks the recipient of the letter to assign him the land.
The letter of complaint P. Loeb 22 was addressed to Teos (overseer of the fields). In this letter, he asks Teos to prevent that his field, the farmer (Pemsais), is awarded to him. He announced that he would come to the south until the 1st (month) of the Achet, day 9, to deliver 20 Deben of silver to Teos for this field.
The letter of complaint P. Loeb 22 was addressed to Teos (overseer of the fields). In this letter, he asks Teos to prevent that his field was assigned to Pemsais. He announced that he would come to the south until the 1st (month) of the Achet, (day) 9, to pay 20 Deben of silver to Teos for this field.
A further letter of complaint was sent to the lector priest Phatres (Fr. Loeb 4). In this letter, Osor-cha admonishes the lector priest to finally solve this matter in his favour. Furthermore, he asks Phatres whether the overseer of the field could be bribed with the harvest tax. In the postscript of this letter (P. Loeb 4.33-38 = vso 9-14), Osor-cha himself indicates that he would like to bring "good jars" to Phatres and the head of the field Teos at his next visit.
Regarding the assignment of the letter to the early reign of Alexander IV.: Spiegelberg, Papyri LoebSpiegelberg, W., Die demotischen Papyri Loeb (Papyri der Universität München 1; München, 1931).
, X with n. 15; Seidl, SAK 6Seidl, E., 'Studien zu Urkunden aus der Satrapenzeit Ptolemaios‘I.', Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 6 (1978), 177-184.
(1) An Phatres, den Vorlesepriester.
(2) Gut sei für dich das Jahr! Dein
(3) Jahr sei gut! Ich bin
(4) hierher gekommen zusammen mit Ponches,
(5) Sohn des Teos, dem Ackervorsteher, (und) mit Ponches
(6) zum Vorlesepriester. Seitdem ich
(7) vor den Vorlesepriester getreten bin,
(8) habe ich ihn nicht (mehr) mit einem Wort
(9) von meiner Angelegenheit geschrieben. Man hat für mich (bisher diesbezüglich auch)
(10) nichts bei dir gemacht. Ich hatte
(11) ⸢10⸣ (Aruren) Ackerland in der Domäne des Sobek.
(12) Ein Bauer hat wegen ihnen Streit ⸢gesu⸣cht.
(13) Nun, man sagte mir: "Er hat Aussazt."
(14) Möge man mir diese Gunst erweisen!
(15) Möge (ich) ⸢Sobek⸣ dienen,
(16) indem mein Herz ⸢beglückt⸣ ist wegen
(17) des Ackervorstehers. Nimmt man (mir etwa)
(18) meine 10 (Aruren) Ackerland, während ich mich hinstelle
(19) oberhalb des Sobek zwischen
(20) alle Menschen, die in der ⸢Stadt⸣ sind. Bei
(21) Sobek! Der besagte Mann, er ist es (doch),
(22) der der Feind von Thene ist. Möge
(23) ⸢man an Peteesis, Sohn des Peeus⸣, schrei⸢ben⸣,
(24) um nicht zuzulassen, dass sich ein Bauer
(25 = vso 1) (oder sonst) irgendjemand auf der Welt an meinen ⸢10 (Aruren) Acker⸣ vergreift.
(26 = vso 2) Nimm du dich (bloß) in acht!
(27 = vso 3) Das ist eine wichtige Angelegenheit! Gibt man (etwa?)
(28 = vso 4) ihre Erntesteuer in das Haus des Ackervorstehers?
(29 = vso 5) Möge man mir diese Gunst erweisen!
(30 = vso 6) Möge (ich) die Preisung(en) vor
(31 = vso 7) Sobek durchführen, indem mein Herz beglückt ist.
(32 = vso 8) Geschrieben vom Diener Osor-cha, ⸢(Sohn des) Achoapis⸣
(33 = vso 9) (im) Jahr 10, 1. (Monat) des Achet, (Tag) 1. Der Gott möge gnädig sein,
(34 = vso 10) (dann) werde ich (in) die Stadt kommen,
(35 = vso 11) werde nach Süden kommen, werde
(36 = vso 12) einen guten Krug ⸢bringen⸣
(37 = vso 13) (und) werde veranlassen, dass man andere
(38 = vso 14) Teos, dem Ackervorsteher bringen wird. Geschrieben vom Diener.
(39 = vso 15) ⸢An □□□ Pꜣ-ḥtr ?zu Händen?⸣