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Last Updated on 18 Jan 2019

Author: Matt Gibbs & Philip F. Venticinque

CAPInv. 1961: bapheis kai gnapheis apo tou Arsinoitou


i. Geographical area Egypt
ii. Nome Arsinoites (00)
iii. Site Tebtynis


i. Full name (original language) βαφεῖς καὶ γναφεῖς ἀπὸ τοῦ Αρσινοίτου (P.Tebt. II 287 ll. 15-6)
ii. Full name (transliterated) bapheis kai gnapheis apo tou Arsinoitou


i. Date(s) 161 - 169 (?) AD


ii. Name elements
Geographical:apo tou Arsinoitou
Professional:bapheis kai gnapheis


i. Source(s) P.Tebt. II 287 (AD 161-169)
Note Other publications: W.Chr. 251
Online Resources P.Tebt. II 287
TM 13450
i.a. Source type(s) Papyrological source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Greek; Petition
i.c. Physical format(s) papyrus


i. Number If this was an association, or two separate associations, then that of the fullers at least was sizeable. The complaint considers a taxation payment, and over-taxation by a certain Maximus. This sum was usually 1092 drachmas, but on this occasion, this Maximus attempted to extort a larger sum.

The average capitation trade tax for common fullers in the Arsinoite nome stood at 16 drachmas annually in AD 276, whereas specialized fullers in the same nome – ἐριοραβδισταί eriorabdistai and γερδιοραβδισταί gerdiorabdistai– paid 12 drachmas annually in AD 72-73, and 13 drachmas in AD 135-137 annually. Using these figures and that specified for the trade tax in P. Tebt. II 287, the result is a fullers’ association in the region of 68-91 individuals; a sizeable collective and a number high above that suggested by any of the other current available evidence (although cf. P. Corn. 23, containing 88 weavers and 160 other men in the village of Philadelphia, although this is not an association).


i. Local interaction Clear interaction between various levels of local and regional administration in terms of tax payments and registration. Possible interaction with the prefect who may have been involved in the case.


i. Comments On dating, BL VII: 270, X: 276.
iii. Bibliography Gibbs, M. A. (2011) "Trade associations in Roman Egypt: their raison d'être." AncSoc. 41: 291-315 (esp. pp. 299-300).
Harland, P. A. (2003) Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations: Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean Society. Philadelphia: 152.
Venticinque, P. (2015) "Courting the Associations: Cooperation, Conflict and Interaction in Roman Egypt." In V. Gabrielsen and C. A. Thomsen (ads)
Private Associations and the Public Sphere Proceedings of a Symposium held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, 9-11 September 2010 Copenhagen: 326-28.


i. Private association Possible
Note In the absence of either clear associative language or context, of associative representation or administration in front of the state, I would suggest that this is perhaps not a formal association. Rather, it may have been a group of informal workers who either took it upon themselves to petition against Maximus, or who were brought in by the administration to provide evidence against his fiscal abuse.