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Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization (SAOC)

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SAOC 28.

Saite Demotic Land Leases

George Robert Hughes

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The earliest extant leases from Egypt are briefly described as what they are like and how they compare in content with the more numerous demotic leases of the Ptolemaic period. They may legitimately be called leases in the accepted sense. They are not assignments, for the landholder retained his hold of the land and only provided usufruct for a stipulated term in return for a consideration less than the value of the land. They are not simply farming arrangements in which the "lessee" was in effect hired to farm the land in return for a share of the crop. The somewhat enigmatic arrangement, Document V, comes near being such a contract of hire, but even there both the oxen and the land appear to be "leased." The Saite leases are by no means verbose; indeed, they are unusually economical in setting forth only the bare necessities of the agreement. A number of the stipulations which we have learned to expect regularly in the Ptolemaic demotic leases appear only seldom or are not present at all. In the majority of cases such absences do not mean any difference in intent between the Saite and the Ptolemaic leases.

  • Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 28
  • Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1952
  • Pp. x + 111; 3 plates
  • Out of print

Revised: June 8, 2009

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