Aurelia Didyme

P.Oxy. XXXIV 2713 (BL VI 111, VIII 261)
Oxyrhynchos, c AD 297

To Aristius Optatus, most distinguished prefect of Egypt, from Aurelia Didyme, daughter of Didymos, from the .... most glorious city of the Oxyrhynchites. It is a difficult matter to be wronged by strangers, but to be wronged by kin is worst of all. My mother's father Dioskoros had three children in all - Theon, Dioskoros, and Ploutarche, my mother - who inherited from him when he died. After some time, my mother also died, while I was under-age and already an orphan. My lord prefect, you know well that the race of women is easy to despise, because of the weakness of our nature. For all of the things from the inheritance devolving upon us (for it was a single household and one family) were in the house there in which they were living - that is, the slaves, the immovables, the furnishings, and movable goods were all there undivided.

In the meantime, my mother's brothers from the same mother plotted together with useless and foolish stupidity, intending to cheat me. Each one grabbed whatever he wanted of the slaves and all the rest, paying no attention to me whatsoever, but so to speak, even pushing me off from the third part of the inheritance that fallas to me. Now, at any rate, I have recovered, due to your ever-alert spirit, and I am beginning to realise that I should not approach no one but you, the benefactor and guardian of me and everyone else.

Thus I hurry to ask you, since you have seen me bereft, to command, whenever it seems good to you, that my uncles, brothers of my mother, be compelled to return to me what belongs to me, as heiress of my mother, together with the increments from that time until now from the slaves and rents and everything else. I shall eternally confess my gratitude to your spirit, once I take back my inheritance from my mother through your trustiness and your nobility. Farewell.

(2nd hand) I, Aurelia Didyme, submitted this petition. I Aurelius Thonis, wrote for her because she does not know letters.

Rowlandson, Jane, ed. 1998. Women and Society in Greek and Roman Egypt. Cambridge.