P.Oxy. II 237 coll.V1.4-VIII.7
Oxyrhynchos, 186 CE


....Chairemon however, once more renewed his attacks upon me without action, but recognising the impossibility of accusing me any longer claiming my rights to possession after such elaborate inquiries and so much correspondence had taken place, turned his schemes against me in another cation; and though your highness had like the other prefects proclaimed applications concerning private suits were not to be sent to you, he not I wrote but came in person and mutilated the case, as if he were able to give even you the lord prefect. Ignoring entirely both the circumstances under which the letter of Rufus was written, my petition to Rufus, his answer, the inquiry held by the strategos, the report of the keepers of the lives, the letter written to you on the subject by the strategos, the reply to hich your lordship sent to me on my petition, and the orders consequently ed to the keepers ofthe archives, he merely wrote to you a letter as follows:
To Chairemon, son of Phanias, ex-gymnasiarch of the city of the Oyrhynchites. My daughter Dionysia, my lord prefect, having committed many impious and illegal acts against me at the instigation of her husband Horion, son of Apion, I sent to his excellency Longaeus Rufus a letter in which I asked to recover in accordance with the laws the sums which I had given over to her, expecting that this would induce her to stop her insults to me. The prefect wrote to the strategos of the nome in the 25th year, non 27 (22 May 185), enclosing copies of the documents which I had submitted, with instructions to examine my petition and to act accordingly. Sincee therefore, my lord, she continues her outrageous behaviour and insulting conduct toward me, I claim to exercise the right given me by the part of which I quote below for your information, of taking her away against her will from her husband's house without exposing myself to violence on the part of any agent of Horion or of Horion himself, who is continually threatening to use it. I have appended for your information a section from a large number of cases bearing upon this question. Year 26, non (April/May 186).'


Such was his letter. He could not indeed cite a single insult or any other act of injustice against himself with which he charged me, but malice was the root of his abuse and assertion that he had been shamefully treated by me, saying that forsooth I turned a deaf ear to him, and a desire to deprive me of the right which I retain over the property. Stranger accusation still, he professes that he is exposed to violence on the part of my husband, who, even after my marriage contract with him which stated that I brought him this right unimpaired, gave his consent to me and afterwards to my mother ... when we wished to agree to Chairemon's mortgaging the property in question for a total sum of 8 talents. Since that time (he has continued) attempting to deprive me of my husband, being unable to deprive me of my property, in order that I may be unable to get provision even from my lawful husband, while from my father I have had neither the dowry which he promised nor any other present, nay more, I have never received at the proper times the allowance provided. He also appended the judgements of Similis as before, and other similar cases quoted by the archidikastes in his letter to Longaeus Rufus, unabashed by the fact that even Rufus had paid no attention to them as a precedent on account of their dissimilarity (to the present case) ... But your lordship exercising your divine memory and unerring judgment took into consideration the letter written you by the strategos, and the fact that a searching inquiry into the affair had already been held, and that . . . was a pretext for plotting against me; and you answered the strategos as follows:


'Pomponius Faustianus to Isidoros, strategos of the oxyrhynchite nome, greeting. The complaint which I have received from Chairemon, ex-gymnasiarch of the city of the Oxyrhynchites, accusing Horion, the husband of his daughter, of using violence against him, has by my orders been appended to this letter. See that the matter is decided in accordance with the previous instructions of his excellency Longaeus Rufus, in order that (Chairemon) may not send any more petitions on the same subject. Farewell. Year 26, Pachon 30 (25 May 186).


On receipt of this letter, . Chairemon brought it on Epeiph 3 (27 June 186) before Harpokration, royal scribe and deputy-strategos; and I appeared in court through my husband, and not only welcomed your orders and desired to abide by them, but showed that a decision in accordance with the previous instructions of Rufus had already been reached. For while Chairemon had written to protest against my possession as being illegal, Rufus, as was proved both by his answer to Chairemon and his reply to my petition, desired that an inquiry should be held to investigate the justness of my possession, and gave orders to the strategos on the subject. The strategos did not fail to execute them. He held a searching inquiry on the evidence of the keepers of the archives, and wrote to the prefect a report on the whole case
.... (The decision of the deputy-strategos was) '... that the strategos carried out Rufus' instructions by the commands given to the keepers of the archives, and by writing the aforesaid letter on the subject. But since Chairemon the petition which he has now sent to his excellency the prefect asked to take away his daughter against her will from her husband, and since neither the letter of his late excellency Rufus nor that of his excellency the prefect Pomponius Faustianus appears to contain any definite order on this question, his excellency the prefect can receive a petition concerning it giving a full account of the facts of the case, in order that judgment may be given in accordance with his instructions.'
On all points then, my lord prefect, the affair being now clear, and the malice of my father towards me being evident, I now once more make my petition to you, giving a full account of the case in accordance with the decision of the royal scribe and deputy-strategos, and beseech you to give orders that written instructions be sent to the strategos to enforce the payment to me of the provisions at the proper times, and to restrain at length his attacks upon me, which previously were based upon the charge of an illegal possession, but now have the pretext of a law which does not apply to him. For no law permits wives against their will to be separated from their husbands; and if there is any such law, it does not apply to daughters of a marriage by written contract and themselves married by written contract. In proof of my contention, and in order to deprive Chairemon of even this pretext, I have appended a small selection from a large number of decisions on this question given by prefects, procurators, and archidikastai, together with opinions of lawyers, all proving that women who have attained maturity and are mistresses of their own persons, and can remain with their husbands or not as they choose; and not only that they are not subject to their fathers, but that the law does not permit persons to escape a suit for the recovery of money by the subterfuge of counter-accusations; and (thirdly) that it is lawful to deposit contracts in the public archives, and the claims arising from these contracts have been recognised by all prefects and emperors to be valid and secure, and no one is permitted to contradict his own written engagements. In this way too he will at length cease from continually troubling the prefecture with the same demands, as you yourself wished in your letter.


From the minutes of Flavius Titianus, sometime prefect, Year 12 of the deified Hadrian, Pauni 8 (2 June 128), at the court in the marketplace. Antonius son of Apollonios appeared and stated through his advocate, Doros the younger, that his father-in-law Sempronius at the instigation of his mother had made a quarrel with him and taken away his daughter against her will, and that when the latter fell ill through grief the epistrategos Bassus, being moved by sympathy, declared that if they wished to live together Antonios ought not to be prevented, but all to no effect. For Sempronius hearing this declaration presented to the prefect a complaint of violence and had brought back an order that the rival parties were to be sent up for trial. Antonius therefore claimed, if it pleased the prefect, that he should not separated from a wife affectionately disposed towards him. The advocate Dymos replied that Sempronius had had good reason for having been provoked. For it was because Antonius had threatened to charge him with incest that he, refusing to bear the insult, had used the power granted by the laws and had also brought ... accusations against the other. Probatianus on behalf of Antonius added that if the marriage had not been annulled the father had no power either over the dowry or over the daughter whom he had given away. Titianus said: "The decisive question is with whom the married woman wishes to live."

Read over and signed by me (the prefect):
'Extract from the minutes of Paconius Felix, epistrategos.6 Year 18 of the deified Hadrian, Phaophi 17 (14 Oct. 133), at the court in the upper division of the Sebennyte nome, in the case of Phlauesis, son of Ammounis, in the presence of his daughter Taeichekis, against Heron son of Petaesis. Isidoros, advocate for Phlauesis, said that the plaintiff therefore, wishing to take away his daughter who was living with the defendant, had recently brought an action against him before the epistrategos and the case had been deferred in order that the law of the Egyptians might be read. Severus and Heliodorus, advocates (for Heron), replied that the late prefect Titianus heard a similar plea advanced by Egyptian parties, and that his judgement was in accordance not with the inhumanity of the law but with the choice of the daughter, whether she wished to remain with her husband. Paconius Felix said, "Let the law be read." When it had been read Paconius Felix said, "Read also the minute of Titianus." Severus the advocate having read: "Year 12 of Hadrian' Caesar the Lord, Pauni8, etc.," Paconius Felix said, "In accordance with the decision ofhis highness Titianus, they shall find out from the woman," and he ordered that she should be asked through an interpreter what was her choice. On her replying, "To remain with my husband;' Paconius Felix ordered that the judgement should be entered on the minutes.'
'Extract from the minutes of Umbrius, iuridicus. Year 6 of Domitian, Phamenoth (Feb.IMarch 87) . . Didyme, defended by her husband Apollonios, against Sabinus also called Kasios: extract from the proceedings. Sarapion: "Inquire of the parties who are Egyptians, amongst whom the severity of the law is untempered. For I declare to you that the Egyptians have power to deprive their daughters not only of what they have given them, but of whatever these daughters may acquire for themselves besides." Umbrius said to Sabinus, "If you have already once given a dowry to your daughter, you must restore it." Sabinus: "I request . . ." Umbrius: "To your daughter of course." Sabinus: "She ought not to live with this man:' Umbrius: "It is worse to take away (a wife) from her husband ...'"
'Copy of a lawyer's opinion. Ulpius Dionysodoros, ex-agoranomos, lawyer, to his most esteemed Salvistius Africanus, prefect of a fleet and judicial officer, greeting. Since Dionysia has been given away by her father in marriage, she is no longer in her father's power. For even though her mother lived with her father without a marriage contract, and on that account she appears to be child of a marriage without contract, by the fact of her having been given away in marriage by her father, she is no longer the child of a marriage without Contract. It is about this point probably that you write to me, my good friend. Moreover, there are minutes of trials which secure the rights of the daughter against her father in respect of the dowry, and this too can help her.