Hephaistias (meris of Herakleides)
Hephaistias is attested 150 times in 82 papyri between 256 BC (P.Petrie III 42c) and AD 232 (BGU XV 2509 Vo). The greater part of the attestations date from the 3rd century BC and from the Roman period.
The village Hephaistias (῾Ηφαιστιάς) is named after the Alexandreian demos Hephaistieus [cf. Schubart 1913, pp. 88-89, n. 2.], which refers to the Greek god Hephaistos. The villagers are referred to as Hephaistiotai (῾Ηφαιστιώτης) (BGU 07 1536; P.Cornell 22).
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Several papyri place Hephaistias in the meris of Herakleides of the Arsinoite nome. The close links with Bakchias (see also under Administration below) make it certain that Hephaistias was in the north-eastern part of the Fayum. Pernigotti 1997b, p.204 even played with the idea that Hephaistias was located on the southern kom of Umm el-Atl, whereas Bakchias would then be on the northern kom. The surface material in this area points, however, to the Byzantine and Arab period, and the southern village apparently came into being after Bakchias was abandoned.
On the other hand a more southern location between Umm el-Atl and Tamiyya contradicts the close administrative relationship between Bakchias and Hephaistias [cf. Pernigotti 1994, p. 46; Nachtergael 2000], and does not fit the papyrological information on Hephaistias' position in respect to canals. Several texts of the Kleon archive deal with works on canals in the area of Hephaistias. Thus P.Petrie III 42c (7) (= II 6) mentions dikes at Hephaistias, on the canal of Kleon and between Bakchias and Patsontis, P.Petrie III 42 G10 deals with works between Hephaistias and Nautys. This canal was probably the Dioryx Patsonteos (Bahr Wardan). According to P.Petrie II 36 (1) Hephaistias was on the eastern embankment of a canal which ran south of Kleon's canal: ἡ διώρυξ ἡ πρὸς λίβα ῾Ηφαιστιάδος, πρὸς νότον τῆς Κλέωνος διώρυγος [for the canal of Kleon, cf. Calderini 1920, p. 209].
Several land-owners have holdings in Hephaistias and Philadelpheia, which suggests that the two were not far apart. Horos son of Harmais was oil seller in Hephaistias and Soknopaiou Nesos. Three receipts written by sitologoi of exo Pseur (BGU XII I 2300; P.Gen. II 110; SB XVI 12683) for payments on land in Hephaistias (and Bakchias) for three different persons suggests that exo Pseur was also in the same neighbourhood.
More surprising are the links of Hephaistias with the plain (pedion) of Herakleia, because the latter village is situated in the meris of Themistos (cf. P.Graux 2 comm.). In SB XXVI 16414 Bakchias, Hephaistias and the plain of Herakleia are even administered by a single amphodokomogrammateus.
The Egyptian farmers of the village (οἱ ἐν ῾Ηφαιστιάδι λάοι) defend their rights as a group against Sopatros, the representative of the nomarch Damis in 254 BC (P.Cairo Zen. II 59203 and 59204). From the mid third century BC onwards Greek cleruchs are settled in the village, among them the Thracian Ptolemaios and the Persian Diodoros. No less than eleven are listed by Uebel 1968, pp. 55-58 no. 77-87. Most are cavalrymen, belonging to various units. Since this land is mentioned in a contract for public works on a canal in the archive of the architecton Kleon (P.Petrie III 43.2), it may have been brought under cultivation shortly before 246 BC.
In the 3rd century BC princess Berenike, no doubt the daughter of Ptolemaios I or II, owns a vineyard at Hephaistias (P.Tebt. III 720).
A land register of the 2nd-3rd century AD (P.Graux II 14) mentions royal land and land belonging to the former ousia of Philodamos, Vespasian, Dionysodoros and Pallas. Confiscated land is found in P.Cornell 8 (first cent. AD). The catoecic land of the Roman period no doubt continues the cleruchic settlements of the Ptolemaic period mentioned above. A small vineyard in the former ousia of Ti. Gemellus is bought by an Alexandrian soldier in AD 201 (BGU I 156).
In the Roman period agricultural land in the village is owned by residents of Philadelpheia (P.Cornell 22) and by the well-known Iulius Serenus from Karanis (SB XXII 15855). The metropolite lady Flavia Petronilla alias Titaniadis (P.Ryl. II 172) owns a palm garden and Aurelia Ammonarion, no doubt also belonging to the upper class (she is Aurelius already in AD 201) pays through her manager for taxes on garden land (P.Col. X 271). Other Roman owners of catoecic land, no doubt soldier families, are C. Anthestius Valens and his brother C. Anthestius Numisianus (P.Philad. 11; AD 120-141), Sentia Aquilina (P.Hamb. I 82; AD 165), Mummia Diogenis with her tutor Avillius Anthestianus (PSI III 161; AD 169) and Valeria Flavia Isidora alias Charite (P.Cornell 44; AD 209). One villager of Hephaistias also possesses catoecic land in Nestou Epoikion (P.Fay. 84).
Besides the usual grain land there are numerous vineyards and several palm gardens in the Roman period. In 250 BC 40 jars of wine from Philadelpheia are sent to the retail dealers of Bakchias and Hephaistias (P.Col.Zen. II 55), and in the 2nd century BC wine presses and taxes on vineyards are attested (BGU VII 1549, 1551, 1561, 1562). In AD 186 money taxes on land (no doubt vineyards and orchards) amount to nearly 2000 dr. for a three month period). Wine is transported on camels from Hephaistias to Memphis in BGU III 712. In 247 BC garlic is grown on a fairly large scale by the nomarch Etearchos, who protests when the garlic farmers of Hephaistias are jailed for some unpaid taxes (P.Lond. VII 2008; cf. Crawford 1973a, pp.357-358). In two texts from the same period large numbers of goats are apparently owned by Zenon (P.Wisc. II 78: 180 goats; PSI VI 596: 76 young goats).
A controler of two storehouses in the village reports that there was no income from fishing and that the villagers have paid the rent due (P.Hamb. I 6).
Bakers (σιτοποιοί) and picklers (ταριχροί) of Bakchias and Hephaistias are paying taxes in the 2nd century BC (P.Fay. 15).
At the end of the 2nd century AD Hephaistias contributes with Bakchias one calf and two pigs to a Serapis festival (P.Petaus 40). The use of a dromos measure in AD 208 points to the presence of a temple, but the name of the god is not mentioned in P.Ryl. II 172.
Hephaistias belongs to the meris of Herakleides. About 247-244 BC the village is part of the nomarchy of Timotheos [cf. Peremans-Van 't Dack 1953, pp.62-63] (P.Tebt. III 720).
From an administrative point of view Hephaistias was largely dependent upon Bakchias. In the Roman period nearly all taxes, both those in money and in kind, are levied by officials of a single administrative entity called Bakchias-Hephaistias, as was shown by Nachtergael 2000.
From AD 72 to 78 the common notaries office is directed by οἱ πρὸς τῷ γραφείῳ Βακχιάδος καὶ ῾Ηφαιστιάδος (P.Mich. III 186; 187; X 583), from AD 84 to 126 the main office is in Bakchias, though there may have been a local office in Hephaistias. Common sitologoi of Bakchias and Hephaistias receive taxes in grain in AD 150 (P.Lond. II 315) and in AD 172/173 (P.Cairo Preis. 27 and 28); money taxes are received by praktores nomarchikon from AD 168 to 222/223 and by praktores stephanikon in AD 226 and 232 (BGU XV 2509Vo). In AD 140 a doctor wants exception of a charge of epiteresis of sequestered goods in Bakchias and Hephaistias (P.Fay. 106). Only the praktores argyrikon are clearly differentiated in the 2nd and early third centuries.
In the second century BC Hephaistias still had its own village scribe, Marres, but no village scribes are known from the Roman period. In P.Merton I 29 the wife of Sarapion, the scribe (grammateus) of Hephaistias, is to be arrested by the Arab archers (᾿Αραβοτοχόται) of Bakchias. In AD 219/220 Bakchias, Hephaistias and the plain of Herakleia are administered by a single amphodokomogrammateus Aurelius Euangelos.
Between AD 165 and 215 Hephaistias has its own praktores argyrikon, though in AD 211 and 232 the praktor nomarchikon Aunes and the praktor stephanikon Aur. Heron function for Bakchias and Hephaistias jointly. The following survey shows the tax officials of Hephaistias:
I. Uytterhoeven - W. Clarysse, Oct 2 2003