A trilingual sales contract on papyrus from Roman Arabia (P.Yadin I 22)
Keywords:papyrus, contract, trilingual, Greek, Aramaic
This contribution considers the context, textual content, and means of textual division in a trilingual sales contract from Roman Arabia. The text, P.Yadin I 22, formed part of the so-called Babatha archive, the family papers of a Jewish woman who later took refuge in the Judaean Desert, where the documents were later discovered. Despite the absence of formal punctuation marks or word division comparable to modern conventions, the writers of this papyrus used various subtler means to highlight divisions in sense and content, related also to their choices among the three languages at work in the contract (Greek, Nabataean Aramaic, and Jewish Aramaic). This highlighting will have served in the first instance to ease future reference in a document meant to achieve maximum legal precision and authority, but the interplay of languages may also be seen to have ideological implications in the history of the region.
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