Administration- Egypt's administration was a hierarchical system whose apex was the king in Alexandria, and in Roman times the Emperor of Rome. The census and cadastre, collection of taxes and other forms of administration were conducted in Greek throughout the Greek and Roman periods.
Army- The Egyptian army was drawn from all sectors of the Egyptian population. In return for military service, soldiers received allotments of land calledklereuchics and were granted citizenship.
Census/Cadastre- The census and cadastre were essential to the Egyptian administration. ogether they formed the basis for tax collection in Egypt. People, property and land were counted and classified by citizenship, (metropolite, Alexandrian, Roman, etc.,), profession, ownership, land and property status.
Court Proceedings and Law- During the Ptolemaic period, both Greek and native Egyptian laws operated side by side. Each set of laws were available to both Greeks and Egyptians. Eventually, the complaint would be handled by the appropriate court, according to the language in which the document was drawn up.
Customs- Like today, the Egyptians thoroughly recorded and taxed items imported and exported to and from Egypt. Customshouses could be found along trade routes in the eastern and western deserts, and at harbors located along the Nile and Mediterranean coast. For more information on customshouses see Koptos and Soknopaiou Nesos.
Justice- In order to receive proper justice, an individual would petition their strategos, (the governor of a nome). The strategos would either make judgement on the case, (to be carried out by village officials), or send the petition to a higher official, (the prefect). If sent to the prefect, the case might receive the opportunity to be heard in court by the prefect himself.
Land Status- Land was classified in order to assure proper taxation. Royal, public, and imperial land, (state-owned lands and that owned by the emperor or king himself), were leased out and taxed at a higher rate than private, or temple land. Other classifications of land were based on the lands potential productivity, such as inundated versus uninundated land.
Liturgies- Liturgies were compulsory public services performed for the good of the state and community. They could be in the form of actual labor, such as the dike corvee, or providing the money, materials and labor for such things as the repair and upkeep of the dikes, irrigation system, and public buildings. Liturgies increasingly became a burden on the community and often resulted in evasion from this service.
Punishment and Prison- We know very little about punishments and penalties in Egyptian law due to the formulaic language of petitions. "Due punishment" is just one of these many formal responses. However,we often hear of monetary fines being induced and in the following documents, prison appears to be more a holding cell for those awaiting trial and less a place of punishment.
Tax Collection- Taxes were collected primarily in kind after the grain harvest. Collection was carried out by appointed officials working with the nome strategos and private collectors contracted by the government.
Violence- In the papyri we have considerable evidence on crime and violence, especially against women and the aged. Much of the violence discussed in the letters and petitions arose over previous disputes.