Inscription recording a house mortgage

Lead lamella, 9.5 cm high and 9 cm wide which preserves on its surface the text of a contract between two women, Lamaetha and Myrtis that was drafted in the presence of witnesses and concerned the mortgage of a house belonging to the latter.

According to the agreement Lamaetha would pay for Myrtis instalments worth of 225 silver coins. Myrtis probably created that debt by acting as a surety for another contract, possibly a loan, with a third person. Since Myrtis was unable to repay her debt, Lamaetha was asked to pay it off, under the condition that Myrtis would give her the money back after the amortization of the debt. The house of Myrtis was used as collateral for the lender’s, Lamaetha’s, security, that is Lamaetha would have the right to use Myrtis’ house as long as the mortgage was valid. According to the contract, Myrtis would still have to pay for the maintenance costs of her house, whereas the lender Lamaetha would not bear any responsibility for the condition of the house. In case Myrtis could not repay the debt, then Lamaetha would sell the house in order to get the money that was owed to her.

The lamella was discovered in 1999 during a salvage excavation in the region of Figareto at Kanoni and dates to the first half of the 2nd c. B.C

Text

The text goes as follows:

Θεός. Λαμαίθα δεκάτας
Πολιτᾶν οἰκίαν ὑποκαττί-
θεται τὰν ἐν ἅκραι πὰρ Μυρ-
τίδος - ἀρ(γυρίου) – ΗΗΔΔΠ, τὰς δὲ κατα-
5 βολὰς Λαμαίθαν κατα-
βάλλειν. Ἐπεὶ δέ κα λύε-
σθαι, χρὴ ἡ Μυρτὶς μηνὸς
Ἀπελλαίου ἀποδόμεν
τὠργύριον τὰν δ’ οἰκίαν
10 Μυρτίδα εὐτροπίζειν, αἴ τί
κα δῇ. Πρύτανις Νέσσος,
μεὶς Φοινικαῖος. Ἐπάκοι˙
Λαμαίθαι Ἀριστόμνη Ἀριστοδά/μου,
Μυρτίδι Φόρυς Ἀρχαγάθου

Translation:

God. Lametha, belonging to the tenth division of the tribe of Politai (citizens), takes as mortgage by Myrtis a house on the "cape" in exchange for 225 silver coins. Lamaetha will pay for  the instalments. When the deblt is fully paid, then Myrtis must repay the  money. She also has to pay for repairs of the house, if something crops up. Under Nessos the prytanis, on the month Phoinikaios. Witnesses: for Lamaetha Aristomne, daughter of Aristoadmos; for Myrtis Phorys, sone of Archagathos. 

         
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