214 He held a conventus—an assize court—every year for that pur- pose in three towns (Alexandria, Pelusium, and Memphis) and occasionally in other places. The local authorities had to pre- pare the case in advance very carefully so that the proceedings could be disposed of during the few days of an assize. If a decision could not be obtained during the coiwentus, then the case was referred to a judex fedaneus, who had always to be an official and who received his instructions from the governor. Such instructions bore a certain, though only a superficial, similarity to the formula of the Roman procedure. In other matters, too, this procedure differed materially from that of the ckssical Roman law. The summons issued from a public author- ity and not from the plaintiff. Accordingly judgement by default could be given against a party who did not enter an appearance. We hear nothing of the Roman rule that judgement could be given only in terms of the payment of a sum of money: under provincial law judgement could be given for the specific restitu- tion of property and was so executed. Looked at from the Roman point of view this was procedure by cognitio, as opposed to the formulary procedure. The Roman jurists from whom we derive our knowledge of Roman law dealt almost exclusively with the formulary procedure, and thus the importance of the Egyptian papyri lies in the fact that they give us a clear con- ception of the procedure by cognitio as it was practised under the early empire. Furthermore, with the strengthening of the imperial power in Rome between the second and fourth cen- turies the cognitio procedure became finally the only form of procedure in Rome itself. There too, judgement by default could now be given against the party who failed to appear, there too, a person could be compelled to make specific restitution of property. Thus the experience of the provincial procedure by cognitio which we can trace in the papyri was of value as the experimental stage from which the subsequent practice de- veloped throughout the empire.