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278                        The Greek Papyri
to the Egyptian peasant, then as now content with the
Nile, the idea was as alien as was that of the gymnasium; to
the Greek these things meant civilization. The metropolis of
the nome was small in comparison with a town such as Arsinoe;
but though it had only 1,173 houses, we know that sometimes
quite small fractions of houses were leased so that the popula-
tion may well have been larger than at first sight would appear.
To him, too, came the returns of the fourteen-yearly census in
which every householder had to return all members of his house-
hold, their ages, sex, and status; for this purpose, as St. Luke
tells us and the papyri confirm him, every man had to go to
his own place. As strategus, he held a court of first instance, and
consequently complaints and petitions figure among his papers;
among them is one accusing the royal secretary (the next highest
official in the nome) of illicit exactions, and another from a
group of peasants who, suspected of implication in the murder
of a Roman centurion, attempt to involve others in the charge;
the case itself would be heard at the conventus of the prefect.
It is no wonder that he was, as he himself says in a letter to the
inspectors of the nome, 'distracted by the collection of the corn
dues and all the other unfinished business of his office5.
Of his family circle we have in the private letters an unusually
intimate picture. He and his sister Aline were deeply attached
to each other; she was also his wife, a practice which, after it
had received the sanction of the Ptolemies, had become quite
common among the hellenized population of Egypt. No con-
cession by Hellenism to oriental manners is more striking than
this; it is noteworthy that in the Gnomon of the Idios Logos
it was found necessary specifically to forbid such marriages to
Romans. Such a marriage carried no social stigma with it and
did not prevent Apollonius from having many Roman friends.
During the Jewish war Aline writes to him begging him to put
the burden of the work on to his subordinates as other strategi
did and not to run into unnecessary danger; when he went