2200-year-old rental agreement discovered in ancient Teos

Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Theos, located near Seferihisar in Turkey’s İzmir province, discovered a 2200-year-old inscription, thought to be the most comprehensive rental agreement in Anatolian history. 

Ruins of Teos in Seferihisar (by Hurriyet Daily News)
Ruins of Teos in Seferihisar (by Hurriyet Daily News)

The inscription is carved on a a 1.5-meter-long stela. The document was apparently made with a guarantor and six witnesses, including the notables of the city. It declares punishments against the improper use of land containing buildings. It says about an inheritance of students of the Gymnasium between the age of 20 and 30 from a person in Teos, which donated his land, which included structures, slaves and the holy altar. The Gymnasium students, called Neos, express in the agreement that they want to use this holy place three days a year. In this period, the state collected tax from lands. The names of the renter and his father were written in the agreement. Almost half of the inscription is filled with punishment forms. If the renter gives damage to the land, does not pay the annual rent or does not repair the buildings, he will be punished. The Neos also vow to inspect the land every year.  According to the experts, the inscription provides information about the social life and judicial system of Teos in the Hellenistic era. Some 200 inscriptions were discovered in Teos up to 2010 and the finds made this season  doubled this result, as now archaeologists uncovered about 400 inscriptions by the end of 2016’s season.

(after Hurriyet Daily News, DHA Photo)

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