2200 years old Rent Agreement found in Turkey

Turkish archaeologists have discovered an ancient rent agreement from the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Teos in Turkey.

Experts say the tablet is the most extensive of its kind found in Anatolia, Turkey. According to a report in Turkish news agency DHA, it includes details of the land, its owners, tenants and the punishment on failure to comply with the terms.

Experts working at the excavation site say the agreement sheds light on the ‘the many aspects of ancient cities, including their social, administrative and religious structure.’

The ‘one of its kind’ lease tablet, written on a marble stella, is 1.5 meters in length and consists of 58 lines.

What the rent agreement reveals:
  1. The contract outlines rules for tenancy of a piece of land in the Gymnasium of Teos.
  2. The land in question had various structures, slaves and a holy altar.
  3. As it was registered as a religious place, owners were exempted from tax.
  4. The land was rented through bidding and publicised through ‘howlers’.
  5. Tenants got to use the land for most the year, but owners had the right to use it three days a year.
  6. The lease outlined many conditions, to meet which, a ‘warranter’ was required. Scientists have learnt the warranter and his warranter’s name from the inscription.
  7. The contract also needed signs from six witnesses, three of whom were the city’s chief administrators.
  8. Almost half of the contract outlines penalty sanctions, according to Dr Mustafa Adak, a member of the excavation team.
  9. Tenants were subjected to fines if they damaged the property or failed to carry out ‘annual maintenance procedures’.
  10. Landlords also inspected the property on a yearly basis and and kept a check on its productivity.
  11. Researchers have also come across two new judicial terms. They now need to look into ancient authors and judicial texts to find out what they mean.
  12. Inappropriate use of the gymnasium would have led to fines too, which shows community leaders were creating the agreement to rent out a public space.



Teos has fascinated researchers from around the world since the 18th century. It is one of the 12 ancient cities that were located in ancient Ionia.

During the 6th century BC, Ionia became the focus of intellectual life in Greece, and housed various artists including poets, musicians, singers and actors.

Excavators have called Teos “the most satisfying ancient city in Anatolia” with regards to its inscriptions, which detail the social and administrative structures prevalent in the city. 400 inscriptions have been dug out from its ruins so far.


Source: India Today



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