Oath to care for the trees (A.D. 323)
"We agree, swearing the august divine oath by our lords the unconquered kings,
that we shall take every care of and do every service to and regularly irrigate
the persea tree ... for it is to propagate and to grow always."—A sworn
declaration from a group of men to Roman-Egyptian magistrate Dioscourides
Despite being employed under Roman administration in the fourth century,
Oxyrhynchus officials continued the ancient Greek practice of commissioning
contractors to plant and care for trees, generally in the city streets.
Religiously, the persea was considered the "tree of life."