Guitty Azarpay, Kathleen Martin, Martin Schwartz, and Dieter Weber
New Information on the Date and Function of the MP Berkeley Archive

Berkeley documents no. 261 and 262
Berkeley documents no. 261 and 262

Four small paper fragments with Arabic script in the Berkeley Pahlavi Archive, datable to the mid 7th to mid 8th or early 9th century, offer critical information on the date, function, and authorship of the Middle Persian documents in that collection. This study argues for the identification of the unnamed era of the MP documents with the kharaji calendar, based on the Persian solar year and months, used as the financial calendar in Islam for the purpose of the collection of land tax, or kharaj, and identifies some of the Berkeley Middle Persian documents as tax records.  Described as invoices, bills, and records, these documents were evidently sealed, notarized, and stored in a registry that functioned from the late Sasanian period into early Islamic times. Moreover, references in the Berkeley MP documents to local functionaries and officials as “tax collector,” “manager,” etc., suggest the presence of a cadre of Iranian functionaries who undertook to continue tax collection on behalf of the new Muslim power.  Martin Schwartz discusses the origin and etymology of the term kharaj, and Dieter Weber, “The xaraj Taxation and the Pahlavi Document Berk. No. 27” in contributions to this paper.