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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 1


PAGAI HONOURS SOTELES


Greek text:   IG_7.190
Provenance:     Pagai , near Megara
Date: 64-56 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

The pyrrhiche ("Pyrrhic dance") was primarily a war dance, but its survival after the Roman conquest of Greece was no doubt due to its connection with religious rituals. In Pagai, it seems to have been performed as part of the Soteria festival, in honour of Artemis Soteira; see P. Ceccarelli , "Naming the Weapon-Dance: Contexts and Aetiologies of the Pyrrhiche", p.205 ( academia.edu ).

Soteles clearly thought that his contribution to maintain this tradition was worth commemorating, but because his impoverished homeland was unlikely to be able to afford anything suitable, he ended up paying for his own statue.   The translation is partly taken from A.R.Hands, "Charities and Social Aid in Greece and Rome" (1968), pp.181-2.


. . . [for its] management he lent [money] without interest . . . when we were performing the pyrrhiche at the sacrifice-festival of the [? Soteria] . . . and no-one wanted to . . . to the teachers . . . with their personal expenses . . . he provided clear oil for the whole [year] . . . 10 he entertained them [magnificently], and sacrificed oxen . . . and he provided [a dinner] for the citizens and resident foreigners [and the Romans who were staying here] and their sons and all their slaves and . . . and for the resident aliens and the slaves and the maidens . . . those who were staying here from Megara and Aigosthena . . . for the [cost] of the sacrifice, wine for the dinner to the citizens and resident foreigners and the Romans residing here and all the slaves; and on the other day he entered into the theatre with his children and distributed sweetmeats to all the citizens and all the women and the foreigners staying here. Seeing that we [often] did not perform the pyrrhiche dances because of the straitened circumstances of the city’s government, [he himself] 20 promised to give 1,225 Alexandrian drachmas, [so that] the pyrrhiche could be funded [each] year from the interest on this money. On top of all this, when we were wanting to give honour to Soteles and to set up his statue, appearing in the council and observing that the public funds were under pressure, he undertook to meet the expense of the statue and of its erection out of his own pocket, desiring thoroughly to please the citizens. And in order that the city might incur no expense on his account, when he [set up] the statue he sacrificed to all the gods and gave a dinner to all the citizens and resident foreigners and to the Romans who were staying here and to the slaves of all of these, and to their sons and the slaves’ children.   Therefore, in order that others also may emulate such deeds for the advantage of the city, it is resolved by the archons and by the councillors {synedroi} from all the years and by the people 30 to praise [Soteles] son of Kallinikos for his goodwill and generous spirit, which he has shown unfailingly from his [earliest] youth, and to set up his statue wherever he wishes, in the [most prominent place in the] agora, and to inscribe it as follows: "The people of Pagai honours Soteles son of Kallinikos [its benefactor] on account of his virtue and his goodwill towards the gods," so that [all may know that the men of Pagai know how to honour those] showing a generous spirit towards them. [The herald of the council shall summon him] to privileged seating, and also his descendants . . . and when the pyrrhiche is brought in . . . the supervisor in the agora at the sacrifice-festival of the . . .

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