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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 112


PRIANSOS, KNOSSOS AND APTERA HONOUR ENVOYS FROM TEOS

Greek text:   IC_1.24.1 ,   IC_1.8.11 ,   IC_2.3.2
Date:   c. 170 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

In some ways, the mission of the envoys Herodotos and Menekles to the cities of Crete was perfectly normal. They visited various cities and asked them to renew their recognition of the inviolability of Teos; the cities duly obliged and produced decrees for them to take back to Teos - C is an example of these decrees. But in two cities, Priansos and Knossos, something completely different happened; their decrees failed to mention the inviolability of Teos, and instead they praised one of the envoys, Menekles, for his skill as a musician. This unusual response has naturally attracted the interest of modern writers; see for instance I.Rutherford, "Theoria and Theatre at Samothrace. The Dardanos of Dymas", pp.285-6 ( academia.edu ), and L.Prauscello in "Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture", pp.192-3 ( Google Books ).

All the inscriptions were found at Teos. The translation of A is in part derived from K.Clarke, in "La cultura storica nei primi due secoli dell'impero romano", page 118 ( Google Books ).


[A]   Decree of the Priansians.   It was resolved by the kosmoi and the city of Priansos; since Herodotos son of Menodoros and Menekles son of Dionysios, who were sent to us as envoys by the Teians, not only dwelt in our city appropriately and [(?) checked our histories], but also Menekles put on a display with a cithara of the works of Timotheos and Polyidos and our other ancient poets finely and fittingly, and he brought in the historical cycle about Crete and the gods and heroes who were born in Crete, creating his compilation from many poets and writers of history; therefore it is resolved by the city to praise the Teians because they attach great importance to culture, and to praise both Herodotos and Menekles because they conducted themselves during their residence in our city in a fine and fitting manner; and this shall be reported to the Teians so that they may be aware of it.   Farewell.

[B]   Decree of the Knossians.   It was resolved by the kosmoi and the city; since Herodotos son of Menodoros and Menekles son of Dionysios, who were sent by the Teians as envoys to the cities of Crete and resided in our city for a long time, not only conducted themselves well while staying in our city, but also Menekles put on many displays with a cithara of the works of Timotheos and Polyidos and our other ancient poets finely and as would be expected of a cultured man; therefore, so that the Teians may know that our city welcomes such men, it is resolved to praise the city of Teos for sending such men, and similarly to praise Herodotos and Menekles because they dwelt with us in a fine and well-behaved manner. The kosmoi shall give a copy of this decree to Herodotos and Menekles, after sealing it with the public seal, for them to take back to the Teians, so that they may be aware of it and may always show care for such men.

[C]   Decree of the Apteraians.   The kosmoi and city of Aptera to the council and people of Teos, greetings. The envoys who came to us from you, Herodotos son of Menodoros and Menekles son of Dionysios, handed over the decree which you wrote to renew the kinship and the pre-existing friendship between us and the privileges given by our city in previous times and the consecration of your city and its territory to Dionysos; and you requested that we inscribe the previous decree in whatever temple we decide; and the envoys sent by you spoke in accordance with what was written in the decree, describing the pious disposition of your city towards all the gods, and particularly towards Dionysos, the founder of your city, to whom the city and its territory happen to have been consecrated; and they spoke with zeal and distinction about the other matters; therefore it is resolved by the people of Aptera to reply to the Teians, who are our kinsmen and friends, that in past times we have been piously disposed towards all our gods [and particularly] towards Dionysos, on account of which we previously granted inviolability to you and consecrated your city and territory; and after preserving the privileges previously granted to you until the present time, we will also in the future try to maintain them, renewing what you request in your decree. We will not harm the Teians, who are our kinsmen and friends, either in war or in peacetime, just as in previous times; and if anyone does harm the Teians, either publicly or individually, either by land or by sea, since they are sacred and inviolable we will try to come to their aid as far as we are able. If any persons set out from Aptera in order to harm the Teians, they shall be liable to prosecution under the law for temple-robbing.   The Teians also shall inscribe the renewal of the decree in the temple of Dionysos, so that the piety of the Apteraians towards all the gods may be apparent to all the Greeks. We also shall inscribe the previous decree and the renewal of it in the temple of Artemis Aptera. We have invited the envoys to hospitality [at] the public [hearth].   Farewell.

inscription 113


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