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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 125


LOAN GIVEN TO ORCHOMENOS BY NIKARETA OF THESPIAI

Greek text:   IG_7.3172
Date:   223 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

This unusual collection of documents records a large interest-free loan given to the Hellenistic city of Orchomenos by Nikareta, a married woman. But it seems that we should not think of Nikareta as an enlightened benefactor; it is worth quoting a recent assessment of her actions:-

"The most extraordinary example of 'anti-euergistic' behaviour is surely that of Nikareta . . . who had lent large sums of money to the city of Orchomenos and never renounced her claim to the reimbursement of these sums. The inscription . . . is a long series of financial documents designed to show the world that the city could indeed pay off its debts"   - C.Müller, in "The Economies of Hellenistic Societies", page 330 ( Google Books ).

As a woman of considerable wealth, Nikareta could apparently manage her own financial and legal affairs, without needing the intervention of her husband; see R.J.Buck and R.M.Nielsen, "Is Nikareta an Exception?" ( PDF ).

The documents contain many financial and legal technical terms. Anyone who is interested in these matters should read the analysis by G.Thür. "Fictitious Loans and Novatio: IG VII 3172, UPZ II 190, and C.Pap.Jud. I 24 Reconsidered" ( PDF ). He concludes that the interest-free loan was purely fictitious, a device to resolve Nikareta’s claim for repayment of a previous loan.

The inscription has been translated into French twice, by P.F.Foucart, "Inscriptions d'Orchomène : pièces relatives à un prêt fait par une femme de Thespies à la ville d'Orchomène" ( Persée ); and by L.Migeotte, "L'emprunt public dans les cités grecques", no. 13.


[A]   The polemarchs in the year when Polykrates was archon - Philomelos son of Philon, Kaphisodoros son of Dionysios, Athanodoros son of Hippon - inscribed how they made the repayment of the loans from Nikareta, in accordance with the decree of the people {of Orchomenos}.

[B]   On the 26th day of the month of Alalkomenios; 110 Philomelos son of Philon put it to the vote, as proposed by Kaphisodoros son of Dionysios; it has previously been notified to the people; since the people has voted that the leading treasurer of the third four-month period should repay to Nikareta daughter of Thion in respect of the demands for payment that she has lodged against the city the amount that the city agreed with her, 18,833 drachmas of silver; and that the polemarchs should rescind the contract 120 which they gave concerning the money in respect of themselves and the treasurer and the ten associates chosen by Nikareta, and that the demands for payment lodged against the city in the year when Xenokritos was archon at Thespiai should be cancelled, and that the polemarchs should take care of these matters, and that the treasurer should repay the money in accordance with the covenant deposited with Thiophestos of Thespiai, the son of Thiodoros; therefore it is resolved by the people that when the decree is validated, 130 the people shall inscribe on a stone stele this decree, and the decree concerning the repayment, and along with these the demands for payment that Nikareta lodged against the city, and the name of the secretary who cancelled them, and the contract deposited with Wiphiadas and the copy of the covenant deposited with Thiophestos and the confirmation of payment of the money which they wrote for her through the bank, and they shall give an account of the expenditure to the overseers; 140 and the funding shall be given from the city's revenues.

[C]   On the fourth day of the beginning of the month of Damatrios; Kaphisodoros son of Dionysios put it to the vote, as proposed by Athanodoros son of Hippon; it has previously been notified to the people; since when Nikareta of Thespiai, the daughter of Thion, came here and exacted the loan she made to the city, in accordance with the demands for payment that she has lodged, the polemarchs and the treasurer were obliged, with the agreement of the people, to give a covenant in respect of themselves, in addition to the existing demand for payment, 150 until the payment is collected for this matter, and she receives the agreed money; therefore it is resolved by the people that the leading treasurer of the third four-month period along with the polemarchs shall repay to Nikareta 18,833 drachmas of silver in the month of Damatrios in the year when Polykrates is archon, and all the claims that Nikareta has against the city from the time when Xenokritos was archon at Thespiai shall be cancelled by the people, and the contract that she has against the polemarchs and the treasurer shall be rescinded. 160 The funding for this shall be given from all the revenues of the city.

[D]   {Demands for payment:}

When the archon was Xenokritos, in the month of Alalkomenios. Nikareta daughter of Theon, from the city of Orchomenos and the guarantor Thion son of Synnomos. The sum due: 10,085 drachmas and 2 obols. Witness of the agreement: Aristonikos son of Praxiteles.

When the archon was Lykiskos, in the month of Thyios; the covenant. Nikareta daughter of Thion, from the city of Orchomenos and the guarantor Thion son of Synnomos. The sum due: 2,500 drachmas. Witness of the agreement: the same as above.

When the archon was Lykiskos, in the month of Homoloios; the covenant. 170 Nikareta daughter of Thion, from the city of Orchomenos and the guarantor Thion son of Synnomos. The sum due: 4,000 drachmas. Witness of the agreement: the same as above.

At the same time. Nikareta daughter of Thion, from the city of Orchomenos and the guarantor Thion son of Synnomos. The sum due: 1,000 drachmas. Witness of the agreement: the same as above.

When the archon was Lykiskos, in the month of Theilouthios; the covenant . . .

[E]   The demands for payment lodged by Nikareta in Thespiai against the city {of Orchomenos} have been cancelled. Secretary of the guardians of the law {thesmophylakes}: Sa...

[F]   Nikareta of Thespiai, the daughter of Theon, accompanied by her guardian and husband Dexippos son of Eunomides, gave a loan to Kaphisodoros son of Dionysios, Philomelos son of Philon, Athanodoros son of Hippon, and Polykritos son of Tharops, and to the guarantors for the repayment of the loan:

the sum of 18,833 drachmas of silver, without interest, 20 given from Thespiai until the Pamboiotia when Onasimos is archon of the Boeotians. The borrowers or guarantors shall repay the loan to Nikareta in the three days before the sacrifice at the Pamboiotia. If they do not repay it, the money shall be exacted from them according to the law; the exactions shall be made 30 both from the borrowers themselves and from the guarantors, both from one and from several and from all, and from their possessions; and Nikareta shall exact it in whatever way she wishes. The contract shall be valid even if someone else cites it on behalf of Nikareta.

Witnesses:

The contract was deposited with Wiphiadas son of Timokles.

[G]   When Onasimos was archon of the Boeotians, in the month of Panamos, covenant between Nikareta of Thespiai, the daughter of Thion - accompanied by her husband Dexippos of Thespiai, 50 the son of Eunomidas - and the city of Orchomenos. The polemarchs attended on behalf of the city:

The city of Orchomenos shall repay to Nikareta daughter of Thion the sum that they agreed concerning the demands for payment lodged when Xenokritos was archon 60 in Thespiai, 18,833 drachmas of silver, at the latest in the month of Alalkomenios when Onasimos is archon. The polemarchs of Orchomenos and the guarantors shall draw up the contact, as approved by Nikareta, and they shall put it in deposit 70 with Wiphiadas of Thespiai, the son of Timokles. When Nikareta receives the money from the city, all the demands for payment that Nikareta has lodged against the city when Xenokritos was archon at Thespiai shall be cancelled, and Wiphiadas shall hand over the contract to the polemarchs and the treasurer and the guarantors. If the city does not pay back the money to Nikareta in the prescribed time - that is the 18,833 drachmas - it shall restore the contract 80 and the demands for payment lodged against the city, for all the money that is prescribed in the convention. If Nikareta is unwilling to accept the money in the prescribed time, Wiphiadas shall hand over the contract to the polemarchs and the treasurer and the guarantors, and Nikareta shall pay an additional 50,000 drachmas of silver to the polemarchs and the treasurers and the guarantors, and the demands for payment shall then be invalid.

Witnesses:

The covenant was deposited with Thiophestos of Thespiai, the son of Thiodoros.

[H]   Confirmation of payment to Nikareta through the bank of Pistokles in Thespiai. When Epiteles was archon in Thespiai, on the 11th day of the second month of Alalkomenios, at the bank of Pistokles, the treasurer Polykritos of Orchomenos the son of Tharops transferred to Nikareta on behalf of the city the sum agreed in respect to the demands for payment lodged when Xenokritos was archon, in the presence of the polemarch Athanodoros of Orchomenos, the son of Hippon: 100 18,833 drachmas of silver.

inscription 126


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