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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 160


DECREES IN HONOUR OF DAMOPHON OF MESSENE


Greek text:   SEG 41.128 , SEG 49.423 , SEG 51.466 ( IG 9.1.4.1475 ) , SEG 54.452
Provenance:   Messene , Pelopponnese
Date:   first half of 2nd century B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

These decrees were inscribed on a pillar, set up in front of a heroön in Messene; see P.Themelis, in "Personal Styles in Greek Sculpture", pp.154-185 ( Google Books ).   In all, seven decrees have survived; as well as the ones translated here, there were decrees of Kranion in Kephallenia ( SEG 51.467 = IG 9.1.4.1583 ), Melos ( Themelis, 2017 -  academia.edu ), and Gerenia in Messenia ( unpublished ).

The decrees give us an unprecedented insight into the career of a Hellenistic sculptor; for some comments, see M.Melfi, "Damophon of Messene in the Ionian coast of Greece" ( academia.edu ). Despite all the evidence, there is still some disagreement about the dates of Damophon's statues.

The sculptures of Damophon in the temple at Lykosoura ( decree A ) were seen by Pausanias ( 8.37 ), and many parts of them have been discovered by archaeologists ( wikipedia ).   The phrase 'the great and the many' in the decree of Oiantheia ( D ) seems to be unique amongst all Greek inscriptions, and is assumed to be equivalent to 'the aristocracy and the people'; see P.Themelis, "Damophon in Oiantheia" ( academia.edu - in modern Greek ).



[A]   Decree of the Lykourasioi.

Since Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, when our city sent envoys to him, asking him to come to the sacred council, came to the council; and when he was asked by the priest of Despoina and all the citizens to cancel the charges that had accrued for it because the contractors were late, 10 he agreed and he released the city from paying three thousand eight hundred and forty six tetradrachms; and when he was asked also to cancel the repayments of the money that he had spent in advance on these matters, he deducted more than fifty minas; and in all the other matters he conducts himself just as we think he should; and when we asked him to make a statue of the goddess Hegemonē, upon receiving a deposit, he promised to make the statue, 20 and having completed it, in all eight cubits tall, he dedicated it to the goddess . . .  ; therefore it is resolved by the city . . . the Lykourasioi, because he has always been the benefactor of the sacred . . . in many matters, he and his sons and his descendants shall have for all time . . . to become first  . . . those who are . . .  by the city . . . 30 and to share in all the privileges that the . . . of the Lykourasioi also share in . . . and to crown him also with a bronze statue and to place the statue in the most prominent place in the temple of Despoina, and to inscribe on it: The city of Lykosoura dedicated this statue of Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, the benefactor of the temple and the city . . . always in the Nemean games 40 and the Lykaia and . . .  the Messenian Ithōmaia . . . of the Lykourasioi . . . Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, with a bronze statue; and he shall be a proxenos and benefactor of our city; and to place the statue in the most prominent place in the temple of Despoina at Lykosoura.

[B]   100 Decree of the Kythnians.

Since Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, has continually been very helpful to the city . . . he possessed piety and towards . . . just as the citizens who were sent (?) had requested him, and he devised also the best . . . and he has dedicated it on his own initiative; [therefore it is resolved] to crown Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos; 110 he shall be a proxenos and benefactor of the city of Kythnos, both himself and his descendants; and they shall have the right to own both land and buildings; and they shall have freedom from taxes, and inviolability both in war and in peacetime, and the other privileges that are given to the other proxenoi and benefactors of the city. The ephors with . . . shall inscribe this award of proxeny on a stone stele, and they shall set it up in the temple 120 of Aphrodite.

[C]   Decree of the Leukadians.

Since Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, is always friendly and benevolent towards our city; and when . . . and our citizens . . . ...omachos and Diakritos and . . . met with him and thought that they should ask him about the restoration of the statue for the temple of Aphrodite Limenarchis, 10 upon receiving a deposit, he promised that he would make it as a free gift; and coming to us he set up the statue, fashioning it to be worthy of the goddess and of our city and of his own artistic skill . . . and we accepted it . . . of the people; therefore it is resolved by the council and the people and the overseers and . . . to praise Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, and that he shall be our proxenos, 20 because of the noble attitude that he has towards our city; and to crown him with a bronze statue and to place it in the temple of Aphrodite Limenarchis at Leukas; and to take care of him, so that he may offer a sacrifice at the common hearth in the prytaneion; and to prepare a boat and rowers for him, who will convey him to Kyparissos in safety; and it was also resolved . . . 

[D]   Decree of the Oiantheians.

It was resolved by the council and the great and the many, to praise Damophon of Messene, the son of Philippos, for his zeal towards our city and for piety towards the divinity; Damophon shall have the status of proxenos and benefactor 10 of the city of Oiantheia, both for himself and for his descendants, for all time; and they shall have the right to own land, and freedom from taxes, and inviolability both in peacetime and in war, [and the] other [privileges that are held by the residents] of Oiantheia . . . 20 . . . [shall be inscribed] on a stele and set up in the temple of Apollo Phaistinos.

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