Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 180


Greek text:   IG_12.sup.644 ;   SEG_49.855 ;   SEG_49.722
Provenance:   Chalcis , Euboea ;   Tripolis (Drama), Macedonia ;   Poteidaia/Kassandreia, Macedonia
Date: c. 200 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

Various inscriptions containing regulations for the Macedonian army, all dated to around the same period, have been discovered in the last century. One of them, about discipline, was translated by M.M. Austin ( Austin_90 ); but although the three inscriptions translated here are important evidence for the history of the Macedonian army under the later kings, there has been little detailed discussion of them in English. In French, there is a translation of A on the Chaeréphon website and a thorough study of B and C by M.B. Hatzopoulos, "L' organisation de l'armée Macedonienne sous les Antigonides: problèmes anciens et documents nouveaux". pp.94-118 ( PDF ).

A previously unknown Greek word, pyrokausis, appears in both B and C. There has been some controversy as to its meaning. The word is translated 'hearth' here, following the interpretation of Hatzopoulos, who regarded it as some kind of family grouping. But strong arguments for the alternative view, that it refers to a military unit, have been put forward by C.I. Chrysafis, "Pyrokausis : Its meaning and function in the organisation of the Macedonian army" ( ).


[A]   The stewards {oikonomoi} shall ensure that they keep the materials, which are assigned by the king to the stores, free from damage. And they shall measure the materials, which are already stored and can be measured, in the presence of the garrison commanders {phrourarchoi}; and they shall weigh the materials that can be weighed. And the agents of the stewards shall hold the keys of the storehouses; 10 and the garrison commanders shall put a seal on the buildings, and shall ensure that nothing is removed from store, unless some materials seem to have decayed so much that they are useless - these shall be removed when an equal amount is added in their place. And they shall bring in the dry corn from the latest harvest and immediately arrange for it to be sprinkled with earth of Chalkis; and they shall renew the wine and the timber over a period of five years; and they shall ensure 20 that the year's wine is brought in, after it is tested for sweetness; and they shall examine the granaries, during the summer six months whenever there is a rainstorm, and during the winter six months every ten days; and if some moisture has spread into the corn, they shall rectify it immediately. 

If any of the stewards or the subordinates of the stewards either remove the seals without the approval of the garrison commanders, or take out any materials before bringing in others, 30 or allow some materials to become unusable by not examining them at the prescribed times, when convicted they shall suffer whatever punishment the king decides. If the garrison commanders fail to keep sufficient guard of what is stored, and if they willingly allow others to take materials, and if they take materials for themselves, they shall be liable to whatever punishment the king decides. If the stewards fail to do something that is written in this ordinance, 40 the appointed garrison commander  in the place where the failure occurred shall immediately write to the king, so that the king may decide what punishment the failure deserves. If the garrison commander does not write a letter, but the king first finds out about the failure from someone else, he shall be made to pay a fine of six thousand drachmas.

Each of the stewards shall inscribe this ordinance on a stele, and set it up in the most prominent place in the fort; and when he either moves to a different location 50 or is discharged from his post, he personally shall hand over this stele to his successor, along with the other things related to his duties as steward, in accordance with this ordinance.  


[B]   . . . each shall be deemed to be (?) a citizen . . . [if] they bring some men into their [households, as for those] who wish to receive them and to whom the [? common] law permits it, they shall enrol them on this basis; but as for those who try to induce other men, they shall pay no attention to them, [unless] the king concedes this privilege to certain persons;10  but if, both being of the required age, they wish to belong to one 'hearth', they shall register them as co-residents; and if they act contrary to these regulations, after being convicted in court they shall pay a fine to the royal treasury of one talent for each person; as for those individuals who think that they have been wronged [and] that some persons have been registered improperly, whatever the judges decide shall be put in the records; such persons shall be assigned back to the 'hearths' in which they were previously placed; and anyone else who wishes may denounce them [and bring an accusation], with a reward 20 of a third part of the fine that is imposed. 

As for those who have not previously been registered in the lists of citizens, the superintendents {epistatai} shall not knowingly enrol any such person in the 'hearths', nor shall the officer in charge of the registers . . . nor the secretary, unless they ask the king for permission and he gives his agreement in writing; if this is not done, whoever is registered or enrolled shall be removed from the 'hearths', and he shall pay a fine to the royal treasury of three thousand drachmas; the superintendents and their secretaries shall be punished - 30 from the personal resources of each of them , a fine shall be exacted of [? three] talents, [and] half of this shall be given as a reward to the informer . . . of the registers, the secretary [shall] make a copy . . . double for each . . . 


[C]   . . . [to anyone who] denounces any of these wrongs 10 and proves it in court there shall be given as a reward [? half] of the fine . . . and the naval force from the customary locations; and they shall take those [of the men registered in the lists of citizens] for each 'hearth' who seem fit [to remain in military service from their] fifteenth year until their fiftieth year, unless . . . and who are fit to remain in military service as [reservists] . . . they shall [enrol] them also; and of all the . . . whose bodily condition seems to be . . . they shall register those who are wealthier in the agema [of (?) the Macedonians and in the peltasts; but they shall take] those who are poor and have little wealth for the [? infantry; and they shall select for the] hypaspistai, the spear-bearers of the king, men whose household [and wealth they consider to be suitable]. The oldest of the men assigned to the agema 20 shall serve until [forty five years of age, except for some up to] fifty years who are judged to be fit to provide [service in this group; and the oldest of the men assigned to the] peltasts shall serve until thirty five years of age.

[From households in which there is a husband and a wife and one son], if the son is over twenty years old and his physical condition is suitable, [and the father is fifty years old], they shall take [the son] and the father shall be a reservist; if the son is younger [than twenty years old and the father is fifty years old or] younger and physically capable of serving as a soldier, [they shall] enrol [the father, and the son shall be a reservist; if the son] is younger than twenty years old and the father is over fifty years old, [they shall take the son from] the age of fifteen years, and the fathers of such boys, if they are [under fifty five years old, shall be reservists]; if they are over that age, [they shall be] free from any duties, [except that some men who have served as commanders or companions] may seem fit to go out as reservists. [In a household where the father is of an age that qualifies him to serve as a soldier], 30 but his son is younger than fifteen years old, [and they have a deputy who is (?) capable of managing their household], they shall enrol the father for military service; and if [there is no deputy] . . .  but he shall remain at home as a reservist; in [a household] where . . . they shall [take] the son, and the father shall remain as a reservist; where there are [two (?) sons . . . and] their father is capable of managing the [affairs of the house] . . . and if not, always the most useful one, and the other shall remain as a reservist . . . and if [there are] even more men in the household, [they shall] take [one of the men, and the others shall (?) go out as] reservists; in a 'hearth' where there is a father or his deputy . . . 40 the remaining two of them shall [not be taken] as soldiers . . . . . . 50 and [if] in a 'hearth' [there are either] a father or a mother . . . they shall leave him as a (?) carer for his parents . . .

inscription 181

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