back

Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 7


EPIPHANY OF ZEUS AT PANAMARA


Greek text:   Panamara_2   ( I.Strat. 10 )
Provenance:     Panamara , Caria
Date: soon after 40 B.C.
Tags:     epiphanies
Format:   see key to translations

This heavily restored inscription describes the dramatic intervention of Zeus to defend his temple at Panamara, similar to the intervention of Apollo at Delphi in 279 B.C., for which see Paus_10.23. The historical context is the invasion of southern Asia Minor by Quintus Labienus and the Parthians in 40 B.C.

For an analysis of this and similar epiphanies of Greek gods, see G.Petridou, "Crossing Physical and Cultural Borders in the Battlefield: Amorphous Epiphanies and Divine Bilingualism" ( academia.edu ); and "Divine Epiphany in Greek Literature and Culture", pp.138-141 ( Google Books ).   The translation is partly adapted from W.Mayer & C.L. de Wet (ed.), "Reconceiving Religious Conflict", appendix 1 ( Google Books ).



[In the year of Artemidoros, son of Artemidoros the son of Apollonios, as stephanephoros], on the 28th day of the month of Thesmophorion, [it was resolved by the council and people of Stratonikeia]; as proposed by . . ., [when Chairemon, son of Hekataios] the son of Chairemon, of the deme Koraios, [was priest].

Since [previously the great Zeus Panamaros had, in manifest manner, performed many great deeds] for the salvation of the city from ancient [times] . . . even more now has the god entered the battle and revealed himself [against the enemies, and saved the sanctuary from the dangers and the circumstances threatening it]. For when many infantry and cavalry surged [into the region, with their troops armed with a multitude of war engines, catapult missiles, scaling ladders] and other implements of war, [around the middle of the night a significant proportion of them advanced on the shrine. Then the god] with a flash of light hurled a massive flame at them, so effectively that . . . they were compelled to beat a hasty retreat, with [many of their war engines left incinerated] . . . At daybreak, when the enemies dared move upon [the sacred precinct with a powerful, well-armed force, 10 it came to pass that they were enveloped] in a fog so thick that those [fighting] alongside the god [were hidden from their sight] . . . [When] they set themselves to go round against a part of the sacred precincts [for attack, a great storm arose. Untrammelled thunder rent out] and lightning bolts flashed through the [sky; at once, there was a multitude (?) of deserters] who cried out for pardon and moreover who yelled in a loud voice, "Great is Zeus Panamaros."   [But others ordered that] the deserters should be punished [without] mercy. Finally they all mortally wounded one another and slaughtered each other, without [realising it in their deranged state]. Some of them tried to leap out of the fog as they would avoid a torrent [and] . . . became injured as they attempted a retreat from the sanctuary (?) in full view. Many corpses [were found littered around the sacred precincts; many] more were scattered across the surrounding high country as if they had been maddened and [driven berserk] by some Furies. [As for us], the god [preserved us all] safe and sound and he often exhorted us through his seers, [requiring us to guard] the sacred precincts [with fervour], and forbidding us to send the women and children away to the city [ - 20 this proved helpful in keeping the people] in good spirits, free from danger. And although many missiles were hurled, they were [all] seen to be [ineffectual, falling away to each side. Those of us] who were struck in the fray suffered no debilitating injury; thirty . . . [received superficial wounds] and all were saved. But after reinforcements arrived for the enemies, they gathered an even greater force from their camp] which was stationed at Pisye. Encouraging each other, they again streamed towards the temple . . . and circling round they besieged the sacred precincts. Then a battle cry reverberated out as if help [was issuing from the city, although] nothing could be seen, and a great baying of dogs was unleashed as if they were falling upon the attackers. [All] the would-be assailants against the Heraion were in one moment cast headlong down, so that their standards [and their grappling-ladders were all abandoned]. Then the lamps of the god were found to be still alight just as they remained throughout the siege. [In the end, all the enemies] were completely routed by the occurrence; they threw down their arms and again took off in disorderly flight. Because they could not find the way [back to their camp] and were unable to see [a safe place to which they might escape], they rushed [across rough ground and with difficulty found safety] in the surrounding [mountains]. 30 Taking refuge [in a rocky and very high] outcrop, they became very agitated . . . [by the] general of the region . . . and rushed against him . . . [but] many [fell] in their escape . . . [while] a few fled, abandoning the remainder of their weapons . . .

. . . of the pedestal of white marble in the [? temple] . . . to Zeus Panamaros . . . the revenues and the copy of the decree . . .


Attalus' home page   |   15.10.18   |   Any comments?