Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 74


Greek text:   IG_9.12.3.706
Date:   c. 280-240 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

The curious tradition of the "Locrian Maidens", who were regularly sent to Troy to atone for the appalling behaviour of their ancestor Aias son of Oileus during the Trojan War, clearly fascinated writers of the 3rd century B.C., who had a particular interest in unusual local customs. It is mentioned by the historian Timaios ( FGrH_566.146 ) and by the poets Kallimachos ( Fr_35 ) and Lykophron ( Alexandra, 1141-1173 ), and also by an un-named poet (? Euphorion) quoted by Plutarch ( Mor_557'D ). But for the Locrians, as this inscription shows, it was not merely a quaint custom, but a serious obligation. According to Aelian ( Fr_47, quoted by Suda_A'2417 ), king Antigonos was asked to arbitrate in a dispute over which city should send the maidens; see S.L.Ager, "Interstate Arbitrations in the Greek World", no. 11 ( Google Books ), who assumes that this refers to Antigonos I and dates the dispute to about 305 B.C.

Many other ancient authors described the tradition; for instance, Aeneas Tacticus ( 31.24 ), Polybius ( 12.5 ), Strabo ( 13.600 ) and "Apollodorus" ( Epit_6'20-22 ). For some additional information provided by scholia, see D.D.Hughes, "Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece", pp.168-9 ( Google Books ). There is a thorough modern treatment of the topic in a book by J.M.Redfield, The Locrian Maidens: Love and Death in Greek Italy (2003).

Although this inscription has attracted attention mostly because of the references to the Locrian maidens, it also sheds some light on a little-known region of ancient Greece. It was found near the site of Oiantheia, a city in Ozolian Locris, but refers in particular to Naryx/Naryka, a city in Opountian Locris, which was reputed to be the birthplace of Aias ( Strab_9.425 ). The Aianteioi, who are mentioned prominently in the inscription, were probably a local clan who claimed descent from Aias.

[A]   The Aianteioi and the city of Naryx accepted [the sending of] the girls on these conditions: [the Aianteioi shall be inviolable] and unseizable in war and in peacetime; they shall not be obstructed on a charge of murder, and priority in receiving justice [shall be granted to them, if they suffer any wrong], and to the city. If any one of them comes for hospitality, he shall not fail to receive gifts of hospitality from the public treasury [of Naryx; if he does not receive hospitality], then the archon shall pay a fine of [fifteen] drachmas; if the archon is convicted in court, [he shall pay a fine] of thirty drachmas; anyone who brings [an accusation] about hospitality shall be protected from punishment. If anyone knowingly seizes the property of the Aianteioi, [he shall pay a fine] of thirty [staters; the] archons shall recover what has been seized, and return it on the same day or the following day; if [they do not recover it or do not return it], they shall pay double the fine. If anyone unjustly binds up or imprisons one of the Aianteioi, [he shall pay] a hundred staters [for each day] and the same again for each night, until the prisoner is released.

Maintenance money . . . [shall be given] to the parents of each of the girls. 10 Fifteen minas shall be provided to each of the pairs of girls for adornment and food, until . . . [any of the Aianteioi] who have been held by the enemy [shall be released]. Buildings of Thēmon that have been burnt down, whichever in the city . . . [shall be rebuilt] publicly by the Locrians. If any one of the Aianteioi wishes to dwell among the Locrians, the shall have freedom from taxes in the same way as . . . the Aianteioi shall all [share in] the feasts, and they shall hand over the skins and the [legs and the other portions of honour] to the priest. All the Locrians of Aiantian Locris [shall hold a festival] in Naryx, and the agonothetes shall be Narykans . . . [The Aianteioi] shall not unwillingly give their children as hostages [in war]. As compensation for the girls, the Narykans shall have freedom from [rearing horses] for [war and from emergency contributions]; if any one of them is forced to rear horses or to give his children as hostages, the Locrians [shall give money to the Narykans] for their expenses. [The city] of Naryx shall not send any of the Aianteioi as hostages. The archon shall give justice [to any one of the Aianteioi who brings an accusation] within three days, and shall complete the proceedings for a foreigner within ten days; the archon shall not reject the case, if a suitable witness is provided. [If anyone disputes the decision] in a previous case, it shall be reheard before the same judges; if anyone is convicted of providing [false] evidence, [the decision shall be nullified and the witness] 20 shall be charged with perjury and shall pay double the fine. If the archon does not exact payment of the fine, [the Aianteioi] shall proclaim [that the person who obtained the conviction should exact it] from whoever he can take hold of, from the inhabitants of the city, out of which the charge arose. [Jurors shall be chosen] for the case . . . of thirty drachmas, eleven men. In Naryx out of all the men . . . to give judgement on the pairs of girls, and to render justice to the previous girls as far as possible . . . [the archons] of Naryx shall give justice according to this and shall exact payment.

Oath: on these conditions . . . [in the] agreement and in the oaths. If we keep the oath, may we receive many [blessings, but if we break the oath] . . . Fifty men, chosen by wealth, shall swear [the prescribed oath] . . . the girl who has been sent . . .

[B]   Perikymasioi:
Nikagoras son of Kleonymos
Euxenidas son of Timokritos
Lyson son of Timosthenes
Timokrates son of Agathon
Damon son of Mikkon
Kallidamos 10 son of Apollodoros
Damocharis son of Damon
Menekrates son of Pyrrias
Kriton son of Machatas

Patreas son of Damokritos
Aristokles son of Aristonymos
Amyntichos son of Harmoxenos
20 Theon son of Theomnastos
Archebios son of Xeneas
Dikaiomenes son of Eupathion
Eutheas son of Euthymidas
Euarchidas son of Samos
Mi.on son of Agenor

inscription 75

Attalus' home page   |   09.02.16   |   Any comments?