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Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 90


DECREE OF KOLOPHON ABOUT BUILDING NEW CITY WALLS

Greek text:   Kolophon_6
Date:   311-306 B.C.
Tags:     freedom ,   subscriptions ,   walls+fortifications
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription shows how a major building programme could be initiated and funded by a Hellenistic city. For some comments on the background to the decree, see G.M.Cohen, "The Hellenistic Settlements in Europe, the Islands, and Asia Minor", pp.183-4 ( Google Books ). The decision to record the name of every single donor to the building programme resulted in a huge inscription measuring about 1.9 metres by 2.2 metres, and containing almost a thousand names.


[A]   When Alkmeon was prytanis, on the eighth day of the month Komaion, it was resolved by the people; Hermodoros son of Apollodoros put it to the vote, as recommended by the commission of ten:

  so that the people may be seen - since king Alexander and Antigonos granted freedom to them - in every way to strive honourably to maintain the glory acquired by our ancestors; with good fortune and for the safety of all the people, it has been decided by a vote of the people to build walls to join the current city to the old city, which 10 the gods gave to our ancestors, and they, by founding the city and constructing temples and altars there, became celebrated amongst all the Greeks. In order that this may be completed as quickly as possible, the priest of Apollo and the other priests and priestesses and the prytanis with the council and those appointed under the terms of this decree shall go down, on the fourth day of the coming month, [to] the altars of the gods which our ancestors left for us in the old agora, and they shall make a vow to Zeus Soter, Poseidon Asphaleios, Apollo Clarios, the Antaian Mother, Athene Polias, and all the other gods and goddesses, and to the heroes who occupy our city and 20 territory, that when the blessings are achieved they will perform a procession and sacrifice, as the city decides. Ten men shall be appointed, who shall determine how the walls shall be aligned and extended from the current walls to give the greatest strength; and determining on an architect they shall examine who seems to them to be most suitable to take care of the work on the walls; and they shall take care about pay for the architect, and how foreign money may be provided, and how the streets and building plots may be laid out and advantageously sold, and how an agora and workshops, and whatever other public places are needed, may be reserved for use; the men who are appointed shall accomplish these things as quickly as possible.

In order that the citizens may collect as much money as possible, it is resolved by the people that whoever of the citizens wishes 30 may undertake to contribute as much as he wants, and those who are abroad may make an undertaking whenever they want; the people shall deliberate about the men who have made undertakings in the month of Lenaion in full assembly, and decide how each of those who have made undertakings shall be rewarded in a manner worthy of their zeal, as seems fitting to the people. The names of all those who have made an undertaking, and the amount that each of them has undertaken to contribute, shall be inscribed on a stone stele and place here in the temple of the Mother of the Gods; each of them shall give one third of the amount that they undertook to contribute, when the contract for the work on the walls is sold; they shall hand it over to the karpologos, and the karpologos shall take the money 38 and give it to the contractors, the rewards . . . each [of them shall give] one third . . .

[B]   123 On these terms, out of the ten who wrote this decree, the following nine undertook to contribute to the walls: