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Royal Correspondence in the Hellenistic Period


C. Bradford Welles "Royal Correspondence in the Hellenistic Period", by C. Bradford Welles, was first published in 1934. It is a collection of 75 letters, sent by Hellenistic kings or by members of their family, which have been preserved in Greek inscriptions. For each letter, Welles supplies the Greek text, an English translation, and a full commentary. For details of Welles' subsequent work on Greek inscriptions and papyri, see the short biography by R.S.Bagnall ( pdf ).

This page contains links to Welles' translations of the letters (slightly expanded in some cases to include other material). Some of the letters are already available online in "Greek Historical Documents: The Hellenistic Period" by R.S.Bagnall and P.Derow, and these letters are flagged with a *.

For a good introduction to the royal letters, see A.Bencivenni, "The King’s Words: Hellenistic Royal Letters in Inscriptions" (chapter 6 in "State Correspondence in the Ancient World", 2014); this ends with a helpful list ( Google Books ) of all the Greek letters from kings that have been discovered in Asia, including many that have been discovered since when Welles wrote his book. Details of some of these additional letters can be found below.


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  Welles

RC_1   Letter of Antigonos to Skepsis   ( 311 ) *

RC_2   Letter of Antigonos to Eresos   ( c. 306 )

RC_3   First letter of Antigonos to Teos   ( c. 303 ) *

RC_4   Second letter of Antigonos to Teos   ( c. 303 ) *

RC_5   Letter of Seleukos I to Miletos   ( 288/7 )

RC_6   Letter of Lysimachos to Priene   ( c. 285 )

RC_7   Letter of Lysimachos to Samos   ( 283/2 )

RC_8   Letter of a Hellenistic king to Priene   ( 3rd century )

RC_9   Letter of Seleukos I and Antiochos to Sopatros   ( 281 )

RC_10-12   Letters of Antiochos I to Meleagros   ( c. 275 ) *

RC_13   Letter of Meleagros to Ilion   ( c. 275 ) *

RC_14   Letter of Ptolemaios II to Miletos   ( c. 261 ) *

RC_15   Letter of Antiochos II to Erythrai   ( after 261 ) *

RC_16   Letter of Eumenes to the army   ( c. 260 )

RC_17   Letter of Antiochos II (?) to Ephesos   ( c. 255 )

RC_18   Letter of Antiochos II to Metrophanes   ( 254/3 )

RC_19   Letter of Metrophanes to Nikomachos   ( 254/3 )

RC_20   Report of a hyparch   ( 254/3 )

RC_21   Letter of Ptolemaios II to Kos   ( before 250 )

RC_22   Letter of Seleukos II to Miletos   ( c. 246 )

RC_23   Letter of Eumenes to Pergamon   ( before 245 )

RC_24   Letter of Attalos I (?) to an official   ( later half of 3rd century )

RC_25   Letter of Ziailas to Kos   ( c. 240 )

RC_26   Letter of Seleukos II (?) to Kos   ( c. 240 )

RC_27   Letter of an unknown king to Kos   ( c. 240 )

RC_28   Letter of Ptolemaios III to Kos   ( c. 240 )

RC_29   Letter of Attalos I (?) to Mylasa   ( c. 230 )

RC_30   Letter of Ptolemaios IV (?) to a provincial governor   ( late 3rd century )

RC_31   Letter of Antiochus III to Magnesia   ( 208/7 ) *

RC_32   Letter of Antiochus the son to Magnesia   ( 208/7 ) *

RC_33   Letter of Ptolemaios IV to Magnesia   ( 208/7 ) *

RC_34   Letter of Attalos I to Magnesia   ( 208/7 ) *

RC_35   Letter of Theodoros and Amynandros to Teos   ( 205-201 ) *

RC_36   Letter of Antiochos III to Anaximbrotos   ( 193 ) *

RC_37   Letter of Anaximbrotos to Dionytas   ( 193 ) *

RC_38   Letter of (?) Zeuxis to Amyzon   ( 203 )

RC_39   Letter of Antiochos III to the army   ( 203 )

RC_40   Letter of an official (?) to Amyzon   ( 203-190 )

RC_41   Letter of Antiochos III to Tralles   ( c. 201 )

RC_42   Letter of Antiochos III (?) to Ilion   ( c. 197 )

RC_43   Letter of Antiochos III to (?) Nysa, with a decree of (?) Magnesia   ( c. 197 )

RC_44   Letter of Antiochos III to an official concerning the chief priest at Daphne   ( 189 )

RC_45   Letter of Seleukos IV to an official at Seleukeia in Pieria   ( 186 )

RC_46   Letter of an (?) Attalid king to Priene   ( first half of 2nd century )

RC_47   Letter of Attalos the brother of Eumenes II   ( 185 )

RC_48   Letter of Eumenes II to Temnos   ( 197-159 )

RC_49   Letter of Eumenes II to Iasos   ( 182 )

RC_50   Letter of Eumenes II to Kos   ( 182 )

RC_51   Letter of an Attalid king to military cleruchs   ( first half of 2nd century )

RC_52   Letter of Eumenes II to the Ionian League   ( 167/6 ) *

RC_53   Letter of Eumenes II to the Guild of Dionysiac Artists at Teos   ( 197-160 )

RC_54   Letter of Attalos to Amlada   ( c. 160 )

RC_55   Letter of Eumenes II to Attis   ( 163 )

RC_56   Letter of Eumenes II to Attis   ( 163-160 )

RC_57   Letter of Attalos to Attis   ( 163-160 )

RC_58   Second letter of Attalos to Attis   ( 163-160 )

RC_59   Third letter of Attalos to Attis   ( 163-160 )

RC_60   Fourth letter of Attalos to Attis   ( 162-159 )

RC_61   Letter of Attalos II to Attis   ( 159/8 )

RC_62   Letter of Attalos II to Ilion   ( 160-139 )

RC_63   Letter of Orophernes to Priene   ( c. 157 )

RC_64   Letter of a king to Nysa   ( 2nd century )

RC_65   Letter of Attalos II to Athenaios   ( 142 )

RC_66   Letter of Attalos III to Kyzikos   ( 135 )

RC_67   Letter of Attalos III to Pergamon   ( 135 )

RC_68   Letter of Attalos III to Hierakome in Lydia   ( 138-133 )

RC_69   Letter of Attalos III concerning Hierakome in Caria   ( 138-133 )

RC_70   Letter of Antiochos to Euphemos concerning grants to Zeus of Baitokaike   ( late 2nd century )

RC_71   Letter of Antiochos Grypos to Ptolemaios X   ( 109 )

RC_72   Letter of Antiochos Grypos to Seleukeia in Pieria   ( 109 )

RC_73   Letter of Mithridates to Leonippos   ( 88 )

RC_74   Second letter of Mithridates to Leonippos   ( 88 )

RC_75   Letter of Artabanus III to Susa (Seleuceia on the Eulaeus)   ( A.D. 21 )

 

  Additional Letters

The following 51 letters, which have been discovered since the time when Welles wrote his book, are available in English translation either on this website, or in one of two books, "The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest" by Michel Austin and "Antiochos III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor" by John Ma.   Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of some of the letters translated by Austin.

  SEG_28.1224 Letter of Ptolemaios II to Telmessos ( 282 )
  Austin_226 Letter of Philetairos to Kyme ( c. 280-278 )
  Austin_267 Letter of Tlepolemos to Kildara ( 246 )
  SEG_36.1218 Letter of Ptolemaios III to Xanthos ( 243/2 )
  Inscr_81 Letter of a (?) Spartokid king to Kos ( c. 240 )
  Austin_179.a   G Letter of Seleukos II to Olympichos ( c. 240 )
  Austin_179.b   G Letter of Olympichos to Mylasa ( c. 240 )
  Inscr_29 Letter of Olympichos to Mylasa, concerning Labraunda ( c. 240-235 )
  Inscr_30 Letter of Olympichos to Mylasa, concerning dedicated land ( c. 235 )
  SEG_39.1426 Letter of Thraseas to Arsinoē ( 238-221 )
  Inscr_31.B Letter of Philippos to Mylasa ( c. 220 )
  Inscr_31.A Letter of Philippos to Olympichos ( 220 )
  Austin_179.c   G Letter of Olympichos to Mylasa ( 220 )
  Inscr_33 End of a letter from Olympichos to Mylasa ( 220 )
  SEG_39.1283 End of a letter of Antiochos III to Sardis ( 213 )
  SEG_39.1284 Letter of Laodike to Sardis ( 213 )
  SEG_39.1285 Letter of Antiochos to Sardis ( 213 )
  Ma_4 Letter of Antiochos to Zeuxis, concerning Nikanor the high priest ( 209 )
  SEG_54.1353 Letter of Aineas to Demetrios, concerning Nikanor the high priest ( 209 )
  Ma_15 Letter of (?) Zeuxis to the army at Labraunda ( 203 )
  SEG_35.1476 Letter of Ikadion to Anaxarchos, concerning the island of Ikaros ( c. 203 )
  SEG_29.1613'B-F Three letters of Antiochos III to Kleon ( 202/1 )
  SEG_29.1613'A Letter of Antiochos III to Ptolemaios son of Thraseas ( 200 )
  SEG_12.399 Letter of Philippos to the Athenians in Hephaistia ( c. 200 )
  Ma_36 Letter of a Royal Official (?) to Sardis ( c. 197 )
  Ma_25 Letter of Zeuxis to Kildara ( c. 197 )
  Austin_198   G Letter of Laodike to Iasos ( c. 196 )
  SEG_29.1613'G-I Letters of Antiochos III to Marsyas and Heliodoros ( 195 )
  Ma_31.a Letter of Antiochos III to Herakleia ( 196-193 )
  Ma_31.b Letter of Zeuxis to Herakleia ( 196-193 )
  Austin_200   G Letter of Antiochos III to Menedemos, concerning the cult of Laodike ( 193 )
  Inscr_28 Letter of Antiochos to Menedemos, forwarded to Thoas ( 193 )
  Ma_19.a Letter of Antiochos III to Teos ( 203-190 )
  Ma_19.b-c Two letters of Antiochos the son of Antiochos III to Teos ( 203-190 )
  SEG_33.673 Letter of Antiochos III to Kos ( 220-187 )
  SEG_47.1745 Three letters of Eumenes II to Tyriaion ( after 188 )
  Ma_49 Letter of Euthydemos to Asklepiades, concerning a petition from Kadoos ( after 188 )
  Austin_238   G Letter of Eumenes II to Artemidoros, concerning the Kardakes ( 181 )
  SEG_57.1838 Letter of Seleukos IV to Heliodoros ( 178 )
  SEG_57.1109 Letter of Eumenes II to Tabai ( c. 166 )
  SEG_57.1157 Letter of Eumenes II about Apolloniou Charax ( 165/4 )
  SEG_41.1556 Letter of Antiochos V, concerning a petition from Iamnia ( 163 )
  Inscr_101 Beginning of a letter of Eumenes (?) II to Kaunos ( 197-159 )
  Inscr_84 Letter of Attalos to Sosthenes and Herodes ( 188-159 )
  SEG_44.1108 Letter of Attalos II to Olbasa in Pisidia ( 158 )
  Austin_246   G Letter of Attalos II to Ephesos, concerning the tutor of Attalos III ( c. 150-140 )

This website also contains a few royal letters and ordinances found in Macedonia and Thessaly, as follows:

  Syll_332 Kassandros grants land near Potidaia to Perdikkas   ( 306-297 )
  Inscr_93 Letter of Demetrios, concerning Demetrias and Pherai ( 291 )
  Inscr_60 Lysimachos grants land to Limnaios   ( 285/4 )
  Syll_459 Letter of Demetrios to the governor of Beroia   ( 248/7 )
  SEG_60.605   Letter of Demetrios II to Therson ( c. 231-229 B.C. )
  SEG_60.585 Letter of Antigonos III, concerning the son of Nikarchos ( 222 )
  SEG_60.586 Letters of Antigonos, concerning men who fought at Sellasia ( 221 )
  Syll_543 Two letters from king Philippos to Larisa in Thessaly   ( 217 and 215 )
  Syll_552 Letter from Philippos to the city of Abai   ( c. 213-203 )
  Inscr_58 Ruling of king Philippos about the property of Sarapis   ( 187/6 )
  Inscr_59 Letter of king Philippos to Archippos   ( 181/0 )



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