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Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 28.60


ATHENS HONOURS KALLIAS OF SPHETTOS


Greek text:   SEG_28.60
Date:   270/69 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

In 287 B.C., a group of Athenians succeeded in expelling the Macedonian garrison from their city; this decree describes the role of one prominent Athenian in defending the city's newly won independence. Athens was no longer a major military power, so it had to rely heavily on the support of the Egyptian kings. However, in the years following the departure of the garrison the city was restored to full democracy, and the decree proudly proclaims the "the democracy of all Athenians", in contrast to the previous oligarchic regime.

This inscription is an important source of information for the history of Athens during the early 3rd century B.C. It was first published in 1978 with a full commentary by T.L.Shear, "Kallias of Sphettos and the Revolt of Athens in 286 B C." ( Google Books ); the translation has been taken from there, with a few changes.



The people honours Kallias of Sphettos, the son of Thymochares.

When Sosistratos was archon, in the sixth prytany of the Pandionis tribe, for which Athenodoros of Acharnai the son of Gorgippos was secretary; on the 18th day of the month Posideon, which was the 21st day of the prytany; assembly with full power. Epichares of Erchia the son of Pheidostratos and the other presidents put it to the vote on behalf of the presidents. Resolved by the council and the people, as proposed by Euchares of Konthyle the son of Euarchos.

Whereas Kallias - when the revolution of the people took place against those who were occupying the city, and they expelled the mercenary soldiers from the city, but the fort on the Mouseion was still occupied, and the countryside was in a state of war at the hands of the troops from the Peiraieus, and while Demetrios with his army was approaching from the Peloponnese to attack the city - Kallias learned the impending danger to the state, and choosing a thousand of the mercenary troops stationed with him on Andros, paying their wages and providing rations of grain, 21 he came at once to the city to help the people, acting in accordance with the good will of King Ptolemaios towards the people; and he marched his troops into the countryside and made every effort to protect the harvest of the grain so that as much grain as possible could be brought into the city. And whereas, when Demetrios had arrived and encamped to besiege the city, Kallias fought on the side of the people, and attacking with his troops, although a wounded man, he did not shrink from any danger, not at any moment, for the sake of the deliverance of the people; and when King Ptolemaios dispatched Sostratos to negotiate in the city's interests, and Sostratos summoned an embassy to meet him at Peiraieus with which he would conclude terms of peace with Demetrios on behalf of the city, Kallias complied with the request of the generals and the council, acted as envoy for the people, and worked in every way for the city's interests, and he remained in the city with his mercenaries until the peace had been concluded; and after he had sailed back to King Ptolemaios, 41 he continued to cooperate in every way with the embassies sent out by the people and to work for the city's advantage. And whereas, upon the succession to the monarchy of the younger King Ptolemaios, Kallias was staying in the city and when the generals called upon him, explained the situation in which the city found itself, and begged him for the sake of the city to hasten to King Ptolemaios in order that aid in the form of grain and money might be forthcoming as quickly as possible for the city, Kallias himself sailing at his own expense to Cyprus and there conversing earnestly with the king in behalf of the city brought back fifty talents of silver for the people and a gift of twenty thousand medimnoi of wheat, which were measured out from Delos to the agents sent by the people. And whereas, when the king first established the Ptolemaia, the sacrifice and the games for his father, and the people voted to send a sacred delegation and deemed it appropriate for [Kallias] to accept appointment as chief delegate and to lead [the delegation] on behalf of the people, Kallias complied zealously and, declining the [fifty (?)] minas which had been [appropriated] for him by the people for the conduct of his office, 61 and giving them freely to the people, he himself both led the [delegation] well and in a manner [worthy] of the people at his private expense and also, together with the sacred delegates, took charge of the sacrifice in behalf of the city and of all other things that were appropriate; and since the people was then about to [celebrate] the Panathenaia for Athene Archegetis [for the first time after] they had recovered the city, [Kallias] conversed with the king about the ropes which it was necessary to prepare for the peplos, and the king having donated them to the city, he endeavoured to see that they be as fine as possible for the goddess and that the delegates elected with him bring [the ropes back here] at once. And whereas, now assigned by King Ptolemaios to duty in Halikarnassos, Kallias continues to strive eagerly towards the success of the embassies and the sacred delegations dispatched by the people to King Ptolemaios, and privately he devotes [every] attention [to each] of the citizens who comes to him and takes all possible care too of the soldiers stationed [there] with him, his main aim being [the advantage] and generally the dignity of the city; [and . . .] of the fatherland Kallias could never for a moment endure [to . . .], when the democracy was overthrown, but rather his own property he allowed to be confiscated in the oligarchy 81 so as to act in no way in opposition either to the laws or to the democracy which is the democracy of all Athenians.

Now therefore, in order that all men who wish to contribute emulously towards the greatness of the city may know that the people remembers forever those who serve it well and renders gratitude to each, with good fortune, be it resolved by the council that the presidents, who are chosen by lot to preside in the assembly which meets according to the law, deliberate about these matters and submit the resolution of the council to the people, that the council resolves to praise Kallias of Sphettos the son of Thymochares for his merit and for the good will which he continues to have towards the people of the Athenians, and to crown him with a golden crown according to the law, and to proclaim the award of the crown at the contest for new tragedies at the Great Dionysia; that the administrators shall take care of making the crown and the proclamation; further that the people shall erect a bronze statue of him in the agora; and that he shall have a front seat at all the contests which the city holds, and that the duly elected architect in charge of sanctuaries shall assign him the front seat; that the people shall forthwith elect three men from all the Athenians who will supervise the making and the installation of the statue; 101 that the thesmothetes shall introduce the scrutiny of his award in the Heliaia when the days prescribed by law shall have elapsed; in order that there may remain for the future a record of Kallias' honourable deeds to the people, that the secretary of the prytany shall inscribe this decree on a marble stele and place it beside the statue; and the administrators shall apportion the expenditure incurred for the inscription and the stele.


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