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Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 38.1476


RESPONSE OF XANTHOS TO AN APPEAL FROM KYTENION


Greek text: SEG_38.1476
Date:   206/5 B.C.
Tags:     subscriptions ,   walls+fortifications
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription, which was published in 1988 with a French translation by J.Bousquet ( Persée ), is an interesting illustration of how inter-state diplomacy was conducted during the Hellenistic period. For an explanation of the historical background, see J.B.Scholten, "The Politics of Plunder", pp.170-171 ( Google Books ); and for a discussion of the use of myths to support the appeal, see L.E.Patterson, "Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece", pp.118-123 ( Google Books ).

The translation here borrows from previous translations of parts of the inscription, made by C.P.Jones (in "Kinship Diplomacy in the Ancient World", 1999), W.E.Higgins (in "Rhetoric in Antiquity" by L.Pernot, 2005), and A.Chaniotis (in "Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture", 2009). The inscription has also been translated by J.Ma, "Peer polity interaction in the Hellenistic world" ( academia.edu ).



In the reign of Ptolemaios, son of Ptolemaios and Berenike, the gods Euergetai, and of his son Ptolemaios, in year 17, when Andronikos son of Perlamos was priest of the gods Euergetai and of king Ptolemaios, and Tlepolemos son of Artapates was priest "on behalf of the city", on the 2nd day of the month Audnaios, in assembly, it was resolved by the city and magistrates of Xanthos:

[7]   Since envoys have arrived from the Aetolian league, Dorians of the Metropolis from Kytenion, namely: Lamprias, Ainetos and Phegeus, who brought a decree from the Aetolians and a letter from the Dorians, in which they explained what has happened to their homeland, and the envoys themselves, speaking very earnestly and honourably in accordance with what was written in the letter, urged us to recall our kinship with them that has existed since the time of the gods and heroes, and not to ignore the fact that the walls of their homeland have been destroyed; for Leto, the founding leader of our city, gave birth to Artemis and Apollo in our territory, and Asklepios, the son of Apollo and Koronis daughter of Phlegyas the descendant of Doros, was born in Doris. In addition to the kinship that exists between them and us, deriving from these gods, they also recounted the bond of kinship that exists between us from the heroes, presenting the genealogy between Aiolos and Doros. In addition, they indicated that the colonists sent out from our land by Chrysaor, the son of Glaukos, the son of Hippolochos, received protection from Aletes, one of the descendants of Herakles; for Aletes, starting from Doris, came to their aid when they were being warred upon. Putting an end to the danger by which they were beset, he married the daughter of Aor, the son of Chrysaor. Indicating by many proofs the goodwill that they had customarily felt for us from ancient times because of the tie of kinship, they asked us not to allow the greatest of the cities of the Metropolis to be obliterated, but to give as much help as we can towards the building of the walls, and to make clear to the Greeks the goodwill that we hold towards the state of the Dorians and the city of Kytenion, rendering assistance in a manner worthy of our ancestors and ourselves. In responding to this request, we would be granting a favour not only to the city of Kytenion, but also to the Aetolians and all the other Dorians, and in particular to king Ptolemaios, who is a kinsman of the Dorians through the Argead kings, the descendants of Herakles.

[42]   It is resolved to reply to them that all the Xanthians share in grief at the misfortunes that have befallen the city, and they consider that they should respond positively to the request, on account of their kinship derived from the gods and the heroes, and on account of king Ptolemaios; for as a descendant of Herakles Ptolemaios is a relative of the kings who are descended from Herakles. Therefore the Xanthians, whose philanthropy is second to none, would clearly display their goodwill, if the finances of the city were not so weakened. Since, however, the public resources have run out while expenses have continued to rise, and since the citizens will brook no tax increase according to an economic policy decreed to last nine more years, and since the wealthiest of the citizens have already paid large contributions expressly for the current crisis, all of which we have detailed to the envoys, for all these reasons the city does not have the means to help. At the same time, however, it is aggrieved to have to turn down relations fallen into such distress. It is resolved therefore that the magistrates shall float a bond and pay the envoys with the proceeds five hundred drachmas for the rebuilding of the city's walls and extend to them the customary gifts of guest-friendship.

[65]   So that there may be a memorial for future generations of the kinship that exists between us and the Dorians and of our concern for them on account of this kinship, the magistrates shall inscribe the decree of the Aetolians and the letter written by the generals and councillors, along with the letter sent by the Dorians to our city and this decree, on a stone stele and they shall place it in the temple of Leto. They shall give this decree to the envoys, and invite them to hospitality.

[73]   {DECREE OF THE AETOLIANS}   It was resolved by the Aetolians to grant the Dorians a delegation to the cities that are connected by kinship and to kings Ptolemaios and Antiochos, who are descended from Herakles. The envoys shall declare that the cities and kings, on account of their kinship both to the Dorians and to the Aetolians, should render assistance towards building the walls of the city of Kytenion, so that the city may be re-inhabited as soon as possible.

[79]   {LETTER FROM THE GENERALS AND COUNCILLORS OF THE AETOLIANS}   Agelaos, Pantaleon, Molossos and the councillors of the Aetolians to the council and people of Xanthos, greetings. Lamprias, Ainetos and Phegeus, who have handed over this letter to you, are Dorians from Kytenion, and have come to you as envoys from the Aetolians, about building the walls of the city of Kytenion; therefore you will do well in regard of us and the Aetolian league and the kinship that exists between you and the Dorians, if you listen to them favourably and respond positively to their request. Farewell.

[88]   {LETTER FROM THE DORIANS OF KYTENION}   The Dorians of the Metropolis who dwell in Kytenion, to the council and people of Xanthos, greetings. We and the Aetolians have sent to you as envoys Lamprias son of Pankles, Ainetos son of Polytas and Phegeus son of Sotion, who will speak to you concerning the matters on which they have been instructed; for it occurred that at the time when king Antigonos had invaded Phokis parts of the city walls of all the cities had collapsed because of the earthquakes, and the younger men had marched to the sanctuary of Delphi in order to protect it. When the king arrived in Doris, he destroyed the walls of all our cities and burned down our houses. Therefore we entreat you to remember the kinship that exists between us and you, and not to allow the greatest of the cities of the Metropolis to be obliterated, but to give as much help to us as you consider possible towards the building of the walls, and to make clear to the Greeks the goodwill that you hold towards our nation and city, rendering assistance in a manner worthy of your ancestors and yourselves and of Herakles and his descendants. We will show our gratitude in whatever way you ask; and be aware that you will be granting a favour not only to us, but also to the Aetolians and all the other Dorians, and in particular to king Ptolemaios, who is our kinsman through the kings {descended from Herakles}.


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