Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 39.1243


Greek text:   SEG_39.1243
Date:   c. 130-110 B.C.
Tags:     slaves
Format:   see key to translations

Polemaios (or Ptolemaios - both spellings appear in the inscription) was a prominent benefactor of the city of Kolophon in the late 2nd century B.C. By this time, Asia Minor had become a Roman province, and the most important service that a benefactor could provide was to ensure good relations with the leading Romans.

The inscription was found in the sanctuary of Klaros, along with a similar decree in honour of Menippos ( SEG 39.1244 ); they were published with a French translation and commentary by L.Robert, Claros I ( 1989 ). For an analysis of the two decrees, see A.Wright, "The epigraphic evidence for the relationship between Colophon and the sanctuary of Claros with Rome from 133 BC to c. AD 135" ( ).

In column ii, line 37, there is a puzzling reference to a 'City of Slaves' in the territory of Kolophon. Some scholars have suggested that this is connected to the revolt of Aristonikos, which started in 133 B.C.; see P.du Bois, "Out of Athens:The New Ancient Greeks", pp.120-122 ( Google Books ).

[i]   . . . when he had already reached the age to leave the ephebes, he attended the gymnasium, and as well as improving his soul with the finest studies, he trained his body with gymnastic exercises. He was crowned with prizes at sacred games, bringing the renown of these to his fatherland, and he offered the appropriate 10 sacrifices to the gods. In his eagerness from the beginning to enable everyone alike to join in the conduct of his life, he distributed sweetmeats, allowing them to share in the abundance of his livelihood. Because he considered as splendid not only the renown imparted to his life and his fatherland by the achievements of his body, but also the renown from taking charge of 20 public affairs with statesmanlike speech and actions, he went away to the city of Rhodes, and there he attended the best teachers; his conduct during his residence there was blameless and trouble-free, and worthy of each of the cities. After this, when he was appointed as theoros to the city of Smyrna, 30 he offered the customary sacrifices to the gods, along with the man who was chosen with him, in a manner worthy of each of the peoples, and he gave the money that was allocated to him for the sacrifice back to the people. He stayed on afterwards, and there also he attended the best teachers. He received a fitting commendation of his whole residence there, 40 and was praised in a decree not only by the Smyrnaians who acknowledged the virtue and orderliness of his life, but also by us when the Smyrnaians sent an embassy with an escort to us . . .

[ii]   . . . he took possession of them. Acting as ambassador and giving the most suitable advice, he lacked nothing in his honourable conduct; for he successfully acted as envoy to Roman governors and quaestors and to cities, all of which he managed by unceasingly 10 providing funds from his personal means; and he completed very fine embassies concerning the most urgent matters in a manner that was useful to the Roman leaders and to the senate. He permitted the other citizens to remain untroubled in their own homes, while he himself faced 20 the danger on behalf of all the others, undergoing the danger by land and by sea in his body and his soul and in all his life concerning the people; he met with the Roman leaders and was deemed worthy of their support, so that he procured advantages for the citizens from this friendship, securing 30 the patronage of the best Romans for his fatherland; and he received a commendation from the senate that was appropriate for his determination. When robbery and armed raids and outrages occurred on the territory that belonged to us at the City of the Slaves, he not only left home and managed these affairs along with the envoy who went with him 40 in a manner suitable to the occasion, but he prevented further thefts of crops and assaults from occurring by a decree of the senate, as the senate issued an edict to those who were performing these crimes that they should commit no wrong against our people, and that the governors who went out 50 to the province should take care about these matters and enforce the decision. When one of the citizens was condemned in a Roman court within the province, by going as envoy to the governor he had the existing verdict revoked, and he kept the judgements of the city and its citizens and its laws free from harm; and again, when an edict was issued against certain persons, 60 which was contrary to our laws, he went and persuaded the Roman leaders that the courts should . . .

[iii]   . . . he received the money; and after dwelling there in a manner worthy of the city and of the Roman leaders, and completing the task without fault, from the money that had been given he dedicated 10 a censer that was fitting for the gods and for the people itself, paying for its manufacture from his own resources; and when he was free from these matters . . . on account of the priesthood; and considering it fine that he should undergo dangers on behalf of the land that nurtured him, in the duties 20 that were assigned to him by his fatherland he nobly continued to say and do what was most effective; and he behaved civilly 30 and humanely towards many of those who appealed to the people because of misfortunes and who asked for help, providing for their needs and helping to support them eagerly, both in private and in the requests that were made by the people; throughout his conduct was generous and in keeping with the principles of the city; he remitted money to many of the debtors, and received full confirmation 40 of their gratitude for what he did, as each of the beneficiaries declared the generosity of his remission of debts in the public (?) meetings; he gave contributions to not a few of the foreigners, who were in need and appealed to the people, 50 and he overlooked none of those who had fallen into misfortune; and he conducted himself in a manner that was fair to everyone and beneficent throughout, not only publicly to those who dwelled in the city, but also privately . . .

[iv]   . . . to the demesmen and publicly, showing his personal wealth to each of them (?) for decency; he willingly provided surety and pledges for not a few of those who entered into contracts with private individuals, and freely 10 offered the credit ensuing from his personal property to men of business; and in his other public duties he demonstrated his noble conduct towards his fatherland, presenting performances on his personal property at the request of the people, and undertaking that he would give money and paying it without expecting return to the envoys who arrived from the Cretans, 20 and he also offered hospitality to the Romans and paid the expense of entertaining them from his personal means; and when he celebrated his marriage he handed out sweetmeats and provided a lunch for the citizens, distributing along with the other food the meat from the victims that been successfully sacrificed to the gods for the public welfare, 30 giving it to be taken away; and he gave meat to the resident foreigners and to the foreigners with equal tax rights and to those who were staying in the city for their education; and when he was elected to be agonothete, so that he alone should preside over the sacred games, considering that this task would bring a glory to his fatherland that was equal to his other achievements, 40 and being eager to make his own virtue and his honourable conduct towards the people clear not only to the citizens, but also to all other men, he presided over the sacred games justly along with the other men who had been appointed, and taking personal responsibility he unsparingly lavished every expense; 50 he invited everyone to the games that were to be held and [offered] sacrifices to the gods . . .

[v]   . . . and teaching . . . he fulfilled so that visitors to the city would receive a genuine inspiration from their time abroad, as they were spectators of an inimitable virtue, and the city would become more illustrious in its glory and in the opinion formed by those who stayed there and who proclaimed its virtue 10 and its munificence; and he promises that in the future too he will retain the same good attitude towards the interests of the people, as he will miss no opportunity to provide what is important for the glory or the honour or the civic requirements of the people, but he will attempt unfailingly and abundantly to offer his earnest service; therefore, so that the council and the people may be seen to bestow fitting honours on good men 20 who have shown many examples of their virtue and who give the best hopes for similar action in the future, and to encourage others to perform public benefactions through the example of such men, it is resolved by the council and the people to honour Ptolemaios Knemades, son of Pantagnotos, of the Apollonian tribe, and to crown him with a golden crown and a gold statue on account of his virtue and his goodwill towards the people, 30 and that the honours shall be announced in the contests at the Dionysia and the Klaria, with the prytaneis taking care of it every time at the Dionysia, and the agonothetes taking care of it at the Klaria; he shall be crowned and the honours shall be announced in the war-dances {pyrrhichai} and and in the gymnastic contents for all time, and the announcement shall be as follows: 'The people crowns Polemaios son of Pantagnotos with a golden crown and a gold statue, as he is a good man 40 and benevolent and strenuous in his efforts for the state and misses no opportunity to do what is advantageous to the city.' The gold statue shall be placed on a pillar in the temple of Apollo Klarios, next to the altar of the Graces; what is stated in the decree shall be inscribed on the pillar, and this decree shall be inscribed on the base; the council shall make a recommendation concerning arrangements for the statue and the base and the pillar, and the people shall assess the sum; 50 the registrar Kallippos shall append the agreed sum to this decree and the steward of the funds for defence and administration shall pay it to Polemaios, who shall take care of the construction and setting up of what has been decreed; Polemaios shall be invited to privileged seating at all the city's games, whenever the others are invited; and he shall be offered meals in the prytaneion and . . .

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