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Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 42.661


OATH OF BERENIKE AT SEUTHOPOLIS, THRACE


Greek text:   SEG_42.661
Date:   c. 300/280 B.C.
Tags:     oaths
Format:   see key to translations

Unfortunately, we know almost nothing about the background to this remarkable document. Even the identity of the city, now submerged, where it was found is known only because it is mentioned in the inscription. From her name, it appears that Berenike was a Macedonian princess, and after her Thracian husband Seuthes III died, or was incapacitated by ill health, she took over the government in the name of her sons. For some speculation by modern writers, see H.S.Lund, "Lysimachus", p.31 ( Google Books ).



With good fortune. Oath of Berenike and her sons to Epimenes.   Since Seuthes, when he was in good health, handed over Epimenes and his possessions to Spartokos, and Spartokos gave assurances to him on these matters; it is resolved by Berenike and her sons - Ebryzelmis, Tereus, Satokos and Sadalas - and the . . . that Epimenes shall provide service to Spartokos, or to whoever Spartokos specifies, to the best of his ability. The sons of Berenike shall bring Epimenes out of the temple of the Samothracian Gods, at which time they shall not do any wrong to Epimenes in any way, but shall hand him and his possessions over to Spartokos. They shall not take away any of his possessions, if he does no wrong; and if he appears to have done wrong, Spartokos shall be the arbiter concerning these matters. This oath shall be inscribed on stone steles, and set up at Kabylē in the Phosphorion and in the agora by the altar of Apollo, and at Seuthopolis in the temple of the Great Gods and in the agora by the altar in the temple of Dionysos. If they swear honestly and abide by their oaths, may it be finer and better for them; and Berenike shall give him the ancient oaths.


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