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Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 47.1125


ISTROS HONOURS DIOGENES, GENERAL OF MITHRIDATES


Greek text: SEG_47.1125
Date:   c. 90/89 B.C.
Tags:     hostages+captives ,   loans+debts
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription was published in 1997 by A.Avram and and O.Bournegu, in Pontica 30. Part of the résumé of their article is attached here after the translation of the inscription. The role of strategos, which was held by Diogenes, is similar to the role held by Mithridates' governor in Olbia ( SEG_55.855 )



[It was resolved by the people, as proposed by the magistrates; since Diogenes of (?) Amastris, the son of Diogenes . . . the] friendship [that exists] with king Mithridates Eupator; and after being sent by him to [our city] as strategos, he has continually acted as a noble man [in respect of] the city and its citizens, and has provided eager and just assistance to everyone who meets him;   and when the people were hard pressed in previous times 10 and took a loan from (?) [Me]nios of Byzantion, and they were unable [to repay the loan on account of] the wars and shortages and destruction and as a result they went into debt, and (?) [Men]on the successor of the . . . laid hands on (?) M[eniskos who had previously] been sent by the people [(?) as envoy] to king Mithridates Eupator [and on the other] citizens who were undoing . . . [and (?) detained] them for a long time . . . 20 for the greatest . . .

. . . to the voyage . . . [because of the debts that] oppressed them [and the wars] and destruction, [he took] no [(?) account of the danger but went] abroad . . .

. . . Meniskos . . . from his personal expenditure 30 . . . [the] underwritten amount . . . to be spent; the conduct of Diogenes during his time abroad was earnest and industrious, as befitted a noble [man] who was genuinely striving [about the] task that had been entrusted to him; [he handed over to (?) Me]non the hundred gold coins (?) in order to retrieve [the captives], and brought the [men] back [to their] own home with all their possessions; and for the future he promises that [he will] always bring about something good for the people;   40 therefore it is resolved by the people to praise Diogenes of Am[astris] the son of Diogenes, the strategos of the city, [for] these matters; and to crown [him with a golden] crown at all the games [on account of his virtue and] his goodwill [towards] the people; [and to] place [a bronze statue of him] . . .



Pontica 30 (1997), page165

Diogenes, a native of Am[astris] or of Am[isos], and concerning whom it is significant that he held the role of strategos of the city, ransomed and freed the envoy of Istros who had been sent to the king and who was detained as a hostage on the way, along with his companions, by a citizen of Byzantion, who had become the creditor for a loan, which he hope to get back by force. From that it can be deduced that the date of the inscription is previous to the war fought by the Romans in 72/1 against the cities of the west coast of the Black Sea {Eutropius, 6.10}.

Also, the seizure of the envoy of Istros in Byzantion might reflect the attitude of Byzantion, which is well known from other sources to have been generally hostile towards the king of Pontus. In this situation, one would be justified in thinking that the mission of the envoy of Istros should be placed a little before the first Mithridatic War, because after the army of Mithridates crossed over to Greece, such treatment inflicted on an ally of the king would become less conceivable. If this reasoning is accepted, the inscription could be dated in the years 90-89 B.C.   Nevertheless, the exact date when the rule of Mithridates was established on the west coast of the Black Sea is still unknown.  


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