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Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum: 360


THE OATH OF THE CITIZENS OF CHERSONESOS

Greek text:   IosPE_1.401
Date:     c. 300-280 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription from the north coast of the Black Sea has been much discussed; see for instance V.Stolba, "The oath of Chersonesos and the Chersonesean economy in the early Hellenistic period" ( PDF ), and C.Williamson, "As God is my witness. Civic oaths in ritual space as a means towards rational cooperation in the Hellenistic polis", pp.6-9 & figs. 1-4 ( academia.edu ).


I swear by Zeus, Gaia, Helios, the Virgin { ? Iphigeneia }, the Olympian gods and goddesses, and the heroes who protect the city and territory and fortified places of the Chersonesitans: I will co-operate to defend the safety and freedom of the city and the citizens, and I will not betray Chersonesos or Kerkinitis or Kalos Limen or any other fortified town or other places which the Chersonesitans inhabit or have inhabited, to anyone either Greek or barbarian, but I will protect them for the people of Chersonesos. I will not abolish the democracy, nor will I support or conceal anyone who plans to betray or abolish the democracy, but I will report them to the damiourgoi in the city. I will be the enemy of anyone who plots against or betrays or foments revolt in Chersonesos or Kerkinitis or Kalos Limen or the fortified places and territory of the Chersonesitans. I will give the best and fairest practical assistance and advice to the city and the citizens. I will preserve the (?) safety {sastēr} of the people, and I will not reveal any secrets to anyone, Greek or barbarian, which could cause harm to the city. I will not give or receive any gift for the sake of harming the city and the citizens, nor will I plot any evil deed against any of the citizens, unless they are in revolt; nor will I support or conceal anyone who plots such things, but I will report them and vote against them according to the laws. I will not join any conspiracy against the state of Chersonesos nor against any of the citizens unless they have been declared to be enemies of the people. If I have joined any conspiracy or if I have been bound by any oath or curse, if I put an end to it may it turn out well for myself and my kin, but if I abide by it, may the opposite occur. If I detect any conspiracy that already exists, or is being formed, I will report it to the damiourgoi. I will not give away corn to be removed from the plain, nor will I take it anywhere else away from the plain, except to Chersonesos. By Zeus and Gaia and Helios and the Virgin and the Olympian gods, if I abide by this oath, may it turn out well for myself and my family and my associates, but if I do not abide by it, may it turn out badly for myself and my family and my associates; may neither the land nor the sea bear fruit for me; may my women fail to bear any children . . .

inscription 361


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