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Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum: 695


DECREES OF MAGNESIA CONCERNING THE EISITERIA FESTIVAL


Greek text:   Magnesia_3 ,   Magnesia_4
Date:   c. 210-190 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

These two inscriptions, carved on the same block of stone, have been fully discussed by F.Dunand, "Sens et fonction de la fête dans la Grèce hellénistique" ( Persée ). He suggests a date of shortly before 200 B.C. for decree A, and a date of soon after 196 for B, although he also notes that B may belong to much later in the 2nd century B.C. It is likely that decree A at least was inscribed many years after it was enacted.

The translation of A is adapted from the translation by John Ma ( PDF - document 18 ).


[A]   When Polykleides son of Pythodelos was stephanephoros, in the month of Hagneon, concerning the establishment of the wooden image {xoanon} of Artemis Leukophryene in the Parthenon now built for her, and concerning the annual offering of libations and sacrifices for her on the sixth day in the month of Artemision, and the celebration of sacrifices by all the inhabitants before their doors, according to their resources, 10 on the altars built by them. It was resolved by the council and the people, as proposed by Diagoras son of Isagoras; since, a divine inspiration and presence having happened to the whole population of the citizen body concerning the restoration of the temple, the Parthenon received its accomplishment by the gradual increase in the works, and distinguishes itself from the old building left to us by our ancestors, and since it is the ancestral custom of the people to be well disposed towards the divine, and to distribute the fitting sacrifices and honours to all the gods, and especially to the founder of our city Artemis Leukophryene; therefore with good fortune, and for the safety of the people and those who are well disposed 20 towards the population of the Magnesians with their wives and children, it is resolved by the council and the people that the temple-warden {neōkoros} and the priestess of Artemis shall complete the restoration of the goddess into the Parthenon on the sixth day of the month of Artemision, with the most spectacular sacrifice, and that day shall be considered holy for all time, under the name of Eisiteria {"Entry festival"}, and there shall be truces of all towards all, and there shall be a procession of women towards the shrine, and they shall keep watch in the shrine, accomplishing the fitting honour and the watch over the goddess; and the temple-warden shall also organise choirs of virgins to sing hymns to Artemis Leukophryene, 30 and the children shall be released from their lessons and the slaves and slave women shall be released from their works, on the day on which this will take place. The priestesses of Artemis who are in office after the stephanephoros Polykleides, and the stephanephoroi in their year, shall organise a sacrifice and a procession; and the letting out of contracts office after the stephanephoros Polykleides shall take place on this day, the same procedure which takes place on the first day of the year. The sacred herald in office now and the in one office every year, on the sacred day during the month, at the time when the agora fills up, with the polemarchs, stewards {oikonomoi}, secretary of the council, 40 general, hipparchs, stephanephoros and under-secretary present in white clothing and laurel crowns, having asked for holy silence before the council-hall, with the children, shall make this prayer and exhortation to the whole population: I bid all those who live in the city and the territory of the Magnesians, for the propitious accomplishment of the Eisiteria, according to their household means, to offer joyful sacrifice to Artemis Leukophryene on this day, and [to pray that] Artemis Leukophryene may give to the Magnesians and their wives health [and wealth], and grant that the present offspring [be safe] and fortunate, and their descendants blessed . . .

[B]   . . . [so that] all those who dwell in the city and [its territory] shall, according to their personal means, render fitting honours to the goddess each year on the sixth day of the month of Artemision, in the festival called [Eisiteria], 10 which are worthy of the blessings that she has given and is continually giving to our population; thinking that it is appropriate to [release] the children from their lessons in accordance with the traditional [custom], and to release the household slaves from all their tasks; and allowing the [trading] of merchandise on that day, in order that the zeal of the people may become [even] more conspicuous; and recording the other matters in the decree that relate to the (?) service of the [goddess]; and instructing the college of magistrates to offer libations and prayers, and [also] to perform sacrifices; therefore it is fitting for the people to take [even more] zealous care about the aforesaid matters, and to inscribe 20 the decree that was authorised [in the month] of Hagneon when Polykleides was stephanephoros, which contains the aforesaid honours, on the western doorpost of the north stoa - [the one that] has an ox-head on it - and to elect a man to organise the inscription, who along with the architect shall let out a contract for it, and the supervisors of the sacred revenues for the current year shall provide the money that is spent on the inscription. In order that everyone may realise that it is fitting to increase the honours given to Artemis in the Eisiteria, it is necessary that the secretary of the council who is in office and the antigrapheus, in each year on the second day of the month of Artemision 30 after the election of the priestess and the stephanephoros has taken place, shall read out the decree that was introduced by Diagoras son of Isagoras concerning the management of the Eisiteria. If they do not read it out as instructed, each of them shall be fined 900 sacred drachmas; and any of the citizens who is willing and entitled shall be able to bring a prosecution against them before the examiners, on the basis that he will receive half of the sum. The man who is appointed for the inscription shall give an account of the matters that he has arranged to the secretary of the council and the antigrapheus. It shall be better for those who own houses or workshops, if they furnish altars before their doors according to their means 40 and coat them with ashes, inscribing on them the name of Artemis Leukophryene Nikēphoros; if anyone does not do this, it shall be worse for him. This decree also shall be inscribed on the doorpost.   Maiandrios son of Artemidoros was appointed for the inscription of the decrees.


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