Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 97


Greek text:   IG_12.9.207
Provenance:     Eretria , Euboia
Date:   294-288 B.C.
Tags:     dionysiac_artists ,   games+festivals
Format:   see key to translations

This long inscription gives us an insight into some of the practical problems faced by Greek cities when they held games. In this case, the task was made more complicated because the cities wanted to co-ordinate a new festival, in honour of Demetrios I, with the existing Dionysia; that required careful management of calendars. The Dionysiac Artists played a key role in the process.

Demetrios I was particularly associated with the god Dionysos: see, for instance, "The Tragic King: Demetrios Poliorketes and the City of Athens" by Peter Thonemann ( ).

. . . Damasias, Paramonos . . . Hermophantos, Apollonides, Aristion; [men] shall be appointed, [to go to] Chalkis and allocate the tasks to the Dionysiac Artists [in the month of Apatourion as the Chalkidians] reckon, which is the month of Areios as the Histiaians reckon, which is the month of . . . as the Eretrians reckon . . .


The men who are appointed shall swear an oath in their own city . . . [and when] they arrive at Chalkis, they shall swear the same oath on the . . . of the Artists who are announced to the best . . . [not] on account of a favour or any enmity, and I shall not [accept] any gifts 10 . . . [not] by any device or pretext an excuse for . . . and Apollo and Demeter and Dionysos. [If I keep my oath, may I enjoy blessings], and if I break my oath, may the opposite happen.

On contracts for work.

After [making the oath, they shall allocate the tasks], proclaiming and announcing to the Artists from the twentieth day [of the month of Apatourion]; they shall [send] three pipers and three tragedians, and to Karystos two . . . four . . . and three choruses of boys and three choruses of men, except to the chorus [of] . . . [a costumer] who shall provide robes for the tragedians and the comedians, all that [they need; and] they shall receive [guarantors] from each of the Artists, who should be worthy men but not Euboians.

[On theoroi.]

The cities shall choose [and send] theoroi to the games of the Dionysia and the Demetrieia, [who shall bring] the "fairest prize" {kallisteion} [according to] the decree, taking . . . [drachmas] of silver from their own city 20 . . . and join in the procession and do everything else according to the Euboian custom.

[On payment.]

Each [city shall give] to a piper 600 drachmas of Demetrian coinage; and to a tragedian . . . [drachmas at the Dionysia] and 100 drachmas at the [Demetrieia] games; and to comedians 400 drachmas; and to a costume supplier 300 drachmas.

On allowances.

[Each city] shall give an allowance to the Artists for five days of nine obols per day, and for intercalary [days] . . . [to the] directors of tragedies and comedies for ten days, to the directors of the cyclic dances twenty drachmas.

On the games.

The games of the Dionysia shall take place in Karystos from the twelfth day [in the month of] . . . [as] the Karystians reckon, then in Eretria in the month of Lenaion as the Eretrians [reckon, from] . . ., then in Chalkis in the month of Lenaion as the Chalkidians reckon, from the twentieth day, then [in Oreos in the month of . . . as the Histiaians] reckon, from the 23rd day.

On intercalary days.

If anywhere they need . . . of intercalary days, they shall be able to insert up to three days; the piper shall begin 30 . . . to lead in the chorus; the tragedians who contract for the work shall leave to the piper . . . [for the] . . . and the menís choruses of the tragedians [shall provide] new costumes for the actors . . . leads in; the choregoi who have been appointed in the cities shall welcome the [Artists] . . . according to the laws.

On the judging.

When the games take place, the judges shall decide . . . writing it on a writing-tablet and bringing it openly to the [ancient temple] . . . shall proclaim the names of the choregoi for the Artists, and archon shall . . . those who are judged . . . [and the poet] of the drama shall be the winner.

On the Demetrieia.

The letting of contracts for the Demetrieia shall take place [in Chalkis] . . . from the cities, and they shall hold the games first in Oreos in the month of Demetrion [as the Histiaians reckon from the] . . . day, then in Chalkis in the month of Hippion as the Chalkidians reckon, from the twelfth day, [then in Eretria] in the month of . . . as the Eretrians reckon, from the thirtieth day, then in Karystos 40 in the [month of] Bouphonion [as the Karystians] reckon, from the 23rd day; the judging of the Artists for the Demetrieia shall be in the cities . . . as is prescribed for the Dionysia. The Karystians shall use the Artists for the Aristonikeia.

[On fines.]

[If] the Artists leave undone any of the tasks that have been given out, they shall pay a fine of twice what [they received for the task, and] payment shall be exacted from the Artist [and] the contractor and the guarantor in each city in which they leave the task undone; [they shall] be liable to arrest [within] Euboia and they shall be deprived of all the property that they take with them while travelling through Euboia, until [they have paid off] the fine as is prescribed. The money that is exacted from those who have left tasks undone shall be the sacred property of Dionysos in the city where the [task is located]; and of the property that they take with them while travelling through Euboia, half shall belong to whoever confiscates it, and half to the city from which the confiscator [comes]. If anyone in the cities proposes or puts to the vote that [someone] who has left a task undone should be released from the fine, both the proposer and the man who puts it to the vote shall be liable for illegal use of force, unless the king directs otherwise concerning them. The money raised from this shall be used for the sacred business of Dionysos, and for nothing else.

On intercalary months.

50 The archons in the cities, along with those who have been appointed, shall take care concerning intercalary months whenever it is necessary, in order that they may be synchronised throughout Euboia.

On oaths of denial.

Artists who leave any of the tasks undone shall be able to make an oath of denial, by appearing in person in the city where they left the task undone, in the six months before winter; before that, they cannot be exempted. If any of the Artists, who received the tasks in Euboia, is taking part in games in any city from which [it is not possible for him] to come at the time when the games take place in Euboia, he shall be able to make an oath of denial.

The archons in each of the cities shall inscribe this [decree] on a stone stele and set it up in the entrance to the theatre; each group shall reckon the cost of inscribing the stele amongst themselves, when they let out [the arrangements] for the upcoming Dionysia.

The cities shall choose men according to the agreement, and [send] them to Chalkis before the twentieth day of the month of Apatourion, as the Chalkidians reckon, in order to let out the tasks to the Artists. The committee members {probouloi} and the generals of the Chalkidians shall send someone to the Artists, to announce 60 the letting of the contracts, and to summon anyone who wishes to contact for work to arrive [before the twentieth day], in the godís calendar, of the month of Apatourion, as the Chalkidians reckon.

If any of the Artists, who have previously been sentenced to fines in the cities before the law was enacted, wish to contract for some of the tasks in Euboia, they can be released from their previous fines, by making an oath of denial when they arrive.

The Artists who have contracted for the tasks in Euboia shall have immunity from civil prosecutions in the cities of Euboia during this time, if they are dwelling there because of the games; the generals [and] the archons in each city shall take care of this immunity.

If any if the Artists leave any of their tasks undone, the contracts for all their tasks shall be cancelled, if it is not (?) forbidden, and Artists shall be hired from somewhere else to replace those who have left the tasks undone, if they are able to do so; and those who are hired shall [also] be available for all the cities where tasks have been left undone. If the Artists or any of the contractors, who are able to contract for the tasks and the archons wish to give the tasks to them, do not accept the contracts but . . . contrary to the existing laws of the Euboians about these matters, they shall be liable to tax on all the items that they have when they set foot on Euboia, 70 both in importing and in exporting them, and those who allocate the tasks shall indict those Artists or contractors, whom they judge to have committed wrong in this respect, in the individual cities; and those who are appointed to supervise the contracts, along with the archons and the generals, shall take care to devise a way in which they may ensure that those who are indicted will pay the dues, according to the decrees of the Euboians.

If any of the Artists, who fail to discharge some of their obligations concerning the games, are sentenced to a fine by the agonothetes, the fines shall immediately be deducted from their payment when they collect it.

inscription 98

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