back

Royal Correspondence: 1


LETTER OF ANTIGONOS TO SKEPSIS

Greek text:   IMT_388   ( OGIS_5 )
Date:     311 B.C.
Tags:     autonomy ,   freedom ,   treaties-kings

The historian Diodorus ( 19.61 ) says that in 311 B.C. Antigonos issued a decree that the Greek cities were to be "free, not subject to foreign garrisons, and autonomous"; this letter is the only documentary evidence of his policy. For the decree of Skepsis in response to his letter, see OGIS_6.

There is another translation of the inscription in M.M. Austin, "The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest", no. 38 ( Google Books ).


. . . we exercised [zeal for the] liberty [of the Greeks] , making for [this reason] no small concessions and distributing money besides, and to further this we sent out together Aischylos and Demarchos. As long as there was agreement on this we participated in the conference on the Hellespont, and if certain men had not interfered the matter would then have been settled. Now also, when Kassandros and Ptolemaios were conferring about a truce 10 and when Prepelaos and Aristodemos had come to us on the subject, although we saw that some of the demands of Kassandros were rather burdensome, still as there was agreement concerning the Greeks we thought it necessary to overlook this in order that the main issue might be settled as soon as possible ; for we should have considered it a fine thing if all had been arranged for the Greeks as we wished, but because the negotiation would have been rather long and in a delay sometimes 20 many unexpected things happen, and because we were anxious that the question of the Greeks should be settled in our lifetime, we thought it necessary not to let details endanger the settlement of the principal issue. What zeal we have shown in these matters will I think be evident to you and to all others from the settle ment itself. After the arrangements with Kassandros and Lysimachos had been completed, to conclude which they had sent Prepelaos with full authority, Ptolemaios sent envoys to us 30 asking that a truce be made with him also and that he be included in the same treaty. We saw that it was no small thing to give up part of an ambition for which we had taken no little trouble and incurred much expense, and that too when an agreement had been reached with Kassandros and Lysimachos and when the remaining task was easier. Nevertheless, because we thought that after a settlement had been reached with him the matter of Polyperchon might be arranged more quickly 40 as no one would then be in alliance with him ; because in the second place of our relationship to him ; still more because we saw that you and our other allies were burdened by the war and its expenses, we thought it was well to yield and to make the truce with him also. We sent Aristodemos and Aischylos and Hegesias to draw up the agreement. They have now returned with the pledges, and the representative of Ptolemaios, 50 Aristoboulos, has come to receive them from us. Know then that the truce has been established and that peace is made. We have provided in the treaty that all the Greeks are to swear to aid each other in preserving their freedom and autonomy, thinking that while we lived in all human expectation these would be protected, but that afterwards freedom would remain more certainly secure for all the Greeks if both they 60 and the men in power are bound by oaths. For them to swear also to help to guard the terms of the treaty which we have made with each other, seems to us neither discreditable nor disadvantageous for the Greeks ; therefore it seems to me best for you to take the oath which we have sent. In the future also we shall try to provide both for you and for the other Greeks whatever advantage we have in our power . It seemed best to me then to write you also about these matters 70 and to send to you Akios to speak further on the subject. He brings you copies of the treaty which we have made and of the oath.   Farewell.

letter 2


Attalus' home page   |   27.02.21   |   Any comments?