Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 31.576


Greek text:   SEG_31.576
Provenance:     Larissa , Thessaly
Date:   mid 2nd century B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

This is the only mention of a Chaldaean in the whole body of Greek inscriptions, but there is nothing in the text to suggest that he was regarded as in any way unusual; see Z. Misiewicz in "The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts: Essays on Assyriology and the History of Science", pp. 325-328 ( Google Books ). His home city, 'Hierapolis in Seleukis', was Bambyce in Syria.

The Greeks made little distinction between astronomy and astrology. Vitruvius ( 9.6.2 ) mentions a Chaldaean called Antipater in the context of fortune telling by astrologers, and it seems very likely that he is referring to the same man who is named in this inscription. A few centuries later, Apuleius wrote an exaggerated but memorable account ( "Golden Ass", 2.11-14 ) of the services provided by another Chaldaean in Greece. 

When Pausanias of Larisa, the son of Kriton, was strategos of the Thessalians, on the third day of the month of Itonios, in lawful assembly; the tagoi - Diodoros son of Krateraios, Asandros son of Krateraios, Antiphilos son of Demonikos, Aischylos son of Phyllinos, Kratesipolis son of Agathon - presided over the assembly; as proposed by the tagoi:   since Antipatros of Hierapolis in Seleukis, the son of Antipatros, a Chaldaean astronomer who has been enrolled as a citizen at Homolion, has resided in our city for a considerable time, and in his conduct has shown himself worthy of our city and of his own fatherland, and also of the branch of learning that he practises; and he devotes himself [eagerly] to those who approach [him] . . . 

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