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Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 55.1264bis


PARAPEGMA FRAGMENTS AT MILETOS


Greek text:     Miletos_639 , Miletos_640
Provenance:     Miletos , Ionia
Date:   c. 130 & 109 B.C.
Format:   see key to translations

A parapegma was a method of keeping track of the sidereal year and associated weather patterns. For a good general introduction to this complicated topic, see L. Taub, "Ancient Meteorology", pp. 20-26 ( Google Books ).

Some fragments found in Miletos at the beginning of the 20th century provide the best example of a parapegma inscribed on stone, complete with drilled holes (shown here as ) for the insertion of a peg to mark the days. Unfortunately the relationship between the seven separate fragments is difficult to establish, but it seems most likely that they belong to two inscriptions of different dates, with the traditional numbers 456A+456C+456D+456N and 456B+84+1604. The first inscription was attributive (that is, it named the authorities for each observation), while the second inscription included some general remarks about the topic, while .

The approximate date of the inscriptions can be established by the mention of two magistrates: Epikrates the Milesian stephanephoros (c. 130 B.C.), and Polykleitos the Athenian archon (110/09 B.C.). See A. Jones, "The Miletos Inscription on Calendrical Cycles: IMilet inv. 84 + inv. 1604", p. 113 with n.7 ( PDF ).

The translation of 456C is by G. Bevan, A. Jones & D. Lehoux, "The Miletus Parapegma and the Keskintos Astronomical Inscription: New Evidence from Reflectance Transformation Imaging" ( PDF ). The translation of fragments 84 and 1604 is by A. Jones, "The Miletos Inscription on Calendrical Cycles: IMilet inv. 84 + inv. 1604", ( PDF ). The translation of the other fragments is by D. Lehoux, "The Parapegma Fragments from Miletus" (ZPE, 2005 ).



[A]
. . . according to Eu....
. . . [according to the] Indian Kallaneus
. . . sets in the [eve]ning
. . . [there is a] change in the weather, with hail, [according to] . . .         . . . disappears in the evening. It hails
. . . and Zephyros blows.
. . . , and according to the Indian Kallaneus . . .
    . . . evening . . . [accordi]ng to Euktemon.  
  Capella sets acronychally ac[cording] to both Philippos and the Egyptians.
  Capella sets in the evening according to the Indian Kallaneus.  
  Aquila rises in the evening according to Euktemon.
  Arcturus sets in the morning and there is a change [in the] weather according to Euktemon. On this day Aquila rises in the evening also, ac[cording to] Philippos.


[D]
. . .
. . .  
  . . . sets [acrony]chally according to . . . and the Egyptians.
  the south wind blows according to Eudoxos [and the] Egyptians; and according to the Indian Kal[laneus,] Scorpio sets with thunder and wind.
   
  . . . rise acronychally . . . [according to] Eudoxos and the E[gypti]ans.
. . . rises in the [eve]ning.
. . .
      K . . .
  Orion . . . according to . . .
  The Hyades . . . according to . . . [and] . . .
Lyra . . . according to . . .
  The Hyades . . . very much . . .
  It is stor[my] . . .
  The Hyades . . . It is stor[my] . . .
  . . .


[C]   [Epi]krates [son] of Pylo[n]
. . . little disks like a handle
. . . [each] column is
. . . of each zodiacal sign. The little disks
. . . [co]lumn, to each dowel (?)
. . . Sun (?) traveling, the risings and settings of the stars
. . . sign . . .
    . . . to install markers for the following (month?). Whenever the month has passed, to transfer the days to the register of the days in the drilled holes . . .
. . .
. . .
    . . .
. . .
  . . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
  Ly[ra] . . .
. . .
  . . .


[N]   . . . there is a change in the weather . . . according to Euktemon, and at the . . .  
. . . [according to] Philippos. And Arcturus [sets] . . . and there is a change in the weather.
. . . rise in the morning . . .
. . . for the same ones, according to Philippos . . .
. . . according to Eudoxos. The Pleiades [ri]se
. . . rise . . .
[According to] Kalla[neus] of the Indians . . .


[B]
 
 
  The sun is [in Sagitta]rius.
  . . . sets in the morning and Pro[cyon] sets in the morning.
  . . . sets in the morning.
  [Sagittar]ius begins rising in the morning and the w[hole] of Perseus sets in [the] morning.
[]   The middle of [Sco]rpio rises in the morning.
   
  ...EUMA rises in the morning.
[]   The southern fish begins to set acronychally .
  Aquila rises in the morning
  [? Gemin]i [?finishes] setting
     
30 (days)
  The sun is in Aquarius
  . . . begins setting in the morning and Lyra sets.
   
  Cygnus begins to set acronychally .
                 
  Andromeda begins rising in the morning.
   
  Aquarius is in the middle of rising.
  Pegasus begins to rise in the morning.
 
  The whole of Centaurus sets in the morning.
  The whole of Hydra sets in the morning.
  Cetus begins to set acronychally .
X   Sagitta sets. The season of the continuous west wind.
       
  The whole of Cygnus sets acronychally .
[]  
    [   The sun is in Aries]
  . . . T...
  M . . . L...
  K . . . D...
 
  K [r]is[es] . . .
 
  O... . . . acronychally
 
  The Pl[eiades] . . .
 
  K . . . A...
  . . .
 
 


[84]
. . . [from the] summer solstice occurring in the archonship of Apseudes on the 13th of Skirophorion, which was, according to the Egyptians the 21st of Phamenoth, until the one occurring in archonship of Polykleitos, the 14th of Skirophorion, or according [to the] Egypt[ians], the 11th of [Pay]ni . . .
. . .
. . .
      . . .
. . .
. . . and [he established the] [7]6-year period [containing] . . . days . . .
. . .
. . .


[1604]
. . .
. . . memorial
. . . of the men
. . . defects(?) ...
. . . And Meton of Athens established a 19-year cycle, making its beginning [from] . . .
. . .
    . . .
. . .
. . .
intercalary (months) . . .
suitably . . .
Meton, so that . . .
. . . of the intercalary months . . .
. . .


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