Greek Economic Inscriptions

GEI019

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Lokroi Epizephyrioi. Tablet from the archive of the Olympieion


Πυρ. ἐπὶ Διογνήτω ἱαρομναμονεόντων Ψαθ. Δωριμάχω Ζωίλω,
Αστ. Μενάλκεος Γοργίδα, Στρ. Τίμων Τιμοκλέος, προβώλων
προαρχόντων Γαψ. Σάμωνος Σαμίππω, Τηλ. Καλλίστρατος
Θρασυμάχω, Πυρ. Ἀρκείδα Σωσίππω, προδικεόντων Λακ. <Ξ>εναινέτω
5Κλευθήρω, Κρα. Προξένω Σαθύωνος Γαγ. Εὐθύμω Εὐθυμίσκω, ἁ πόλις ἐχρ-
ήσατο πὰρ τῶ θεῶ βασιλεῖ ἐν τὰν συντέλε<ι>αν ἀπὸ τῶ ἀγυρθμῶ ἀργυρίω
ΤΤΤ ΣΣΣΣ ΛΛΛ , καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν τελέων πὰρ ταμιᾶν καὶ φατάρχων ΤΤ Σ
πυρῶν μεδίμνων ΗΗΗ ͱημικτέος τιμὰ τῶ μεδίμνω ΣΣ, παντὸς <>Τ Σ
κριθᾶν· μεδίμνων ΗΗΗ ͱημικτέος τιμὰ τῶ μεδίμνω Σ Λ <>, παντὸς
10ΤΤΤΤ ΔΛΛΛ , (vac. ) ͱυγρῶν καρπῶν ΤΤΤΤ ΣΣΣΣ ͱιαρᾶν μίστωμα
κὰτ τὸ δόγμα , δωρεᾶν τᾶν ἐπίτηνα τῶ ͱάληκος ΤΤ. κεφ(άλωμα) τῶν ἁ πόλις
ὀφήλει τῶι θεῶι Πυρ. ἐπὶ Διογνήτω ΤΤ <ΣΣΣ> Λ (vac. )
Translation:
Pyr. during the year of Diognetos, the hiaromnamones being Psath. Dorimachos son of Zoilos, Ast. Menalkes son of Gorgidas, Str. Timon son of Timokles, the proboloi proarchontes being Gaps. Samon son of Samippos, Tel. Kallistratos son of Thrasymachos, Pyr. Arkeidas son of Sosippos, the prodikoi being Lak. Xenainetos son of Kleutheros, Kra. Proxenos son of Sathyon, Gag. Euthumos son of Euthumiskos, the city borrowed from the god for the contribution to the basileus from the collection of silver: 1983 talents, 4 staters, 8 litras, 1 ounce; and from the tributes (collected) by the tamiai and the phatarchoi: 17 talents, 1 stater; 333 medimnoi and a half of grain – price per medimnos: 2 staters – for a total of 111 talents, 1 stater; 333 medimnoi and a half of barley – price per medimnos: 1 stater, 6 litras and a half – for a total of 74 talents, 13 litras, 4 ounces; 189 talents, 2 staters of liquid products; (as) rental of the sacred lands according to the decree: 20 staters; (as income) of the gifts of the lands beyond the river Halex: 57 talents Total amount which the city owes to the god Pyr. during the year of Diognetos: 2452 talents, 3 staters, 1 litras, 5 ounces.
Commentary:
This tablet belongs to that kind of bronze epigraphical documents which the Greeks themselves usually called χαλκώματα (cf. SEG 47 1427, ll. 6, 7, 9, 17, the late 6th/early 5th century BC law from Himera concerning the redistribution of land, on which see GEI 006; SEG 30 1117-1122, the decrees from Entella; Ι.Magnesia 45, l. 50, an early third-century decree of demos of Apollonia accepting the invitation of Magnesia on the Meander to the Leukophryena; see also the evidence listed in Guarducci 1959-1960, 241 n. 5) or, as in tabs. no. 4, 28, 32 of the Lokrian archive, χαλκός (cf. also IG IX 1, 682, l. 11, a fourth-century decree from Kerkyra).
Being part of a homogeneous archive, the Lokrian tablets from the Olympieion represent a unicum among the type of documents they belong to, i.e. the documents on the public finances of the Greek cities. They record internal administrative acts of the Lokrian sanctuary of Zeus Olympios concerning financial matters, and in particular they provide essential information about the annual reporting on debt ratios between the city of Lokroi Epizephyrioi and its sanctuary. Tablet 23 gives an account of the loan that the city borrowed from the god during the year of Diognetos, specifying in a very detailed way the purpose of the loan and the sources of withdrawal. Therefore, what makes the Lokrian tablets such an outstanding piece of historical evidence is the light they shed on the internal mechanisms of the city’s financial management in relation to the sanctuary, which functioned as an inner credit institution of the city (for a thorough analysis, supplied with good comparisons, see Migeotte 1992, 151-160; see also Id. 1988 and 2014, 214-216, in particular with reference to the concept of ‘inner loan’). In 2006 Kritzas published a preliminary study (Kritzas 2006) on a still unpublished new set of 134 archival documents from the Argive sanctuary of Athena, which could be a potential interesting touchstone for the Lokrian archive.
Two sets of problems concern the tablet. The first one includes general economic and legal issues, which arise by putting Tab. 23 in its broader context. The economic issues are related to the ponderal and metrological system, whereas the legal ones concern the typology of these documents, the process of editing, and the issue of their archiving: in a word, their legal status. The second set includes specific questions related to Tablet 23 and to others among the set, such as the identity of the βασιλεὺς and the nature of his συντέλεια (l. 6); the financial role of the ταμίαι and the φάταρχοι (l. 7); the identification of the sources of withdrawal, in particular the last two, i.e. the ͱιαρᾶν μίστωμα and the δωρεᾶν τᾶν ἐπίτηνα τῶ ͱάληκος (ll. 10-11).
Let us begin from the ponderal system (on which see De Franciscis 1972, 64-65, 109 ff.; Parise 1979, 197-8; Id. 1993, 271-275; and more recently Castrizio and Filocamo 2014, 254-260). The ponderal system we came to know from the Lokrian tablets was based on a silver litra and on a talent almost equivalent to the Σικελικὸν τάλαντον, commonly used in Syracuse since the reign of Dionysius I. In fact, they were both ‘little’, that is to say, they followed a different system of subdivision and a much inferior range of values if we compare them to the ‘great’ talent, which contained 60 minae and 6000 drachmae (see Mattingly 1943, 14-16). The only difference was that the Sicilian talent (at least from a specific time) contained 12 nomoi and the nomos 10 litrae (cf. Arist. frr. 510, 589 Rose; see Consolo Langher 1963, 388-436 and Ead. 1990, 5-12; and more recently Erdas 2012, 298-303).
It is no surprise that the Lokrian ponderal system was similar to the Sicilian one. It is highly possible that the latter was brought over to Lokroi thanks to the close familiar and political relationships that linked Dionysius I and his offspring with the leading Lokrian aristocracy (Dionysius I indeed married a Lokrian aristocrat in 398 BC: cf. Arist. Pol. 1307a 37-40 and see Del Monaco 2000, 164 and Id. 2010a, 418-419; for the military and political support the Syracusan tyrant gave to Lokroi see Musti 1977, 96-102). At that time, Lokroi was a city without its own currency: no coinage was minted there until the second half of the fourth century. Most of this chronology is highly conjectural. In fact, the mint of Lokroi almost concurrently struck (1) Corinthian standard pegasi designed to conform with the currency of eastern Sicily (see Rutter 2001, nos. 2336-2342; Pozzi Paolini 1979, 231 dated them somewhere between 344 and 304 BC, while Kraay 1973, 2130-2133 preferred a later beginning, ca. 330 BC; this traditional chronology has been recently challenged by Filocamo 2009/2012 and Castrizio and Filocamo 2014, who suggest postdating the terminus ante quam almost to the end of the Agathoklean era, 289 BC); (2) a number of issues with local types on the Achaean standard for circulation in southern Italy (see Rutter 2001, nos. 2310-2328; Pozzi Paolini 1977, 241 ff. dated them 344-285 BC, until a significant reduction in weight, from 7.7/7,4 to 6,7 g, occurred). However, even after that, the tablets show that the sanctuary never expressed silver amounts in terms of coinage, probably because the monetary system, with the issues on the Achaean standard, branched off from the ponderal system which the sanctuary continued to refer to. Thus, as Parise 1993, 274 pointed out, the weight units adopted by the city mint and the sanctuary might have become different. Moreover, it might have been useful to express the values of other metals on the silver scale: it allowed the restitution of the same amount of metal or of the corresponding amount in a different kind of metal (Parise 1979, 201; see more recently Costabile 2007, 253-254 and Del Monaco 2010a, 419-424).
A recent study by Castrizio and Filocamo 2014, 254-260 shows a particularly strong metrological link between Lokroi and Syracuse during the Agathoklean age. Assuming a ratio of 2.45 between the Syracusan talent and the Lokrian one at that time, each sum concerning the συντέλεια turns out to be a round number if converted in Syracusan talents. Therefore, the following scenario can be imagined: once the command to contribute came from Syracuse, the Lokrians performed the conversion and withdrew from the sanctuary the correspondent amount of non-minted silver. As a consequence, the two scholars believe the six tablets mentioning the βασιλεύς should be ascribed to Agathokles (see the discussion below).
As far as the capacity serving measures are concerned, we possess scanty evidences. The medimnos, with its subdivisions, is the only measure employed in our documents. With regards to Tablet 23, some problems arise with the genitive form ͱημικτέος (ll. 8-9). This hapax was interpreted by De Franciscis 1972, 116 as a way to indicate half a medimnos, even though its etymology seems to match with that of ἡμιεκτέον, ἡμίεκτον, ἡμικταῖον = half a hekteus (that is to say one-twelfth a medimnos; cf. LSJ s.v.). However, it should be said that this unusual use of the term is all the more odd as we know that the contracted form ἡμέδιμνον is attested in Lokroi in the third century bc (cf. Arangio Ruiz and Olivieri 1965, no. 25, l. 6, the so-called ‘defixio Melitae’: σὺν ἡμεδίμνω[ι λιβά]νω).
Focusing on the institutional features and legal features of the tablets (on which see especially Costabile 1992b, 114-123 and Id. 2007, 263-276; Antonetti 1995, 358-361; Boffo 2003, 66-67) it is likely that Tab. 23, though not explicitly mentioned, was edited under the supervision of the ἱαρομνάμονες ἐπὶ θησαυρῶι, civic officers appointed to the management of the treasure of the god (see Costabile 1992b, 122; on the ἱαρομνάμονες see Lewis 1970, 248-249, Musti 1974, 13-19, Costabile 1992e, 216-218), in accordance with a decree of the council and of the people. Such an editing procedure is recorded by Tabs. 4, 5, 32 and can be applied to Tablet 23. However, the carving of the bronze tablet was the last step of the process. In fact, a few formal and legal features, such as the coronis (Tab. 23; see s.v. layout), the letters preceding the name of the officers (on the meaning of which see Pugliese Caratelli 1965/1966, 213; Fuda 1992, 208-209; Antonetti 1995, 356-358; Del Monaco 2018, 73-82), the initials of some civic officers at the bottom of the documents (Tabs. 15, 26) make scholars think that a more detailed book entry possibly existed, with registered accounts for the preceding years certified (see Costabile 1992b, 120-121 and Boffo 2003, 67; as Boffo 1995, 123 pointed out, an analogous situation may be described by an inscription from Paros, edited by Lambrinudakis and Wörrle 1983, concerning the inscribing on bronze of archival documents).
That raises some problems on the legal nature of the tablets. Being extracts from decrees, the majority of the tablets (with the exception of Tabs. 4, 5, 32) were not the debtor’s declaration (i.e. the polis). Thus they cannot be placed on the same footing either with Hellenistic syngraphai and chirographa (on which see Paoli 1959, 211 ff.; Castresana Herrero 1987, 362 ff.; Amelotti and Migliardi Zingale 1988, 129 ff.) or with documents recording private loans (such as the fifth century lead tablets from Korkyra, on which see Calligas 1971 and Velissaropoulos 1982, 81 ff.). However, there should be no doubt that the tablets were legal documents (see Costabile 1992b, 121), probably symbola of the loans (see Antonetti 1995, 359; on the legal value of the term symbolon see Gauthier 1972). Their purpose was to establish the entity, the timing and the reason of the loan, and, at the same time, to establish the accountability of the officers.
We do not know where exactly the tablets were stored; in fact, the stone case where they were discovered was not probably intended to be their original location considering its weight, its complex system of opening and the material found inside it (mostly gold and silver coins, now lost; cf. Giner 1992, 15 ff., Costabile 1992a, 29 and Id. 1992b, 107, stressing the fact that the objects stored in the case might have been put there due to a climate of insecurity, so as to save them). The most plausible view is that they might have been temporarily exhibited in public, possibly fixed on some support (to this conclusion the little holes on the edges of Tab. 26 might point), and then stored somewhere in the sanctuary where at least officers would have been able to consult them (cf. Costabile 1992b, 123).
As to the identity of the βασιλεύς, two opposite views have been expressed on the matter. On the one hand, some scholars interpret the βασιλεύς as a civic officer in charge of the financial administration, similar to the Lokrian Opuntian βασιλεύς (cf. Arist. Pol. 3.1287a 2-3; see especially Costabile 1980, Id. 1992c, 139-50, Id. 2007, 277-299; see also Landi 1979, 241-242, stressing the religious background of this officer); on the other, the majority of scholars believe that the term refers to a Hellenistic king, it may be Pyrrus (as De Franciscis 1972, 75 ff. argued, followed by Van Compernolle 1992, 135-136 and Migeotte 1992, 151-160); or Agathokles, as suggested by Blomqvist 1979, 75-76, Parise 1979, 204, Stazio 1979, 233 and, recently, with strong numismatic and metrological evidences, Castrizio, Filocamo 2014, in particular 249-254, on which see above; or Dionysius II (see D'Angelo 2001). The question still stands (see Musti 1979a, 213-215 and Antonetti 1995, 363).
Yet the importance of βασιλεὺς’ identity is straightforward for our understanding of the συντέλεια (Tabs. 1, 13, 23, 31), i.e. the contribution which the city gave to him: if we suppose that the βασιλεὺς was a civic officer, then it could label a joint contribution for public burdens (cf. Dem. 18.237); otherwise, the term could hint at a form of dependency which signalled a variable degree of economic subjugation (cf. Plut. Arat. 54.5; usually the word is used in this sense for membership of federal bodies: cf. Diod. 15.38.4; Hell. Oxy. 19.3 talking about the Boeotian federation; and Paus. 7.11.3, in connection to the Achaean League; cf. RE(- - -) and BNP(- - -) s.v. συντέλεια).
The next two figures we come across in the tablet are the ταμίαι and the φάταρχοι (l. 7). Both these officers are concerned with financial duties (for the military function of the φάταρχοι, probably connected with the πυργοποιία attested in Tab. 16, see Musti 1979a, 210-211; for the their constitutional relevance see Musti 1977, 104, 120; Costabile 1992e, 210-213; Del Monaco 2010b, 463). The φάταρχοι are usually responsible for collecting the loans which the sanctuary grants to the city; nevertheless, in Tablet 23 they collect tributes necessary to the granting of the loan itself. Two different explanations might be given regarding their collective role. On the one hand, they might have collected the recorded amounts in order to deposit them in the sanctuary; on the other one, it is possible that the φάταρχοι directly collect the tribute addressed to the sanctuary, depositing it in the form of a loan in the public treasury of the φατάρχιον (mentioned in Tabs. 16 and 19; cf. Musti 1974, 16-19, Id. 1987, 92-101, Costabile 1992c, 146-148). As far as the ταμίαι are concerned, they make their appearance only in Tab. 23. De Franciscis 1972, 150 describes them as accounting officers of the sanctuary, who probably assisted the φάταρχοι with control purposes.
Focusing on the ͱιαρᾶν μίστωμα (l. 10), nowadays scholars unanimously accept the view held by Gigante 1979, 44 ff., who convincingly interprets the expression as ‘the rental (coming from) the sacred lands’, implying the genitive γᾶν before ͱιαρᾶν; this reading is backed up by strong literary and epigraphic parallels (in particular see the tablets from Heraklea: IGSI 645, I, ll. 95 ff.). For a review of the previous interpretations see L. Del Monaco, I.Locri, 76-77.
The final issue concerns the identification of the last source of withdrawal quoted in the tablet and the nature of its income. The text runs as follows: ΔΩΡΕΑΝ ΤΑΝΕΠΙΤΗΝΑΤΩͰΑΛΗΚΟΣ (l. 11). Resting on more solid ground, Musti’s reading, δωρεὰν τᾶν ἐπίτηνα τῶ ͱάληκος, must be preferred (ἐπίτηνα = ἐπέκεινα, ‘beyond the river Halex’; see Musti 1974, 6-7 and Gigante 1979, 43-44; contra De Franciscis 1972, 37, 44-45 and Manganaro 1977, 1340, who read δωρεὰν τὰν ἐπὶ Τῆνα τῶ ͱάληκος, ‘the offering related to the sanctuary of Zeus near the river Halex’; however, the existence of another minor sanctuary of Zeus, somehow connected to the Olympieion, is not historically, grammatically and linguistically acceptable: see Musti 1974, 6; Blomqvist 1978, 18). As far as ΔΩΡΕΑΝ ΤΑΝ is concerned, their interpretation as rental contributions coming from one or more δωρεά, in the sense of ‘land donated’ to the sanctuary and located ‘beyond the river Halex’, ought to be preferred (see the persuasive legal and historical arguments pointed out by Costabile 1992d, 164-166).


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Author: Flavio Santini
DOI: 10.25429/sns.it/lettere/GEI0019