Greek Economic Inscriptions

GEI030

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Decree of Olymos on purchase of land


[ - - - ]Ο̣Υ̣[ - - - ]ΚΑΤ̣[ - - - ] Λέον[τος - - - ]
[ - - - ]ίωνος κατὰ δὲ υἱοθεσίαν Ο[ὐ-]
λι<ά>δου τοῦ Πόλλιος τοῦ Πρω̣τ̣[έ-]
ου ἐπήγγελται δανείσειν
5τοῖς εἱρημένοις ἀνδράσιν [δρα-]
χμὰς ἑπτακισχιλίας εἰς μῆ[νας]
δεκαδύο, τόκου τὴν μνᾶν ἑκ[άσ-]
την τοῦ μηνὸς ἑκάστου ὀβολ[ῶν]
ἕξ, τοὺς εἱρημένους ἄνδ[ρας]
10γράψασθαι Οὐλιάδῃ τὴν τοῦ [δα-]
νείου συνγραφήν· τὸ δὲ ἀργύ[ρι-]
ον λαβόντας τοὺς κτηματ[ώ-]
νας διορθώσασθαι Οὐλιάδῃ Ἑ[κα-]
τόμνω τοῦ Κόρριος εἰς τὴν τι[μὴν]
15τῶν προγεγραμμένων ἐγγα[ίων]·
πόρον δὲ ὑπάρχειν εἰς τὴν [ἀπό-]
δοσιν τοῦ δανείου τὸ ἐ[σ]όμε[νον]
ἐκ τῆς πρώτης ἐσομένης ἐπὶ τ[οῦ]
μετὰ Ὑβρέαν στεφανηφόρου ὁ[μοί-
20ω]ς δὲ καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ἐπιόντος χρό[νου]
[ἕ]ως ἀποδοθῆναι τοῦ τὸ προγε[γραμ-]
μένον δάνειον σὺν τόκωι σὺν, ἀν[τα-]
ναιρουμένης δαπάνης καθ’ ἕ[κασ-]
τον ἔτος εἰς τὰς θυσίας μὴ πλ[είο-]
25νος δραχμῶν τριακοσίων· [τὸ δὲ λοι-]
πὸν διορθούσθωσαν ο[ἱ ἀεὶ καθιστά-]
μενοι ταμίαι τοῖ[ς προγεγραμ-]
μένοις ἀνδράσιν [ἕως τοῦ ἐξελ-]
θεῖν τὸν χρόνον τῆς [ἀπόδόσεως ἐμ]
30 μηνὶ Πανέμωι Μ[ - - - ] -
νου ἀπο[ - - - σὺν]
τόκῳ [ - - - ]
Translation:
[ - - - ] (since Ouliades) [ - - - ] son of Leon son of [ - - - ]ion, by adoption son of Ouliades son of Pollis son of Proteas, has promised to lend the appointed men 7,000 drachmas for twelve months, with an interest of 6 obols per mine per month, (it was resolved by the demos of Olymos that) the appointed men shall draw up the loan contract for Ouliades.
The ktematonai, after taking the money, shall pay Ouliades son of Hekatomnos son of Korris according to the price of the aforementioned plots of land.
The income for the repayment of the loan shall be that derived from the first coming revenue under the stephanephoros after Hybreas; in the same way also starting from the following time up to the (full) repayment of the aforementioned loan with interest, deducting the expense for sacrifices each year, no more than 300 drachmas.
The treasurers [each time] in charge shall pay the rest to the [aforemention]ed men [until the ex]piry of the time of the [repayment in] month Panemos [ - - - ]
Commentary:
For its full understanding, the text should be placed in a broader context, consisting of a group of inscriptions from Mylasa and its subject communities, such as Sinuri, Hydai, and Olymos itself, dated to the 2nd-early 1st cent. BC (see bibliography and esp. Pernin, Les baux ruraux, 405ff., on dating criteria and hypotheses). These documents testify to the purchase of private land by civic institutions or subdivisions of the community (demos, tribes, syggeneiai) on behalf of their respective tutelary deities. The purchase is usually followed by the lease of the land, often perpetual (εἰς πατρικά) and in favor of the previous owner of the plot – a typical feature for Mylasa and surroundings (see e.g. I.Mylasa 207, 212, 205-206, 811-813; Robert, Sinuri 46). For a brief survey of the juridical phases of the procedure and the relevant kinds of documents (namely ψήφισμα, ὠνή, ἔμβασις, μίσθωσις, διεγγύησις, παραχώρησις, ἀναμίσθωσις) see Blümel, I.Mylasa I, 74-76; further details in Pernin, Les baux ruraux, 422ff.
It must be noticed that the land purchased and subsequently leased by the civic institutions on behalf of the god becomes sacred, and therefore property of the god. For example in Robert, Sinuri 46 the land seller becomes lessee of the same plot for a period of 10 years, after which he can decide whether to become a perpetual lessee of the god or to return the sale price to the syggeneia in order to redeem the land. In the latter case, however, he is still forced to pay the deity a symbolic dracma, which testifies to the sacred quality of the land's property. Through the leasing of land, the sanctuary obtains economic sources in order to perform sacrifices and run the ordinary religious life (see Migeotte, Emprunt, 328; Descat, Pernin, Studi Ellenistici, 20, 2008, 307-308; Dignas, Kernos, 13, 2000, 118ff.; cf. Harpocr. s.v. ἀπὸ μισθωμάτων). Nevertheless, the fact that the whole procedure is performed by civic institutions through public decrees shows that sacred and profane shared mutual interests (see Dignas, Kernos, 13, 2000, 125-126). Moreover, the practice is advantageous both for the city/sanctuary and for the seller/lessee: the former is thus assured of a regular income (the annual rent) with a low-risk investment, while the latter (the same being true even if seller and lessee are different individuals) takes profit both from the sale and from the subsequent, perpetual exploitation of the land, retaken on lease at a fairly low rent (I.Mylasa 212 attests an annual rent of 4 % ca. of the sale price; see Chankowski, Topoi, 12-13, 2005, 82-83). See Pernin, Les baux ruraux, 444-445, for an overview of the various hypotheses that may account for reasons and aims of these kinds of purchases and leases.
The specific situation implied in the decree may be described as follows. The sanctuary of Olymos has temporarily run out of money in order to purchase land. It therefore turns to an individual named Ouliades (I), as can be inferred by line 10, from whom it obtains a short-period loan (12 months) of 7,000 drachmas, with monthly interest of 6 obols per mine, i.e. 12% per year. However, it is not the sanctuary itself (through the civic institutions) that formally receives the loan, but certain εἱρημένοι ἄνδρες, «appointed men/citizens». Their designation and their assignment to negotiate the loan with Ouliades (I) was likely mentioned in the lost section of the decree, as well as the verification of the lack of funds by the demos/sanctuary (see Migeotte, Emprunt, 329). The «appointed men» have to draw up the loan contract (συγγραφή, l. 11) with Ouliades (I) and to give the money to the ktematonai, the officials appointed to the purchase. These ktematonai must eventually pay the seller of the land, a certain Ouliades (II) son of Hekatomnos son of Korris, probably a member of a very powerful family of priests of Zeus Labraundos (however, note that the prosopographical problems relevant to this document, which also involve significant dating issues, are very complex and cannot be discussed here: see the commentaries). Since the loan is a short-period one (12 months), the lender Ouliades (I) must be refunded within one year, but the repayment procedure established by the decree (ll. 16-25) runs for a longer and different period, namely:
1. The first funds for repayment would consist of the first income of the rent under the eponymous magistrate (stephanephoros) following Hybreas – the one in charge –, i.e. the revenues of the forthcoming year (ll. 16-19).
2. Starting from the year following Hybreas’s successor (i.e. from the second year after Hybreas) the procedure would be the same as that described in point 1) and would last until the complete repayment of the loan with interests (ll. 19-22). According to ll. 22-25, the expenses for sacrifices must be deducted from the income destined to the repayment, with their amount being no higher than 300 drachmas per year.
3. The rest of the repayment would be payed to the «appointed men» by the treasurers, until the expiry date of the repayment itself (ll. 25-29). The text stops sharply at line 29 due to damage to the stone and starts again at line 30 with μηνὶ Πανέμωι, followed by an Μ and a further gap. The integration [ἀποδόσεως ἐμ] | μηνὶ Πανέμωι is almost certainly correct, and the mention of themonth Panemos most likely introduces the scheduled expiry date.
This complex process of refund pertains not to the lender, Ouliades (I), but to the «appointed men», as emerges from lines 27-28. The city/sanctuary is supposed to refund them according to the procedure outlined in points 1-3, after charging them with the full restitution of the loan with interests to Ouliades (I) within the established term (12 months), in order not to incur penalties for delay. Therefore, the «appointed men» are warrantors of the debtor city/sanctuary: they receive the loan from the primary lender and then refund him out-of-pocket. The loan they grant to the institution (by refunding the first lender) is interest-free and its repayment runs for a longer but not unlimited time (see ll. 29-30). Migeotte, Emprunt, 329 and Pernin, Les baux ruraux, 426, suggest that the «appointed men» would be completely refunded at the end of the second year (after Hybreas), but this is actually a mere possibility. In fact, the text gives us only the month (Panemos) of the expiry date (if this interpretation is correct), but we know nothing about the year of expiry: the information at ll. 20-22 (ἐκ τοῦ ἐπιόντος χρό[νου] | [ἕ]]ως τοῦ ἀποδοθῆναι τὸ προγε[γραμ]|μένον δάνειον σὺν τόκωι) does not add anything.
Figures of intermediary lenders such as the ones attested in the inscription being considered appear also in some other epigraphical documents (see Migeotte, Emprunt, 329). In Migeotte, Emprunt no. 118, three citizens charged with the refund of a public loan obtain part of the income of the city as personal repayment (unknown city, 200 BC ca.). Several inscriptions from the sanctuary of Apollon at Delos attest certain individuals called προδανεισταί, who act as intermediaries between the city and the temple, taking care of repaying the temple (the lender) on behalf of the city (e.g. IG XI,2 158B, 32-38; IG XI,2 203A, 73-74, 75-78; IG XI,2 287A, 122-125 etc.; see Bogaert, Banques et banquiers, 131-137). Similarly in Plut. Lyc. 852B Lykourgos lends the city a sum of money received in deposit (παρακαταθήκη in 841D) by some citizens, thus acting as an intermediary lender: his action is indicated by the verb προδανείζειν.
A definition of προδανειστής that fits the case of Olymos well is in Anecdota Graeca I, p. 192 Bekker, l. 26: προδανειστής· ὁ ἀντὶ τοῦ δανειζομένου γραφόμενος τὴν ὁμολογίαν, where the substantivized middle participle δανειζόμενος indicates the person or the institution that takes a loan, so that the προδανειστής is defined as an intermediary proper. However, the verb προδανείζειν, with its cognates, is otherwise attested with the simple meaning ‘to lend’ and is not always distinguishable from δανείζειν: see e.g. Migeotte, Emprunt nos. 4, 68A, 89, 96, 98, 103. Only in the last of these inscriptions is there a distinction between δανείσαντες – people who lend with interests – and προδανεισταί – who lend ἄτοκα χρήματα, but the latter is not used merely for interest-free loans, as no. 96 shows (see Migeotte, Emprunt, 302 note 153).
Individuals referred to as προδανεισταί appear also in some inscriptions from Mylasa and Olymos with a different role. Namely, the term is used to describe rich and notable individuals who receive in deposit large sums of money from the city/sanctuary (see Bogaert, Banques et banquiers, 268-270; Pernin, Les baux ruraux, 426). This money is destined to the purchase of lands: when the city/sanctuary decides to purchase, after verifying the availability of money, it issues a decree that appoints certain citizens to take the necessary amount from the προδανεισταί (see e.g. I.Mylasa 802, 827, SEG 54 1094). It is possible that these rich men could afford to lend money out-of-pocket to the city/sanctuary in order to refund a lender, as happens in this decree from Olymos – but it must be remarked that the definition of προδανεισταί for the Olymean «appointed men» is essentially based on the case of Delos and on the above quoted Anecdoton.
Author: Marco Santini