Greek Economic Inscriptions

GEI036B

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Fragmentary decree from Kyme about an advance of funds (theater copy)


Fragment B
[ - - - ]
[. c. 50.]· τὸ
δὲ ἀν[άλωμα τὸ] ἐσσόμενον εἴς τε ταὶς στ[άλλαις καὶ] τοὶς πρεσβευ-
τα[ὶς] παρακαλέσσαι τὸν ταμίαν Εὔ̣ιππον προεισενέγκαι ἐπὶ πόρῳ τοῖς
πρώτοις πορισθησομένοισι εἰς τὰμ φυλακὰν τᾶς πόλιος μετὰ πρύτα-
5νιν Ἡρακλείδαν· τοὶς δὲ χρεοφύλακ̣ας ἀναγράψαι αὐτῷ τὰν πόλιν
ὀφέλλοισα̣ν τόκω ἕκτω καὶ τὸν ταμία̣ν τὸν ἀπ̣οδειχθησ̣όμενον ἐπὶ τᾶς
διοικήσιος ἀποδόμεναι αὐτῷ τό τε ἀρχαῖον καὶ τὸν τόκον ἐκ τῶ πόρω
τῶ γεγραμμένω· τᾶς δὲ̣ ἀ̣ναγραφᾶς καὶ τᾶς ἀναθέσιος τοὶς θ[εοῖσι]
ἐπιμελήθην τοὶς ἄνδρας τοὶς ἀποδειχθησομένοις· ἔμμεναι δὲ τὸ ψάφισ-
10μα τοῦτο εἰς φυλ̣ακὰν καὶ σωτηρίαν τᾶς πόλιος καὶ τᾶς χώρας κύριον εἰς
πάντα τὸν χρόνον· τὸν δὲ ἀποδεδειγμένον εἰσαγωγέα τῶ νόμω Ε[...]-
ρον εἰσενέγκαι αὐτὸ εἰς τὸ νομοθετικὸν δικαστήριον, ἵνα ὑπάρχῃ
ἀσφάλεια τᾷ πόλει καὶ τᾷ χώρᾳ ἐννόμως̣ κα̣τ̣ὰ̣ πάντα τρόπον· ἀναγινώ-
σκεσθαι δὲ τὸ ψάφι̣σμα κατ’ ἑκάσταν ἐκκλη[σί]α̣ν, ἐπεί κε ἀποδειχθῇ
15τὸ στρατάγιον. (vac. ) πρεσβευταί· (vac. ) Εὔιππος Λ̣αονίκω, (vac. ) Ἀνδρέ̣α̣ς Ἡροστράτω,
Νικήρατος Ἀπολλοδώρω, (vac. ) Πολύφρων̣ [Ε]ὐ̣μή̣δω· (vac. ) ἐ[κ]υ̣ρώθ[η] ἐπὶ πρυτάνιος
Ἡρα̣κλείδα τῶ Ζω[ί]λω, μην̣νὸς Ἀμολωίω τρίτᾳ ἀπιόντος, στραταγῶ
ἐπεστακόντος τᾷ ἐκ̣[κ]λ̣ησίᾳ (vac. ) Ἀνδρέα τῶ Ἡροστράτω. (vac. )
(vac. )
Translation:
[ - - - ] the expense that will be sustained for the stelai and the ambassadors, it shall be requested that the treasurer Euippos pays it in advance, taking as guarantee the fund consisting of the first revenues for the protection of the city after the prytany of Herakleidas; the keepers of the register of debts shall write down that the city is indebted to him at an interest rate of one sixth, and the treasurer who will be appointed to the administration shall pay back to him both the original sum and the interest from the above-mentioned fund; the men who will be appointed to the task shall provide for the inscription and the dedication to the gods; this decree shall be valid for the protection and safety of the city and its territory forever; the man who has been appointed “introducer of the law”, E[...]os, shall bring it before the tribunal of the nomothetai, so that the city and its territory shall enjoy security in conformity with the law in every respect; the decree shall be read in every assembly, whenever the college of the strategoi is appointed.
Ambassadors: Euippos, son of Laonikos, Andreas, son of Herostratos, Nikeratos, son of Apollodoros, Polyphron, son of [Eu]medes.
Ratified under the prytany of Herakleidas, son of Zoilos, on the third-to-last day of the month of Amoloios, while the strategos Andreas, son of Herostratos, presided over the assembly.
Commentary:
The inscription contains the final dispositions of a decree of the city of Kyme; instructions for the publishing of the decree are given, along with details about an advance of funds to be requested of the treasurer Euippos in order to front the expenses for the publishing itself.
The text exists in two copies, with minimal differences in ll. 7-8 and 15-18. One copy, first published in 1888 (Baltazzi 1888, 362-364), was last edited in full as I.Kyme 12; and contains only the final section of the decree (details about this inscription can be found here [→ scheda A]); the second one was found in the theater excavations in 1989 (Manganaro, Nuove iscrizioni di Kyme eolica, 41). From this point onwards, the first copy will be referred to as the I.Kyme copy, while the second one will be referred to as the theater copy. Line numbers in the commentary always refer to the theater copy, unless otherwise specified.
The theater copy has been recognized by Hamon (Chiron, 38, 2008) as making up the lower half of a plaque whose upper half was also found in the theater excavations in 2002 and later published by Manganaro (2004). A shorter section ( h: 0.10-0.40 m ) is missing in between the two fragments (Hamon, Chiron, 38, 2008, 90). The first half of the decree (not reproduced here; for the full text and translation, see Hamon, Chiron, 38, 2008, 94-96) defines the obligations of the city's strategoi. The text can be dated on paleographic grounds to the second quarter of the third century BC (Hamon, Chiron, 38, 2008, 98-101): the scribe may be the same of the great inscription with a request of shields from the city of Kyme to Philetairos, also published by Manganaro (2000). This helps clarify the context and importance of the decree (stressed in ll. 9-15 of the current text), as well as its connection with the στρατάγιον (l. 15), but does not account for the sending of ambassadors, since the dispositions seem to affect exclusively the city of Kyme ( Hamon, Chiron, 38, 2008, 97-98, suggests that a copy was meant to be deposited in a sanctuary). It should be noted that the treasurer Euippos, of whom the advance of funds is requested, is also the proponent of the decree.
The main economic interest of this text lies in the procedure by which the treasurer is asked to front the expenses for the publishing of the decree and the sending of ambassadors (ll. 1-8). The city requires Euippos to pay for them in advance; the loan will be guaranteed by a specific fund in the city's budget, as well as written down by public officials, and paid back at an interest rate of 16.67%.
Euippos' advance of funds is defined by the verb προεισφέρειν, but the description of the procedure sets it apart from other known examples of προεισφορά. On a textual level, note that προεισενέγκαι (l. 3) is to be taken with τὸ δὲ ἀν̣[άλωμα] as the direct object and εἴς τε τ[αὶς στάλλαις καὶ] τοὶς πρεσβευτα[ὶς] as a final adjunct: for the reading and construction in ll. 1-2 of the I.Kyme copy, see the remarks by Jeanne and Louis Robert (BE 1973, no. 370; 1974, no. 468), which refute the proposal by Etienne (1973, 240-242) to read τοῖς πρεσβευτα[ῖσι]. The use of προεισφέρειν connects the inscription from Kyme with the examples of προεισφορά discussed by Helly (1971; cited texts range from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD). Helly's analysis shows that the contributions defined by προεισφέρειν/προεισφορά are made by private citizens to help a city cope with a difficult financial situation, and take the shape of a reimbursable advance of funds that is normally interest-free (ἄτοκον) and does not need formal guarantees (Helly 1971, 21-23). In regard to the last two points (the presence of a formal guarantee for the loan and the interest rate), Euippos' προεισφορά represents an exception to Helly's model (thus also Etienne 1973, 243).
Euippos' loan is guaranteed both by written registration of the debt (ll. 5-6; Migeotte, Emprunt, 383-384 n. 129, argues that it is unusual for a contract to be written in the case of loans ordered by decree) and by the stipulation that it will be paid back with the revenues of the fund «for the protection of the city» (ll. 3-4, 7-8). As Jeanne and Louis Robert have argued (BE 1973, no. 370; 1974, no. 468), the expression in l. 3 of the I.Kyme copy is to be understood as ἐπὶ πόρῳ τοῖς πρώτοις πορισθησομένοισι: the second dative is an apposition that defines the fund to be used as guarantee. An alternative reading, taking πόρω as a genitive (Aeolic), was suggested by Etienne (1973, 242-243 n. 10), but requires the reader to understand πόρος as meaning “budget”, which is both unusual (see again Robert, BE 1974, no. 468) and in contrast with the use of πόρος in l. 7, where it clearly refers to “the (above-mentioned) fund”. It is common for a city to give some part of its revenues as a guarantee for a loan; examples of this practice can be found in Migeotte (Emprunt, e.g. nos. 55, 79-a), but perhaps the most important parallel, due to its chronological proximity, is the request of shields from the city of Kyme to Philetairos (Manganaro 2000, 404-405, l. 9). In the case of Euippos' προεισφορά, Jeanne and Louis Robert (BE 1973, no. 370) suggested that the choice of the fund εἰς τὰμ φυλακὰν τᾶς πόλιος (l. 4) for the reimbursement was connected to the decree's content; this hypothesis has been confirmed by the restitution of the initial section, since the text does indeed deal with the strategoi's obligations regarding the defense of the city (see Hamon, Chiron, 38, 2008, 69-81, for details).
The second peculiar trait of Euippos' προεισφορά is the stipulation of an interest rate of 1/6 (l. 6). The presence of a τόκος is atypical for προεισφοραί (see again Helly 1971, 21); moreover, a rate of 16.67% is unusually high in general, since the interest rates for public loans in the 3rd century normally remained between 8% and 12% (Billeter 1898, 65-70). This has been interpreted as a sign of great need on the city's part (Etienne 1973, 244), but could also be due to a lack of citizens willing to pay for the decree's expenses without interest, which led to the need to impose the advance on the treasurer Euippos (Migeotte, Emprunt, 270). Anyway, an interest rate of 1/6 is not entirely unparalleled in the first half of the 3rd century: an inscription from Sigeion (Migeotte, Emprunt, no. 78, l. 4) attests that an unknown benefactor had loaned a sum of 200 Phocaean staters to the city at the same rate (about this text, see Gatti 1967; according to the author, it is highly improbable that the loan was made by a citizen of Sigeion).
In conclusion, it should be noted that, while the text does not provide enough information to understand the reasons for the presence of a written guarantee of Euippos' loan nor for the stipulation of so high an interest rate, both these traits set the inscription from Kyme apart from the examples of προεισφοραί collected by Helly (1971). The restitution of the initial section of the decree by Hamon (Chiron, 38, 2008) helps clarify its historical and political context, but gives no substantial new evidence as far as economic aspects are concerned.

Baltazzi 1888 = D. Baltazzi, Inscriptions de l'Éolide, BCH, 12, 1888, 358-376
Billeter 1898 = G. Billeter, Geschichte des Zinsfusses im Griechisch-römischen Altertum bis auf Justinian, Leipzig 1898
Etienne 1973 = R. Etienne, Sur une proeisphora à Kymé d'Eolide, ZPE, 12, 1973, 239-246.
Gatti 1967 = C. Gatti, Aspetti della εὐεργεσία nel mondo ellenistico (a proposito di prestiti di privati a città), PP, 94, 1967, 192-213
Helly 1971 = B. Helly, ΠΡΟΕΙΣΦΕΡΕΙΝ: Une inscription de Kiérion en Thessalie, RA, 1, 1971, 15-28
Manganaro 2000 = G. Manganaro, Kyme e il dinasta Philetairos, Chiron, 30, 2000, 403-413
Manganaro 2004 = G. Manganaro, Doveri dello stratego nella Kyme eolica, a regime democratico, nel III sec. a.C., EA, 37, 2004, 63-68
Author: Martina Astrid Rodda