Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 29


Greek text:   IKEO_454 , IKEO_455
Provenance:     Media Atropatene 
Date:   (A) 88/7 B.C. ,   (B) 22/1 B.C.
Translated by: E.H. Minns
Format:   see key to translations

These two documents, which were written on leather, were discovered in a sealed jar in a cave in the Avroman region. They show that Greek remained the language of official documents in this part of the Parthian empire for most of the 1st century B.C. A third document, dated to the 1st century A.D. and written in the Parthian language, was discovered in the same jar.

The documents were probably written in the reigns of Gotarzes I and Phraates IV. For a discussion of the significance of their contents, see D.T.Potts, "The Sale and Lease of Vineyards in Media Atropatene" ( ).

The translations are copied from E.H. Minns, in JHS 1915, pp.31-32 ( ). Both contracts were written in duplicate - in a format found also in Ptolemaic Egypt. The translations shown here are a composite from both copies; words or phrases that appear only in the lower/external copy are shown in green.

[A]   In the reign of the King of Kings, Arsakes, the Benefactor, the Just, the Manifest and the Philhellene, and of the Queens, Siake his sister (by the same father) and wife, and Aryazate surnamed Automa, daughter of the Great King Tigranes and his wife, and of Azate his sister  (by the same father) and wife, in the year 225, in the month Apellaios, in the hyparchy Baiseira, near the station Baithabarta in the village Kopanis, before the witnesses hereunder written, acknowledgment and agreement were made by Barakes and Sobēnes, the sons of Maiphorres, that they had received from Gathakes, the son of Oipates, 10 in coined money thirty {or forty} drachmas the price of a vineyard situated  in the village Kopanis, known as Dadbakanras {or Ganzake} his own share due to him     from the co-possessors with water and vine-stocks, both those in bearing and those not, and ingress and egress and all that pertain to it : let the one part belong to Barakes and the other part to Gathakes, on condition that on taking possession the aforesaid Gathakes shall hold the vineyard he has bought with money for all time, he and his descendants; performing yearly in common the things written in the old agreement all in full . . . and let it not be lawful for Barakes or his brother or his descendants 20 or anyone else acting on their behalf to dispossess Gathakes of the vineyard he has bought with money, either him or his descendants : and whoever may dispossess him, or, in case of anyone else attempting to dispossess him, may fail to stand by and finally eject the intruder and acquit all claims, he shall lose his rights and pay double the price he received and an additional fine of 200 drachmas and to the King an equal sum : but likewise if Gathakes too neglects the vineyard and fails to keep it in good order he shall pay the same fine ; also he shall have the water for one [day] in eight (?) by the day half, and of what is let in the night half. 

As surety and co-responsible [Barakes and Sobēnes ?] appointed 30 Chosstroes son of Orkadates, and Apakes son of Hystoboges.   Witnesses: Dēnobazus . . . , Meiridates son of Ochobages, Phrahates son of Sykynema, Marzy... . . .

And Gathakes shall also give Barakes 1 drachma for possession, 35 (?) of meat, 1 . . ., 50 baskets (?) of loaves, 8 oxen, 2 kotylai (?) of wine . . . And Barakes too shall give Gathakes from the wine-press the must and drainings and . . .  and pressed grapes.

[B]   In the reign of the King of Kings, Arsakes, the Benefactor, the Just, the Manifest and the Philhellene, and of the Queens, Olennieire, Kleopatra, Baseirta, Bistheibanaps, in the year two hundred and ninety one in the the hyparchy Basiraora, near the station Dēsakdis {or Dēsakidida}, in the village Kōphanis, before the witnesses hereunder written, acknowledgment and agreement were made by Aspōmakes, son of Gaakes, that he had received from Denes son of Gathakes fifty-five drachmas in money as a price and had given him the vineyard in the open country known as Dadbakabag with ingress and egress and the waters belonging in common with the co-possessors : the boundaries and abutments on the east with the co-possessors to be as in the old  agreement : they shall ever pay yearly for possession 10 one drachma, two kotylai of wine, 21 of loaves, five oxen, two of barley . . . : as guarantor he appointed Asthates, son of Dargēnes, who appeared and acknowledged that he would guarantee, and he promised that he would invalidate none of the aforesaid provisions, either himself or those taking over from him, and ejectment will be obtained by both the vendor and the guarantor, if anyone lay claim to the vineyard that has now been sold, in no way whatever, nor upon any pretext whatever : if he does not keep this, the attempt to invalidate shall itself be void and the party that has made it shall pay without further process and decision of law two hundred drachmas and the same sum to the King's treasury. 

Witnesses: Aramasdes son of Iodabochthes, Miradates son of Mirabandakes, Gerikes son of Ardēnes.   He appointed guarantor Arthasthates, son of Dargēnes.

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