Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 55


Tags:     slaves
Format:   see key to translations

For similar records of manumission at Delphi, see inscription 24. In all these manumission records from Boeotia, no payment is involved, but the slaves are simply set free, either after a set period of time or upon the death of their owner.

[A]   Greek text:   Darmezin_67,95
  Provenance:   Chaironeia
  Date:   c. 200 B.C.

Adapted from the translation by Thomas Wiedemann.

God. Good fortune. When Mnasigeneis was archon, in the month of Hermaios, Menekleis son of Dionousodoros and Biottis daughter of Mnason dedicated their own home-born slave Parthena as consecrated to Artemis Elitheia, with the full consent of their son Mnason; she shall remain with them for ten years, before the dedication becomes valid. But if Menekleis and Biottis should suffer anything {die} before the completion of the stated period of time while Parthena remains with them, Parthena is to remain for the remaining years with Menekleis' daughter Telia, who is to complete the dedication through the council, in accordance with the law.

[B]   Greek text:   IThesp_214
  Provenance:   Thespiai
  Date:   c. 200 B.C.

There are some differences between this manumission contract and the contracts at Delphi: the slaves are not directly consecrated to the god (Asklepios), but they are "placed before him", to ensure their freedom; and as well as this written contract, there is to be a verbal proclamation of their freedom.

Adapted from the translation by J.D.Sosin.   For more information about manumission at Thespiai, see the comments of Claire Grenet in "The Epigraphy and History of Boeotia", pages 414-416 ( Google Books ).

God. Good fortune. In the year of Pasiboios as archon, Eutychos son of Kallikrates releases as free Hagias, Onasimos, Hageisippos, Seleukos, Heureas, Boukatia and Syra. They shall be completely free, after they have remained with Eutychos, being well disposed and irreproachable, for as long as he lives. But if Eutychos dies, these slaves shall be placed before Asklepios in the care of Epitimos son of Samichos and Samichos and Kallikrates sons of Epitimos; these men shall serve as their guardians {prostatai} and take care that their freedom should be secure, as Eutychos (?) laid down, for all time. And whenever Eutychos dies, Epitimos and Samichos and Kallikrates shall proclaim over the tomb that Eutychos sets free [these] slaves, according to the stele in the Asklepieion.

Witnesses: Mnasigenes son of Thedoros, Thedoros son of Mnasigenes, Damatrios son of Damon and Kleitidas son of Samichos.

[C]   Greek text:   EpOropou_329
  Provenance:   Oropos
  Date:   300-250 B.C.

This inscription has been much discussed, because it refers to a Jewish slave in Greece at a relatively early date, in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. It should be noted that, as well as local citizens of Oropos, two of the witnesses are Athenians; Oropos was detached from Boeotia and given to Athens by Alexander the Great in 335 B.C., but it rejoined the Boeotian league in about 287 B.C.

Adapted from the translation by D.M.Lewis, "The First Greek Jew" (JSS, 1957). See also E.L.Gibson, "The Jewish Manumission Inscriptions of the Bosporus Kingdom", pp.66-68 ( Google Books ).

Phrynidas [will release] Moschos to be free, dependent on no man. But if anything happens to Phrynidas {i.e. he dies} before the time elapses, let Moschos go free, wherever he wishes. With good fortune.


Set up by Moschos, son of Moschion, a Jew, at the command of the god Amphiaraos and the goddess Hygieia {"Health"}, having seen a dream in which Amphiaraos and Hygeia commanded him to write it on a stone and set up by the altar.

[D]   Greek text:   IG_7.3199
  Provenance:   Orchomenos , Boeotia
  Date:   c. 150 B.C.

The slave in this inscription was owned jointly by two women, who were apparently friends rather than relatives. Like several others in Orchomenos, they chose to dedicate their slave to the Egyptian gods Sarapis and Isis.

The inscription was originally dated to around 200 B.C., but it is now thought to be somewhat later; see C. Grenet, in "The Epigraphy and History of Boeotia: New Finds, New Prospects", pp.417-8 ( Google Books ).

When Tharson was archon, and Xenokrates son of Meilichidas was priest, and the polemarchs were Saon son of Habron, Dorkillos son of Athanodoros, and Lioukon son of Eugiton; Klio daughter of Daphnēos and Timo daughter of Menestratos dedicated their personal slave Athanon to be sacred to Sarapis and Isis. No-one shall be permitted to enslave Athanon or to lay hold of him; if anyone does lay hold of him, the priest [and the] polemarchs shall be authorised to seize them and punish them, and the councillors {synhedroi} shall assist in seizing and punishing the wrongdoer. Klio was accompanied by her friends Kaloklidas son of Kalligiton, and Menestratos and Kalligiton sons of Kaloklidas; and Timo was accompanied by her husband Kaloklidas son of Kalligiton.

[E]   Greek text:   IG_7.3083
  Provenance:   Lebadeia , Boeotia
  Date:   200-150 B.C.

This contract confirmed the provisions of the owner's will, after he died. The translation is adapted from R. Parker, in "The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Law", p. 78 (2005).

God. Good fortune. When Wastias was archon among the Boeotians and Dorkon was archon at Lebadeia, Doïlos son of Iranēos consecrates his own servant Andrikos to Zeus the King and to Trophonios to be sacred, remaining with Doïlosís mother Athanodora for ten years, as his father left instructions. Then if Athanodora is still alive, Andrikos shall pay the sum written in the will. If anything happens to Athanodora before then, Andrikos shall remain for the rest of the term with Doïlos, and thereafter let him be sacred, not belonging to anybody in any respect. It shall not be permitted to anybody to enslave Andrikos. Andrikos shall serve at the sacrifices of these gods.

inscription 56

Attalus' home page   |   27.07.20   |   Any comments?