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.

inscription 56

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