Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 64


There is a clear reference to Poseidippos, the writer of epigrams, in the first of these inscriptions (A, line 24). He was probably also honoured in inscription B; Poseidippos was a relatively rare name, and the dates are approximately the same. By the time of these inscriptions, Poseidippos was living in Egypt and writing poems for the Egyptian royal family; and so it is a mark of his international reputation that he was granted these honours by states in central Greece - see P.Bing, in "The New Posidippus", page 139 ( Google Books ).

It is less certain whether Asclepiades of Samos, another writer of epigrams, was honoured in inscription B. Asclepiades is a slightly more common Greek name, although it is certainly a striking coincidence that the name appears right next to Poseidippos in the inscription. There is a possible reference to this poet in another inscription of the same period: Syll_492, line 17.

Apart from Poseidippos, inscription A is of interest as a snapshot of the international relationships of the Aetolian League, at the time when it was just beginning to increase its power. As might be expected, most of the states that are mentioned are in central Greece; but there are some exceptions, most remarkably the appearance of a Roman, "Lucius Olcaius", in line 51.

[A]   Greek text: IG_9.12.1.17

Date: the first Aetolian general who is mentioned in the inscription is Polykritos (general for the second time) in line 97. Another inscription refers to Polykritos as general for the second time - Syll_421 , recording an alliance between the Aetolians and the Acarnanians. This is dated to about 262 B.C. by J.B.Scholten, "The Politics of Plunder", page 61 n.8 ( Google Books ), but the date is still disputed, and may be earlier.

[ . . . the Aetolians granted . . .] to the following men, both for themselves and for their descendants:

When Polykritos was general for the second time:

When Polykritos [was general . . . ]:


When Polykritos of Ka[ll]ion was general for the . . . time, and . . . was hipparch, and . . . was secretary, the Aetolians granted citizenship 130 in accordance with the law to the following:


When Neoptolemos [was general]:


When Neoptolemos was general, and . . . of [Trich]onion was hipparch, and . . . of Kalydon was secretary, the Aetolians granted citizenship in accordance with the law 140 to the following:

[B]   Greek text:   FD_3.4.192

Date: Aristion was archon of Delphi in about 266 B.C. (according to F.Lefevre, 1995); but some earlier scholars placed him in about 275 B.C. (G.Daux, 1943).

The Delphians granted:

- both for themselves and for their descendants - proxeny, priority in access to the oracle, priority in receiving justice, inviolability, freedom from all [taxes], and the the other privileges that are granted to other proxenoi; when Aristion was archon, and the members of the council were Damon, Andron and Menandros.

inscription 65

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