The reply of Ziailas goes beyond the issue of the inviolability of the island of Kos, and this has led historians to suspect that the underlying purpose of the embassy from Kos was (on behalf of king Ptolemy) to ask for assurance concerning the safety of Greek merchants travelling along the coast of Bithynia on journeys to the Black Sea; see G.M. Cohen, "The Hellenistic Settlements in Europe, the Islands, and Asia Minor", page 61 ( Google Books ).
Ziailas king of Bithynia to the council and people of Kos, greetings. Diogeitos, Aristolochos and Theudotos, your envoys, came and asked us to recognise as inviolable the temple of Asklepios in your city and to befriend the city in all other ways, just as our father Nikomedes was well disposed towards your people. We do in fact exercise care for all the Greeks who come to us as we are convinced that this contributes in no small way to one's reputation; especially do we continue to make much of our father's other friends and of you, because of his personal acquaintance with your people and because king Ptolemaios, our friend and ally, is friendly towards you, and still further because your envoys expressed with great enthusiasm the good-will which you have for us. In the future, as you may request, we shall try for each one individually and for all in common to favour you as much as lies in our power, and as for your seafaring citizens to take thought for those who happen to enter territory under our control, so that their safety may be assured, and in the same way also for those who are cast upon our coast because of an accident in the course of their voyage, we shall try to exercise all concern that they might be injured by no-one. We recognise also your temple as inviolable, as you have requested, and concerning these and our other wishes I have ordered Diogeitos and Aristolochos and Theudotos to report to you. Farewell.
→ letter 26
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