Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 8.269


Greek text:   SEG_8.269
Provenance:   Gaza , Palestine
Date:   c. 200 B.C.
Tags:     mercenaries+garrisons
Format:   see key to translations

Cretans often served as mercenaries in the armies of the Hellenistic kings. Charmadas may have been forced to go overseas by the capture of his home town, Anopolis. He joined the Egyptian army, served in a garrison in Palestine (which was under Egyptian control until 200 B.C.), and gave his daughter in marriage to an Aetolian, who was probably another soldier in the garrison. But despite his adventurous life, the epitaph puts most emphasis on family bereavements

The inscription is in written in elegiac couplets. Adapted from the translation by Ippokratis Kantzios.

From your good fortune has come a savage fire, Charmadas, and some Nemesis has overthrown your hope. On the one hand, your boy of the same name died having seen only twenty winter settings of the star Arcturus, while on the other hand, your daughter Archagatha's seven year old daughter, Kleodoxa, died, and deprived her parents of the blessing of children. Aetolian Machaios lamented the child pitiably, but there is no gain for mortals who wail. Indeed, the kings of Egypt, with their ancient wealth, glorified you both with golden gifts, and you have Crete as witness how you straightened up you fatherland Anopolis, which had been subdued by the enemy spear. It is enough for a mortal man only to blame the gods. O child of Taskomenes, you met with a difficult old age, and, having laboured ten thousand fold in your soul, you have come by the universal path into the house of Hades.

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