Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 44.949


Greek text: SEG_44.949
Provenance:   Teos , Ionia
Date:   c. 230-205 B.C.
Tags:     foreign_residents ,   hostages+captives ,   pirates ,   subscriptions
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription was first published by S.Şahin in 1994 ( Epigraphica Anatolica - ), with a German translation and commentary. The inscription belongs to the second half of the 3rd century B.C. There is no agreement yet on an exact date within this period; but the overall context is clear enough. From 240 B.C. onwards, central control of western Asia Minor grew steadily weaker, which left cities on the coast, such as Teos, defenceless against attacks by sea. This process culminated in the Cretan War of c. 205-201 B.C. (many of the pirates were based in Crete), after which several Cretan cities issued decrees confirming the inviolability of Teos.

Unfortunately there are frequent gaps in the text of the inscription, but it is clear that Teos collected 10% of the value of all luxury items held by its wealthy residents, in order to pay a large ransom to the pirates in return for the release of the citizens whom they had captured. The names of the residents who contributed the most money were recorded in the inscription; and penalties were prescribed for anyone who failed to declare their luxury items. The curious word τόκοι ("interest", "profit"), used to describe the contributions, is probably expressed from the point of view of the pirates, who wanted a 10% cut of the wealth of the Teians. "The pirates have arranged for the Teians to supervise their own ransacking, saving themselves much time, effort and danger by having the plunder collected and delivered to them" ( Philip de Souza ).

[A] * * * and to praise . . . of the generals and [timouchoi] . . . honourably to take care of . . . [(?) benefactors] of the people and to crown each of them [with] . . . the herald shall proclaim at the Dionysia . . . 10 with the other prayers in each year * * * powers, of which the decreed measures * * * [that] the people of Teos understands [(?) how to show gratitude] * * * the money that has been lent and not * * * the treasurers [shall provide money for the costs that will be incurred for this].

[B] . . . decision of [(?) the generals and the timouchoi and those appointed]: since . . . 20 . . . [on behalf] of the safety of themselves and their children [and their wives] and those [dwelling in the city and the countryside], it is resolved by the people, in order that we may pay the agreed [debts], . . . to instruct all [the citizens] to lend . . . of one-tenth interest . . . [all their possessions] in the city, both on land and on sea, and their land and . . . [the ransom] of the free-born prisoners, until they are brought back and [(?) the agreed debts that] arise from the valuation according to the decree . . . the money to the lenders; when the [money] that has been loaned . . . nor contributions from this money; [and if the generals and the timouchoi] provide these services to the lenders, 30 [they shall have] the same priority seating as the priests at the games that the city holds and [they] shall be crowned [every year at the] Dionysia along with the other benefactors of the city . . . [(?) each of them shall have] a wreath of ivy in the same manner. [The treasurers] shall record [on steles the names of all the citizens] who lend . . . minas and provide services; [and they shall record the names of] all those citizens who possess drinking cups or ornaments [of silver or gold, and] coined or uncoined silver, within twenty-three days . . . in the same manner as to those who contribute coined silver. [All men] and women who dwell as foreigners in the city [(?) also shall register], according to the same conditions, . . . [and if] any others have silver or gold of the city [and have not registered] . . . it shall be possible for one who wishes [to act against] someone who has done wrong . . . 40 Anyone [who has received pledges from someone], shall themselves record the pledges, and [all men and women who] . . . shall register how much is owed on their pledges; whoever has deposits from someone or other . . . also [shall register]; everyone who dwells in the [city] as a foreigner also shall register [according to the same conditions]. Everyone who dwells in the city as a foreigner [shall be registered] . . . not to possess a silver or [gold] drinking-cup [or] . . . embroidered or women's clothing with purple colouring [or (?) gold chains] wider than a twentieth of a finger along a cubit, [or] . . . [(?) gold] head-dresses except gilded ones.

[All of them] shall swear [the customary oath]; 50 the generals and the timouchoi shall administer the oath. [If any resident does not make the oath] according to the decree, he shall pay a fine of five . . . drachmas . . . shall not bring a lawsuit against anyone [(?) who provides information], and [it shall be possible] for anyone who wishes [to inform] against him. [All] these persons shall be required to present themselves within twenty days to make the oath and [register according to the] same conditions in the decree. [The generals and] the timouchoi shall record the names of those who swear the oath on notice-boards and place them in the agora, wherever they [(?) deem suitable. If] anyone is detected in possession of one of the forbidden items [that he has not brought out, it] shall be [taken away from] him, and one half of what is discovered shall belong to the informer [and the other half shall belong to the city; the treasurers] shall take care of the confiscation and sale of what is discovered; those who possess forbidden clothing [shall hand it over (?) to the informer; and] informers shall be free from taxes when they export and sell 60 any of it within three [days; (?) and the herald shall proclaim the name of the informer] at the Dionysia and the Thesmophoria. May those who abide [by the oath fare well], and may those who break the oath be destroyed, both themselves and their families.

[This decree] shall be [for the safety] of the citizens themselves and their children and their wives [and the others who dwell in the city] and its territory; the citizens and [foreign residents] shall estimate their contributions [from] the day when the pirates leave the city. The treasurer Kritias shall inscribe [this decree and the] names of the lenders - with their fathers' names and the amount of the [one-tenth] interest [and] . . . - on stone steles and set them up [next to the temple] of Herakles.

[C] [The amount of the] one-tenth interest, which was extracted by the pirates from each lender . . . 70 in the month of Trygētēr, when Sokrates was prytanis :

On the first day of the month of Apatourion:

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