Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum: 599


Greek text:   Priene_162   ( I.Priene 37 )
Date:     c. 196-192 B.C.
Tags:     arbitration ,   historians+philosophers ,   tyrants
Format:   see key to translations

This long inscription is valuable both as a detailed example of the arguments used by Greek states in border disputes, and as a source of information about the early history of the Ionians - the dispute between Priene and Samos had a very long history. A previous judgment on the dispute, made by king Lysimachus in 283/2 B.C., has survived in a letter from Lysimachos to Samos ( RC_7 ). Several other kings of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. are mentioned in part G of the inscription here, but they cannot all be identified: see R.S.Bagnall, "The Administration of the Ptolemaic Possessions Outside Egypt", page 172 ( Google Books ).

There is a helpful summary of the contents of the inscription in S.L.Ager, "Interstate Arbitrations in the Greek World, 33790 B.C.", pp. 204-210 ( Google Books ). Part A is the introduction; B, D and F contain the statements made by the Samians, but B and D are both badly damaged; C and E contain the statements made by the Prienians; G is the decision of the Rhodian arbitrators, which agrees with the statements made by the Prienians; and H is a detailed description of the course of the border between the two territories.   A detailed analysis of the whole inscription can be found in the recent edition, with Italian translation and commentary, by A.Magnetto, "L'arbitrato di Rodi fra Samo e Priene" ( ).

In several places, the Prienians indicate the date of an event by the name of their annual magistrate, the stephanephoros; the dates (B.C.) of these magistrates are probably as follows:

Arbitration between the Prienians and the Samians.

[A]   The following men were chosen by the people of Rhodes [to decide about] the territory which is disputed between [the Samians] and the Prienians and about the fort called Karion, which is disputed between the Samians and the Prienians:

11 The Samians and Prienians had asked the people to appoint men who would arbitrate and define the borders and either make a decision or the reconcile the two parties.

The Samians appointed the following men to plead their case:

[The Prienians appointed the following men to plead their case:]

20 We listened to their claims in the temple of Dionysos in Rhodes, and where each of them led us in the disputed territory, and at the [fort] called Karion, and in the temple of Artemis in Ephesos; and we made our decision based on what [we] had observed.

We decided that [the fort] called Karion and the land [around it] shall belong to the Prienians. After giving our judgement about this, we made [two] copies of it, and we gave one copy to the prytaneis of the Samians, namely:

and to the secretary of the council, Menippos son of Kleon; in the year of Protophanes as priest, [in the month of . . .] (by the Rhodian reckoning); [in the year of . . . damiourgos, in the month of . . . (by the Samian reckoning)].

[We gave the other copy to the generals of the Prienians, namely]:

on the (?) 19th day of the month of Panemos (by the Rhodian reckoning); on the ... day of the month of Thargelion (by the Prienian reckoning).

[B]   [The Samians said that] the [territory] of Batinetis . . . the Prienians [had] a hostile . . . with the Melians, and when a conflict arose . . .

50 . . . Karion and Dryoussa, [and] they showed that it was recorded [in] the histories of Maiandrios of Miletos, [that the] rest of the territory of Melia was [given] to them [by the (?) league of the Ionians] after the Meliac war, [upon which] to possess it . . . from the Milesians Akadamis, and . . . Thebai [and] Marathesion, as [the league of Ionians determined] concerning them [in assembly] at the Panionia, and [from] the Kolophonians 60 Anaia . . .

[C]   . . . [when Makareus was stephanephoros] after Athenagoras, they fled to Karion, where [one] of the citizens was commander of the garrison, and they slew the commander of the garrison and all the rest of the garrison because they chose to support the tyrant. Concerning these matters they showed the decree that was sent to them 70 by the supporters of the tyrant, and the decrees that were sent to them at the time when they were forced to leave the city by the supporters of the tyrant and fled together to Karion, which were sent to them by many cities; and they showed the decree that they wrote to the people of Rhodes, when they were in Karion, requesting them to restore them to their city; and two decrees of the Prienians to kings Demetrios and Lysimachos concerning them; and another decree of the Rhodians concerning how the supporters of the tyrant had fled; and another decree concerning the donation of weapons and to the Rhodians concerning the borrowing of money. 80 They said that when the tyranny was put down, which [happened after] three years, they returned from Karion to the city in the year when Lykos was stephanephoros, and the city still held the fort of Karion as previously, and possessed the territory. A year later, when Kallistratos was stephanephoros, some parts of the remaining [public] land in the area were offered for sale, being divided [into] thirty-seven plots; and they showed [two] other decrees that are kept in the temple, [about the] allotment of thirty-seven plots; and [when] . . . was stephanephoros, [who] was the fifth stephanephoros after Kallistratos, [some other parts of the territory were offered for sale, 90 being divided into] another five plots.

[D]   [The Samians] said that their fort was taken away [by the Prienians] and . . . sending to Lysimachos . . . that their fort was taken away . . . of the tyrant . . . to Lysimachos . . .

[E]   . . . of Samos . . . and at the time when . . . letters by Hagesarchos, in which [he spoke] concerning the private [disputes], but no-one raised any dispute [concerning Karion] and the land around Karion; [and now the Samians have sent envoys to the people] of Rhodes 100 to complain that [the Prienians] possess much of the land [contrary to] justice, [and in particular] that they possess Karion, which is the subject of the current arbitration.

[F]   The Samians presented the [evidence] of the historians, in the same way that they did in the judgement concerning Batinetos, and tried to demonstrate from [these historians] that Karion and the land around it was allotted to them, [at the time when] the Ionians distributed the territory of the Melians, and the Samians were allotted Karion and Dryoussa, as is recorded [in the] histories attributed to Maiandros of Miletos, that they were allotted [Karion and] Dryoussa; and after the battle that took place between them and the Prienians at Drys {"Oak tree"}, the dispute was decided for them by their victory, [and] the treaty stated that the territory belonged to them; for they set the borders with the Prienians as the streams of water flow. They presented historians - Euagon, Olympichos and Douris - who gave evidence to support them, that they were allotted Karion after the Meliac war, [when] they set the borders with the Prienians, [as] the streams [of water] flow; and they said that Karion was seized from them 110 by those Prienians who were forced to leave their city by [Hieron and his supporters, when he assumed tyrannical power]; from there they overran and ravaged the property of Hieron and [those who] sided with Hieron. After holding Karion for three years they returned to the [city of Priene], when the tyrant in the city had been vanquished; [and] still the Prienians did not give up Karion, but their [descendants] have [held] it until the current time. They started to enter the land [around Karion] at the time when, on returning [to Priene, they learnt] that all the Samians had carried out a scrutiny and registration of their land on the island and on [the] mainland, [and that there would not] be any disputes with them, because the registration was done a long time ago; and the Prienians had seized and entered their territory, on account of which the Samians thought that their allotment [that was made to them] in the beginning, but was later taken away from them by the Prienians, should be restored to them.

[G]   We, when we looked at the historians who wrote about the Meliac [war] and the distribution of the land, found that all the others said that in the distribution the [Samians] were allotted Phygela, 120 although four of them were Samians - Ouliades, Olympichos, Douris and Euagon - and two were Ephesians - Kreophylos and Eualkes - along with Theopompos the Chian, who all recorded in their histories that the Samians were allotted Phygela. Only in the histories attributed to Maiandros of Miletos did we find it recorded that the Samians were allotted Karion and Dryoussa; but this is contradicted by the majority of historians, who say that these histories are not authentic . . .

. . . [when Makareus was stephanephoros] . . . and were forced to leave Karion . . . [and returned when] Lykos was stephanephoros, who was the fourth stephanephoros after Makareus; and they sent envoys to Lysimachos concerning Batinetos [when] the god was stephanephoros after Nikandros, who was the fifteenth stephanephoros after Lykos; and from that time, they have held the fort and the land around the fort, putting forty-two plots on sale, and the Samians have not complained or sent envoys to make charges against them because they have settled the land. When there were private border-disputes with them, the Samians did not dispute (?) with the men from Karion, 130 but on the contrary in the decree that they sent to Lysimachos it was written that the Prienians held their own land; and many years after the dispute had been referred to Lysimachos, when Antiochos son of Antiochos was king and they were going through hard times, the Samians sent [envoys] to them [to say] that they accused them of encroachment on their borders, but [they said] nothing concerning Karion . . . about them the Laodikeian war, in which . . . when Simon [was sen]t to them as their governor {epistates}, at which time . . . bring their possessions back into the city . . . to Philippos, who was the successor to the kingdom . . . to restore the land that they held, but were forced to leave by . . . returning to the city, they possessed the land . . . 140 passing beyond the border land which they . . . in the kingdom of Antigonos, from which . . . disputing with the Prienians because they encroached on the borders . . . they complained and sent an embassy to Antigonos . . . he wrote to them that he decided . . . when Alexander crossed to Asia they possessed . . . the envoys from the Samians . . . [they possessed this] land, and in the reign of Antigonos . . . [it was] found [in the] royal [letters] . . . 150 (?) Antiochos the king concerning the arbitration, . . . recalling, and again in the reign of king Antiochos . . . concerning encroachments on the borders of the land, but [they said] nothing concerning the fort, and to . . . (?) Antiochos who was appointed by king Ptolemaios . . . they said nothing [concerning the fort], and on account of the other reasons recorded . . . from the time that they dwelt in the city, indicating that the fort [and the land around the fort] . . . [that] everything is correct that is said by the Prienians and recorded by . . .

[H]   [We decided that the fort and the] land [around] the fort shall belong to the Prienians . . . and we set out the borders of the territory of Samos and Priene, beginning (as the Samians call it) from the region by Sanideia, or (as the Prienians call it) from the district of Thinichos, with the first rocky hill that rises above the cultivatable land, 160 on which we carved a boundary-marker; to this extends the ravine of the nearby river, which runs alongside the cultivatable land; between this ravine and the aforesaid hill we carved another boundary-maker on the rock, so that the area under the hill and the ravine and the carved boundary-markers shall belong to the Prienians; and from the first hill that been indicated - which is the highest hill - we have carved another boundary-marker at the end of the hill; and straight on from there we have placed another boundary-marker; and again straight on from there we have placed another boundary-marker; and straight on from those markers the ravine acts as the border, up to the boundary-marker that we placed by the ravine; ascending from there to the rocky place, we carved another boundary-marker on the rock; and from there we carved another boundary-marker in the rocky place; and from there as one goes beyond the mound to the extremity of the mound, we carved two boundary-markers; and from the engraved markers to the rugged mound opposite, we placed a boundary-marker; and from there alongside the mound up to ravine, we placed another boundary-marker; and from there 170 [and alongside] that ravine opposite the mountain, crossing the river we placed another boundary-marker; and from there turning round . . .

inscription 600

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