There were frequent disputes between Knossos and Gortyn during the early 2nd century B.C., and so it is difficult to establish the exact date of this decree. It is known that Appius Claudius arbitrated between the two cities in 184 B.C. ( Polyb_22.15 ) and Ptolemaios Philometor acted as arbitrator in 168 B.C. ( IC_4.181 - Greek text ).
Since the late 3rd century B.C., Miletos had encouraged Cretans to settle in its territory; some of this territory had now come under the control of Magnesia ( see Syll_588 ), and the Magnesians wanted to encourage the Cretans to go back home; but as this decree shows, the Cretan cities were not willing to receive all of them.
A very similar decree was issued by Knossos ( IC_1.8.9 - Greek text ), and some of the gaps in this inscription have been restored by comparing with the decree of Knossos. For some comments on the context of the decrees, see S.L.Ager, "Interstate Arbitrations in the Greek World, 337-90 B.C.", pp.354-5 ( Google Books ).
. . . [since the Magnesians] . . . reconciling them . . . establishing what is advantageous; and they have sent [envoys to us with] a decree, to request that we become reconciled and put an end to [the war] with the Knossians and return to friendship with them, 10 and to the good . . . and privileges, concerning [what is advantageous in common] for all Cretans, they said that [they should be permitted], being free and [unpenalised], to govern their states [in] democracy [according to their ancestral customs; therefore it is resolved] to reply to them that the city of Gortyn praises the city of Magnesia because it does what friends and kinsmen of the Cretans should do; we also praise the envoys . . . [son of Mikion] and Charisios son of Nikomachos the son of Nika... , 20 because they explained [well] the good relations which have existed between the Gortynians and the Magnesians from [the beginning] and because they did what was appropriate for the [peace] and did not fall short as regards love of honour; they did not hesitate to undertake a journey or any other hardship in order to achieve what [is] advantageous for Crete and for Magnesia. Concerning the dispute between the Gortynians and the Knossians, we have referred this to [king] Ptolemaios as arbitrator, [so that] he may make a decision [for us] concerning these matters. Since the envoys have also spoken 30 concerning the Cretans [who] have settled [in Miletos], it is resolved by the kosmoi and the city [of Gortyn] that those [Gortynians] who are dwelling as foreign residents in Miletos, either deliberately or for other reasons, shall remain as Gortynians; but [those who] have become citizens in Miletos shall not have the right [to return to] their own country, but [their] property here [shall be] confiscated, and the same [penalties] shall apply to them [as to those] who make war on their own country, . . . the assembly of the Gortynians, [it is resolved] to send the decree 40 to the Milesians [and to those] who have migrated to Miletos . . .
→ inscription 114
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