Translations of Hellenistic Inscriptions: 184


Greek text:   IG_5.2.265 ,   IG_5.2.266
Provenance:   Mantineia , Arcadia
Date:   (A) 61/0 B.C. , (B) 43/2 B.C. 
Tags:     women
Format:   see key to translations

These two inscriptions illustrate the important role played by private benefactors in supporting religious activities; see V. Pirenne-Delforge, "Myths, Martyrs, and Modernity", pp. 232-3 ( Google Books).   There is a French translation of A by P. Foucart, "Inscription inédite de Mantinée" ( PDF ).

Both inscriptions are dated by what modern writers call 'the Achaean era'. It is generally agreed that the first year of this era began in about July 145 B.C.; see for instance T.C. Brennan, "The Praetorship in the Roman Republic", p. 343, n. 33 ( Google Books ) .

[A]   With good fortune. Since Nikippa daughter of Pasias, who is descended from glory-loving ancestors, herself chooses to hold on to the virtue of her ancestors, and she has maintained righteous behaviour, not only towards men but also towards the gods; with a pious disposition she honours all the [gods, and] gives service to Korē at every opportunity, joining with the priests in office to regulate her cult, and unstintingly providing to each of the priests what is needed for the honour and adornment of the goddess; [and similarly], in the [eighth] month of the eighty-fifth year, 10 when the sacrifice-festival of the Koragia was imminent, and the secret mysteries of the goddess were [about] to be performed, at the prompting of the priests Nikippa took on the task {liturgy} without demur, and generously and earnestly undertook every expense that was needed for the goddess and the assembly; she managed the procession of the Koragia splendidly and magnanimously, and in a sacrifice to the goddess she provided a fine offering on behalf of the assembly, in a manner worthy of herself and of the assembly; and in addition she contributed eighty drachmas for urgent requirements, and presented a peplos to the goddess; 20 and she accommodated and arranged the affairs of the secret mysteries of the goddess; and she received the goddess into her own home, as is customary for the priests in office; and she magnanimously performed the customary rites on the thirtieth days, when the temple was opened: and she took care of whatever building work the temple needed; therefore, on account of all this, it is resolved by the assembly {synodos} of the Koragoi to praise Nikippa for the generosity that she has shown, and for her piety towards the gods, and for her goodwill towards the assembly; and that the public hosts in office shall invite her for privileged portions of food, 30 just as they invite the others who have honoured the assembly in the days of the festival, and they shall send her a share of the food; if any of the public hosts does not invite her, the inspector {epignōta} shall summon him, and he shall be forced to invite her; and anyone who fails to do any of this shall [pay a fine of fifty drachmas]; and he shall be liable to prosecution by Nikippa for ignoring the privileges given to her [by the assembly], in order that when all this is performed, the assembly shall be seen to be suitably grateful 40 and [to have] good expectations about the future. The priests shall appoint men to inscribe a copy of this decree on a stone stele and to set it up in the most prominent place in the temple; similarly they shall write a copy in the public tablets.

Men appointed: Alexinikos son of Alexon, Thyōnidas son of Thyōnidas, Simias son of Anthemokritos, Aristarchos son of Menippos, Philesios son of Samidas, Alkamenes son of Mandrēkidas, 50 Aithon son of Philosthenes, and Menas son of Menas.

[B]   Since Phaēna [Antigonika {? "of Antigoneia"}, daughter of Damatrios], is virtuous and pious and in her whole life she has behaved well and piously towards all the gods, and especially towards Demeter and Korē and the priestesses of Demeter; and she has given clear proof of her personal magnanimity and her zeal towards the divinity; for she served magnificently as priestess of Demeter, taking no account of the expense she bore for the goddess herself, or for the correct annual rites of the goddess, or for the priestesses; and she provides assistance to the priestesses whenever they ask her, 10 and spends from her personal wealth unhesitatingly; she attends to every task {liturgy} and expense that is needed for the goddess and the priestesses; and not only in these matters has she behaved as a benefactor, but also after her time as priestess, she continued to assist with magnificent dinners and the other benefactions and payments that she made for the goddess and for the priestesses; and she contributed another great and enduring boon to the goddess and the priestesses; for she instructed that the annual expenses that she bore should be paid in her stead, 20 if she suffered the fate of humans, by her descendants, namely her daughter Theodora and Phaēna daughter of Damasilas, the daughter of her daughter, so that her zeal towards the goddess and the priestesses should continue to receive eternal remembrance; and not only in the aforesaid benefactions did she behave honourably, but also, in her desire to further enhance the affairs of the goddess and the assembly of priestesses, she (?) dedicated one hundred and twenty drachmas for the repair of the hall {megaron} and for any other requirement, whatever the priestesses decided was an appropriate use of the gift provided by her; therefore, so that the assembly {synodos} of the priestesses of Demeter 30 may be seen to be grateful and to commemorate those persons who behave towards it in a fine and honourable manner, it was resolved by the community {koinon} of the priestesses to praise Phaēna Antigonika daughter of Damatrios for her noble conduct and for the benefactions she has made to the goddess and the priestesses, and to invite her for privileged portions on every occasion when there are annual sacrifices and distributions of food {sitarchiai}; the priestesses and sitarchoi in office shall make this announcement: "The community of the priestesses of Demeter invites for privileged portions Phaēna daughter of Damatrios, their benefactor." The customary privileged portions shall be given to her throughout her life. 40 This decree shall be inscribed on a stone stele and set up in the Koragion, just as was resolved by the magistrates and councillors in the one hundred and third year. If anyone does not invite her for a privileged portion or does not give her the aforesaid privileged portions, he shall be liable to prosecution for a fine of a hundred drachmas by her or her descendants.

inscription 185

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