Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum: 65.420


Greek text:   SEG_65.420 
Provenance:     Amphipolis , Macedonia
Date:   24/3 B.C. 
Tags:     ephebes ,   oaths 
Format:   see key to translations

This inscription, found in the palaistra at Amphipolis, has vastly increased our knowledge of the duties of the ephebarch, an official appointed to take charge of the ephebes in many Hellenistic cities. Although the text was inscribed during the reign of the emperor Augustus, it appears to contain excerpts from earlier regulations, some of which may have been composed almost 200 years earlier. 

The inscription was published by K.D. Lazaridou in 2015. This translation is derived from the revised text and French translation by D. Rousset, "Considérations sur la loi éphébarchique d'Amphipolis" ( PDF ). Various passages in the text have been discussed by I.N. Arnaoutoglou, "Between minors and adults: Ephebes in Amphipolis" ( ).

In year 125, Adaios son of Euhemeros, having served as ephebarch, set up this ephebarchic law for the youths.

The ephebarch shall take care of the ephebes, and shall perform the other duties in accordance with the law. He shall be authorised to impose fines on anyone who is at fault, up to one hundred drachmas. He shall add to the register all those who are of the appropriate age, and who have not yet become ephebes, out of the register of the boys. If he does not register them, he shall be liable to prosecution. He shall gather together all the ephebes in the palaistra, and he shall count them and inspect them. He shall perform the first inspection 10 starting on the second day of the month of Dios, until he has collected them all; and he shall perform other inspections whenever there is a muster under arms. If any of the ephebes who have been registered does not join the ranks or does not attend each of the lessons which are prescribed for the ephebes, he shall fine the parent or the guardian at a rate of one drachma per day, or whatever he is entitled to impose, until the ephebe joins the ranks.

Attendance of those who possess property

If any of the registered ephebes have property of land and buildings and cattle valued at thirty minas or more, the ephebarch shall require them to attend every day, whenever they are in the city; he shall write their names on a white board and set it up each day; and if they disobey, he shall fine them at a rate of one drachma per day.

20 Appointment of teachers 

The ephebarch shall appoint a physical trainer for the ephebes, and a javelin-throwing trainer and an archery trainer, choosing whoever he thinks will take care of the ephebes best and most prudently. He shall use a horse-trainer and horses in whatever way the councillors instruct about these matters. It shall not be permitted for the ephebes to be trained in anything else except what is prescribed in the laws. 

Care of the ephebes 

The ephebarch shall take care of the ephebes on every day, so that the ephebes learn to shoot arrows, to throw javelins, to use slings, to fling stones, to ride horses and to throw javelins on horseback. He shall tell them to spend the day in the palaistra and to exercise with the physical trainer, 30 and not to anoint themselves for exercise in any other place. He himself shall be present when they learn the aforesaid skills, and he shall ensure their complete orderliness.

Time and clothing 

Those who have been selected as ephebes shall serve as ephebes for two years, and they shall wear a chiton and a chlamys; they shall have boots {krēprides} on their feet; they shall have a hat {petasos} and a bow and not less than three javelins. No servant may accompany the ephebe.

Orderly conduct

The ephebes shall not leave home before daylight, and they shall return home before the sun sets. They shall walk in the streets to their lessons in an orderly manner and in silence, always along the same shortest route, with no other companion. 40 They shall remain barefoot on summer afternoons. They shall not be permitted to stop in the streets or next to a workshop, nor to enter the agora, nor to go outside the walls, except when the ephebarch leads them out as a group; nor shall they be permitted to remain anywhere except at home or in the palaistra or in the lessons which they have with the other ephebes; and they shall not enter the baths except on account of ill health or physical exercise, if they are sent off by the ephebarch. Neither they nor anyone else shall be allowed to dine with the other ephebes on any pretext, nor shall they be permitted to eat dinner or lunch anywhere else except at home. If they do not obey this rule, the ephebarch shall punish the ephebe, 50 and he shall impose a fine on whoever welcomed and invited him.


The ephebes shall come to the palaistra at daybreak. The ephebarch, whenever he leads them to their lessons, shall inspect them and write down the names of those who are not present. When those who have not gone out for lessons arrive, he shall punish them before inspecting the others; then he shall inspect those who have come, and thus he shall lead them all out for their lessons. First they shall be trained in horse riding, then in archery and throwing javelins and using slings and flinging stones. When they have received this training, the ephebarch shall lead them back to the palaistra.

Physical exercises of the ephebes 

60 Where it is customary for the ephebes to anoint themselves for exercise on their own, the ephebes shall do their exercises by themselves, before the youths. The physical trainer shall supervise them, himself stripped for exercise, and he shall train them and force them to do their exercises. No-one may join in the exercises of the ephebes, except for the ephebarch and the physical trainer. When they have anointed themselves, the ephebarch shall dismiss them, and shall tell them to come back immediately after lunch. When the ephebes are gathered back together, they shall do the same activities as in the morning, except for learning to ride horses; they shall shoot arrows and throw javelins in the palaistra. The ephebarch shall let them go off home before the sun sets. Where it is customary 70 for the ephebes to anoint themselves for exercise together with the men, when they come away from the joint session of exercises, the ephebarch and the physical trainer shall (?) take care of them in the same way as those who anoint themselves for exercise separately.

Monthly contests of the ephebes 

The ephebarch shall hold a contest of the ephebes every month, in learning and orderly conduct and effort and fitness and racing. Along with him, the politarchs and the physical trainer and the gymnasiarchs shall judge the other categories, after swearing the oath written below. The ephebarch shall award the crown for conduct and effort, after making the oath in the presence of the other judges, and he shall announce first the crown for conduct, 80 and then the crown for effort, and then the crown for fitness, and then he shall announce each of the victors in the other contests, and he shall compile a list of the victors. On the 29th day of the month of Olōios, he shall hold the contest in the same way as the other months. Whoever of the ephebes has won the most victories in each of the categories of contest during the year, he shall proclaim them to be the overall victor, and on the same day he shall present a list of the overall victors to the politarchs.


For the contests that are held each year, the ephebarch shall enrol sufficient contestants from those who are serving their second year as ephebes, so that they may compete in their customary contests. Anyone who wishes of the other ephebes shall be permitted to take part in the contests, 90 but no-one else may compete with the ephebes.


'I shall judge those of the ephebes who seem to me to be in the best bodily condition and I shall declare the victors in each of their disciplines, being swayed neither by favouritism nor by enmity. If I abide by my oath, may it turn out well for me, and if I break my oath - the opposite.'

When they have made their oath, the ephebarch shall lead the ephebes past them, and he shall hold the contest in each of their disciplines. When they have completed their contests and three of them have been declared as winners in each of the disciplines, the physical trainer and the ephebes shall march past with their bodies anointed. When they have marched past, the three of them, who seem to the judges to be in the finest bodily condition and to have best performed their exercises, shall be deemed to be victors. In the gymnastic games when the customary rites are performed, the eponymous priest shall crown all the victors, 100 and the herald shall proclaim their names. The victors shall wear crowns on that day, and whoever of them wishes may wear a headband in accordance with the law. The ephebarch shall present the names of the victors to the politarchs.


If some of the ephebes wish to train for any of the contests, their father or guardian shall inform the ephebarch, and the ephebarch shall allow the ephebe to train suitably for the contest. The ephebe shall also be permitted to go abroad for the purpose of the contest. But if he lies to the ephebarch, his father or guardian shall be fined, and he shall be forced to attend with the other ephebes. If any of the ephebes is ill, or one of his family has died, he shall inform the ephebarch, 110 and the ephebarch shall let him go, if he is telling the truth.

Fines on teachers

If anyone of those who are teaching the ephebes is living in a manner that is not decent or prudent, and if he does not take care of the training of the ephebes in an upright manner, but he is clearly acting harmfully or disgracefully, the ephebarch shall impose on him as large a fine as he is authorised to, and shall dismiss him from his role as trainer. He shall announce this to the politarchs; if he does not, he shall be liable to prosecution. Anyone who wishes shall be permitted to bring a charge against one of the trainers who is behaving in an inappropriate way.

Fines on other individuals

If anyone speaks badly of the ephebes or follows them for improper purposes or holds conversations with them outside the palaistra or does anything else to disturb or impair what has been prescribed as the responsibility of the ephebarch, 120 the ephebarch shall impose a fine on him. And if any of the ephebes is undisciplined, or does not obey the rules, the ephebarch shall be authorised to punish him as he deserves. And if his father or guardian is responsible for what the ephebe does wrong, the ephebarch shall fine him as much as he is authorised in respect og each misdemeanour, until he stops.


When there is a show, the ephebes shall assemble at the time that the ephebarch tells them. The ephebarch shall lead them there in a body, and he shall make them sit in the designated seats; and he shall sit alongside them. He shall not allow anyone else to watch the show amongst the ephebes; if anyone forces his way in, the ephebarch shall prevent him in whatever way he can devise. He shall not allow the ephebes to clap or hiss during the show, but they shall watch it in silence and good order. The ephebes shall not watch any other shows apart from theatrical and dramatic shows and gymnastic competitions.

130 Processions

The ephebes shall take part in the processions that are customary in each place; they shall be crowned with a wreath of olive branches, wearing their ephebic costumes. The ephebarch shall lead them in the procession and he shall arrange them in the order in which they will march, putting at the front those who have won most often in the contests.


The ephebes shall be exempt from all public duties {liturgies}. It shall not be permitted for the ephebes to bring a lawsuit, nor for anyone else to bring a lawsuit against the ephebes, during the time that they are serving as ephebes.


The officials shall organise expeditions of the ephebes who are in their second year, not less than once per month, and they shall bring the ephebes back to the city on the same day. When the ephebarch is absent on an expedition, the physical trainer shall take care of the remaining ephebes.

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