E. The Struggle for the Survival of Hellenism (189-30)


RDGE 2 (Syll.3 646)                                                                                       170

In the winter of 172/1 a Roman embassy, led by Q. Marcius Philippus, had attempted, among other things, to dissolve the Boeotian League and to secure the adherence of the various cities individually to Rome (see Livy 42.43-4 and cf. 42.46-7 and Polybius 27.5). Except in the cases of Thisbe, Koronea, and Haliartos they were immediately successful. Early in 171 the war of the Romans against Perseus actually began, the Roman forces in Greece being led by the consul P. Licinius Crassus and the praetor C. Lucretius Gallus. Of the Boeotian cities Haliartos alone remained steadfast in its alliance to Perseus. It was taken by Lucretius after a siege, plundered, and then destroyed. Lucretius next approached Thisbe. It surrendered. The city was turned over to the exiles (pro-Romans driven out by the supporters of Macedon) and to the supporters of Rome who had remained in the city. All the property of the pro-Macedonians, most of whom had by this time fled, was sold (see Livy 42.63, where Thisbe must be at issue and not Thebes). In 170 the pro-Romans at Thisbe sent a delegation to Rome with the aim of dealing with certain problems and securing their position. The Senate responded in the senatus consultum preserved in the present inscription from Thisbe. It was issued by Q. Maenius, praetor in 170. On the Koroneans mentioned at the end of the letter, see RDGE 3 and L. Robert, Etudes épigraphiques et philologiques (Paris 1938) 287-92; their situation was analogous to that of the Thisbeans.

Quintus Maenius son of Titus, praetor, consulted the Senate in the Senate house seven days before the Ides of October; present for the writing (of the decree) were Manius Acilius son of Manius, (of the tribe) Voltinia, (and) Titus Numisius son of Titus. Concerning the matters about which the Thisbeans who remained in our friendship spoke regarding their affairs: that there be given them those to whom they might relate their affairs. Concerning this matter it was so resolved: that Quintus Maenius, praetor, should appoint five from those in the Senate, who seem to him to be in accordance with the public interest and his own good faith. Resolved. On the day before the Ides of October;  present for the writing (of the decree) were Publius Mucius son of Quintus, Marcus Claudius son of Marcus, Manius Sergius son of Manius. So concerning the matters about which the same ones spoke regarding land and regarding revenues and regarding mountain pastures: it was resolved that, as far as concerns us, it be permitted for them to have what had been theirs. About magistracies and about sanctuaries and revenues, that they might have control of them; concerning this matter it was resolved thus: that those who entered our friendship before Gaius Lucretius brought up his army to the city Thisbe should have control for the next ten years. Resolved. About land, houses, and their possessions: to whomever of them something belonged, it was resolved that they should be allowed to have their own property. So concerning the matters about which the same ones spoke, that those who deserted (to us) and are exiles there, should be allowed to fortify the citadel and to live there, as they requested, it was resolved thus: that they should live there and fortify it. Resolved. Resolved not to fortify the city. So concerning the matters about which the same ones spoke, that the gold, which they collected for a crown in order that they might dedicate the crown on the Capitoline, might be returned to them, as they requested, in order for them to dedicate this crown on the Capitoline: resolved thus to return it. Likewise concerning the matters about which the same ones spoke, that they might hold (the) men who are at odds with our public interest and with their own: concerning this matter it was resolved to do as may seem to Quintus Maenius, praetor, (to be) in accordance with the public interest and his own good faith. Those who went away to other cities and did not appear before our praetor, that they might not return to their (former) position: concerning this matter it was resolved to send a letter to Aulus Hostilius, consul,  that he might give his attention to this, as may seem to him in accordance with the public interest and with his own good faith. Resolved. So concerning the matters about which the same ones spoke, regarding the trials of Xenopithis and Mnasis, that they might be sent from Chalkis and Damokrita, daughter of Dionysios, from Thebes: it was resolved that these (women) should be sent from these cities, and that they should not return to Thisbe. Resolved. So about their report that these women brought jugs with silver to the praetor: concerning this matter it was resolved to deliberate later in the presence of Gaius Lucretius. So concerning the matters about which the same Thisbeans reported regarding grain and oil, that they had a partnership with Gaius Pandosinus: about his matter it was resolved to give them judges, if they wish to receive judges. So concerning this matter it was resolved to give to (the) Thisbeans and Koroneans friendly letters to Aetolia and Phokis and to any other cities they may wish.


137. 9 October by the Roman calendar, in fact 30 June 170 B.C. (Phoenix 27 [1973] 348-9).

138. Probably M'. Acilius Glabrio (son of the consul who fought against Antiochus in 191) and T. Numisius Tarquiniensis (ambassador to Antiochus and Ptolemy in 169 and member of the senatorial commission to settle the affairs of Macedon in 167).

139. 14 October by the Roman calendar, in fact 5 July 170 B.C. (cf. n. 137).

140. Probably P. Mucius Scaevola (consul 179; his brother served under Licinius Crassus in Greece in 171), M. Claudius Marcellus (ambassador to the Aetolians in 173 and likely the consul of 183), and M'. Sergius, who in 164 served on an embassy to Greece and Asia Minor. It seems likely (RDGE, p. 29) that these three, along with the two named earlier (n.138) comprised the group of five selected to help the Thisbeans prepare their case for the Senate.

141. The provision applies to those who had been driven into exile for their support of Rome and not to all who were, or claimed to be, pro-Romans.

142. A. Hostilius Mancinus, consul 170.

143. The details of this are obscure, but it appears that an attempt was made to bribe Lucretius. That the Senate takes it seriously may suggest it had been successful. In fact, Lucretius never appeared before the Senate. His conduct of the war was attacked by tribunes in 170 - he was said to have exhibited excessive cruelty and greed - and when he failed to appear in Rome he was condemned in absentia by all 35 tribes and fined 1,000,000 asses (see on this Livy 43.4, 7-8).

144. The details of this altercation are even more obscure, but the man Pandosinus is known to have been involved in other foreign enterprises in the period.


P.Köln IV 186                                                                                    ca. 169/8

This remarkable piece can be compared only to 27, Ptolemy III’s report from the early part of the Third Syrian War. Here we have a description of military action and the tactical situation during part of what is called the Sixth Syrian War, the three-cornered struggle of the years 170-168 with Ptolemy VI Philometor, Antiochus IV, and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II in a contest in which Antiochus aligned himself with Philometor and Rome ultimately came in with Popilius Laena’s famous line in the sand at Eleusis outside Alexandria, forcing Antiochus to retreat. The papyrus, written in a highly literary Greek reminiscent of Polybius and in an elegant hand, is only fragmentarily preserved, but it seems to concern mainly an episode in which the forces of Philometor tried to capture a fort belonging to Euergetes, only to get trapped inside and suffer a severe defeat. It is apparently Euergetes’ general who writes to his king.

… They [the enemy] mounted  vigorous spear attack, as a result of which it turned out that [some of them] rather overpowered our men, prevailing with their bravery, and being [brave men] and worthy of their native lands they got control of the palisade and [entered; but] they were thrown into confusion by their own ranks because inside they were cut off and [had] no means of escape, and falling into ditches and canals, they perished by suffocation and …, so that if anyone attempted to hide… by our cavalry because it was easy to overpower them thanks to the spaciousness… [There were so many] of the distinguished among them, it would be too long to enumerate them. Apart from these, [of those inside the] circuit we took Harkonnesis alive, and Euphron son of Hakoris of those outside … and Apollonios of the “Antiochians.” And [taking] others of their officers to a total of 120 men, we arranged to send them downstream together with the … [except Euphron] because of the services of his father Hakoris and because of his (loyalty?) which existed from the start … and because of having received [from you] the power to release him… The [rest, however, we kept] for making an example of and for observation, so that no one [else may engage in] such [behavior?]…having been left behind because all of the Egyptians in the countryside… [and] because of being harassed by the fleet [from the garrison of Pelusium?] blockading in the rear… Farewell.


Some portions have been omitted as too fragmentary for translation. We have adopted some of the suggestions of J.S. Rusten, Phoenix 38 (1984) 188.

Harkonnesis, Euphron: See W. Clarysse, Ancient Society 22 (1991) and A.E. Hanson-P.J. Sijpesteijn, Ancient Society 20 (1989) 133-145. Euphron was a member of a prominent family of Middle Egypt attested across several generations. Hakoris seems to have supported the monarchy during the turbulence of the early second century and won lasting gratitude from the royal house. Euphron was the first member of the family to bear a Greek name, which is a translation of his grandfather’s Egyptian name, Herieus.


RC 52 (OGIS 763)                                                                                            167/6

From the time of the first Macedonian War through the beginning of the third, the royal house of Pergamon was on the best of terms with Rome and profited more than a little from that friendship. As the war with Perseus drew toward a close, however, the Senate began to view Eumenes with growing disfavor, whether because he was really thought to have been trying to help Perseus (who had allegedly tried to have him murdered) or because he had simply ceased to be useful. He had in 168/7 sought help from Rome in dealing with a Gallic invasion, but the Roman ambassador more than anything encouraged further disaffection from Eumenes. In the winter of 167/6 he went to Italy himself, but the Senate, unwilling openly to admit its change of heart, hurriedly voted that it would receive no more kings. Informed of this at Brundisium Eumenes left Italy directly. It was on his way back to Pergamon that the envoys from the Ionian League (koinon of the Ionians) met him at Delos and informed him of the honors they had voted him; the present inscription (from Miletos) contains his response. The contrast with his treatment by Rome is complete. Nor was the situation unique, for Polybius (31.6) was led to remark that the more the Romans behaved harshly toward Eumenes, the more the Greeks were attracted to him.

King Eu[menes to the League of the Ionians, greeting]. Of your envoys, Menekles did not appear before me, but Eirenias and Archelaos meeting me in Delos delivered a fine and generous decree in which you began by saying that I, having chosen from the start the finest actions and having shown myself a common benefactor of the Greeks, had undertaken many and great struggles against the barbarians, exercising all zeal and forethought that the inhabitants of the Greek cities might always dwell in peace and in the best condition; and that, being indifferent [to] the coming danger and determining [to be zealous and ambitious in] what concerned the League, consistent with my father's policy, I had made clear on many occasions my attitude on these points, being well-disposed both in general and toward each of the cities individually and joining in bringing about for each many of the things pertaining to glory and repute, which actions [ ... ] both my love of glory and the gratitude of the League. Wherefore, in order that you might show that you always return fitting honors to your benefactors, you have resolved to crown us with a gold crown of valor, to set up a gold statue in whatever spot of Ionia I may wish, and to proclaim the honors in the games celebrated by you and throughout the cities in the (games) held in each. (You resolved) [also to greet me] in the name of the League [and to join in rejoicing at] the fact that I and my relatives are in good health [and] my affairs [are] in good order, and to call upon me, seeing the gratitude of the people, to take [proper] thought for those things by which the League of the I[onians would be furthered] and would be always in the best [condition]. Thus in the future as well would I receive all that pertains to honor and glory. in accordance with the contents of the decree your envoys also spoke with great enthusiasm declaring that the good-will of the whole people toward us was most vigorous [and] sincere. The honors I accept kindly and having never failed, as far as it lay in [my] power, to confer always something of what pertains to [honor and glory] both upon all in common and individually by city, I shall now try not to diverge from such a precedent. May things turn out in accordance with my wish, for so will you have a demonstration of my policy clear through the facts themselves. In order that for the future, by keeping a day in my honor in the festival of the Panionia, you may celebrate the whole feast more illustriously, I shall present you with sufficient revenues from which you will be able to [establish] our memory suitably. The gold statue I shall make myself, because I desire that [the] favor should be altogether without expense for the League. [I wish] to have it set up [in the] precinct voted us by the Milesians. Since it was when you were celebrating the festival in this city that you voted us the honor, and since this city alone of the Ionians up to now has designated a precinct for us, and since it counts itself our relation through the Kyzikenes and since it has done many glorious and memorable deeds for the Ionians, I thought that the erection of the statue in this (city) would be most suitable. In detail about my good-will toward all of you in common and to each individual city your envoys have heard and will report to you. Farewell.


145. Eumenes' mother Apollonis was the daughter of a Kyzikene, and Miletos was the mother-city of Kyzikos.


RC 61 (OGIS 315 VI)                                                                                 ca. 156

In spite of the clear attitude of Rome (cf. on 41) Eumenes continued in his attempt to deal with the Gauls. In this he was aided, and eventually succeeded (in 159), by his brother Attalus (II). The collection of letters of which the following is a part indicates that the matter was approached at least partly by way of intrigue, and in this they had the support of the priest of Cybele at Pessinus, himself a Gaul. The first three letters were written by Eumenes II (the date of RC 55 is 5 September 163), the next two by Attalus acting on his brother's behalf. The last but one is again from Attalus, but whether as king or minister is not clear; in RC 61 he is king. Much of the time had evidently been spent in planning a course of vigorous action, but when this was finally discussed by Attalus with his advisors (RC 6 1), hesitation won the day. The view of Rome that produced this result is, to judge from Polybius (see above all 23.17), one that had been valid for some three decades at least. The letters themselves were not actually inscribed until the late first century B.C., probably as part of an attempt to record the past of the temple of Cybele at Pessinus on its stones.

[King Attalus to priest Attis, greeting. If you were well, it would be] as I wish; I also was in good health. When we came to Pergamon and I assembled not only Athenaios and Sosandros and Menogenes but many others also of my kinsmen, and when I laid before them what we discussed in Apamea and told them our decision, there was a very long discussion, and at first all inclined to the same opinion with us, but Chloros vehemently held forth the Roman fact and counseled us in no way to do anything without them. In this at first few concurred, but afterwards, as day after day we kept considering, it appealed more and more, and to start something without them began to seem to hold great danger; if we were unsuccessful (there would be) envy and detraction and baneful suspicion - that which they felt also toward my brother - if we failed, certain destruction. For they would not, it seemed to us, regard our disaster with sympathy but would rather be delighted to see it, because we had undertaken such projects without them. As it is, however, (it seems that) if - may it not happen we were worsted in any matters, having done everything with their approval, we would receive help and fight our way back, with the good-will of the gods. I decided, therefore, always to send to Rome men to report constantly on cases where we are in doubt, while [we] ourselves make [careful] preparation [to protect] ourselves, [if necessary - - - 1.


SEG IX 7                                                                                                       155

On the morrow of the Sixth Syrian War (170-168), Egypt was ruled by two sons of Ptolemy V: Ptolemy VI Philometor and his younger brother Ptolemy VIII (called Physcon for his corpulence), who later became Euergetes II. The co-regency was not a stable one, and in 164 Ptolemy VI was forced to flee. He found little sympathy at Rome, where first he went, but did succeed in establishing himself on Cyprus. In 163 he was asked by the Alexandrians to return to Egypt, whereupon the two brothers decided to partition the kingdom. Ptolemy VI took Egypt and Cyprus, Ptolemy VIII Cyrene. Hostilities continued nonetheless, while the younger Ptolemy sought to secure Cyprus. In 155, so Ptolemy VIII maintained, his brother tried to have him assassinated. In this context belongs this text from Cyrene, containing the younger Ptolemy's will. In 155/4, it may be added, he went to Rome and showed the scars from the alleged murder attempt to the Senate (Polybius 33.11, where there is no mention of the will). The senators decided at that point to help him secure control of Cyprus. Enough of Polybius' account of these events survives (cf. 31.2, 10, 17; 33.11) to give a clear picture of the Senate's shrewd pragmatism (see especially 3 1. 10).

(In the) fifteenth year, (the) month Loios, with good-fortune. King Ptolemy, son of King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra, Gods Manifest, the younger, made the following testament, of which also a copy has been sent to Rome. May it be allowed me, with the favor of the gods, to take vengeance fittingly upon those who contrived the unholy plot against me and sought to deprive me not only of my kingship but also of my life. If anything human should befall me before I leave successors to my kingship, I leave the kingship which belongs to me to the Romans, with whom I have from the beginning truly maintained friendship and alliance; and to the same I entrust my affairs for them to preserve, beseeching them by all the gods and by their own good reputation, if any attack the cities or the country, to give aid, in accordance. with the friendship and alliance which has existed between us and in accordance with justice, with all their might. As witnesses of these things I appoint Capitoline Zeus and the Great Gods and Helios and Apollo Archegetes, with whom also the document concerning these matters has been deposited.


146. Apollo (the) Founder (of Cyrene).


W. Chr. 10 (Sel. Pap. 101)                                                                             130

This papyrus provides further evidence of the civil war between Ptolemy VIII and his sister Cleopatra II, in which Hermonthis persistently took the side of the latter. The author, son of a cavalry officer of Cretan descent, is on military duty; he tells his parents that the Egyptian general of the king, Paos, is shortly to arrive with an army capable of conquering Hermonthis. Paos was probably successful, since Hermonthis was in Euergetes' hands in 127. For the family’s papers, see N. Lewis, Greeks in Ptolemaic Egypt (Oxford  ) 88-103.

Esthladas to his father and mother, greeting and good health. As I keep writing to you to keep up your courage and take care of yourself until things settle down, once again please encourage yourself and our people. For news has come that Paos is sailing up in the month of Tybi with abundant forces to subdue the mobs in Hermonthis, and to deal with them as rebels. Greet my sisters also and Pelops and Stachys and Senathyris. Farewell. Year 40, Choiach 23. (Address) Deliver to Pathyris to my father.

Notes: Despite the opening greeting, the verbs following are all in the singular, presumably meaning the father (Dryton). His mother is actually his stepmother. Cf. BL 9.374.


P. Tebt. I 5                                                                                                           118

These royal decrees, issued by Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and his two queens, Cleopatra II and III, marked the end of a prolonged period of civil and dynastic warfare that had occupied much of Euergetes' reign in Egypt (145-116). The variety and thoroughness of the measures taken show the disarray of the country in the wake of the conflicts. In particular, the great attempt to reestablish tranquil and productive relations between the crown and its tax base shows the disastrous effects of internal strife on the tightly regulated economic life of the country. Relations between Greeks and Egyptians are also treated with considerable innovative care. Throughout, the revitalization of royal revenues is at stake; the king must persuade the royal cultivators to return to their land, the workers in monopolized industries to return to their jobs, and the officials to stop oppressing the subjects. The last of these was perhaps the most difficult of all, as the king's control of his administration was not very secure. For this period in general, see Cl. Préaux, Actes du Ve Congrès International de Papyrologie (Bruxelles 1938) 345-54.

King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra the Sister and Queen Cleopatra the Wife proclaim an amnesty to all their subjects for errors, crimes, accusations, condemnations and charges of all kinds up to the 9th of Pharmouthi of the 52nd year, except to persons guilty of willful murder or sacrilege.

They have also decreed that persons who have fled because they were guilty of theft or subject to other charges shall return to their own homes and resume their former occupations, and recover those of their belongings seized on account of these charges that have not yet been sold.

And they release everyone from debts for the period up to the 50th year in respect to the farming of the grain tax and the money taxes except for hereditary lessees who have given a surety.

Likewise, in respect to those who owe for the half-artaba tax and... and the two-artaba tax and the police tax and embankment work and similar obligations and the dike-tax, up to the same date. And they release also those in arrears for the apomoira and the eparourion and the rents and the other... up to the same time ---.

(And they have decreed that the officials of the custom-house shall not) ... nor seize goods unless they find upon the wharf at the harbors of Alexandria something on which duty has not been paid or of which the importation is forbidden; these they are to bring to the dioiketes.

Likewise persons who travel on foot up the country from Alexandria by the land-route which leads. . ., and persons crossing from one tongue of land to another shall have no payment of any kind demanded or exacted from them except the legal duties.

[Likewise in the case of] persons importing goods through the foreign mart... the seizure [is to be made (?)] at the custom-house itself.

And they have decreed that all recipients of grants of land and all holders of temple or other conceded land, both those who have encroached on the Crown land and all others who hold more land than that to which they are entitled, shall, on giving up the excess and declaring themselves and paying a year's rent, be released from payments due from them up to the 51st year, and shall remain in valid possession (of their holdings).

And that the picked forces, and the native soldiers who hold ten or seven arouras, and their leaders, and all others placed [in that class], and the native marines, and those who. . ., shall have the legal ownership of the lands which they have possessed up to the [52nd year, and shall be free from accusation] and interference. And they release everyone from the liturgikon due.

And they have decreed that the sacred land and other sacred [revenues] which belong to the temples shall remain assured to them and that the temples shall receive the shares which they used to receive from vineyards and gardens and other land. 148

And in like manner the appointed sums or what they received from the Treasury for the pay of the temples and the other sums granted to them up to the 51st year shall be paid to them regularly, as in the other cases, and no one shall be allowed to take anything from these sources of revenue.

No one shall take away by force anything of what has been dedicated to the gods, nor apply forcible persuasion to the superintendents of the sacred revenues, whether derived from villages or land or other temple revenues, nor shall the tax on associations or the crown-tax or the artaba-tax be paid upon what has been dedicated to the gods, nor shall anyone exercise control over the sacred land on any pretext, but they shall be left to be administered by the priests.

And they remit to the overseers of the temples and the chief priests and priests the arrears on account of both the tax for overseers and the values of woven cloths up to the 50th year.

Likewise they remit to holders of honorable offices, or of posts as prophet or scribe, or of other sacred offices in the temples, the arrears owed in the temples for the emoluments demanded on certain occasions up to the 50th year. Likewise they remit the penalties incurred by those who have extorted more (than their due) emoluments up to the same period.

Likewise to holders of such offices in the lesser temples, both shrines of Isis and feeding places of ibises and hawk-shrines and Anubis-shrines and the like they remit the corresponding arrears and penalties up to the same period ---.

And they have decreed that the expenses for the burial of Apis and Mnevis should be demanded from the Crown revenues, as in the case of the deified personages. Likewise in the case of the other sacred animals the sums required (shall be paid by the Crown). (Likewise) those honorable offices and posts as prophet or scribe which have been bought for the temples out of the temple revenues, and of which the prices have been paid, shall remain assured to the temples, but the priests are not permitted to make over these offices to other persons.

And they have decreed that no one is to be [taken away] or forcibly ejected from the existing places of asylum on any pretext.

And since it sometimes happens that the sitologoi and antigrapheis use larger measures than the correct bronze measures appointed in each nome... in estimating dues to the Crown, and in consequence the cultivators are not charged the (correct number of) choinikes, they have decreed that the strategoi and the overseers of the revenues and the royal scribes shall test the measures in the most thorough manner possible in the presence of those concerned with the revenues, of the farmers, and the priests and the cleruchs and other holders of conceded land. . ., and the measures must not exceed (the government measure) by more than the two... allowed for errors. Those who disobey this decree are punishable with death.

And they have decreed that the cultivators of vineland or gardens throughout the country, if they plant them between the 53rd and 57th years in the land which has become flooded or dry, shall be left untaxed for five years dating from the time at which they plant them, and from the sixth year for three years more they shall be required to pay less than the proper amount, (payment being made) in the fourth year, but from the ninth year onwards they shall all pay the same as the owners of taxable land, and that cultivators in the country belonging to Alexandria shall be allowed an extra three years' grace.

And they have decreed that those who have bought from the Crown houses or vineyards or gardens or other (holdings?) or boats or anything else whatever shall remain in undisturbed possession, and they shall not have persons quartered in their houses.

And they have decreed that owners of houses which have been pulled down or burned shall be permitted to rebuild them according to the prescribed measurements; and that persons who own private [houses] in the villages shall likewise be allowed to rebuild their homes in the same manner to the height of. . ., and rebuild the temples to the height of 10 cubits, except the inhabitants of Panopolis.

No one is to collect anything whatever from the cultivators and the taxpayers and the persons connected with the revenues and the honey-workers and the rest for the benefit of the strategoi or superintendents of police or the chiefs of police or oikonomoi or their agents or the other officials in any way. Neither strategoi nor holders of official positions nor their subordinates nor any other persons whatever shall take the richest crown land from the cultivators by fraud or cultivate it at choice.

The following classes - the Greeks serving in the army, the priests, the cultivators of Crown lands, the. . ., all the wool-weavers and cloth-makers, the swineherds, the gooseherds, [the... ], oil-workers castor- oil-workers, honey-workers, and beer-makers, who pay the proper sums to the Crown shall not have persons quartered in the one house in which each of them lives, and in the case of their other buildings which may be used for quarters, not more than half shall be occupied for that purpose.

And they have decreed that the strategoi and the other officials may not compel any of the inhabitants of the country to work for their private service, nor use their cattle for any purpose of their own, nor force them to feed calves and other animals for sacrifice, nor force them to provide geese or birds or wine or grain at a price or on the occasion of renewals, nor oblige them to work without payment on any pretext whatever.

And they remit to the police throughout the country the (penalties incurred by making) false returns in connection with the government inspections and the produce which they have lost; and they remit the sums which have been paid them for arrears or for other reasons but which have disappeared, up to the 50th year.

And (they have decreed) that those who have failed to deliver to the Crown at a price the oil-yielding produce from cleruchic or temple or other land up to the same period and those who have failed to supply transport for the assembly are released from the penalties which they have incurred.

Likewise that persons who have failed to provide reeds and light material for the embankments (are released from the penalties which they have incurred).

Likewise the cultivators of Crown lands, the and other holders of conceded land who have failed to plant the proper number [of arouras] up to the 51st year, (are released from) the penalties which they have incurred, but the planting (of the proper number) shall be made from the 52nd year onwards.

And (they remit the penalties incurred by) those who have cut down wood on their own property in contravention of the published decree.

And they have decreed, in cases in which Egyptians and Greeks are opposed, namely in cases of Greeks who bring actions against Egyptians, or of Egyptians against Greeks, with regard to all classes except the cultivators of Crown land and the tax-payers and all others connected with the revenues, that where Egyptians make an agreement with Greeks by contracts written in Greek, they shall give and receive satisfaction before the chrematistai; but where Greeks make agreements by contracts written in Egyptian they shall give satisfaction before the native judges in accordance with the national laws;` and that suits of Egyptians against Egyptians shall not be dragged by the chrematistai into their own courts, but they shall allow them to be decided before the native judges in accordance with the national laws.

And they have decreed that collectors of foreign debts must not on any pretext whatever get control over the persons of the cultivators of crown land or the taxpayers or the others whom the previously issued decrees forbid to be brought up for accusation; but the exactions in cases which come before the collectors shall be levied upon the rest of the debtor's property which is not exempted by the following decree.

And they have decreed that in the case of cultivators of crown land the collectors shall not sell up one house containing their working implements, or their cattle or other equipment necessary for cultivation, neither for a debt to the Crown nor for one to the temples nor for any other debt, on any pretext whatever. And in the same way they shall not sell the cloth-weaving tools of the cloth-weavers and the byssus-makers and the wool-weavers and other persons engaged in similar trades on any pretext whatever; nor shall any other persons take possession of or use the tools required for cloth-weaving or byssus-manufacture than the taxpayers themselves and the byssus-workers, who alone shall use them in the temple themselves for the service of the sovereigns and the vestments of the other gods.

And (they have decreed) that no one holding an official position or anyone else shall impose labor upon the cloth-weavers and byssus-workers and robe-weavers gratis or at reduced wages. And they have decreed that no one may appropriate boats for his own use on any pretext whatever.

And that neither the strategoi nor any others who are in charge of the Crown, city or sacred interests may arrest anyone for a private debt or offense or owing to a private quarrel and keep him imprisoned in their houses or anywhere else on any pretext whatever; but if they accuse anyone, they shall bring him before the magistrates appointed in each nome, and shall give or receive satisfaction in accordance with the decrees and regulations.


The text used here is that of C.Ord.Ptol. 53, where.the evidence of unpublished partial copies (53 bis-ter) is brought to bear, and where a large bibliography may be found. The translation of the original editors has however been used as the basis for this one.

The apomoira, a tax of a sixth on produce of these types of land, was allocated by the Revenue Laws to Arsinoe Philadelphos (95); it is not certain what part if any was directly paid to the temples before 118, and the effect of this provision is thus not entirely clear. It evidently constituted a significant royal concession.

Apis: The famous sacred bulls of Memphis who in succession incarnated the god Apis and who were buried in an elaborate funerary complex there.

Death penalty for false measures: This, the only death penalty specified in the document, suggests the importance attached by the sovereigns to this measure.

Undisturbed possession: This clause avoids claims by those who have returned home to find their belongings confiscated and sold.

Panopolis: Apparently one of the chief sources of rebellion against Euergetes.

“Taxpayers”: here and elsewhere in this papyrus evidently the workers in royal monopolies.

Groups exempt from quartering: It is interesting to see which of the Egyptians are included in this privileged class, notably workers in the essential industries.

Native judges: This is certainly a major innovation and one surely of great importance to the Egyptian subjects of the Ptolemies; the Greek judges are ordered to end and reverse their practice of concentrating judicial matters in their hands.

Byssus: a type of flax for linen.


RDGE 43 (Syll.3 684)                                                                                  115 (?)

After the end of the Achaean war in 146 the Achaean League was drastically reorganized by the Romans. Its territory was reduced and a property qualification for League and city magistrates was established. Paucity of evidence for the years after 146 makes it impossible to establish the popularity or otherwise of the new arrangements, but the present text indicates that there was serious discontent at least in Dyme about 115 (on the date see note 157). New laws were drafted, public buildings were burned, and even some local magistrates (the synhedroi not with Kyllanios and the damiourgos condemned to death) were involved. The matter was reported to the Roman governor of the province of Macedonia (whose area of control included the Peloponnesos) who here outlines the actions he has taken.

In the term of Leon as theokolos, (and that) of Stratokles as secretary of the synhedrion. Quintus Fabius, son of Quintus, Maximus, proconsul of the Romans, to the magistrates and synhedroi and the city of the Dymaeans, greeting. Kyllanios and the synhedroi with him informed me about the wrongs that have been perpetrated among you - I speak of the burning and destruction of the town-hall and the public records, in which the leader of the whole disturbance was Sosos, son of Tauromenes, who also drafted the laws contrary to the constitution given by the Romans to the Achaeans concerning which I held a detailed discussion in Patrai with my advisory council present. Since, therefore, those who carried out these things were to my mind manifestly laying the [foundation] of the worst state of affairs and of disorder for all the Greeks - for not only are these doings [in keeping with] a state of mutual disaffection and cancellation of debts, but they are also at odds with the freedom returned in common to all the Greeks and with our policy. As the accusers provided genuine proofs, I have judged to be guilty and condemned to death Sosos, who was the instigator of the deeds and who drafted laws aiming at the overthrow of the constitution given, and likewise [Phor]miskos, son of Echesthenes, one of the damiourgoi, who acted together with those who set fire to the town-hall and the public records - since even he [himself] confessed. Timotheos son of Nikias, who was with Sosos a law-drafter, since he seemed to have done less wrong, I ordered to proceed to Rome, having exacted an oath that he will be there on the first day of the ninth [month] and having informed the praetor in charge of foreigners [of the decision] that he is not to return home before (then), unless - -.


157. Of the four consular Fabii Maximi available (the consuls of 145, 142, 121, and 116) only the last (Eburnus) is not known to have held a proconsular command in Spain or Gaul. He is thus the most likely to be the proconsular governor of Macedonia at issue here.

158. Le., the praetor peregrinus.


RC 71-72 (OGIS 257)                                                                                      109

The last years of the Seleucid dynasty were dominated by internecine rivalry and a labyrinthine series of marriage alliances with the Ptolemies. At the end of the second century Antiochus VIII Grypus and Antiochus IX Cyzicenus were ruling in different parts of Syria. They were at once cousins, being sons of the brothers Demetrius Il and Antiochus VII, and uterine brothers, as both were born of Cleopatra Thea. Each of them, moreover, during his life married two daughters of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (father of Ptolemy IX Soter II and Ptolemy X Alexander): Grypus married Cleopatra Tryphaena, and Cyzicenus married Cleopatra IV, and both married (in succession) Cleopatra Selene, who went on to wed Antiochus X. Of the sisters, Cleopatra IV and Cleopatra Selene both had Ptolemy IX (their brother) as a first husband. The letters here were probably written by Antiochus VIII to his ally Ptolemy X at a time when Antiochus was in control of Seleukia. Antiochus VIII and IX, both weak, “were forced to purchase support in any quarter and at any price at which it might be obtained. Here the cost was the recognition of the freedom of one of the capital cities, Seleucia in Pieria” (RC, p. 290). The text of the second letter (including the mention of the Romans) is full of uncertainties.


King Antiochus to King Ptolemy, also (called) Alexander, his brother, greeting. If you were well it would be as we wish; we ourselves were well and were remembering you with affection. The people of Seleukia in Pieria, the city holy and inviolable, [from of old] supported our father and to the end maintained steadfast their good-will [toward him. They have been constant in] their love toward us and have shown it [through many] fine deeds especially in the most desperate times we have experienced. We have therefore hitherto furthered their interests both generously and as they deserve and have brought them into (more conspicuous] regard. And now, being anxious to reward them fittingly with the first [and greatest] benefaction, [we decided that they be for] all time free, [and we included them in the treaties] which we have made with each other, [thinking] that thus both four piety and our generosity) toward our ancestral city will be more apparent. [So that you also may] know [these concessions, it seemed] best [to write you). Farewell. Year 203, Gorpiaios 29.


[King Antiochus to the magistrates and the] boule and the demos [of the people of Seleukia] in Pieria, the holy [and inviolable, greeting. If you and the city were well, it would be] as we wish. [We have sent you a copy of the letter] which we have written [to King Ptolemy and of the one to the Senate of the] Romans (?), [so that you may know - - - 1.


IPE I2 352 (Syll.3 709)                                                                                     ca. 107

In the years preceding the accession to the throne of Pontus by King Mithridates VI Eupator (about 112), the Greeks of the north coast of the Black Sea were under constant pressure from the Scythians of the steppe. The independence of Chersonnesos (on the Crimean peninsula), in particular, was threatened by the control over Olbia by the Scythian king Palakos. Under attack by the barbarians, the Greeks of Chersonnesos appealed for help to the new king of Pontus (about 110; Strabo 7.308-9). The démarche bore fruit for the Chersonnetai, for whom independence was secured, and for Mithridates, who made a solid beginning of establishing his control over the entire area. The successful campaign was conducted by Mithridates' general Diophantos of Sinope, in whose honor the Greeks of Chersonnesos passed the decree contained in the present inscription.

[ - - - and ... son of... lithos spoke: Whereas [Diophantos, son of Asklapi]odoros, of Sinope, being [our] friend [and benefactor] and being trusted and [honored] second to none by King Mithradates Eupa[tor], has always been responsible for good [for each] of us, urging the king on to the most noble and glorious deeds, having been summoned by him [and] taking on the war against the Scythians, [and] arriving in our city, he courageously accomplished the crossing of the whole army to the opposite shore; and when Palakos, king of the Scythians, suddenly attacked with a great throng, (Diophantos), drawing his army up in the moment of need and routing the Scythians, who were thought to be irresistible, brought it about that King Mithradates Eupator set up his first trophy from Scythian spoils, and rendering the neighboring Tauroi subject to him and establishing a city in the place, he moved off into the regions about the Bosporus and, having in a short time carried out many great actions, he turned back into our area again and, taking with him those citizens in their prime, he advanced into the middle of Scythia, and when the Scythians surrendered to him the palaces at Chabaei and Neapolis it came to pass that almost all (of them) became subject to King Mithradates Eupator, for which the demos in its gratitude honored him with the appropriate honors, as having been released from the domination of the barbarians. When the Scythians made manifest their innate faithlessness and revolted from the king and sought to bring about a change in the state of affairs, and when, for these reasons, King Mithradates Eupator again sent Diophantos out with an army, although the season was closing on winter, Diophantos, taking his own troops and the most able of the citizens, set out against the very palaces of the Scythians, but hindered by storms and turning back to the coastal area he took Kerkinitis and The Walls and set about besieging those living round the Fair Harbor. When Pala[kos] thought the occasion was to his advantage and was collecting all his own forces, dragging along also the tribe of the Reuxinalians, the Parthenos, who ever stands over the Chersonnetai and who on that occasion was with Diophantos, foretold the action that was about to happen by the signs that occurred in the sanctuary and inspired the whole army with courage and daring. After Diophantos drew up his forces wisely it came to pass that the victory went to King Mithradates Eupator, a splendid one and worthy of being remembered forever; for of the (enemy's) infantry scarcely a one [was saved], and of the cavalry not many escaped. Leaving no time for inactivity, and advancing with [his army] at the height of spring against Chabaei and Neapolis, all the heavy-armed soldiers --- [with the result that some... ] (managed to?) escape, and the rest of the Scythians about their own [affairs?] ... took counsel. And after moving off into the regions about the Bosporus and arranging things there well and to the advantage of King Mithradates Eupator, when the Scythians with Saumakos began to cause trouble and killed the king of the Bosporus, Pairisadas, who had raised him (Saumakos), and laid a plot against Diophantos, he escaped [the] danger and boarded the boat that had been sent to him by our citizens, and coming here and encouraging the citizens, having as a zealous helper King Mithradates Eupator who dispatched him, he arrived at the height of spring with his army and navy, and taking with him a specially picked group of citizens in three ships' crews, he set out from our city and took Theodosia and Pantikapaion; and punishing those who were responsible for the revolt and capturing Saumakos, who was the murderer of King Pairisadas, he sent him under arrest into the kingdom (Pontus), and he regained control of the area for King Mithradates Eupator, and, aiding the embassies dispatched by the demos he shows himself kind and zealous for everything of benefit to the Chersonnetai. So in order that the demos may be seen to return fitting thanks to its benefactors, be it resolved by the boule and the demos to crown Diophantos son of Asklapiodoros with a golden crown at the (festival of the) Parthenia at the procession, the symmnamones making the (following) proclamation: “The demos crowns Diophantos son of Asklapiodoros, of Sinope, on account of his virtue and his goodwill toward itself;” and to set up a bronze statue of him in armor on the acropolis by the altar of Parthenos and that of Chersonnesos; and for the magistrates listed to look after these matters, that they may be done as quickly and as splendidly as possible; and to have this decree inscribed upon the base of the statue, and for the treasurers of the sacred (funds) to provide the expense arising in these connections. These things were resolved by the boule and the demos, on the 19th of the month Dionysios, when Agelas the son of Lagorinos was basileus, and Menis the son of Heraklios was proaisymnetes, and Da[masikl]eios son of Athanaios was secretary.


159. The spelling of the name varied in antiquity; this form is the less common.

160. The Crimean Bosporus.

161. The phrase is the same in both places. Unless the first refers to early, the second to late, spring, these must be the events of two successive years.


Syll.3 741,I + RDGE 48 (Syll.3 741, II)                                           88 and following

+ RC 73-74 (Syll.3 741, III-IV)

After the end of the Roman war against Mithridates of Pontus many of the Greek

cities of Asia Minor were anxious to appear as pro-Roman as possible. At Ephesos,

for example, an inscription of about 85 (Syll.3 742) referred thus to Mithridates:

“[having transgressed his] treaty with the Romans and collecting together [forces,

he undertook] to make himself master [of territory that in no way belonged] to

him”; and it goes on to speak of the Ephesians as having from the start maintained

their good-will toward the Romans. In 88, however, the Ephesians had slaughtered

the Romans and Italians who had taken refuge in the (theretofore) inviolate sanctuary of Artemis at Ephesus (Appian, Mith. 23.88). At the end of the war the city of Nysa honored its eminent pro-Roman Chaeremon with a statue. Inscribed on the

base of it were three letters written in 88: (A) one to the city of Nysa from the

Roman proconsul of Asia, C. Cassius, and (B and C) two of different tenor from

Mithridates to his satrap of Caria, Leonippos. It is not clear whether the honor was

conferred posthumously, for it would seem that Chaeremon was in the Artemision

at Ephesos when the massacre just referred to occurred. Rhodes proved in the event

a more secure place of refuge, and Chaeremon's descendants are known to have

maintained connections with Rome (cf. RDGE, p. 262).

[The de]mos [of the Nysaeans and the bou]le [honored] Ch[aer]em[on], son of Pythodoros.


Gaius Cassius to the magistrates of the Nysaeans, greeting. Chaeremon, son of Pythodoros, your citizen, came to me in Apamea, and asked [that] I allow him (to come before) my advisory council. This I did allow him, since he promised to my advisory council, out of regard for the Senate and demos of the Romans, that he would give as a gift for the army 60,000 modii of wheat meal. I replied about this matter that he had done nobly, and that I myself in turn would see to it that he recognized that these things were pleasing to us. And [we shall report these things] to the Senate and the demos of the Romans.


King [Mithrid]ates to (the) satrap Leonippos, greeting. Whereas Chaeremon the son of Pythodoros, a man most hatefully and most inimically disposed to our state, has always consorted with our most hated enemies, and now learning of my proximity has removed to a place of safety his sons Pythodoros and Pythion and has himself fled, proclaim that if anyone apprehends Chaeremon or Pythodoros or Pythion living, he will receive forty talents, and if anyone brings in the head of any [of them], he will receive twenty talents.


King Mithridates to Leonippos, greeting. Chaeremon the son of Pythodoros has previously effected the escape of the fugitive Romans with his sons to the city of the Rhodians, and now, learning of my proximity, he has taken refuge in the temple of the Ephesian Artemis and from there he is sending letters to the Romans, the common enemy (of everyone). [His] confidence in face of the offenses he has committed is the starting point of the things being done against us. Consider how you may by all means bring him to [us] or how he may be kept in arrest and imprisonment until I am free of [the] enemy.


P.Bour. 10, 12                                                                                                      88

These two letters form part of a dossier of letters written by Platon, epistrategos of the Thebaid, in the time of a revolt by the Egyptians of that region in 88. The revolt began under Ptolemy X Alexander, but that king is not mentioned as taking any measures, and by the end of the dossier, Ptolemy IX Soter II, his brother, has returned to power after decades out of the country, and Alexander has fled. It is interesting to note that in these letters Platon uses the priests and an Egyptian subordinate as the bases of support for the government, in keeping with the usual policy of the later Ptolemies of using Egyptians to control Egyptians. At the same time, it is interesting that Platon is able to switch allegiance from one king to his rival—the letters are dated by the regnal years of different kings—without any obvious hesitation (there are seven months between the letters). For a  full discussion of the entire dossier, see E. van ‘t Dack, “Le retour de Ptolémée IX Sotèr II en Égypte et la fin du règue de Ptolémée X Alexandre I,” in The Judaean-Syrian-Egyptian Conflict of 103-101 B.C. (Brussels 1989) 136-150.   1110.


Platon to Nechthyris, greeting. We set out from Latopolis to take charge of things in the most advantageous manner under the circumstances, having written to the inhabitants to assist you.  Please keep watch on the area and be on the defensive; and if any persons try to disobey you and engage in a (more severe?) 163 uprising, secure them until I reach you as soon as possible. Farewell. Year 26, Phamenoth 16. (Address) Give to Nechthyris.

12 = W.Chr. 12

Platon to the priests and other inhabitants of Pathyris, greeting. Philoxenos my colleague has written to me in a letter brought to me by Orses about the arrival of King Soter, the very great god, at Memphis, and that Hierax has been put in charge, with very great forces, of the subduing of the Thebaid. I judged it good to inform you so that knowing this you may be resolute. Farewell. Year 30, Phaophi 19. (Address) To the priests and others in Pathyris.


The letter “to the inhabitants” mentioned by Platon in the earlier letter is extant, P.Lond. 465 (SB III 6300), and repeats much of the phraseology of P.Bour. 10.


Syll.3 749, 751                                                                                                       ca. 67

These two inscriptions are from the bases of the statues of Pompey erected probably after his war against the pirates, a campaign especially gratifying to the islands of the Aegean. (A) is from Delos, (B) from Samos. (In both, the Roman title imperator is used to translate the Greek autokrator.)


The demos of the Athe[nians and the koinon] of the Pompeis[tai in Delos (dedicated) to Apollo (this statue of) Gnaeus] Pompeius [son of] Gna[eus, (the Great], imperator.


The demos of the Samians (dedicated this statue of) Gnaeus Pompeius, son of Gnaeus, (the) Great, imperator, the benefactor and savior ---.


BGU VIII 1762                                                                                         probably 58

The author and addressee of this report are both unknown, but the source is the Herakleopolite Nome and time evidently the rule of Berenike IV and Cleopatra Tryphaina in 58. The details are obscure, but it appears that an angry group was pacified by promises that their complaints against an official would be heeded.

- - - On the following day rather more (men) came to the gate of... and shouted for the queens and the armed forces. When the strategos arrived with Chairas the clerk and the visitors from Alexandria, they learned of many other misdeeds committed by Hermaiskos and his staff toward everybody. They (the complainants) refuse to do any more work, either private or royal, if Hermaiskos and his staff are not removed from the nome when the strategos has made his report to the queens and dioiketes. And when the strategos and the others encouraged them more and promised to report the submissions to them, they dispersed. Therefore we report.


SB XXII 15203                                                                                    after 54-55

Gaius Rabirius Postumus, a Roman equestrian of the late Republic, achieved a measure of fame by lending vast amounts of his own and his friends’ money to Ptolemy XII Auletes when that king needed ready cash for bribery and consumption. Postumus made sure of collecting the debts by having Auletes appoint him dioiketes in 55 BC. His term of office ended in prison before he returned to Rome in late 54, only to face prosecution by the successful accuser of Aulus Gabinius, the former proconsul of Syria. Cicero’s defense speech for him survives (pro Rabirio Postumo). This papyrus preserves a fragmentary polemical description of his time in office as dioiketes. It is not known if the account comes from a semi-literary work or is an extract from a judicial document of some sort; it apparently breaks off in mid-sentence.

... Postumus. For on taking office (?), he removed those originally appointed and those who had succeeded to their posts following their fathers and grandfathers. He appointed unsuitable and desperate men, selling the property which had been preserved throughout the whole time. From these, after ordering that the worthiest and most useful of the dioiketai be removed, he (turned?) to plunder...


For discussion of the papyrus see B. Kramer, APF 41 (1995) 304-5; N. Lewis, BASP 34 (1997) 27, who suggests at the start reading instead “taking an opportunity.”


P.Bingen 45                                                                                                           33

The royal act preserved in this papyrus grants a series of exemptions from taxes and other burdens for Publius Canidius, the leading general of Mark Antony, who was killed in Alexandria on Octavian’s orders after the battle of Actium. The order lacks the name of Cleopatra at the beginning, but no one else can be meant by the “we” who orders these concessions. That the subscription “make it happen” (Greek ginestho, “let it take place”) is in Cleopatra’s own hand (as Peter van Minnen has argued) seems to us less likely.

(Docket) Received: Year 19 = 4, Mecheir 26.

To - - -.

We have granted to Publius Canidius and his heirs the annual exportation of 10,000 artabs of wheat and the annual importation of 5,000 Coan amphras of wine without anyone exacting anything in taxes from him or any other expense whatsoever. We have also granted tax exemption on all the land he owns in Egypt on the understanding that he shall not pay any taxes, either to the state account or to the account of me and my children, in any way in perpetuity. We have also granted that his tenants are exempt from personal liabilities and from taxes without anyone exacting anything from them, not even contributing to the occasional assessments in the nomes or paying for expenses for soldiers or officers. We have also granted that the animals used for plowing and sowing as well as the beasts of burden and the ships used for the transportation (down the Nile) of the wheat are likewise exempt from “personal” liabilities and from taxes and cannot be commandeered. Let it be written to those to whom it may concern, so that knowing it they can act accordingly.

(Subscription) Make it happen.


We reproduce the translation of Peter van Minnen, Ancient Society 30 (2000) 29-34, based on his revised text.