By Roger S. Bagnall and Peter Derow

Second Edition



Second Edition


Roger S. Bagnall and Peter Derow

Copyright 2002


Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Bagnall, Roger S.

Greek historical documents.

Includes bibliographical references and indexes.

1. Greece -History -Macedonian Hegemony, 323

281 B.C.-Sources. 2. Greece -History - 281 B.C.–146

B.C. -Sources. 1. Derow, Peter. II. Title. III. Series.

DF235.AIB33               938'.08            81–5604

ISBN 0–89130–496–7 (pbk.)                 AACR2

To the memory of


Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition

This volume contains both inscriptions and papyri from the period from the death of Philip II of Macedon in 336 to the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty in 30 B.C. The book does not, unlike its predecessors in the series, contain any literary texts. We regret this all the more in that many of the texts important for the parts of the Hellenistic period where no connected ancient narrative exists are fragmentary and inaccessible to most undergraduates. But the book is already much longer than its companions and we have thought it more important to present the documents.

            The volume is intended for use either independently or as a companion for C. Bradford Welles, Alexander and the Hellenistic World (Toronto: Hakkert 1970). The present volume largely follows the organization of Welles and includes most of the papyri and inscriptions mentioned by him. The papyri have been prepared by Bagnall and the inscriptions by Derow, although we have each examined the other's section.

            The choice of papyri began with a list made by Alan E. Samuel at a time when he hoped to collaborate on this volume himself. When other commitments prevented the realization of this plan, he turned his preliminary collection over to Bagnall, and it has been helpful at many points. Most of the work on the papyri was done during 1972–1974 when Bagnall was in Tallahassee; he owes some useful suggestions to students in his Hellenistic history class there who used the first draft. He was able to remedy many of the deficiencies of the Florida State University Library with funds from a grant from the university's Council on Faculty Research Support, and for this he remains grateful.

            The portion of the manuscript concerning papyri was read by Elsa Peterson Gibson, whose comments improved accuracy, intelligibility, and style throughout.

            The work on the inscriptions was carried out largely in Toronto between 1973 and 1975 and finished at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where Derow is extremely grateful to have been invited to spend spring 1976 as a member of the School of Historical Studies. The selection was influenced partly by the desire to include the inscriptions cited by Welles along with many of those frequently referred to in the standard histories (in English) of the Hellenistic Period and partly also by the desire to provide documents Particularly from those periods where nonepigraphical evidence is relatively scarce or fragmentary. To the Office of Research Administration of the University of Toronto Derow would like to express his thanks for two grants-in-aid which helped to facilitate this undertaking, as he would also to Michael M. Sage for bibliographical assistance at an early stage of the project. Many improvements in the inscriptions were effected by Professor M.B. Wallace, who kindly agreed to check the translations.

            It can hardly be hoped that further errors have not escaped us in a work of this sort, and we shall be especially thankful to readers who send us corrections and suggestions for an eventual new edition.

            This book owes much, directly and indirectly, to the scholarship and wisdom of C. Bradford Welles, our teacher at Yale and Princeton. The tradition of attention to documents which he inherited from Michael Rostovtzeff led him in turn to instill into his students a profound respect for even the humblest of first-hand testimony from the ancient world. This volume is offered to his memory in the hope that through it more students may be able to approach the Hellenistic world directly and to sense the fascination of its remains.

March, 1976                Roger S. Bagnall

                                    Department of Greek and Latin

                                    Columbia University

                                    P.S. Derow

                                    Department of Classics

                                    University College, Toronto

            When circumstances prevented the realization of the original plan of publication by Samuel, Stevens Publishers of Toronto, the Society of Biblical Literature very kindly agreed to take over the volume in their series of 'Sources for Biblical Study.' We are grateful to Professor Charles E. Carlston, the editor, and to the staff of Scholars Press for their care in the final stages of preparation. Except for a few references, the book reflects the state of the manuscript in spring, 1976.

December, 1980


            Prefaces                                                           vii        

Table of Documents                                       xi

            Editorial Practice and Abbreviations               xvii

            The Texts                                                    1

            Appendix: Ptolemaic Administration              253

            Tables and Charts                                            257

            I. Ptolemaic Kings                                       257

            II. Seleucid Kings to 96 B.C.                                257

            III. Antigonid Kings                                       257

            IV. Attalid Rulers                                        258

            V. Months                                                             258

            VI. Currency                                                          258

            Glossary and Index of Greek Terms                259

            Concordance: Inscriptions                               263

            Concordance: Papyri                                        265

            Index of Persons, Places and Subjects             268

Table of Documents

I. Political History

A. Alexander the Great (336–323)

1. Priene Honors Antigonus—334

2. Letter of Alexander to the Chians—332

3. Cyrene Supplies Grain to the Greeks—330–326

4. Restoration of Exiles to Tegea—324

5. Restoration of Exiles to Mytilene—324

B. The Successors of Alexander (323–276)

6. Antigonus and Skepsis—311

7. Two Letters of Antigonus to Teos—306–302

8. The Hellenic League of 302

9. Ephesos Recovers from War—after 297

10. The Ionian League Honors Hippostratos of Miletos—289/8

11. Lysimachus and Priene—ca. 285 (?)

12. Letter of Lysimachus to Samos—283/2

13. Athens Honors Philippides—283/2

14. Knidian Loans to Miletos—283/2

15. Letter of Seleucus I and his son to an Official—281

16. Ilion and Antiochus I—279–274

17. Kos Gives Thanks for Defeat of the Gauls—278

C. The Period of Stability (276–221)

18. Gift of Land by Antiochus I—ca. 275

19. Chremonides’ Decree—265/4

20. Antiochus I and the Ionian League—268–262

21. Ptolemy II and Miletos—ca. 262

22. Letter of Antiochus II to Erythrai—after 261

23. Eumenes I and his Mercenaries—263–241

24. Berenike's Journey to Syria—252

25. Correspondence about a Sale of Land by Antiochus II—254/3

26. Ptolemy III Euergetes: the Adoulis Inscription—ca. 246

27. Report on the Third Syrian War—ca. 246

28. Delphi, Smyrna, and Seleucus II—242 (?)

29. Magnesia, Smyrna, and Seleucus II—after 242

30. Decree of the Achaean League—ca. 234

D. The Period of Roman Intervention (221–189)

31. Philip V and Larisa—215

32. Alliance Between Rome and Aetolia—211

32A. Enslavement During a Native Revolt—197 (C.Ptol.Sklav. 9)

33. Lampsakos, Massilia and Rome—197/6

34. Letter of Flamininus to Chyretiai—197–194

35. Statue of Flamininus at Gytheion—195

36. Eumenes II and the War Against Nabis—195

37. M. Valerius Messalla Writes to the Teans—193

38. The Scipios Write to Herakleia-by-Latmos—190

39. Letter of C. Livius Salinator to Delphi—189/8

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

40. Senatus Consulturn about Thisbe—170

40A. Dispatch From the Front in the Civil War of 169/8—ca. 169/8 (P.Köln IV 186)

41. Eumenes II and the Ionian League—167/6

42. Eumenes II, Attalus II and the Gauls—163–ca. 156

43. Will of Ptolemy the Younger—155

44. Letter from Esthladas to his Parents—130

45. Decree of Amnesty and Regulation—118

46. Letter of Q. Fabius Maximus to Dyme—115 (?)

47. Letter of King Antiochus to King Ptolemy—late second century

48. Decree for Diophantos, Strategos of King Mithridates VI—ca. 107

49. Chaeremon of Nysa, Mithridates and Rome—88 and following

50. Correspondence of Platon—88

51. Cn. Pompeius Magnus—ca. 67

52. Report on Disturbance in the Country—prob. 58

52A. An Alexandrian View of Rabirius Postumus—after 55-54 (SB XXII 15203)

52B. Cleopatra’s Golden Handcuffs for a Roman General—33 (P.Bingen 45)

II. The Foreign Possessions of the Ptolemies

53. Ordinances about Registration—260

54. Letters of Toubias—257

55. Letter of Apollonios about Grain—261

56. Memorandum to Zenon—258/7

57. Affairs in Kalynda—248

58. Visit of a Roman Senator—112

III. Life in Greek Cities

59. Isopolity between Pergamon and Temnos—early third century

60. Praxikles' Loan to Arkesine—IV/III

61. The Delians Honor Philokles, King of Sidon—ca. 280

62. Athens Honors Herakleides of Cyprian Salamis—325/4

63. A Samian Grain Law—second century

64. Decree for Boulagoras of Samos—ca. 240

65. Polythroos Provides for Education at Teos—second century

66. Ilion Honors Physician of Antiochus I—275–268/7

67. Eumenes I and Pergamon—ca. 260–245

IV. The Bureaucracy of Ptolemaic Egypt

68. Appointment of a Komogrammateus—119

69. Oath of Office—246–222

70. Letter of Marres to Menches—ca. 119 or 114

71. Account of a Postal Station—ca. 255

72. Announcement of a Government Auction—ca. 223

73. Avoiding a Liturgy—257

74. Letter to Zenon from Kaunians Seeking Help—257

75. Letter to Zenon about Petitioner—249

76. Zenon Petitions the King—ca. 246–240

77. Petition about Assessment—254–253

77A. The Bureaucrats Open a Sluice-Gate—232 (P.Köln VIII 342)

77B. Official Correspondence: Don’t Move the Hives; Send Calves—226

(P.Heid. VI 362)

78. Declaration of House-property—210–183

79. Letter about Collection of Taxes—228

80. Letter about Protection of Tax-farmer—117

80A. A Komarch’s Extortion Racket—151 (SB XX 15708)

81. Receipt for Medical and Police Tax—231

82. Letter to Zenon about Wax—253

83. Tax-Farmer's Petition for Relief— 236

V. The Royal Economy of Egypt

84. Letter to Apollonios about Reminting Coins—258

85. Instructions of the Dioiketes to an Oikonomos—late third century

85A. Hard and Soft Stone for Irrigation Works—256 (SB XVIII 13881)

86. Plans for Reclamation Work—259

87. The Sowing Schedule—232

88. Receipt for Seed Grain—261

89. Flooding of a Field—218

90. Loss of Water Supply—112/1

91. Protection of the Crops—113

92. Order for Delivery of Grain—265

93. Receipt for Embarkation of Grain—251

94. Lease of a Vineyard—170

95. Revenue Laws of Ptolemy Philadelphos—259

96. Assault on Oil Contractor—114

97. Overcharging for Oil—242

98. Regulating the Price of Myrrh—111

VI. The Military and Police of Ptolemaic Egypt

99. Reimbursement of Naval Expenses—257

100. Letter of Apollonios about Wood for the Navy—250

101. Pay for Elephant-hunters—223

102. Complaint about Owner of Lodging—244/3

103. Royal Ordinances—ca. 240

103A. The Allotment of the Orphan Son of a Military Man—142 (SB XVI 12720)

VII. The Ptolemaic Legal and Judicial System

104. City Laws of Alexandria—mid third century

104A. Regulations about Self-Identification in Contracts—late 3rd cent. (BGU XIV 2367)

105. Petition about Usury and Detention—245/4

106. Letter from a Man in Jail—mid third century

106A. Sent to Break Rocks for Representing a Woman Illegally—241/0 (?)

(P.Eleph.Wagner 1)

107. Contract for Sureties—263

108. Decree about a Surety—237

109. Report on an Investigation—114

110. Trial of Hermias and the Choachytai—117

111. Action before the Chrematistai—154 or 143

111A. Getting Help to Collect a Debt—2nd century (P.Münch. III 52)

112. Problems with a Brewery—254

VIII. Social Relations and Private Life

113. Bilingualism— third century

114. Complaint by a non-Greek about Contemptuous Treatment—ca. 256–255

115. Petition about an Assault—161

116. Learning Egyptian—second century

117. Scalding in the Baths—221

118. Ordinance about Slave Sales—ca. 198–197

119. Procedural Laws about Slaves—third century

120. Sale of a Slave Girl—259

121. Offer of Reward for Escaped Slaves—156

122. Marriage Contract—311

123. Request for a Guardian—218

124. Will—284

124A. A Military Settler’s Will—238/7 (P.Petr. 2nd ed. I 13)

124B. A Greek Will in an Egyptian Milieu—123 (SB XVIII 13168)

125. Preparations for a Festival—ca. 245

125A. A Dancer Hires a Flutist—231 (CPR XVIII 1)

126. Ungrateful Daughter—221

IX. Religion

A. Greek Sanctuaries and Cities

127. Magnesia on-the-Maeander and Artemis Leukophryene— after 208/7

128. Royal Letters to Magnesia on-the-Maeander—ca. 205

129. Letter of Kings Theodoros and Amynander to Teos 205–201

130. Accounts and Inventories of the Temple of Apollo on Delos—179

131. Establishment of a Royal Cult of Laodike—193

132. Antiochus III Appoints a Chief-Priest at Daphne—189

B. Cults in Ptolemaic Egypt

133. Decree about Dionysiac Artists—ca. 215–205

133A. Returning Home for the Festival—230 (?) (SB XX 14699)

134. The Synodos of Zeus Hypsistos—ca. 69–58

135. Release on the King's Birthday—254

136. The Canopus Decree—238

137. The Rosetta Stone—196

138. Royal Letter Guaranteeing Temple Revenues—139

138A. Petition about Sacred Land—ca. 62-50 (BGU XIV 2375)

139. Burial Preparations for Sacred Cow—257

140. Sale of Priestly Rights—106

141. Grave Robbers—127/6

142–144. Ptolemaios the Katochos of the Serapeum

142. Petition about Paternal House—160

143. Petition on behalf of his Brother—158/7

144. Letter from Wife to Husband—168

145. Transport of a Body—first century

146. Antisemites in Memphis—early first century

A Note on Editorial Practice and Abbreviations

Each document is given a brief introduction, which seeks only to provide a context; any detailed discussion is impossible here. The notes at the end are intended to justify our translation in cases where it relies on a text different from that cited as a source and to explain possibly obscure points not covered in the introduction or in the glossary. The bibliographical notes included with some documents suggest only some works that we have found helpful.

            Within the texts, square brackets, ([,]) indicate places in which the damaged original has been restored, while parentheses indicate editorial insertions for the sake of clarity or give the probable sense of an unrestored passage. We have indicated small lacunae for which no restoration is offered by dots ( ... ), longer ones by dashes ( - ). It should be said that in the case of papyri where a usable English translation already existed we have used it with whatever alterations were needed rather than make an entirely new version. In the case of inscriptions, the versions in Welles' Royal Correspondence have been taken over with some changes; for the rest, although English (and other) translations were consulted where available, it seemed on the whole desirable to make new translations. These, it should be said, aim more at being fairly literal than at anything else. The technical and formulaic nature of many official texts makes it difficult to suggest good alternatives to some phrasings.

            Names have been transliterated for the most part in a literal Greek-English system. A few well-known people (especially royalty) and places have been given in the traditional Latinized or Anglicized forms. Ptolemy is used for kings and their family, Ptolemaios for commoners. All dates are B.C. unless otherwise noted.

            Papyri are cited according to the system described in J. F. Oates et al., Checklist of Editions of Greek, Latin, Demotic and Coptic Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets, 5th ed. (Oakville, Conn. 2001). The collections of inscriptions cited are the following:

Asylieurkunden = G. Klaffenbach, Asylieurkunden aus Kos (Abh.Akad.Wiss.Berlin 1952).

Erythrai = H. Engelmann, R. Merkelbach, Die Inschriften von Erythrai und Klazomenai I-II (Bonn 1972, 1973).

I.Délos = Inscriptions de Délos (Paris 1926–).

IPEP = B. Latyschev, Inscriptiones Antiquae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Euxini Graecae et Latinae I, 2nd ed. (Petropolis 1916).

Ilion = P. Frisch, Die Inschriften von Ilion (Bonn 1975).

Milet I 3 = A. Rehm, G. Kawerau, Das Delphinion in Milet (Berlin 1914).

Moretti = L. Moretti, Iscrizioni Storiche Ellenistiche I (Firenze 1967).

OGIS = W. Dittenberger, Orientis Graecae Inscriptiones Selectae (Leipzig 1903–05).

Priene = F. Frhr. Hiller von Gaertringen, Inschriften von Priene (Berlin 1906).

RC = C.B. Welles, Royal Correspondence in the Hellenistic Period (New Haven 1934).

RDGE = R. K. Sherk, Roman Documents from the Greek East (Baltimore 1969).

SEG = Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (Leiden 1923–71, Amsterdam ).

Staatsverträge = Die Staatsverträge des Altertums, vol. III, ed. H.H. Schmitt (München 1969).

Syll. I = W. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum, 3rd ed. (Leipzig 1915–24).

Tod, GHI = M.N. Tod, Greek Historical Inscriptions II (Oxford 1948).

Some corrections to papyri are cited from their listing in:

BL = F. Preisigke et al., Berichtigungsliste der griechischen Papyrusurkunden (1915–).