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Greek Inscriptions

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GREEK INSCRIPTIONS, etymologically the term inscription (&typcoM) would include much more than is commonly meant by it. It would include words engraved on rings, or stamped on coins,' vases, lamps, wine-jar handles,2 Sic. But Boeckh was clearly right in excluding this varia supellex from his Corpus Inscriptionum Greecarton, or only admitting it by way of appendix. Giving the term inscription a somewhat narrower sense, we still include within it a vast store of documents of the greatest value to the student of Greek civilization. It happens, moreover, that Greek inscriptions yield the historian a richer harvest than those of Rome.

Partly from fashion, but partly from the greater abundance of the material, the Romans engraved their public documents (treaties, laws, Sic.) to a large extent on bronze. These bronze tablets, chiefly set up in the Capitol, were melted in the various conflagrations, or were carried off to feed the mint of the conqueror. In Greece, on the contrary, the ) mountains everywhere afforded an inexhaustible supply of I marble, and made it the natural material for inscriptions. Some Greek inscribed tablets of bronze have come down to us,3 and many more must have perished in the sack of cities and burning of temples. A few inscriptions on small thin plates of lead, rolled up, have survived ; these are chiefly imprecations on enemies4 or questions asked of oracles.6 But as a rule the material employed was marble. These marble monuments are often found in situ; and, though more often they were used up as convenient stones for building purposes, yet they have thus survived in a more or less perfect condition.6 Inscriptions were usually set up in temples, theatres, at the side of streets and roads, in Tcp.6/7/ or temple-precincts, and near public buildings generally. At Delphi and Olympia were immense numbers of inscriptions,--not only those engraved upon the gifts of victorious kings and cities, but also many of a more public character. At Delphi were inscribed the decrees of the Amphictyonie assembly, at Olympia international documents concerning the Peloponnesian cities ; the Parthenon and Acropolis were crowded with treaties, laws, and decrees concerning the Athenian confederation ; the Hemum at Samos, the Artemisium at Ephesus, and indeed every important sanctuary, abounded with inscriptions. It is a common thing for decrees (1,Inn/oio-izaTa.) to contain a clause specifying where they are to be set up, and what department of the state is to defray the cost of inscribing and erecting them. Sometimes duplicates are ordered to be set up in various places ; and, in cases of treaties, arbitrations, and other international documents, copies were always set up by each city concerned. Accordingly documents like the Marmor AncyrallUM and the Edict of Diocletian have been restored by a comparison of the various fragments of copies set up in diverse quarters of the empire.

Greek inscribed marbles varied considerably in their : external appearance. The usual form was the 0-70.17, the normal type of which was a plain slab, from 3 to 4 or' even 5 feet high,? 3 or 4 inches thick, tapering slightly upwards from about 2 feet wide at bottom to about 18 inches at the top, where it was either left plain or often had a slight moulding, or still more commonly was adorned with a more or less elaborate pediment ; the slab was otherwise usually plain. Another form was the floncOs or altar, sometimes square, oftener circular, and varying widely in size. Tombstones were either GI-7-i7Xat (often enriched beneath the pediment with simple groups in relief, commemorative of the deceased), or moves, pillars, of different size and design, or sarcophagi plain and ornamental. To these must be added statue-bases of every kind, often inscribed, not only with the names and honours of individuals, but also with decrees and other documents. All these forms were intended to stand by themselves in the open air. But it was also common to inscribe state documents upon the surface of the walls of a temple, or other public building. Thus the cella-walls of the temple of Athena Polias at Priene were covered with copies of the awards made concerning the lands disputed between Samos and Priene (C. I. G., 2905, and infra) ; similarly the walls of tire Artemisium at Ephesus contained a number of decrees (Wood's Ephesus, appendix), and the proscenium of the Odom was lined with crushe, or " marble-veneering," under 1 inch thick, inscribed with copies of letters from Hadrian, Antoninus, and other emperors to the Ephesian people (Wood, ibid., p. 44). The workmanship and appearance of inscriptions varied considerably according to the period of artistic development. The letters incised with the chisel upon the wall or the o-rtjAn were painted in with red or blue pigment, which is often traceable upon newly anearthed. inscriptions. When Thucydides, in quoting the epigram of Pisistratus the younger (vi. 54), says, " it may still be read cliiv3pois -ykup.ao-r," he must refer to the fading of the colour ; for the inscription was brought to light in 1877 with the letters as fresh as when they were first chiselled (see Kamanudes in 'AO/piatov, vi. p. 149; Corpus Inscr. Att., suppl. to vol. i. p. 41). The Greeks found no inconvenience, as we should, in the bulkiness of inscriptions as a means of keeping public records. On the contrary they made every temple a muniment room • and while the innumerable o-ri)Xac, Hermw, bases, and altars served to adorn the city, it must also have encouraged and educated the sense of patriotism for the citizen to move continually among the records of the past. The history of a Greek city was literally written upon her stones.

' The primary value of an inscription lay in its documentary evidence (so Euripides, Suppl. 1202, foil.). In this way they are continually cited and put in evidence by the orators (e.g., see Demosth., Fals. Leg., 428 ; ./Eschin., Ira Ctes., § 75). But the Greek historians also were not slow to recognize their importance. Herodotus often cites them (iv. 88, 90, 91 ; v. 58 sq.; vii. 228) ; and in his account of the victory of Platma he had his eye upon the tripod-inscription (ix. 81 ; cf. Thuc. i. 132). Thucydides's use of inscriptions is illustrated by v. 18 foil., 23, 47, 77 ; vi. 54, 59. Polybius used them still more. In later Greece, when men's thoughts were thrown back upon the past, regular collections of inscriptions began to be made by such writers as Philochorus (300 n.c.), Polemo (2d century B. C. , called a•TyX0KO7ras for his devotion to inscriptions), Aristodemus, Craterus of Macedon, and many others.

At tire revival of learning, the study of inscriptions revived with the renewed interest in Greek literature. Cyriac of Ancona, early in the 15th century, copied a vast number of inscriptions during his travels in Greece and Asia Minor ; his MSS. collections were deposited in the Barberini library at Rome, and have been used by other scholars. (See Bulletin of the French archeological school at Athens, vol. i.) Succeeding generations of travellers and scholars continued to collect and edit, and Englishmen in both capacities did much for this study.

Thus early in this century the store of known Greek inscriptions had so far accumulated that the time had come for a comprehensive survey of the whole subject. And it was the work of one great scholar, Augustus Boeckh, to raise Greek epigraphy into a science. At the request of the Academy of Berlin he undertook to arrange and edit all tire known inscriptions in one systematic work, and vol. i. of tire Corpus Inscriptionum Grzecarum was published in 1828, vol. ii. in 1833. lie lived to see tire work completed, al though other scholars were called in to help him to execute his great design ; vol. iii., by Franz, appeared in 1853 ; vol. iv., by Kirchhoff, in 1856.1 The work is a masterpiece of lucid arrangement, profound learning, untiring industry, and brilliant generalization. Out of the publication of the Corpus there grew up a new school of students, who devoted themselves to discovering and editing new texts, and working up epigraphical results into monographs upon tire many-sided history of Greece. In tire Corpus Boeckh had settled for over tire methods of Greek epigraphy ; and in his Staatshaushaltung der Athener (well known to English readers from Sir G. C. Lewis's translation, The Public Economy of Athens, 2d ed., 1842) he had given a palmary specimen of the application of epigraphy to historical studies. At the same time Franz drew up a valuable introduction to the study of inscriptions in his Elementa .Epigraphiees Gr.Tae (1840).

Meanwhile the liberation of Greece and increasing facilities for visiting the Levant combined to encourage the growth of the subject, which has been advanced by the labours of many scholars, and chiefly Ludwig Ross, Leake, Pittakys, Rangab6, Le Bas, and later by Meier, Sauppe, Kirchhoff, Kumanndes, 'Waddington. Together with the development of this school of writers, there has gone on a systematic exploration of some of the most famous sites of antiquity, with the result of exhuming vast numbers of inscriptions. Cyrene, Halicarnassus, Cnidus, Priene, Rhodes, and Ephesus have been explored by the English ; Athens, Eleusis, and Dodona by the English and the Greeks ; Olympia by the Greeks and Germans ; Cyprus by General Cesnola ; Delphi and Delos by the French ; and Pergamos by the Germans. A German and a French institute have been established at Athens, chiefly engaged in the study of inscriptions. And still the work proceeds at a rapid rate. For indeed the yield of inscriptions is practically inexhaustible : each island, every city, was a separate centre of corporate life, and it is significant to note that in the island of Calymnos alone Mr Newton collected over one hundred inscriptions, many of them of considerable interest.

The result of this has been that Boeckh's great work, though it never can be superseded, yet has ceased to be what its name implies. The four volumes of tire C. I. C. contain about 10,000 inscriptions. But the number of Greek inscriptions now known has been estimated at 20,000 or 30,000. Many of these are only to be found published in the scattered literature of dissertations, or in Greek, German, and other periodicals. But several comprehensive collections have been attempted, among which may be namedIlangab6, Antiguites Ilelleniques, 2 vols., 1842-1855; Keil, ,Sylloge Inscriptionum Bwoticarum, 1847 ; Kumanudes, 'Arrcxcis i'rtypachal k-o-443coc, 1871; Le Bas, VoyageArcheologique, vols. i.–iii., in course of continuation by M. Waddington ; Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, edited by C. T. Newton, pt, i., " Attika," by E. L. Hicks, 1874; and above all the Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, undertaken by tire Berlin Academy, of which there have already appeared vol. i. by Kirchhoff, 1873 (with supplement, by the same, 1877) ; • vol. ii. pt. 1, by Kohler, 1877 ; vol. iii. pt. 1, by Dittenberger, 1878.

The oldest extant Greek inscriptions appear to date from the middle of the 7th century B. c. During the recent excavations at ( Olympia a number of fragments of very ancient inscriptions have i been found, which have been published in the recent numbers of t the Archeiologische Zeitung (137S-1880). But what is wanted is a sufficient number of very early inscriptions of fixed date. One such exists upon the leg of a colossal Egyptian statue at Abu-Simbel on tire upper Nile, where certain Greek mercenaries in tire service of King Psammetichrm recd led their names, as having explored the river up to the second cataract (C. I. G., 5126). Even if Psammetichns II. is meant, the inscription dates between 594 and 539 B.C. Documents earlier than the Persian war are not very frequent ; but after that period the stream of Greek inscriptions goes on, generally increasing in volume, down to late Byzantine times.

Greek inscriptions may most conveniently be classified under the following heads : - (1) those which illustrate political history ; (2) those connected with religion ; (3) those of a rivate character.

Inscribed laws (v4pot) occur with tolerable frequency. The following are examples : - A citation of a law of Draco's from the irpo:irot doio of Solon's laws (C. L A., i. 61 ; ef. Hermes, ii. p. 27) ; a reassessment of the tribute payable by the Athenian allies in 425 B.C. ( C. I. A., i. 37 ; Kohler, Urkunden nand Untersuehungen zur Gesell-Wide des Deliseh-attisehen Pandas, 1870, p. 63) ; a law passed by the AMphictyonic council at Delphi, 380 B.C. (Boeckh, C. I. G., 1688 ; C. I. A., ii. 545) ; law concerning Athenian weights and measures (Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung, vol. ii. p. 356; C. I. G., 123); the futile sumptuary law of Diocletian concerning the maximum prices for all articles sold throughout the empire (Waddington, Edit de Dioeletien, 1864 ; Mominsen, C. I. Lat., vol. iii. pt. 2, 801 sq.).

Besides the inscribed treaties previously referred to, we may instance the following : - Between Athens and Chalcis in Eubcea, 445 B.C. (C. I. A., suppl. to vol. i., 27a); between Athens and Rhegium, 433 n.c. (C. L A., i. 33, and suppl. ibid., p. 13) ; between Athens and Leontini, dated the same day as the preceding (C. I. A.; suppl. to vol. i., 33a); between Athens and Bceotia, 395 B. C. (C. I. A., ii. 6); between Athens and Chalcis, 378 B.C. (ibid., p. 398) ; between Athens and Sparta, 271 B.C. (C. I. A., ii. No. 332) ; between Hermias of Atarneus and the Ionian Erythrm, about 350 B.C. (Le Bas and Waddington, Voyage Arch., iii. 1536a) ; treaties in the local dialect between various cities of Crete, 3d century B.C. (C. L 0., 2f554-6 ; Rangabe, Ant. Hellen., 2478 ; Hermes, iv. 266). Egger's Etudes historiques star lee traitds publics chez les Grecs et chez les Remains (Paris, 1866) embraces a good many of these documents.

The international relation of Greek cities is further illustrated by awards of disputed lands, delivered. by a third city called in (gurcAnros woxts) to arbitrate between the contending states, e.g., Rhodian award as between Samos and Priene (C. I. G., 2905 ; Le Bas and Wadd., Voy. Arch., iii. No. 189 sq.); Nilesian between Messenians and Spartans, recently discovered at Olympia (Arch. Zeit., 1876, p. 128 ; see Tae., Ann. iv. 43) ; and many others. Akin to these are decrees in honour of judges called in from a neutral city (evoc2n, Socaariiplov);to try suits between citizens which were complicated by political partisanship (see C. I. 0., No. 2349b, and Boeckh's remarks).

Letters from kings are frequent ; as from Lysimachus to the Samians (C. I. G., 2254); from Antigenus I. directing the transfer of the population of Lebedus to Teas (Le Bas-Wadd., Foy. Arch., iii. No. 86). Letters from Roman emperors are commoner still ; such as C. I: G., 3175, 3176, 3178, 3834.

The internal administration of Greek towns is illustrated by the minute and complete lists of the treasures in the Parthenon of the time of the Peloponnesian war (Boeckh, Staatshaush. , vol. ii.); public accounts of Athenian expenditure (ibid.) ; records of the Athenian navy in the 4th century, forming vol. iii. of the same work. The management of public lands and mines is specially illustrated from inscriptions vol. i. passim); and the political constitution of different cities often receives light from inscriptions which cannot be gaMed elsewhere (e.g., see the document from Cyzicus, C. I. G., 3665, and Boeckh's note).

Inscriptions in honour of kings and emperors are very common. The Marmor Aneyranum has already been mentioned ; but an earlier example is the MonUMCW11.711, Adubitanum. (from Abyssinia, C. I. G., 5127) reciting the achievements of Ptolemy Euergetes Offerings in temples (anchjyara) are often of great historical value, e.g., the helmet of Micro, now in the British Museum, dedicated at Olympia after his victory over the Etruscans, 474 B.C. (C. I. G., 16) ; and the bronze base of the golden tripod dedicated at Delphi after the victory of Plat;ea, and carried. oil' to Constantinople by Constantine (Dethier and Mo•dtinann, Epigraphik von Eyzantion, 1874).

There remain a large number of inscriptions of a more strictly private character. The famous Parian marble (C. I. G., 2374) falls i under this head ; it was a system of chronology drawn up, perhaps t by a schoolmaster, in the 3d century B.C. The excessive devotion of the later Greeks to athletic and other competitions at festivals is revealed by the numerous dedications made by victorious competitors who record their successes (see C. I. G., passim). The dedications and honorary inscriptions relating to the Epleebi of later Athens (which occupy half of C. I. A., iii. pt. 1), dreary as they seem, have yet thrown a curious light upon the academic life of Roman Athens (see A. Dumont, Essai sue l'Ephebie Attique) ; and from these and similar late inscriptions the attempt has been made to construct Easti of the later archons (Dumont, Essai stir la chronologie des Arehontes Athenians, 1870 ; R. Neubauer, Commentationes Epigraphiew, 1869 ; Westermann in Panly's Real-Encyclopadie, vol. i., new ed., s. v. Archontes). The sepulchral monuments have been beautifully illustrated in Stackelberg's Grabcr der Hellenen (ef. Pervanoglu, Die Grabsteine d. alt. Griedien, Leipsic, 1863). Some of the most interesting epitaphs in the C. I. 0. are from Aphrodisias and Smyrna. liumanudes's collection of Attic epitaphs has been mentioned above ; they yield a good deal of information about the Attie dames, and some of them are of high importance, e. g. , the epitaph on the slain in the year 458 sac. (C. I. 0., 165), and on those who fell before Potidtea (C. I. A., i. 442). Closely connected with sepulchral inscriptions is the famous "Will of Epieteta" (C. I. G., 2448). It was also customary at Athens for lands mortgaged to be indicated by boundary-stones inscribed with the names of mortgager and mortgagee, and the amount (Franz, El. Epigr. Gr., p. 168, 338) ; other iipoL are common enough.

The names of sculptors inscribed on the bases of statues were collected in 1871 by G. Hirschfeld (l'ituli Statuariorum Sculptorumque); but since then the number has been greatly increased by excavations at Olympia and elsewhere. In most cases the artists are unknown to fame. Among the exceptions are the names of Pythagoras of Rhegiurn, whom we now know to have been a native of Samos (Arch. Zeit., 1878, p. 82), Polyclitus the younger (Arch. Zeit., 1878, p. 12), and Paeonius of Mende, who sculptured the marble Nike at Olympia (Arch. Zeit., 1875, p. 178).

The bearing of inscriptions upon the study of dialects is very obvious. A handy collection has been made by Caner (Delectus Inner. Or., Leipsic, 1877) of the principal inscriptions illustrating this subject ; and the dialect of the Athenian dramatists has been illustrated from inscriptions by Wecklein (Curse Epigr. ad Grammatisam Grawam et Poetas seenicos pertinentes, Leipsie, 1869).

The date of inscriptions is determined partly by the internal evideuce of the subject, persons, and events treated of, and the character of the dialect and language. But the most important evidence i is the form of the letters and style of execution. Much of this evidence is of a kind difficult to appreciate from a mere description. Yet - besides the Sotarrpocpuado writing of many early documents-we may mention the contrast between the stiff, angular characters which prevailed before 500 or 450 n.c. and the graceful yet simple forms of the Periclean age. This development was part of the general movement of the time. Inscriptions of this period are usually written aTcax.08(11,, i.e., the letters are in line vertically as well as horizontally. From the archonship of Enclitic% (403 B.c.) onwards, the Athenians adopted the fuller alphabet which had obtained in Ionia since the 6th century. Before 403 IL C. and Ili were expressed in Attie inscriptions by xl and 4,1, while E did duty for n, E, and sometimes El, 0 fore, ov, and 41, - H being used only for the aspirate.

The documents of 1.yeurgus's administration are recognized by their small, neat characters, very carefully inscribed. The Macedonian period betrays a falling off in neatness and firmness of execution, - the letters being usually small and scratchy, excepting in inscriptions relating to great personages, when the characters are often very large and handsome. At this time came in the use of apices as an ornament of letters. These tendencies increased during the period of Roman dominion in Greece, and gradually, especially in Asia Minor, the iota adscriptum was dropped. The Greek characters of the Augustan age indicate a period of restoration ; • they are uniformly clear, handsome, and adorned with apices. Under the empire the characters fast degenerated, combining increased ornament with less delicacy of execution. In the 2d or 3d century, if not earlier, the circular and square sigma (c, ) occur, together with the circular epsilon, (€). There arc a good many pretty inscriptions under the Antonines ; but later the writing grows more coarse and clumsy until Byzantine times, when the forms appear barbarous indeed beside an inscription- of the Augustan or even Antonine age.

The finest collections of inscribed Greek marbles are of course at Athens. There arc also good collections, public and private, at Smyrna and Constantinople. The British Museum contains the best collection out of Athens (now being edited) ; the Louvre contains a good many (edited by Frohner, Les inscriptions (1'recquas du 91ZUSeC du Louvre, 1865) ; the Oxford collection is very valuable, and fairly large ; and there are some valuable inscriptions also at Cambridge.

The following essays give good outlines of the whole subject : - Boeckb, C. I. G., preface to vol. i. ; Westcrmann in Pauly's Real -Encycl., s. v. Inseriptiones ; Egger, Des collections (1- inscriptions Grecques " in Journal des Savants,1871; C. T.Newton, Essays on Art and Archaeology. 1880, p. 95. 209 Besides the works already quoted, the following should be mentioned : - Boccith's Efeine Sehriften ; WescherVenetia. Inscriptions recueillies 6 Delphes, 1863 ; Michaelis, Per Parthenon ; Waddington, Fast,s des Provinces A siatiques, part 1., 1872. and Mdmoire oar to chronologie de is vie du rhe'teur Aristide; Kirchhoff, Studien cur' Geschichte der griechtschen Alphabets, 1967 ; Keil, Specimen Onomatologi Grzei, 1840, and Attain& Epigraphica et Onomatologica, 1842 ; C. Curtlus. Studien and Urkunden tar Deschichte von Samos, Llibeek, 1877; Meier. De proxenia, 1843, and Die Privatschiedsricht er and die hffentlichen Diditeten Athens. Dalle, 1846 ; Bdtant, An frierint spud Cnecos judices certi litibus inter civitates componendis, diss. Mang, Berl., 1862 ; Fotleart, Des Associations Religieuscs chez le.s Grecs, Paris. 1873 ; Ltiders, Die Nang:When Kunsller, Berl., 1873. (E. L. IL)

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