CLA230H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Epigraphy, Athenian Democracy, Peisistratos

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
School
UTSG
Department
Classics
Course
CLA230H1
CLA230 Lecture 14 Notes
Inscriptions and Greek History
- famous example of the Rosetta Stone, dated 196 B.C. – decree establishing
the cult of Ptolemy V
- importance of the Rosetta Stone – trilingual text of Egyptian hieroglyphic,
Egyptian demotic, and ancient Greek
- example of the Dreros law code, from the second half of the 7th century B.C.
Types of Greek Inscriptions
- private
tombstones
religious dedications
- public
laws and decrees
religious calendars
alliances
public work schedules
expenditure accounts
inventories
commemorative documents
lists of office-holders
Pros and Cons of Inscriptions
- pros
direct products of political actions – democratic vs. aristocratic literary
texts
supplement literary texts – financial records that would not be
otherwise recorded
constantly discovering new finds
- cons
context/background is sometimes elusive
chronology is sometimes difficult
fragmentary texts
Chronology of Inscriptions
- magistrates
- example of memorial for Peisistratos – not “the Peisistratos”, but his
grandson
- must have been built around the time he was archon or shortly thereafter
- some of the text is missing – do not have his full name
- clearly he is one of the tyrants – the father’s name is written and it can be
concluded who he is – supplementation to the text
- quote: “This memorial of his office Peisistratos son of Hippias set up in the
precinct of Pythian Apollo”
- archonship of Peisistratos was in 522/521 B.C.
Fragments of Archon Lists
- record of the archons
- there are nine archons at a time but one “main” one
- inscription of people who were archons in consecutive years
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- people would like to know who the archons were – only fragments remain –
can fill in the gaps based on when archons were in power through chronology
- filled-in fragments are not entirely accurate but it makes sense – very close
approximations
- archon Kleisthenes – likely the famous one – from an “accursed family” –
because they murdered people who were attempting to become tyrants
- the murdered people were killed in a sanctuary – holed up in a sanctuary to
Athena but began to starve – told they would be given a fair trial if they came
out but they were murdered when they emerged
- considered to be “accursed” which meant that they were therefore banished
- the famous Pericles was from this family
- fragments of the archon list have been filled in, with the chronology
approximation of 527/526 B.C. up until 522/521 B.C.
- list of six consecutive archons – Onetorides, Hippias, Kleisthenes, Miltiades,
Kalliades, Peisistratos
- chronology appears to be accurate – Miltiades was archon in 524/523 B.C.
Letter Forms
- idea postulated that it was possible to figure out when inscriptions were
inscribed based on the letter form
- between 425 B.C. and the end of the 3rd century B.C. to the mid-2nd century
B.C. – the forms of lettering changed shape
- it has been shown that the letter forms are not indicative of chronology as
was once thought
- one such indicator was the shape of the sigma – either three or four bars
- note that most Greek inscriptions have no punctuation and are all capitals
- it was thought that the three bar sigma was from the early 5th century B.C.
and that the four bar sigma was from the late 5th to 4th centuries B.C.
- however, inscriptions also have been found that are before or after the
suggested letter form dating
- inscriptions are important for understanding the expansion of Athenian power
that builds up to the Peloponnesian War
Athenian Life
- example of the Athenian casualty list, dated 459 B.C. – Athenians are listed
by tribe
- tribes – Erechteis is one of the Athenians tribes – names of the dead of the
particular tribe are listed, and the generals are identified
- list of the war dead is useful – interesting to know that in the particular year
of 459 B.C., Athenians died in Cyprus, Egypt, Phoenicia, Halieis, Aegina,
Megara – tells of the extent of military action
- reason for the military campaigns – likely raiding Persian holdings – confirms
what is known and gives a sense of how active the Athenians were at one
time
- inscriptions also tell about Athenian life – religious practices
- temple from the 420s B.C. – Athena Nike – Athena as the goddess of victory
- before the temple was built, there was already an early cult – altar to Nike
was built before the 420s B.C.
- inscription on Athena Nike – dating is unclear – much debate about the time –
perhaps 448 B.C., or 430 B.C.
- inscription explains how the priestess was chosen
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- quote: “[For Athena Ni]ke a priestess who … from all Athenian women shall
be [appointed], and the sanctuary shall be furnished with doors as Kallikrates
shall prescribe. The Poletai shall let the contract out for hire in the prytany of
Leontis. Payment to the priestess shall be 50 drachmas and the legs and
hides from public (sacrifices).”
- continuation of the inscription – mentions the work done on the sanctuary
- quote: “A temple shall be constructed as Kallikrates shall prescribe and an
altar of marble. Hestiaios made a motion. Three men shall be elected from
the Boule. They, together with Kallikrates, after making the specifications,
shall [indicate to the Boule] the manner in which…”
- motion to construct a temple of Nike and institute a new priestess
- inscription is interesting – of and for the democracy – the priestess is chosen
of all the Athenian women
- old priesthoods were held by a particular family
- idea of a shift to true democracy – appears to take place in all areas of state
and religion
- the Parthenon itself is actually not that important in religious terms – all
significant statues and temples were around it
- priesthood of Athena was help by one particular family – and held for life –
idea of the old priesthoods
- not many limitations to being a priestess – therefore holding office for life was
not a a great sacrifice – get paid and receive the best cuts of meat at
festivals
- any priesthood under democracy was also democratic – perhaps chosen by
lot
- priestesses are paid, with extra money coming in from animal hides – sell to
leather workers – “payment to the priestess shall be 50 drachmas and the
legs and hides from public (sacrifices)”
Political History and Athenian Empire
- 454/453 B.C. – treasury of the Delian League is moved from Delos to Athens
- treasury was moved mainly for protection
- signifies beginning of the Athenian empire
- recordings of tribute on stone – 1/60 of the tribute given was a religious tithe
– religious tithe was recorded because it was for the gods and therefore had
to be accurate
- historical record of tribute - take recorded number and sixty times that is the
total amount of tribute
- tribute as an example of something not recorded by Thucydides in his history
- tribute was important for Athenian expansion
- Greek numbers were like the Roman numerals – example of the Lindioi
tribute recorded
- Lindioi – people of Lindos, a city of Rhodes
- fluctuations in tribute can be seen over various years – can see the members
of tribute-paying people
454/3 B.C. – 137 members
453/2 B.C. – 144 members
452/1 B.C. – 143 members
451/0 B.C. – 152 members
450/449 B.C. – 163 members
449/8 B.C. – no tribute
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Document Summary

Inscriptions and greek history famous example of the rosetta stone, dated 196 b. c. Decree establishing the cult of ptolemy v importance of the rosetta stone trilingual text of egyptian hieroglyphic, Egyptian demotic, and ancient greek example of the dreros law code, from the second half of the 7th century b. c. Types of greek inscriptions private public tombstones religious dedications laws and decrees religious calendars: alliances, public work schedules, expenditure accounts inventories commemorative documents lists of office-holders. Magistrates example of memorial for peisistratos not the peisistratos , but his grandson. Kalliades, peisistratos chronology appears to be accurate miltiades was archon in 524/523 b. c. Letter forms idea postulated that it was possible to figure out when inscriptions were inscribed based on the letter form between 425 b. c. and the end of the 3rd century b. c. to the mid-2nd century. Athenian life example of the athenian casualty list, dated 459 b. c.

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