Bryn Mawr Classical Review 03.06.11


William T. Loomis, The Spartan War Fund: IG V 1, 1 and a New Fragment. Historia Einzelschriften 74. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1992. Pp. 83; 17 plates. ISBN 3-515-06147-9.


Reviewed by Mabel L. Lang, Bryn Mawr College.

A translation of the text of IG V.1 (with its new fragment) whets the appetite for the following detailed study of the old fragment's modern history (from 1730), the physical description of both fragments, and the circumstances of their separation and coming together. Plates 1-3 illustrate 18th century copies of the old fragment made by Fourmont and his nephew; Plates 4-5 show its location after it was trimmed and decorated with a cross to form part of the lintel of Hagios Basileios; Plates 6-7 reproduce copies made in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of the truncated fragment in situ. Present-day photographs of the two fragments as well as of squeezes singly and jointly make up Plates 8-14 with a reconstruction of the stele on Plate 15, and an unrelated fragment on Plate 16. The fold-out Plate 17 presents the text in a convenient form to be used with the following discussion.

In "Epigraphical Commentary" (III) the description of format, spacing, and letter-traces is sufficiently complete so that an armchair epigraphist can learn whether any restoration he might devise would possibly fit. Only slightly misleading is note 36 on page 29 which explains the use of a letter in quotation marks with the example of "a letter which is interpreted as epsilon but whose letter traces also might be compatible with alpha, beta, gamma, delta...." through the whole alphabet. Establishing the text is complicated by the fact that while the two fragments in their present state provide partially legible eleven complete lines on the front (supplemented by the early copies of the old fragment) and three on the side, for the remaining 14 lines on both faces there are only Fourmont's copy of the unmutilated old fragment and occasional letters on the new fragment. The letter-by-letter discussion of all traces, both those legible on stones and/or squeezes and those recorded in copies, forms the basis both of the text on Plate 17, with its special use of epigraphical conventions to indicate the nature of the evidence, and of the "Editorial Assumptions" (IV). The first assumption, based on Fourmont's copy which shows lines of different lengths and uses dots for missing letters only at the ends of four lines, is that restorations should be made at line-beginnings except in those four cases. As far as line-beginnings are concerned, the assumption is that it is possible to estimate the number of letter-spaces on the lower part of the new fragment.

In "Textual Commentary" (V) the line-by-line discussion takes up questions of formulas (who gave what to whom for what), spelling, letter forms, syntax, etc. Where restorations are in question, earlier suggestions are noted; also included are solutions put forward in the other new edition of the newly augmented inscription by the discoverers of the new fragment (A.P. Matthaiou and G.A. Pikoulas, "*E)/DON TOI=S *LAKEDAIMONI/OIS POTTO\N PO/LEMON," Horos 7, 1989 [1991] pp. 77-124. Loomis' text, generally speaking, is the more conservative but it certainly provides, at the same time, all of the material evidence on which more speculative interpretations might be based.

"Date of the Inscription" (VI) reviews earlier dating (ranging from 479-477 to 386 B.C.) and the evidence invoked (letter forms, history, prosopography, economy). Reviewing the only other Laconian inscriptions dated to 450-375 on grounds other than letter-form, L. finds the nearest parallel to IG V 1, 1's letter forms and layout in the Damonon stele (IG V 1, 213) which he would date soon after 431 B.C. He prefers, however, to use historical considerations (e.g., when the Lacedaemonians were at war, who would have contributed under what circumstances, when the currencies involved were most current). By a close examination of these along with the determination that the term hoi pheugontes (as in line 10, of the Chians) was used by historians and inscriptions alike of those exiled by their fellow countrymen and not of whole populations which were expelled, L. finds most likely a date early in the Archidamian War.

In "Economic Significance of the Inscription" (VII) the preserved monetary contributions are converted to the Attic standard for comparison with the fragmentary Athenian tribute list of 428/7. The resultant figures fall in the middle range of the preserved payments to Athens, but differences to a large extent nullify comparison; unlike payments to Athens, some contributions here are in kind, currencies are various, and individuals as well as states contribute. (It seems to be assumed that this inscription belonged to one year and that there were other lists for other years, otherwise another, very serious difference from Attic tribute would be the "occasional" nature of the contributions.) Speculation about how far the recorded gifts would go in supporting the Spartan war effort includes consideration of the less cash-intensive Spartan economy and habits of warfare.

"Conclusions" sums up the increased usefulness of the augmented inscription not only for the information it supplies but also for the light it can be made to shed on the development of the Laconian alphabet, on the very specific meaning of "exiles", on prosopography, and on what various peoples' gifts to Sparta indicate about Athenian foreign relations. L.'s final suggestion is that the inscription represents the results of "an ad hoc canvass, lacking the formality, the precision and the bulk of the Athenian tribute, and embracing contributions in kind as well as cash, in different currencies and from individuals as well as states." Thus the Spartans could take advantage of what must have been fairly widespread anti-Athenian sentiment and eagerness to see the Spartan cause victorious.

This is a very useful treatise, a model of its kind. It deserves a more knowledgeably critical review, but who except the authors of the rather less accessible edition in Horos is properly prepared?