Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1998.11.14

György Németh, Hekatompedon. Studies in Greek Epigraphy. Debrecen: Hungarian Polis Studies vol. 1, 1997.   Pp. 85, 4 pls.  ISBN 963-472-221-0.  

Reviewed by Angelos Chaniotis
Word count: 1190 words

The first volume of a new Hungarian series dedicated to classical studies assembles ten epigraphical articles of G. N(émeth) written between 1987 and 1997 (in German, English, and French). One article is published here for the first time; nine previously published articles are reprinted almost unchanged (with no reference to the respective lemmata in the SEG, cf. below). Since half of these studies have appeared in Hungarian periodicals which are not easily accessible, their collection in one volume is certainly useful, particularly since they address, among other subjects, two important early Attic inscriptions (the 'Hekatompedon inscription' and the treaty of alliance between Athens and Segesta).

The volume owes its title to one of the most interesting early Attic inscriptions, the so-called 'Hekatompedon inscription' (IG I3 4 = LSCG 3; see also two recent editions not consulted by N.: R. Koerner, Inschriftliche Gesetzestexte der frühen griechischen Polis, Cologne-Weimar-Vienna 1993, nos 4-5; H. van Effenterre and F. Ruzé, Nomima. Recueil d'inscriptions politiques et juridiques de l'archaïsme grec. I, Paris 1994, no. 96). The two texts on this stone concern themselves with the protection of the temples and the treasuries on the Akropolis and the duties of the tamiai. Five of N.'s studies are devoted directly or indirectly to this inscription. The most important article in the entire volume -- and one of a more general interest -- discusses "Regulations concerning everyday life in a Greek temenos" (21-30 = R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek Cult Practice from the Epigraphical Evidence. Proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult, Organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, 22-24 November 1991, Stockholm 1994, 59-64). The starting point is the 'Hekatompedon inscription', which contains a series of regulations safeguarding order on the Akropolis: a prohibition against the construction of a storeroom for the preparation of ordinary meals for the cult personnel; a regulation concerning the areas where it was permitted for fires to be kindled; a regulation concerning the storeroom of the priestess and the zakoroi; regulations concerning the setting up of tents for ritual meals and the accomodation of worshippers; a prohibition against the disposal of onthos (waste from cleaning the intestines of sacrificial animals, and not dung from grazing animals) in the sanctuary. These regulations are discussed in light of parallels which N. adduces from many other leges sacrae.

A German translation of the 'Hekatompedon inscription' is given in the first article of the volume (7-14 = JDAI 108, 1993, 76-81), where N. discusses the very difficult problem of the inscription's date. The text is generally dated to 485/84, during the archonship of Philokrates, whose name is restored on the fragmented inscription (A 15, B 27). N. rightly points out how uncertain this restoration is, given the fragmented state of the stone and the gaps in the Athenian archon list. His tentative suggestion to date the inscription to ca. 500-490 (probably 499/98 or 498/97) is, however, equally uncertain; R. Stroud has pointed out (SEG XLIII 1) that the inscriptions adduced by N. as parallels for the palaeography of the 'Hekatompedon inscription' are not securely dated; the date of the insriptions should best be left open (cf. now M. Lipka, ZPE 122, 1998, 79). Several new readings, based on autopsy, are given in another article (15-20 = ZPE 101, 1994, 215-218; cf. now SEG XLIV 1). A brief note, published here for the first time (41-42), offers conclusive evidence for N.'s assumption that a strange form of the theta (consisting of three concentric cycles) is not yet another variant of the letter (as assumed by P. Butz), but a mistake of the stonecutter, who formed the central dot of the theta exactly as the separating sign he used in this inscription (cf. pp. 7-8, 19). The form of the theta on the 'Hekatompedon inscription' is the starting point also for a useful and well documented study of the history of this letter (31-40 = Acta Classica Universitatis Debreceniensis 28, 1992, 17-24; cf. SEG XLII 1734); N. suggests that the use of the tornos in sculpture may have influenced the dotted form of the letter; a peculiar form of the theta, consisting of two concentric cycles, attested in early 5th century Athens, may originate in the Cretan alphabet.

The rest of the studies are not related to the 'Hekatompedon inscription'. The date of a treaty of alliance between Athens and Egesta (IG I3 11 = Staatsverträge 139) has been a matter of controversy for decades. The date depends on the restoration of the name of the Athenian archon on L. 3, the proposed dates ranging from 462/61 to 418/17. In a stimulating article (47-54 = Acta Classica Universitatis Debreceniensis 27, 1991, 9-14; cf. SEG XLII 4), N. demonstrates how preconceived ideas about the historical context of this alliance have determined what epigraphers were willing to read on the stone. N. accepts the reading and the date recently proposed by M.H. Chambers, R. Gallucci and P. Spanos (ZPE 83, 1990, 38-63; cf. SEG XXXIX 1) on the basis of enhanced computerized photographs (archonship of Antiphon, 418/17). He is, however, perhaps too optimistic in saying that "die Datierungsfrage ist heute schon gelöst" (p. 50). The date proposed by Chambers et all. has not remained unchallanged (see the bibliography in SEG XLII 4; for further bibliography see also SEG XXXIX 1 and XL 2).

In the remaining articles N. corrects the readings of two ostraka and one graffito from Athens, now in the collection of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Heidelberg (43-46 = ZPE 100, 1994, 383-384; cf. now SEG XLIV 26 and 31); he provides a list of minor corrections in the readings of the Athenian decree regulating the klerouchs on Salamis (IG I3 1, late 6th cent. B.C.) and a very useful list of the inventory numbers of thirty early Attic inscriptions (55-64 = Acta Archaeologica Hung. 39, 1987, 99-103; cf. SEG XXXVII 1); he shows that the size of the Athenian cavalry at the battle of Korinth (394 B.C.) as given by Xenophon (Hell. IV 2.16-3.1) is exaggerated (not 600, but ca. 200 horsemen) and suggests that the Athenian cavalry in the early 4th cent., after the fall of the Athenian oligarchy, was weaker than during the Peloponnesian War (65-74 = ZPE 104, 1994, 95-102; cf. SEG XLIV 180); and he presents the editio princeps of a 4th century Attic stele of unknown provenance, now in the Archaeological Museum of Barcelona (75-82 = Acta Classica Universitatis Debreceniensis 32, 1996). The original inscription was erased in antiquity, when the stele was reused for the grave of Philomousos, son of Theophilos, and Ioukounda, daughter of Philomousos; the later inscription dates to the imperial period (probably late 2nd cent. A.D.). According to N.'s plausible suggestion, the stele was transported during the imperial period to South Italy, Spain, or Gaul (cf. the Attic stones found in the shipwrack of Mahdia). The volume includes two unpublished letters of the late D.M. Lewis (62-63), an epigraphic index, and very good photographs of IG I3 4A, the ostraka in Heidelberg, and the Greek inscription from Barcelona.

To sum up: This is a very useful volume by an industrious and competent epigrapher.

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