Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.03.31

Biagio Virgilio (ed.), Studi Ellenistici XV.   Pisa:  Giardini editori e stampatori, 2003.  Pp. 383.  ISBN 88-427-1421-6.  

Contributors: Philippe Gauthier, Giuseppe Ragone, Pierre Debord, Daniele Foraboschi, Carlo Franco, Lucio Troiani, Paolo Desideri, Domitilla Campanile, Carlo Slavich, Nicolau Cau, Maria Grazia Lancellotti, Margherita Facella

Reviewed by Andreas Victor Walser, University of Zurich (
Word count: 3416 words

The fifteenth volume of the series "Studi ellenistici" embodies twelve papers on "Hellenism", two written in French, the others in Italian. The term "Hellenism" is applied to more than just the epoch from Alexander the Great to Actium: according to the explanation given by the editor B. Virgilo,1 the term serves as a label for the various phenomena resulting from the contact between Greeks and Non-Greeks in antiquity. In line with this broad definition the volume contains not only papers about the Hellenistic time, but also studies on subjects like Greek colonization in Italy during the Archaic period, Roman rule in the East in Imperial times as well as texts about prominent exponents of the Second Sophistic. An extraordinary variety of methodical approaches goes together with this chronological and thematic broadness: along with works whose aim is to give, in few pages, an overview about a wide range of issues -- for example Troiani on the "Hellenistic model" or Desideri on the relationship between Greek and Roman culture -- there are also extensive philological, onomastic, epigraphic and archaeological analyses of specific historical problems.

Philippe G(authier) (9-23) takes two recently published inscriptions as an opportunity to discuss problems of Attalid ruler-cult. A new inscription dossier from Kyme makes it clear that already towards 270 BC, when according to G. the decrees were inscribed, 'Soteria and Philetairia' were celebrated regularly and that a temenos dedicated to the dynast existed.2 Based on a new inscription from Pergamon dated to the years 125 to 120 BC, M. Wörrle recently demonstrated incontestably that the eponym prytanis and hiereus in Pergamon was the priest of Philetairos Euergetes rather than of Asklepios (or something similar).3 G. detects the first reference to this eponym priest in an inscription dated to the reign of Eumenes I (263-241 BC). The predominant opinion that the Attalid ruler-cult was neither in shape nor in character fundamentally different from that of the great Hellenistic monarchies of Macedonian origin except that it was established much later, namely not until 188, is revised by G. in the light of this new evidence and substituted with a more differentiated view of the Attalid ruler-cult in its earliest stage: in the Greek motherland Philetairos is sporadically active as a benefactor but does not strive for extraordinary honours exceeding the level adequate for a citizen of some position. In this environment he is obviously avoiding competition with the Macedonian monarchies. In his narrower sphere of interest and influence in north-western Asia Minor Philetairos seeks a completely different position; here he gets involved both intensively and permanently from 281 -- apparently with success: As the defender of the Greek polis, particularly against the Galatians, Philetairos receives cultic honours during his lifetime at least in the Gymnasion of Kyzikos, in Kyme and maybe also in Pergamon.

The starting point for Giuseppe R(agone's) long study (25-113) are verses 236-253 of the "Iambi to Nikomedes" written by an anonymous author, once wrongly ascribed to Skymnos of Chios. The first section is devoted to a discussion of the text, which is certainly corrupt in the form found in the manuscript. The currently authoritative text, as in D. Marcotte's Budé-editon (2000) is based mainly on Müller's reconstruction in his Geographi Graeci Minores (1855), who attempted to re-establish the correct geographical order with considerable changes in the text of the manuscript.4 Above all in view of Strabo 5,4,4 scholars have asserted repeatedly that Ps.-Skymnos -- or at least his supposed source Ephoros -- is likely to have presumed a syngeneia between the Italian Cuma and the Aiolian Kyme, even though there is no proof for this in the text as reconstructed by Müller or Marcotte. R. calls this an "exceptional case of bibliographical amnesia", because in the text of the only medieval manuscript actually handed down to us, the Italian Cuma is, contrary to the modern editions by Müller and Marcotte, in fact called a colony of the Anatolian Kyme. Therefore R. suggests a more conservative reconstruction of the text which keeps up this connection. This is convincing and renders earlier speculations about a "possible" connection between Cuma and Kyme obsolete.

In the next section R. investigates the ideological foundations of the connection between Cuma and the Aiolian Kyme. In R.'s opinion the anonymous author avoided the common version of an Euboian-Chalkidian colonization and preferred a rare variant that is probably based on a local tradition of Cuma rather than on Ephoros. R. sees another reference to the relationship between Cuma and Kyme in a passage of Augustine's de civitate dei (3,11), and he tries to make use of this insight for the discussion of certain problems related to the war against Aristonikos. A lot in this section remains highly speculative: the individual arguments are not absolutely cogent, nor do the different hypotheses convey a clear picture. As far as the war against Aristonikos is concerned, the discussion adds hardly anything to our knowledge.5

The concluding section is devoted to the author and his "cultural environment". R. remains critical of Marcotte's thesis that the author is Apollodoros. He agrees, however, with the opinion first expressed by E. Gabba that the anonymous author is highly critical, if not disapproving, of Rome. While Carthage is offered an eminent position in the work, Rome seems to be depicted only with reluctance, the syngeneia between Rome and Troy is not mentioned at all and in consequence a Greek origin of Rome completely negated. In general, R. presents important results in his paper, particularly in the first part. However, there are also long discussions that do not add substantially to our knowledge of the subject. The whole analysis would have gained in clearness if the author had tightened his study, left out ballast and heeded A.N. Sherwin-White's counsel to do without accounts "which usurp the function of the bibliographical reviews ... and add more to the expenses rather than the profit of the reader".6

Pierre D(ebord) analyzes the political organization of Karia in late-Classic and mainly Hellenistic times (115-180). As he explains, the subject is complex and cannot be captured in the simple opposition of "Greek coastal-poleis" and "indigenous inland-villages", which can be found in some ancient sources as well as in some modern contributions. D. first treats the "koinon of the Karians" attested by Herodotos, about whose early development, presumably under Persian influence, we know hardly anything. The koinon is manifest in the 4th cent. BC inscription I. Mylasa 1, where envoys ἀποσταλεὶς ὑπὸ Καρῶν are mentioned. D. interprets the two listings from Sekköy as accounts of envoys from the Karian koinon (HTC 90f.). From the historian's point of view, the formulation παρῆσαν ἀπὸ πόλεων is particularly striking; it shows that all the communities mentioned in the inscriptions were officially regarded as poleis, though the names show that the population was mainly indigenous. The different numbers of delegates with which the communities are represented in the inscription leads D. to the conclusion that there was a hierarchy among the members of the koinon taking into account the predominant political weight of some communities, like Kaunos or Pladasa. The same inscriptions provide a hint to the geographical extension of the koinon. It comprised communities to the north of the gulf of Keramos and in addition Kaunos in the south-east.

The "Ethnos" of the Chrysaoreis dealt with in the following section does not appear to have immediately replaced the koinon of the Karians, because both organisations coexisted at least for a short period. D. sees the origin of the Ethnos in an only dimly visible religious-political organization, the 'ligue idrienne', which existed already in the 5th century in central-northern Karia. In Hellenistic times the name of this earlier 'ligue idrienne' was changed in order to avoid any association with the Hekatomnides. According to Strabon, the federation of the Chrysaoreis consisted of komai, but this is contradicted by the epigraphic evidence, where the members of the league are designated poleis.7 Strabon further states that some members held more than one vote because they represented several villages. Little can be said about the functionality of the Ethnos, which seems to have been primarily a religious association: We know of a federal treasury, a synhedrion, where delegates were sent "to sacrifice and to consult". Furthermore, a kind of federal citizenship seems to have existed. Its concrete arrangement, however, remains unclear. Both the Seleucids and the Ptolemies supported the federation, the latter may even have initiated its (re-)foundation.8 After 188 the league persisted, and the last reference to it can be found in the senatus consultum de Lagina from Sulla's time. The members of the federation were communities of central North-Karia, while the eastern parts of Karia were apparently never incorporated.9

The third part of the study does not deal with another great federal organization but with the koina 'de base'. To start with, D. gives an inventory of the 24 known koina, most of which are situated in the so-called "hautes terres de Carie".10 This inventory serves as the basis for the concluding general observations: the oldest documents dealing with koina go back to the Antigonid or even Ptolemaic period in the third century; the majority date to the 2nd century and lie in the context of a more or less formalized Rhodian rule from 197. Rhodos seems to have supported the 'koinon' as a form of political organization, partially as a substitute for the polis. The extent of the koina is highly unequal; the koinon of the Pisyetai-Pladasseis and above all that of the Tarmianoi surpasses the others by far. The koina themselves can again be divided into sub-entities variably designated ktoina, kome, phyle or chorion.11 Also, many different magistracies are accounted for in the different communities, and besides "village officers" in the proper sense, like demarchai, komarch or brabeutai,12 there are magistrates as known from poleis, like tamiai, agoranomoi or Gymnasiarchai.

On the whole, the great heterogeneity of the political units designated koina is striking. D. subsumes them under three categories: 1) village communities, sometimes with a developed internal organization; 2) groups of koina (Tarmianoi, Pisyetai etc.); 3) the great regional federations. It follows from this ambiguity of the term koinon that there is neither a simple opposition between koinon and polis, nor that the koinon can be equated with an "association of villages" or be placed on the same level as the polis. Rhodos apparently played an important role: it disturbed the evolution of the communities of in the "subject Peraia" and deliberately impeded their advancement to polis-status. Only after the end of the Rhodian hegemony could the "normal" development towards the formation of new poleis reappear. D. stresses himself that the complex question about what a koinon really is can not be answered definitively at present. Nevertheless, with his analysis of "the usage of the word 'koinon'" -- thus the understatement of the title -- D. presents an excellent study on the political organisation of Karia in the hellenistic age. It will have to serve as the basis for every future research on this region. Moreover, it will provide a valuable point of reference for studies on other regions of Asia Minor.

Aspects of Ptolemaic rule in Kilikia are examined by Daniele F(oraboschi) (181-190). In the centre of his paper is the inscription-dossier on the refounding of the city of Arsinoe, first published in 1989 and since then frequently discussed.13 This dossier contains a letter from the Ptolemaic strategos Thraseas to the polis Arsinoe and a decree of the neighbouring polis Nagidos originally attached to this letter. With the decree the city fulfils the orders of the governor. F. discusses selected problems of this dossier and reflects additionally on urbanization and the prosopography. F.'s analyses leave out points that are essential for the interpretation: he does not mention at all that Arsinoe was lost in the 2nd Syrian War to the Seleucids shortly after its foundation between 278 and 253 and presumably ceased to exist and/or was reabsorbed into Nagidos, although these antecedents are certainly crucial for the conflict after the reinstitution of Ptolemaic rule in 246/45, in which Thraseas intervened on the side of Arsinoe after 238. Additionally, F. has overlooked that his suggested translation of ἐπινέμω in l. 23f. as "pascolare" is to be found already with the first editors and was considered but rightly rejected by Jones. Therefore, the observations on a supposed opposition between nomadic barbarians and urbanized Greeks lack any basis. As far as the prosopography is concerned, F. has nothing to add to the studies of Habicht and Sosin.14

In his study (191-213), Carlo F(ranco) discusses the remarkable story (treated repeatedly in recent times) about the assassination of a Roman officer by young men from Chaironeia at the beginning of Plutarch's Life of Kimon (1-2,2). The city counsellors sentenced the assassins to death, whereupon the conspirators around the leader Damon slew them and fled from the city. Lucullus himself investigated these incidents in Chaironeia and concluded that the city was in no way to blame for the Roman's death "but rather had itself suffered wrong too (συνηδικημένη)".15 After considerable time, the city called the conspirators back to the city, and Damon was even made gymnasiarch, but soon slain by citizens. In analogy to Thukydides' revision of the tyrannicide in Athens, F. warns against overestimating the political dimension of the episode. In the assassination of the officer he sees the (legitimate) reaction to the Roman's undue erotic demands and in consequence a personal rather than political motivation, as well as in the final vengeance on Damon. If the attack on the officer had in fact been the result of an "anti-Roman revolt", it would be inexplicable why Lucullus acquitted the city of every responsibility and even had the troops removed. A balanced analysis and in general coherent argumentation leads F. to convincing conclusions.

Lucio T(roiani) offers some thoughts on the "Hellenistic model" (215-227). Greek paideia was in antiquity not the sole but a particularly successful cultural model. The strength of Greek culture was, according to T., less its creativity than its ability to appropriate achievements of neighbouring cultures. In Hellenistic times at the latest, the internationalization and mobilization of knowledge become the foundation of Greek paideia. "Greek" is more and more conceived as a mentality not a "national trait". However, receptiveness of Greek culture had its limits, which T. exemplifies by means of the Greek (un-)awareness of Jewish culture and religion. Non-Greek cultures of the Mediterranean area met Greek paideia with great acceptance, but nonetheless saw in the internationalization connected with it also a menace to their own identities and there were occasional attempts to repel these foreign influences, for example in Rome or Palaistina.

The same phenomena are analyzed by Paolo D(esideri) from a somewhat different perspective in his study of the relationship between Greek and Roman culture (229-243). On the one hand, D. observes the Roman acculturation of Greek paideia, whereby some mediators played an important role, most importantly Cicero, who acknowledges the cultural superiority of the Greeks without neglecting the strengths of specific Roman virtues. The Greeks, on the other hand, have to accept, nolens volens, the political superiority of Rome. Here too, mediators who further the understanding of the other culture can be found, like Polybios, Dionysios of Halikarnassos or Plutarch. Remarkable is the attempt, particularly undertaken by Dionysios, to hellenize the Romans in their origins. Thus they lose the status of barbarians, which makes it possible for the Greeks to identify with the Roman state and serve in it. D. presents a competent, but not very original overview of the subject.

Domitilla C(ampanile) deals with selected problems of the biography of the sophist Hadrianos of Tyros and aspects of the narrative technique of the author Philostratos (245-273). The biographical aspects she concentrates on are the sophist's relationship to Cn. Claudius Severus, for whom Hadrianos erected a statue with an inscription, and the question of Hadrianos' Roman citizenship. C. does not share the opinion, widely held since Groag, that Hadrianos received his civitas from Severus, but takes the view -- not new either -- that he was a Roman citizen by birth. She regards his Latin name as evidence for this.16 Subsequently C. demonstrates how thoroughly Philostratos adapted his characterization of Hadrianos to that of Polemon. With the representation of his death shortly after his appointment to the office of ab epistulis Graecis as a καλὸν ἐντάφιον, Philostratos definitely stylizes Hadrianos as the "perfect sophist", as analyzed in detail by C.

Carlo S(lavich) provides a careful analysis of the aristocratic families of Lykia in Roman times (275-295). Many particularities of this aristocracy result from the exceptionally dense political organization of the Lykian communities already in pre-Roman times within the Lykian League. It is remarkable, though not surprising, that families like the Claudii Telemachi/Stasithemides, the Claudii from Patara or the Iulii from Lydai, whose members ascended increasingly to the senatorial order from the end of the first century, had previously often held the most important federal offices in the Lykian League. These families thus had constituted themselves already as a local aristocracy and knew how to consolidate their eminent position through a consistent marriage-policy. S. is also able to show multi-layered kinship-relationships among the dominant families in his commentary on an honorary decree (previously published only provisionally and without any commentary) from Patara.17 To clear a number of complex questions and problems -- like the system of honours in the Lykian League, which S. can discuss only to some extent -- there is need for further studies. Likewise, extended comparisons with other "regional aristocracies" in the Roman empire will have to pinpoint the peculiarities of that in Lykia.

Nicola C(au) offers a collection of the indigenous personal names in the Greek inscriptions from Lykia (297-340), which have become known since L. Zgusta's studies about the 'Kleinasiatische Personennamen' (Prague 1964, 1970). In the first part N. lists all indigenous names in geographical order according to where the inscriptions were found, if possible with ethnikon and patronymikon. Moreover, C. gives the gender for every name, the number of the paragraph in Zgusta's work for names already known, the bibliographical reference and the date of the inscription.18 In the second part N. offers brief linguistic remarks on selected names in alphabetical order, especially on those so far unknown, and indicates, where possible, the corresponding Lykian form of the respective name. The collection is rounded off with a reverse index of names. With this "Supplementum" to Zgusta's "Kleinasiatische Personennamen" C. does important groundwork for Lykian linguistics and creates a tool that will be used with great benefit by anyone editing new inscriptions from Lykia.

The aim of Maria Grazia L(ancellotti's) work (341-370) is the reinterpretation of the archaeological finds from the village of Kharayeb in Lebanon. The site was excavated in the 1940s and 1960s but has since then aroused only little interest even among specialists. The extremely numerous finds have been divided into two main groups by the excavators, an older belonging in the 4th and 3rd cent. BC and a younger containing finds dating from the end of the 4th cent. BC to the first cent. AD. From the first group they deduced a fertility cult (motherhood-cult) with strong agrarian bonds which was deeply influenced by Egyptian Religion (Isis). From the second group they concluded that the cult had been hellenized, which led to the establishment of a mystic Demeter cult, or even an "Eleusinic mystery cult". L. rightly rejects this "mystery-cult-theory". According to her interpretation, all the finds from the earliest to the latest times point to a fertility cult, in which children seem to have played a special and important role.

The volume ends with an extensive review of the book by J. Wagner (ed.), Gottkönige am Euphrat. Neue Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in Kommagene, Mainz 2000 written by Margherita Facella (373-382).

On the whole, the book conveys a very disparate impression. The thematic and methodical range covered by contributions like those by Ragone, Desideri, Cau and Lancelotti exceeds by far what is usual for most classical journals. Without pleading for an exaggerated specialisation, the question arises whether a certain narrowing of the subject might not have proved useful. It should also have become clear that the quality of the contributions is highly uneven. While some studies offer relevant and original results, others hardly go beyond the present state of research or even fall behind it. All the more it is to hope that the important contributions will find their respective readership and find their way into scholarly debate.


1.   B. Virgilio (ed.), Studi ellenistici II, Pisa 1987, 9f.
2.   Ed. pr. G. Manganaro, Chiron 30, 2000, 403-414. Manganaro's short commentary leaves many questions unanswered. On the dating cf. already Gauthier, BE 2001, 373. Manganaro suggested a somewhat earlier dating to the years 280 to 278.
3.   M. Wörrle, Chiron 30, 2000, 543-76.
4.   The planned new edition of the text by R. Rollinger and M. Korenjak mentioned by R. p. 27 n. 4 has meanwhile been published by Korenjak alone. (M. Korenjak, Ps.-Skymnos. Die Welt-Rundreise eines anonymen Autors. Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung und Kommentar [Bibliotheca Weidmanniana 8], Hildesheim 2003). In the relevant verses Korenjak's version does not differ from Marcotte's text and Korenjak notes in the commentary that Ps.-Skymnos deviates in this passage from the common Strabonic tradition of a colonization of Cuma by Kyme.
5.   On the war against Aristonikos see now the two new honorary decrees for a citizen of Metropolis who fell in battle, with the detailed commentary by B. Dreyer (B. Dreyer and H. Engelmann, Die Inschriften von Metropolis I [IGSK 63, 1], Bonn 2003).
6.   A. N. Sherwin-White, The Roman Citizenship, 2nd ed. Oxford 1973, p. vi. The verses Ps.-Skymnos 236-253 are printed five times with different readings, along with a facsimile of the manuscript. Marcotte and Müller's commentaries ad loc. are both reproduced completely, each on a full page in French and Latin respectively. In the n. 41 p. 48 R. gives (without any commentary) a long list of new studies on Kyme, whereby works on protogeometric ceramic can be found as well as papers on Byzantine castles (analogue e.g. n. 81 p. 63 to Pithekoussai). A commented selection of the actually relevant literature would be much more useful.
7.   This was already pointed out by Chr. Schuler, Ländliche Siedlungen und Gemeinden im hellenistischen und römischen Kleinasien (Vestigia 50), München 1998, 209.
8.   A decree of the Chrysaoreis from Lagina, published by M. C. Sahin, EA 35, 2003, 1-7, appeared after the completion of D.'s study so that he could only direct attention to it in a short addendum. The new document is highly fragmentary and its interpretation therefore difficult.
9.   As a parallel D. refers on p. 137 to the Lykian League, for which "l'origine ptolémaique est assez largement admise". But this is explicitly rejected by recent studies about the Lykian League as is the view later on p. 143 n. 154 that the Lykian League existed already in the Classical period. Cf. e.g. M. Domingo Gygax, Untersuchungen zu den lykischen Gemeinwesen in klassischer und hellenistischer Zeit (Anitquitas 1, 49), Bonn 2001, 81ff.; R. Behrwald, Der lykische Bund. Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und Verfassung (Antiquitas 1, 48), Bonn 2000, 45f. and passim.
10.   This inventory is based to a large extent on the inscriptions published recently in P. Debord and E. Varinlioglu (edd.), Les hautes terres de Carie, Mémoirés 4, Bordeaux 2001 (= HTC), by which the number of known koina was considerably increased. Cf. my review in this journal.
11.   It remains questionable though whether the different terms designate otherwise equal 'subdivisions' of koina and are therefore interchangeable. In any case, e.g. a phyle of Olymos is hardly comparable to a chorion in the territory of the Magoreis. On the chorion in general cf. Schuler (op.cit. n. 7), 49-53.
12.   On the brabeutai, cf. most recently H. Müller and M. Wörrle, Chiron 32, 2002, 213f. (with the earlier literature).
13.  Ed. pr I. Opelt and E. Kirsten, ZPE 77, 1989, 55-66. An improved edition based on a squeeze and taking into account the different reading suggestions of Gauthier, Habicht and Jones, et al. was recently published by G. Petzl, ZPE 139, 2002 83-88. F. misses out several important contributions, like e.g. Ph. Gauthier, BE 1990, 304 (p.487-489); id. RPh 64, 1990, 67-70; A. Chaniotis, EA 21, 1993, 31-42; C. P. Jones and J. Russell, Phoenix 47, 1993, 293-304; J. Ma, Antiochos III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor, Oxford 1999, 40f.; 49.
14.   C. P. Jones and Ch. Habicht, Phoenix 43, 1989, 317-346; J. Sosin, ZPE 116, 1997, 141-146.
15.   In F.'s opinion, συνηδικημένη presumably must apply to Chaironeia and Damon, who suffered injustice from the Roman officer, and not to Rome and Chaironeia. However, in my opinion Plutarch makes it quite clear in his account that Rome was wronged by the assassination: Not only does the city council judge it as murder, but also Orchomenos' later attempt to accuse Chaironeia before the Roman authorities presupposes that the murder -- whoever is responsible for it -- was an unjust crime.
16.   This argument is not cogent because even new-citizens could have a Latin cognomen. Cf. O. Salomies, Römische Amtsträger und Römisches Bürgerrecht in der Kaiserzeit. Die Aussagekraft der Onomastik, in: W. Eck (ed.), Prosopographie und Sozialgeschichte. Studien zur Methodik und Erkenntnismöglichkeit der kaiserzeitlichen Prosopographie, Köln/Wien/Weimar 1993, 141 with n. 64.
17.   Ed. pr Chr. Marek, AST XI, 1993, No. 5 (SEG 44, 1994, 1211; AE 1994, 1730).
18.   N. naturally has to trust the editions of these texts and therefore a warning is appropriate, as the following example may demonstrate. For Çardakli N. records three previously unknown names Πλετηνορας, Πλετηνος and Σωτανης, which are taken from an inscription published by A. V. Schweyer. (Les Lyciens et la mort. Une étude d'histoire sociale, Paris 2002, 235 n. 28). This edition is based solely on the "Wiener Scheden" and not on a reading from the stone or the squeeze. A recent new-edition of this inscription after a reading of the squeeze (Chr. Schuler, in: Lykische Studien 6, Bonn 2003, No. 3) proves Schweyer's text to be unusable and shows that the three "new" names from Çardakli are "Ghost Names" resulting only from the false readings. (for Πλετηνορας read Ἀλεξήνωρ; for Πλετηνος read Ἀλέξανδρος respectively Ἀλεξήνωρ; for Σωτανης read Σωτάδης).

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