New Edition of the Athenian Tribute Lists

Bjorn Paarmann, Editing and commenting on the Athenian Tribute Lists in 2007.
Saturday 5th May 2007, BES Spring Meeting, Edinburgh.

Paarmann spoke about his doctoral dissertation project at Fribourg (due to be awarded Summer 2007) which was to collect, edit, and comment on the (so-called) Athenian Tribute Lists. In this paper he (1) gave a general background to the history and study of these inscriptions; (2) explained the history of the inadequate publication of the texts; (3) listed the features in his work which would improve on existing editions, in particular ATL and IG I3.

The inscriptions known as the Athenian Tribute Lists (he summarized) are in fact mostly the accounts of the 1/60th part of the tribute from the Delian League states from the time the treasury was moved the Athens in 454. This quota was dedicated to the goddess Athena of the Parthenon, hence making the mismanagement, withholding, or theft of these moneys a sacrilegious and capital offense. There must also have been (and some fragments attest to) Tribute Assessment Lists, four-yearly accounts calculating the amount to be paid by various states, and the Treasury Lists themselves showing the full amounts paid, but the substantial texts normally collected under this rubric are the Tribute Quota Lists showing the amount donated to Athena from each city’s contribution. Texts exist from the 450s through to the 430s, after which the evidence is very fragmentary and often undatable.

The Tribute Lists were first published in the form of a few fragments found on the Acropolis by Chandler in his 1765 Inscriptiones Antiquae, and then more fully, together with fragments from the American excavations of the Agora by Pittakis in 1835 (Ancienne Athènes). Several other editions gradually improved the understanding of the texts, including the difficult relationship between (and mathematical ratio of) the Quota and the Assessment figures, until the current standard text was established by Meritt and collaborators between the 1920s and 1970s. Meritt et al.‘s ATL text was widely criticized for over-confident and unsupported (even unsupportable) restorations, both by European scholars such as Louis Robert, and by fellow Americans such as Sterling Dow. The text included in Inscriptiones Graecae I3 was, contrary to usual practice, edited again by Meritt and his collaborator MacGregor. Paarmann felt that by allowing this David Lewis missed the valuable opportunity to have the texts revisited by a new scholar, where in fact Meritt reproduced the readings in his own edition, discarding effectively all of the more recent emendations by other scholars and reviewers.

In the light of this unsatisfactory state of current publication, Paarlmann’s edition will improve upon ATL and IG I3 in the following ways:

  • He will indicate clearly his dependence on previous editions and give full epigraphic commentary (in contrast especially with IG which had no commentary, and ATL which had little);
  • He will give complete apparatus criticus;
  • He will base his reading on sketches, photographs, and earlier editions, and give full documentation of these sources;
  • His texts and restorations will be very conservative, especially as compared to Meritt’s ambitious speculations;
  • As a result, some parts of the text will contain radical (and rational) new readings, corrections of erroneous assumptions, removal of conclusions based on circular arguments (e.g. the supposed revolt of Miletus in 454);
  • The dissertation will include a major historical commentary (since an edition alone is not an acceptation doctoral dissertation in Switzerland);
  • He is also compiling for later publication (although the dissertation does not include) a complete gazetteer of the states listed as contributing to the Delian League throughout its history.
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3 Responses to New Edition of the Athenian Tribute Lists

  1. Jay McAnally says:

    I am very interested in following the progress of this work. I am a postgraduate student at the University of Western Australia. I am currently researching aspects of Carian history and will shortly present a paper at the Christchurch (NZ) conference of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (Title: Aspects of Carian Identity). The paper depends heavily on the previous restorations of Meritt et al.

  2. Pingback: the Athenian Tribute Lists, a first bibliography | Épigraphie en réseau

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