Virtual Seminar on Some Unpublished Inscriptions from Corinth VI

This is installment VI of our “Virtual Seminar on Some Unpublished Inscriptions from Corinth.” For the previous five postings, follow the links from here. In this post we have two joining fragments of bluish-gray marble (photos are here and here) that record another foreign decree honoring Korinthian dikasts. Fragment A was found 9 July 1929 on the North Slope of the Temple between the “parãrthma” and the old road bridge ca. 2.60 m. below the bridge’s parapet. Fragment B was found 16 August, 1977 in Quary Trench XV of Temple Hill and joins to Fragment A to form the bottom left corner of the inscription with part of a tenon. Both fragments have been worked with a tooth chisel on their faces, both have preserved left edges, and both have a slight taper toward the back. Each of the preserved lines observes syllabic/word division. The left side of the tenon has a rough-picked surface and is preserved to a length of 0.032 m. and a width of 0.075 m. The distance from the left edge of the stone to the left edge of the tenon is about 0.11 m. Photos, squeezes, and autopsy of stones.

Fragment A:
Published: Kent, ICor 8,3 46 fragment b (who associated it with ICor VIII,1 6 = I-764, but see N. Robertson, Hesp. 45 (1976) 257, n. 5 — JSTOR link here — and my commentary below) ; L. Robert, REG 79 (1966) p. 738.
Corinth inventory, I-943 ; drawing in CECI II 943.

Fragment B:
Unpublished, joining with Fragment B. Cf. H.S. Robinson, AD 32B (1977) 57; Touchais, BCH 102 (1978) 660.
Corinth inventory I-77-13 ; NB 652, p. 64 ; NB 687, p. 55, Object 846.

Measurements of Fragments A & B together:
Height, 0.228 m. ; width, 0.184 m. ; thickness, 0.10 m.
Height of letters, 0.005 to 0.011 m. ; interspace, 0.011 to 0.016 m.


fin. III – med. II a.       NON-STOIX

Fragments A & B:
[— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —]
μετὰ τὰ ἱε[ρ]ὰ̣ [— — — — — — — — — — — — —]        1
καὶ αἱ δεδομέναι̣ [— — — — — — — — — τοῖς δικασ]-
ταῖς καὶ γραμματε̣[ῖ — — — — — — — — — — — ἀ]-
ναγραφῆι εἶναι τό̣[δ]ε τὸ̣ [ψήφισμα· — — — — — — —]-
[.2.]ν ἀναθεῖναι ἐν τῶι ἐπ[ιφανεστάτωι τόπωι τῆς πόλεως·]      5
[.2-3.] ἐπιμεληθῆναι ΕΜΜΕ[— — — — — — — — —]
τοὺς προβούλους· καλέσαι δὲ α[ὐτοὺς καὶ ἐπὶ ξένια ἐπὶ τὴν]
κοινὴν ἑστίαν.      vacat


Line 1: The lower tip of the alpha’s right diagonal is just visible.

Line 2: The inscriber has left out the crossbar of the second epsilon, as he does in the last epsilon of line five, but no other letter besides epsilon is possible. Only the lower half of the final iota’s hasta is visible.

Line 3: Under the right tip of the final tau’s horizontal there is an imperfection in the stone masquerading as an iota followed by the upper left corner of a triangular trace consistent with the upper left-hand corner of other epsilons.

Line 4: At the end of the line the upper part of a round letter follows the tau, then in the break between the fragments there is space for one letter followed by a lower horizontal on the new fragment, followed by a tau, and then the left edge of a round letter, thus necessitating τό̣[δ]ε τὸ̣ [ψήφισμα]. L. Robert called Kent’s restoration of lines 3 and 4 ([τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν ἐπὶ τῆι ἀ]/ναγραφῆι εἶναι·) a “un grand mystère” and, noting parallels at IG VII 271 line 20 and IG VII 272 line 105, suggested the restoration [ἐν ἀ]|ναγραφῆι εἶναι (we can add a third example at IG VII 273, line 56). It is usually a very bad idea to disagree with L. Robert, but it may be worth noting that all these examples are from Akraiphia and occur during the first century AD. In addition, the placement of the infinitive so far from the presumed conjunction in the previous line is rather odd. Now that we have the new fragment, one wonders whether the EINAI in line 4 may have been a dittography arising from the EINAI of ἀναθεῖναι below in line 5 so that one should read [ἀ]|ναγραφῆι {εἶναι}, where ἀναγραφῆι is the more usual aorist passive subjunctive. Alternatively, it could be the aorist passive infinitive and we should read [ἀ]|ναγραφῆ{ιει}ναι.

Line 5: At the beginning of the line there is space for two letters. Undoubtedly we have either [εἰς στή]|[λη]ν ἀναθεῖναι or [εἰς στήλην λιθί]|[νη]ν ἀναθεῖναι. The final epsilon once again lacks a medial crossbar, but no other letter is possible. This inscription was to be set up in front of a wall or some other structure in the most visible place of the city, which was probably Temple Hill where both fragments were found. As far as we know, there is no known location on Temple Hill where the tenon of this inscription would have fit. The Elean decree honoring Korinthian judges that was published by N. Robertson (Hesperia 45 (1976) 253-6, JSTOR link here) has a similar taper, and may have also employed a tenon.

Line 6: At the beginning of the line [συν]επιμεληθῆναι is also possible. It is highly unlikely that the ΜΕ[—] following the ΕΜ is the beginning of a city’s name (e.g., ἐμ Με[γάροις or ἐμ Με[γάληι πόλει]…). We could have the infinitive ἔμμεναι, or ἐμ μὲ[ν ludi, ἐν ludi δὲ…], or ἐμ μέ[σωι…], or possibly something like ἐμ με[γάλοις τραγωιδοῖς τῶν Διονυσίων], although admittedly this last suggestion would not be the usual formula and in any case would require more space than it appears this stone had. At Stroud, Hesperia 1972, no. 3, line 14 (JSTOR link here) we find a similarly enigmatic phrase [—]ως ἐν δὲ vv / [— —] occurring in roughly the same position of a very similar inscription.

Line 7: We have the first mention of Korinthian πρόβουλοι on an inscription found at Korinth or elsewhere as far as I know. See Commentary below.

Line 8: It appears that the inscriber began inscribing the epsilon in ἑστίαν as a sigma and then turned it into an epsilon. The eta in the phrase κοινὴν ἑστίαν is indicative of the koine and it completes a common formula found in a few different forms that helps us guess at the length. In addition, while the tenon is not fully preserved so that it is not known precisely how wide the inscription originally was, certainly at least half of it seems present. The epsilon in δὲ seems to be at about the half-way point of the presumed full tenon, which suggests an inscription circa 46 letters wide at the bottom. In my text above, the formula supplied is one of the most common, and it just so happens to fill the likely space perfectly and so seems secure. Given that the inscription tapers, that the letters vary considerably in size, and that the inscriber observes syllabification, the figure of 46 provides only a rough, yet important, estimate for the lines above.

Below is a possible restoration of 44-46 letters, exempli gratia:

[— — πρόσοδον πρὸς τὴν βουλὴν καὶ τὸν δῆμον πρώτοις]
μετὰ τὰ ἱε[ρ]ὰ̣ [καὶ προεδρίαν ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀγῶσιν· ὅπως δὲ]     1
καὶ αἱ δεδομέναι̣ [τιμαὶ τῶι τε δήμωι αὐτῶν καὶ τοῖς δικασ]-
ταῖς καὶ γραμματε̣[ῖ φανεραὶ καὶ Κορινθίοις ὦσιν, καὶ ἐν ἀ]-
ναγραφῆι εἶναι τό̣[δ]ε τὸ̣ [ψήφισμα· ἀναγράψαντας δὲ εἰς στή]-
[λη]ν, ἀναθεῖναι ἐν τῶι ἐπ[ιφανεστάτωι τόπωι τῆς πόλεως·]           5
[καὶ] ἐπιμεληθῆναι ΕΜΜΕ[— — — — — — — — — —]
τοὺς προβούλους· καλέσαι δὲ α[ὐτοὺς καὶ ἐπὶ ξένια ἐπὶ τὴν]
κοινὴν ἑστίαν.     vacat


This inscription will be of great interest to historians of Korinth because for the first time Korinthian πρόβουλοι are attested on stone. It appears that part of their job involved making sure Korinthian honorandi received proper recognition. For πρόβουλοι in the Greek world and a summary of the views concerning their function at Korinth, see J. Tréheux, BCH 113 (1989) 241-247 (for Korinth see esp. pp. 245-7).

Note on dissassociating I-764 (photo here).

Here are my reasons for disassociating I-764 (Kent’s “fragment a” of ICor 8,3 46) from this text. First, as Roberston points out, the interlinear spacing of I-764 is different; it runs from 0.009 to 0.012 m, while on the other two joining fragments it varies from 0.011 to 0.016 m. (the variations are not progressively different on either inscription, rather on both there is variation in each line depending on the shape and size of the letters above and below). Second, while the letters are very similar and may be from the same workshop, the letters on I-764 are fairly consistent in height, measuring from 0.004 to 0.006 m., while those on I-943 (our Fragment A) and I-77-13 (our Fragment B) vary from 0.005 to 0.011 m. Third, the letters on I-764 are also more crowded, they are cut more deeply, their strokes are less precise in joining at the tips, and they do not follow an imagined register line as regularly as do our Fragments A and B. Fourth, the surface of I-764 is a darker blue. Fifth and last, the expected formulae suggest that I-764, even if it had smaller letters, belonged to a wider inscription than does our Fragments A and B.

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6 Responses to Virtual Seminar on Some Unpublished Inscriptions from Corinth VI

  1. K. Rigsby says:

    Don’t the probouloi belong to the foreign state? Maybe Eretria or Chalcis?

  2. PaulIversen says:

    I took the injunctions at the end of the inscription to be referring to things the Korinthians should do (probably to take care for the setting up of the copy in their city, which obviously must have happened since this copy is in Korinth). In addition, we know that there were probouoi in Korinth, so I thought it a reasonable inference that it was the probouloi of Korinth. But it’s possible that the probouloi belong to the home city of this decree, and of course one thinks of Eretria immediately. Do you think there is something about this inscription or this type of inscription that makes your interpretation more likely?

  3. K. Rigsby says:

    I don’t see how the foreign city could tell Corinth what to do. The last three injunctions are: to set up the inscription; the probouloi to take care of X; to invite (the Corinthian visitors) to dinner. Doesn’t all of that occur in the foreign city?

  4. PaulIversen says:

    Yes, I think you’re right. Thanks for pointing this out (which of course also means the bit about the most visible part of the city has nothing to do with Korinth or Tempple Hill). If of foreign origin the list of known cities with probouloi is quite short. Kerkyra can probably be ruled out because it doesn’t seem to have employed the koine at this time.

    The other possibility is that this really isn’t of foreign origin and the Korinthians were honoring foreign judges. Unfortunately the decrees of Korinth are so few, that it’s difficult to know whether the koine absolutely means foreign engraving.

  5. PaulIversen says:

    Taking K. Rigsby’s observations into account, we might better restore line three as:

    καὶ αἱ δεδομέναι̣ [τιμαὶ τῶι τε δήμωι αὐτῶν καὶ τοῖς δικασ]-
    ταῖς καὶ γραμματε̣[ῖ ἐπιφανέστεραι πᾶσιν ὦσιν, καὶ ἐν ἀ]-

  6. Pingback: Current Epigraphy » Virtual Seminar on Some Unpublished Inscriptions from Corinth VII

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