Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation

[317] Letter of the Tyrian Settlers at Puteoli to the City of Tyre (174 CE) Puteoli - Campania


Puteoli (Campania, Italy — Pleiades map)
AGRW 317 = OGIS 595 = Sosin 1999, 276-78 = PHI 141062  = ID# 1852

 174 CE

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Slab of marble, now in the Capitoline museum in Rome. This monument presents two documents. The first is a letter from Tyrian merchants settled in Puteoli to their home city of Tyre in Phoenicia, requesting help in making payment for the continuation of their “station”, the building used by this group of immigrants. The second, partially preserved, document is a portion of the minutes of the civic Council meeting at Tyre, responding to the request. Unfortunately, the inscription breaks off in the middle of the discussion. Sosin (1999) suggests the possibility that the debate was between Philokles, who was actually trying to do away with the station at Puteoli, and Laches, who was defending the independent existence of the Puteoli group. Regardless of the nature of the debate, which is difficult to determine, what is clear is that the group at Puteoli was successful in gaining the help of their home city of Tyre, for the Tyrians at Puteoli subsequently paid to have these documents engraved on this monument. Another fragmentary inscription, which involves the god Helios Sareptenos (= Baal of Sarapta), attests to the presence of Tyrians at Puteoli as early as 79 CE (OGIS 594). That god may be among the Phoenician, “ancestral gods” mentioned in our inscription here.


This is a letter which was written to the city of Tyre, the sacred, inviolable, and autonomous metropolis of Phoenicia and of other cities, and mistress of a fleet.

To the civic leaders (archontes), Council and People of their sovereign homeland, from those settled in Puteoli (hoi en Potiolois katoikountes), greetings.  Because of the gods and the fortune of our lord, the emperor, if there are any other stations in Puteoli, our station (statiōn) is better than the others both in adornment and in size, as most of you know. In the past, this was cared for by the Tyrians settled in Puteoli, who were numerous and wealthy. But now our number has dwindled to a few and, since we pay the expenses for the sacrifices and services to our ancestral gods established here in temples, we do not have the means to pay the station’s annual payment of 250 denarii, especially as the expenses for the bull sacrifice at the games in Puteoli have been imposed on us. We therefore beg you to provide for the station’s continued existence. Now it will continue if you make provision for annual payment of 250 denarii. For we took care of the other expenses and those incurred in the restoration of the station for the sacred day of our lord, the emperor, so as not to burden the city (i.e. Tyre). We also remind you that no income accrues either from shippers (nauklēroi) or from merchants (emporoi) to our station, as is the case with the station in royal Rome. We therefore beg you to make provision in this circumstance.  Written in Puteoli, July 23, during the consulship of Gallus and Flaccus Cornelianus.

From the records of the Council conducted on the 11th of the month of Dios in the year 300 (= December 8, 174 CE), when C. Valerius Kallikrates son of Pausanias was presiding for the day as president. The letter of the Tyrian station was read, having been brought by Laches, one of them. In the letter, they asked to make provision of the 250 denarii for them for the sacrifices and services of our ancestral gods which are established in temples there, since they do not have the means to supply the payment for the station, 250 denarii each year, and the expenses for the bull sacrifice at the games in Puteoli have been imposed on them. For they took care of the other expenses and those incurred in the restoration of the station for the sacred day of our lord, the emperor, so as not to burden the city (i.e. Tyre). They also remind us that no income accrues either from shippers or from merchants, as is the case in the station in royal Rome.

After which, Philokles son of Diodoros said: “The members of the station (statiōnarioi) in Rome have always had the custom of furnishing the 250 denarii for those in Puteoli from what they (i.e. those in Rome) themselves receive. Now the members of the station in Puteoli also request to maintain these same arrangements for them; or, if those in Rome are not willing to furnish it for them, they undertake combining the two stations under the same leadership.” They exclaimed: “Philokles speaks well! Rightly do those in Puteoli make the request. It has always been done this way, so let it continue now. This is advantageous for the city. Preserve the custom.”

A written message was submitted by Laches son of Premogeneia and by Agathopous, his son, a  Tyrian member (stationarius) of the Tyrian station which is in the colony of Augusta Puteoli. In the message, they demonstrated that our homeland furnished both stations, the one in royal Rome . . .

Translation by: Harland



ἐπιστολὴ ∙ γραφεῖσα τῇ πόλει | Τυρίων, τῆς ἱερᾶς καὶ ἀσύλου καὶ αὐτονόμου μητροπόλεως Φοινείκης καὶ ἄλλων πόλε|ων καὶ ναυαρχίδος. ἄρχουσι, βουλῇ <καὶ δήμῳ> {ΔΗΜΩΚΑΙ} τῆς κυρίας πατρίδος οἱ ἐν Ποτιόλοις | κατοικοῦντες | χαίρειν. || διὰ τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Αὐτοκράτορος τύχην εἰ καί τις ἄλλη στατί|ων ἐστὶν ἐν Ποτιόλοις, <ὡ>ς οἱ πλείους ὑμῶν ἴσασι, καὶ ἡ̣ ἡμετέρα ἐστὶν καὶ κόσμῳ καὶ | μεγέθει τῶν ἄλλων διαφέρουσα· ταύτης πάλαι μὲν ἐπεμελοῦντο οἱ ἐν Ποτιόλοις κα|τοικοῦντες Τύριοι {οι} πολλοὶ ὄντες καὶ πλούσιοι· νῦν δὲ εἰς ὀλίγους ἡμᾶς περιέστη τὸν | ἀριθμόν, καὶ ἀναλίσκοντες εἴς τε θυσίας καὶ θρησκείας τῶν πατρίων ἡμῶν θεῶν ἐνθά||δε ἀφωσιωμένων ἐν ναοῖς οὐκ εὐτονοῦμεν τὸν μισθὸν τῆς στατίωνος παρέχειν κα|τ’ ἔτος 𐆖 {denarius symbol} σν ∙ μάλιστα ᾗ καὶ τὰ ἀναλώματα εἰς τὸν ἀγῶνα τὸν ἐν Ποτιόλοις τῆς βουθουσίας | ἡμεῖν προσετέθη. δεόμεθα οὖν προνοῆσαι ὑμᾶς τοῦ διαμένειν ἀεὶ τὴν στατίωνα· δειαμεν|εῖ δέ, ἐὰν πρόνοιαν τῶν κατ’ ἔτος διδομένων εἰς τὴν μίσθωσιν 𐆖 {denarius symbol} σν ∙ ποιήσ<η>σθε· τὰ γὰρ ἕτε|ρα ἀναλώματα καὶ τὰ γεινόμενα εἰς ἐπισκευὴν τῆς στατίωνος εἰς τὰς ἱερὰς ἡμέρας τοῦ || κυρίου Αὐτοκράτορος συνπεσούσης ἑαυτοῖς ἐλογισάμεθα, ἵνα μὴ τὴν πόλιν βαρῶμεν. | ὑπομιμνήσκομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ὅτι οὐδεμία πρόσοδος γείνεται οὔτε παρὰ ναυκλήρων | οὔτε παρὰ ἐμπόρων τῇ ἐνθάδε στατίωνι ὡς ἐν τῇ {βασιδι} βασιλίδι Ῥώμῃ. παρακαλοῦμεν | οὖν καὶ δεόμεθα ὑμῶν τῆς τύχης φροντίσα<ι> τε {καὶ} τοῦ πράγματος. ἐγράφη ἐν Ποτι|όλοις πρὸ ∙ ιʹ ∙ καλανδῶν Αὐγούστων Γάλλῳ καὶ Φλάκκῳ Κορνηλιανῷ ὑπάτοιν. || ἀπὸ ἄκτων βουλῆς ἀχθείσης ∙ κα ∙ Δίου τοῦ ἔτους τ ∙ ἐφημερ<οῦ>ντος {ἐφημερ<εύο>ντος} Γ(αίου) ∙ Οὐαλερίου | Καλλικράτους Παυσανίου προέδρου. | ἀνεγνώσθη ἐπιστολὴ Τυρίων στατιωναρίων ἀναδοθεῖσα ὑπὸ Λάχητος | ἑνὸς αὐτῶν, ἐν ᾗ ἠξίο<υ>ν πρόνοιαν ποιήσασθαι αὐτοῖς 𐆖 {denarius symbol} σν ∙ <ἀναλίσκειν γὰρ> εἴς τε θυσίας | καὶ θρησκείας τῶν πατρίων ἡμῶν θεῶν ἐκεῖ ἀφωσιωμένων ἐν ναοῖς || καὶ μὴ εὐτονεῖν τὸν μισθὸν τῆς στατίωνος παρέχειν κατ’ ἔτος 𐆖 {denarius symbol} ∙ [σνʹ], | καὶ τὰ ἀναλώματα εἰς τὸν ἀγῶνα τὸν ἐν Ποτιώλοις τῆς βουθουσίας αὐ|τοῖς προστεθῆναι· τῶν γὰρ ἑτέρων ἀναλωμάτων <καὶ τῶν> γεινομένων εἰς ἐπι|σκευὴν τῆς στατίωνος εἰς τὰς ἱερὰς ἡμέρας τοῦ κυρίου Αὐτοκράτορος σ[υν]|πεσούσης αὑτοῖς ἐλογίσαντο, ἵνα μὴ τὴν πόλιν βαρῶσιν· καὶ ὑπεμίμνη||σκον ὅτι οὐδεμία πρόσοδος γείνεται αὐτοῖς οὔτε παρὰ ναυκλήρων οὔτε | παρὰ ἐμπόρων ὡς ἐν τῇ βασιλίδι Ῥώμῃ. μεθ’ ἣν ἀνάγνωσιν Φιλοκλῆς Διο|δώρου εἶπεν· οἱ ἐν Ῥώμῃ στατιωνάριοι ἔθος εἶχον ἀεί ποτε ἐξ ὧν αὐτοὶ λαμ|βάνουσιν παρέχειν τοῖς ἐν Ποτιόλοις 𐆖 {denarius symbol} σνʹ ∙ ἀξιοῦσι καὶ νῦν οἱ ἐν Ποτιόλοις | στατιωνάριοι αὐτὰ ταῦτα αὑτοῖς τηρεῖσθαι ἢ εἰ μὴ βούλονται οἱ ἐν Ῥώμῃ αὐ||τοῖς παρέχειν, αὐτοὶ ἀναδέχονται τὰς δύο στατίωνας ἐπὶ τῇ αὐτῇ αἱρέσι. ἐ|πεφώνησαν· καλῶς εἶπεν Φιλοκλῆς· δίκαια ἀξιῶσι {ἀξιοῦσι} οἱ ἐν Ποτιόλοις· ἀεὶ | οὕτως ἐγείνετο καὶ νῦν οὕτως γεινέσθω· τοῦτο τῇ πόλει συμφέρει· φυλαχθή|τω ἡ συνήθεια. ἀνεγνώσθη πιττάκιον δοθὲν τὸ {τὸ δοθὲν?} ὑπὸ Λάχητος ΠΡΕΙΜΟΓΕ|ΝΕΙΑϹ? καὶ Ἀγαθόποδος υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Τυρίων στατιωναρίων στατίωνος Τυρια||κῆς τῆς ἐν κολωνίᾳ Σεβαστῇ Ποτιόλοις, ἐν ᾧ ἐδήλουν παρέχειν τὴν ἡμετέραν | πατρίδα στατίωνας δύο, τὴν μὲν ἐν τῇ βασιλίδι Ῥώμ[ῃ, τὴν δὲ — — —]

Item added: June 15, 2012
Item modified: February 5, 2016
ID number: 1852
Short link address:
http://www.philipharland.com/greco-roman-associations/?p=1852

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