Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation (run by Philip A. Harland)

Decree of Landowners and Farmers on Rebuilding after an Earthquake (5 BCE) Psenemphaia - Delta region

Psenemphaia (Delta region, Egypt — Pleiades map), 5 BCE
GRA III 170 = IProse I 49 = IDelta 2 = SEG 42:1500 = PHI 229356 = AGRW ID# 25299
Copenhagen Inventory info: 1441


Slab of limestone with a triangular pediment and parapets (86 × 40 × 11 cm). Now in the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, inv. 24025. Psenemphaia was located in the Gynaikopolites nome or district.

For good fortune. Year 25 of Caesar (Augustus), 8th of Pachon.

When the meeting (synagōgē) was held in Aristion’s sanctuary of Kleopatra by the landowners (geouchoi) from Psenemphaia in the Ptolemais district – (5) whose priest, president (prostatēs) and ‘village-leader’ (kōmarchēs) was Apollonios son of Theon – a majority of members was present.

Since it happened by accident that the shrine (oikos) along with its contents was completely destroyed during an earthquake and in the midst of this the chief priest (archiiereus), Theon, of highest honor with respect to everything concerning the gods, departed this life, (10) the impossibility of rebuilding the shrine caused much confusion for the landowners.  They all searched among themselves for someone who seemed well-suited for the chief priesthood both with respect to their virtue and it being an opportune for them. After failing in our attempt, we only found Apollonios son of Theon, (15) the son of the previous chief priest. There was no opposition among us due to his superb display of good will and love of honor to the fellow farmers (syngeōrgoi) even as the search for a president and ‘village-leader’ became a great embarrassment because everyone else declined due to the expense involved.  But concerning these things, Apollonios did not hesitate. (20)  Rather, in relation to these things he wished to increase the reputation of the fellow farmers and at the same time all leadership roles, the chief priesthood for life and the other annual leadership roles, in order to repair everything that had been damaged. In addition, even though the fellow farmers decided to give to him 500 silver drachmas for the things mentioned above, (25) Apollonios quickly rebuilt the shrine and all its accessories at his own expense.  He also had the shrine painted elegantly and he spread out high quality cushions (stibas). He took upon himself the cost of the meetings despite his other expenses as the president or “village-leader” (30) or at the dinners (deipna) at designated times, conducting himself magnificently and generously: indeed, for their sake.

For good fortune, it was resolved by common approval, recognizing the excellence of the man in everything, to honour him with a new image (aspideion) regardless of the honours he already has (35); to honour his son Theon, since he was the oldest son, with an image (aspideion) as well as with the exclusive privilege of reclining together with the fellow farmers before being admitted into the group of ephebes (youths); to celebrate Apollonios’ dedication of the other image in Aristion’s sanctuary of Kleopatra belonging to the landowners; to crown him according to his excellence with a special crown during each libation; to give to him a double portion (40); to give him permission to inscribe on the architrave of the shrine that he furnished everything by himself for the fellow farmers; and, to engrave this whole affair on a plaque (stele) and put it in one of the vestibules of the shrine, with the result that, throughout the ages, Apollonios’ excellence towards the fellow farmers in everything, even his benevolence and selflessness (45) will be highlighted with the grateful testimony of those who have benefited.

It is compulsory that each of the fellow farmers undersign every decree of Apollonios, as those who do not undersign will be consider to be opposed to the fellow farmers.  No one has the right to submit a motion to dissolve these decrees, and (50) anyone who does – regardless whether or not he has revealed his own bad intentions – will be fined 3000 drachmas by the decree of the synod (synodos) of fellow farmers, without the possibility of waving the fine.  This decree is undersigned to be valid and enforceable.   One copy has been be delivered to Apollonios, and the other copy is registered in the public records of the association.

Translation by: Ryan J. Olfert (with modifications)

ἀγαθῆι τύχηι· | ἔτους κεʹ Καίσαρος, Παχὼν ηʹ· | ἐπὶ τῆς γενηθείσης συναγωγῆς ἐν τῶι Ἀριστίωνος Κλεοπα|τρείωι γεούχων τῶν ἀπὸ Ψ<ε>ν<ε>μφαίας τοῦ Πτολ<ε>μαίου νομοῦ, || ὧν ἱερεὺς καὶ προστάτης καὶ κωμάρχης Ἀπολλώνιος Θέωνος, | παρόντων τῶν πλείστων· vac. ἐπειδὴ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ γ<ε>νομένου | συνεκύρησεν τὸν οἶκον σὺν τοῖς προσκυροῦσι χρηστηρίοις ἱκανῶς | σαλευθέντα καθαιρεθῆναι, ἐπισυνέβη δὲ καὶ ἐν τῶι μεταξὺ | τὸν ἀρχιιερέα Θέωνα τιμιώτατου ἅπασιν ὄντα εἰς <θ>εοὺς ἀπο||χωρῆσαι, πολλήν τε παρεῖχε διατροπὴν τοῖς γεούχοις μὴ ἀνοι|κοδομούμενος ὁ οἶκος, αὐτοί τε ἅπαντες προτρεψάμενοι τοὺς | <δ>οκοῦντας ἐν ἑαυτοῖς εὐθέτους εἶναι τῆς ἀρχιιερωσύνης διά τε | ἀξίαυ καὶ τὴν παροῦσαν αὐτοῖς εὐκαιρίαν, ἀποτυχόντες τε καὶ τῆς | ἐπιβολῆς ταύτης μόνον εὕρομεν Ἀπολλώνιον Θέωνος, τὸν τοῦ || προγεγονότος αρχιιερέως υἱόν, οὐκ ἀντιλέγοντα ἡμῖν ἀλλὰ τοσαύ|την εὔνοιαν <ἐ>νδεικνύμενον καὶ φιλοτιμίαν εἰς τοὺς συνγεώρ|γους ὥστε καὶ πολλῆς γενομένης σκέψεως περί τε προστάτου | καὶ κωμάρχου <δ>ιὰ τὸ πάντας ἐκκλίνειν χάριν τῆς <δ>απάνης μη|<δ>ὲ περὶ τούτων αὐτὸν τὸν Ἀπολλώνιον ἀφοκνήσαντα, ἕνεκα || τοῦ τὴν εὐσχημοσύνην τῶυ συνγεώργων ἀναστῆσαι βούλεσθαι | ἐπιδέξασθαὶ τε ἅμα πάσας τὰς ἀρχάς, τήν τε ἀρχιερωσύνην διὰ βίου | καὶ πρός ἐνιαυτὸν τὰς ἑτέρας ἀρχάς, εἰς τὸ ἅπαντα καταλελυμέ|να ἐν ὀρθῶι ποῆσαι· vac. ἔτι δὲ καί, τῶν συνγεώργων κρινάντων δοῦ|ναι αὐτῶι εἰς τὴν τῶν προκειμένων δαπάνην ἀργυρίου δρα||χμὰς πεντακοσίας, vac. αὐτὸς ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίου ἐν ὀλίγωι χρόνωι καὶ τὸν | οἶκον ἀνωικοδόμησε καὶ τὰ χρηστήρια πάντα, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐκονί|ασε τὸν οἶκον ἀξιολόγως καὶ ἔστρωσε στιβάσι διαφόροις, τὴν | ἀπάντων ἀνήλωσιν ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίου παραδεξάμενος, χωρὶς τῶν | ἄλλων δαπανῶν ὧν ἐποήσατο τῆς προστασίας καὶ κωμαρχίας || ἔν τε τοῖς κατὰ καιρὸν δείπνοις μεγαλομερῶς καὶ μεγαλοψύχως | ἀναστραφ<ε>ίς· vac. ὧν δὴ χάριν, | ἀγαθῆι τύχηι, vac. ἔδοξε κοινῆι γνώμηι ἀποδεξαμένους τὴν ἐν πᾶσι | τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἀρετὴν τιμῆσαι αὐτόν, χωρὶς ὧν προέχει τιμῶν, ἑτέρωι ἀσπιδείωι καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ Θέωνα ἔτι ἀκμὴν παῖδα || ὄντα ἀσπιδείωι, καὶ μόνον αὐτὸν συνκατακλίνεσθαι τοῖς συνγε|ώργοις πρὶν ἢ εἰσκριθῆναι εἰς τοὺς ἐφήβους, τόν τε Ἀπολλώνιον | ἄλλωι ἀσπιδείωι, οὗ καὶ τὴν ἀνάθεσιν ποιήσασθαι εἰς τὸ τῶν γεού|χων Ἀριστίωνος Κλεοπάτρειον, vac. στεφανοῦσθαί τε αὐτὸν κατὰ δια|φορὰν ἐξάλλωι στεφάνωι καθ’ ἑκάστην πόσιν, καὶ διπλᾶ μέρη || δίδοσθαι αὐτῶι, δοῦναί τε αὐτῶι ἐξουσίαν ἐπιγράψαι ἐπὶ τὸ ἐπιστύ|λιον τοῦ οἴκου ὅτι αὐτὸς κατασκεύασεν πάντα παρ’ ἑαυτοῦ τοῖς συν|γεώργοις, ταῦτά τε ἅπαντα ἐνχαράξαντα εἰς στήλην εἰς μίαν τῶν | παραστάδων τοῦ οἴκου ἐνθεῖναι, ἵνα δι’ αἰῶνο<ς> ἡ ἐν ἅπασι τοῦ Ἀπολ|λωνίου πρὸς τοὺς συνγεώργους ἀρετή τε καὶ φιλαγαθία καὶ ἀφιλαρ||γυρία πρόσδηλος γείνηται καὶ ἡ τῶν εὖ πεπονθότων εὐχάριστος | ἀνθομολόγησις· vac. πάντας τε τοὺς συνγεώργους ἐπάναγκον ὑπο|γράψαι τοῦ Ἀπολλωνίου τὰ δόγματα ἅπαντα, ὡς τοῦ μὴ ὑπογράψαντος | ἐναντία νοοῦντος τοῖς συνγεώργοις· μηθένι δὲ ἐξέστω ἐπ’ ἀνα|σκευῆι τῶν δεδογμένων λόγον εἰσηγεῖσθαι, ἢ τὸν τοιοῦτον χω||ρὶς τοῦ ἐπιβαλόμενον τὴν ἰδίαν πονηρίαν δεδεῖχθαι ἔτι καὶ | ζημιοῦσθαι εἰς τὸν τῆς συνόδου τῶν συνγεώργων λόγον ἀργυρίου | δραχμὰς τρισχιλίας ἀπαραιτήτους· τό τε δόγμα τοῦτο δισσὸν ὑπο|γραφὲν ἔστω κύριον καὶ βέβαιον, καὶ τὸ μὲν ἓν ἐκδοθήτω τῶι | Ἀπολλωνίωι, τὸ δ’ ἕτερον εἰς τὰ κοινὰ βυβλία τῆς συνόδου καταχω||ρισθήτωι.

Item added: February 12, 2020
Item modified: February 12, 2020
ID number: 25299
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