IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

M.245. Honours for a benefactor from a village

Description: Marble stele, damaged above and at the right side (w: 0.41 x h: 0.76 x d: 0.16).
Text: Inscribed on one face which is in poor condition.
Letters: First century BCE-first century CE

Date: Augustan.

Findspot: Gebel Akhdar: East of Cyrene: found reused in an Italian fort near Mgarnes; photographed in 1925 as from Mgarnes.
Original location: Unknown
Last recorded location: Cyrene Museum


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[c. 4]Τ̣[.]Ε[---]
[c. 5]ΣΤΕΓΑ[c. 4]Τ̣ΕΙΜ̣[c. 5]
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5εὐσεβε[ίας ἕνε]κ̣ε πο[τὶ τὰς νύμφας τὰς ἐν?]
τ̣ᾶι παγᾶι [...]ΕΣ̣ΤΑ[...]Α̣Σ[c. 4]
φιλότιμον ἦμεν [ἐ]γγράψαι δὲ αὐ-
τὸν̣ κ̣αὶ ἐς τὸς ἱαρεῖς τῶ Διονύσ[ω]
ἱαρατευκότα. ἦμεν δὲ αὐτὸ[ν κ]α[ὶ]
10 ἀλειτού̣ργητο̣ν̣ καὶ ἀμ̣έθε̣κ̣τ̣ο̣ν̣
τῶν πρὸς τὰν κ̣ώ̣μαν ἀνηκό<ν>των
πάντων. δόμεν δὲ αὐ̣τῶ̣ι κα̣ὶ̣ ἐπιγρά-
ψ̣α̣ι̣ τὸν σιτῶνα ἐπιγραφάν ἃν ἂν αὐ-
τὸς προαιρῆται. τοὶ δὲ πολιανό-
15μοι τὸ ψάφισμα ἐπιγραψάτωσαν
εὐσάμως ἐς τὰν κοινὰν τὰ[ν]
τᾶς κώμας συνθήκαν ὅπως κα[ὶ]
[τ]οὶ λοιποὶ θεωρέντες τὰν [τ]ᾶ̣[ς]
κώμας εὐχαριστίαν ποτὶ τὸς
20 ἀγαθὸς τῶν ἀνδρῶν φιλοστό[ρ-]
γως ἔχωσι τὰ πρὸς αὐτὰν
( vac. )
( vac. ) λευκαὶ νγ´ ( vac. )


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0: nothing is certainly legible
1-6: Not reproduced by Laronde
10: ἀπο τ' ἔργων Oliverio, DAI, 1933-1936; ἀπότεργον = ἀπρόσεργον Roussel, 1935; ΑΜ . . . . . ON Laronde, 1987; ΑΝ[.]ΤΕΡΤΟΝ jmr; ἀμ[έθ]ε̣κ̣τ̣ον from the squeeze Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique
11: ἀνηκο(ν)των SEG
13: ἂν ἂν : ἂν Roussel, 1935
15: ψάφισμα : ψάρισμα (sic) oliverio

Italian translation

Translation source: Oliverio, DAI, 1933-1936

(L'autoritå ha deciso) . . . (poichè -- ha dimostrato di essere) munifico, di:- iscriverlo anche nella lista dei sacerdoti di Dioniso, come se effettivamente ne avesse giå esercitato la carica; - essere egli anche esente da qualsiasi prestazione (liturgia), ed anche dalle contribuzioni inerenti ai lavori, di qualsiasi specie, che interessano il benessere del villagio. - dragli la facoltà di farsi trascrivere nel proprio ruolo dal magistrato frumentario l'iscrizione, she Egli stesso preferisca. I polianomi questo decreto faranno iscrivere in bei caratteri nella racolta ufficiale (delle lege e dei decreti) del villaggio, affinchè anche gli altri, dopo aver constato con i propri occhi il modo, come il villaggio dimostra la propria gratitudine verso i bravi cittadini (che emergono sugli altri per bememerenze), tutta la loro passione mettano nel provvedere a tutto quello, che lo (il villaggio) interessa. (voti) bianchi 53.

French translation

Translation source: Laronde, 1987

(plaise à la kômé, ... attendu que..., de déclarer qu') il est généreux, de l'inscrire parmi les prêtres de Dionysos comme s'il avait exercé la prêtrise ; qu'il soit exempt des liturgies et... de tous ceux qui concernent la kômé ; de lui accorder le droit de mettre l'inscription qu'il choisira lui-même sur le grenier à blé ; les polianomes feront inscrire le décret en évidence dans la collection publique de la kômé afin que ceux à venir, considérant la reconnaissance de la kômé envers ceux qui se montrent hommes de bien, se montrent pleins de zèle dans ce qui la concerne. (Jetons de vote) blancs, 53.

English translation

Translation by: Editors

[the village decided . . . because of x's virtues and] because of his piety towards [?the nymphs in] the spring [ . . . ] generous, to inscribe him also among the priests of Dionysos as having served as priest (i.e. as if he had served); he should be freed from liturgies and not required to participate in the duties of the village; he should be given the right to inscribe on the granary whatever inscription he should choose; the polianomoi are to inscribe the decree prominently in the common archive of the village so that the others, seeing the gratitude of the village towards the good among men, should be devoted to the affairs of the vllage. 53 white (i.e. votes were cast).


The date has been much disputed because the lettering, cut in a village community, cannot be compared very precisely to the products of good city masons. The text shows a preference for dialect forms such as is not found in Cyrene after the reign of Augustus, but this too may be the result of rustic practice rather than of early date.

The major interest of the text lies in the light it throws on the life of a village community within the territorium of the city of Cyrene. The preamble is virtually lost and with it the names of the village and the honorand as well as the reasons why the village conferred honours. Roussel argues persuasively that these were for the gift of a granary for which the honorand is to be allowed to draft the inscription (ll. 12 - 14) and he seems also to be praised for religious piety.

Line 5-6: The objects of his piety are lost, but the reference to a spring suggests nymphs. Oliverio noted the existence of a small spring near the site.

Line 8: The priests of Dionysos here were apparently organised in much the same manner as the priests of Apollo at Cyrene. The insertion among the ex priests suggested to Roussel that the granary was dedicated to Dionysus, but it may simply be that it gave the honour without the expense of actual tenure of the office or is simply another feature of the exemption from liability to public charges detailed in lines 11-12.

Line 14: πολιανόμοι: the term is to refer to civic magistrates; it is used by Cassius Dio to transalte Latin aediles, perhaps indicating that it indicates magistrates of relatively low status.

Line 22: White, Votes in favour. For this use of the word see also B.75 and B.76 from Berenike where it figures in two decrees of Jewish politeumata. It appears to be unattested outside Cyrenaica.

Bibliography: Oliverio, DAI, 1933-1936, 135, whence Roussel, 1935, Roussel, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1936, p. 393, SEG 9.354, whence PHI 324203) see also Robert, 1939, 162, n.2, Roux, 1949, 294 et n. 2, Chamoux, 1953, 221, n.5, with Fraser, 1957a, 19, n.2, Robert, 1963a, 306, n.5. Republished Laronde, 1987, 334-35, whence Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1988.1012, SEG 38.1890; discussed Marengo, 1996, whence Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1997.707; mentioned Kenrick, 2013, 303.
Text constituted from: Transcription, supplemented from the photograph which shows some fragments on the right side that now seem lost. (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Face (Reynolds, SB.II.91)