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An Athenian Decree Revisited

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Doyen, Charles. “An Athenian Decree Revisited.” CHS Research Bulletin 4, no.1 (2015). http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:DoyenC.An_Athenian_Decree_Revisited.2016

Michel Fourmont’s Collection of Inscriptions

1§1 On September 1, 1728, François Sevin and Michel Fourmont, members of the Académie royale des inscriptions et belles-lettres, left Paris on a scientific journey to Constantinople (Omont 1902:537–662, 1078–1151). They were sent by King Louis XV and his minister, the Count of Maurepas, to collect Greek and oriental manuscripts from the Ottoman Empire and enrich the French Royal Library. They arrived in Constantinople on December 4, and immediately requested the necessary authorization to access the Sultan’s books. They quickly realized that the Seraglio Library was not as rich as they expected, and that it was hopeless to find material that once belonged to the Byzantine Imperial Library. So they decided that François Sevin would stay in Constantinople to collect the manuscripts available in the city and its environs, while Michel Fourmont, together with his nephew Claude-Louis Fourmont, would travel in Greece and browse the libraries of the main monasteries, looking for valuable manuscripts. Fourmont and his nephew left Constantinople on February 8, 1729, and after stopping in Lesbos and Chios, reached Athens on April 12, 1729. As in Constantinople, their quest for surviving Greek manuscripts turned out to be very disappointing. Instead, they managed to copy Greek inscriptions, collect ancient coins, draw the most noteworthy monuments and picturesque views, map the regions visited, and describe the customs and traditions of their inhabitants. They stayed for five months in Athens, and copied more than five hundred inscriptions in Athens itself, and around one hundred fifty more in Attica. Afterwards, they continued using Pausanias as a guide in the Peloponnese (Morea), and explored Corinth, Argolis, Achaea, Messenia, and Laconia. They also planned to reach Elis, but the king ordered Sevin and Fourmont to come back to France: Sevin left Constantinople on April 24, 1730, while Fourmont and his nephew only boarded a boat from Nafplio to Marseille on June 23, 1730.

1§2 Three months later, Michel Fourmont was back in Paris. He gave a lecture relating his journey at the Académie on March 13, 1731 (Raspi Serra 1992–1993:40), reported to the Count of Maurepas at the end of 1731, and thereafter published a summarized relation of his journey (Fourmont 1733). He wished to publish his finds in four volumes: the first two for the Attic inscriptions; the last two for the Peloponnesian ones. This project was very expensive, because Fourmont wanted to publish one or two facsimiles for around twelve hundred inscriptions he copied, and not only a simple transcription in a Greek font. So, after their return to Paris, Fourmont desperately tried to raise money for his corpus, while his nephew was preparing the plates. It seems that the first volume to be published, dedicated to Sparta and Laconia, was almost ready at the end of the year 1733. But the project failed, and the publication work stopped for a few years. From 1742 onwards, Claude-Louis Fourmont started to work again on the corpus, under the supervision of his uncle, so that when Michel Fourmont died, on February 5, 1746, the work was almost done: 950 inscriptions had been sent to the King, but 150 inscriptions were still to be prepared, as well as ca. 100 fragments (Fréret 1753:445). However, the publication was never finalized, and the French National Library still preserves nowadays the unpublished results of Fourmont’s journey in Greece: the final plates (Supplément Grec 569–572), the drafts (Supplément Grec 854–855), maps and views (Supplément Grec 853 and 856; Français 22878), as well as a detailed relation of the journey by Claude-Louis Fourmont (Nouvelles acquisitions françaises 1892).

1§3 Fourmont’s reputation was tarnished when scholars discovered the serious frauds he committed, especially in Laconia, at the end of his journey: Fourmont not only intentionally vandalized archaeological remains and destroyed several inscriptions after he copied them, but he also forged many inscriptions and claimed that they were very important historical documents in order to justify his journey (Boeckh 1828; Christie 1872, 1885; Spawforth 1976; Stoneman 1985; Moret 2013). Nevertheless, the vast majority of the inscriptions he collected seem to be genuine. Fourmont’s manuscripts were seen and copied by Immanuel Bekker in Paris in 1815, and Bekker’s facsimile was used by August Boeckh to publish the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum. Fourmont’s sketches were also used by the editors of the Inscriptiones Graecae, particularly when an inscription copied by Fourmont had been damaged, erased or simply lost.

Two Copies for One Decree

2§1 An Athenian decree implementing a fundamental metrological reform at the end of the 2nd century BCE was seen and copied by Fourmont “Athenis, in domo Abbatis Parthenii”; thereafter, the stone disappeared and the text was successively published by August Boeckh (1817, 1828), Ulrich Koehler (1877), and Johannes Kirchner (1916) on the basis of Fourmont’s sketch. On January 29, 1934, during the American excavations of the Athenian Agora, a small fragment of another copy of the same decree was brought to light (SEG 24.147). The new fragment confirmed the dating of the decree (Tracy 1990; Woodhead 1997), but was far too small to give a global picture of the text. Until new archaeological findings are made, Fourmont’s facsimile remains irreplaceable.

2§2 During my stay at the CHS, I had the opportunity to examine this document on the basis of digital photographs provided by the French National Library. Bekker’s facsimile used by Boeckh and Koch’s facsimile used by Kirchner both rely on manuscript Suppl. Gr. 569, fol. 188r, no. 142—i.e. the final version that Claude-Louis Fourmont most likely finished between 1742 and 1746. The German editors were not aware of the existence of the manuscript Suppl. Gr. 854, fol. 79r–81r, no. 142—i.e. the draft version sketched by Michel Fourmont in Athens in 1729. Yet a careful examination of the two manuscripts shows that Claude-Louis Fourmont made a lot of copyist’s mistakes in the final version, such as misreadings (e.g. ΑΛΛΑΛΙΚΑΙΟΙΣ vs. ΑΛΛΛΛΙΚΛΙΟΙΣ; ΣΤΑΘΜΩΝ vs. ΣΘΑΘΜΩΝ), omissions (e.g. ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΟΝ vs. ΕΠΟΡΙΚΟΝ), haplography (ΗΡΑΚΛΕΩΤΙΚΑΚΑΡΥΑ vs. ΗΡΑΚΛΕΩΤΙΚΑΡΥΑ), and dittography (ΩΝΟΥΜΕΝΩΝ vs. ΩΝΩΝΟΥΜΕΝΩΝ). Besides, Claude-Louis Fourmont was not systematic at all when reproducing the size of the lacunas—which is a crucial matter for the accuracy of restorations: several lacunas marked in the draft are reduced in the final version and, in one case, a lacuna of a dozen signs disappeared in the final version. Finally, the draft version is useful to understand the method used by Michel Fourmont: line-by-line numeration, several readings of the text, frequent verifications, correction of repetitions due to a “saut du même au même”, and addition of a missing line. Of course, all these features do not appear in the final version, which therefore gives a false impression of carelessness.

Text Revision and Re-edition

3§ For these reasons, I decided to re-edit the text on the basis on the draft version (cf. Doyen 2016a), and I rejected all the supplements (from two words to two lines!) suggested by previous editors in their attempts to clarify several lines of the decree (Viedebantt 1916; Meritt 1938:127–131; Clinton 2008:278). I do not intend to review here all my changes to the current editions, but I would like to highlight three major modifications:

3§1 In this decree, ἐπιμελέομαι is used as an absolute verb in the technical sense of “to have competence; to have jurisdiction” (for a magistrate or a court), e.g. ἐπιμελείσθω δὲ καὶ [ἡ] β̣‹ο›υ[λὴ ἡ] ἐξ Ἀρείου πάγου καὶ τὸν κακουργοῦντά τι πε[ρὶ ταῦτα κο]|λαζέτω κατὰ τοὺς ‹περ›[ὶ] τῶ[ν] κακούργων κειμένους νόμους (59–60): “The Council of the Areopagus shall have competence, and shall punish any fraudster concerning these things according to the applicable laws concerning the fraudsters.” Therefore, when it comes to other juridical lines, the same verb should be understood in a similar way:

ἐὰν δ’ οἱ ἄρ‹χ›οντες μ‹ὴ› συνεπισχύωσι τοῖ‹ς› ἰδιώταις, [– – – – – ἐπιμελείσθω] | ἡ βουλὴ οἱ ἑξακόσιοι (6–7).

“If the magistrates do not assist the individuals, the Council of the Six Hundred shall have competence.” (instead of [ἐπαναγκαζέτω] Boeckh: “shall require them”).

[. . κ]αὶ ἐπιμελεῖσθαι τὴν βουλὴν τοὺς ἑξακοσίους τὴν ἀεὶ βουλεύουσαν ἐν τῶι Ἑκα|[τομ]‹β›αιῶνι μηνί (16–17).

“And the Council of the Six Hundred which is always held during the month of Hecatombaeon shall have competence.”

3§2 Consequently, the subordinate clause ὅπως μηθεὶς τῶν π‹ω›λούντων τι ἢ ὠνουμένων ἀσυμβλήτωι μ‹έ›τρω[ι] | [μη]‹δ›ὲ σταθμῶι χρῆτ‹α›ι, ἀλλὰ δ̣ικαίοις (17–18): “so that no one among the sellers or the buyers uses a measure or a weight discordant with the standard, but only correct ones” probably does not depend on the verb ἐπιμελεῖσθαι (17), pace previous editors, but is an initial adjunct clause introducing the following decisions (18–37), just as the other adjunct clause [ὅπως] δὲ διαμένη‹ι› εἰς τὸ[ν λοιπὸν] | χρόνον τά τε μέτρα κ̣αὶ τὰ σταθμά (37–38): “so that the measures and the weights are preserved in the future” introduces other decisions (38–60). Such a construction also makes more sense: on the one hand, it seems impossible that the Council of Six Hundred which was held during the first month of the Athenian year could ensure that everybody uses correct measures and weights, throughout the year and not only during that first month. Besides, in Athens as in other Greek cities, this was precisely the function of particular magistrates—the metronomoi and/or the agoranomoi (Capdetrey and Hasenohr 2012, in particular Oliver 2012), and the decree itself ordered that the magistracies appointed by the laws should require any seller to use the official measures and weights (7–13). On the other hand, the general adjunct clause (17–18) perfectly fits the following specific decisions (18–37): since the sellers and the buyers should use correct measures and weights, it was necessary to define the specific fruit measures (18–29) and commercial weights (29–37), as well as the sellers’ duties (the verb πωλέω appears eleven times in these twenty lines).

3§3 A study of the draft allows me to propose another restoration and interpretation for lines 13–15. The current edition reads as follows:

[…] ὀ[φ]ειλέτω ἱερὰς̣ τῆι Δήμητρι [κ]αὶ τῆι Κόρηι δραχμὰς χιλίας καὶ ἐξ̣έ[στω]
[αὐ]τοῦ ἀπογραφὴ τῆς οὐσίας πρὸς τοῦτο τὸ ἀργύριον Ἀθηναίων τῶι βουλομένωι. Ὁ[μοίως δὲ]
[αὐ]τοὺ[ς ἐπα]νισοῦν [δ]εῖ[ν] καὶ ἐξετάζειν τὰ μέτρα καὶ τὰ σταθμὰ καὶ εἰς τὸν λοιπὸν χρό[νον].

“[…] (The magistrate) shall owe one thousand drachmas consecrated to Demeter and Kore, and anyone among the Athenians who wants shall be allowed to make an inventory of (the magistrate’s) property in order to recover that money. Similarly, they must calibrate and verify the measures and the weights, also in the future.”

Epigraphical parallels suggest that we should restore οἷ[ς ἔξ|ε]σ̣τ‹ι›[ν] (14–15), and Fourmont’s sketch shows that the reading [τ]ε κ̣αὶ seems more likely than [δ]εῖ[ν] καὶ (15).

[…] ὀ[φ]ειλέτω ἱερὰ‹ς› τῆι Δήμητρι ‹κ›αὶ τῆι Κόρηι δραχμὰς χι‹λ›ίας καὶ ἔσ‹τ›[ω περὶ]
[τού]του ἀπογραφὴ τῆς οὐσίας πρὸς τοῦτο τὸ ἀργύριον Ἀθηναίων τῶι βουλομένωι οἷ[ς ἔξ]-
[ε]σ̣τ‹ι›[ν ἐπα]νισοῦν [τ]ε κ̣αὶ ἐξετάζειν τὰ μέτρα καὶ τὰ σταθμὰ καὶ εἰς τὸν λοιπὸν χρό[νον].

“[…] (The magistrate) shall owe one thousand drachmas consecrated to Demeter and Kore, and in this respect anyone, among the Athenians for whom it is allowed, who wants to calibrate and verify the measures and the weights shall provide an inventory of his own property up to this amount, also in the future.”

If this interpretation is correct, the decree means quite exactly the opposite of the communis opinio: the Athenian citizens are not specifically allowed to sue any guilty magistrate, but each candidate to the function of agoranomos or metronomos should first prove that he could pay the heavy fine he is risking if he does not exercise his jurisdiction correctly. Consequently, the Council of the Six Hundred which is held during the first month of the year should have competence either to check if the candidate for this function meets the requirements (Rhodes 1985:171–178; Feyel 2009), or to hold former magistrates to account (Fröhlich 2004).

A New Text Structure

4§ The revision of the metrological decree makes it possible to improve the text structure. Even if the upper part of the inscription is missing, the preserved text can now be divided in six sections—instead of ten (Boeckh 1817) or twelve (Viedebantt 1916):

4§1 Duties of the Sellers and the Buyers [0–7] (many lacunas)

Penalties the magistrates should inflict if anyone uses a wrong measure. Competent authority if the magistrates do not obey the decree: the Council of the Six Hundred.

4§2 Duties of the Magistrates [7–17]

Making of metrological instruments in accordance with the established standards for the liquid measures, the dry measures, and the weights. Making sure that sellers use them.

a) One single measure for the liquids.

b) No measure or weight bigger or smaller than the standards.

Penalties if the magistrates do not obey the decree. Preliminary inventory of property for the candidates for this position. Competent authority: the Council of the Six Hundred which is held during the month of Hecatombaeon.

4§3 Defining Specific Measures and Weights [17–37]

a) An increased choinix, having a capacity of three cereal half-choinikes, for nuts and kernels; a double increased choinix for fresh almonds, raw olives, and dried figs. Penalties if anyone does not use the double increased choinix and sells less than a cereal medimnus.

b) An increased commercial mina, weighing 150 drachmas, for any commodity sold by weight except for what should be sold in accordance with the silver standard. An increased commercial pentamnoun (6 commercial minas) and an increased commercial talent (65 commercial minas). Harmonization of the weighing instruments

4§4 Preserving Measures and Weights [37–60]

a) Diodoros, son of Theophilos, from the deme of Halai, shall transmit the standards to the public slaves of the Skias, Piraeus, and Eleusis.

b) These slaves shall conserve them and make metrological instruments. Penalties if they do not.

c) These slaves shall transmit the standards to their successors. Penalties if they do not.

d) Diodoros shall deposit several metrological instruments in the Acropolis.

e) Penalties in the case of fraud against the measures and the weights deposited in the Skias, at Eleusis, at Piraeus, and in the Acropolis. Competent authority: the Council of the Areopagus.

4§5 Inscribing and Setting up the Decree [60–62]

4§6 Appendix [63–67]

Defining the sealed and stamped measures the magistrates should use.

Metrological Standards in Late Hellenistic Athens

5§1 This decree gives valuable information about metrological standards and market organization in Athens during the late Hellenistic period. The appointee to establish the measures and the weights, Diodoros, son of Theophilos, from the deme of Halai, belonged to a well-known Athenian family. He was, amongst others, epimeletes of Piraeus and proxenos of a naukleroi and emporoi society in 112/111 BCE, and was probably chosen for reforming the metrological standards because of his competences in this matter. He was asked to establish new standards (σύμβολα), to be conserved in the Tholos of the Athenian Agora (Skias), at Piraeus, and at Eleusis—surprisingly enough, Delos is not mentioned, although it served as an Athenian emporion and an international commercial hub since 167 BCE. The standards were kept under the responsibility of public slaves in appointed premises; they served as models for the making of official metrological instruments (σηκώματα). The decree fixed the duties of the magistrates: they must make metrological instruments in accordance with the standards (7–8), they are no longer allowed to make measures or weights bigger or smaller than the standards (11–12), and they should use sealed or stamped measures (64–67). The decree also provided a range of duties and penalties, and designated the competent magistrates and courts, depending on the kind of offence and on the social status of the offender.

5§2 In fact, the Athenian decree did not modify most of the metrological standards: the weight standard (commercial mina) was the only one to be increased (from 138 to 150 drachmas), while the coin standard (silver drachma), the dry standard (cereal choinix), and the liquid standard (chous) remained unchanged. The silver drachma was the benchmark for the new commercial mina (29–33), and the cereal choinix was the benchmark for the new fruit measures (18–25). The decree also ordered that one and the same measure (probably the chous mentioned in line 55) should be used for liquids (10–11); in other words, it expressly prohibited, for instance, the use of different measurement units for wine (the keramion of 8 choes) and olive oil (the metretes of 12 choes) that were still used in the Delian accounts dating from the third and second centuries BCE (Chankowski and Hasenohr 2014:23–28). But this rule was not relevant for the dry measures or the weights (pace Clinton 2008:278), since the decree precisely defined specific measurement units for nuts and kernels (an increased choinix with a capacity of 1.5 cereal choinix), for fresh almonds, raw olives, and dried figs (a double increased choinix with a capacity of 3 cereal choinikes), and for many commodities to be sold by weight (an increased commercial mina weighing 150 drachmas or 1.5 monetary mina). These specific measurement units actually differed from the common dry measure (the cereal choinix) and from the weight measures used for precious material such as ivory, silver, purple, gold, pearls etc. (the silver drachma or the monetary mina).

A Roman Influence on Athenian Standards?

6§1 It has been observed for a long time that the commercial mina increased by the decree to 150 drachmas [652g] equaled two Roman pounds [326 g], even though it could also equal a former Athenian weight standard (Schillbach 1865:172; Hultsch 1882:136–138; Pernice 1894:54–57; Lang and Crosby 1964:18–21). The German scholar Oskar Viedebantt even ventured the opinion that the metrological decree also increased the Athenian choinix by one fifth [from 0.91l to 1.09l] in order to equal it to two Roman sextarii [0.54l] (Viedebantt 1916:132–137; 1917:56–66; 1938:135–141). His views were accepted by other scholars and the Athenian decree is usually seen as a positive testimony of Roman influence on Athenian standards at the end of the second century BCE (cf. e.g. Viedebantt 1916:141–144; Breglia Pulci Doria 1985:417–419; Habicht 1997:291; Kroll 1997:146–148; Shipley 2000:385–386; Austin 2006:241n12; Chankowski and Hasenohr 2014:33–36).

6§2 As far as the dry measures are concerned, Viedebantt’s readings are obviously wrong, since the Athenian choinix seems to have kept the same volume [ca. 1.09l] during the Classical and the Hellenistic periods (Lang and Crosby 1964:39–55). The decree only created two specific fruit measures, whose size is defined (a capacity of 1.5 cereal choinix, a depth of five fingers, and a width of the rim of one finger for the former; a capacity of 3 cereal choinikes and a width of the rim of one and a half-finger for the latter). Fortunately, one fruit measure matching the new norm has been brought to light during the American excavations of the Athenian Agora in an archaeological context dating from the sack of the city by Sulla in 86 BCE (Crosby 1949; Lang and Crosby:DM66). Since this fruit measure of 1.5 cereal choinix has a volume of ca. 1.65l, i.e. one choinix of ca. 1.10l, it confirms that the choinix was indeed not modified by the metrological decree, and that the equivalence between one Athenian choinix and two Roman sextarii probably already existed in the early Hellenistic period.

6§3 When it comes to the weights, it is striking that all the new standards kept both Athenian symbols (bucranium, dolphin, amphora etc.) and Greek names (δίμνουν, μνᾶ, ἡμιμναῖον etc.), without any allusion to Roman standards. More broadly, the increase of the commercial mina from 138 to 150 drachmas was actually the logical development of the Athenian weight standard, since the weight of the commercial mina was linked to the bronze–silver ratio: during the Hellenistic period, this ratio gradually increased from 112.5:1 (335 BCE) to probably 125:1 (first half of the third century BCE), to 137.5:1 (late third century or early second century BCE), and finally to 150:1 (end of the second century BCE). This step-by-step development (+12.5:1 approximately every 75 years) is documented by accounting practices, weight standards, and reduced silver coinages (Doyen 2012:38–55). The increased commercial mina was therefore not directly linked to the weight of two Roman pounds. In any case, the Roman pound had always been connected to the Athenian monetary mina, as an Attic talent (60 monetary minas) equaled 80 pounds (cf. e.g. Polybius 21.43.19 = Livy 38.38.13): since its creation, probably in the early third century BCE, a Roman pound equaled ¾ Athenian monetary mina or 75 Attic drachmas.

6§4 To conclude, it was indeed quite easy to convert late Hellenistic measures and weights into Roman standards, and vice-versa. But these connections could be explained by the ancient similarity between the Roman and the Athenian metrological systems (Hultsch 1882:112–126; Van Driessche 2009:39–42) and in any case were not the consequence of a late Hellenistic reform inspired or ordered by Rome (Doyen 2016b). If Rome had really wanted to harmonize Greek and Roman standards, such a harmonization would have focused on the wholesale measures and weights (talent, medimnus, amphora, metretes, and keramion), rather than on the retail ones (mina, chous, choinix). And I must emphasize that Rome did not manage to harmonize the most important standard for the international trade—i.e. the monetary standard (Picard 2010; Callataÿ 2011). The Attic stephanephoros drachma [theoretically 4.35g] was not equivalent to the Roman denarius [3.90g]; however, it remained the only monetary reference used in Athens (Robert 1951; Thompson 1961; Mørkholm 1984; Kroll 1993:13–16), particularly in the metrological decree itself (29–33). This situation continued until the second half of the first century BCE: at the time of the Triumvirate (43–31 BCE), the Athenian mint definitively stopped striking silver coins, while the Roman denarii started circulating on a massive scale (Doyen 2016c). Then, and only then, the Roman leaders enacted in Greece what Maecenas advised Augustus in 29 BCE, according to Cassius Dio (52.30.9):

Μήτε δὲ νομίσματα ἢ καὶ σταθμὰ ἢ μέτρα ἰδίᾳ τις αὐτῶν ἐχέτω, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἡμετέροις καὶ ἐκεῖνοι πάντες χρήσθωσαν.

“None of the cities should be allowed to have its own separate coinage or system of weights and measures; they should all be required to use ours.” (translation E. Cary)

Annex: Translation of the Athenian Metrological Decree (late second century BCE)

[– – – the (measure?) in the Skia]s or at Piraeus or at Eleusis [– – –]
[– – – if] the owner of the measure (μέτρον) is arrested [– – –]
[– – –] of the one who disputes about the measure (μέτρον) [– – –]
[– – –] the magistrates [shall bring] to the public bank [– – –]
[– – –] the list of the goods to be auctioned; if he is a slave, he shall receive fi[fty strokes of the lash], and (the magistrates) shall destroy [the measure]. If the magistrates do not assist the individuals, the Council of the Six Hundred [shall have competence].

(7) The magistracies, as they are required to do by laws, shall make metrological instruments (σηκώματα) in accordance with the established standards (σύμβολα)—i.e. in accordance with the liquid measures (ὑγρά), the dry measures (ξηρά), and the weights (σταθμά)—, and shall require any seller, in the agora or in the workshops or in the retail stores or in the taverns or in the warehouses, to use these measures (μέτρα) and weights (σταθμά), and to measure (μετρέω) all the liquids (ὑγρά) with the same measure (μέτρον), and no magistracy shall no more be allowed to make measures (μέτρα) or weights (στάθμια) [larger] or smaller than these. (12) If any magistrate makes (the metrological instruments) or does not require (the sellers) to sell with these, he shall owe one thousand drachmas consecrated to Demeter and Kore, and [in this respect] anyone, among the Athenians for whom it is allowed, who wants to calibrate and verify the measures (μέτρα) and the weights (σταθμά) shall provide an inventory of his own property up to this amount, also in the future. And the Council of the Six Hundred which is held during the month of Hecatombaeon shall have competence.

(17) So that no one among the sellers or the buyers uses a measure (μέτρον) or a weight (σταθμόν) discordant with the standard (ἀσύμβλητον), but only correct ones:

–  (18) The sellers of walnuts (i.e. Persian nuts), almonds, hazelnuts (i.e. nuts of Heraclea), pine nuts, chestnuts, lotus seeds (i.e. Egyptian beans), dates, and any other delicacies which are sold with these, lupines, olives, and kernels, shall sell with a measure (μέτρον) having a capacity of three cereal half-choinikes filled to the brim, selling with this increased choinix having a depth of five fingers and a width of the rim of one finger. (23) Similarly, the sellers of fresh almonds, raw olives, and dried figs, shall sell with an increased choinix twice bigger than the previously described, [having] a rim of three half-fingers, and they shall use wooden choinikes. (25) If anyone sells fresh almonds or raw olives or dried figs in a [bigger] or different container, [he shall not sell less] than a cereal medimnus; if anyone sells in a smaller container, the magistracy under whose supervision he is shall immediately auction the content, bring the money to the [public] bank, and break the container.

–   (29) And the market mina shall weigh one hundred thirty-eight drachmas of the stephanephoros (silver), in accordance with the weights (στάθμια) which are at the mint, and shall have a makeweight of twelve drachmas of the stephanephoros (silver), and everyone shall sell everything else with this mina, except for what should expressly be sold in accordance with the silver (standard), balancing the beam of the scales at the weight of one hundred fifty drachmas of the stephanephoros (silver). (33) The market pentamnoun shall have a makeweight of one market mina, so that, once the beam is balanced, it shall weigh six market minas. The market talent shall have a makeweight of five market minas, so that this one also, once the beam is balanced, shall weigh one market talent and five market minas. (36) All (the weighing instruments) [shall be] harmonized to the scales and weights which are in the marketplace.

(37) [So that] the measures (μέτρα) and the weights (σταθμά) are preserved in the future:

–   (38) The appointee to establish the measures (μέτρα) and the weights (σταθμά), Diodoros, (son) of Theophilos, (from the deme) of Halai, shall transmit the standards (σύμβολα) to the public slave appointed in the Skias, to the one at Piraeus assigned to the [epimelet]es?, and to the one at Eleusis.

–   (40) Those shall conserve them and give metrological instruments (σηκώματα) of the measures (μέτρα) and the weights (σταθμά) to the magistracies and to anyone else who needs them, without being allowed to modify [the standards (σύμβολα)] or to remove them outside of the appointed designated premises, except for the metrological instruments (σηκώματα) created in lead, and sealed [– – –]. (44) If they ask anybody for money, [– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –] for those who need it [– – – – – – –] the (public slave) in the Skias [– – –], the prytaneis in charge and the strategos elected in charge of the weapons shall punish him, whipping and punishing him according to the severity of the offence; regarding the (public slave) at Piraeus, the appointee as epimeletes [of the harbor] (shall punish him); regarding the (public slave) at Eleusis, the hierophant and [the – – –] men appointed each year to the festival (shall punish him).

–   (49) The public slaves shall transmit to the public slaves appointed after them all [the standards (σύμβολα)] with an inventory. If they do not transmit them, it shall be required by those who supervise them according to the decree, and [if standards (σύμβολα) are destroyed], other [standards (σύμβολα)] shall be established in place of the destroyed ones. (52) The [public slaves] shall also record at the Metroon a written statement of what they received and transmitted. [If they] do not record [it], they shall not be allowed [to hold] another public function.

–   (54) [Diodoros] shall deposit in the Acropolis metrological instruments (σηκώματα) of the commercial talent, a decamnoun, a dimnoun, a mina, a half-mina, a quarter mina, a chous, [and a choinix].

–   (56) If anyone is caught committing fraud against the measures (μέτρα) and the weights (σταθμά) deposited [in the Skias], at Eleusis, at Piraeus, and in the Acropolis, be he a magistrate, a private citizen or a public slave, he shall be subject to the applicable law concerning the [punishment] of the fraudsters. The Council of the Areopagus shall have competence, and shall punish any fraudster against them according to the applicable laws concerning the fraudsters.

(60) The man appointed to establishing the measures (μέτρα) and the weights (σταθμά) shall inscribe this decree on stone stelae and erect them in the premises where the [measures (μέτρα) and the] weights (σταθμά) are also deposited.

(63) From the same (decree):

(64) The magistrates shall use the same measure (μέτρον), sealed with the leaden seal, in accordance with the [seal] of the Skias, and shall not ask for more than one triobol; the magistracies shall also use the previously stamped measures (μέτρα), if any of the sellers do not use a stamped mesure (μέτρον).


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About Charles Doyen

Charles Doyen (PhD University of Louvain) is a F.R.S–FNRS Research Associate at the University of Louvain, Belgium. His research aims to contextualize the monetary phenomenon in Hellenistic Greece by taking non-numismatic evidence into account. Within this framework, Charles is currently developing an epigraphical corpus of inscriptions related to Hellenistic metrology and accounting practices, as well as a digital database of the commercial weights dated from the Classical and Hellenistic periods. He was appointed to the Francqui Chair at the University of Namur (2013) and was invited as an Assistant Professor at the École pratique des Hautes Études, Paris (2015). He has published Poséidon souverain (revised doctoral dissertation, 2011) and Étalons de l’argent et du bronze en Grèce hellénistique (2012).

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