Decree honoring Diophantos

Inscription honoring the emperor Zeno

Civic Oath of Chersonesos

Decree honoring Syriskos the historian

Base of statue for Agasikles

Proxeny decree for an ambassador from Mithridates Eupator

Decree honoring ambassadors from Herakleia

Base of statue for Aristonos

Treaty of alliance with the king Pharnakes I

List of those who won sport competitions

Inscription about the tax on prostitution

Fragment of a decree about the fortress of Napites

Inscription about construction of a city gate

Dedication to the goddess Nemesis

Inscription regarding the liberation of Kalos Limen

Decree honoring the emperor Marcus Aurelius

Decree honoring Gaius Julius Satyrus

Proxeny for a citizen of Sinope

Epitaph in verse on stele for Xanthos

Inscription on the stele set up by doctor

Epitaph in verse on stele for Oinanthe

Short epitaphs

 
Decree honoring Diophantos, strategos (general) of the Pontic king Mithridates VI

Russian translation from the original ancient Greek by V. V. Latyshev, commentaries by E. I. Solomonik

This marble base of a statue, which had been broken into two pieces, was discovered in 1878; in 1898, it was transported to the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, that it has been being stored to these days. The monument dates to the late 2nd century B. C. According to the position of the feet, this decree was carved into the back side of the base and not on its front side as it has been supposed; and on the front side of the slab, which is missing now, there probably was a honorific inscription in the form like 'the council and the people to strategos Diophantos.'

The text of the inscription:

"(...) so-and-so and so-and-so son of Zethos proposed: whereas Diophantos, son of Asklapiodoros, of Sinope, being our friend and benefactor, and being trusted and honored second to none by the king Mithridates Eupator, has always been responsible for good for each of us, urging the king on to the most noble and glorious deeds; having been summoned by him and taking on the war against the Scythians, and arriving in our city, he courageously accomplished the crossing of the whole army to the opposite shore; and when Palakos, king of the Scythians, suddenly attacked him with a great throng, he (Diophantos), drawing his army up in the moment of need and routing the Scythians, who were thought to be irresistible, brought it about that the king Mithridates Eupator set up his first trophy from Scythian spoils; and rendering the neighboring Taurians subject to him and establishing a city in the place, he moved off into the Bosporian regions and, having in a short time carried out many great actions, he turned back into our regions again and, taking with him those citizens in their prime, he advanced into the middle of Scythia, and when the Scythians surrendered to him the royal fortresses of Chabaioi and Neapolis, it came to pass that almost all of them became subject to the king Mithridates Eupator, for which the grateful people honored him with the appropriate honors, as having been released from the domination of the barbarians.

When the Scythians made manifest their innate faithlessness and revolted from the king and changed the state of affairs, and when, for this reason, the king Mithridates Eupator again sent Diophantos out with an army, although the season was closing on winter, Diophantos, taking his own troops and the most able of the citizens, set out against the very palaces of the Scythians, but hindered by storms and turning back to the coastal area he took Kerkinitis and the Walls and set about besieging those who lived in Kalos Limen. When Palakos thought the occasion was to his advantage and was collecting all his own (forces), dragging along also the tribe of the Reuxinalians, the Parthenos, who ever stands over the Chersonesites and who on that occasion was with Diophantos, foretold the action that was about to happen by the signs that occurred in the sanctuary and inspired the whole army with courage and daring. After Diophantos drew up his forces wisely it came to pass that the victory went to the king Mithridates Eupator, a splendid one and worthy of being remembered forever: for of the (enemy's) infantry scarcely a one was saved, and of the cavalry not many escaped. Leaving no time for inactivity, (Diophantos) advanced with his army at the beginning of spring against Chabaioi and Neapolis with all gravity (...) escape, and the rest of the Scythians take counsel of (...).

And after moving off into the Bosporan regions, he arranged things there well and to the advantage of the king Mithridates Eupator.

When headed by Saumakos Scythians rebelled and killed the king of the Bosporus, Pairisadas, who had raised him (Diophantos? Mithridates?), and laid a plot against Diophantos, he escaped the danger and boarded the boat that had been sent to him by (our) citizens, and coming (to us) and encouraging the citizens, having as a zealous helper the king Mithridates Eupator who dispatched him, he arrived at the beginning of spring with his army and navy, and taking with him a specially picked group of citizens in three ships, he set out from our city and took Theodosia and Pantikapaion; and punishing those who were responsible for the revolt and capturing Saumakos, who was the murderer of the king Pairisadas, he sent him under arrest into the kingdom (of Mithridates), and (thus) he regained the power of the king Mithridates Eupator. Besides that, aiding the embassies dispatched by the people he shows himself kind and zealous for everything of benefit to the Chersonesites.

So in order that the people may be seen to return fitting thanks to its benefactors, be it resolved by the council and the people to crown Diophantos son of Asklapiodoros with a golden wreath at the festival of the Parthenia at the procession, the symmnamones making the (following) proclamation: "The people crowns Diophantos son of Asklapiodoros, of Sinope, for his virtue and his goodwill toward itself;" and to set up a bronze statue of him in full armor on the acropolis by the altar of Parthenos and that of Chersonasos; and for the magistrates listed to look after these matters, that they may be done as quickly and as splendidly as possible; and to have this decree inscribed upon the base of the statue, and for the treasurers of the sacred funds to provide the expense arising in these connections.

These things were resolved by the council and the people, on the 19th (day) of the month Dionysios, when Agelas the son of Lagorinos was the king, and Menis the son of Heraklios was proaisymnetes, and Damasikleios son of Athanaios was secretary".
Commentary:

This is the biggest inscription covering the events of the late 2nd century BC. that happened to Chersonesos, the Scythian kingdom, and the Bosporan kingdom (in the east Crimea). This monument is used in each study of the history of the northern Black Sea area and is still a source of discussions and various interpretations, especially regarding the rebel of the Scythian Saumakos in Bosporos, his origins, social status, and aims and goals of his unrest.

The inscription describes the war of Diophantos with the Scythians in every detail, by its stages, and how did Chersonesos regain the lands that had been occupied by the Scythians in the 3rd and 2nd century B. C., namely Kerkinitis, the other forts, and the regions in the western coast of the Crimea.

The king of Chersonesos in this inscription was an elective official who performed some religious ceremonies on behalf of the state. Therefore, this 'king' differs form the ones of Bosporos, Pontic and Scythian kingdoms where this term referred to monarchs. The king of Chersonesos was eponym of the year: that is to say, the year was called after the king who performed his duties in that period.

Commentary

Symmnamones - the officials responsible for religious ceremonies and rewarding the citizens.

Aisymnetes - the magistrates who in some Greek cities held the power of judges to regulate disputes and troubles, though in the other ones they were the members of community assembly. One such official gave his name to the month, so he became eponym. Menis the son of Heraklios, the proaisymnetes, or the chair of the board of aisymnetes, was the one who performed the duty of eponym in the given month.


Translation by © N. Khrapunov.


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