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Athens and Macedon

Athens and Macedon: Attic Letter-Cutters of 300 to 229 B.C.

Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Athens and Macedon
    Book Description:

    Little of the historiography of third-century Athens survives, and much of what we know—or might know—about the period has come down to us in inscriptions carved by Attic stonemasons of the time. In this book Stephen Tracy, the world's preeminent expert in this area, provides new insight into an unsettled and obscure moment in antiquity.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92854-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Efforts to establish the Athenian archon list of the third century B.C. continue and progress is being made. More will be possible when all relevant texts now known are published. The recent publication of a fragment containing the name of a new Athenian archon, [A]mbrosios, who must date between the years 290 and 250;¹ the discovery that Aristion must be moved from the 230s to about 290 (38–45 below); the addition of Mneseides to the list of those who served in the 230s;² and the reported downward dating of Athenodoros by more than a decade reveal the continuing state of...


    • Oligarchy versus Democracy: 338 to 262 B.C.
      (pp. 9-14)

      It is often adjudged—correctly, it appears to me—that the end of Athenian, indeed of Greek, liberty occurred when Philip of Macedon defeated the Athenians and their allies at the battle of Chaironeia in 338 B.C. In fact the Athenian leader Lykourgos speaking in the summer of 330 B.C. claimed: Ƭὰ Ƭῆς ‘Eλλάδoς εἰς δoυλείαν μετέπεσεν.συνετάϕη γὰρτοȋς τούτων σώμασιν ή τῶν ἄλλων ‘Eλλήνων ἐλενθερία(the affairs of Greece had fallen into slavery, for the freedom of the other Greeks was entombed alongside the bodies of the Athenians who fell at Chaironeia).¹ Moreover, it has been the fashion to see...

    • Macedonian Domination: 262 to 229 B.C.
      (pp. 15-26)

      Encouraged by King Ptolemy, the Athenians in the summer of the year 268 B.C. made an alliance with the Spartans against King Antigonos Gonatas.¹ Their purpose was no doubt to rid Piraeus of the irksome presence of the Macedonian garrison. The larger purpose of the coalition was to weaken their common enemy, Macedonia. The ensuing conflict is known as the Chremonidean War.² Antigonos’ forces quickly moved to besiege Athens and, although King Ptolemy dispatched his general Patroklos with an army to aid his Athenian allies,³ the siege continued. The Athenians finally had to capitulate in the year of Antipatros’ archonship,...


    • List of Inscriptions Assigned
      (pp. 29-37)
    • Addenda to the Cutter of IG II² 1262 Dates: ca. 320 – ca. 290
      (pp. 38-48)

      For a description of this cutter’s lettering, photographs, and a full list of inscriptions, seeADT136–147. This man was one of the major cutters in Athens at the end of the fourth century and beginning of the third. It now appears likely that he was active down to at least the year 290 B.C.

      During a short sojourn in Athens during June 1995, in the archives of the American School of Classical Studies I came across several squeezes of an inscription found at Eleusis that I had not previously seen. I recognized the lettering at once as the work...

    • Addenda to the Cutter of IG II² 650 Dates: 318/7—283/2
      (pp. 49-49)

      SeeADT154–159 for a description of this cutter’s lettering, a photograph, and a list of inscriptions.

      With the assignment ofIGII² 500 to this hand we now have one inscription by the II² 650 Cutter securely dated to the years 307 to 302. Nevertheless, it appears that he did most of his work during the first two decades of the third century.¹ He prefers letters 0.007 m in height (i.e., relatively speaking, quite large), and he invariably leaves an interline that is at least the same height as his letters and usually a trifle more. His completed inscriptions,...

    • Addenda to the Cutter of Agora I 4266 Dates: ca. 304 – 271
      (pp. 50-55)

      The Cutter of Agora I 4266 began work in the last years of the fourth century and continued inscribing down to about the year 270. SeeADT164–169 for a description of his lettering, photograph, and list of inscriptions.

      The I 4266 Cutter has a marked preference for arranging his letters on the stonestoichedon.He either uses a strict pattern or occasionally—influenced, it is clear, by narrow letters such as iota and rho—he slightly modifies it for a few spaces in some lines. He only does this when the line length is 33stoichoior greater, though...

    • The Cutter of IG II² 478 Dates: 305/4 – 302/1
      (pp. 56-61)

      Plain lettering done rather quickly—that is the dominant impression of this cutter’s writing. He frequently omits strokes and makes an unusual variety of shapes in some letters, particularly phi and omega. Most of his other letters are quite uniform from example to example....

    • The Cutter of IG II² 657 Dates: ca. 305 – ca. 275
      (pp. 62-73)

      The mature lettering of this workman is neat and regular. His long strokes, particularly verticals and diagonals, often curve or bend slightly. He occasionally omits strokes—for instance, one of the finials at the base of omega. Moreover, the overlapping of certain strokes—a feature of his lettering that we might regard as carelessness—is done quite consistently; thus, the overlapping of the left slanting stroke beyond the right in letters with an apex (i.e., alpha, delta, lambda, and the right half of mu) appears to be a deliberate mannerism. Indeed, it is one of the hallmarks of his style....

    • The Cutter of IG II² 689 Dates: 305/4 – ca. 270
      (pp. 74-79)

      This cutter employs thin strokes and inscribes his letters rather lightly. Moreover, strokes rather frequently overlap or do not meet precisely. The lettering has an evanescent, somewhat sloppy, quality....

    • The Cutter of Agora I 3238 and 4169 Dates: 286/5 – ca. 239
      (pp. 80-98)

      This cutter, the most prolific of his era, has a very distinctive style of lettering that I have studied and illustrated previously.¹ He was a very careful workman who made few inscribing errors. He usually inscribed letters that are rather small (ca.0.005 m) with liberal interlinear spacing. With the exception of omega, he regularly inscribed omikron, theta, the loop of rho, and the central part of phi with straight strokes. The central part of phi, for example, is usually a neat rectangle (fig. 21)....

    • The Cutter of Agora I 6664 Dates: 281/0 – ca. 240
      (pp. 99-111)

      The inscriptions of this cutter convey an impression of neatness thanks to his use of thin, firmly incised letter-strokes. The ends of strokes often thicken, giving the impression of nascent serifs. His round letters tend to be quite round and he rather frequently imparts a curve to the slanting strokes of alpha and lambda as well as to the top stroke of sigma. It is not unusual, indeed, for any one of his long strokes to have a slight curve. At the same time, the individual letters vary quite a lot, particularly epsilon, omikron, sigma, and omega. I would describe...

    • The Cutter of IG II² 776 Dates: ca. 255 – ca. 240
      (pp. 112-117)

      Although he does not inscribe his texts using astoichedonpattern, this cutter spaces his letters out on the horizontal so that the space between each letter exceeds the height of the letters. He also leaves quite liberal interlines, viz. more than the height of the letters. Nevertheless, his lettering has a somewhat uncertain appearance, perhaps because the letters are lightly incised. Another contributing factor is that his letter-strokes often do not quite meet, particularly the apex of alpha...

    • The Cutter of SEG II no. 9 Dates: 251/0 – ca. 240
      (pp. 118-127)

      This workman makes letters with thin strokes that often taper at the ends to points. Strokes do not meet one another precisely and long strokes tend to bend or curve, sometimes rather awkwardly. Letters made from multiple strokes, such as epsilon, mu, nu, and sigma, vary a great deal in shape from example to example. Although not difficult to read, the lettering seems rather haphazard, indeed even sloppy....

    • The Cutter of IG II² 788 Dates: ca. 260 – ca. 235
      (pp. 128-149)

      This man was one of the master cutters of his time; I have previously discussed and illustrated his work.¹ He inscribed neatly and often used astoichedonarrangement. Particularly in the case of epsilon, sigma, tau, and upsilon, he thickened the ends of strokes somewhat to create what may be described as nascent serifs. Among his most distinctive letter-shapes are alpha, sigma, and upsilon (fig. 47). He rather often leaves the apex of alpha open and makes the left slanting stroke shorter. The lower half of sigma is normally much larger than the upper, and the angle of the two...

    • Miscellanea Epigraphica
      (pp. 150-153)

      In the course of the present study, I have come across several small groups of texts that are the work of the same man. I have not devoted a separate section to each (i.e., “Cutter ofIGor Agora I whatever”) because these dossiers number two or three texts at the most and none is dated precisely, i.e., by an archon date.

      IGII² 524, 580, and Agora I 4988 (AgoraXVI no. 119) are by the same hand. This workman’s lettering resembles rather closely the writing of the Cutter ofIGII² 478 (above 56–61). Like that cutter, he...

    • Conclusion: Inscribers of the Years 300 to 229 B.C.
      (pp. 154-164)

      The two most prolific cutters at work during the years 300 to 229 B.C. were the Agora I 3238 Cutter and theIGII² 788 Cutter. Their careers overlap beginning about the year 260. For about fifteen years—that is, down to about the year 245—they exercised a virtual monopoly in Athens over the inscribing of long measures on stone. To illustrate the point, I provide here a checklist of forty decrees assigned to this fifteen-year period by J. Kirchner inInscriptiones GraecaeII, 2d ed. (nos. 765 to 804)....

  9. APPENDIX ONE: Athenian Archons from 261/0 to 234/3
    (pp. 165-168)
  10. APPENDIX TWO: Agora I 5392 + 3855: A Prytany Decree from ca. 275–270 B.C.
    (pp. 169-178)
  11. Index to Greek Texts
    (pp. 179-180)
  12. Index of Passages Cited
    (pp. 181-188)
  13. Index of Persons
    (pp. 189-194)
  14. General Index
    (pp. 195-198)
  15. Comparatio Numerorum of Inscriptions Assigned in Agora XV and XVI with IG II² and Agora I Numbers
    (pp. 199-202)
  16. Comparatio Numerorum to SEG
    (pp. 203-205)
    M. B. Richardson
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 206-206)