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On two Greek inscriptions, from Kamiros and Ialysos, in Rhodes, respectively



C. T. NEWTON, Esq., M.A., C.B.

Read June 19th, 1878

[Reprinted from the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature,

Vol. XI., Part III., New Series.]



[From the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, vol. xi. Now Series.]

I have to submit to the Society two Greek inscriptions from Rhodes, both of which are in the British Museum. They have a special interest, not only on account of their subject-matter, as I shall hope to show, but also on account of their provenance, one being from Kamiros, the other from lalysos, two of the three ancient cities in Rhodes, which are mentioned by Homer in the catalogue of the Greek ships at Troy. The tombs on both sites have in recent years yielded a most remarkable series of fictile vases and other antiquities, the most archaic of which present a striking affinity to many of the objects discovered by Dr. Schliemann at Mykenæ. The two inscriptions I have to submit this evening have no claim to such remote antiquity. Their date, probably, falls somewhere in the interval between the building of the city of Rhodes, B.C. 404 and the accession of Alexander the Great.

The decree from Kamiros, which seems the later of the two, is as follows:—

This decree orders that the κτοῖναι of the Kamireans both in the Island and on the Continent are to be inscribed on a marble stelè, and set up in the Hieron of Athena. The κτοῖναι of Chalke are not included in this order, but the people of that island may, if they think fit, also have their κτοῖναι entered in the register. Three commissioners are to be at once elected, who are to superintend the carrying out the decree, and are to contract for providing a stelè, for which the lowest tender is to be accepted. The contractor is to inscribe the κτοῖναι on the stelè, to erect it in the Hieron of Athena, and to fix it firmly all round with lead. The Treasurer is to defray the cost of all these operations. The κτοινάται or members of the κτοῖναι are to select out of these κτοῖναι a μάστρος who is to be appointed in the most holy Hieron in the κτοῖνα, according to the law of the Rhodians. These, the κτοινάται?, are to be assembled in Kamiros, in the Hieron of Athena, and on the arrival of the ἱεροποιοί are to inspect the Hiera of the Kamireans.

The first question which presents itself in this decree is, who and what are the κτοινάται and κτοῖναι. The word κτοῖναι is not found in ordinary Greek Lexicons. I had, however, inferred from the context that in this inscription it was used in the sense of a district or local division of land. Again, the mention of the μάστρος l. 14, and the ἱεροποιοί l. 17, seemed to point to some religious rites in connection with the κτοῖναι. I had already come to this conclusion, when I stumbled on the word in Hesychios, placed out of its true alphabetical order as follows:—κτύναι, ἢ κτοῖναι, χωρήσεις προγονικῶν ἱερείων ἢ δῆμος μεμερισμένος. Schmidt in his recent edition of Hesychios marks this entry with an asterisk, because it is out of its alphabetical order, but, since the discovery of this inscription, there is no ground for stigmatizing this entry. The gloss is somewhat obscure. If the words had been χωρήσεις προγονικῶν ἱερῶν, we might have interpreted them "the setting apart of ancestral rites or of sacred precincts inherited from ancestors," but I cannot find that ἱερεία is ever used in that sense, though in the Septuagint it bears the sense of "festival," "sacrifice." The second part of the gloss, δῆμος μεμεριμενος suggests that the κτοῖνα was a deme divided into allotments.

So far as we can gather from this inscription, the κτοῖνα had some analogy with the Attic demes, the introduction of which is attributed to Kleisthenes, and which were districts or parishes which had a common temple or place of assembly within their territory, and in which all the citizens resident in the district were registered. These local demes in Attica must be distinguished from the more ancient gentes or groups of families united by a common band of kinsmanship and common rites, though in some instances these gentes may have been absorbed into demes.

In an unedited inscription from Kamiros, we have a long list of πάτραι ranged under larger classes, perhaps, φρατρίαι or φυλαί, and these πάτραι may have corresponded at Kamiros with the Attic γένη, while the κτοῖνα may have been local divisions, introduced like the demi of Kleisthenes, in the course of some political revolution. But I am not in a condition yet to determine the connection between the Kamirean κτοῖνα and πάτραι.

The μάστρος who is to be chosen by the κτοινάται, was a magistrate whose name occurs in several Rhodian inscriptions. That from Ialysos, which I publish in this memoir, begins with the heading ἔδοξε τοῖς Μάστροις και Ἰαλυσίοις In like manner a decree of the people of Lindos, edited by Foucart, Rev. Arch. N. S. XV. p. 207, commences ἔδοξε Μάστροις καὶ Λινδίοις. But it would seem from a comparison of these three Rhodian decrees, that the μάστροι constituted a board of magistrates, chosen by the κτοινάται for the regulation of various religious matters. Their authority must have been great, otherwise their name would not have preceded that of the demos, both at Lindos and at lalysos. They are also mentioned in another Rhodian inscription, Ross, Inscript. Ined. III. No. 271, 1. 18. Hesychios s. v. says μάστροι παρὰ Ῥοδίοις βουλευτῆρες where we must adopt Schmidt's restoration βουλευταί οἱ καὶ μαστῆρες. Hrapokration s. v. μαστῆρες states that there were μάστροι in Pellene, citing as his authority Aristotle de Pellene republica (Fragm. 191, ed. Didot.) Harpokration in this passage considers the μάστροι of Pellene as magistrates with functions analogous to the Attic ζητηταί and the μαστήρες elsewhere, and defines their office as ἀρχή τις ἀποδεδειγμένη ἐπὶ τὸ ζητεῖν τὰ κοινὰ τοῦ δήμου, and this is confirmed by the use of ὑπόμαστροι in the Andania inscription as the equivalent of ὑπεύθυνοι, and by the explanation of Μαστρίαι in Hesychios as αἱ τῶν ἀρχόντων αὐθῦναι (see Sauppe on the Andania inscription, p. 20, and Foucart on the same inscription, in Lebas, Voyage Archéol. Pt. ii. § 5. p. 172.)

The assembly of κτοινάται is to meet in the temple of Athena when the ἱεροποιοί come, and are to inspect the ἱερά of the people of Kamiros. Whether we interpret ἱερά here in its more usual sense "the sacred precincts round temples," or as "sacred rites," the functionaries assembled were evidently invested with the duty of general supervision, for we can attach no other meaning to the word ἀθρεόντω.

In the Lindian inscription, already referred to, the ἱεροποιοί are associated with the ἱερεῖς and ἱεροθύται "sacrificers," standing third in the order of precedence. All three classes were to be elected at Lindos under the supervision of ten commissioners chosen ad hoc by the Lindians. The ἱεροποιοί also occur in a list of sacred ministers, inscribed on one of the marbles of the temple of Apollo Erethimios in Rhodes. (Ross, Inscript. Ined. No. 276.) We learn from two Athenian inscriptions (Rangabè, No. 814 and Ephem. Archaiol. No. 3545,) that at Athens the Hieropoioi were charged with the duty of conducting the sacrifices. These functions correspond with what is stated about them in the Etym. Magnum and Schol. ad Demosth. Mid., ed. Meier, §115 and § 171, who says that part of their duty was to inspect sacrifices and victims.

We find from this inscription that some of the κτοῖναι were in the small island of Chalke, which lies on the west of Rhodes, and was probably subject to it at all times; (see Pliny, Hist. Nat. XVII. 4, § 31.) In the matter of registering their κτοινάται at Kamiros, the people of Chalke appear to have been left free, as would be natural if the κτοῖναι were local divisions, having reference to common rites.

The κτοῖναι in the ἄπειρος line 2, must have been on that part of the coast of Asia Minor lying opposite to Rhodes, and called the Peraia. This belonged to the Rhodians during the time of their independence.

This inscription is written in a strong Doric, in which may be noted, l. 4,ἐξήμεν. l. 2, ἐχθέμειν. The infinitive termination, μειν for μεν, is considered by Ahrens, De Dorica dial. p. 315, peculiar to Rhodes and its colonies in Sicily. He notices traces of it in the Sicilian poet, Epicharmos. Compare the inscription from Agrigentum, Böckh, C. I. No. 5491, ibid. 5475, and the Rhodian inscriptions, ibid. 2525 b., 2905.

l. 6, ἐπιμεληθησεῦντι, l. 7, ἀποσωσεῦνται compare infra, τελεύμενα and κρινεῦντι, διαλυσεῦντι, ὑπαρξεῦντι in an inscription from Kalymna, Böckh, 2671.

l. 10, περιβολιβῶσαι for περιμολυβδῶσαι . μόλιβος, μολιβόω are given in the Lexicons as poetic forms of μόλυβδος, μολυβδόω.

According to our reading of Hesychios, s. v., the Syracusans wrote βάμβα, for βάμμα, but Ahrens, p. 86, doubts whether Hesychios was right in identifying these two words, and Schmidt, in his edition of Hesychios, corrects βάμμα for βάμβα. The converse change of μ for β is noted in certain Lakonian words by Hesychios, Ahrens, p. 85.

l. 3 and 17 we have Ἀθαναίας, l. 10, Ἀθανᾶς, the first, would, probably, be the older form, line 3, ἐ στάλᾳ, the ν has been omitted through oversight in the preposition.

I have now to submit the inscription from Ialysos.

This is a decree of the Mastroi and lalysians, ordering the consecration, according to the ancient prescription, κατὰ τὰ πάτρια of the Hieron and temenos of the Goddess Alektrona. The Hierotamiæ are ordered to engrave the decree on three marble stelæ, and to place one of them in the entrance from the city (to the temenos), another above the Hestiatorion, and a third on the road leading downwards from the city Achaia.

Then follows the law itself, which declares what animals and objects it is not permitted to introduce into the Hieron and temenos of Alektrona. The animals are the horse, the ass, the mule, the γῖνος, which, according to Aristotle, was the foal of a mare

by a mule, and all other beasts of burthen. No one is to enter the temenos with sandals or any article made of hog's leather; any one transgressing this prohibition will have to purify the Hieron and temenos, and to offer sacrifices, or to be liable to a prosecution for impiety, ἀσέβεια. Any one introducing sheep into the sacred precinct must pay an obolos for each sheep. Any one who thinks proper may denounce such transgressors to the Mastroi.

The goddess Alektrona, whose sacred precinct is thus jealously guarded by this law, is evidently identical with Elektryonè, who, according to Diodoros, v. 56, was the daughter of the god Helios and the nymph Rhodos, and who, dying a virgin, was worshipped with heroic honours by the Rhodians, According to Diodoros, Elektryonè had seven brothers called the Heliadæ, two of whom, Kerkaphos and Ochimos, settled in the territory of lalysos, and there founded the strong city of Achaia, reigning there in succession. Kerkaphos, who succeeded his brother in the kingdom, had three sons, Lindos, Ialysos, Kamiros, each of whom gave his name to the city which he founded. The name Alektrona or Elektryonè, as Diodoros gives it, is evidently derived from the same root as ἠλέκτωρ the name for the sun in Homer, Ἠλεκτρυών, ἤλεκτρον, Ἠλέκτρα, ἀλεκτρυών, ἀλέκτωρ. See Gr. Curtius, 'Grundziige,' 4th edition, p. 136, No. 24.

l. 3, τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ τὸ τέμενος. Here these two sacred precincts are clearly distinguished. The Hieron is usually considered to be the sacred ground round the temple ναός, corresponding with the Close of a cathedral. The temenos was probably an outer precinct.

l. 7, λίθου λάρτου. The word λάρτος is unknown to the Lexicographers, but occurs in the slightly modified form, λάρτιος, in two other Rhodian inscriptions; one from Rhodes published by Röhl, in the 'Mittheilungen d. Deutsch. Inst, in Athen,' 1877. p. 228, l. 7,ἐπὶ βάσιος λίθου λαρτίου not δ' ἀρτίου, as Rölh reads; the other from Hierapytna in Krete, published in Cauer, Delectus, p. 56, l. 99. ὅπως ἐργάσθῇ πέτρας λαρτίας. The epithet λάρτος or λάρτιος must denote either the kind of stone to be employed, or the locality whence it was to be obtained. Our only information as to this is furnished by an examination of the stone on which the lalysos decree is engraved, which is the blue limestone known as fœtid, from the smell which it emits when fractured. I have not been able to ascertain whether the other two inscriptions, in which the word Λάρτιος occurs, are on the same kind of stone.

l. 18, ἐξ Ἀχαΐας. This is the name of the strong fortress in the Ialysian territory, mentioned by Diodoros, v. 57, and in a fragment of the Rhodian writer, Ergeias, preserved in Athenæus, VIII. p. 360. It is probably the same fortress as that which Strabo calls Ὀχύρωμα, the citadal of lalysos, now called Phileremo.

l. 25. The prohibition of the wearing sandals within the temenos reminds us of the injunction to Moses, Ex. III. 5. "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."

In the Andania decree regulating the Mysteries of the Great Gods, it is ordered that those who celebrate the Mysteries shall be bare-footed, and in the procession no one is to wear shoes, unless they are made either of felt or of the skins of the victims offered in the festival.

The functions of the Μάστροι, mentioned in the first and last lines, have been described by me in the earlier part of this memoir.

According to the fragment of Ergeias in Athenæus to which I have already referred, there was a Phœnician settlement at Acliaia, in Rhodes, governed by Phalanthos, which was taken after a long siege by the Greek settler, Iphiklos. According to another tradition, preserved by Diodoros, v. 58, Kadmos, having dedicated a temenos to Poseidon, in Rhodes, left some Phœnicians there to have care of it, and these united with the lalysians in one community. He adds that the priests in Ialysos are said to have traced the descent of their hereditary priesthood up to these Phœnician settlers.

It seems at first sight a plausible theory to connect the worship of the solar deity Alektrona at Ialysos with the Phœnician worship of Baal, and the strictness with which all that was unclean was debarred access to her temenos, seems to indicate a Semitic source for the ritual, which the expression κατὰ τὰ πάτρια shows to have been handed down from remote times. Such a connection with an earlier Semitic religion seems more clearly indicated by the human sacrifices, which, according to Porphyry, De abstin. II. § 54, were anciently offered in Rhodes to Kronos, and of which the barbarity was in after times mitigated by the substitution of a criminal whose life was already forfeit to the law for the victim of earlier times. But we hardly know enough yet either of Greek or of Semitic ritual to establish traces of a connection between them. I would observe in conclusion that this stelè was found by Mr. Consul Biliotti in the course of excavations a little to the east of the hill now called Phileremo and on which must have stood the Akropolis of lalysos.

If, as I suppose, this Akropolis was the Achaia of the early legends, from which the Phœnicians were expelled by the Greeks, the place where the stelè was found might well be the κατάβασις ἐξ Ἀχαΐας where one of the stelæ was to be set up, for here the ground slopes gradually from Phileremo to the plain below.

Mr. Biliotti states that the stelè when found was standing upright in its original socket, about six feet below the surface of the ground, but that no trace of foundations could be found near it. It may be that the spot where the stelè was standing was its original site on the road leading from the Akropolis to the plain below.


P.S. Since I wrote the above, my colleague, Mr. Percy Gardiner, has pointed out to me, on small gold and copper coins of Rhodes, dating from the third century, B.C., a head which is probably intended for that of Alectrona. This head is radiate, but distinctly female in type, and bearing the female adornments of Stephane and earrings. Its solar character would better suit Alectrona than the sea-nymph Rhodos. The coin is figured in the Hunter Catalogue, PL xlv. 15.; Mionnet Suppl. vol. vi. PI. viii. 4.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.