visiting the Levant combined to encourage the growth of the subject, which has been advanced by the labours of many scholars, and chiefly Ludwig Ross, Leake, Pittakys, Rangabé, Le Bas and later by Meier, Sauppe, Kirchhoff, Kumanudes, Waddington, Köhler, Dittenberger, Homolle, Haussoullier, Wilhelm and others. Together with the development of this school of writers, there has gone on a systematic exploration of some of the most famous sites of antiquity, with the result of exhuming vast numbers of inscriptions. To mention only some of the most important: Cyrene, Rhodes, Cos, Cnidus, Halicarnassus, Miletus, Priene, Ephesus, Magnesia on the Maeander, Pergamum, Delos, Thera, Athens, Eleusis, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi, Dodona, Sparta, have been explored or excavated by the Austrians, English, French, Germans and Greeks. German, French, British, Austrian and American institutes have been established at Athens, to a great extent engaged in the study of inscriptions. From every part of the Greek world copies of inscriptions are brought home by the students of these institutes and by other travellers. And still the work proceeds at a rapid rate. For indeed the yield of inscriptions is practically inexhaustible: each island, every city, was a separate centre of corporate life, and it is significant to note that in the island of Calymnos alone C. T. Newton collected over one hundred inscriptions, many of them of considerable interest.
The result of this has been that Boeckh’s great work, though it never can be superseded, yet has ceased to be what its name implies. The four volumes of the C.I.G. contain about 10,000 inscriptions. But the number of Greek inscriptions now known is probably more than three or four times as great. Many of these are only to be found published in the scattered literature of dissertations, or in Greek, German and other periodicals. But several comprehensive collections have been attempted, among which (omitting those dealing with more limited districts of the Greek world) the following may be named:—Rangabé, Antiquités helléniques (2 vols., 1842-1855); Le Bas-Waddington, Voyage archéologique, inscriptions (3 vols., 1847-1876, incomplete); Newton, Hicks and Hirschfeld, Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum (parts i.-iv.); and above all the Inscriptiones Graecae, a Corpus undertaken by the Berlin Academy (absorbing the Corpus Inscr. Attic. and other similar collections). Of this work six complete volumes and parts of others have appeared (by 1906) representing Attica, Argolis, Megaris, Boeotia, Phocis, Locris, Aetolia, Acarnania, Ionian Islands, Aegean Islands (exc. Delos), Sicily, Italy and western Europe; they are edited by Kirchhoff, Köhler, Dittenberger, Fränkel, Hiller von Gaertringen, Kaibel and others. Of a similar Austrian publication dealing with Asia Minor (Tituli Asiae Minoris) only the first part (Lycian Inscriptions) has appeared. Of general selections of inscriptions on a smaller scale it is necessary to mention: Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graec. (2nd ed., 1898-1901, 3 vols.); the same, Orientis Graeci Inscr. Selectae (2 vols., 1903-1905); Hicks, Greek Historical Inscriptions (1st ed., 1882; 2nd ed., 1901); Michel, Recueil d’inscriptions grecques (1900); Roberts and Gardner, Introd. to Gk. Epigraphy (2 vols., 1887-1905); Röhl, Inscr. gr. antiquissimae (1882), and Imagines Inscriptionum (2nd ed., 1898).
The oldest extant Greek inscriptions appear to date from the middle of the 7th century B.C. During the excavations at Olympia a number of fragments of very ancient inscriptions were found (see Olympia, Textband v.); and Oldest Greek inscriptions. other very early inscriptions from various places, as Thera and Crete, have been published (see Röhl, op. cit.). But what is wanted is a sufficient number of very early inscriptions of fixed date. One such exists upon the leg of a colossal Egyptian statue at Abu-Simbel on the upper Nile, where certain Greek mercenaries in the service of King Psammetichus recorded their names, as having explored the river up to the second cataract (C.I.G. 5126; Röhl, 482; Hicks², 3). Even if Psammetichus II. is meant, the inscription dates between 594 and 589 B.C. Another, but later, instance is to be found in the fragmentary inscriptions on the columns dedicated by Croesus in the Ephesian temple (c. 550 B.C.; Gk. Inscr. in the Brit. Mus. 518). Documents earlier than the Persian War are not very frequent; but after that period the stream of Greek inscriptions goes on, generally increasing in volume, down to late Byzantine times.
Greek inscriptions may most conveniently be classified under the following heads: (1) those which illustrate political history; (2) those connected with religion; (3) those of a private character.
1. Foremost among the inscriptions which illustrate Greek history and politics are the decrees of senate and people (ψηφίσματα βουλῆς, ἐκκλησίας, &c.) upon every subject which could concern the interests of the state. These abound from every part Political inscriptions. of Greece. It is true that a large number of them are honorary, i.e. merely decrees granting to strangers, who have done service to the particular city, public honours (crowns, statues, citizenship and other privileges). One of these privileges was the proxenia, an honour, which entailed on the recipient the burthen of protecting the citizens of the state which granted it when they came to his city. But the importance of an honorary decree depends upon the individual and the services to which it refers. And even the mere headings and datings of the decrees from various states afford curious and valuable information upon the names and titles of the local magistrates, the names of months and other details. On the formulae, see Swoboda, Die gr. Volksbeschlüsse (1890). Droysen in his Hellenismus (1877-1878) has shown how the history of Alexander and his successors is illustrated by contemporary ψηφίσματα. And when the student of Athenian politics of the 5th and 4th centuries turns to the 1st and 2nd volumes of the I.G., he may wonder at the abundance of material before him; it is like turning over the minutes of the Athenian parliament. One example out of many must suffice—No. 17 in I.G. ii. pt. 1 (Hicks², 101) is the famous decree of the archonship of Nausinicus (378 B.C.) concerning the reconstruction of the Athenian confederacy. The terms of admission to the league occupy the face of the marble; at the bottom and on the left edge are inscribed the names of states which had already joined.
Inscribed laws (νόμοι) occur with tolerable frequency. The following are examples:—A citation of a law of Draco’s from the πρῶτος ἄξων of Solon’s laws (I.G. i. 61; cf. Dittenberger, Syll.² 52); the Civil Codes of Gortyna (5th century, Dareste, &c., Inscr. jurid. gr. i. 352 ff.); a reassessment of the tribute payable by the Athenian allies in 425 B.C. (I.G. i. 37; Köhler Urkunden und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des delisch-attischen Bundes, 1870, p. 63; Hicks², 64); a law passed by the Amphictyonic council at Delphi, 380 B.C. (Boeckh, C.I.G. 1688; I.G. ii. 545); law concerning Athenian weights and measures (Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung³, ii. 318; I.G. ii. 476); the futile sumptuary law of Diocletian concerning the maximum prices for all articles sold throughout the empire (Mommsen-Blümner, Der Maximaltarif des Diocletian, 1893). For a collection of such legal documents, see Dareste, Haussoullier and Reinach, Recueil des inscr. juridiques gr. (1891-1898).
Besides the inscribed treaties previously referred to, we may instance the following: Between Athens and Chalcis in Euboea, 446 B.c. (I.G. suppl. to vol. i. 27A); between Athens and Rhegium, 433 B.C. (Hicks², 51); between Athens and Leontini, dated the same day as the preceding (ibid. 52); between Athens and Boeotia, 395 B.C. (ibid. 84); between Athens and Chalcis, 377 B.C. (ibid. 102); between Athens and Sparta, 271 B.C. (I.G. ii. No. 332); between Hermias of Atarneus and the Ionian Erythrae, about 350 B.C. (Hicks² 138); treaties in the local dialect between the Eleans and the Heraeans, 6th century (Olympia Inschr. 9), and between various cities of Crete, 3rd century B.C. (C.I.G. 2554-2556; Griech. Dial. Inschr. 5039-5041, 5075). Egger’s Études historiques sur les traités publics chez les Grecs et chez les Romains (Paris, 1866) embraces a good many of these documents; see also R. von Scala, Die Staatsverträge des Altertums, pt. i. (1898).
The international relation of Greek cities is further illustrated by awards of disputed lands, delivered by a third city called in (ἔκκλητος πόλις) to arbitrate between the contending states, e.g. Rhodian award as between Samos and Priene (Gk. Inscr. in Brit. Mus. 405; Dittenberger, Syll.² 315); Milesian between Messanians and Spartans, discovered at Olympia (ibid. 314; see Tac. Ann. iv. 43); and many others. Akin to these are decrees in honour of judges called in from a neutral city to try suits between citizens which were complicated by political partisanship (see C.I.G. No. 2349B, with Boeckh’s remarks; I.G. xii. 722). On the general subject, E. Sonne, De arbitris extends (1888).
Letters from kings are frequent; as from Darius I. to the satrap Gadates, with reference to the shrine of Apollo at Magnesia (Hicks², 20); from Alexander the Great to the Chians (ibid. 158); from Lysimachus to the Samians (C.I.G. 2254; Hicks¹, 152); from Antigonus I. directing the transfer of the population of Lebedus to Teos (Dittenberger, Syll.² 177); from the same to the Scepsians (Dittenberger, Or. Gr. Inscr. Sel. 5), Letters from Roman emperors are commoner still; such as Dittenberger, Syll.² 350, 356, 373, 384-388, 404.
The internal administration of Greek towns is illustrated by the minute and complete lists of the treasures in the Parthenon of the time of the Peloponnesian War (Boeckh, Staatshaush.³ vol. ii.); public accounts of Athenian expenditure (ibid.); records of the Athenian navy in the 4th century, forming vol. iii. of the 1840 ed. of the same work. To the same category belong the so-called Athenian tribute-lists, which are really lists of the quota (of the tribute paid by the Athenian allies) which was due to the treasury of Athena (ἀπαρχαί τῆ θεῷ μνᾶ ἀπο ταλάντου). Being arranged according to the tributary cities, they throw much light on the constitution of the Athenian empire at the time (I.G. i. 226-272 and suppl. p. 71 f.; Köhler, Urkunden und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. des attisch-delischen Seebundes 1870; Boeckh, Staatshaush.³ ii. 332-498). The management of public lands and mines is specially illustrated from inscriptions (Boeckh, op. cit. vol. i. passim); and the political constitution of different cities often receives light from inscriptions which cannot be gained elsewhere (e.g. see the document from Cyzicus, C.I.G. 3665, and Boeckh’s note, or that from Mytilene, Dittenberger, Or. Gr. Inscr. 2, and the inscriptions from Ephesus, Gk. Inscr. in Brit. Mus. pt. iii. § 2).