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Regionalism in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor

 | 
Hugh Elton
, 
Gary Reger

Foreign Judges and Regional Variations in Hellenistic Asia Minor

Charles Crowther

Texte intégral

  • 1 Krete: IC, I, 9, 3 (judges from Knossos, Upper Lyttos and Lyttos by the sea at Malla, late second (...)
  • 2 Robert 1973 (Robert 1969-1990, 5 137-154).

1Our knowledge of Hellenistic history is fragmented. Continuous narrative histories of universal scope and intention are broken into episodes or excerpts. Local and regional histories, of which there was no shortage, either do not survive or surface only anecdotally. Inscriptions help to fill the gaps. But inscriptions rarely show more than snapshots or isolated moments. Individual epigraphical records of diplomatic history are especially fleeting-reflections for the most part of specific exchanges and momentary inter-relationships. In combination, however, they may sometimes reveal underlying and unsuspected continuities. One such epigraphical vista is the subject of this chapter. About 280 inscriptions, ranging in date from the later fourth century BC to the later second century AD and in distribution across the Greek world from Malla in Krete to Histria on the Black Sea, from Akarnania to Pamphylia1, document the sending of judges from one city to another to hear files of cases in place of local courts or judges. Only a handful of incidental allusions document this background process in our literary tradition. Without the inscriptions, as L. Robert emphasized in an elegant survey discussion of the phenomenon2, this would be a closed chapter to the historian of the Hellenistic world.

2Much of the epigraphical evidence – 150 out of 280 instances – comes from Western Asia Minor. This body of evidence forms a substantial subset of the total evidence for diplomatic exchanges between the cities of western Asia Minor in the Hellenistic and early Imperial periods. The picture that it offers of the exchange of judges between the cities should have much to tell us about the otherwise largely hidden diplomatic life of the Greek cities – in particular, how they defined their immediate circle and more distant penumbra of sympathetic neighbors and connected friends.

  • 3 Ptolemaic initiatives: OGI, 43 (Koan judges to Naxos); SEG, 1, 363 (Milesian, Myndian and Halikarn (...)
  • 4 I have attempted elsewhere to trace this development through a series of five Kalymnian decrees fo (...)
  • 5 Epitaphs: IG, XII, 5, 305 (Mylasa); SEG, 16, 418 (Byzantion). Dedications: IK 34-Mylasa, 361-375 ( (...)
  • 6 IK, 21-Stratonikeia, 229 (second half of the second century AD).

3Before the evidence from Asia Minor is interrogated directly, it is important to be aware of the overall shape of the documentary tradition. The epigraphical evidence begins with a fragmentary royal intervention at the end of the fourth century (IK, Kyme 1: a court sent from Magnesia in accordance with a diagramma of Antigonos) and develops through a further series of royal initiatives in the first half of the third century3 into the exchange between cities revealed by the surge of honorific decrees that dominates our documentation in the second half of the third and first half of the second centuries4. Later in the second century, as the practice of using foreign judges became increasingly commonplace, individual transactions began to be regarded as less memorable and ceased to be recorded separately in inscriptions. Instead we have a series of incidental attestations, in epitaphs, dedications, and career inscriptions, which suggest at the same time continuity and routine5. The practice of turning to foreign courts to resolve internal judicial difficulties was sufficiently entrenched to have outlasted the last honorific decree by almost two centuries6. The greatest concentration of the evidence, however – in the form precisely of honorific decrees for judges – belongs to the later third and second centuries, and it is, in consequence, in this period that patterns of usage are most likely to be detectable.

  • 7 An incidental, but notable result of this survey is perhaps worth drawing attention to: the attest (...)

4A summary count of the inscriptions (including among Ionian and Aiolian cities, the islands of Chios, Samos, Lesbos and Tenedos) yields 150 instances of cities from Asia Minor sending or receiving foreign courts. If these cases are counted by region, the results are striking: of 56 instances of the use of foreign judges by Karian cities, in only 4 cases were the courts provided by other Karian cities. The disparity is almost as striking in Ionia (9 of 34 foreign courts from other Ionian cities) and the Aiolis (1 of 15). When these counts are broken down further into periods, the patterns are not significantly reshaped – this appears to be a firm and consistent trend: cities seem to have looked across regional boundaries for judges to resolve their internal difficulties7.

  • 8 Priene sent a court to Magnesia on the Maiandros in the late third century (I. Priene 61); Klazome (...)
  • 9 I Magnesia, 33; Rigsby 1996, 209-211, n ° 83.
  • 10 Teos: Daux 1975; Miletos: IG, IX, 2, 508.
  • 11 Cf., e. g., Gonnoi, 2, 69, which is dated by federal strategos.

5This picture of the exchange of foreign courts – in which regional boundaries seem to play only a limited role in determining choice – can be explored a little more deeply. Asking near neighbors for assistance was not entirely precluded – although Asian examples are, in fact, rather scarce8 – but most cities tended to look elsewhere. There are good and immediate reasons for this. Local rivalries might make immediate neighbors unacceptable as sources of assistance. The ramifications of local economic relationships could, as A. Bresson’s contribution illustrates (chap. 7), reach beyond the limits of a single city, to implicate citizens of neighboring communities; disinterested parties to act as judges in such cases would have to be found from further abroad. But this is not a complete explanation for the pattern that emerges from our evidence. An interesting comparison can be made with Perrhaibian Gonnoi, whose use of foreign courts in the second quarter half of the second century is attested by a remarkable series of at least twenty decrees (Gonnoi, 2, 69-92). In one case, the judges came from across the Aegean, from Miletos (Gonnoi, 2, 81). This connection is not, in itself, surprising: Gonnoi is also represented among the asylia decrees of Magnesia by a text acknowledging a syngeneia (kinship) relationship9; and there are other parallels for Ionian judges in Thessaly (judges from Teos and, again, Miletos for the Thessalian league)10. The remaining dikastic decrees from Gonnoi, however, are all for judges from other Thessalian cities. Again, this is perhaps as we should expect. The demos of Gonnoi looked to its immediate surroundings, to the familiar. What is perhaps less expected in this dense cluster of documentation, however, is that none of the other Thessalian cities that helped Gonnoi is Perrhaibian – although the Perrhaibian koinon is visible enough in other aspects of the evidence11.

  • 12 Iasos: I Priene, 53-54; Bargylia: I Priene, 47; [-] asa: I Priene, 73; Hydissos: I Priene, 52 with (...)

6With this pattern in mind, we can turn back to the Karian evidence. There are some perhaps inevitable distortions in the counts given earlier. A notable one is provided by Priene, which lay at the southern limit of Ionia and on the northern edge of Karia. Priene, as Herodotos observed (7.142.3), belonged to the Karian dialect group (with Miletos and Myous) among the cities of Ionia, and had a strong Karian constituency for its foreign judges12. When Priene is counted with Ionia, the number of Ionian judges in Karia in the high period of our documentation in the late third and second centuries is particularly striking: sixteen out of 23 attested foreign courts (70%) in Karia in the later third or first half of the second century came from Ionia. We seem to have here something similar to the situation at Gonnoi. Most judges came from not too far away; but real proximity seems to have been uncomfortable. Explanations for this trend are possible at a variety of levels.

  • 13 More than 60 inscribed texts, together with responses from more than 100 other communities, record (...)
  • 14 I Magnesia, 35 l. 12-14; Rigsby 1996, 85: Kephalos, the eponymous hero of Kephallenia was the son (...)
  • 15 I Magnesia, 38 l. 24-29; Rigsby 1996, 88.

7The aspect of this choice that I should like to emphasize is that it is not simply random, or determined by proximity alone. When Milesian courts travelled to Stratos or Thessaly, they were visiting peoples with whom they could already claim past connections of history or affection. A perspective can perhaps be supplied by comparing the journeys of Magnesian theoroi (sacred ambassadors) in the late third century as they sought to raise enthusiasm and support for the newly declared crowned, isopythian games for Artemis Leukophryena and consolidate recognition of her and their asylia. The number of cities approached by the Magnesians alone is impressive13. What is no less impressive is the variety of the connections that their theoroi were able to invoke in different communities in support of their requests for recognition: a decree of Same on Kephallenia, in addition to evidence of the Magnesians’ benefactions to the Greeks in general and Delphi in particular (all of this supported by historiographical sources, poetry, decrees and oracles) presented by the theoroi, briefly describes the basis of the relationship of oikeiotes (familiarity) between the two communities cited by the Magnesian envoys14. More specifically, the Magnesian theoroi who went to Megalopolis were able to quote from Magnesian decrees passed at the time of Megalopolis’ foundation in 369 BC, recording the names of the Megalopolitan envoys who came to Magnesia on that occasion15.

  • 16 Curty 1995.
  • 17 A good example is provided by a long decree of Larba for a Magnesian court which cites a syngeneia(...)

8The Magnesian asylia decrees present a catalogue of Magnesia’s history and sense of place in the (wider) Greek world. In decrees for foreign judges we see cities appealing to similar constituencies. The example of Gonnoi, which claimed a syngeneia connection with Miletos, has already been cited – the other decrees of Gonnoi, with the interesting exception of Gonnoi, 2, 91, which describes an attempt to corrupt a court from Skotoussa, are notably more laconic. A Karian example may also help to shed some light on this phenomenon. Early in the second century, when it was closely aligned with Antiochos III and receiving assistance and advice from him on the solution of its internal problems, Iasos twice requested a foreign judge from Priene. On the first occasion, the two cities recollected the existence of previous ties of friendship between them. In the second decree these ties have become a matter of syngeneia, of kinship. This relationship is striking precisely because it was not a relationship that either city had at first acknowledged. For the author of a definitive recent survey of syngeneia connections, this relationship is inexplicable because it falls outside the Iasians’ other attested network of kinship relations which is firmly based on a foundation legend that made them colonists of Argos16. Clarification is provided by Polybios. The Iasians, he tells us, claimed not only an Argive origin but a later refoundation from Miletos by an unnamed son of Neleus (16.12.2), another of whose sons, Aipytos, was the legendary founder precisely of Priene – the evidence for this latter connection comes from Strabo (14.632-33) and Pausanias (7.2.10). This is a relationship that the Prienians and Iasians had not initially remembered, and it is sufficiently abstruse to have eluded a modern investigator who has systematically reviewed all the evidence for kinship connections between Greek cities. But Polybios at the same time shows that it was a plausible relationship and Curty’s careful study has abundantly documented that claims of this kind were not made casually17.

9The example of Iasos and Priene suggests that when cities were considering potential sources for visiting courts, their choice was heavily influenced by their sense of their own position in the wider Greek world. And for Karian cities choosing another Karian community seems to have offered less opportunity for elegant aitiological invocations than calling on even a near Ionian neighbor.

10I turn next from this pattern which emerges more or less directly from our evidence and crosses regional divisions to some possible developments which we can see far less clearly, and sometimes perhaps not at all. I would like to cite in this connection two pieces of evidence: the first is an argument from silence, the second an allusion in an honorific decree from Sardis for a citizen benefactor.

11In the late third and for much of the second century BC Priene provided an abundant source of foreign courts for other cities. From late in the second century, however, the supply of evidence, at least in the form of honorific decrees of other cities for Prienian judges, almost dries up. This, in itself, is not surprising, since honorific decrees seem to have been inscribed less frequently in this period elsewhere as well.

  • 18 Prienian decrees for citizen euergetai: I Priene, 107-139; cf. esp. I Priene, 121 which lists a wh (...)

12Priene, however, offers a means of controlling this tendency. The series of decrees for citizen benefactors inscribed on the interior walls of the new North Stoa from the 120s BC onwards goes into detail about the honorands’ careers not only within the immediate context of the city and its civic space, but also externally as envoys, theoroi, intermediaries, and advocates. References to foreign judges in these texts, which range from the middle of the second century to the middle of the first century BC, are strikingly absent. It seems possible that Priene ceased to serve as a regular source for foreign courts from late in the second century18.

  • 19 Gauthier 1989, 113-114, no 4 B line 7-9.
  • 20 Larsen 1948.
  • 21 Cic., Ad Att., 6.1.15: February 20, 50 BC: “Graeci vero exsultant quod peregrinis iudicibus utuntu (...)

13The other item of evidence is a passage to which Philippe Gauthier has drawn attention in his publication of new inscriptions from Sardis. An honorary decree for Heliodoros the son of Diodoros dating to the middle of the second century BC summarizes his merits in the following terms: “not only giving proofs of his excellence (of character) among us (his fellow citizens), but also conducting himself in the courts that are sent by the demos to other cities ably and honorably in each case, as a result of which he has received crowns and notable honors”19. Sardis’ role as a source of foreign judges had hardly been suspected before the publication of this inscription – scarcely two generations after its full constitution as a Greek polis. We do not have the decrees passed in honor of courts sent out by the Sardians, but there must have been many (this is the clear implication of the present participle) – perhaps too many to be inscribed. It seems to me here that we have signs of an institution in transition. Fully developed publications, such as the late second-century Peparethian decree from Larissa (SEG, 27, 677) which Robert described as among the most prolix of all dikastic decrees, continue to show that foreign judges were sent for still, as they had been from the beginning, in crisis situations, but there are also some signs of changes in patterns of usage – indications that certain types of contentious cases may have been referred to foreign courts as a matter of course. We know explicitly that this happened at Sparta in the early second century, where following a Roman intervention in 184/183 all capital cases were heard by foreign courts (xenika dikasteria) rather than by federal, Achaian courts (Paus. 7.9.5). Roof tiles belonging to a lodging for Romans and judges indicate that visits by foreign courts were regular enough for a guest-house to have been needed for them (IG, V, 1, 869). This will not have been the case everywhere else. But what I would like to suggest, and this is to some extent speculation, is that the use of foreign courts in this routine way eventually became entrenched in some areas of Asia Minor, and that this may, in part, have been a regional phenomenon. In this connection, I would like to point, in particular, to a passage in a letter written by Cicero from his provincial governorship in Cilicia which has been intermittently discussed since Larsen drew attention to it in 194820. Describing reaction in the province to the formulation of his edict, which followed in its judicial provisions the pattern set by the edict of Q. Mucius Scaevola for the province of Asia, Cicero writes: “The Greeks are jubilant because they have foreign judges. ‘Nonentities,’ you may say. Well, what of it? They still think they have got their autonomy. And our countrymen have such impressive judges as Turpio the cobbler and Vettius the broker”21.

14Cicero’s remark implies a widespread use of foreign judges across a region in which their acivity is only sporadically attested in the epigraphcal record. The epigraphical visibility of the phenomenon is largely confined to cities that have left a substantial epigraphical legacy and to occasions when individual transactions were considered memorable. For this reason, the Asian evidence is heavely weighted towards Ionia and Karia and the third and second centuries BC. But once the legitimacy of the practice had been established, it seems to have spread into the interior and along the coast of Asia Minor, to communities such as Larba and Angeira which sought judges – and cited kinship connections – in the middle of the second century BC from Magnesia-on-the-Maiandros (I Magnesia 101) and Xanthos (SEG, 43, 986). By the middle of the first century, the exchange of foreign courts appears to have become entrenched in these areas.

Notes

1 Krete: IC, I, 9, 3 (judges from Knossos, Upper Lyttos and Lyttos by the sea at Malla, late second century BC); Histria: I Scythia Minor, 1, 30 (judges from Apollonia, second half of the second century BC); Pamphylia: IG, XII, 3, 1073 (Melian judges at Perge, first century BC); Akarnania: IG, IX, 12, 417 (Milesian judges at Stratos, late third/early second century BC).

2 Robert 1973 (Robert 1969-1990, 5 137-154).

3 Ptolemaic initiatives: OGI, 43 (Koan judges to Naxos); SEG, 1, 363 (Milesian, Myndian and Halikarnassian judges to Samos); IG, XII, 5,1065 (Karthaia); TCal, 17 (Kalymna); SEG, 19, 569 (Ptolemaic judge to Chios). Seleukid initiatives: Syll.3, 426 (Tean judge to Bargylia); I Priene, 24 (Prienian judge to unidentified destination).

4 I have attempted elsewhere to trace this development through a series of five Kalymnian decrees for foreign judges ranging in date from the early to the late third century (TCal., XVI, 9, 17, 31, 61): Crowther 1994.

5 Epitaphs: IG, XII, 5, 305 (Mylasa); SEG, 16, 418 (Byzantion). Dedications: IK 34-Mylasa, 361-375 (Mylasa). Career inscriptions: SEG, 11, 493, 526; IG, V, 1, 819 with Robert 1969-1990, 2 888-89 (Sparta); TAM, 2, 420, 508, 583, 915b (Lykian League).

6 IK, 21-Stratonikeia, 229 (second half of the second century AD).

7 An incidental, but notable result of this survey is perhaps worth drawing attention to: the attested use of foreign courts in Ionia dries up altogether by the middle of the first century BC.

8 Priene sent a court to Magnesia on the Maiandros in the late third century (I. Priene 61); Klazomenai to Kolophon (IK 2-Erythrai und Klazomenai, 506); and Samos to Lebedos (Robert 1960b, 204-221).

9 I Magnesia, 33; Rigsby 1996, 209-211, n ° 83.

10 Teos: Daux 1975; Miletos: IG, IX, 2, 508.

11 Cf., e. g., Gonnoi, 2, 69, which is dated by federal strategos.

12 Iasos: I Priene, 53-54; Bargylia: I Priene, 47; [-] asa: I Priene, 73; Hydissos: I Priene, 52 with Crowther 2005; Orthosia (?): I Priene, 71; Alabanda: an ineditum.

13 More than 60 inscribed texts, together with responses from more than 100 other communities, recorded in lists appended to decrees quoted in full: Rigsby 1996, 180.

14 I Magnesia, 35 l. 12-14; Rigsby 1996, 85: Kephalos, the eponymous hero of Kephallenia was the son of Deion, the brother of Magnes.

15 I Magnesia, 38 l. 24-29; Rigsby 1996, 88.

16 Curty 1995.

17 A good example is provided by a long decree of Larba for a Magnesian court which cites a syngeneia relationship.

18 Prienian decrees for citizen euergetai: I Priene, 107-139; cf. esp. I Priene, 121 which lists a whole series of diplomatic missions, including arbitrations. Foreign courts are also absent from the long and extensively preserved decrees for Moschion (108) and Herodes (109).

19 Gauthier 1989, 113-114, no 4 B line 7-9.

20 Larsen 1948.

21 Cic., Ad Att., 6.1.15: February 20, 50 BC: “Graeci vero exsultant quod peregrinis iudicibus utuntur. ‘nugatoribus quidem’ inquies. Quid refert? tamen se adeptos putant. Vestri enim credo gravis habent Turpionem sutorium et Vettium mancipem.” This passage was ignored, perhaps pointedly, by L. Robert in his survey discussion of the use of foreign judges, and more recently A. J. Marshall has argued at length that Cicero must have meant “judges of cases involving foreigners” rather than “foreign judges” by “peregrini iudices”: Marshall 1980, 656-658.

Auteur

Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, University of Oxford

© Ausonius Éditions, 2007

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